Monday, 15 October 2007

"I wondered why he would buy old wines he never intended to drink..."

T he third volume of Leonard Starr's On Stage (april '59- june '60) is out from Classic Comics Press. I wrote about the first one back here. This is one of the few things I get regularly that I have to read completely from cover to cover as soon as it arrives. I have demanded of publisher Charles Pelto that he let me write the intro to the next one , so I'll save my latest thoughts on it till then.

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Graphic stories have come a long way. Robert McCrum- Guardian blog-October 14- on the competition result. Congrats to the winner, Catherine Brighton, but long way? Yeah, right. Then why was Janusczak's 1984 article (short quoted excerpt) on the subject more advanced than this one? They've been stuck on the city exit flyover for 25 years, trying vainly to get onto the freeway.
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Thanks to Ben Smith in comments for the above link, who added a few joshing remarks regarding my touchiness about words. The issue is not about the words. You can have the words. It's about whom I have to be associated with. Thus, if 'graphic novel' now means exactly the same thing as American style comic books, then I don't come under either of these headings. It's like olympic boxing and pro wrestling. They kind of look the same, and there's nothing against being interested in both, but there's no way they can take place in the same ring at the same time. They are in opposition. So let those terms refer to the same thing, and that leaves another opposing thing over here that doesn't have a name. My pal White and I have taken to referring to it as 'that thing of ours' like they did on the Sopranos.

If 'comics' means 'sequential art', then that's not the medium I'm working in either. You can have the words, I don't want them. The medium I'm in is not restricted by McCloudianism and includes regular panel cartoons and EXcludes a lot of stuff that McCloud INcludes, like the Bayeux tapestry and William Hogarth. Including such things as these comes under the heading of 'The lowbrow colonisation of culture' and is despicable. I wouldn't want anybody to think I'd condone that.
It's dead simple.

I"ve only ever had one conversation with art spiegelmaus (plus a few follow-up emails), and he spent the whole ten or fifteen minutes railing against 'graphic novel'. I kept trying to say, hey, artie haven't we got more important things to talk about? Poor wee artie, he had the misfortune of having the first volume of Maus come out at the same time as that godawful Dark Knight and now he's got to be stuck to it like a siamese twin. I feel for the guy.
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drjon links me to this compelling piece in the New Yorker on Wine counterfeiting.
The Jefferson Bottles- How could one collector find so much rare fine wine?- by Patrick Radden Keefe _ September 3,
When I wondered why he would buy old wines that he never intended to drink, Koch shrugged. “I’m never going to shoot Custer’s rifle,” he said.

...Rajat Parr, a prominent wine director who oversees restaurants in Las Vegas, told me that several years ago some of his customers ordered a bottle of 1982 Pétrus, which can sell in restaurants for as much as six thousand dollars. The party finished the bottle and ordered a second. But the second bottle tasted noticeably different, so they sent it back. The staff apologetically produced a third bottle, which the diners consumed with pleasure. Parr closely examined the three bottles and discovered the problem with the second one: it was genuine.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Mia Wolff said...

you forgot to mention Micheangelo's ceiliing in the Vatican--although not in book form it is cetainly within the country of the "thing that you do"

15 October 2007 6:17:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Jason Das said...

'That thing of [y]ours' needs a name already! I don't expect you to come up with it, necessarily, but you're not the only one who needs it, either. There's a serious vocabulary gap, and it's to the point where I can barely talk to most people about this stuff. Which is probably just as well, but still ...

15 October 2007 10:59:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Dave McKenna said...

Hey Eddie: I was in Jim Hanley's Universe recently and overheard one of their long-time employees decrying the concept of the "graphic novel" with a vituperativeness that reminded me of many of your recent posts...except he was referring to the use of the term to describe collected editions of corporate superhero comics. "It's a four-issue series, dammit!" He took great (and justified!) umbrage at the pretentious appropriation of the hated words. I found it rather refreshing to hear it from the "other side", and of course thought immediately of you...

15 October 2007 12:07:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Mia, No, I feel no connection whatsoever to Michelangelo's ceiling, though I would be quite happy to go and marvel at it untl i get a pain in my neck, as i did in 2004. I'm more inclined to regard Claude Monet as a personal predecessor, and recently I was looking again at that great big book on his waterlillies that you sent me many years ago.

Now, this is the problem, and i don't mean to be argumentative, that I have with McCloud etc. let them tell the world that they have a love of this or that ancient artwork, that's fine. but if they then use it to mark the boundaries of the medium they're working in then they're speaking for themself and not for me. I object to having to explain myself in somebody else's terms.

That isn't an abstract thought. i was recently put in front of a camera, see my post of... 23 sept... then everything i said was thrown out and they got somebody else to introduce the subject... I should have known better). also, if the rest of the world wants to go with the McCloudian thing, or with anybody else's thing, just, as I say, leave me out of it.

jason. No, I don't need more words. Too many already and I'm cutting half of them out.

dave. yes. I completely ageree with the guy. If you're talking about comic book culture, call it that. 'comic book' is in fact a term that i regard as completely useful. that and strip cartoon. all others are contaminated, and it's not that they're now meaningless, but in fact have so many contradictory meanings as to be likely to cause confusion and are therefore useless as tools for communication. (the kind of confusion i like to highlight here, like the fellow a few days back saying that Will Eisner was not a comic book artist, or the guy quoted above saying that 'comics' have 'come a long way in the last twenty years')

15 October 2007 4:25:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger langdell said...

When I first read that New Yorker article on wine counterfeiting, I wished I could see your illustrated take on the subject.

15 October 2007 4:34:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

add
"we also get our share of what used to be called comics, like Asterix and Tintin."

Langdell,
ha, yes, it was running through my head in panels while I was reading it. what a story!

15 October 2007 4:37:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

mia,
putting it more simply: Michelangelo was depicting the huge complex of christian mythology and I'm not.

Monet was depicting his own world as his eyes saw it, and I'm trying to depict mine.

(this business about the medium and its technicalities tends to distract from the point)

15 October 2007 6:24:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anthony Thorne said...

Hi Eddie,

That goanna is massive. I'm reminded of the blue-tongue lizards that live under the porch of my mum's place which I see every time I visit Tasmania, though that bugger is bigger by a mile.

I told a couple of friends about how the Age or ABC journo (I forget which) wanted to drag you out from a local pub and stick you in front of the comics at Minotaur. I've read your Comics Journal interview and the related pieces here about your uncomfortableness with certain categories and having your worked pigeonholed in a certain way, but that anecdote seemed to sum it up pretty well.

I haven't read any of the Mary Perkins volumes yet but they're high up my list.

15 October 2007 10:55:00 pm GMT-5  

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