Arguing Comics

by John Holbo on August 21, 2011

The question came up in comments to the sf and fantasy top 100 thread: take such debates seriously? Or not so much? Admittedly, it’s kind of like comics fans arguing about which heroes/titles deserve a reboot. (via Comics Alliance)

UPDATE: to judge from comments, some readers may have missed the point of the comics forum post, or failed to click over. The lengthy thread consists entirely of comics fans arguing self-righteously, enthusiastically, angrily, but above all, knowledgeably, about non-existent comics. They really keep the ball going.

“Alls I know is that if they manage to bring back Captain Hayseed and the Ramblin’ Rangers, I’m gonna Freak. Out. Molterstein’s run on that in the 50’s shaped my childhood. Too bad they can’t bring back Tony Modigliani for art, but I heard after that fourth lightning strike, his art really went downhill.”

“If you look at the shifted continents promotion where it says “worlds will change” you can see Hayseed’s symbol of the Haymaker where Asia should be. I bet it gets tied into the Century of Peril series though and Jason Tooth is writing it.”



ehj2 08.21.11 at 8:58 pm

Perhaps the combative phrasing of the question has limited your responses. Or everyone is out hunting for the items on this list they hadn’t seen.

Recommended reading lists always get my attention. I don’t want to miss anything and I take them “seriously” to the point of noting what I don’t know (haven’t read) and determining, “I will go look at that.” It doesn’t matter what audience made the list, there’s a part of me that “is” that audience. I don’t always cater to it, but I want to know what that part of me is reading.

No personal library can have too many wonderful books. And of course there’s no such thing as too many good writers or too many good stories or too many people actually reading them.

Sometimes you may have passed them because you weren’t ready and now the reminder they are still there and beloved by many is a light in the depths of the stacks that draws you to them.

I came late to a lot of writers and I’m very grateful they waited for me.


bigcitylib 08.21.11 at 10:58 pm

Comics can be Literature. So can Fantasy, so can Westerns, although it took a long time for people to realize. So can the novel as a genre, although that’s not even obvious in itself. Because I don’t think courses on the English novel were taught in UK universities until the 1920s (but don’t quote me on that). So if the argument can be taken seriously for Literature in general it can be taken seriously for anything that might plausibly described as Literature.

And I do think it can be taken seriously for Literature in general. We haven’t ditched the canon entirely, have we?


bigcitylib 08.21.11 at 11:23 pm

Oh, and just as an aside. When things are all said and done I think people will eventually agree that Charles M. Shultz Peanuts cartoons from about 1962 to 1980 were literary masterpieces.


John Holbo 08.21.11 at 11:25 pm

I think my post may have been a bit too subtle for it’s own good. The comics forum post consists entirely of discussion of non-existent comics.


bigcitylib 08.21.11 at 11:29 pm

And why should that matter?


Bill Benzon 08.21.11 at 11:30 pm


John Holbo 08.21.11 at 11:34 pm

“And why should that matter?”

I just don’t want people to miss it.


John Holbo 08.21.11 at 11:52 pm

I don’t mean to insult anyone for missing the joke. Probably you didn’t click over to see it. I just think it’s to be appreciated as an exercise in kvetching-degree-zero purity or something.


onymous 08.22.11 at 1:22 am

I, for one, thought the thread you linked was hilarious.


Atticus Dogsbody 08.22.11 at 2:53 am

As soon as I saw Jason Tooth I clicked over, I loved his 1998 take on Gene Snard’s classic The Franking Demon. I’ve heard tell that he’s begun working on a classic novel based on Eliot’s The Wasteland, with what is suppoed to be a surprising twist. Can’t wait.


skippy 08.22.11 at 3:21 am

brilliant. not a comica geek, but i know enough argue about the worth of comic book movies, and i know dedicated and inspired goofing around blogging when i see it.


Hogan 08.22.11 at 4:49 pm

Are you sure? Because I could swear I have the second issue of Tostada Storm ’99 somewhere in the basement.


ehj2 08.23.11 at 1:16 pm

I’m a pretty old dude and I enjoyed the thread. Not enough to read much of it, I know when the music isn’t from “my generation.” But I like that it’s there and someone is drinking from it and part of their being is flying among the stars.

“Get off my lawn” jokes go over my head. I’m basically goofy nostalgic about everything and wish nothing had to go away completely. I’ve been so many people I don’t know who I’ll be next week. I don’t think it matters what it is, in time someone will be interested in that and use it as a building block for something else.

When I was little music came from a needle following a groove in a piece of plastic on a spindle driven by an induction motor. Now its a bunch of ones and zeroes written by the light of lasers. Who woulda thought? And what might it be a century from now?

And yes I loved comics as a child and that part of me has never grown old. Batman is as real to me as Odysseus.

Comments on this entry are closed.