I began reading comics intensely as intellectual escapism from grad school. My other escape was film theory. So I had many elaborate, comics-form dreams starring Eisenstein.

Last night I mixed the two again, dreaming an R. Fiore column in The Comics Journal. In just a couple of short pages of copperplate prose, no plosives, he eviscerated all the Journal‘s writers for not liking Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ. Gibson’s poor treatment at their hands was a case of “wholesale intellectual fraud,” he wrote. Then he cut the writers down, one by one.

Since I’d regularly sniped at Gibson in my column, calling his movie “a pornography of violence” and such, I skipped ahead to see Fiore take me down. Seeing my name in the last paragraph, I flipped back to finish the article. But my eyes got stuck in a loop in the second-to-last column, going over the text without seeing anything.

So I set it down and started on the new Kevin Huizenga book. It’s a new direction: movie reviews as comics short stories. After reading his cheerful take on that Mayan Gibson movie, I skipped to the book’s end. He starts to use empty pages as he goes on, two or three tiny panels hovering over nothing garnished with type at the very bottom (Helvetica Neue, mind). Then the same problem; I couldn’t finish the book for strange reasons.

So I looked over my shoulder at an old pen-and-ink drawing of mine. It didn’t look half bad.


The seeds for this weren’t Rick Veitch’s dream comics, which I admire, nor Iou Kuroda’s movie review comics, which I don’t. Most likely one seed was Fiore’s long, precise dismantling of once-columnist Bart Beaty’s book. The Comics Journal: They Eat Their Own.

The other seed has been watching the comments threads for Noah’s posts on fanfic and Wonder Woman. I know little about either, so I just watch, impressed with Noah’s modulation of snark and patience as 700 Anons drive-by to tell him he sucks. Social media! Were I more of a business ninny, I’d start quoting Seth Godin’s latest while huffing venture capital.

Except that as tribes go, this blog’s more of a confederacy.1 I know that whenever I post something, likely the first comment will be from one of my comrades, taking apart whatever I said. Three of us write for the Journal, which means precious little in terms of sharing a critical lens.

Talking about which, I need to pick at Noah’s argument here in lieu of full review today.

1 J. K. Toole jokes, go to town.