We started the week off with a guest post by James Romberger, who discussed the reasons for and the wrongness of the fact that artists often don’t get credited adequately in comics collaborations.

Melinda Beasi guest-posted about Twilight and the way some women try to distance themselves from fandoms that are too femme.

Richard Cook explained why The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is lame.

Caroline Small reviewed comics and animation by Lilli Carré.

I talked about the eroticization of young Wonder Woman in Marston and Peters’ Wonder Woman #23.

I talked about class in Twilight.

And this week’s download is for Easy Lounging Hippies, featuring the Byrds, the Hollies, John Denver, and Italian soundtrack music, as well as other things.

Utilitarians Everywhere

At Comixology I talk about race and blackface in the work of R. Crumb.

In that sense, Crumb’s image for the song could almost be seen as parody; a vicious sneer at Joplin’s blackface pretensions, caricaturing her as both a wannabe black mammy and as the whining white entitled brat looking to the exploited other for entirely undeserved comfort. As I said, it could almost be seen as that — if Crumb hadn’t thrown in another entirely gratuitous blackface caricature in the bottom center panel, just to show that, you know, he really is exactly that much of a shithead.

At Splice Today, I talk about Raymond Williams and the apotheosis of advertising.

Williams notes “Advertising was developed to sell goods, in a particular kind of economy,” but, “Publicity has been developed to sell persons, in a particular kind of culture.” The two are related, the second an outgrowth of the first, and while advertising has (arguably) experienced some setbacks recently, publicity has gone from hulking behemoth to master of the universe. Once professionals organized advertising campaigns. Now those same campaigns are conducted by you and me and everybody all the time with our personal web pages and MySpace pages and YouTube videos and self-Googling. The media consumers have taken the means of media production, and they’ve used it to create a virtual world where identity and consumption are more indistinguishable than ever before.

Also at Splice, I talk about the disappointment that is Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku, volume 4.

For cultural goods, the analogue of planned obsolescence is called, as most everyone knows, “jumping the shark.” The phrase—which itself has jumped the shark—used to describe the moment when any serialized entertainment gratuitously abandons its dignity and begins to suck with an almighty suckage. Think of the episode of The Cosby Show where Cliff gives birth to a hoagie and a bottle of orange soda. Or don’t think of it. I’m trying not to.

At Madeloud, I reviewed the mediocre new album by Plants and Animals.

Other Links

Anne Ishii has a really funny interview with Johnny Ryan about the manga Detroit Rock City.

Tom Crippen has an excellent review of Alan Moore’s new Cthulhu mash-up project.

Via Dirk, Dan Raeburn’s classic comics crit zine, The Imp is now available online.

Tucker Stone and David Brothers continue their very entertaining look at the Black Panther.

Shaenon Garrity has a really superb essay about Cathy Guisewite’s comic strip Cathy.

And this is a fascinating essay about Netflix. I think there are some lessons there about digital for comics companies — not that anyone’s likely to pay any particular attention…..

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