Matthias Wivel praises both pop and Popeye.

Sean Michael Robinson talks about his experiences making 24-hour comics.

Derik Badman has translated an article by French creator Fabrice Neaud about Aristophane’s Conte Domoniaque.

Ng Suat Tond discusses original art by Jaime Hernandez.

Vom Marlowe reviews Dungeons & Dragons #0.

Caroline Small discusses Frank Kermode, James Sturm, writing and reading.

And I started a thread to talk about what should and should not have been included in the Best American Comics 2010.

Also at HU, we’ve started using Read More cuts. I’m hoping this will make the blog a little easier to navigate. If you have thoughts on the change, please let me know in comments.

Utilitarians Everywhere

At The Chicago Reader I review the Neil Gaiman edited Best American Comics 2010.

Certainly there were loads of Sandman spin-offs. DC has, following Gaiman, shown some interest in fantasy-oriented series—the currently ongoing Fables for example—and independent titles like Gloomcookie and Courtney Crumrin followed a goth-oriented, female-friendly path. But these efforts were marginal. Overall, post-1990s, the mainstream comics industry first drifted and then scampered towards massive, complicated stories mostly of interest to a male, continuity-porn-obsessed fanbase. Gaiman moved on to writing novels (notably, sophisticated fantasies like Neverwhere and Coraline), and the formula he created was largely ignored. Instead of creating goth comics for girls, American companies chose to stick with insular cluelessness and let the Japanese have the female audience. Manga comics, especially those aimed at girls, exploded in popularity here. And that, in case you were wondering, is no doubt why the Twilight comic adaptation isn’t drawn by homegrown artists like Jill Thompson or P. Craig Russell or Ted Naifeh but by Korean illustrator Young Kim, in a manga style.

At his blog, Bert Stabler and I debate Funny Games, I Spit on Your Grave, horror and evil.

Bert: Everyone loves being blamed for their privilege, EXCEPT when it’s by someone who shares (and exceeds)that privilege. Basically, the beauty of Funny Games is that of a vulture feeding in the desert, not a cockfight. It’s not a guilty pleasure that excuses itself with self-awareness– it’s bloodthirsty pornography that reminds you that actors in pornography have actual lives.

At Splice Today I have an essay about Manny Farber and Paul Feyerabend and termites and Galileo. Unfortunately, they kind of chopped off my original ending, making me sound more sincere than I am. This is the original conclusion; imagine it’s there if you click over to read the essay.

Ultimately, Feyerabend concluded that his wish for a new insect view of the world was “just another example of intellectualistic conceit and folly.” Farber, too — in true termite-art fashion — disavowed his essay on termite art. Demanding an end to white elephants is a white elephant way to behave; ultimately termites to stay termites must eat themselves. What they leave behind them is, perhaps, a small space filled with meaning — the not-termite, trumpeting its victory.

At Comixology I write about Quentin Blake’s amazing children’s book, The Story of the Dancing Frog.

The picture of Gertrude picking up the frog is both moving and goofy. Gertrude is half in the water, her facial expression hard to read. The trees form an arch overhead, and her dress is pulled back by the water. It’s a ritual and sensual scene, like a rebirth or a wedding. The frog, on the other hand, is clearly not quite up to the role of Prince — it looks helpless and bizarrely cheerful with its googly eyes and gangly body, no more aware of the affection it’s inspired than an infant. Its obliviousness, though, only makes the moment more poignant. Without knowing it, it is both lost husband and child that never was, a lifeline that cannot possibly bear the weight put upon it.

And finally at Madeloud I have an article about musical guest stars on the 1960s Batman TV show.

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