Throwback Thursday

Lately, I’ve noticed the oldest posts on the ‘Read Later’ section at Feedly. These were often things I meant to read at some point, and never got around to, or that I figured I’d right about and didn’t. And they’re old enough to be in kindergarten.

I’m looking at the first month worth of saved articles (from around Late December 2011/ Early January 2012.) Some of the links no longer work, as was the case with some 2011 Best Ofs. A few did. CBR had a Best of Best of lists roundup. Comics Worth Reading had a best graphic novels list. I made note of the yearly round-up posts of BoingBoing and lifehacker.

Lifehacker had a guide to sous-vide that I’ve never taken advantage of.

Comics Reporter had an interview with Art Spiegelman on the occasion of winning the French Grand Prix, which became an opportunity to emphasize the history of comics.

SPURGEON: Well, that group of cartoonists is aging. And some have passed away now. Do you think we have a proper grasp on the artistic legacy of the undergrounds? Do you think there’s still work to be done there?

SPIEGELMAN: If this kind of museological patrimony of American comics style book keeps coming out, eventually we’ll finally get that part as well. In this corner of publishing, there are the most astounding books of old comic strips, like — the most impressive one, but there’s so many, is probably the Forgotten Fantasy book from Sunday Press, which made feel like I’d died, or was in a dream I wasn’t waking up from, and saw this book that can’t possibly exist. But then also the complete runs of everything from Peanuts to Dick Tracy to Little Orphan Annie and now coming up Barnaby and so on is an amazing zeitgeist shift. There is a history. That’s happening for comic books as well, whether it be Mort Meskin or Alex Toth or the EC stuff or Little Lulu, the comic book thing is coming together. Oddly enough, there’s no real equivalent for underground comix.

Back in the day, there was this movie called 2001 and humanity passes through a monolith and changes and evolves? Basically, underground comix was the monolith for comics.

SPURGEON: Is it that we don’t have a grasp on how much things have changed, or we’ve just kind of forgotten?

SPIEGELMAN: Boy, is that for sure! I feel so far outside the loop at this point, you know [laughs], even though it’s a loop I guess I helped make. Yes, at the moment. things feel so comfortable. Even if there’s not a lot of money associated with being an alternative cartoonist, you can go into any club or bar in the world, hold your head up high and say, “I draw comics.” And that wasn’t the case. It was better to say you were a plumber.

There seemed to be some questions about the utility of the Iowa caucus. Joshua Tucker of the American Prospect argued that Iowa’s economy was representative of the country. Frontloading noted that the caucuses weren’t going anywhere. There were quite a few posts that no longer have working links on the whole idea of why Iowa’s caucus get to go first. Big Think had a piece on the question. There was  on whether it makes Republicans more extreme. The vote against Trump in the 2016 primary probably increases their perceived value.

Queens Crap was bothered by Senator Chuck Schumer’s brother-in-law becoming a judge.

The Big Think asked if the internet was polarizing politics, a topic that remains relevant now. The main difference might be that we now have a better understanding of how it’s just not the left VS the right, but the different subgroups (Establishment Republicans VS Conservative Republicans VS Populist Trump supporters; Center-left Democrats VS Sanders voters.)

Warren Ellis reminded people of the purpose of a comics script, which remains good advice on writing.

When you’re starting out, you may well find yourself writing “blind”: not knowing who the artist will be. This is why people like Alan Moore evolved that hyper-descriptive style — so he could get the end result he was looking for regardless of who was drawing it. You may prefer to do that. I would prefer that you took some art classes, and talk to some illustrators (this may involve sign language and grunting sounds). Investigate art, even if your drawing hand, like mine, behaves more like a flipper. Understanding what is joyful about illustration is important. It’s important to create a thing that will delight an artist. (And even a letterer, although that’s going to be harder as many of them have the demeanour of a demented gravedigger.)

You are, in many ways, writing a love letter intended to woo the artist into giving their best possible work to the job. A bored or unengaged artist will show up on the page like a fibrous stool in the toilet bowl, and that’s not their fault — it’s yours.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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