American Comics Live

posted July 4, 2003 by Seffinga

Seffinga - Of Fads, Artists, and Opinions

I hate to sound pretentious or come off as preachy but I feel as though a blanket statement has been made regarding what constitutes good art and what types of American comics are "worth a damn" and that's a blanket I feel compelled to set aflame! It is a well-known fact among the Splurdagumi that Jer has a hate/hate relationship with superhero comics and like everyone else in this free world (as debatable as that term is) he is definitely entitled to his opinion. However, let me bring to the table my own critique of American comics. While the superhero genre has been stuck in an adolescent power fantasy-type limbo for many years that does NOT, I repeat, NOT mean that all of them can be just swept under the rug as not "worth a damn". As a reader of primarily web-comics I think Jer is just a little too willing to write off the Superhero genre without spending any real time with it. Jer you sound like you went to art school and got all snobby about what constitutes real art and storytelling. Have you even picked up an issue of Grant Morrison's excellent "New X-Men"? How about reading Loeb and Sale's "The Long Halloween"? You personally let me borrow a copy of "Arkhum Asylum" but I guess that's o.k. because it was painted, as if that alone constitutes "real" art.

On another note, please tell me you didn't mean to insinuate that Kirby/Miller are somehow just amatuers/beginners. I know you said they were "popular among amatuers and beginners" but it seemed as if that was so because of their stream-lined style. Comics in general owe a heaping helping of thanks to those two artists (especially Kirby) as their work has influenced so many other fantastic artists and Miller's storytelling has helped to raise comicbooks' legitimacy as a form of quality artistic expression. I agree with you that people need to find their own "style," there are way too many cookie-cutter artists working in the industry than there really should be. If anyone truly wants to take a journey into the "meaning" of art they should check out The Deadman Gallery. This site demonstrates quite well the power of art as individual expression, collecting many styles and mediums all depicting the same character, a *gasp* SUPERHERO!!!!!!.

My opinion is simply this...the only thing which separates a title like Oni's Whiteout from New X-Men is the misplaced idea that superheroes=children and a pretentious clinging to the bullshit idea of "high" art. A good comic is a good comic when the right talent is behind it, this applies to all comic genres. When it comes right down to it, reading Barry Ween instead of Daredevil won't save you from the ignorantly cold glances you'll get from those who just don't understand comics. You'll still be a comic geek in the eyes of those who are inclined to call you such. Reading Usagi Yojimbo doesn't place me on a higher plateau...it's just a damn good comicbook. A spade's a spade and great comics are great comics. Learn it, live it, love it!