Thursday, May 17, 2007

Best news of the week

-Almost-forgot-to-mention-it-late-breaking addition: In the worst blogging-related news of the week, Jeff Lester is leaving the Savage Critic. He's a big part of what makes it one of my five favorite comics-related blogs, and I'm very sad to see him leave. Here's hoping that he behaves predictably and returns to blogging very, very soon.

-I've been thinking a bit more about the Comic Foundry ordeal, specifically about the kind of people who would likely read the magazine in its printed form. It dawns on me: they're going to be the sort of people who read, and in all likelihood write, blogs. The current comics blogosphere is really the closest thing to the fabled middle path between Wizard and The Comics Journal. In fact, I would say that blogs are able to cover that ground far better than a single magazine ever could. I mean, it's an awfully big patch of real estate lying between Wizard and TCJ, and there's a pretty wide range of blogs covering it. And blogs have significant advantages over any magazine--price, immediacy, and interactivity being the biggest. This is not to say that Comic Foundry could not possibly succeed, but it would have to be a terrific product with a very distinctive and attractive voice and look (the latter supposedly being a given, due to Tim Leong's background in the magazine industry). Speaking as someone who doesn't know Mr. Leong and never read the online version of Comic Foundry (and thus probably closer to the demographic CF would have to attract to be a viable operation), I would have to be very, very impressed with the print version to feel the need to buy it on a regular basis.

-Oh thank goodness, ADD is still out there, and he's hinting that he might return to writing about comics (and, if we're lucky, cheering the industry onward to its inevitable oblivion). I was saddened by this, however:

"And I don't bother to read the shitty or otherwise aggravating blogs anymore, because really, I'm 41 years old and who has the time to spare for that sort of obnoxiousness?"

I'd almost think his pronouncement might include this blog, which I'm fairly sure has aggravated a few people before (but which, I assure you all, has probably never come into contact with any fecal material). But then I think, if he knows enough about this blog to be aggravated by it, then he must be reading it. But if this blog was, in fact, aggravating to him, he wouldn't be reading it. Ergo, Dick Hates Your Blog must not be an "aggravating blog" in ADD's opinion. In any event, Mr. Alan David Doane, I assure you that I have more to offer than "obnoxiousness," and you might find the comments section to be an appropriate venue for the unique blend of earnest promotion of good comics and occasional bouts of baffling rancor that you bring to the blogalaxy. In other words, welcome back.

-Political posturing dept: I saw this via Johanna Draper Carlson: a NYT article about the new prequel to Gone With the Wind, which will bear the repugnant title Rhett Butler's People. What an awful, awful name--"my people" was a euphemism for "my slaves" among the aristocracy of the Old South. I assume the writer (a "Civil War novelist" who resembles a slightly less dyspeptic Wilford Brimley) is familiar with this term, and he probably means it as some sort of clever play on words. But then I read this about the terms specified to the writer originally contracted to produce the sequel:

"Ms. Tennant’s contract specified that she retain Ms. Mitchell’s tone, vision and characters. It also forbade Ms. Tennant from including 'acts or references to incest, miscegenation, or sex between two people of the same sex.'”*

Man, who wants to read a novel about the Old South without all that baroque stuff? I don't know about homosexual or incestuous relationships being any more common in the antebellum South than the North, but miscegenation was part of everyday life. It was absolutely crucial to the gender dynamics of the period (and it still is in the modern South, thankfully to a much lesser extent). I mean, of course I realize this will be a fantasy version of the antebellum South, but it's kind of like having a fantasy version of Nazi Germany called Hermann Goering's People.

Anyway, it reminds me of my desire to pioneer The Southern as a new genre of fiction. Just as the Western's central theme of civilization vs. savagery is expressed in a multitude of forms (white man vs. Indian, lawman vs. ruffian, settler vs. frontier), I figure the Southern will revolve around the theme of "eductation," such as the white man's attempt to educate "his people" (Blacks, women, misguided Carpetbaggers) as to the virtues of hard work, Christianity, obedience, and communal violence. Anyone interested in collaborating on an epic, 22-volume series of graphic novels in this new genre should contact me ASAP.

*This may or may not have applied to the briefly-considered Pat Conroy, who the Margaret Mitchell estate lawyers apparently deemed too much of "an artist" to be interfered with. Conroy disputes this, and apparently planned to write a novel chock full of miscegenation, homosexuality, and icon murder. BTW, if any of you need a Pat Conroy autograph, I know a guy who can hook you up (which is to say, I'm related to a guy who works in a bookstore where he frequently appears for signings).


Matt Brady said...

Dick, have you seen the movie CSA: The Confederate States of America? I just watched it and found it rather interesting. If you don't know, it's a faux-documentary about an alternate history in which the South won the Civil War and took over the country, with slavery still legal in the present. It's pretty crazy. If you haven't seen it, I think you should check it out.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I actually saw the review on your blog and told my wife about it. It sounds like there are a a ton of historical implausibilities (there's no way slavery would exist even into the 20th century, just due to economic factors), but we're interested in seeing it. We'll probably put it on our queue whenever we get back on Netflix (or Blockbuster, since it has more Ranma 1/2).

Matt Brady said...

Cool. Your bit about the Southern as a genre made me think of it, and it's been on my mind since I saw it. Plus, I was hoping I could get on your "history buddies" list.