Newspaper strips set back the comics industry/medium 50 years: Because they were so much more prestigous and lucrative than comic books, the most talented cartoonists gravitated towards newspapers rather than comic books. Newspaper strips are an excellent format with many advantages, but there are limits to what one can achieve in three or four panels. Furthermore, newspapers made comics a wildly popular form of art in the United States, but also conditioned the public to think of comics as disposable. Comics as a medium and an industry would have been better off if left to struggle in the comic book format. Such a Darwinian landscape would have forced cartoonists to produce more ambitious material sooner.
Comics shops should quit selling toys, models, sculptures, and other three dimensional merchandise: Nothing makes the comics industry look dumber than the tawdry, tacky display of "action figures," figurines, collectible busts, and the like which greet any unsuspecting customer unlucky enough to walk into the average comics shop. All the New York Times profiles in the world cannot undo the harm embodied by a small statue of Black Canary sculpted by someone using back issues of Penthouse as his* primary reference. If Diamond would simply stop carrying these inimical baubles, they would surely disappear from the shelves of stores owned by man-children too lazy or incompetent to order from other sources. In fact, Diamond should mandate that any store with a Diamond account be forced to relocate this worthless junk to a separate section cordoned off by a black curtain, so as to protect the sensibilities of any fully functional adults who may have wandered into the store by accident.
Every snooty "art comix" critic should be forced to review a stack of superhero comics every year to prove that they really like comics: Does anyone really like impenetrable flummery like Acme Novelty Library or EC Segar's Popeye? I don't, and I don't know anyone who does. And yet we're besieged by blogs and websites operated by quasi-literate hipsters who claim to like grim, gloomy, overly introspective junk like Speak of the Devil (which is in black and white, for Pete's sake!). I say it's time that we force these self-righteous eggheads to declare once and for all whether or not they're real comics fans. I suggest that a specially selected cadre of influential comics fans should select 10-12 of the best comics of the year. And by comics, I mean comic books--no graphic novels or trade paperbacks, thank you. (Don't worry--it will be a pretty diverse array, running the gamut from Action Comics to Green Lantern Corps.) These should be sent to every single effete "sequential art" fan of any renown. Even degraded aesthetes such as they should be able to find at least one comic they like in the stack. If not, we'll have no choice but to consider them Enemies of Comics who only like things that are cool at the moment. And we all know that Acme Novelty Library is the pet rock of the 21st century.
There. Now let's see how long it takes for other blogs to pick up on these vital opinions. This will be reflected in your yearly performance analysis**, so take care.
* I'd say "his or her," but let's be realistic here.
** Not really. Your yearly performance analysis will be determined by how many times you linked to this blog, with extra credit for using words like "insightful," "uncanny," or "uncannily insightful" in doing so.
-Okay, this is a Vertigo title I might actually buy, based on concept alone. Can't say that very often.
-Anyone else watching this Rise of the Video Game thing on Discovery? I am, even though every episode annoys the hell out of me. It's the worst kind of pop history, where facile comparisons to momentous historical events (eg, the removal of the Berlin Wall, referenced in nearly every episode to explain any number of developments) are favored over actual research and analysis. It's frustrating to hear the narrator suggest that the popularity of the original Sim City was a product of demographic changes, only to have that analysis abandoned in favor of more footage of the Berlin Wall being torn down. It's doubly frustrating to note how many of the talking heads are people who have real, useful information to share, but aren't providing it. Not sure if that's (a) aggressive editing in support of the stupid meta-narrative, (b) the interviewer asking questions that would provoke responses which fit into the stupid meta-narrative, or (c) the interviewees taking advantage of the stupid meta-narrative to stroke their own egos.
Also annoying is the way the show leaps around in time. I'm pretty sure that Black & White had little to nothing to do with the fall of the Berlin Wall, but you wouldn't know that from watching this thing. The section on Sega from the second episode also bugged me; one would assume that Sega only made plush toys before it launched the Master System, or that the company was completely unknown in America before the Genesis. And you'd also get the idea that Sega's decision to market itself as a more mature/adult alternative to Nintendo led seamlessly to Grand Theft Auto 3.
And yet I keep watching, because I've become the kind of person who enjoys yelling at the television. And I'll probably watch VH1's documentary on the history of rock and roll, even though I'm already annoyed by its ads. I mean really--the "art rock" episode looks like it will cover glam rock and prog rock. I'm guessing that Roxy Music will provide the tenuous link that will allow the producers to claim these are basically two halves of the same movement. Also, I really don't have the patience to sit through an episode entitled "British Indie Rock." But that's the last (or next-to-last) episode of the series, and I'll probably have quit watching it by then.
Yelling at the television--evidence that I'm still young/dumb enough to care about this kind of ultimately meaningless shit, or evidence that I'm becoming an old crank who's forgotten that the television is a unidirectional communication device?