Oh, for Christ’s sake let’s not keep going on and on and ignorantly ON about it…!
You want a comics canon. Fine.
But to get one that’s worth its salt, you have to have a comics critics canon first. Otherwise who are you going to know who to trust?
Movies have a critics canon, born out of print media — newspapers, that is.
But they only built on the back of the literary critics canon.
So…why can’t comics go the same way?
Two reasons: one, we’re a disrespected literature as far as being a worldwide literature goes. We are worldwide…but not every continent in the world gives our medium its due.
Two: North America is one of those continents. Big market! Small effort. Honestly, all we ever had for real in this sense was The Comics Journal…and it’s not been the same for a few years, because we starved it out.
And now it’s the Internet. The “comics blogosphere”. That’s where the criticism gets done.
The Internet is worldwide, right? So, big market. But maybe we could get big effort too!
And therefore I propose making just such an effort. So HEAR YE, HEAR YE, all readers of this blog!!!
There are a lot of know-nothings out there. A lot of guys named Plok.
That you have to wade through, to get to the people who know what they’re talking about.
And the Internet is not set up for people to get to the good stuff right away. The Internet is set up to be a decentralized system, the Internet is set up to be a learning curve: the more you fuck around with it, the better are your chances of getting good information! But good information’s not guaranteed, even so. You could fuck around for a million years, and still miss it.
And oh, Bloggers…let’s fix that problem. I mean come on.
Let’s give back. Let’s give a helping hand, up into the saddle. I mean for God’s sake what does it cost us.
Forget a comics canon. Let’s make a CRITICAL canon of comics. Let’s let everybody know about THAT!!!
And so, my beloved readers (if you even exist, and aren’t just phantasmal voices my mind creates to keep me from going MAD MAD MAD), why don’t you take a moment, think it over, and weigh in. Let’s start the Critical Canon right here, and right now. Let’s tell everybody.
Here’s a provisional list I made up, of people who are worth listening to. You tell me if I’m right or wrong, who I’ve missed, what I’ve been too careful about, or what I haven’t been careful enough about.
But anyway, here are the people I think are on the ball, the people I not only trust about comics, but trust to open my eyes.
Alex Cox (that is the name of Rocketship Alex the Green Lantern Lover, isn’t it?)
They are not all in order.
But neither does a list of these sharp-tongued people fully comprise a list of all the people who ought to be counted as GOOD COMICS CRITICS. For example if I had more time and could stay awake longer, I might mention Bully, Chris Sims, and the late lamented Dave Campbell — make no mistake, these fellows are comics critics too, and of no mean ability! But they don’t exactly fit in with Gary Groth, or even Abhay or Scipio.
I mean, I am not saying “exclude somebody” to you guys.
I am not saying “fun game” either.
I am saying…pass on what you know, eh?
I mean imagine the poor little kid who goes online and wants to find us…and all he can find is Yahoo. I mean we’ve all been this kid. So let’s give him a little more help than THAT, for Christ’s sake!
Every one of these people we name, I’m going to email and ask, “who’s YOUR guy, when it comes to criticism?”
I mean maybe I’m crazy. Maybe it’s a stupid idea.
Well, we’ll soon find out.
But if that new kid’s got an analytical bent, I’d like him to find decent analysis, not fucking bullshit. If he likes art — man, let’s point him to the really good stuff! Come on, you guys…I mean if the Internet speaks against it, it’ll all sink unloved into the sand anyway. If people don’t want it, it’ll evaporate. But let’s say we gave this kid a choice at some point, anyway. What about that Toth Black Canary comic? If the kid is an artist at sixteen, do we really want him to have to wait ’til he’s thirty-eight to see it?
Lots of people link. We could make a list of links, too.
We could do lots of things.
We could make ourselves easier to find.
This doesn’t have to be a mangrove swamp.
Okay, I’ve tried to persuade long enough. For those I did persuade, give me your “smart people links”.
Next week, we’ll do “art people links”.
The week after that, we’ll do “link people links”.
And so on and so on, until we’ve covered the landscape.
“Smart people links” discussion ends not this Friday, but next Friday.
I hope you will all participate.