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#505326 - 12/20/02 08:35 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
'You prove my point. Sad, but not unforeseen.'

Not hardly. The issue is, though, that you yourself haven't proven your point. You trot out a bunch of old, unsubstantiated charges and gross distortions, and then make snarky remarks at anyone who points out how irrational you're being.

If you're too lazy to quote from a current (like, say, the last FIVE YEARS) editorial from Groth, and demonstrate your assertion that he thinks the 'mainstream' is 'evil,' then why should we take you seriously?

And considering Groth's longtime friendship with Gil Kane and numerous other comics professionals, his efforts on behalf of Jack Kirby vs. Marvel Comics, and TCJ's undisputed accuracy in covering publishing disputes (for what, 20 years now?), maybe his opinion about the comics industry is better informed and has more depth than your own.

At least when he makes a charge, he backs it up, rather than dancing away from it like you do.
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#505327 - 12/20/02 09:06 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
NicholasWyche Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/02
Posts: 405
Loc: Memphis, TN, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Zabel:

If you're too lazy to quote from a current (like, say, the last FIVE YEARS) editorial from Groth, and demonstrate your assertion that he thinks the 'mainstream' is 'evil,' then why should we take you seriously?

And considering Groth's longtime friendship with Gil Kane and numerous other comics professionals, his efforts on behalf of Jack Kirby vs. Marvel Comics, and TCJ's undisputed accuracy in covering publishing disputes (for what, 20 years now?), maybe his opinion about the comics industry is better informed and has more depth than your own.

At least when he makes a charge, he backs it up, rather than dancing away from it like you do.


Joe,
You pretty much summed up why Hawes and his supporters can't be taken seriously in their criticisms of non-mainstream comics and their fans/publishers. The whine of "Why can't we all get along?" really simply boils down to "Why can't we be taken as seriously as these guys?"
The mainstream-only fans seem to continue to operate with an extreme insecurity and consistenly go on the attack against anything different. The "alternative" or "indy" crowd has never, in my expereince, expressed anything stronger than indifference to mainstream comics. It's the marketing practices of mainstream comics companies and the fact that superhero comics seem to define the comic book artform in the public eye that they rail about.
Calm down boys (since there never seems to be girls in this crowd) no one wants to take your spandex away from you. We're only fighting for an even playing field.

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#505328 - 12/20/02 09:09 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
NicholasWyche Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/02
Posts: 405
Loc: Memphis, TN, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by MBunge:


This is something that gets repeated often, but it's really not true. Most of the art, literature and music that are considered "masterpieces" today recieved a great deal of popular acclaim in the past, even if it wasn't immediate.

The idea that "popular=crap" and "unheralded=good" is a very flawed, modern idea. Traditionally, great art has always been expected to have mass appeal. Maybe everyone doesn't appreciate the work on the same level, but the "past masters" would have laughed at the idea that popular approval is impossible for great work to achieve.

A lot of mainstream entertainment is, of course, crap. But the idea that the crap quotient is any less in the so-called "alternative" or "fringe" media, is silly.

Mike


Not only is this statement simply ludicrous on the sheer surface, it also implies an insanely bad knowledge of the history of the arts.
True quality is almost NEVER recognized by the mainstream until years after it's gone. If something of quality achieves mainstream acceptacnce it's almost always very rare and it is still only an incredibly small percentage of any media being produced.
This holds true for comics, books, movies, tv, and music. Arguing that it doesn't merely indicates the lack of recognition of quality on the part of the individual doing the arguing.

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#505329 - 12/20/02 09:19 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
NicholasWyche Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/02
Posts: 405
Loc: Memphis, TN, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Matt Hawes:
The ultimate expression of this, the most disturbing example of "Us Vs. Them" seems to be the comments that Gary Groth said about Carol Kalish.

Peter David writes about it on his site, which you can read about at the link below:

blah, blah, blah

I want to know why it is considered okay to knock a dead woman because she worked for a publisher of mainstream comics.


Matt,
If you had bothered to actually read the column, you would note that Groth never ONCE attacked Carol Kalish as an individual. He was actually complimentary of her (in his own loveable way). What the editorial actually attacked was the sickly effusive, and disingenuous, obituaries/memorials that were being published in CBG at the time.
Groth took issue that Kalish's colleagues praised her ethics and high standards which is completely subjective and runs at odds with the fact that she was the shill for a corporation that was at that time and had been for decades raping it's creative people financially. She was in the business of defending the company that was attempting to withhold art and monies from Jack Kirby (the man without whom there would be NO Marvel Comics today). She was in the business of foisting unbelievable crappy product on a buying populace and convincing them it was gold.
Groth acknowledged her as a personally fine individual, but took umbrage (as was absolutely correct, IMO) with the characterization of her as this high and lofty persona within the comics industry.
When Groth's editorial painted an honest picture of Kalish as a business woman, Peter David got his knickers in a twist that they've never seemed to recover from as far as Groth is concerned. I guess that's easy to see since David worked for Kalish in the Marketing Dept. and in many ways she was a mentor to him. But, a journalist's job (and let's remember, Groth was acting in his role as a JOURNALIST) is not to engage in the emotional, "feel-good", crying that was going on then. Groth was honest, he was accurate, and he hasn'g (nor should he) apologized for it.
Get the facts before going off.

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#505330 - 12/20/02 09:22 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
NicholasWyche Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/02
Posts: 405
Loc: Memphis, TN, USA
mistaken double-post.

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#505331 - 12/20/02 09:25 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
Shed Wiggins Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 609
Loc: CT
Like it or not in all crowds of people there are going to be those who get a kick out of feeling superior to others because they think their taste is better than the unwashed masses. Like being mainstream is evil. It's a pretty pathetic and childish notion that everything you don't like somehow makes it bad for others to like. It almost makes me wonder how people feel about broader issues, like race and religious tolerance.
That sounds hyperbolic but if you think about it it is not so much of a stretch.

If you don't like something, don't buy it and shut up.
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"Bears are mean, but frogs are cool. I never saw a frog coming at me and had to play dead."

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#505332 - 12/20/02 11:30 PM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
Lord Julius Offline
Member

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 523
Loc: St. Louis, Mo.
Quote:
Originally posted by NicholasWyche:

Not only is this statement simply ludicrous on the sheer surface, it also implies an insanely bad knowledge of the history of the arts.


No, your statement:

Quote:

True quality is almost NEVER recognized by the mainstream until years after it's gone.


shows "an insanely bad knowledge of the history of the arts. Chaucer was popular as soon as there were printing presses to make the word "popular" a meaningful word applied to literature. In Elizabethan times, Shakespeare was tremendously popular, his early contemporary Kit Marlowe and his late contemporary Ben Jonson slightly less so, and who do we read today? Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson. Miguel de Cervantes was hugely popular, and is today to the Spanish tongue what Shakespeare is to the English.

Even Charles Dickens, who came along after the relatively new notion that being successful is bad, became tremendously popular and is still read today both in college courses and by people who just want to read a good story.

Or take Opera, particularly in Italy, where the great composers like Verdi were tremendously popular with the common people.

The whole notion of "true" poets and artists starving in garrets because the lumpen proletariat is too dumb to appreciate them is a product of the Romantic Movement, the dark side of that movement I might add (the lighter side caused Romantics to publicly encourage and enthusiastically embrace democracy, while the darker side revealed the elitist snobs most of them were inside).

Really, aside from Van Gogh and Emily Dickinson, even in the last 200 years while this spurious notion has taken root it's hard to find a truly great artist in any medium who has been a complete failure commercially.

In comics, "Maus" has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" was at its height the best-selling comic book DC was publishing, the Hernadez Brothers have made enough money to live comfortably, though not enough to spend $3 million on baseballs.

It's true that if you set out with the intention of maximizing the profit potential of your work, whether it's a movie or a comic or a book or a painting, you're likely to end up making compromises that will not allow you to achieve what you might have if you stay true to your vision. But it's also true that many would-be artist's vision is so idiosyncratic and, frankly, off-kilter that the reason they are commercial failures is the same reason they are artistic failures: there work doesn't touch something deep inside anyone but themselves.

Quote:

If something of quality achieves mainstream acceptacnce it's almost always very rare and it is still only an incredibly small percentage of any media being produced.
This holds true for comics, books, movies, tv, and music. Arguing that it doesn't merely indicates the lack of recognition of quality on the part of the individual doing the arguing.


This is going to surprise you, but I don't necessarily disagree with this. It's the historical "it has always been this way" that you're wrong about. The reason what you say is mostly true is that we live in a culture where ALL the arts are dominated by commerce. In the early days of cinema, elitist art critics used to look down on film because it was a collaborative medium, while a great work of art needs to be the statement of a single artist. But that is not only not necessarily true, the fact is that no artist ever works in isolation. An artist is always part of a collaborative effort. In the so-called "fine arts," the artist works with an agent and with gallery owners and with patrons -- and when patrons start buying the paintings he does in this style and no one wants any painted in that style, guess which style the artist starts to favor? And this is NOT a bad thing, necessarily -- it could be simply that the patrons are RIGHT, and that the favored style is, in fact, BETTER.

To some extent, this has always been true, and we failed to realize it, but it is certainly far MORE true now, in our commercialized culture where everything is translated into transactions involving money, and in a medium like film hundreds of careers and millions of dollars can be riding on the success or failure of a single piece.

And so, yes, given those pressures, given the incessant drive to pablumize and homogenize the work to keep it from offending anyone because that might damage its profit potential, it has become very difficult for works in some media -- particularly film and mainstream comics, I think -- to be tremendously popular and at the same time to have real artistic value.

But not impossible. Again, I mention Gaiman. And "The Godfather." Moreover, while "Titanic" and "Die Hard" may be commercial crap, they're very well made commercial crap, incorporating the lessons established by more ambitious and exploratory filmmakers into an entertainment that doesn't cheat the audience, and is quite worth the time and money spent on it, for all but the jaded elitists who can't see the value in entertainment, but must always have High Art.

True story. When "Rocky" first came out, playing in only a few cities as an almost underground film, it got rave reviews as a return to the great moviemaking of yesteryear, and Roger Ebert, among others, compared Stallone to Marlon Brando.

Then it started picking up cities and audiences and money. Within a month or two (movies weren't released all over the country on 3,000 screens back then -- only the biggest studio blockbusters had blanket releases, and then only on a few hundred screens, the rest took their time meandering around the country), the film would be arriving as a known quantity, and that known quantity was a Big Hit.

And suddenly the rave reviews dried up. All the critics in the NEW cities saw it as a lame, commercial cliche-ridden collection of hokey scenes from lots of older, better movies.

Now, whether the first critics were right and the second batch wrong or vice-versa isn't the point. The point is that the critics' perceptions of the movie were colored by their perception of its place in the commercial pecking order. Those who saw it as a little independent film, for the most part, loved it. Those who saw it as a commercial blockbuster, for the most part, either yawned and said it wasn't bad or detested it. But they were watching the same film.

I think too often the alternative comics folks, particularly those at TCJ, come off looking and sounding like the second batch of Rocky critics, knee-jerkily pooh-poohing anything "mainstream" just because "if it's commercial, it can't be any good."

And that statement, in my opinion, is the one that is simply ludicrous on the sheer surface.
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Lord Julius
Grandlord of Palnu
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend;
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

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#505333 - 12/21/02 12:56 AM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
kingtut Offline
Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 1349
Loc: CS, CO
Re: Great artists not being recognized

I dont see why anybody would say its one way or another. Some great artists are embraced by the mainstream in their lifetime, some arent. Van Gogh was never fully appreciated in his life, Picasso was. So what. Its dependent on the individual cases.
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#505334 - 12/21/02 01:21 AM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
Matt Hawes Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 1965
Loc: Evansville, IN U.S.A.
Quote:
Originally posted by NicholasWyche:


...The whine of "Why can't we all get along?" really simply boils down to "Why can't we be taken as seriously as these guys?" ...


Actually, no. It's funny to see you pull that one because, in fact, you people take yourself all too seriously.

Don't cry, guys. One can be critical of your leader. Your world can still go on.

Just keep mumbling to yourselves, "We still count... Please... notice us..."

Poor guys. Can't even get enough people to post over on "The Comics Journal" boards.
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"Mainstream" Matthew Hawes

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#505335 - 12/21/02 02:21 AM Re: Why Gary Gripes! Why is mainstream evil in and of itself?
Doctor Awesome Offline
Member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 842
Loc: Citadel of Cool
Y'know what's funny?

When people apologize for double posts that were never there in the first place.

That's funny.
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