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#563765 - 01/03/10 11:14 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Ted Kilvington]
IvanJim Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/01
Posts: 2865
Loc: Los Angeles
I get your point, and you're probably not wrong that it's an unreasonable expectation to place on all comic book creators.

Still, it's nice that there's someone out there crusading to have comics recognized as being something more than fluff, and to have that person working towards that end for over 30 years.

It's an extremely good thing that when the fight for creator's rights, and for ownership of the physical art that those creators made came to a head, that guy helped lead the charge with his words, his time and his wallet as well.

It's also a positive that the same guy put his money where his mouth is and became a comic book publisher in large part to get Los Bros Hernandez into print.

It's also a good thing that the same guy had shown enough reverence for the comic strip as art that he was able to convince first Charles Schulz, and then his widow Jean, that Fantagraphics could and should publish the entire complete and unabridged Peanuts canon, and not edit out the strips that Schulz was leaning towards not including.

Hell, anyone who doesn't see multiple missteps on the part of Groth as an individual or as a publisher over the years just isn't looking, and I think that's something all reasonable folk can agree on (including Groth himself), but in the final balance I think that Groth has had an incredibly positive effect on the medium as a whole. I don't think that it's overstating to make the claim that Independent Comics wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as they've been over the years if he hadn't stuck his nose into the process.

So pick on the rapidly aging wunderkind if you like (he's about to turn 56), and he certainly deserves a measure of criticism, but he's an honest curmudgeon who has a hell of a lot of passion for the art form that we all indulge in in some form or another.

Personally I have a hell of a lot of respect for the guy.


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#563766 - 01/03/10 11:29 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: IvanJim]
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
What's humorous about Superman as a brandname being taken by some as a symbol of America? I'm not seeing the humor that Groth is supposed to be lacking by critiquing others' view of the sign. It seems just as humorless to treat Supes as a positive symbol of America. That is, humor isn't involved, so of course the essay wasn't a barrel of laughs. Scientists, philosophers, football players, people who called Groth a humorless asshole in an unfunny way -- what a bunch of humorless assholes. Does Lawson make all his reporting funny?
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#563776 - 01/04/10 12:00 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Charles Reece]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
I've said before, Groth deserves credit for thinking seriously about comics, for offering serious criticism and for publishing seriously good comics, like LOVE & ROCKETS.

But there's serious and there's vain, self-absorbed arrogance.

Groth's attitude is such that he can state something I entirely agree with, and yet he still sounds like an asshole.

Rather than disappear down a semantic rabbit-hole with Charles -- I'm not one of the Comicon posters who enjoys that trip -- I'll revise my statement and say that Groth, when I've read him over the years, and the one time I met him, exhibited little to no humor or charm or much sense of joy. Perhaps he has a terrific sense of humor and I've simply missed it, and certainly, an essay about Superman is no place to show humor, harumph harumph.

You don't have to like or respect DC Comics Inc. or Time Warner (generally, I don't) or read Superman comics anymore (I don't) to view Superman as a wonderful childhood hero enjoyed by every kid who ever tied a towel around his neck and jumped off a stair to fly, embodying whatever heroic virtues that kid chooses.

Groth hates DC Comics Inc., he hates the superhero genre, and lacking the empathy or imagination to see outside himself, he dismisses Superman as nothing but Coca-Cola in blue tights. Even worse, he fumes, that friggin' Superman makes it impossible for him to get "serious people" to stop sniggering at his imported French graphic novels about circus clowns weeping, because they say "comics is comics."

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#563777 - 01/04/10 12:04 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Charles Reece]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
Does Lawson make all his reporting funny?


No, but I make almost all of it rhyme, which is no easy trick.

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#563778 - 01/04/10 12:15 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Lawson]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Gone, gone the form of man,
Rise the demon Lawson!

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#563779 - 01/04/10 12:18 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Joe Lee]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
EXTRA! EXTRA!

There's been a murder,
a woman was killed,
found in a bathtub,
partially filled.

A pair of policemen
went into the house
and thoroughly questioned
the poor woman's spouse.

He'd just come home
from working all night
and found her like that,
a terrible sight.

The younger policeman
looked on with dismay.
He'd never forget
that terrible day.

He saw the young woman
from behind the door
and empty milk cartons
all over the floor,

scattered strawberries,
slices of fruit,
and spoonfuls of sugar
and honey to boot.

"Who could have done
this terrible thing?"
His voice had a horrified,
pitiful ring.

"Just look at the clues,"
replied Sargeant Miller.
"It looks like the work
of a cereal killer."

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#563780 - 01/04/10 12:29 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Lawson]
IvanJim Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/01
Posts: 2865
Loc: Los Angeles
OUCH!!!!!

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#563781 - 01/04/10 12:39 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Lawson]
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Because he, what, didn't laugh at one of your jokes, you've got him psychologically pegged? But, putting that aside, it seems in a culture that treats such symbols in a very serious way -- if commerce is serious -- it's worthwhile to have people questioning said treatment. Is it a problem that one of the best ways to have a hit song is to be featured in an ad? I'd say yes. I do agree that our contemporary existence is funny, though. Perhaps if Groth and his kind took superhero assraping more seriously, you'd find the humor, too.
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#563782 - 01/04/10 12:40 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Lawson]
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Quote:
EXTRA! EXTRA!

That just might save the papers.
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#563783 - 01/04/10 02:20 PM Re: Superman as American Icon by Gary Groth [Re: Charles Reece]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
Because he, what, didn't laugh at one of your jokes, you've got him psychologically pegged? But, putting that aside, it seems in a culture that treats such symbols in a very serious way -- if commerce is serious -- it's worthwhile to have people questioning said treatment.


I don't think I offered Groth a joke; he just seemed pissy the whole (brief) time we interacted at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Md., back in 2006. He kept complaining about everything. And we were in his element! The Fantagraphics booth was the biggest draw at the show.

No, if Groth had refused to laugh at one of my jokes, I just would have set him on fire. I take a humorless view of people who fail to appreciate my humor.

As for serious critiques of commerce and yadda yadda, yeah, absolutely, except I dunno, Charles, this is Superman we're talking about here, not the future of democracy. I totally get that Siegel and Shuster got screwed and Time Warner uses the character to sell toys and peanut butter and all that. But Superman is like other ticky-tacky symbols of commerce, like Santa Claus, in that you can sit around and complain about him in dire tones and find no joy in him whatsoever because The Suits got rich off him, or you can realize that the kids still love him and see him as something cool beyond what the corporations control.

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