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Indian Comics:  Art vs. Propaganda

Continuing the debate begun in Indian Comics:  Art vs. Propaganda....

>> I've really come to a lot of conclusions about you that I'm somewhat disappointed with <<

Yeah, like your conclusion that PEACE PARTY is propaganda, not art...which shows you know nothing about either propaganda or art.

>> I appreciate your putting up with me for as long as you have, tho, Schmidty -- I know it must have been irritating <<

Do tell!

>> There's a /huge/ difference between you and I, Schmidty, and it's that human element I kept harping on you on. <<

I—the experienced writer dealing weekly with demanding clients and editors—am human and you—the sexless, barely-published pontificator in your ivory tower—aren't? Okay, I can live with that.

>> But the essential sense, of being a critic rather than an artist, is the fundamental difference between you and I. <<

I'm a critic and an artist. There's no reason the two should be incompatible. In the writing world, for instance, the leading literary authors often write essays criticizing some aspect of literature or culture.

But no need to get all high-falutin' about it. Comic book writers such as Peter David, Mark Evanier, and Tony Isabella have written critical columns for years. Again, there's no incompatibility between their critical and artistic writing. I suspect the two dovetail nicely.

SQUADRON SUPREME:  fanboy offering?
>> for what it's worth: _Squadron Supreme_ was a function of a) Marc Gruenwald's love of comics, particularly the _Justice League_, and b) his views on the superhero genre as a whole. <<

However you want to characterize it, Gruenwald didn't do it for fanboys. He aimed high while Larsen aims lows. My point, which you didn't address, stands unchallenged.

>> Your belief that any self-referential comic (SQUADRON SUPREME, Byrne's FF, KINGDOM COME, etc.) can't also be quality as I define it is stupid.

When did I say they /can't/? <<

Previously. But since you've apparently given up after losing so many debates, I won't waste my time answering this question. Let me know when you really want to discuss this rather than prove to everyone (i.e., "Cloffo") how smart you are.

>> Again, you're only seeing the surface elements of these works you love so much <<

Nope, you're only seeing the surface elements, if you think Erik Larsen is a better writer than Alan Moore.

>> as a result, have this skewered notion that people like Alan Moore sat down and said, "I'm going to write a more intelligent superhero!", when in fact, people like Alan Moore /were/ intelligent, and /when/ they wrote superheroes, the superheroes came out intelligent as a result. <<

I've already shown how this is a semantic difference. Besides, you don't know Alan Moore's thought processes any more than I do, so spare me your pretentious suppositions.

Which matters:  intent or execution?
>> /How/ he does them is irrelevant -- what's relevant is /why/, and whether you feel that when you read them. <<

Relevant to what? "Why" isn't relevant to how good the comics are. "How" most certainly is.

Again, you're confused between—how shall I put it?—intent and execution. I hate to break it to you, but you don't experience someone's intent when you see or hear a work of art. You experience his execution and imagine his intent. Whatever you experience, it comes from the execution—that is, **how well** the creator conveyed his theme or message.

>> I'm not here to debate your religious dogma, but to discuss the consensus

You mean "popular opinion"? <<

No, I mean what I said...the consensus critical opinion about what a quality comic is. The general readership doesn't decide that. The critics do.

You're the one who's arguing that popular opinion equals quality, whether you realize it or not. Why is Erik Larsen the best, according to you? Because he's doing the type of stories he did when he was a fan. What type of stories are those? Stories involving buff heroes, buxom babes, and big bad monsters (a "living brain," in a recent issue). Why is Larsen popular? Because he's doing the kind of stories the fanboys love.

The "best," according to your criteria, means the person who can do the juvenile pap favored by the unsophisticated masses. Who can pander to the lowest common denominator. Which means your idea of "best" is basically whatever's popular.

>> Schmidty, my argument is that you're seeing the "facts", but not the /essence/ behind those facts. <<

Your argument is wrong and asinine to boot.

Who writes minorities better?
>> And that's why it's likely that a Native American writer or artist could produce a better _Peace Party_. <<

If they're a better writer than I am, probably. If they aren't, who knows?

Let's reiterate that I have a board of Native advisors, and I consult with many others while formulating my stories. Meanwhile, you're partnering with one black guy in your wannabe attempts to write "black." By your own standard of "keeping it real," my work is far more real than yours is.

>> Becuz they wouldn't be setting out to elevate Native Americans out of some arbitrary sense of nobility <<

Again, your misreading of my intentions couldn't be more wrong if you tried. But try. I enjoy seeing how wrong you can be.

Luckily, several dozen fans, reviewers, educators, and retailers know the difference between propaganda and art, even if you don't. You can read their opinions on my site at http://www.bluecorncomics.com. Your opinion doesn't mean squat compared to theirs, except as a bug for me to step on.

>> they'd be doing so out of a sincere desire to express /their/ feelings of pride toward what it means to be /them/. <<

I don't have to express "my" feelings of pride toward my Indian characters any more than I would if I were writing a woman, black, or gay character. Similarly, Michelangelo didn't have to be Jewish or feel a "Jewish" pride toward King David to do a masterful statue of him. Once again, you're confusing someone's enthusiasm or emotion with their skill or talent.

>> But did he do that story just to make it as unlike the JLA as possible? Or did he do it because he wanted to express some feeling toward the JLA concept? <<

I don't know, but it's irrelevant when judging how good the results are.

Sanderson quote supports "Schmidty"
>> Yes, thank you, Peter. /Why/ did he do that, though? <<

No, you answer my question first. Was SQUADRON SUPREME a fanboy take on the JLA, as you implied earlier, or wasn't it? Peter Sanderson seems to think not.

To reiterate my point, here's the quote from Peter Sanderson's Marvel Universe: SQUADRON SUPREME took "the concept of super hero vigilantism to its limit." SQUADRON SUPREME wasn't a fanboy take on the JLA, it was an innovation that went where superhero comics never had, which is exactly what "to its limit" means. (Thank you, Peter.)

>> Why not recreate the League as they were? (Because Marc Gruenwald wanted to say something about the concept, not to mention the superhero concept as a whole, and that "something" came from him.) <<

Wow, thanks for that deep insight. I thought it came from a bubble gum wrapper. Imagine...a creator's work coming from him!

But now you're supporting my point, which makes me wonder about you all the more. If Gruenwald did SQUADRON SUPREME to express himself, he didn't do it to please the fanboys. Once again, you disagreed with me before and you agree with me now.

>> But I don't care what Gruenwald's motivations were (in this context).

And that, my dear Schmidty, is why you're totally wrong. <<

I'm glad you're not too pompously, arrogantly, self-righteously egotistical. Otherwise, you'd be hard to take.

Khan can't explain himself
Let's see if you can justify your opinion—oops:

>> So totally wrong-headed, I can't even /begin/ to explain it <<

Thank you. You've proved repeatedly that you can't begin to explain your positions. Now you even admit it.

When you learn to articulate yourself, maybe you'll stand a chance as a writer. Maybe you'll even catch up with me, although I'm about 300 published pieces of writing ahead of you. Let's hope that moment of articulation doesn't take too many decades to arrive.

>> And to illustrate what I mean, what's the point of pointing that [a faulty copyright statement] out? <<

Because it's there? Again, a question I won't bother to answer while you're ducking my messages.

>> You see what I mean by "stupid nerd" and "small person"? <<

Yes. That would be someone—like you—who feels obligated to quarrel and contest someone else—like me—when he writes that you never see fictional Western European countries. Talk about your petty squabbling over a trivia interpretation of a passing comment!

>> And you yourself don't like me, so you don't care whether or not I get sued, right? <<


>> Because you get some kind of juvenile satisfaction out of doing so. <<

Still wrong. Gosh, I'm sure glad you don't make stupid assumptions about people, as you accused me of doing. Otherwise, I'd think you'd just made a whopper of a stupid assumption.

Pot calls kettle black
>> Some "ha ha, you're wrong" bullshit. <<

Says the quibbler who spent hours looking in an encyclopedia of comics in the vain hope of finding a fictional WW II country that disproved a single throwaway line in an immaterial newsletter. What a pathetic joke.

>> One aspect of quality is internal consistency and "logic," regardless of race, creed, or color.

But Lansdale, a real Texan, knows, and /points out/ that [the accents in PREACHER are] wrong. <<

If you think I was talking about the inconsequential issue of accents, you don't know what I was talking about.

>> So what if the freaking lines are off here and there? <<

So what, indeed? When you see me equating accents with "logic," feel free to raise the issue. Until then, you're raising a straw-man argument precisely to say "Ha ha, you're wrong" at my expense. What a hypocrite you are.

More on politics in comics
Comic book stories offering political and social commentary

Related links
Khan reviews PEACE PARTY
PEACE PARTY #2's Author's Forum (extended version)
Defining great American literature
The political in literature

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