Redhead Fangirl

Monday, October 16

"A word to you feminist women"

Masters of American Comics: An interview

My take: I'd like to see the Newark Museum exhibit, the other part, and I'm glad I saw the part at the Jewish museum Bottom line, yes, I'd like to see at least one woman comic artist or writer represented. I would have liked to see Spiegelman's work (he pulled out of the exhibit).

From the Newsday review :
I marveled that no other art form in recent history has been so exclusionary, so limited to the concerns of one sex. It's not that women can't appreciate comic art; the masterpieces of the early 20th century address themselves to everyone.

But as the medium has became less popular and aspired to the status of fine art, it has focused on the gender that confers prestige, and has barely bothered with females. No wonder I knew so little about it.

R. Crumb's known hostilities toward women [touched on here with the 'A Word to you feminist women' page] is on display. His misogynism is blatant to me, and I have never enjoyed his art style. But his place for creating the auto-biographical and psychadelic pieces is why he is part of the exhibit.

Chris Ware is also critized for having anti-women sentiment in his work. This was new to me; his work is melacholy toward people in general (and the influence of his missing father). The painting of a young Jimmy Corrigan standing with a very, very distant Superman flying away touched my gut.
Even today, undercurrents of negativity toward women course through the depressive and quasi-autobiographical work of Chris Ware. When they appear at all, they are cold and/or sexually rapacious. Ware addresses his art to nerdy, solipsistic and vaguely pretentious men like himself

Will Eisner:
Exhibit included: First five pages of Contract with God. The Spirit, cover art, interior art, comic insert sections.
"Atmospheric backgrounds matched psychological state of the character"
"extremely complicated layouts and visual cues to suspense and mood"

Jack Kirby
1941 Captain America,
"grounding characters in real world and morally complex. Pacing and psychology"
Art: Thor, Boy Commandos, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer

Harvey Kurtzman
"Parodies and pop comics, funny, innovative, detailed"
Help! magazine, Mad Comics, Playboy

R. Crumb
"underground, self-exploration, autobiographical and their own mental state"
"A word to you feminist women" 1971 ends with 'listen you dumb ass broads, I'll fuckin' draw what I want'.

Gary Panter
Our library owns Jimbo in Purgatory. Many examples of his dark and exaggerated spastic work at the exhibit. Again, not my favorite style.

Chris Ware
Draw Cartoons- Ruin your life!
Normal people do not read comic books.
Amazing to look at the detail on the Acme Novelty panels. A pop-up paper version of the Jimmy Corrigan houses. Books and figures from Jimmy Corrigan.
"Ware's abstractions, leaps of logical continuity. Jimmy is Ware's story, but uses common imagery- abandoned by father and met him briefly later in life- disconnection."

There was a room called Superheroes, with some original Action Comics! and more on the jewish immigrant influence on the start of comics. We lost a lot of artists in the 1990s from the early days of comics. Jerry Siegel's typewriter and some cover art. Captain America art with notes "Shield will now be round". Still, a very small sample of the possibilities.


At 1:20 AM, Blogger Ragnell said...

Have you read about She Draws Comics yet? It's a show that went into the female masters of American comics. I think it may have been set up specifically as a response to that show.

I wasn't near any city where I could go see it though. :(

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Crumb - genius quote.
Ware - never noticed the sexism, probably too obscured by the general misanthropy.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger RAB said...

When I read Chris Ware's Building Stories in the New York Times I saw a lot of sympathetic and well-rounded female characters, not one of which struck me as "cold and/or sexually rapacious." I don't think there's an anti-woman sentiment in his work at all. You and Mark are right that his work has a lot to do with alienation from other people...and if half of those people are women, the lead character will not view them any more sympathetically than he does the men. And a lot of his work is deeply subjective, showing us things as perceived by the main character(s) rather than objectively -- that's why "Building Stories" may be of particular interest, because it does have more of that detached aloof perspective. But a non-creator assuming that a cartoonist only uses his or her characters as a mouthpiece for his or her own views is making a total beginner's mistake.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger redlib said...

I think I heard She Draws Comics was at Mocca in NY, but didn't see it.

Rab and Mark- alienation, disconnection, loneliness, these I see in Ware's work. Nice comments.


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