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Two paths, a yellow wood: divergence!

Timothy Burke is first out of the gate with a reading of Reading Comics, and while I’m still frowning over my own opening lines I wanted to say: yes, the Comics Journal and Scott McCloud and, yes, even Douglas Wolk each in their own way suffers, to this degree, or that, from a need to redeem comics post-panic to mainstream or academic respectability—but damn do they ever go about it in very, terribly different ways. —Such that umbrelling them all beneath a single shibbolethic “Comics Journal Syndrome” left me quite dizzy.

  1. Timothy Burke    Jul 8, 05:33 AM    #

    Sure. It’s a personal label—it’s just that the first time I remember really seeing that project of “redeem the form, elevate comics” in a sharply drawn, desperately hungry way, was the Comics Journal.

    Wolk says he’s not so interested in definitions as McCloud is, but they’re both trying to work up a “total space” for comics criticism to take place in. The Comics Journal, on the other hand, strikes me as often being more frankly snobbish not just about comics but about criticism of comics. They published a pretty hostile review of Wolk, after all, partly on the grounds that he should have been more obescient to established comics criticism and claimed less for his own work.

  2. Kip Manley    Jul 9, 10:40 AM    #

    The Comics Journal frequently strikes me as a browbeaten junkyard dog, snarling to anyone who’ll listen that the grapes right there before you are nothing at all like a grapefruit; the review of Making Comics they published, by Berlatsky, was a staggeringly pathetic example of the idiom. —I get what you mean: they’re each busily applying their machetes to clear the undergrowth for new critical settlements etc. I just am so wrapped up in my own preconceptions of the players and the game that it took me a moment to figure out what the syndrome covered.

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