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Monday, July 04, 2005
Thinking Out Loud
Jog excerpts a recent message from Warren Ellis on Bad Signal, mostly focusing on why he doesn't read comics sites. It's the sort of dismissive, knee-jerk reaction that's been gone over many times already (i.e. "They're all bad because they have the nerve to criticize comics creators"), and I say that as someone who actually likes Ellis' work and finds that he almost always has something intelligent and worthwhile to say. But that's not what I want to talk about, because frankly the last thing I want to see is another round of "creator trashes on-line comics scene, on-line comics scene responds, creator's point is proven by the response."
No, what I want to comment on is something that Jog alludes to that has me wondering: why is so much of the critical discourse on comics focused on formalist and structuralist concerns, and why do people seem to think we need more of that? It's almost as if no one bothered to read past that chapter in Eagleton's Literary Theory. Frankly, the last thing I want to see more of is over-intellectual twenty-somethings talking about nine-panel grids, story structure, and theme. That's what The Comics Journal is for, and it already does that job quite well. Why is that whenever I do see comics critiques go beyond the limits of structuralist analytical techniques it's Dave Fiore doing more neo-Marxist/post-Enlightenment historicist criticism or Rose focusing on gender and race issues? Why has no one thought to do an analysis of Black Panther stories based on the works of Franz Fanon? Why has no one done a semiotics based reading of JLA? Why has no one thought to ask what Foucault would have thought of Batman Begins?