Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Friday, June 03, 2005

Borrowing from Evan “The Dork” Dorkin

On Evan Dorkin's webpage, I ran across a wee meme he'd created. And I dug it.

So here's my take on the meme. Please respond to my take or replicate the meme as you folks see fit.

1. Favorite comic book or graphic novel?
2. Least favorite comic book or graphic novel?
3. Most overrated cartoonist?
4. Most underrated cartoonist?
5. Least favorite thing about the comic book industry.

1. Favorite comic book or graphic novel?
The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. Dynamic art, a rich and interesting story, a broad scope with personal touches, the whole damn thing was great. Rejecting both the dippy optimism of early comics and the dippy pessimism of most modern comics, Cooke created something with a hint of substance, and, dare I say it, resonance. It also happened to contain dinosaurs, rocket ships, and the Challengers of the Unknown. The New Frontier impressed the hell out of me.

2. Least favorite comic book or graphic novel?
The last two decades of the X-Men books. The X-books contain the worst excesses of modern mainstream comics. They are insanely confusing, as the writers keep mistaking “complication” with “complexity.” Assclowns, adding four new characters, three of whom are alternate-timeline versions of one another, with the fourth being a clone of one of the other three, is crap. The X-world is so damn overstuffed and convoluted that no outsider can penetrate it, nor do they want to. Other sins of the mainstream reflected by the X-books: skeevy cheesecake, a lunatic adherence to continuity, adolescent self-pity taken to levels seldom seen outside of the letters page of “Sassy Magazine,” oh, so many things that suck.

3. Most overrated cartoonist?
To be contrarian, I’ll say Chris Ware, since he’s hyped beyond belief. He’s an amazing technician and I have respect for his ability, but c’mon. Perhaps it’s my low tolerance for cartoon portrayals of ennui; just thinking about his work makes my temples throb. Of the standard big names in art comics (Spiegelman, Clowes, Los Bros. Hernandez, and Ware), he’s the only one I don’t recommend to non-comic folk. Yes, I’m a heathen. No, I don’t care.

4. Most underrated cartoonist?
Evan Dorkin. His Milk and Cheese comics are magnificent tales of lactic anarchy. “Dairy Products Gone Bad,” the Carton of Hate and the Wedge of Spite run around destroying places and beating the crap out of people for no reason. The jokes, they are sweet. Dorkin’s occasionally-produced title Dork is one of the best books on the market. Funny, emotionally honest, interesting, and jammed with more stuff than any three normal comics. Great, great work.

5. Least favorite thing about the comic book industry.
I call it “The Star Trek Effect.” As fans have grown into positions of power, they have directed the industry towards their own tastes. That satisfies the dedicated fans already in place and alienates those outside of that group. Early “Trek” was created by folks who wanted to make a show people would like. The last waves of “Trek” were unwatchable, finely-crafted bits of twaddle of interest only to those steeped in years of Trek-iana. The inmates run the asylum. Comics are a closed circle that grows tighter and tighter each year. And that, dear friends, sucks ass. I can understand how it got to that point. This is the path of least resistance, both commercially and artistically. But it's a dead end.