Update Before the Road

Sorry for the lack of reading list updates. I have been swamped with personal stuff and way behind on Inkstuds. On Thursday, I head down to Portland with Brandon Graham and Daniel Giantomaso. Daniel and I have a bunch of video interviews scheduled, that we hope to have out in the summer. I am really excited about what we have planned.

If you want to meet up with us in Portland, come to Brandon’s King City books launch on March 9th at Floating world.

And if you want some video’s to tide you over until we have some new ones posted, check out Jerry Moriarty’s Youtube page. I particularly enjoyed this one about his cat, Flesh.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been reading one of my bound books that collect’s the first 36 issues of the Sandman Mystery Theatre. I had a soft spot for Vertigo stuff back the early 2000’s. The comics are great early examples of just how strong an illustrator Guy Davis is. He draws the majority of the work in the book. The series starts out solely written by Matt Wagner, but eventually Steve Seagle comes on to co-write it, and there is a substantive improvement in quality with his addition.

I have had a real struggle with some of the work in the book, being white guy writing racial epithets to, I guess, convey the vernacular of the time. The problem is that when you use language like that, you are reintroduce something that is not ok. If the writer is trying to capture a certain period in time, everything in the writing should reflect that, not just how a black person was referred to in that particular point in time. I see this as an easy escape for the writer to seem edgy, but ultimately, it just fails in this context.

I probably wouldn’t be so fussy if when had a story line focusing on Chinatown, the colorist didn’t make the Chinese characters really yellow. The editor makes an apology for the mistake in the following issue, blaming the technical process. I can’t help but think about how could this get printed without someone pointing out how racist it looks. Is there no one on the line in production anywhere saying there is something wrong? Reminds me of David Brother’s great articles on race in comics. I am not saying the anyone in the process was malicious, just that don’t seem to know any better. Of course, any one paying attention to the modern wave of mainstream comics, can see how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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