The webcomics blog about webcomics

Getting Ready To Rumble

Ironically, I’d been meaning to link over to Scott Kurtz because I really loved his happy anniversary card to his wife. The art’s more refined than his daily efforts and the sentiment is sweet without being cloying, both befitting such a momentous occasion. Let’s all bask in the good feelings as we lower the steel cage onto the ring….

So! Lotsa drama in the webcomics world today, and there was me on-site with a client that had zero net access. You can read various takes on it from Scott Kurtz and T Campbell, but there’s something Kurtz said that caught my attention hard:

The chapter is entitled “The Seven Horsemen” and it details the seven people who were the big guns in the inception of the webcomics community.

The seven horsemen, according to our “world-reknown webcomics historian” are:

  • Scott McCloud
  • Pete Abrams
  • J.D. Frazier
  • Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahaulik
  • Scott Kurtz
  • and Fred Gallagher.

Chris Crosby is not listed. I don’t think Keenspot is even mentioned. Scott McCloud, on the other hand, has EIGHT pages dedicated to him. Scott’s a friend and I respect and love the man. But was he more influential on the early formations of webcomics than Chris Crosby?

See, we all know that Kurtz has problems with certain … interpretations of what webcomics “mean”; no need to rehash that here. But the careful reader will also recall that when Kurtz gets angry, the target is often Chris Crosby and/or Keenspot. And he’s upset that Crosby and Keenspot don’t have a mention commensurate with their influence on the development of webcomics. Could be that he’s wrong about Campbell’s coverage level; Kurtz has admitted to only having skimmed the book, and it may have been an outdated draft. But the fact that Kurtz in high dudgeon on Crosby’s behalf is significant. It’s to his credit that he is able to acknowledge the contributions of somebody that he’s spent so much time criticizing, and would tend to give one the belief that his assessment of Crosby, et. al., is worth further exploration. Fancy-pants Biblical scholars use a similar technique to work through what may be questionable translations — if a quote is uncomplimentary towards Jesus, it’s considered more likely authentic than if it’s fawning. After all, if you want people to follow your new religion, you’re more likely to puff up the founder a bit. So when Scott Kurtz says something nice about Chris Crosby, it’s probably worth noting carefully. The future will tell if he ever has something nice to say about Campbell, but I’m not offering very good odds:

In my opinion….

This book is nothing more than another self-masturbatory project of the new webcomics cognoscenti crowd. Rather than try to make a name for himself by actually CREATING something, Mr. T. has to piggy-back himself on the webcomics creators out there giving it their all.

I adore the fact that Kurtz speaks his mind — it gives me something to fill the column-inches (Scott, if I get to the nerd prom this year, I owe you a beer), plus, if you’ve ever met Campbell, visualizing him as Mr. T. is sure to provoke cognitive dissonance. But here Kurtz is taking to task not Campbell’s work, he’s chewing on Campbell himself. I’m still trying to decide where this falls on the cheap shot-o-meter, but Campbell doesn’t seem to be too bothered by it. The list of people that he’s collaborated with is about as long as your arm, and he always seems to be juggling a bunch of projects about (one that he ought to find some juggle time for: the front page of Graphic Smash still offers congratulations for last year’s CCA winners … I think eight months may be the statute of limitations on that).

Campbell’s got a fairly large reputation in what is, to be honest, a fairly small community. Is he a non-sleeping mutant, able to be a full contributor on everything he undertakes? Probably not. Does he mooch off the efforts of others while grabbing top billing? Also, probably not. We’ll be able to judge what his solo work is like when his History comes out, and it’ll be up to future generations of webcomics readers to decide the mutant/mooch question. In the meantime, if you’ve worked with T in the past and would like to share your impressions of the experience, feel free to add comments down below or use the contact link.

Now, for a fun game the whole family can play: Campbell has claimed, speak his name and he appears. So the time-to-T-appearance clock starts … now!

[…] [p.p.s]Gary from chimes in about the History of Webcomics book, and mostly about Kurtz’s response to it. I’m not particularly fond of Fleen, and this post, in particular, doesn’t really offer much. So why did I link it? I guess I just like to share. […]

[…] Uncategorized So the fine men and women of the United States Postal Service finally got me my copy of Howard Tayler’s first Schlock Mercenary book today (postmarked the 15th, I swear they were faster when they sponsored Lance), so look for a review in the coming days. Also, if rumors are to be believed, the long-awaited and completely non-controversial The History of Webcomics may be dropping in the next day or so; that one will probably take a bit longer. And today, it’s City Limits, the latest webcomics-artists-anthology, this one edited by George Rohac and Katy Ullman. […]

[…] Gary … and tired as hell. Which is probably why, in the context of this, I find this far funnier than I should. After all, we here at Fleen are all about webcomics community, and not interested in provoking shitstorms or internet fights to the bloody death. That being said, Bunny is owning all over those birds (start here and keep clicking on “next”, through the ten updates that Lem managed in one day). […]

[…] But first, with a apologies to whichever lit-crit school it is that declares authorial intent irrelevant (I never learned those things; I went to nerd school), I draw your attention to today’s Starslip Crisis. Clearly, Kristofer Straub is taking the opportunity to kick T Campbell while he’s hurting and should be enjoying himself. […]

[…] Books, Gary Editor’s note: Hoo boy, could this one devolve quickly. I’ve spent a month now very carefully reading and re-reading, very carefully making and cross-checking notes, very carefully writing what you’re about to read. As we discuss the book, please bear in mind that we’re not going to argue opinion on this one; whether or not Campbell is correct is for others to fight over. We will be looking at only whether or not Campbell has effectively made and advanced his points. […]

[…] explicit exposition. Hooray for middle grounds, and check out Odori Park — it’s good. (time from publication to T showing up in the comments starts: […]

[…] Campbell’s mysterious, unfathomable, and eerie powers of knowing when he is mentioned appear to be on the fritz. Nearly two weeks to respond? Gotta get back in shape, […]

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