The webcomics blog about webcomics

It Is Very Cold In Ottawa

All that cold air is very dry. Arid, even. Itchy. The Weather Channel claims a relative humidity of 61%, but this is clearly a lie. Let us seek solace from the discomfort in some soothing webcomickry, yes?

The most amusing thing of the past twenty-four hours is clearly Kate Beaton’s simultaneous love letter to Fargo‘s Sheriff Marge Gunderson and coffin-lid slamming on the entire sordid Charlie Sheen affair. As there is nothing better than Sheriff Marge Gunderson, and once again Beaton captures the essential soul of a character with a few pen-strokes. It’s marvelous work.

  • Less amusing, more philosophical in nature: Aaron Diaz¹ answered a couple questions on his Formspring account that got to the heart of art and commerce. I’ve had thoughts of a similar nature regarding creators and patrons in the past, usually when print cartoonists would argue that artists should have to sully their hands with commerce or deal with audiences. But really, it’s only been for a short period of time (coincident with the rise of mass media) that artists have been able to hide from the business end of things.

    From the rise of nonessential things that served to show how rich you were (antiquity through to the Renaissance-Enlightenment border), artists depended on that patron king/emperor/temple/doge/pope/whatever. For a century or two, they dealt more with businessmen in the middle (gallery and salon promoters, factors, agents, and suchlike), broadening appeal beyond the single patron that must be appeased to a slice of society (or Society, if you will) that had to be appeased (which probably made such appeasement both easier and more difficult at the same time).

    Then along came Hearst and Pulitzer and syndication — while there were layers of gatekeepers (who all took a cut), the audience exploded, meaning millions of (possibly engaged, possibly disinterested) micropatrons who didn’t necessarily know they were patrons of your art. Now we’re back to maybe the salon model (only without the intermediaries taking their piece of the action), and the micropatrons are becoming millipatrons or centipatrons.

  • On the topic of philosophical bloviation, there was a series of impenetrable articles linked from ¡Journalista! (the now-defunct blog of The Comics Journal) entitled The Cave of False Consciousness. I didn’t care about them, but Shaenon Garrity did a sweet set of cartoons summarizing their key points (while using the phrase “sucks balls” a lot), but hadn’t finished when ¡Journalista! (and TCJ’s online presence in general) went belly-up.

    But now TCJ is back, and I see that Garrity’s listed as an upcoming contributor to the new iteration of the site. This gives me hope that she’ll get to finish her analysis (a reconstruction of a philosophical deconstruction? with pictures!), or that at least they’ll put her cartoons back, since the old link to them is dead and searching gives no indication that they still exist. I get it, out with the old, the king is dead, etc., but there was some damn good content in the old TCJ/¡Journalista!, and it would be a shame to think it’s gone for good now.

¹ The Latin Art-Throb.

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