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December 07, 2009

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CharlesWHatfield

Craig, I like this a lot; you've given me extra incentive to pick up, finally, belatedly, this book, despite its lacunae and unexplained teases.

I also like (and confess to being influenced by, for example in my jhw3 post) your use of links, which is so often playful and unpredictable. I especially appreciated the link to Henry Jenkins' take on the Hoberman.

I confess that, due I suppose to the deification of Kurtzman in comics culture, I had expected an art book about him simply to retail things we already know about him, and to repeat the critical line about Kurtzman of which Spiegelman and Crumb's tributes are probably the best-known examples. Despite having read Kitchen on Kurtzman before, including the very good article in COMIC ART, I had grown a bit weary of the subject (fatique from my work on underground comix, I guess), and so, despite intending to pick up the book, I haven't so far. But now I want to add it to my embarrassingly long list of things I need to get and read.

Your post is focused and asks specific, pointed questions, which I also appreciate. Thanks!

Leigh Walton

"Murder the Story" certainly helps illuminate Chris Ware's "I Guess" story from RAW.

CharlesWHatfield

The Ware connection is interesting, and I wouldn't be surprised if "Murder the Story" was a grain of inspiration there. But what Ware does in "I Guess" (a.k.a. "Thrilling Adventure Stories") is a more controlled and subtler act of sustained image/text counterpoint, really a prolonged act of insinuation rather than a freewheeling riff on existing images. Ware, after all, made up the images specifically to match his text, or conceived them both at once perhaps. "Murder the Story" is closer to a kind of nonstop comic riffing a la "MST3K."

I'm struck by the ways in which the most recent ACME (No. 19) is a more elaborate riff on the techniques first essayed in "I Guess." The review in TCJ #300 implies as much, that Ware has once again used the tools of escapism to question or wound the escapist impulse. Don't know if I love ACME #19 or hate it!

CharlesWHatfield

The Ware connection is interesting, and I wouldn't be surprised if "Murder the Story" was a grain of inspiration there. But what Ware does in "I Guess" (a.k.a. "Thrilling Adventure Stories") is a more controlled and subtler act of sustained image/text counterpoint, really a prolonged act of insinuation rather than a freewheeling riff on existing images. Ware, after all, made up the images specifically to match his text, or conceived them both at once perhaps. "Murder the Story" is closer to a kind of nonstop comic riffing a la "MST3K."

I'm struck by the ways in which the most recent ACME (No. 19) is a more elaborate riff on the techniques first essayed in "I Guess." The review in TCJ #300 implies as much, that Ware has once again used the tools of escapism to question or wound the escapist impulse. Don't know if I love ACME #19 or hate it!

Craig Fischer

I received an interesting e-mail from comics historian Jean-Paul Gabilliet commenting on this post, and with Jean-Paul's permission I'm reprinting his message here. --Craig Fischer

"About your Thought Balloonists post on Kitchen & Buhle's THE ART OF HARVEY KURTZMAN: You were surprised by Buhle's negative comment about PLAYBOY editor Michelle Urry. I was not surprised at all when I read the book because it reflects what R. Crumb has always said about his refusing to work for PLAYBOY in the early '70s and Urry's reaction. Just check the collection of R. Crumb interviews published in THE COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY #3 (Fantagraphics, 2004), page 34 (reprint of a 1988 interview first published in TCJ #121, page 77).

"Same thing in the interview he gave Keith Green in 1974, reprinted in D. K. Holm, editor, R. CRUMB: CONVERSATIONS (Mississippi, 2005), page 101.

"I am under the impression that while Kurtzman never criticized PLAYBOY in interviews (because he knew which side his bread was buttered on) he was less enthusiastic about Urry's editorial meddling in private--and this is what Crumb has repeatedly alluded to. Even though Spiegelman et al. have praised Urry to high heaven there HAVE been discordant voices, like Skip Williamson in this text where he recalls his working relationship with M. Urry:

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:2UPW5-55ULIJ:jaylynchlist.ning.com/profiles/blogs/at-playboy+harvey+kurtzman+michelle+urry&cd=8&hl=fr&ct=clnk&gl=fr)

All the best, Jean-Paul."

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