So what does this comic mean?
I read “Raw Power” and didn’t like it mainly because I don’t give a fuck about 1970s punk rock fanfiction. (Carter is building houses in Maine, G.Gordon Liddy sells gold on cable tv infomercials and campaigns that the American president is an illegal alien. The 2013 reality is more interesting) Read a review of Raw Power that said it was an indictment of the dark side of American culture, especially the petty fascist escape fantasy of superheroes. (which is interesting)
So what is the above comic…? Is it an indictment of… Josh Bayer… Drawing himself beating up some poseur girls for… Blogging, reading “Scott Pilgrim”, and worst of all having a Nancy tattoo…?
Why do these cartoonists need to be stopped? Why do they need to learn to “not draw cartoons”?
Look I don’t want to be internet comix policeman here. But I feel like I must say my piece before I have to see the above comic passed around and publicly liked.
(Side note:Do we get a comic of Ernie Bushmiller rising from the grave and beating the shit out of Gary Panter for his détournement of Nancy in the late 70s? (also all the dudes from Raw like Kaz and Spiegelman et. al) And then do we get Panter kicking the shit out of Bayer? As long as we’re electing an authenticity gatekeeper for comics, let’s chase that authenticity all the way back into its nonsense past…)
so here’s my point: We get a comic of some dudes beating up some girls for not being cool enough/into the right things. This is what bums me out about the whole thing. You would expect that being in some underground counterculture we would make art in DIRECT OPPOSITION TO THE UGLINESS OF OUR MAINSTREAM CULTURE, instead of DIRECTLY PERPETUATING THE WORST ASPECTS OF OUR CULTURE.
Normally I wouldn’t take it upon myself to directly call someone out on this. Because there is always bad art, or art you don’t like, being made. And the answer to this problem, as an artist, is to step your game up and make better art.
Fuck boneheaded boys club bullying threats against women. Want to make good comics? Then make good comics.
As if women don’t already face enough harassment, intimidation and violence from men EVERY DAY simply for participating in these scenes. “Hold up, this is a man’s world. Show me your credentials.” No one owes you shit, Josh. No one “owns” our medium, subculture, community. Last thing we need is another cop.
I know ladies who will gut you for looking at em the wrong way. Show some respect.
Reposting for Jack’s comments.
As a young lady cartoonist (or an aspiring one, whatever) it’s pretty hard not to feel threatened meeting a (group of) male cartoonist(s) at say, a con, who continuously draw comics of women getting brutally beaten up/raped/etc. It has actually made me feel so anxious in the past that I don’t know how to react to it at all, so I’m thankful that someone else DID.
It sucks when you give comics like this a chance, way too much of a chance, because you are young and stupid and naive (re: me 2 years ago) and think better of people. You see misogynist or otherwise offensive work and brush it off as, “Oh well they’re nice to me, so they couldn’t have meant it in a harmful way, it’s all just a big joke, right? They don’t really hate women this much right, or am I just being the dumb uptight bitch that’s expected of me?” And then chance after chance, I see female cartoonist peers get sexually harassed, put down, our intelligence is mocked, our aspirations are shit on, and the aggressive and threatening work continues to flow. And no one fucking says anything, or seems to take it seriously (I mean, most cartoonists I know are pretty non-confrontational so I get that), and I end up thinking, “AM I FUCKING CRAZY?”. But us women whisper to each other, and turns out I’m not the only lady feeling threatened by a lot of the work coming out of the Retrofit circle. It’s just that most of us are too nervous to speak up to the comics community about it. Fear of retaliation - Remember, the men still have the floor in the comics scene, even the indie one, as much as we’d like to think it’s equal, it’s fucking NOT.
I’ve been holding back these anxious thoughts for a long time out of fear, because I will still have to hold my head up high and confront these dudes at cons, time after time, and even the thought of what kind of reaction this paragraph might have makes me kinda want to vomit all over myself. But I have to say it. The presence of Retrofit at cons and support from other retailers and publishers continues to make me feel somewhat disrespected and threatened.
See yah at TCAF, kids.
Reblogging again for leah and jacks commentary. Both smart folks who said shit better than I could.
as a female cartoonist who doesn’t have any friends or peers who also make comics its very isolating when all the feedback or support you can get is on the internet, when it’s also way easier for any person to criticize my work. it makes me feel really shit to get messages telling me i make ‘hipster’ comics or ‘teen girl’ comics, does speaking about the lives of teenage girls make my work less valid? because it’s not about your fucking 24 year old life in williamsburg and how you tried to fuck a girl with a self depricating rant attached? fuck no being a teenage girl is brilliant and exciting and there is absolutely no reason for art that i suppose is targeted towards a female teen audience that they are able to relate to being lower or trash. i like putting my work up on tumblr because ive created a supportive network around myself that i can go to for help that i wouldn’t other wise be able to find in every day life, all of my opportunities have been given to me through the internet, (making friends with cartoonists, the australian anthology, my space face books publication) and its the easiest way for me to be able to see the progress and development that i have personally made in my work. tumblr is a totally valid format. and what the fuck is wrong with nancy tattoos?! fuck this comic it makes me really really angry. i HATE being belittled and these are the types of guys that make me feel like im worth NOTHING as an artist that i really should stop because i feel EMBARRASSED and no man has the right to make me feel this way because he thinks that my life is STUPID and UNCOOL compared to his.
“does speaking about the lives of teenage girls make my work less valid? […] fuck no being a teenage girl is brilliant and exciting and there is absolutely no reason for art that is targeted towards a female teen audience that they are able to relate to being lower or trash” hell yeah josie
fuck the above comic and all the dummies involved. Nancy is an impeccably well-crafted cartoon that has nothing to do with the avant garde. trying to retroactively claim it within the cipher of art comics is just another extension of white male artists thinking that every piece of art is part of their own personal palette
im drunk rn but im annoyed for real
This reblog comments above are very important for us all to read.
This comic strip and the comments underneath are a good overview of a lot of the tensions that exist in the alternative comics community. This is my part of town. This sort of material alienates people from our community and alienates people within our community. I wish that everybody felt safe and welcome and invited to the comics community at all times. And I wish that When people spoke up, that they didn’t find themselves belittled, condescended to or rationalized to. I’ve reblogged a thread of this conversation that shows people criticizing this strip but there is another conversation thread that is hostile and mocking. I’m talking about 555comx.tumblr.com ’s comment which was a terrible thing to say.
Even though I’m a heterosexual man, seeing men mock women who feel threatened or unsafe makes ME feel unsafe. I don’t feel comfortable among people who do not respect other groups of people. I don’t feel comfortable among people who do not respect people who I care about. Not to make this discussion about me and my feelings. What I’m saying is that in trying to alienate one group of people, you end up alienating a wider array than you would have intended.
I want to be a part of the comics world that people feel happy and comfortable in. I want to be a part of the comics world that gets excited about wider, more diverse voices. I want to be a part of the comics world that doesn’t belittle, degrade, threaten or intimidate people.
Tom Hart from Sequential Artists Workshop here. I’m sure I’ll offend everyone by defending this comic, but let me say what I think is going on here.
Josh is a funny, and profoundly complicated artist. Like most good artists of any depth, he uses art to help explore these complications, play and examine, untangle the knots. The idea of “Stop Cartoonists” I suggest probably came to Josh as one of the most absurd things he could imagine. A sort of fascistic idea that cartoonists are a problem and only violence is suitable solution for these enemies of the state. Like Fahrenheit 451, of course the people burning the books are also reading them. Of course the idiots trying to “Stop Cartoonists” are also stupidly drawing them with their tongues hanging out of their mouths as they whistle Dixie in the last panel. This is ridicule, and self-ridicule at that. A self-ridicule that recognizes a latent violence inside oneself (sorry, some people do have a latent violence inside. Ridicule is one way to lessen it healthily.) But also a self-ridicule that recognizes the dumb gracious joy that comes in drawing comics, in “updating your webcomic” in having a cartoon character tattoo. This comic is so full of complicated and human contradictions. It’s a play on those contradictions.
It’s unfortunate that one of the early ones in this series saw two pretty masculine looking guys beating up on 2 cartoonists who happen to be women. I can certainly see where this would trigger a lot of emotion in some people, and I know that on his own blog, Bayer has acknowledged and apologized. Note that in this series, they also go back in time and chop off Wally Wood’s hands (much to Wood’s happiness and longevity (he actually shot himself in real life. In Bayer’s fiction, he lives a long life with time to watch lots of HBO.)
Art ultimately, should be about humanity, and should strive to examine and shine a light on parts of humanity previously hidden. Bayer’s having fun here looking at his own weird, dark contradictions, and playing himself for a fool. His specifics might have caught a few of you off guard, and annoyed a lot of you who feel rightfully victimized in a horribly over-masculinized, aggressive, antagonistic world. It’s true that the straight male paradigm has brought us about a world of trouble, and caused endless amounts of suffering.
But this comic isn’t about that. It superficially seems to be about that, because Bayer chose his dramatic details wrongly: mix the genders of either pair of cartoonists in this comic and you would still have the same comic, yet less viscerally shocking.
But really the comic is just a play on the joys and unimportance of cartooning.