Grotesque Anatomy
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
  Maybe An Assembly Line Would Help My Output
Added some more links under the Bloggers section:  Elayne Riggs (How could I forget her?  I've been reading her missives ever since I began lurking on UseNet years ago); Johnny Bacardi (who in addition to doing the comics thing covers a lot of other pop culture as well); Jennifer de Guzman (Editor-in-Chief of SLG Publishing); Shawn Fumo (of course); and Eve Tushnet.  I think I'd read Eve's blog once or twice before when other bloggers linked to her comics commentary (which is very good), but for some reason her blog didn't really stick in my mind til now.  She made an impression on me when I decided that I should follow up yesterday's assertion that Jim Henley had "demolished" all arguments against same-sex marriage by actually reading the objections Jim was addressing.  I still don't find any of Eve's arguments forceful, but at least she writes well and avoids the all-too-common (and, unfortunately, still all-too-accepted) homophobic gay-bashing.  I'd like to respond to some of her comments in more detail, but I think I'll wait until she's organized her "tangled comments" (as she puts it) before I jump in.  (Plus, the more I read her entries, the more I realize I'm wading into an argument/discussion that's been going on for quite some time:  There are threads spiraling outward to several other sites from Eve's blog, and they all look interesting.  I might get bogged down in "research paralysis" and never be able to respond adequately.  I wonder how all the other participants in the ongoing conversation would feel if I just decided to play the role of the loud, obnoxious party crasher?)

Inadvertent Insult of the Week:  Augie De Blieck Jr., writing about the demise of "CrossGen, The Dream" (as opposed to the demise of "CrossGen, The Company"):
"The bullpen concept was a creative dynamo that glued the creative teams together and allowed for the sort of assembly line interaction that you don't get anywhere else in comics today." [emphasis mine]
I think I know what Augie was trying to get at—that the studio environment of CrossGen allowed creators to feed off each other creatively (Paul O'Brien and MaxLeibman have both addressed this point as well)—but I don't think referring to CrossGen's setup as an "assembly line" is going to paint a cheerful picture for anyone.  More likely, it'll feed into CrossGen critics' complaints that CG's titles were soulless "Comics by Committee."  (A criticism which may have more than a grain of truth to it, since Mark Alessi and (recently terminated COO) Gina Villa reportedly came up with broad story guides that all writers are expected to follow.)  I suppose the positive side of the "assembly line" remark is remembering how (until the recent financial difficulties) CrossGen had a (as far as I know) perfect shipping schedule for a little over three years.  In an industry where books repeatedly miss shipping dates (and rescheduled shipping dates, and re-rescheduled shipping dates, and so on), CG's long, unbroken stretch is quite an accomplishment.  And I suppose the bullpen arrangement greatly helped CG in keeping those deadlines.

Just for the record:  Right before I was going to post, I realized that visitors unfamiliar with my reading list might think from the above comments that I was a "CrossGen basher."  Well, maybe I still am (I don't think I am, but I'll leave that up to the reader to decide), but I do read their entire line via Comics on the Web.  Of course, reading their comics this way means I'm behind everyone else who gets the floppies (hey, when am I not behind everyone else in terms of comics reading?), but it does let me continue to read all their stuff for very cheap now that the Compendia are no more. 
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Iron Fist

by John Jakala

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