Tuesday, October 05, 2004


I've decided to let Evil Monkey have his say about the latest McSweeney's. As you may recall, Evil Monkey usually just poses a question at the end of one of my blog postings, but since Evil Monkey's mention on Jonathan Strahan's blog, he's demanded more blogging time. Here are his thoughts.


The latest McSweeney's, their comics issue, is one of the most beautiful issues they've ever produced. In all of my days as an evil monkey, I've rarely seen anything so beautiful. It's in all ways a work of art.

So, then, why oh why do the contents mostly read like a particularly stiff slice-of-life mainstream literary magazine? We've got our obligatory neurotic R. Crumb section followed by a ton of similar material, most of it not quite as weird as the Crumb. Except for a couple of exceptions, like an excerpt from the marvelous Frank, there's very little of the surreal or the ethereal or the unreal/fantastical in this comics issue. There's even an essay by John Updike of all people! I've liked Updike ever since I was a small evil monkey, but the day I need Updike telling me something about comics is the day comics becomes just another mimetic mainstream literary A-B plot story...which apparently is what comics have become. It's like a SF-Fantasy anthology without any SF-F...

In short, McSweeney's has published a sanitized version of comics and graphic novels. Hell, unless I missed it, there's not even a Sock Monkey to be had!

Maybe that's hip. Maybe it's just boring...

(Jeff's Opinion: Now I get to sit on Evil Monkey's shoulder and point out that most of the cool surreal stuff is being done outside of the US--by Humanoids Comics, for example--and that there's no telling who else was approached but said no due to any number of reasons, etc., etc.)


At 12:56 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Jeff, regarding comics, I think you might find some of what you're looking for in the Flight Vol 1 anthology that came out recently. I like a straightforward narrative, mostly, and there's some of that in there, but there are also several comic shorts that are very surreal and quite beautiful.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! I'll take a look.



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