Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tucker Stone on Night Business, Gangsta Rap Posse and Me

Tucker Stone interviewed me for his column, This Ship Is Totally Sinking, over on Comixology. Check it out here. Tucker and I really delved into the earth from which grows Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse. We had a really deep convo about comics, art, process, Rambo, superheroes, art comix and other stupid stuff, and he represented it well in the piece and somehow made a lot of my ranting make some sense. Here's one of his astute observations:
The mistake with Night Business--if there is one--might be in Benjamin's commitment to telling the truth. (He admits that his few attempts to "play the role" depicted in his author photos has never really panned out.) But after finding out how much thought has gone into its creation, there's a temptation to want to praise Night Business with caveats, to focus one's attention on how much work has been put in to create an end result that's so base, so raw. Because it can't just be an exploitation comic, right? It's got to have a bigger point, it's got to be a critical take on art comics, a rebuke to independent angst, a reclamation of sleazy action, or else it's just a comic about dead strippers and badasses who wear pleated pants. It's got to be faked, or it doesn't count.
So what is this, then? Another chunk of writing fired out in praise of low art, another "you should really watch Gamer" missive to add to the Kael/Klosterman school of trash worship? Maybe it is. But it's worth questioning whether anybody really does trash anymore without winking, it's worth asking if, in comics' obsessive desire to spend the last decade moving towards a mainstream audience, they've left behind the immediate pleasures that used to be their stock and trade. Comics seem to be selling in more places. They've gotten more attention. But are they dangerous? Are they still taking chances? Or has the ground--the same ground that once gave former unknowns like Ware, Seth, Spiegelman something to create against, to innovate and attack--become fallow?
Thanks to Tucker.

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