Para Todos… IX.460, 8 Outubro 1927

One of the indelible images of the 1920s. I’ve posted it several times before.

We called it the Jazz Age in the US, but it was the Tango Age and the Samba Age in South America, with the same sense of hurtling forward motion, of raucous noise, of increasing wealth at the top leading to increasing dissipation.

"You have to have some idea of the idle money out there. It can’t all be endowments to the church of one’s choice, mansions and yachts and dog-runs paved with gold or what have you, can it. No, at some point, that’s all over with, has to be left behind … and still there’s this huge mountain of wealth unspent, piling up higher every day, and dear oh dear, whatever’s a businessman to do with it, you see."

"Hell, send it on to me," Ray Ipsow put in. "or even to somebody who really needs it, for sure there’s enough of those."

"That’s not the way it works," said Scarsdale Vibe.

"So we always hear the plutocracy complaining."

"Out of a belief, surely fashionable, that merely to need a sum is not to deserve it."

"Except that in these times, ‘need’ arises directly from criminal acts of the rich, so it ‘deserves’ whatever amount of money will atone for it. Fathomable enough for you?"

"You are a socialist, sir."

"As anyone not insulated by wealth from the cares of the day is obliged to be. Sir."

Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon, 2006. (via aintgotnoladytronblues)

If I ever collaborate on a comic with anyone, I think I’ll insist that the credits be not Writing and Art, as is standard in US comics, but Script and Drawing, the English for the standard credits in continental European comics.

Writing and art are (or can be) complete activities in themselves, with no division of labor or hierarchies of value implicit in them, and the emphasis on comics as the endpoint of a process in which many elements are combined (even if only one hand is combining them all) suggested by Script (which as in theater or film must be enacted in order to reach its final form) and Drawing (traditionally an intermediary activity, executed either in preparation for painting or in creating the basis for a mechanical reproduction which was the real finished product) is important to me.

I’m wary of logocentric readings of comics where it’s assumed that the author, the auteur, is the writer, with the artist just some hired hand who will block the action competently and get out of the way for the all-important ideas. (Comics nerds are a lot like TV nerds in that way; the showrunning writer is paramount, the director interchangeable unless you’re a real ubernerd, or work in the business.) As a writer myself (or anyway more of a writer than I am an artist), I want to guard against my own tendency to overvalue, or overanalyze, the part of the process that I understand best.

It’s fashionable these days, I think, especially when talking about corporate comics, to talk about comics being a conspiracy between creators and readers, with the comic only reaching its final form in the mind of the reader. Some of this is no doubt true, or at least arguable (pace McCloud), but a lot of it is pure fan flattery, a way of letting the company off the hook for any specific choices a too-idiosyncratic artist might make. The story, such as it is, is there on the page. If the reader has to complete it in her head, maybe it wasn’t much of a story to begin with.

Most of all who need funk never can find the funk.

Jonathan Bogart, Wait, (2014)

Ana Juan, illustrations for “Sobre Zulawsky, Oshima, su orgasmo (el de ellas) y el secreto del suicidio libertario,” a critical essay by Jesús Cuadrado on the subject of Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession in Madriz #16, May 1985.

I believe this may be of interest to one or two of you.

Not that it’s had much competition (Hari Kondabolu’s is the only other great one I can think of off the top of my head), but Cameron Esposito’s Same Sex Symbol has, on the strength of one listen, easily become my favorite comedy album of the year. (Possibly my favorite album of the year period, but that would imply I listen to more music in album format than I actually do. Singles forever.)

I listen to Put Your Hands Together, the standup podcast she hosts, so I’ve heard a bunch of these jokes before in varying formats, but the bulk of it was new to me, and her willingness to be in the moment — as when she responds to two separate moments of unexpected audience interaction with, respectively, a hug and hilarious disbelief — makes even the most well-worn bits fresh and engaging. I tend to play iPad games while listening to comedy albums, and I had to put the tablet down a couple of times because I was on the verge of blacking out from laughing so hard, and didn’t want to lose my progress.

When I went to buy the album in iTunes, I was depressed to notice that the “ratings” are polarized between five- and one-star reviews; the obvious homophobia and misogyny on display in the one-stars speaks for itself. Three of the bits are on Spotify as a sampler (so is her first album, which she now says she had no business putting out so early in her career), so if you’re wondering if maybe her (undeniably idiosyncratic) style is for you I’d encourage you to check them out.

Fabrice Parme, page from Sang de vampire, 1991.