Picks of the Week

“…hopefully the Steranko-crit drought will end soon, as more and more writers-about-comics get interested in the pure-visual dimension of things. Here’s a Steranko theme for yuh, though: nihilism. And not the limp, black cardigan, Gauloise cigs kind — rage and hate and total dessicated emptiness. Steranko — everywhere, but in Outland more than lots of other places — destroys his pages, welds these scabrous masses of information onto them, but they always refer back to the same void, this place beyond the story, outside the story. His first big continued saga, the Yellow Claw/SHIELD epic in Strange Tales, denies readers the kind of Kirbyist action climax that’s proper in these matters and ends on a big cresting cliffhanger, never resolved, with all the characters we’ve been following for issues and issues revealed as literal chess pieces, a shit-scary Dr. Doom howling with laughter as he manipulates them toward their deaths while shutting the story down with no ceremony whatsoever, spitting in our face, Marvel’s face, hero comics’ face. And don’t even get me started on “Today Earth Died”. Literary content? Steranko at his best wrote like a Borges from hell.”

– Matt Seneca

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Deep Trouble. The reporting by Ben Casselman, Russel Gold and others on the BP oil spill for the Wall Street Journal is the most detailed and lucid reporting I’ve seen on the subject from a sheer clarity of information point of view. Based on meticulous research, they walk you through the establishment of the Deep Water Horizon for the drill, the day leading up to the explosion that caused the spill, and its chaotic aftermath with lucidity, layoing out the human errors as well as the technical details of the tragedy. Surely a Pulitzer contender.
  • Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca on Kirby and Steranko. This conversation about Kirby’s 2001 and Steranko’s Outland adaptations is self-indulgently long, but these two smart critics drop enough gems to make it worth it. Especially Seneca’s thoughts on the critically under-appreciated Steranko are worth it.
  • Who Killed Cathy? Tim Kreider and Shaenon Garrity deliver great eulogies over Cathy Guisewite’s long-running newspaper strip, engaging it from two very different perspectives. Fine comics criticism.
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