It’s Time To Admit Not Everything Put On Paper Is Art

It’s Time To Admit Not Everything Put On Paper Is Art

I read a lot of Fantagraphics books because they put out beautiful hardcover editions of old Steve Ditko, Carl Barks, Bill Everett, and other classic comic artists who not only had the chops to excel in their craft, but they also pioneered and defined what great comic art would look like for decades to come.

Ever since the 90s when artists tried to experiment with different impressionisms and realisms in their work, the quality of art has subsequently degraded, yet publishing houses kept acting like these sub-par creations were just as valid or perhaps even better than their predecessors before. Words like “cartoony” or “campy” were used to describe the past works, when these were “visceral” and “realism”.

What happened over time was standards became eroded, style triumphed over substance, and the publishers themselves got duped into thinking the identity of the person creating was more important than the work they actually created.

Case in point from an advertisement from Fantagraphics today:

Imagine Wally Wood or Jack Kirby walking up in the Marvel Bulpen and turning this monstrosity into Stan Lee as a completed assignment. They would have been laughed out of the room and rightly so.

But in CURRENT YEAR, such formless and ugly rushed nonsense gets hailed by Publisher’s Weekly. Critics golf clap how stunning and brave it is. The person couldn’t even keep their words in the poorly shaped dialogue baloons. The colors are distracting and incoherent. The figure looks like a trainwreck.

This is not art.

A child could make a more compelling piece than this, let alone a professional. It’s not, as Publisher’s weekly calls it, “visceral with tactile emotion”, It looks like someone scribbled on a page quickly and called it a day.

There used to be an adage that one needs to learn the rules of a craft before trying to bend or break them to express oneself. This used to be how people apprenticed before they called themselves professionals, but now artists have skipped that stage entirely and declared their works award-worthy without ever learning the very basics of composition.

This is not art. This is not good. This is not beautiful. There is nothing redeeming about it, and to say so is a statement against morality and the very fabric of creation. It’s trying to gaslight people into believing everything is equal and there can be no judgments.

It’s time to get our culture back to judging what is correct and true again. This has gone too far.

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Comments (6)

  • DJ Reply

    “This is not art. This is not good. This is not beautiful. There is nothing redeeming about it,”
    That is exactly the point of Post Modern “art.” It’s not about any of those things, but rather reacting against those things. Thus the Revolution will come, comrade.

    February 5, 2021 at 9:50 pm
  • TroperA Reply

    Are this woman’s tits trying to reach up and strangle her? Did she just elbow a ghost to death? This looks like something a 5th grader would jot onto the back of their notebook during English class. (I also pity “Sophie” who probably has to listen to this badly drawn BPD nightmare yammering about her kid all day.)

    February 6, 2021 at 12:14 am
  • Seeker Reply

    If you want a good example of this style over substance idea go look up what happened to the latest Redwall book covers. The classic Redwall covers tell you about what the book is about in a single picture in both the US and UK styles. And now? Redwall itself has one of those awful cartoon covers that inflict way too many children’s books nowadays. Most of the others have been reissued with these silhouetted badge-like stylized characters on realistic empty scenescapes. You can’t even tell whether the pictured character is a hero or a villain on most of the covers, much less get any actual information about the contents of the book. Its all dreary and conformist. So now if you want to buy one of the older books they come with these weird covers. And who’s picking the books out by those covers on the shelf/online store? Some links below if you want to see what I’m talking about. The reissued covers are under UK 06-07 with the particularly awful Redwall cover as UK 2014.

    February 6, 2021 at 8:15 am
  • Crew Reply

    This is peripherally related to the topic, in that it relates to Science Fiction.

    I notice that a lot of SciFi authors these days have lots of Women doing things women do not and cannot do.

    For example, 120lb to 150lb women taking down 250lb men, or being fighter pilots when we know that they have physiological limits (ie, neck strength that cannot handle high G maneuvers as well as men.

    Basically, those characters are Men With Tits.

    Why do they do that. Are they trying to attract female readers? Seems unlikely since women generally don’t read SciFi IMO.

    Are they trying to remake society?

    February 7, 2021 at 11:08 pm
  • Codex Reply

    I might be able to help.

    This is most definitely art. Terrible, badly made art. Like the Ferrari and the Yugo are both cars.

    C.f. Studies in Words.

    Also self-indulgent and stupid art.

    February 13, 2021 at 3:16 am

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