Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Batman as jazz

For years I've kicked at the theory that comics and jazz represent America's only unique, indigenous art forms. This point was made back in the 1970s, and has been repeated and rebutted countless times since along the lines of "Comics appeared in Europe years before they turned up on North American shores!" and "The roots of jazz are in Africa, not New Orleans!" etc. et al into boring infinitude. I know. Because I was a part of many of these conversations.

Yet, no matter how many times I talked about it with my comics-savvy colleagues (just imagine these conversations, for a moment) I always walked away with a different idea: That comic books and jazz have more in common than we give them credit for.

My jazzbo father Dad would probably wretch, but I finally got around to writing about it on the Globe and Mail's new Books site. My essay is called "Batman and jazz," and doubles as a sort-of book review of the sensational Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan.

Please buy it! And read my piece! And if you feel the need, rip me one!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

25 Great Things About Being A Comics Fan

Courtesy of Tom Spurgeon, Mr. Comics Reporter, a great little list every comics fan should read. It'll make you feel a little less nerdy when you step out the door in the morning. Highlights include:

"#2. You'll have a better vocabulary than the people you know that only read prose and you'll have a better eye for visual language than the people you know that only look at art. ...

#6. You'll have the best conversations at parties with the widest range of people while quickly learning how to duck the truly dreary conversations at parties with that one narrow range of people. ...

#11. From now on, every garage sale, flea market and library sale is hope. ... and,

# 16. At first you'll like all the comics. Then you'll get a little bit older and like only a few of them. Then you'll get a little older than that, and you get to like all the comics again."

More, here.