Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Past Shame Rises from the Grave, Zombie-Like, to Taunt Me Again

Ah, the World-Wide Internets: Where information never dies, it just gets a new URL.

I should have known that no matter how many times I glowingly name-check Tom Spurgeon and his essential Comics Reporter blog, it would only be a matter of time before he got around to re-posting his scathing review of the only mini-comic I ever produced. He's been adding lots of his old reviews to CR, but I'd hoped that this one (which he wrote for an on-line column entitled "You Send It, We'll Review It") was obscure enough to escape his notice; ha ha on me. Herewith, a few select quotations from his review of my very own Gene Gene's Comics Machine #1 [Aug. 1997]:
This is a good comic of the type by people who have no business doing comics...

The nostalgia doesn't really go beyond tedious recollection...

Kannenberg fails on all sort of craft levels he doesn't even pretend to engage...
And that's not including this tidbit, which I was gonna use on the cover of GGCM #2 (fortunately never produced): [S]adly, he's no cartoonist.

I kid, I kid: To be fair, the review's a bit more balanced than the above quotes (all genuine!) might suggest; and to be honest, Tom's critiques are really pretty much dead on the mark. I did the comics in that mini [A] to see what it was like to make comics, and [B] mostly as contributions to a certain Wombat-themed zine (mentioned in Roger Sabin and Teal Triggs' essential Below Critical Radar: Fanzines and Alternative Comics From 1976 to Now).

Even though it didn't lead to fame or fortune, or even to talent, making GGCM increased my interest in - and enthusiasm for - the comics form. I'd thought a lot about comics as a reader; but stepping behind the curtain for the first time, I got to think about comics as a creator, like all those dozens (at least) of decisions that need to be made per panel, or what story "beats" are most important to illustrate, or even how hard it is to draw somebody sitting in a chair. (The astute reader will note that there are no chairs in GGCM #1.)

So thanks, Tom, for reminding me about this little learning experience of mine. All's forgiven; in fact, everyone reading this should immediately purchase a book he co-wrote: Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book. And to any masochists out there: I recently found a small stash of Gene Gene's Comics Machine #1s, and they're still available at last millennium's cover price: one USAmerican dollar (Cheap!) or something in trade. Contact me, and I'll hook you up with the pain.

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Blogger C. Margery Kempe said...

Oh, then you leave out nice things like "Kannenberg is somewhat thoughtful about the medium in his use of it, and the book is formally engaging." Ha ha! What a trip down memory lane. I forgot WW ended up in Roger & Teal's book! Is UConn ever going to dump my old pages? Of course, Wombat's World has had an after life...unkillable, unstoppable -- sort of like the Terminator!

2/01/2006 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but you are leader among men!



2/01/2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember GGCM fondly.

2/02/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Gene Kannenberg, Jr. said...

k.a. laity: Ahnold is... Corset Cassie!

perilous cheryl: It's nice to be appreciated for what one is.

mcr: That small plastic bottle next to the bathroom sink contains your meds; clearly you have been forgetting to take them.

Thanks, kids!

2/02/2006 8:41 PM  
Blogger Crispinus said...

I, too, remember GGCM fondly, for the most part. "The Night I Dreamt I was Frank Sinatra" remains, to my mind, a post-modern classic of millenial anxiety.

"My Time! Don't Waste it!"

2/03/2006 11:29 AM  
Blogger Gene Kannenberg, Jr. said...

Dan, I completely forgot about "My time!..." Gotta love the French.

"It wasn't such a bad dream, either..."

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