I have to admit, even I’m a little shocked by the silliness of the MoCCA statement about this whole Archie credit issue. To wit (and I promise, this is the last time I’ll mention it, since clearly it’s like talking to a brick wall): I emailed Karl at MoCCA 3 times over the course of a month before posting my thoughts on the show. Having curated a show there and done numerous events over the years, yes, that means I can expect a response back, just as I would respond to any colleague who emailed me. No, I couldn’t make it back to the museum itself, but I didn’t need to — I was asking why there were no credits and why it was OK to ignore and perpetuate a shameful legacy. How is a phone call or email not enough to explain that? The fact that I’m somehow being blamed by Ellen in her “statement” is probably self-evidently ridiculous. But just in case: Guys, the issue isn’t whether or not I could make it back over the to museum: The issue is that you don’t act anything even remotely like an educational institution. It’s not Archie (the company’s) fault that you don’t have anyone on hand who can ID the original art–there are at least a dozen historians in the NYC area who could do that; nor is it the company’s fault that you would refuse to even acknowledge the issues at play. Nor is it my fault. Get a grip, admit that you screwed up, and move on. Every commenter (myself included) basically was giving you the benefit of the doubt. By issuing a defensive statement that somehow pulls me in and (again!) ignores the real issues at play, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Anyhow, onto happier matters. Here are a couple of recordings by artists. Y’know, the people that draw comics! Both of these recordings have been linked to but I want to reiterate how wonderful they are. First is Jack Kirby in 1970, with Steranko chiming in occasionally. Kirby sounds like a forceful visionary let loose on a crowd, practically preaching.
Jeet kindly transcribed the following passage, which is one of the best ever statements on cartooning:
Drawing a good figure doesn’t make you a good artist. I can name you ten men, right off the bat, who draw better than I do. But I don’t think their work gets as much response as mine. I can’t think of a better man to draw Dick Tracy than Chester Gould, who certainly is no match for Leonardo Da Vinci. But Chester Gould told the story of Dick Tracy. He told the story of Dick Tracy the way it should have been told. No other guy could have done it. It’s not in the draftsmanship, it’s in the man.
Like I say, a tool is dead. A brush is a dead object. It’s in the man.
If you want to do, you do it. If you think a man draws the type of hands that you want to draw, steal ‘em. Take those hands.
The only thing I can say is: Caniff was my teacher, Alex Raymond was my teacher, even the guy who drew Toonerville Trolley was my teacher. Whatever he had stimulated me in some way. And I think that’s all you need. You need that stimulation. Stimulation to make you an individual. And the draftsmanship, hang it. If you can decently: learn to control what you can, learn to control what you have, learn to refine what you have. Damn perfection. You don’t have to be perfect. You are never going to do a Sistine Chapel, unless someone ties you to a ceiling. Damn perfection.
All a man has in this field is pressure. And I think the pressure supplies a stimulation. You have your own stresses, that will supply your own stimulation. If you want to do it, you’ll do it. And you’ll do it anyway you can.
The Crane interview from 1961 is notable for the heavy shoptalk, Crane’s unabashed patriotism, and his wonderfully intelligent awareness of both his own and his medium’s history. I’d never heard Crane’s voice before – his laconic twang fits perfectly with that plush cartooning of his. Cartoonist Verne Greene is a great and officious host. There is also a Chester Gould interview from the same series. Invaluable stuff.