Lax But Not Lazy
by Dan Nadel
Monday, September 11, 2006
Well, Tim’s been on vacation and I’ve been frantically trying to squeeze out some books and get an exhibition up as well. See PictureBox for all the updates. In the meantime, I should note that I saw the great Frank Tashlin movie Artists and Models last week. It’s an amazing Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin vehicle in which they star as writer/artist pals on the make in New York. They happen into, you guessed it, the comic book world, as Jerry’s favorite cartoonist turns out to be their upstairs neighbor and beautiful, too, natch. Dean falls for her (fascinating, given all the recent discussion, that the famous cartoonist in the movie is a woman–also a convenient plot device, but still…) while Jerry falls for her model, played by Shirely Maclaine. Anyhow, there’s some wonderful stuff in there with sleazy publishers, exciting imagery (“Bat-Lady” is the stuff of Jerry’s fantasies) and general hilarity. What’s so refreshing about the movie is that the comics stuff seems oddly right-on. It’s just a business in this movie, but the business still generates the raw material for dreams and nightmares. I could see how comics were once part of the entertainment mainstream–just another thing for a film to riff on. Too bad that’s no longer. There’s also a great sequence in which Jerry gleefully makes the case that comics made him retarded, a sentiment I couldn’t agree with more. Retarded is the new sexy.
Anyhow, we’re hard at work on the next issue, which thus far features a fine essay on Spider-Man by Peter Bagge, a fine list by Mark Newgarden, comics by Matthew Thurber and Paper Rad, a long interview with Pshaw, and Tim on Steve Gerber. It’s coming along. We hope to have it done for October.