by T. Hodler
Thursday, November 6, 2008
In my mind, this quote is the most obviously noteworthy:
Tim Hodler is really my ace in the hole.
II. I just read the latest issue of the ACME Novelty Library, and it’s pretty much just amazing. When we started Comics Comics, we often said that we wanted to avoid covering the obvious big names (Ware, Crumb, Clowes, etc.) too much, but after this and the other most recent volumes of Ware’s work, I’m really starting to rethink that. Ware’s just too good to ignore. (So are those other guys, really.) I think Dan might be writing about this one, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief, and just note a couple things:
1. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a comic before that featured a character that I felt such profound sympathy for at some points, and so viscerally hated at others. The range of emotional effects and subtleties of characterization that Ware is able to achieve is really astounding. I don’t care what anybody says.
2. There are zero, count them, ZERO self-deprecating jokes or comments in this book. In fact, though people still complain about them constantly, Ware has included that kind of thing in his work less and less as time has gone on. (I don’t count the sketchbooks, both because they collect older work not originally intended for publication, and because if there was ever a place for personal artistic self-assessment, you’d think it would be in low-print-run diary/sketchbooks. Anyone who buy’s an artist’s journal hoping not to hear what that artist thinks about his work is … odd, to say the least.)
I am very, very confident that those brave critics who claim to only like Ware’s early work (because he “tediously” beats himself up too much, and has a “one-note” emotional palette) will revise their future assessments in the face of the incontrovertible evidence that he doesn’t do it as much now as he did in the work they claim to like. Or they will if they ever read something he’s drawn since last century. I mean, these critics and message-board warriors hate “one-note” art, right? So I assume they hate pounding on the same piano key over and over themselves…
(Don’t even get me started on the whole he’s-always-dark-and-negative thing. That makes about as much sense as complaining that Groucho Marx never “really got serious.”)