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The Comics Journal #302
Published by Fantagraphics Books
700ish pages, b&w, softcover, 7"x8.5"
I was going to crack wise again about how this brick-like 700-odd page installment acts as a part 2 to #301's special "All Men" issue, but then that just made me depressed and sad about the state of publishing, criticism and validation in comics.
So Fantagraphics rolls out another edition of TCJ in print featuring another one of these waiting-for-death Maurice Sendak interviews that are popping up everywhere these days, also retreading ground with R. Crumb and Joe Sacco that they maybe they didn't get around to in their features in the last issue. Plus, uh, Paul Karasik, Seth, Percy Crosby, Art Spiegelman, Chester Brown, Jeff Smith, Roy Crane and an upside-down interview with Jacques Tardi. None of which is inherently boring of course, but the effect is extremely UNinvigorating, that the journal is suffocating under a cannon of its own construction.
I want to see lesser known artists gain a critical foothold in comics and part of that equation is platforms like TCJ opening up and paying special attention to some of the outstanding stuff going on in self-publishing right now. (Hey, also maybe paying attention to 50% of the population that might be making comics?) There's no room for that here, and it's a shame, because it right now it seems beligerantly stuck in watching the same 20 golden names go around a track without also trying to look at what else is happening. If you're going to run an appreciation of Dylan Williams you might want to pay attention to the ways he worked to change comics publishing.... -EF