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Friday, May 29, 2009

Godmothers, Mothers and Daughters

Over on Slate's sister site, Doublex, James Sturm presents a interesting slide show, Virginia Lee Burton: From Mike Mulligan to R. Crumb, that claims Virginia Lee Burton (pictured above) as the godmother of the graphic novel and presents the claim that the history of comics is wrongfully relegated to publications put out solely by the comic book industry. I agree. I always find it curious when people draw distinctions between kids comics and kids picture books, basically you're telling stories with pictures in both instances, and the art can't be separated from the words. Why is Sara Varon's Robot Dreams a comic, while Chicken and Cat is not? And really, aren't graphic novels just pictures books for adults. Semantics, I know.

What I find more curious is the ire Sturm stoked with Tom Spurgeon over at the Comics Reporter by saying that the Masters of American Comics should have included a woman, to which Spurgeon replies that you can only say a woman should have been included in the show if you are ready to say which man should not have been. Really, the only way to say that women like Lynda Barry and Majorie Henderson Buell helped to define the artistry of comics is by saying they helped to define the artistry of comics more than a man? Really? Perhaps there was an edict that said that only 15 cartoonists could be spotlighted, hence the need to pit cartoonists against each other. Otherwise, this argument seems a little cage match-y to me. Lame.


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