Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Imagine Chris Ware doing the Fantastic Four"

Two things that came to mind after reading Grant Morrison's comments about Chris Ware's work in a recent Rolling Stone interview.

First, Grant Morrison's website, more than 10 years ago:
Grant Morrison on Chris Ware doing the Fantastic Four

(I remember showing the above quote to a friend at the time. His response: "Yeah, right.")

And, from a 1999 interview with Grant Morrison:

I really like Chris Ware formally, he’s formally brilliant. The black humour is at a pitch where I can enjoy it just for the sheer nastiness of it, the black depth of it. But what worries me is that there’s so many of those American guys - and I have this problem with the Fantagraphics books, not all of them, but most of them - is that there’s a lot of really bad ones, I think.

They live in the most privileged, the most wonderful country in the world, and they keep writing about how shitty their lives are, and I’m sorry, I come from Scotland, I come from a place where no one’s got work, no one’s got money, and I’m reading these Americans in California telling me that life is shit, and it’s like, Get Therapy, y’know, I don’t want to read your comics, ‘cos you’re boring bastards. And there’s nothing fun, there’s nothing empowering or useful in that. You know, I love Dan Clowes’ stuff, when he was doing Velvet Glove, and Ghost World, but when he writes that stuff, this is who I hate, because Dan Clowes walks in and says “I hate that kid over there because she’s got a big arse, and I hate that one... it’s like, shut up, shut the fuck up, keep it to yourself, that means nothing to me, it’s just attacking humanity for no good reason, do something. And the good thing about him is, he does, but a lot of these Fantagraphics guys do nothing but “I hate this!”, nihilistic, pointless... But like I say, these guys are living in California...
Superman by Chris Ware
This time, Morrison's comments have generated attention from places such as The Comics Journal and The Beat. I don't agree with his comments about Ware or Fantagraphics cartoonists in general, but I can understand his point of view. (Also, the quotes above suggest that he's been aware of Ware's work for some time. I assume he arrived to that conclusion after reading the work, at least.)

To be honest, I'm much more disappointed by his cavalier dismissal of Jerry Siegel's and Joe Shuster's treatment by DC, as Abhay Khosla and Paul Gravett pointed out a month ago. To say that corporations screwing young creators is something natural ("it's kind of the world") and something that he can't possibly have an opinion about (because he "wasn't around" at the time) strikes me as much more nihilistic than anything Chris Ware or Daniel Clowes have published in their work.

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