Empty Closets

I just found that (the excellent comics academic) Jeet Heer has a blog. Good news!
His latest post is a brief history of classics scholarship. He demonstrates it to be in large part the sublimation of hidden homoerotic desires into scholarship. But, after a couple millennia of Christian (and Jewish and Islamic) prohibitions of same-sex desire, the closet has been thrown open and the repressed sexual energies have dissipated. Are we at an end of the classics now that repressed desire is no longer channelled into mastering difficult texts? (This is a very truncated go read the whole thing and come back).

Jeet states in his post that we got the classics from the Greeks. Via Michel Foucault we are told that the Greeks didn’t have the same hang ups about same-sex-sex as we do. The dynamics of sexual relations were dictated by active or passive categories, not male or female ones. This maybe a minor quibble, but how did the Greeks leave us with all those great classics if they weren’t trapped in the closet? Clearly sexual sublimation finds other channels. Classics scholars maybe (largely) out the closet, but we’re not yet in a perfect age of desublimation. Perhaps this somewhat misanthropic quote from another Frenchman, Michel Houellebecq, points towards something: “Those who love life do not read. Nor do they go to the movies actually. No matter what might be said, access to the artistic universe is more or less entirely the preserve of those a little fed up with the world.” (from H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life) Lets hope most theoretically-no-longer-sexually-repressed classics scholars are still a bit fed up with the world.

Yuichi Yokoyama Fashion in Second Life

yuichi yokoyama

Well… sort of… I’ve been obsessed with the manga artist Yuichi Yokoyama lately. Everywhere I look I see something that refers me back to his comics.

Gift Box Hat Couture…

I was checking out the newly formed Evil Robot blog, specifically a post on Ideal World, a film about virtual worlds. One of the clips on the film site is about a Second Life fashion designer. At one point there is a Yokoyama fashion moment as she tries to learn the new virtual tools of her trade. Makes you wonder what would have happened if she just went with it. Virtual worlds full of inexperienced avatars are kind of an interesting way of thinking about Yokoyama’s New Engineering now that I think of it… I will have lots more to say about Yokoyama in the very near future.

Paper Bag Hat. Vintage Yokoyama fashion. Image from New Engineering.

Fall Con 2007

TCAF 2007 sketch
Actually this sketch is from TCAF, but I never wrote a report from that.. so there.

A very late (and very brief) report on Fallcon in St. Paul from a couple of weeks back. Fallcon 2007 ended up being a great show despite the fact that it mostly catered to the back-issue crowd. That’s actually what made it so refreshing for me. I haven’t been to a convention like this in a long time. On top of that tables were free for creators and there were free sodas and hot dogs… how can you not go wrong!?

It also helped to have awesome neighbors: Will Dinski, Sara Morean and Sam Hiti. I was sorry I had to miss the second day. I wish I had taken pictures! Here are a few people that did: The Cartoonist Conspiracy, Big Time Attic and The Daily Crosshatch.

USS Catastrophe Resurfaces

lost at sea

This is another thing I should have posted a while ago. According to Dan and Kevin the USS Catastrophe Shop is open for business… The ship was thought to be sunk sometime ago, but it has resurfaced like the Flying Dutchman to briefly navigate the turbulent seas of hand-stapled pamphlets once again… for the last time. I think it’s the only place right now where you can still get copies of my Leisure mini. Go order a bunch of comics! It will be missed…

Post SPX 2007 Report

yuichi yokoyama tablecloth slice

SPX 2007 was one of the funnest comics shows I’ve ever attended. There are tons of SPX reports out there already, so I’ll refrain from going into to much detail. My favorite acquisitions:

Yuichi Yokoyama’s New Engineering was easily the book I most anticipated. I’d been reading about it online for some time. Finally getting my hands on this book was very satisfying. The book’s mixture of absurd combat and surreal construction projects did not disappoint. I will have more to say about it in the near future.

Papercutter #6. This little anthology is getting better with each volume. This issue didn’t disappoint. Alec (Phase 7) Longstreth, who also edited it, delivers a solid story that could easily make this Phase 7 #12.5. Ken Dahl spews out a Gordon Smalls stream of consciousness rant. I kept thinking it was set in a parallel world where John Zerzan was not only a cartoonist but funny too. Julia Wertz and Laura Park collaborate on a sweet story of youthful sexual awakening… er… or something like that.

My favorite mini of the show was Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in Sixty Days or Less. It’s dense, understated and well paced. Well worth whatever she was charging for it.

And last, but not least, Acorn Reindeer’s new mini The Karaoke Encryption combines a foul mouthed vegetable Tintin with Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps.

Other highlights included being on my first comics ‘theory’ panel, signing copies of Mome with Mome-mate Eleanor Davis, talking J.G. Ballard with Andy Hartzell and many others too numerous to mention.