oh, THAT magic specialness

Now I get it. [In the comments from the last two days] Jed was talking about the magic specialness that is missing from the overall perception of comics art as Art, and the insanity of Mr. and Mrs. Public paying an outrageous fortune for a Dali sketch or a Warhol scribble, while an original page of FRANK art sells for far far less.

I can explain that the way I explain so many things in life:

People are stupid. It really is that simple. You can go and read all the analyses and theses and essays and columns by all of the learned scholars, but it really won't explain anything because there is no logical explanation. MY explanation is that people don't understand art but they do understand celebrity. I could go on and on and explain that further, but in the end it just does not make sense the way art is praised and rewarded by society. Usually. Some things I agree with. But you would probably disagree. For example, I think it is good that Little Miss Sunshine made it all the way to the Oscars. But most comics fans would probably rather see that horrid "Batman Begins" get more praise and glory.

In that respect, it's all a matter of taste. But in the overall Big Picture, trying to answer Jed's question is like trying to understand suicide bombers. It's crazy, plain and simple.

Yo, check this out. The new Slam Bang contains TWO classic Mark Martin comics from Nancy's Magazine, plus a beautiful full color back cover by Mark Martin, plus that little Fan-Atic Press logo I scribbled 80 years ago and they're STILL USING IT!!! Go see.

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5 comments:

jed said...

But odder still is how much you get paid for a commercial job--say, a Nickelodeon page--vs. how much you can sell the same page for (assuming it's not completely done in digital land). The difference is huge! That's what I meant by comic book art and illustration degrading in value after it seen print. The magic specialness gets knocked out of the original art, somehow, upon publication.

It's the intangible thing--publication rights, intellectual property--that in this case, is worth more than the tangible thing--original one of a kind art. Now that's just batty.

See? Where is the magic specialness? The real magic specialness lies in some kind of weird twilight zone inbetween the act of making and the act of printing, and I would argue, the printed thing as a body of work contained, is even more magically special than the original art in some cases.

Then there's the collectables thing, where the otherwise mostly worthless stuff--printed matter and original cartoons--acrues value slowly from the mysterious magic specialness of nostalgia. But that's another story.

Now I promise I'll try not to be too much of a crackhead here. But it seems like, for the most part, the actual thing that you do that is valued by people is completely intangible. That if your work is remembered and valued 50 years from now, it will be in the form of mostly cheap printed or digital matter.

Now I actually think this all works to your advantage. Take Monet's water lillies, for example. Any kind of reproduction of it--be it on a poster or a book or a callendar or a tote bag or a 3D holigram--is one step removed from the magic specialness of the real thing. Have you ever seen one of those babies? I saw one in the Museum of Modern Art in NY, and no reproduction can compare.

Contrariwise, take Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who: Every halfway decent printed copy of that book exudes magic specialness.

So there you go. And I know what I'm trying to say is confusing, the monetary value people place on things vs. the magic specialness they place on those same things. Like your childhood teddy bear could have tons of magic specialness for you vs it's market value. I've been fumbling through just what exactly I've been trying to articulate here, and it wasn't Teddy bear magic specialness exactly, and it wasn't market place magic specialness, but it's a kind of magic specialness that's related to both. I don't know if I've made myself any clearer, but I tried.

SRBissette said...

OK, Jed, you're right, but you're damn near gibbering. Like an intelligent, but red and hairy, orangutan.

jed said...

Hey, if you can explain it in a way that doesn't make you sound like a gibbering nutjob, go ahead. At least semi-concisely. I don't think I did so bad considering.

By the way, Mr. Bisette, I just came across one of the later issues of Taboo, and was recently reminded of how much I miss the talent of mysteriously missing from the scene, Rick Grimes. Where oh where is Rick Grimes? I remember that man's work making an indelible mark on my then still unformed psyche. So, you know, that probably accounts for a lot, huh?

SRBissette said...

Hey, Jed, Rick is alive and well and living in Louisiana still, far as I know. I've not seen anything of his published since Veitch and I published Rick. Alas, Rick Veitch and I seemed to be the only ones to open the door for Grimes being published in the '90s; I worked on an all-Grimes book that was never published (we waited toooo long for an intro by a comics star; his name might have sold copies, but that came to nought, so NO copies printed, NO copies sold -- lesson learned, but what a loss!). Brilliant cartoonist!

Jed said...

Whoah. You mean somewhere there's an unpublished all Grimes book out there somewhere waiting to be published? Fantagraphics seems pretty flush these days with all that Peanuts money, you'd think the door might be open at least for one of those big oversize 32 page Ignatz type books.

Look, I really want a Grimes book! I'll be first in line! I'll buy two! That's two sales right there! Can't you guys do something, agitate, make some calls?

A few years ago Jon Lewis of True Swamp fame mentioned something to me about having been acquanted with Grimes. There must be a way! Nothing lost here, guys!

I'll have you know that MM published Grimes when he was over there at Tundra, so you and Veitch weren't the only two! I think there's real potential here to generate some interest! The climates right! The Winds have turned! He was just ahead of his time, that's all.