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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A. David Lewis on Autobio -- Comics writer A. David Lewis is bored to tears by the "glut" of autobiographical comics. He acknowledges that there are some good works, but goes on at length about why he will never write an autobiographical story.

As you may be aware, autobiography is probably my favourite genre in comics, so Lewis's mini-rant raises a few contrarian hackles. But mostly I am struck by the fact that I would rather read bad autobiographical comics than any of the fiction of Lewis's that I have read. The Lone and Level Sands was one of the most boring graphic novels I've ever tried to slog through (and I tried two or three times, because obviously some effort had been put into its creation).

I also wonder why Publisher's Weekly would give such valuable commentary space to someone who really has had nothing of substance to offer the comics artform as of yet, other than an obvious and all-too-common desire to be in comics whether his comics are really any damn good at all or not. I'm sure Lewis is a great guy, pays his bills on time and is kind to small animals and children, but, I'd rather read an essay by someone with genuine experience and perspective, and not a glorified wannabe with a half-thought-out grudge against a genre he likely isn't fit to work in.

Give me more experimental -- even failed autobiographical comics any day, and deliver me from fiction writers who just really, really wanna be in comics.

Edited to add: I guess Lewis pissed off Tom Spurgeon, too. Although he does not bring in the issue of the quality Lewis's own comics, which is his right. But I think it's fair game, when Lewis expends so much bluster on a straw man argument and yet has nothing of his own backing up his claims that fiction is somehow superior to autobio. Again, I'd rather read a thousand bad autobio comics before one more dull, plodding piece of Lewis fiction ends up in my lap.

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Blogger Matt Brady said...

Right on, Alan. I read that essay, and had trouble un-rolling my eyes from all the cliches he invoked. Spurgeon totally called him out, since he named a bunch of autobios that he thought were good (including Christopher Reeves, which I thought was odd), but none that he thought were bad. Lame, lame, lame. And I agree about The Lone and Level Sands. I had read one or two positive reviews of that one, but I thought the book was not very good at all. He's a writer that I will probably do my best to avoid now.

20 August, 2007 16:32  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

I found the way he immediately buckled under Spurgeon's righteous wrath made me lose even more respect for him, and made it obvious he was just trying to stir shit up and get attention, not actually say anything of value. Which, you'd think if you were offered space at PW, you would use it for something better than lighting your own farts, but in his case, I guess not.

20 August, 2007 16:34  

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