My best friend and publisher, Dan Nadel, writes a thing over at the Comics Journal about my Aircel comics post. For those new to the scene - me and Dan used to banter like this all the time on our old ComicsComics blog. If you haven’t noticed I am seriously trying to figure out how to use tumblr in the way that we used ComicsComics as a conversation starter.
Dan (the man basically responsible for the reprint comics boom) said:
"Frank Santoro writes about an Aircel comic. Y’know, it’s a funny thing, the surge in interest in 80s-glut action/superhero comics. Surge might even be an exaggeration. In this Twitter/Tumblr feedback loop it’s hard to tell what’s actually generating lasting interest and what’s just a passing click. Anyhow, the point is, most of this interest is from artists — and really, that’s almost the only way these things can be enjoyed — as material for influence. Frank writes:
The stuff that holds up, to me, sometimes reads like some gang slang. Kinda cool. I’m not trying to convince anyone that these “throwaway” comics are actually any good. I just really like them for the airbrushed tones – real airbrush, none of this Photoshop airbrush crap […] I doubt any of it is future Art Out of Time material but it is interesting. Even if only for historical reasons. And airbrush coloring.
He’s right, it’s probably not future Art Out of Time for material, in the sense that it won’t, like a lot of theAOOT stuff, broaden and enrich the “canon” (if you’ll forgive the term. It’s late.). These aren’t lost masterpieces, but they contain blips that are almost best seen through, say, Frank’s eyes. They’re almost impossible to enjoy as they were meant to be enjoyed — as comics. I mean, they might provide a visceral thrill, but the function has changed. Now they’re repositories of technique and attitudes, and ones that have mostly been left unexamined, like a lot of 1980s independent comics, both because of how close we are to that period and because comics was supposed to have transcended that stuff, too. I’m sure there are analogies to be drawn between these comics and z-level horror/SF movies, of course. And… that’s all I have on the subject for the moment.”