Tell me about your mother: why people hate autobiography comics. In reply to @smoo_comics @hellophia

I’m *still* trying to work out how I feel about autobio comics in relation to @hellophia’s chat about it last month:

—Simon Moreton (@smoo_comics) at 28 Apr 12:38

The short(est) answer, I’d guess, is that there are x{total # comics autobiographies} different types of autobio comics, and it would take a lifetime of dedication to know them all. You’d be a fool to waste time hating something you don’t understand — just not bothering is a more wholesome concept.

More to the point, and let me say upfront that I have read a few autobiographic novels; I see a few reasons why some readers may decide to loudly not care for the genre:

1. Contrary to some autobiographers’ beliefs, not all human experience is relevant to everybody else.
2. The fact that {intimate event} happened to {person x} doesn’t necessarily mean that person is best fit to tell the story.
3. Some readers still live in a bubble of comics={individual favourite genre}, to an extent that they will believe that Spider-Gwen is […] a comic with everything for everyone — you’re a good person for trying to expand their horizon with some autobiographic comics, but understand that these people are pathologically unable to appreciate any art form without costumed characters hitting each other. Once again, and with emphasis this time: don’t bother.

Perhaps I’m harsh, but I do believe that 95% of anything is likely to be crap, and that’s even a low estimate for the criticism against autobiography that @hellophia summarises at the above link…

Let’s play a game: read this and guess what it’s about, then click on.


“Graphic novelists need to go back to the sketchpad and become artists again”


Scanning those bookshelves, which held everything from Persepolis to Black Hole, what I saw were variations on a reductive graphic style designed to communicate information and signify simple emotions, but never to take the risk of showing a genuinely new, genuinely personal and daring perception of reality.

— in the Guardian, Jonathan Jones relates a disappointing visit to the bookstore’s four-coloured subtly spot-coloured section.

*ahem* May I remind everybody of my (out of print) sketchbook comics?

Here’s a thought about the apparent mutual exclusion of artistry and cartoonistry


[Marc Bell] says his M.O. is to deconstruct and make novel use of “comics language” for his drawings, collages and mixed media works. Whether it’s the drawing style, the inclusion of text or use of grid forms, the influence of comics is fundamental and pervasive. “I see comics and drawing as all the same thing, anyway,” Bell says. Yet he insists he’s no Warhol or Lichtenstein: “I’m a cartoonist creating art, not the other way around.”

— From The Art of Compression: Comic Conversations on the Canadian Art website