Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Focused Linkblogging

  • Don't trust me about Fear Agent? Not at all? Go, then: read Fear Agent #1 for yourself.

  • Oh. Good. Lord. There is a saying that comes to mind comparing pots, kettles, and the relative blackness thereof. But it escapes me at the moment. (I apappreciate the hits, though, Josh.)

  • I direct you forthwith to the Brill Building, as Ian considers the question of falling in and out of comics. When the first two comments are from Tom Spurgeon and ADD describing their histories with comics, you know it's a good read. I then contributed a couple hundred words on my history, and if I write 200 words on someone else's blog while hitting a brick wall trying to write something substantive here .... I'll be damned if I don't at least link to it.

  • I'm quite in agreement with Steven Grant on this one:

    Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass about passion. Passion's overrated. I've seen hundreds of comics - I've produced some of them - whose creators were undeniably passionate about what they were doing. That didn't stop the comics from being pure crap. Passion can produce pure crap, too.

    ADD disagrees:

    Passion is the beginning of art. If a creator approaches their work with passion, a solid understanding of craft will often follow.

    Often, craft will follow. Often, you're passionate enough to be humble and learn, to admit you can be better, to see that other people know things (even the ones that disagree with you), to do the hard work it takes to be a craftsman. But until that happens, don't expect that "passion" means "quality".

    Angry, flaming passion makes for a good sound bite (especially if one has a beer in hand to gesticulate with) ... but it doesn't necessarily make for good art, comics or otherwise. Craft is about mastering the tools needed to communicate that passion, and without that communication art quickly turns to masturbation. When I was in theatre, I had the lucky experience of acting in Chicago and San Francisco. The local styles of acting were diametrically opposed: Chicago is all about passion and soul and bustin' up the furniture, and San Francisco is committed to craft and technique and presentation. Taken to each extreme, the art produced is either unintelligible or hollow. But I was able to blend the two styles, and learned that craft enhanced my passion. it have me tools to channel that passion, to discuss it with others, and it helped me through those days when the passion just wasn't there. It's easy to create on the days the muse is riding on your shoulder and you feel like every drop of sweat turns to Art. It's the ability to create on days where the muse is on the slow train to Kalamazoo that separates the professional from the dilettante.

    I'm not against passion, certainly. If you are passionate about your art and your life, good for you. It's a good feeling to be passionate, isn't it? Keeps you warm on a winter night.

    The fact you feel passionate has nothing to do with me, however. I buy your comic, read your essay, see your movie, hear your song with no knowledge of your level of passion. I'm not a mindreader or an empath. I don't want your passion. I want your art.

    As is so often the case, excellent discussion is to be had at THE ENGINE.


1 comment:

RAB said...

To paraphrase a quote about writing I first heard twenty years ago: "My child needs brain surgery. I care deeply about my child. I am passionate about my child. No one has a greater personal stake in seeing my child survive the brain surgery. Therefore, I should be the one to perform this operation."

Well, no. That would be a bad thing. Now, is it a good thing for a surgeon to be passionate about surgery? Yes, IF that passion leads the surgeon to work hard, study long, practice and become a better surgeon. But the passion alone is not enough...and passion doesn't automatically translate into that expertise or the long years of effort required to achieve same.

And in fact, a good surgeon needs to dispense with all that passion in the operating room. Honestly, if you have your hands poking around in my brain or my child's brain, I want you as relaxed and efficient and dispassionate as possible...not going through some complex psychodrama while you rummage through the corpus callosum.