If the internet is good at anything, it’s dumping on asked for criticism at other people. Everyone does it. In fact, in a very real way, that’s pretty much what this whole show is. We’re cultural critics. This is cultural criticism. But is there a point when that criticism can go too far? Are there rules about how you are allowed to critique? Are there rules about who is allowed to critique? A few months ago, a tumblr user critiqued the art of professional comics artist J. Scott Campbell, claiming that they “fixed” Campbell’s original art. The tumblr user went viral and Campbell became aware of it and critiqued the fix. And from there, the world went crazy as the internet does what it does best… it took sides and flung insults and yelled at each other. While this particular instance went big — at least in the tiny little world of comics twitter — for a couple of days, the basic concept isn’t new. “I Fixed That For You” is just a thing now.
But was any of this actually wrong? As cultural critics, we often say that criticism — be it of art, books, films, music, or comics — is entering into a conversation. Doesn’t the original artist have a right to enter that conversation as well? Is there a point where it goes too far? Does it matter what the content or ideology of the art (or the artist OR THE CRITIC) is? Can you fix someone’s art? Is saying “I fixed that for you” asking crossing a line? How should they respond? Should the artist leave well enough alone? Should the critic? Or is this all just a bunch of hooey?
On this week’s show, Wayne and Mav are joined by returning guests and fellow indie comic creators Dawn Griffin and Marcel Walker to talk about the concept of critique and engagement between artists and fans, working through the Campbell incident, as well as Star Wars deep fakes (trust us, it makes sense), and their personal experiences with fan criticism. Marcel even fixes our show! Listen and let us know what you think in the comments!
Citations and Links:
- This episode’s Call for Comments
- How to Analyze & Review Comics: A Handbook on Comics Criticism edited by Forrest C. Helvie
- “Deepfake YouTuber who went viral with Star Wars videos is hired by Lucasfilm” by Sam Moore
- “A Spider-Man comic-book illustrator lashed out at a Tumblr user who edited his cover to be less sexual. It unearthed a brewing culture war” by Daniel Spielberger
- “When J Scott Campbell Revisited That Mary Jane Cover For Marvel Comics #1000” by Rich Johnson
- Thank you to Maximilian’s thoughtForm Music for our theme
- Visit Marcel Walker’s website
- Order Chutz-Pow! from the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center
- Check out Dawn’s Art: http://dawngriffinstudios.com
- Get Dawn’s newest book: https://www.idafindshervoice.com
- Follow Mav on Twitter: @chrismaverick
- Follow Wayne on Instagram: @tetroc2017
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