Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Cornucopia of reviews!

Here I was, thinking we had received (more than) our share of reviews, and it was all over, when all of a sudden three new--big ones!--pop up.

I admit, I would never have caught the fact that Thierry Groensteen himself had reviewed the anthology three weeks ago, if I hadn't received an email from him earlier today letting me know about it. The review is on his blog: http://neuviemeart.citebd.org/spip.php?page=blog_neufetdemi, but I can't figure out how to get a permalink for the specific post. Scroll down to January 19, 2010, or "mardi 19 janvier." To translate a few passages:

"The title is, in itself, a manifesto. It makes official the existence of these strange objects that some will reject as a contradiction in terms: 'abstract comics.'

... In the abstract comics gathered by Molotiu, sequential ordering produces nothing on the order of a story; but solidarity between the panels is established (in more or less convincing and seducing fashions) in another mode--plastic, rhythmic and so to speak musical. Personally, I do not refuse to make a place for these creations in the field of comics, because I wish that field to be as open and as diversified in its expressions as possible, without excluding anything a priori
[this is my awkward translation of Groensteen's "sans exclusive"]. Nevertheless, I still note that they have closer affinities with the operating modes of contemporary art that with the ordinary ambitions of drawn literatures."

And then we have two massive discussions of the book by three comics scholars. Charles Hatfield reviews it, and meditates on the theoretical issues it poses, at Thought Balloonists. (Hard to excerpt. Go read the whole thing!) And Charles' usual Thought-Balloonists cohort, Craig Fisher, engages in a dialogue on the book with critic and anthology contributor, Derik Badman, on Badman's own Madinkbeard blog.

1 comment:

  1. Great reviews, interestingly intertwined. Really nice detailed discussions of individual works. I like how Hatfield praises your curatorial choice not to include textual analysis throughout the collection. It seems to me that these sorts of reviews do that more effectively -- or at least more dialogically (and how!). And the collection itself lets the pieces more or less "speak" for themselves. (Although, I will admit, that I too became fascinated by how the works were sequenced and began using order as something of an interpretive frame.)

    I agree with the general consensus (as much as there is one) that the collection raises important questions. The answers to those questions are all over the board, some more satisfying than others. In the end, it is less important whether any one contributor (or reviewer, for that matter) does or doesn't answer "correctly" within abstract notions of abstraction, or whether your opening analysis is "right" (???) on all points. It is more important that collection poses new possibilities for comics and struggles with what those possibilities might be.


Please note that anonymous comments will be rejected.