Forum Rhetorical Strategies Before They Were Cool

July 15, 2009 at 3:20 am (1)

For the forum comics reader lamenting the raping of one’s childhood (who would probably be very far away from this blog), I present Alex Toth, 1991, who lamented the dirth of entertainment’s moralities both before it was cool to link it with the apocalypse, and to also provide a reasonable framework for the apocalypse (logically, he gives it a couple generations for Shadowhawk to turn into the Anti-Christ), and while he does imply that comics need to be changed, he spends more time in lament than imperative, a slyer move when one’s target is an industry instead of its itinerants.

Oy.

If only he drew this manic condemnation in minimal black and white style, an inferno creeping up with background images of children reading about Speedy shooting heroin turning into vicious mosnters. For an artist at once concerned with both storytelling detail, innovatingly dropping backgrounds out of his frames to intensify moments and plopping details into a comic’s setting to slow it down, all while obsessively focused on the formal aspects (just read through any of his Zorro comics and look for the lighting source in each comic. Characters walk around a room, shadows remain fixed, and proportions are scrupulously maintained). Which is to say that he abandons all of these conventions besides the usage of no verbs to make his adjectives more exciting and powerful, ironically inverted to his common dropping of the background’s nouns to foreground a story’s verbs, in this small prose piece. He instead becomes the grumpy old man (whose work) we all know and love telling Howard Chaykin his comic skillz are terrible, and the gentle fan humbled that he even got an insult from the man.

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