December 11th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Close the Teapot, It'll Blow Over Soon

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Maybe it’s just a case of my having blindly latched onto the elephant’s tail instead of its trunk, but I didn’t think Steven Grant was being all that provocative in his Dec. 3 column.

Grant’s comment about finding the 2008 comics scene so dreary that he couldn’t compile a decent best-of-year list struck me as merely a jumping-off point for the really valuable part of his column. His exhortation to write your own story (as opposed to recycled Kirby, Moore, Miller or whoever) and then move on, was far more valuable than the negligible business of who’s a household name or Grant’s personal opinion about the dreariness of recent work.

Frankly, being spared yet another laundry list of titles is something of a mercy at this time of year, when there’s less and less of interest to read because all the critics, reviewers and uncategorizable bloggers have turned their unique spaces into endless copies of Entertainment Weekly.

I’ve had work show up on some of these lists in the past, and of course it’s nice to have people say you’re one of the good guys. But in a world where there’s undoubtedly an active Trini Lopez fan club, you have to take these things with a grain of salt.

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However, Grant being within his rights to pass on playing the pointless best-of game hasn’t prevented a number of online folks from taking umbrage. Tom Spurgeon, who invariably comes off as a thoughtful adult, politely disagrees that things were all that bad in ’08 and reasonably asks Grant to qualify his position. Fair enough.

Others seem to be taking it a little more personally. The comments section of Sean Collins’ recent blog on the subject, for instance, quickly degenerated from Dick Hyacinth’s mildly disapproving “you get the idea that he <Grant> values craft above all else” to a series of folks chiming in that “Grant’s head is up his ass.” I don’t think Hyacinth was actually making the crap-over-craft argument that his words suggest, but at least he was making a point that could be rewarded by further discussion. What got up the noses of the head-up-his-ass brigade is beyond me, unless it’s the possibility that Grant, by not praising their favorite funnybooks, was somehow going out of his way to insult them.

(One can imagine the wailing and expressed personal affronts that we’ll be reading now that the Golden Globes have “snubbed” The Dark Knight in their nominations. Talk about dreary…)

Meanwhile, Grant’s very useful writing advice goes unremarked.

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