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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I was trying to avoid putting Tom Spurgeon in my subject list, but now it seems there's no avoiding it.

I've never met Spurgeon. I had ceased submitting to the COMICS JOURNAL about 1990, which is about two-three years before he became the JOURNAL editor. I don't recall having argued with him, as I did with so many others, in the magazine's letters-pages or elsewhere. My first arguments with him were a couple of really long ones on the Board That Must Not Be Named. In the last year or two I'd argued with him a few more times on THE BEAT, but none of those contretemps were nearly as long. That's at least partly due to the fact that the comments-threads could be shut down at any point by the management, though Tom has at times evinced a tendency to make statements and then blow off any attempt to make him back them up. Tellingly, when he thinks others do this to him, he puts on that fine JOURNAL veneer of righteous contempt.

In this post I've already alluded to one of those BEAT-fights. Now there's been another, which from my POV came about because I tried to question TS more closely about some of the points he made. Anyone interested can read TS' comments on a Rich Johnson piece at the post called TURN THE PAGE. But I will reprint my initial comment on Spurgeon's rant:

What an odd Spurge-splurge.

I respect EC Comics as much as the next geezerfan, but why would anyone state, as if it were unalloyed fact, that they pushed far more boundaries than Vertigo did? A lot of EC stories kick ass: a lot of them are just good time-killers. I’m not sure any of the kickass stories pushed any more boundaries than did SANDMAN. One could argue that, but not without establishing some sort of terms.

And while we’re attacking “conventional” stories, let’s not forget that an awful lot of EC stories build on established conventions picked up from prose stories.

Is the denigrating image of the ponytailed fanboy now that widely accepted over that of the fat slob? I never got the memo to that effect.

Now, that's supercilious as hell, to be sure. But I think TS went a bit overboard here in his comment to me:

Gene, like I said last time, I just feel sorry for you at this point. I am so sorry that life turned out the way it did for you, and that you’re so unhappy that you read personal insults into broad caricature and feel the need to strike back in a way, albeit in a way that hasn’t hurt all that much since I was 14.

I shouldn't need to point out that Tom Spurgeon has not one half-baked idea about how life has "turned out" for me. I have to assume that this extreme lameosity is (a) a standard Journalista dodge, to avoid answering faulty points by pretending that one's critic is an envious cretin, and (b) Tom's attempt to disengage by being as offensive as possible, far beyond the level of the merely supercilious (which is OK when Journalistas do it, natch).

I also shouldn't need to point out (though I will) that Tom's weird accusation is of a piece with all those accusations levelled at him and other Journalistas by more conservative comics-mavens, to the effect that they "hate comics."

In Part 2 I'll look at some of the stuff Tom said in response to my EC/Vertigo points, in order to show (as usual) the superiority of pluralism to elitism.

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