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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, July 24, 2012


On a private listserve a poster guided me to this COMICS JOURNAL post, in which Gary Groth reacted to a post by Dan Nadel which concerned (in part) a short Internet film described as 'a Punisher “fan film” by Punisher actor Thomas Jane.'  Groth said in response:

It’s funny, I stumbled onto this 10-minute Punisher “trailer” yesterday —which, believe me, is somewhat uncharacteristic— on the website of an effusive blogger who was prattling on about how wonderful it was that such a film could be made for the sheer love of it and not for comnmercial reasons, as if making this brainless piece of shit was somehow made laudable because there was no profit motive behind it when I should think exactly the opposite — I was reminded of of George Santayana’s comment, “Americans love junk; it’s not the junk that bothers me, it’s the love,” more relevant today, with Comic-Con being its apotheosis and triumph, than ever.
Prior to watching the film and determining that it wasn't, in my opinion, a "brainless piece of shit," I noted that Groth's response was pretty typical, though his comparison of the short to Comic-con didn't seem to make much sense.  Another blogger condemned the "three ring circus" aspect of Comic-con, so I wrote:

[Groth's] not just impugning Comic-Con (yes, how ridiculous it is. to imagine people in search of entertainment going to a circus, three-ring or otherwise). He's slamming the "prattling" blogger for daring to imagine that this take on the Punisher could be deemed "laudable" because it wasn't informed by a profit motive. The Punisher short may or may not be any good by the standard of a critic who would not automatically condemn anything with the character. But Groth isn't such a critic. Over the years Groth has put forth dozens of quotes showing that he only loves a certain type of comics, and virulently hates other types. This is just another one.

I expanded somewhat on this later:


As I said before when responding to the original post about the Punisher short, I agree that he's perfectly entitled to like or dislike any genre or genre-production he pleases. But I also said that I disagreed with his notion that a given bad story incarnates the spirit of Comic-con, or whatever weird connection he was making between the two. A bad story is just a bad story.

BTW, I don't know if anyone else here watched the fan-made Punisher short, but I did, and did not find it a particularly bad story. It didn't reinvent the wheel or anything, but its ten minutes was more entertaining than any 10 minutes of the last 2 Punisher films.

Again-- he's free to dislike the short, as I'm free to like it. I'm not disputing his taste, I'm disputing the philosophical conclusions he makes on the basis of his personal taste.
I'll add in conclusion that the blogger who imputed a lack of profit motive to the makers of the Punisher short may have been a bit naive.  It's likely that anyone who makes such a short might like to parley its popularity into paying work.  That said, naivety is not nearly as offensive to me as unstinting arrogance.

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