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[personal profile] fpb
This is the time of the Lucca (Italy) Comics Convention, one of the three greats along with Angouleme (France) and San Diego (USA). And it has been announced that Sergio Toppi, the greatest Italian cartoonist of all time, still active and still pushing boundaries at 77 years of age, will be given an official award by the Italian Government.


I don't know how I feel about it. On the one hand, the official celebrations in France for the fiftieth anniversary of Asterix, as well as the award for Toppi, are overwhelmingly well deserved, and at a time when the Nobel Prize Committees seem to have lost their way altogether (and I don't only mean the Peace people), it seems more than right to show that official gratitude and public celebration can be given to people who really have created great art and given happiness to millions. On the other, I am very, very keen on the unofficial, almost underground position of the comics artform. This has been the most creative and probably the most influential artform of the twentieth century from a base of near-clandestinity. We have done very well out of being underground and despised, and frankly I dread the results if we were to become, like "modern art" and opera, institutional.

Date: 2009-10-30 12:41 am (UTC)
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From: [identity profile] inverarity.livejournal.com
Too late. I remember when anime and manga were for the nerdiest of nerdy fans. Now they have their own section at Barnes & Noble. Comics stopped being "underground" a long time ago; Marvel and DC are regarded by their parent companies largely as development shops for movie licenses.

That's not to say that there aren't still ground-breaking comic artists, just as there are ground-breaking musicians and writers, but when just about any comic or graphic novel with any popularity gets made into a movie, yes, it's become institutional.

Date: 2009-10-30 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
As long as we go on living on selling to a real public, I don't mind. What is corrupting is replacing the necessary other term of any artistic activity - a real public, be he even a single rich guy who is stupid enough to love your stuff for its own sake - with state funding. That, in my view, has destroyed "modern art" and most subsidized opera and theatre in Europe. We get less "imaginative" settings in toilets or slaughterhouses in Italy, because there opera is still a massively popular enterprise and the public have no problems about letting a pretentious stage designer know that they did not like his work. Comics have done very well out of being an artform that was paid for exclusively by its public. I, at least, don't want to see any state endowment.


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