All images herein are scans from Marvel Treasury Edition #4.
Long story short, I think Barry Windsor-Smith’s Red Nails should be considered a masterpiece among the pantheon of comics. Old school fandom has more or less made this claim over the years, but the later “intellectual” generation (particularly the cartoonists and distinguished readers coming up out of the 80s) sees it as “good for the time”—at least, that’s what I sense. I also think many indie comics fans look down on adaptions as if adaptions are not a valid form of expression or something; or that a Marvel sword and sorcery comic simply is not good comics as a matter of principle and should basically be forgotten except when waxing nostalgia or appreciating good inking.
I think independent comics and mini comics culture has come far enough to the point where we don’t have to demonize these old mainstream comics anymore. Yes, Red Nails is more or less violent, swashbuckling entertainment for young adults (or young adults at heart), but that’s what it was intended to be. No, I don’t walk away from it with a deep emotional revelation and it doesn’t cause me to rethink my life, but I had a damn good time looking at it.
Smith’s images return to my thoughts for weeks on end and I marvel at the visual sensationalism. Is not the basic goal of a cartoonist to make something visually interesting and worth looking at/reading? I’d argue that this is the cartoonist’s most basic goal, and I’d argue that it’s in this manner that Barry Windsor-Smith achieved one of thee great works in comics.
if you don’t know, now you know
- Good news for Chicago locals and CAKE 2018 attendees! The Monday after CAKE (June 4th) John Porcellino will be “running an All-Day Comics Workshop at the Chicago Publishers Resource Center.” More details are on the way, but save the date fer crying out loud!
- To raise funds to publish Linework 8, an anthology by Ivan Brunetti’s Columbia College Chicago students, Brunetti and company are holding a silent auction on Facebook from March 5 through March 9. This auction will feature select Brunetti originals(!) and other good stuff. Learn more about the silent auction here. And/or preorder Linework 8 here.
- Lauren Weinstein is the latest guest on Process Party. She also recently graced the airwaves of The Virtual Memories Show.
- RiYL has featured an extra dose of cartoonists recently including, Joseph Remnant, Emil Ferris, and Gina Wynbrandt.