Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I continue to be mystified by Salon's practice of publishing Carol Lay

So, I love The Modern World and Tom the Dancing Bug. I'm really fond of the K Chronicles, and Opus seems a fine inheritor to the Bloom County/Outland line. Which is to say, I'm generally pleased with Salon's comics line up. So, I go there every day. Often, I go there Fridays, when they have nothing, just to keep the habit.

But, Tuesdays can be a problem. Carol Lay is like that girl at the poetry slam who feels it's really important to communicate to us that she was raped by her step father. I'm sorry for her, but it doesn't make it art. I think she's gotten to the point where she has successfully used Salon's poor reading audience to therapize herself, and is trying to draw cartoons out of memories of past anger.

Today (spoiler alert) a man is invited to dig a hole to solve all his problems, and his inviter shoots him when he gets too deep to conceivably avoid the bullet. The last panel makes it clear that the artist didn't expect to surprise us with this, she just had to fill panes. In fact, let's look at the last, say, four.
8/21 embittered woman avoids commitment
8/14 callous researcher kills people for kicks. I liked this one.
8/7 meditation on the word 'Nanny'. The content's fine, but it doesn't seem to leverage the form at all. This would really work better as an essay than as a cartoon.
7/31 bitter and angsty journal of a visit to a comics convention. Sort of an American Splendor thing.

So, um, she had three good weeks. I've really got to choose my data more carefully. I guess the problem is that she's inconsistent; this week and last week were in her lazy mode of bitter, angry bleakness. The good weeks don't carry these. Since I just paid my biennial $70 to Salon.com, I'm sort of of the opinion that they should safeguard their quality.

No comments: