By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Ted Rall is an excellent, incisive cartoonist, but he reveals himself to be a shoddy excuse for a person.
Ted Rall's embittered piece about Art Spiegelman disappointed me. Has Rall forgotten that Spiegelman helped pull the graphic novel out of the sci-fi and children's-story envelope? Of the hundreds of graphic novels aimed at an adult literary audience, Maus was unique in achieving a wide-scale audience. Outside the States, graphic novels have achieved adult respectability. In the U.S., Spiegelman has opened the door for other masters of the medium to gain recognition.
I agree that Art Spiegelman is overrated, but Ted Rall's article came off as more of a nit- picking bitchfest motivated more by professional resentment than by genuine outrage.
Particularly tasteless was Rall's flip remark about Abner Louima "pucker[ing] up his innards every time a cop struts by...."
How dare Rall trivialize such a gruesome injustice done to an innocent man?
Regarding Ted Rall's piece about Art Spiegelman: I'm always wary when a critic incorporates so many backhanded editorial comments about his subject. It indicates someone who comes at a piece with a personal bias.
Deep Blue See
Ted Rall, whose work I've admired in the past, tries to whip up controversy by turning ordinary facts into blazing scandal. Art Spiegelman did not get a gig at The New Yorker, he "insinuated himself into the ossified glossy." He doesn't remain loyal to his friends, he "reward[s] his ex-SVA protégés with lucrative, high-profile assignments." He doesn't simply like blue, he's "strangely obsessed with the blue palette." As for Maus, Spiegelman "didn't write the story, he got it from his dad"as if Art's skill as cartoonist, editor, and storyteller didn't come into play.
Drawn and Quartered
Will someone please tell Ted Rall to take a deep breath and just keep drawing? Rall's work as a cartoonist is brilliant, but his shallow attack on Art Spiegelman smells like sour grapes. Who said you have to be perfect just because you win a Pulitzer? Donworry Ted, your time will come, and you'll get all your friends a few gigs, too.
Why was a bitter, jealous, personal attack rife with inaccuracies (and fortified with spurious quotes from cowardly unnamed sources) considered responsible reporting by The Village Voice? It's quite clear that Ted Rall, who was up for a Pulitzer and didn't get one, simply wants to pee on the leg of his master out of frustration. The mystery is why his "article" was seen fit to print by the editors, much less as a cover story.
Art Spiegelman killed cartooning in this town for anyone under 40? That's news to Chris Ware, David Mazzucchelli, Kaz, Tony Millionaire, Archer Prewitt, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Chester Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Jason Lutes, Seth, Julie Doucet, and Joe Matt, to name a few. Some of the above have worked with or have even been discovered by Mr. Spiegelman, and some have never met him. But all of them are thriving simply because they are talented and work hard. Period. If you really want to see drawings that are "flat, poorly balanced, and strangely obsessed with the blue palette," there are plenty of them on Ted Rall's Web site, where one is treated to a choice of Ted's "Comics," Ted's "Columns," Ted's "Goodies," Ted's "News" (book tours, appearances, etc.), and the opportunity to "Buy Stuff: Ted Rall Merchandise," and read "stuff about Ted Rall." Art Spiegelman, so egregiously accused of self-promotion in Rall's article, has no such site.
As an under-40 non-baby booming cartoonist (31, to be exact) who first contributed to Rawmagazine at age 22, I would like to register my rage with your offices for publishing Ted Rall's absurd attack on Art Spiegelman.
The vague anecdotes, anonymous tips, and fragmentary quotes which form the fundament of Mr. Rall's burbly commentary are childish and irresponsible, evincing a journalistic "judgment" bordering on that of the flunking high school troublemaker. Mr. Rall's screed reads like a secret note snortingly passed through the back rows of a classroom, leaving one with the sense of having witnessed a fellow student "jumped" in the hallway, or forcibly disrobed in the locker room.
Aside from the cruel "op-ed" dismantling of Mr. Spiegelman's artwork and erroneous suppositions as to what drives him, it is doubly offensive that the Web page-sporting Mr. Rall would criticize Mr. Spiegelman for being a "self-promoter," and then go on to detail a number of cases in which Mr. Spiegelman provided "gigs" to other cartoonists whose work he respects.
This sort of editorial policy Mr. Rall defines as favoritism, stating with piquant eloquence that real "art directors typically pick comics for their papers or magazines in order to attract certain readers, regardless of whether or not the art director personally likes the cartoons." In Mr. Rall's mind, art directors are nothing more than graphic machinists, trained to formfit publications to the follies of "certain readers," gaily disposing of their own taste and intelligence in the process. (This may, at least, explain why Mr. Rall's own work appears in over 100 newspapers.)