Funny Business: Two Comics Anthologies

Jackson Arn at Art in America:

It’s terrifying how optimistic that era’s pessimism now seems. In Adventures in Paradise’s view of the future, we’re all fucked, to be sure, but at least we get to go to Mars, hang out with sentient robots, expand, accelerate, etc. The last four decades seems to have brought something like a great lowering of expectations, which David Graeber described like so: “A timid, bureaucratic spirit suffuses every aspect of cultural life. It comes festooned in a language of creativity, initiative, and entrepreneurialism. But the language is meaningless. . . . The greatest and most powerful nation that has ever existed has spent the last decades telling its citizens they can no longer contemplate fantastic collective enterprises.” Graeber singled out scientists and politicians for their contracting imaginations, but the creative class isn’t exempt— just look at the extraordinary success of Marvel Studios, the company whose fizzling pyrotechnics and brand-management-disguised-as-entertainment are a shadow of the American comic-book tradition to which Gary Panter has added so much.

more here.