As usual, Sunday’s strip wasn’t available for preview. I’m actually hoping we get a comic cover of some kind. Anything to actually showcase the fictional artwork of the fictional woman we’re supposed to be honoring.
I’m going to give Tom Batiuk the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he intended this arc as some completely hollow awards grab. Epicus said it best in a comment from earlier this week, “I think he does these idiotic stories to give himself something to mention during his annual puff-piece interview in the Canton Daily Bugle’s “Lifestyles” Sunday supplement.”
I would add to this that I think Batiuk sees himself as a man with a platform to bring attention to real life issues, and historical injustices. And while a part of him may be doing this for the ego-stroking self-importance, I want to honestly believe that there is also a part of him that genuinely desires to, in his own tiny way, examine the problems in our world by putting them in his. Those occasional Funky-goes-AA-to-rant-about-global-warming, and Funky-wanders-through-an-abandoned-house-and-ponders-mortality, arcs seem to come from real anxieties about our world, and the nature of his art, his legacy, and being forgotten.
The problem is that Batiuk goes for the easiest answers. The most comfortable soap boxes. And has shown himself unwilling or unable to do the minimum of research required to keep himself from spouting out popular narratives that are unsubstantiated and unverified.
The women I’ve been reading about all week were diverse, their viewpoints were diverse, and their experiences were likewise different. Most importantly, their experiences were complex. They struggled with deadlines, business cycles, and plain old artwork, more than they ever struggled with sexual harassment. Yet Batiuk has given us two weeks of a conversation framed almost entirely around men.
If Ruby Lith was meant to be the avatar for the experiences of these women then, I’m sorry Tom, you have done them a gross disservice. You chose to portray their struggles through a bitter old harpy who would rather talk about the men who done her wrong than her own accomplishments. Tom, these people were artists. They were not cardboard dolls for you to act out your white-knight fantasies with.
Well, that’s it for me for now! Our glorious leader, TF Hackett, will be taking over on Monday. Many, MANY, thanks to him and Epicus for letting me take this blog in a more serious direction for a couple weeks. I promise that zany sarcasm is still definitely on the menu the next time I’m in the driver’s seat, so those of you bored or unimpressed with the Grampa Google assisted history lesson need not worry.
But, thanks so much to everyone who left warm and enthusiastic comments over this arc. It meant so much to me that you all were so supportive in my obsessive nit-picking and interested in learning about the awesome Golden and Silver Age artists Ruby Lith should have been based on.
Until next time!