Comics and insularity.

There’s a recent rather acrimonious debate about a book called “The Best American Comics Criticism,” which is actually about what one editor thought was the most interesting criticism from 2000-2009, and mostly contained pretty conventional assessments of pretty conventional stuff– with only one article written by a woman.

This is no real surprise, and perhaps the biggest surprise is that it raised controversy even within the ‘mainstream’ comics crowd. Last night Steve Bissette pointed out that there’d never been significant assessment (or indeed any real assessment at all) in The Comics Journal about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was the best-selling indie comic for years and years and years (not to mention the larger pop-culture phenomenon).

I’m not sure in any other industry but comics would you have so few words written about Tundra Publishing, which burned through about $15 million in three years (at least!), brought out The Crow and, infamously, failed to bring out Big Numbers, and about which I have been googling maniacally trying to find more information since last night when my friend L linked me to this great interview with Kevin Eastman– warning, it’s a pdf, but it’s really great– and I remembered another, older interview that seems to have disappeared from the web.

Now it’s got me digging. But it’s interesting to see how much of ‘mainstream’ comics criticism and blogging focus on a very narrow (to me!) field of interest.