Enlightenment Where?

Saw Geert Wilders’ piece of hate-filled garbage yesterday, just before it got pulled from Liveleak. Pretending to merely be a critique of the Koran, this is straight-up racist hate speech, equating as it does the worst excesses of Islamist extremism with the over one million muslims currently living in Holland. Seriously, the animation in the Nazi propaganda flick Der ewige Jude of rats swarming over Europe has nothing on Wilders’ swelling bar charts representing the growing muslim population in Holland, here on the background of charred bodies, severed heads, and kids with bloodied faces. Yes, we may have freedom of speech, and should protect it as best as we possibly can, but this kind of hateful agitprop is clearly abuse.

What’s more disturbing, however, is the fact that Wilders’ fortunately still rather marginal views on the Koran are becoming increasingly acceptable in the political and public mainstream these days. The notion that, because the Koran contains problematic passages dealing with holy war, the religion — and by extension potentially all muslims — contains inherently totalitarian strains. There’s plenty of vile stuff in the Bible too, if one takes it at face value, but that doesn’t mean we should consider Judaism or Christianity as inherently xenophobic or fascist. This notion that a religion could ever be static is so fundamentally misconceived that its increasing prevalence suggests rather ominous perspectives for the state of enlightenment so often trotted out as our society’s supposed bulwark against religious extremism.

This is not at all the same thing as the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, problematic as their commission was, and good on Bomb-in-Turban cartoonist Kurt Westergaard on suing for removal of his cartoon from the film (Interview here). UDPATE: Wilders has conceded that the cartoon was used without permission and will remove it from the film, but the damage is done, says The Danish Association of Journalists who represent Westergaard.

On The Superman Ruling

This is great news. The heirs of Jerome Siegel (1914-1996) — who in 1938 created Superman along with artist Joseph Shuster (1914-1992) — have been granted the rights to the material published that year in Action Comics #1, the first appearance of the character, ie. the material they created free of any contract, before they sold it to the publisher, DC Comics. Their copyright interest in the character, however, will only be applied from 1999 onwards and will only apply to domestic use of the character. What exact apportionment they will be accorded remains to be seen, as does the Shuster estate’s possible claim for copyright interest. Jeff Trexler has a nice summary up, as well as a helpful FAQ, plus he’s posted the the ruling itself.

Amateur Alert! — Comparative Material

In my post this morning, I made a comparison between the colouring of the Danish 1954 edition of the Barks classic “Vacation Time” and that of Egmont’s recently released version. I unfortunately didn’t have the scans of the same panels from both editions. I do now, and here they are for your perusal:



I refer you to the above-mentioned article for analysis. Thanks again to the Bunker’s scanmasters in Denmark!

Amateur Alert!

It’s finally happening, it seems. A solicitation via Amazon.com last week revealed that, beginning this fall, Gemstone will be collecting and releasing the Duck comics of Carl Barks in their entirety in the original language! On paper, this is great news for Barks fans and lovers of great comics everywhere. For my money, these are some of the best comics ever produced by anyone, anywhere. One of the great treasures of 20th Century art.

A note of caution should, however, be struck before we break out the champagne. The edition Gemstone will be releasing is going to be based on the edition published in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Germany over the last three years. It was put together and produced by Scandinavian publishing giant Egmont and is unfortunately a deeply flawed product.

Picks of the Week


The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers. Cool Swedish short.
  • Tom Breihan: In Defense of Li’l Wayne’s “Lollypop.” This is a pretty impressive feat of criticism; writing substantially about a song that has nothing in it — no hook, trite sexual analogy, lots of synth/vocoder: unabashed pop shit. Breihan makes an interesting case for its weirdness and perverse logic in terms of Wayne’s work as a whole.
  • Stan Lee on MySpace. Complete with Stan Lee ringtones! Come on, you know you gotta see it.
  • Rex the Wonder Dog. Priceless.
  • Re: Danmark hægtet af II

    Her på Metabunkeren er vi glade for al den debat, som vort ydmyge indlæg i Strip! har afstedkommet på tegneseriesitet Seriejournalen.dk, og godt nok er vi lykkeligt fri for at administrere et forum, men ikke desto mindre bringer vi kun gerne læsernes kommentarer. Og en sådan har vi modtaget fra Allan Haverholm, manden bag Sortmund og lead-historien i det seneste nummer af Free Comics, Kaninkongens Grav. Haverholms ærinde er anfægtelse af Strip!-indlæggets afsnit om stilheden blandt danske tegnere. Her er hvad Allan skriver, hvad overtegnede svarer, og derpå Allans afrunding (ADVARSEL: INDEHOLDER HÃ…RDKOGTE UDFALD MOD VISSE DELE AF DANSK TEGNESERIEKULTUR ):

    Hej Metaonkler –

    jeg har læst jeres statusrapport over danske tegneserier i STRIP, og kunne ikke lade være med at tage til genmæle. Vi er principielt enige i mange ting, men jeg er ked af at netop I – der med Rackham (tidsskriftet) entusiastisk og sprudlende introducerede mange for et andet serieudbud end det vante – igen, og oftere med tiden, forfalder til mavesur resignation. Jeg ser netop nu at herr F. Madsen benytter en lignende formulering i en mindre flatterende sammenhæng, så lad os sige ‘fornærmet resignation’ i stedet.


    happydays_feature.jpg On the transformation of Beckett’s Happy Days into a kind of star vehicle (Deborah Warner/Fiona Shaw, National Theatre, Spring 2007).

    Play This Twice

    As a little gesture to honor the creative work and vision of Anthony Minghella, whose untimely death last week marks a real and serious loss to the British film industry, I wanted to refer you to my favourite piece in his director’s oeuvre: Play, his unforgettable film version of the stage play by Beckett. The whole thing can be seen on YouTube, posted in two parts and lasting just under 15 minutes (also posted below). Once you start Part 2, keep watching; the clip is not mislabeled, ‘though if you are new to this piece then you are excused for thinking so.

    Raymond Leblanc RIP

    Raymond Leblanc just died at the age of 92. Through a long life, he was Tintin creator Hergé’s prime enabler. The two co-founded the Tintin magazine in 1946. A war hero, Leblanc helped Hergé emerge from the blacklisting he was suffering under because of his collaboration during the German occupation of Belgium. He also provided a venue for Hergé’s great strip for the the rest of its glorious run, and put up with its creator’s many creative and personal crises. If it weren’t for this man’s patience and tenacity, it’s a pretty safe bet many of Hergé’s later masterpieces wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Also, Leblanc was the publisher of another great classic, E. P. Jacobs’ Blake & Mortimer, which not only ran in Tintin but was published in album form by Leblanc’s Editions Lombard. One of the great editors/publishers of comics history. Rest in Peace.

    Read ActuaBD’s obituary here, Tom Spurgeon’s here and, also, this great, recent interview with Leblanc from which the above photo of Leblanc and Hergé is cribbed.