As some of you know, I'm a part-time critic, and so I sort of see spreading sadness and ill-will as my duty. And I think disagreement is often actually helpful for art in all kinds of ways. So here goes:
First of all, I quite like the pictures you posted, Robert. They're trippy and creepy and highly detailed, all things I very much enjoy in art. And I love Steve Ditko and Berni Wrightson too.
I also agree that the comics scene at the moment has a lot of problems. I'm not sure I agree about what they are, though. I don't think that the problem with comics is that there's too much conceptual innovation. As far as I can tell, there's hardly any. Most American alternative cartoonists don't even vary page layout outside of a grid; mainstream comics are trapped in a super-hero rut from which there seems to be no escape (and I'm speaking as someone with a lot of affection for super-hero comics.) I do think American comics tend to be boring, but I think that's because they're conceptually barren, not because they are too innovative.
Now to a couple of things I disagree with:
As someone with a child, I don't think you're quite right when you assume that having a kid decimates your creative output. It's certainly a huge sink of time and energy (I'm trying to get my son to take a nap even as we speak.) But as far as art goes, it can also be an inspiration and a goad. Siah's a big part of the project I'm currently posting on here (which may be good or may be bad, but there's certainly a lot of it.) And I only started getting gigs writing criticism *after* he came on the scene. Not that you (or anyone) should have a kid if you don't want one; I just don't think that having one spells disaster for an artist.
And, probably the biggie: I find your attitude towards women off-putting. It's not the breast-fetish — most guys have some sort of fetish, and breasts is fairly standard (I've had the odd crush on Jayne Mansfield and Cristy Canyon myself.) But when you talk about woman (or "females") you seem to present them mostly as sexual objects, rather than as human beings. (You say you don't want a woman "to look after" for example; a woman's a person, not a dog — she'll look after herself, y'know?)
Your views are pretty standard, of course. But part of the reason I think this is worth discussing is because I think it points out some of the limitations of this blog, and of this group in general as a force for revamping comics as we know it. I like the art on this blog, and I'm happy to be a part of it. But I think it fits pretty easily into the sort of thing underground cartoonists were doing 30 or 40 years ago — the clubby, virtually all-male atmosphere included. I just don't think that this is where change in comics is going to come from; it's been done before, it's appeal has been shown to be limited; it isn't likely to have a huge audience outside of the small world in which comics is already ensconced. (Where I do think change is going to come from is shoujo and comics for girls, which are incredibly inventive, phenomenally popular, and hugely inspiring to a whole new crop of cartoonists, who will start being old enough to create some serious shit in the next decade or so.)
And, finally, I disagree with the thinking behind this paragraph:
"I would also hope that I would pave the way for more artists to draw anything they want (and I do mean ANYTHING) without being afraid of what people think of them, without being judged as a terrorist for getting disturbing images out of their heads and onto the page, without being looked as less than human for drawing things other people don’t understand. Without being accused as a criminal for lines on paper that make people think about things they would rather not."
I think that there's plenty of validation as it is for artists to draw "anything they want". Sure, there's a lot of puritans about, in lots of different contexts. But people think R. Crumb's a genius precisely because he has used his comics as dumping grounds for his id. In general, I prefer art in which the artist has exercised some critical faculty and thought about what they want to say, rather than just "getting disturbing images out of their heads". (Don't get me wrong; disturbing images can be great (I love David Cronenberg and Johnny Ryan). But they can also be boring or tiresome — as is the case with a lot of racial caricatue stuff, which is just disturbing because its racist, not because it's inventive or interesting (and yes, you can be both racist and inventive...but just because you're the first doesn't mean you're the second.) (And as long as I'm annoying people, I really didn't like the blackface cannibal in Paleo's strip from a while back -- it just seemed gratuitous and boring (though I like Paleo's drawing in general.))
So there you are. I do mean to prompt discussion rather than give offense, and I can promise not to do this sort of thing again if people would prefer I didn't....