October 23rd, 2013
Right. I talked about Jason Karns’ Fukitor before, one of a new breed of independent comics that wallows in the dumb sexism, violence and racism of an earlier generation of comics; a 21st century Gun Fury, if that comic had gotten loving writeups in The Comics Journal. Charles Reece took exception to what I wrote, saying that he wasn’t “the least bit symathetic, for example, to Matthew Wisse’s [sic] view on transgression”, reducing my argument to:
In another words, something is transgressive (and “daring”) only when it violates another’s expectations, not his own committed leftism. Transgression is pissing off some imagined conservative, never the leftist who wants to understand why the other hates us so.
Which really missed the point. It’s not that Karns violates my own “committed leftism”, it’s that nothing he has done is actually all that dangerous; his work is about as trangressive as a Rambo movie, only with more gore and tits. If you use racist, ooga boga stereotypes “ironically”, you better use them to dish stronger fare than “American ninjas versus terrorists”.
To be honest, a lot of people confuse the use of racism, misogyny, torture or sexual violence with transgression, but popular culture is already drenched in these, so how could it be transgressive? All Karns has done is make it more blatant and gory. That really isn’t enough to make it interesting.
And again, it isn’t brave to indulge in the same racism that you can get anywhere already, just by smearing a thin layer of irony on top of it, nor is it cool to pat yourself on the back for enjoying this sort of thing because you are sure you can enjoy ironically and all the racism isn’t real; even though Karns said it was.