Comics made of gangster

November 15th, 2015

For the true sweetheart James Baker, who commissioned this post for the princely sum of five English at Thought Bubble 2015.

Consider comics as the villain, the vampire. Justify your fandom, old man, given the charge sheet: comics – even without the usual allowances for cultural items produced under the malign spell century 21 supercapital death and hell machine – are an unusually fetid example of the commodity form. Through comics, shitty social conditions are endlessly reinscribed upon the global bodynerd. Thanks to comics, the fresh ideas of 80 years ago lie rotting in the multiplexes to kill our children still. Thanks to comics, trees die, carbon sinks are emptied, and the condensed solar energy of yestereaon is re-released to make a furnace of our home.

With comics thus being definitely the most awful of things, how do you justify your continuing interest? Is it just a parasite hunched on your shoulders, whispering retrograde fantasies in your ear? Is it a bundle of bad automatisms rolled up in your muscles and making you walk onward into the same fug of wrong as ever before?

And what about this pretty cottage in the heart of Leeds? Here at Thought Bubble 2015 (day two, sore heads and bitty memories unable to sully the warm glow of an evening well spent), right in the beating heart of ethical comics, the planetary crisis is still quite visible. It might even hold the key to something else, for a blog or so at least.

Let’s remember the comics industry as we’re left with it was built by gangsters. Nevertheless, here are thousands of law abiding citizens I can see from here: living Comics product. Comics is fond of talking about the freedom of the imagination but is built under conditions of purest exploitation, where the craft and skill of writers and artists is captured by the most banal and pervasive of violences.

The two most significant objects exerting pressure on the psychic and material conditions within the Royal Armouries Hall (spoilers there?) are the same as outside: overproduction and cognitive attention deficit. Everything at #TBF15 is a nascent world-changing meme looking for the injection of momentum – the psychic stuff of attention and physical stuff of logistics and materiel that will make its creators the rightful owners of millions and millions of ready minds.

Wherever you look there is too much talent for too little market. Looking at more than a fraction of the wares on display, and to go beyond looking at the products and thinking of ways to fit this much new kultuprodukt into your head, into your life, to pay it the necessary compliment due to good art and let it change who you are – is inconceivable. You’re just a bundle of glands, nerves, muscles and dangling ganglions, a finite mechanism, soft machine with hard limits. You cannot do it. It’s impossible.

By understanding this dynamic, while the cosplayers amble by, walking projections of the dreams on sale here, you understand the secular crisis of capitalism, and you see the communal agreements and solidarities, the support and creatin networks that will form the basic superstructure of the coming postcapitalist existence. Imagine a Thought Bubble for farming. Imagine a Thought Bubble for energy production. Imagine a Thought Bubble for inventing teleporters. Imagine teleporting there.

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