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27 November 2002

Spent the evening watching Crumb again, the two-hour documentary of a year in the life of Robert Crumb and his family. I'd forgotten quite what a strange family they were; his brothers made him seem almost normal. So painfully intelligent, so weirdly talented and yet so brutally dysfunctional - peeled straight from the notebooks of one of those surreal American novelists of family life. John Irving without the jokes, perhaps...?

This seems to be comics week, as I'm spending Friday with Bryan Talbot in Sunderland, doing the sculpture walk. I'd best not say why, as it's his project and not mine, and I can still be discreet when I remember; but it should be fun on Friday, and more fun later.

I do sort of wish that I enjoyed comics more, though. I'm a huge fan of Bryan's work, and that's not just because I know him; there are others too that I admire. But what is manifest is that I don't sit down with a comic or a graphic novel just for fun, not ever. In the end, admiration is not enough; and I always end up wondering just what the pictures are for, why they keep getting in the way of the words, squeezing out the text, what's the point when the pictures in my head are so much better anyway...? (Look, I know this is heresy and I'm sorry, I just can't help it, okay? Call it picture-blindness or something, there must be a word in Greek. I was having this same e-gument with a friend in France, and he asked me if I watched films with my eyes shut. Well, no - but I do spend a lot of time out of the room when they're on telly, listening to the soundtrack while I do something else. Or else I'm reading a book at the same time. I'm good at reading words, not so good at reading pictures, I guess. Films with subtitles are good, I can read those...)

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© Chaz Brenchley 2002
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.