HI MERCURY—I just wanted to say that I am pretty disappointed in the I, Anonymous you ran last week ["Signing Off," April 22]. It sounds like the complaint of a totally classless person, and I also think it's a stupid argument. Using a person's name in an email and "signing off" at the end are small courtesies that recall the good old days when people used to write letters.
MR. ECONOLINE—I realize that you and your friends are waging a revolutionary war in your minds and on our streets, but automobiles and other dangerous machines have existed in this world for quite some time ["Murder by Auto," Letters, April 29]. Accidents can be terrible, costing many lives. But, by definition, "murder" is never an accident. Simply being at fault in an accident is not, and never will be considered "murder." I know from secondhand experience that when terrible accidents happen, no driver, at fault or otherwise, goes on to live a normal life. And I guarantee that you are doing no favors for the bereaved with angry letters about murder.
DEAR MERCURIANS—As a member of the Portland comic book community, I have to cry foul on my peers. Hearing about last week's flap over your Stumptown-related cover and the cartoon by Carolyn Main and Riley Michael Parker, I was honestly perplexed [Cover and "Stumptown Comics Fest: Nerd Prom 2010," Feature, April 22]. Comics people were offended? I had to go back to the paper and look again, because I didn't recall being offended in any way. Under-whelmed, maybe, since I didn't really remember details about either piece. Maybe it was stars in my eyes over the review of my own book ["Covet Thy Coven," Books, April 22]. Thanks for that, by the way. I had at least three people mention Courtney Ferguson's review when buying Spell Checkers at the con. Clearly your paper didn't cause that much damage. None of the humor, however thin it might have been, displayed in either the cover or the cartoon is any different than the way comics pros have made fun of themselves since the birth of hip, alternative comics. In fact, take the same concept of the misfit loner reading comics on the toilet that your artist used as the cover and have it drawn by Dan Clowes, and the same complainers would likely be falling over each other to declare it genius. Second, the letter writer in your follow-up issue seems to have a hard time analyzing humor ["Sensitive Artists," Letters, April 29]. I am amazed that he and so many others have missed that Carolyn's portrayal of herself as a faux sophisticate is a joke. Here is a self-satisfied woman in an evening dress with a martini and cigarette declaring everyone a loser, and then in the very next panel saying the nerdiest thing in the entire strip: that she can beat Craig Thompson at Super Mario. She has set herself up just to knock herself down. It's classic joke structure. I'm actually still trying to figure out how that is an insult to Craig. If you've been involved in comics culture any time since the internet was invented, you'll know that there is a severe streak of self-deprecation running through Team Comics. The term "nerd prom" was something that I believe came out of the old Warren Ellis Forum, and has largely been attributed to Portland-based writer and all-around sweetheart Kelly Sue DeConnick. It was coined in reference to San Diego Comic Con and immediately took on cultural cache, so much so that, yes, the White House Correspondents Dinner ripped us off. Screw those guys. We're way better nerds than they are. Or maybe not. Not if we're going to take ourselves this seriously.
-Jamie S. Rich
THANK YOU JAMIE for your reasoned contribution to the Great Comics Debate of 2010. You win this week's letter award, plus two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish! where comic artists can enjoy mutual respect.