James Sturm’s recent comic on The Nib stirred a lot of debate in the comics community — about professional jealousy, about generational differences, about gender, about the author’s intent. Here’s some of the responses.
Heidi MacDonald at The Beat:
“The Sponsor” is about insecurity and the trivial uncontrollable fretting that destroys your own creativity. A few years ago I linked to this piece by Rob Liefeld called “How to Beat The Haters”, and you know, if Rob Liefeld can do it any one can
Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter:
I can’t fathom that anyone would look at the two clownish shit-heads in that comic and think that clinging to such thoughts as a primary worldview is something to be endorsed. Then again, a bunch of people thought Archie Bunker a hero, straight-up.
The central crisis at the core of this story is white males inability to cope with a woman who is more successful than them in their field. That is literally what is in the text. You can’t BRING a gendered reading to the text, because the text IS gendered… once you remove gender from the comic, you lose out on the absurdity of the idea of this network of men and their worries about successful women. You end up with a comic about artistic jealousy that “only cartoonists get”.
Tim Holder at The Comics Journal:
[T]here has been another popular response to the strip that I think is far less defensible, and much less healthy, and that’s the apparent belief that artistic depiction of bad behavior necessarily equals endorsement… Sometimes art provokes uncomfortable responses.
Finally, Brandon Graham did a comic response on his Tumblr taking place in a sort of Earth-2 where Tessa has much nicer colleagues.