Monday, March 05, 2007

COMIC BOOK REVISIONISM

I was reading the Silly Daddy graphic novel by Joe Chiappetta, and something was starting to bug me. I own an earlier compilation and a couple of single issues which were including in this newer compilation, and there were subtle changes. The original version featured the cartoonist John Porcellino as a character in the story and was sprinkled with references to his comic book, King-Cat Comics. In the new version, the character's name was changed to "Al Indufamily" and the comic book to "Kind-Cat". Also, in one scene we see a book entitled Ape Rape, which was changed to Ape.

In the first case, I can only assume a falling-out between the two friends, either due to personal beliefs (Chiappetta reveals in a newer story at the end of the book that he has converted to Christianity) or business (Porcellino published Chiappetta's earlier work under the Spit and a Half imprint). The second case might be self-censorship due to complaints of offensiveness, although the book was there to indicate that the character lived in the sleazy underground of 60's Hollywood, and I find it hard to believe that anyone would think Chiappetta was promoting bestiality.

Either way, it may be a minor matter, but it gives me a creepy, 1984-ish feeling, as if my memories are being fiddled with. Yes, the author has the legal right to change things and the person who is depicted has the right to ask for a pseudonym. I just have more respect for creators who renounce work that they consider inferior or that no longer reflects their views, rather than sneakily changing this bit or that. They can refuse to perform the songs (like Weezer with Pinkerton) or refuse reprint rights (like Octavia Butler with Survivor). This may annoy me as a fan, but at least the artwork exists for me to decide whether I agree or not, though it may be harder to find. If it was Porcellino asking for a pseudonym, I just think that the first publication is the time for that. So many indie cartoonists write autobiographical stories which feature friends and spouses who are also cartoonists that it could get pretty ridiculous if they rewrite history whenever there's a falling out.

Well, dear readers, if I convert to radical anarchism in the future and renounce Odd Obsession in favor of chaining myself to trees and sticking it to The Man, I promise to just leave it up on the Internet as is, rather than adding political messages to each post.

1 comment:

Joe Chiappetta said...

I was not trying to mess with anyone's memory. But I do hope you understand that it was a matter of conscience for me to clean up my language. As for the John P. changes, John and I discussed those revisions and we both thought that was best since it took place in the portion of the book that was fiction.