Talk:Matt Baker (artist)

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How about some info about his death? As he appears to have only been 37 years old when he died, I would think that something other than "natural causes" might be a possibility? -Grammaticus Repairo 21:20, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

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Unexplained rewrite[edit]

The article underwent an unexplained complete rewrite recently, if someone has more knowledge of the artist, he/she could go through the verion of to see if it has useful information. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 14:38, 3 June 2009 (UTC)


A single-purpose account anon-IP, pushing an agenda to burnish Matt Baker's reputation, wants to insist that "many scholars" ( as opposed to a few historians — no one he's cited is in academia) call It Rhymes with Lust one of the first graphic novels ... without mentioning the many more who note it was a newsstand publication, with all the postal and other legal technicalities that entails, and was a proto-graphic novel. Sources for that include Ken Quattro at (" many ways It Rhymes with Lust was the prototype of the modern graphic novel") and the book reviewer for Portland, Oregon's newspaper The Oregonian at ("...showcases Baker's art even as it celebrates one of the more entertaining chapters in the early history of the graphic novel.").

He has been edit-warring, and I've asked him to bring it here for discussion instead. --Tenebrae (talk) 20:21, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

And historically speaking, calling it one of the first graphic novels, as opposed to an early form of graphic novel, ignores fellow predecessors The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck (1828); Frans Masereel's Passionate Journey (1926), Lynd Ward's Gods' Man ( 1929) and other woodcut books; Milt Gross' He Done Her Wrong (1930); Max Ernst's Une Semaine de Bonté (1934); and Charlotte Salomon's Life? or Theater? (1941-43). --Tenebrae (talk) 20:34, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Matt Baker edits[edit]

I have not attempted to burnish Matt Baker's reputation so much as attempted to have the Wikipedia entry more genuinely reflect the critical consensus on his contributions to the medium.

A simple Google search will show that hundreds of sites assert and debate the idea that "It Rhymes With Lust" may be the first graphic novel. I included a verifiable citation from David Hajdu (a professor at Columbia University) and other published work as citations. I didn't state any of those works necessarily make the claim that it is the first graphic novel, but they assert it is possible and they reaffirm that this particular work is at the center of an ongoing debate on the subject.

You accuse my alterations of not being backed by acdemic writing (when I have just shown they are), while the two citations you cite in your Talk comments are far from academic. I personally don't think the only scholarship worth considering has to come from an academic (where would Wikipedia be with that criteria), but you can't hold my contributions to a different standard than your own.

Finally, the term "graphic novel" doesn't enjoy the kind of concrete consensus definition that you are trying to impose here. Even the Wikipedia definition is very broad. To argue that it was a "periodical" (which it wasn't; it was not serialized or numbered in any way, and it was formatted like a book not a magazine) or "sold on a newstand" as criteria for what qualifies as a graphic novel is highly questionable. And to cite a single (non-academic) source that described it as a "proto-graphic novel" hardly gives you the codgel you've been using to bang away at my highly qualified phrasing of "some MAY be" the first graphic novel.

You've behaved like an over-zealous gatekeeper, and despite creating hoop after hoop for me to jump through (which I've done each step of the way), you've allowed some kind of weird pride to get in the way of making an entry as good as it might otherwise be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Of course I did a Google search. The vast majority of hits are sales venues for the 2007 Dark Horse reissue. Many of the rest are personal blogs, which Wikipedia disallows except in the rare cases of being written by a recognized authority in a given field, such as Mark Evanier. I found only a couple of citations by journalistic sources — so your claim of "hundreds of sites" may be technically true, but virtually none of them qualify as encyclopedic reliable sources under Wikipedia policy.
You were the one who first used the term "scholarly sources", not me. If you are going to make claims of "scholarly" sources, then you have to cite scholars. Guys who write books for TwoMorrows are perfectly acceptable amateur historians in their fields, but not scholars. As for David Hajdu, a professional author / journalist and an adjunct professor (as opposed to a Ph.D. regular professor), even he doesn't say anything other than what the article already said: "Drake and Waller thought of the book as a 'picture novel' — a full-length work of fiction in graphic form. (The next time anyone would try anything comparable, [emphasis added] twenty-five years later [sic], it would be called a 'graphic novel.')" (page 164, The Ten-Cent Plague).
He does not call it "one of the first graphic novels" — he calls it something "comparable" to what would be called a graphic novel. In other words, exactly what already the article said: "an early form of graphic novel." (Note: He also gets the timeline wrong, missing Kurtzman's Jungle Book, Kane's Blackmark and others.)
You also haven't responded to my list of other early forms of graphic novel going back to 1828. It Rhymes with Lust is an important early form of graphic novel, but historically, factually, it is not one of the first graphic novels. Not unless a half-dozen examples for a previous 120+ years are ignored.
As for "making an entry as good as it might ... be," I think strict accuracy helps make an entry as good as it might be, rather than partisanship toward a favored artist. --Tenebrae (talk) 21:01, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
I didn't address your earlier example of what are generally considered "proto-graphic novels," because I'm not going to invest the time necessary to debate the definition of the GRAPHIC NOVEL with you. You've already asserted criteria (e.g., "sold on a newstand") that demonstrate that our definitions are fundamentally far enough apart that the effort isn't worth it (for what it is worth, nothing in the Wikipedia entry for Graphic Novels that you earlier refered me to contains such criteria).
As for the study of comic books, academia has lagged far enough behind that "scholary sources" are few and far between. Dismissing Hajdu is splitting hairs here and disingenuous. As for "journalistic" sources, I guess Alter Ego doesn't count because you have determined that Roy Thomas and his contributors are all amature historians. For what it is worth, I would have been perfectly fine if you had changed "scholars" to "historians," but that wasn't in the spirit of your self-assigned role of intransigent gatekeeper. You weren't interested in collaborating as much as being an "authority."
You are obviously WAY more invested in this than I am. Feel free to slap me with any more "violations" you want. I can't imagine being inclined to make any further contributions to Wikipedia entries any time soon. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
You really did not read what I wrote very carefully, since you're saying the opposite I what I said. Not only did I accept Hajdu, I even quoted from his book. Here — I'll do it again:

Hajdu ... doesn't say anything other than what the article already said: "Drake and Waller thought of the book as a 'picture novel' — a full-length work of fiction in graphic form. (The next time anyone would try anything comparable, [emphasis added] twenty-five years later [sic], it would be called a 'graphic novel.')" (page 164, The Ten-Cent Plague).

The TwoMorrows writers, whom I myself cite all the time, I called "perfectly acceptable amateur historians in their fields" — so why on Earth are you deliberately misinterpreting my words and claiming I said the opposite? Let's not forget: You were the one who first used the term "scholar." The only scholar you cite is Hajdu, and he doesn't say what you claim he said. Given that I haven't said what you claim I said, that's not surprising. --Tenebrae (talk) 23:06, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure why I'm tempted to dip my toes back into this shark-infested pond, but I do not like being called an uncareful reader or distorter of other people's words, so here goes...
I did not misrepresent your handling of Hajdu. When I held him up as a scholarly source, you said "As for David Hajdu, a professional author / journalist and an adjunct professor (as opposed to a Ph.D. regular professor), even he..." [emphasis added]. If that's not calling into question his credibility as a scholar, then why did you bother to even say that?
In a spirit of extreme egalitarianism given the circumstances and your strident tone, I'll admit that Hajdu quote doesn't come out and call it the first graphic novel. But he doesn't say otherwise, either. He says nothing comparable was attempted for decades. That's a little too ambiguous for you to stake an entire "proto-graphic novel" RULING on. Again, I qualified my statement every which way imaginable, framing it as a debate or area of inquiry and using "may" and "suggest" throughout my sentence. But you far prefer being the final arbiter replete with your own spurious definition of graphic novels ("postal technicalities"?) rather than brook the mere suggestion of a well-substantiated contrary opinion (I did provide citation after citation).
And how have I possibly misrepresented your words regarding TwoMorrows? You called them "perfectly fine amateur historians," which is in itself clearly condescending, especially after your dismissive description of Hajdu the paragraph before. It doesn't take a lot of logical prowess to infer that Alter Ego magazine, published by TwoMorrows, doesn't count as a "journalistic" source in your eyes, especially when you dismissed it as a legitimate source with your "undo" of my edits. This deletion of my source becomes particularly problematic when you hold up a citation of some book review in The Oregonian as proof of the validity of your particular interpretation. You'll have to explain to me sometime why The Oregonian trumps Alter Ego as an authority on comics history?
In the end, what this comes down to is the fact that you didn't like the idea that I suggested that some people/scholars/historians/etc. may possibly consider this the first graphic novel. It's not like I asserted "Some scientists may consider the moon is made of cheese." Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there is enough debate about this subject, in books, magazines, and online, that it wasn't nutty of me to make a simple allusion to the idea that there is indeed a debate or question around this issue. As I mentioned before, if you could have seen beyond your authoritarian zealotry, you'd have simply changed "scholars" to the term you are more comfortable with, "historians," but you'd rather edit war than collaborate.
Finally, I take little solace in knowing that my sour experience trying to contribute to Wikipedia is not an isolated one, but typical enough to warrant a whole Wikipedia entry detailing the counter-productive interaction we've had. See the Wikipedia entry on "Why Wikipedia Is Not So Great." The following have clearly transpired over the course of our wrangling over this entry:
"If you revert or ban too quickly, sometimes a useful contributor will be turned away....Wikipedia administrator vandalism itself is only controlled weakly, and there's insufficient power to desysop a popular tyrant."
"A user can in effect exercise ownership over the topics they have the time and energy to defend. Self-appointed censors, fanatics, or other sufficiently dedicated users can further an agenda or prohibit new ideas through persistent attention to a particular page."
"There's a culture of hostility and conflict rather than of good will and cooperation. Even experienced Wikipedians fail to assume good faith in their collaborators. It seems fighting off perceived intruders and making egotistical reversions are a higher priority than incorporating helpful collaborators into Wikipedia's community. Glaring errors and omissions are completely ignored by veteran Wikiholics (many of whom...have no verifiable credentials) who have nothing to contribute but egotistical reverts."
"Wikipedia has become more and more hierarchical in order to 'defend freedom' from 'trolling'." [Note: I was more than once labeled as an anonymous infidel in your edit notes, despite my clear good faith efforts to improve the veracity of many details throughout the Baker entry.]
"This site is creating large numbers of wikipediholics who could be doing something more useful."
"Because there's no way to split irreconcilable POVs, unlike Wikinfo, you might have to work with people who believe the polar opposite to you on a given subject, and their opinion might win the day for reasons other than being correct. For example, a monomaniac, no matter how ignorant or even malicious, may "win out" eventually, because non-monomaniacs have other things to do than argue with them." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm a journalist. I write precisely and I research my and others' statements. I not only listed Hajdu's scholarly qualifications — going to the trouble to give a precise detail — but I then went and quoted his exact words, which is more than you did. And you're still saying I was opposed to using him and that I was not calling him a scholar? It's as if you're coming to me from Bizarro world, where everything is the opposite of here.
As for "he doesn't not call it a graphic novel," that's such a blatant logical fallacy even you must see it. He also doesn't not call it a tuna sandwich.
I'm not sure how you could misinterpret "perfectly fine amateur historians." I said they were fine, and if "fine" doesn't mean "useable" to you, then that's on you. I would consider them "historians" rather than "fan writers" and even used that term. Again, how does one misinterpret plain English? Was it because I was being precise and noted they are amateur and not professional historians? We are encyclopedia editors — those kinds of distinctions are important to note. I'm sorry you don't get this.
If you don't want to stick around Wikipedia, that's your choice — but there are millions of articles to work on, and our paths don't ever have to cross, so don't transfer your dissatisfaction to anyone other than yourself. What I've seen from your actions is someone who's less interested in contributing to this encyclopedia as a whole than in pursuing a singleminded pet point in one article. That is not what Wikipedia is for.--Tenebrae (talk) 00:57, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

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