It's not my turn to post (look for my mad ramblings on Wednesday), but I had a comment I felt I needed to get down, and hopefully hear some other peoples' thoughts on. As the title indicates, its about Ursula LeGuin's apparent feelings on the superheroes, the cultural device, and perhaps comic books, the medium.
Her statements reek of intellectual snobbery, the same kind that we've been exposed to many times in this class in criticisms of Tolkein. Critics will contend that fantasy is childish, wasteful, unworthy of appreciation, somehow distinct from real literature. We have, rightly I think, disparaged this notion. Then a wont stand by as a fantasy author says that comics are all commercial dope. Graphic media need not be infantillising, or purely escapist; they too can express timeless archetypes of the collective unconscious. I am the first to admit that the vast majority of superhero stories are poorly written crap, but so too are the vast majority of pulp fantasy novels. The fault always lies with an individual story, not a subject, genre, or medium, and to generalize about anyone is insulting. The critics who are aghast that Watchmen was counted amongst the top 100 novels of the twentieth century, or that it is the subject of university classes, are the same people who would complain about our biweekly discussions, or see appreciation of Bohemian Rhapsody as a mark of cultural decline. We don't need them. I think Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, or Neil Gaiman can tell us just as much about the nature of evil, beauty, heroism, dreams, choice, etc. as Tolkien can, and I'm sorry LeGuin doesn't appear to appreciate them.