Having hung around the Comic Journal Message Board over the past three years or so, its hard not to notice trends of recurring topics. At least one of these is prevalent enough that it seems to have become kind of standing joke: "Whatever happened to Al Columbia?" While Al is the most popular name, it can be replaced with David Mazzuchelli, or any other prominent artist who has been keeping quiet for a while.
I've got in the habit of avoiding the recurring variations on the theme of "Why do all comics suck so much right now?" A post-entitled Bored Bored Bored seemed to fit this bill and I avoided it when I saw it a couple of months ago until, after searching for discussion on a seemingly unrelated topic, I ended up in the middle of it. It consists of people attempting to disprove the opening hypothesis by providing examples of really good, exciting, and not boring comics that are coming out at the moment. The disillusioned types rebut this by saying that far from being examples of interesting comics, they were in fact exactly the type of boring comics that they were talking about.
During the discussion a lot of my favourites, including Dupuy and Berberian and the Kramers Ergot Gang, get a walloping and eventually someone brings up Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and a conversation about the merits of Miyazaki follows. No one seems to share my affection for Whispers of the Heart, the Ghibli movie that I praised a month or so ago. Dan Parmenter has this to say about it:
The only real "dud" for me in the Studio Ghibli ouvre is Yoshifumi Kondou's Whisper of the Heart, which really is cloying and sentimental. Miyazaki was heavily involved, but except for one scene, did not actually direct the film. Kondou should have been the third Ghibli star director, but he passed away in 1998. It's not an awful movie, but it reminded me of one of those sentimental "afterschool specials" of my youth.