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Four more possible Spewers

Now that I’ve started the topic, I’ve been keeping my eyes open, plus other people have contributed ideas, and since my last post on the subject I have four new potential entries for the list. Since I’m basically doubling the list here, I think it is fair to recap the criteria once more:

  • incredibly prolific
  • awesome at their best
  • but with a nonexistent quality filter
  • largely intuitive in approach, as far as I can tell
  • even the best works are big messes (in a great way) rather than tightly constructed jewels
  • apparently wide-ranging in genre
  • but with enough tics that their work is instantly recognizable

One thing I do want to emphasize here is that there is no upper limit on quality. You can be one of the masters of all time in your craft and still be a Spewer. On to the list, in approximately descending order of how obviously they belong here:

1. Stephen King. Perhaps less obviously so since he gave up cocaine, but still a pretty clear member.

2. Dave Sim. A little different in that pretty much everything he’s done is part of one 25-year-long work, and that he’s kind of insane, but I think he fits well enough that I’m comfortable slotting him in.

3. Woody Allen. Liza wasn’t sure about him when I proposed him. For one thing, his best works are acknowledged masterpieces, but as I said, there’s no upper limit on quality here. Also, it’s harder to fit these criteria as a film director; the fact that you’re directing a team of dozens of people rather than scribbling away in your attic imposes a certain having-it-togetherness that is a little antithetical to the Spewer aesthetic. But I think he fits pretty well, disgorging a film every year, often on basically the same subjects, whether they are any good or not.

4. Pablo Picasso. Suggested by Daniel Koning in the comments to my last post on the subject. I know about as much about him as any educated person would know, but beyond that am not really qualified to judge whether he fits into this category. For example, did he make thousands of works because he was an artist with a compulsion to create and no filter, or just for completely mercenary reasons?  I feel like a true Spewer must fit into the former category, otherwise we have to start including people like Thomas Kinkade.

That brings us to the following population if we are as generous as possible:

  • Writers: Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock, Stephen King (I note they are all genre writers)
  • Musicians: Robert Pollard, Frank Zappa
  • Graphic Novelists: Dave Sim
  • Filmmakers: Woody Allen
  • Artists: Pablo Picasso

This is starting to get big enough to get actually meaningful! Can we get it up to ten? My next nominee: Honoré de Balzac. To quote Wikipedia: “His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.” Sounds pretty promising to me…