For the record, I don't agree with everything that Rall is saying here. I think I'd appreciate a few comics that Rall hates. But there is something to his comparison between "Nemo" and "The Far Side", in that Winsor McCay's work is lovely, but I remember Larson's jokes better than the details of McCay's stories. (On the other hand, if you're writing about dreams it could be argued that details that fade upon waking are to the point. I can see it either way.)
I sort of agree with the Comics Journal quote too.
Comics Journal critic Noah Berlatsky thinks the current crop of art comics stars are obsessed with trying to overcome some perception that the medium is all about caped superheroes like Superman and Batman. "Alt comics have a huge chip on their shoulders, and they have responded by rejecting everything superhero in favor of Serious Art--which, alas, often means seriously boring art."
Comics have been trying to prove themselves grown-up for well over two decades now. The purported maturity has tended to take the form of anhedonia in both mainstream and indy comics. And God knows it's helped to winnow out child readers, if you think uprooting the saplings is a great way to save the forest. But from what Rall reports here, the big growth in the adult market doesn't seem to be hitting.