Dissecting comics criticism. (19:00)
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Camille Paglia is great, isn’t she?
My rule of thumb is beware of people who speak for other people. At the same time we all fall into the generalization trap–for example, just because most people color with the standard eight crayons doesn’t mean the ones that use the box of sixty-four are showing off.
Ah, Peter. The conversations we could have if I lived closer. This is the type of talk I like and I can’t agree with you more. What’s wrong with speaking about the things we like? Nothing. So, I’m going to list some of the positive things I see that can happen from just reviewing positively.
Speaking about the things you like and are currently reading will:
1) Help new readers to comics find other properties that are out of mainstream comics eye. (Maybe all of the diversity we have asked for and needed as readers, could be fixed with our own attitudes first.)
2) Promote a larger inclusive community of readers rather than a smaller exclusive community of collectors. (ooowee. That one is an entirely different conversation that will spark some heat.)
3) Reflect the larger “geek” community (movies, fantasy, sci-fi, anime, etc) and help to solidify our (comics) place in it by raising our cream of the crop up to the masses as real literary works that should be taken seriously. (Yes, this happens already. But it could happen a whole lot more with a little positive reinforcement from our own community.)
This is a polarizing topic. I’m waiting on the backlash. lol
Really liked this episode. I can tell you that I have dropped certain podcasts because all I was getting was negativity and nothing positive and that’s really fun to listen to. I write reviews of certain comics but I make a rule for myself when I do it. I write about the books that I want to read. That way, I’ll have mostly positive things to say about the book. There are books that I have read that weren’t the best reads in the world but I always try to find at least one thing positive to say. It’s something I picked up from Sean Whalin from Raging Bullets. He’s never one to edit his listener’s voice mails but he always asks that if you have something negative to say about a book, try to balance it out with something positive to say and I think that’s why Raging Bullets is my favorite podcast. Sean and Jim always find the positive in everything they read and it makes for a very positive and invigorating experience. For those that like DC Comics, you should really take a listen to Raging Bullets. Love the podcast as always and talk to you soon,
Thanks for the comments! I’ll be responding on the next Feedback Friday episode for Oct.5th!
Well, it’s difficult to respond to this not knowing the subject of the op ed, but I’ll share my thoughts as a former comics blogger and past comic reviewer for IGN. I agree, there’s no place for grudges or love letters towards a creator or a company. Reviews are to be as objective as possible in a cultured arena. As far as a know, there’s not a degree specifically on your mastery of sequential art whereas there are many for literary critics. So there’s much more of an academic bias going on in the written word which is what the sound clip was about. I’m not sure it truly applies to your issues with comic reviews. But it does point out that the job of comic reviewer is available to anyone and everyone. Which necessarily isn’t a bad thing. As publishing moves further into the digital realm, we need to now rely on cyberspace for our weekly discussions at the comic shops. I buy all digital now so I use IGN entertainment, Comic Vine, iFanboy, and Poptards! to hear discerning opinions about comics. I used to go to CGS for this, but since a certain member jumped ship…
But I digress. There’s a lot people out there typing about comics, but you don’t have to hear from everyone. Much like you learned to stay away from the crank who frequents your local shop, you just have to tune out the writers who aren’t on your wavelength. You are correct, no one should be using ‘we’ in a review, however that doesn’t mean you should use I. You should state that what happened in X comic was Y because of Z. Although you’re going to want to make that sentence a bit more robust if you want people to read your stuff. For instance, if I were to review Amethyst 0, I’d have said that sexual assault is a bit mature subject matter for the intended audience. It’s an opinion, but it’s phrased as a fact. The context of where the review is published should explain to the reader that the article is subjective.
I do want to bring up the other side of the coin: positivity. During the birthing pangs of the www, there was indeed a lot of negativity out there primarily based on anonymity. With the integration of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, things are beginning to level out. For instance, I’ll submit this comment via my Facebook account rather than DarthBlogger666. But over the past 2 years, there’s been this overcompensation for the negativity which isn’t the right path either. Now you’ll see well crafted negative reviews for media that are essentially met with “h8ters gonna h8” in the comments field. The reviewer doesn’t have the same opinion as you, so it’s deemed invalid because of the medium with which it was delivered. This too, shall pass, but I bring it up because I don’t think just writing about the books you like is the best strategy. If you’re doing it recreationally, awesome. You do what makes you feel happy. But if you’re out to make a name for yourself as a objective and trusted reviewer (remember that part about no degree for comic criticism?) you gotta review the good, the bad, and the ugly. Richard Roeper doesn’t get to indulge in a 2nd viewing of The Master and Looper, he’s got to suck it up and sit through Resident Evil: Retribution and The House at the End of the street.
Andy! Excellent thoughts as always! I’m sure to address most of it in the next Feedback Friday. Just wanted to make clear though: not everything was only meant for just comic reviews – especially the “we” vs “I” section. That was more for various op ed pieces or even just general comic discussions.
Ahh, understood. I’ll be listening this Friday!