Comics Criticism

I posted these comments in response to some discussion at CBR’s Robot 6 about the recent creator-owned conversations and the tone of comics criticism. I’m posting this here because, as usual, some people have taken exception to my comments, although I don’t think there’s a thing here that should be controversial, unless you support general douchebaggery in comic reviewing. If I toss them up on the blog, I know where to reference them when people want to discuss them.

Here’s the piece I was responding to:

My response:

I’m not all that fond of negative criticism in online comics reviewing, period. Perhaps if I saw it handled more intelligently I’d be more inclined to be open-minded on the subject. But I don’t think criticism from most online reviewers is “constructive” in tone.

If you have the space to carefully examine a book and offer legitimate criticism, from a perspective that indicates to me that you have the knowledge and frames of reference from which to justify my time with your review, then, yes. Give me “serious criticism.” The problem is there aren’t many who are qualified or skilled enough to properly handle serious criticism.

Ironic that Steve sparked so much of this discussion. A couple of years back I was invited to discuss my thoughts on comics criticism by ifanboy. Josh Flanagan had written a rebuttal of sorts to a blog post of mine where I questioned the value of online comics criticism in its current form, and we “debated” the topic on the show.

The spark that ignited my initial blog post was a snarky, dismissive, and insulting review of a creator-owned book of Steve’s. The smug, holier than thou attitude of the reviewer (whomever it was) just pissed me off, knowing how hard Steve and his collaborators had no doubt worked on the book in question. I thought the efforts of the creators deserved more than smart-assed shredding by some faceless internet “personality.”

Anyway, if something isn’t your cup of tea, explain why you didn’t enjoy it, but please spare me your qualitative judgments, and, as Michael alludes to in this piece, spare me your snide or dismissive tone.

And, yes. Recommendations are always encouraged, assuming you make it clear why it appealed to you.




Filed under Comix

2 responses to “Comics Criticism

  1. If you as reviewer don’t tell us why you don’t like something, we as writers can’t fix it so you like it in the future. I don’t put my books out there so someone can call me a hack and come up with a snarky nerdy simile to illustrate their point. I have friends that can do that for me if I need it. I put my books out there because I want to entertain. If I don’t entertain you, tell me why. Not for *my* sake, but for *yours*. If I’m a hack, tell me why so I can fix it and be less of a hack. If you don’t like something, help out the person that made it. Don’t just tear something down for short term gratification, and then lament to dearth of good writing out there.

  2. John

    Some people are just the consumate griper, you say the sky is blue they’ll say it’s black. See it all the time going through Yahoo News they got nothing postive to blog. I’ll see you at the up-coming 2011 Kansas City Planet Comicon. Have a safe trip up there and back..

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