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:
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.