Sorry about the lack of a column last week, but I didn’t feel as though I was in a good place to be writing about comics. There are some weeks when I feel like I’m just being to mean. And I think that’s a fine line that we as bloggers need to be aware of.
But on the other hand, there are quite a few comic book websites that seem to be reluctant to offer up criticism or critiques of what’s being done by the Big Two. So in that regard I kind of view it as my duty to offer up a perspective and an opinionated voice on the matters related to comics.
As someone who reads and loves comics, I sort of dismayed at how journalists working for comic book news sites cover stories and handle interviews. It all reads so fluffy and most of it feels more like promotion than like actual news.
I suppose part of the problem is the intimate relationship between comic creators and comic fans, and let’s face it; most journalists who cover comics are fans of comics. Has there ever been a renowned journalist who started as a comic book journalist? But how many pros in the industry have come from the field of comic journalism?
And it’s that type of sycophancy that I’m not really interested in being a part of. Wait, let me rephrase that; I’m completely down with getting a gig as a comic pro, I’m just not all that waxing a creators car to further my career.
I can recall how critical people were of Wizard magazine, when it was still being published. People complained that it was basically just promotion and pandering. Critics of the magazine would scour issues trying to find examples of Wizard being critical to writers or artists or EIC’s or companies as a whole. They cite glowing praise for issues and runs that were notoriously slammed by fanboys.
And apart from the fact that people actually had to come out of the pockets to buy each issue of Wizard, I really don’t see that much difference between what they did and what most comic sites currently do. The ads are what pays the bills and they can’t really afford to alienate anyone at Marvel or DC since they’re going to be major purchasers of ads.
Fans aren’t paying the bills, so why shouldn’t those sites cater to those who do? It’s the American way. It’s how business gets done. And fans should be happy to just to have an outlet that covers comics. I mean, that’s how I justified paying for Wizard month after month, until it folded.
Of course the beauty of writing for a site that doesn’t have worry about ads is that I don’t have to worry about offending anyone with deep pockets. I do try to temper my critiques so as to not come off like a typical internet cliché. Sometimes I’m more successful than others.
But that’s why I take weeks off from time to time; because I can feel myself getting too negative. Because I read mostly DC titles, I write mostly about DC titles and characters and it might come off as my dislike for the company and their product. That’s not what it is, it’s more “I care about this title or character so I’m voicing my displeasure at how it’s being handled.” Of course that doesn’t really translate via the internet.
So I guess what I’m trying to say that I’ll make a concerted effort to be constructive in my criticism. I know I’ve promised to be less negative before, but I’m making a genuine effort to be more constructive and I’d like it to carry over into this column.
The next time I trash a writer’s take on a character or editorial’s handling of a title, I’ll do my best to offer up a solution to the problem as opposed to just bashing away at my keyboard. I will still be snarky. I can’t help that; it’s just ingrained in my personality.
Let’s see how long this experiment lasts.
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