- Posted by Johanna on August 13, 2006 at 9:25 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
Tony Isabella appreciates the attempt:
I get lots of great comics and other items; in a sense, I get paid to read them. I get to let you know about terrific stuff and, in doing so, maybe give a boost to a worthy creator or publisher. I get to warn you away from some not-so-terrific stuff and, though I take little delight in doing so, I figure such negative reviews help you allocate your disposable funds towards better comic books. … I write for the comics buyers, not the comics makers. And yet…
Sometimes the not-so-terrific stuff breaks my heart. Because, most of the time, even in my most cynical moments, I realize those who made the not-so-terrific stuff didn’t set out to make it not-so-terrific. … I applaud them. I wish I could be supportive of their efforts in a review. Instead, I offer them this:
Keep going with your heart. If you need to tell your stories and make your comic books, don’t stop because you don’t get a good review from me or any other critic. Don’t stop because your work doesn’t sell. I mean, don’t spend the rent money publishing comics that don’t sell, but, if it gives you joy to see your work in print and you can afford the expense of that, then, by all means, go for it. Go with your heart. Your dedication and the work itself will be your rewards. As payoffs go, that’s not too shabby.
Ty Burr ponders the loss of professional-level craft:
When a movie critic has the effrontery to take a contrarian position on matters pop cultural — say, by panning a pirate movie starring a beloved leading man — the immediate reaction of some readers is to shoot the messenger. In practical terms, this translates to e-mail pouring into my in-box accusing me of crimes from crack smoking to mail fraud for daring to dump on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, a film that has everything you need except pacing and a plot.
Many of the e-mails gleefully pointed out that the movie has been a massive hit, but that’s in no way a reviewer’s concern. Our job isn’t to reflect mass tastes but to present informed opinions that ideally help readers triangulate their own decisions (by disagreement, if necessary) and/or provoke further thought. … No, what galls about the poison-pen e-mails is their angry certainty that a film critic has no taste for entertainment. That we’re poops at the party, unable to have a good time, looking for art and profundity where it has no business being.
Horse-puckey. Working critics are as desperate to be entertained as paying customers, provided the rewards are there. We certainly don’t head into Click or The Break-Up hoping for art (that we leave to indie films, Oscar hopefuls, and the French). All we ask for is craft: the various vectors of script, casting, production design, camerawork, editing, and score that can mysteriously come together to provide what we really ask of a movie: that it transport us en masse to a far-off place without once letting us fall.