Reviewers Can’t Win

I know, reviewing’s not that hard. You read or watch something, and then you say what you thought, being careful to include the basics — the premise, the creators, any special features that set it apart, the context of its place in genre or history if relevant — as well as explaining your points with enough clarity and examples that someone can figure out A) whether or not they share your tastes and B) whether or not they’d like it […]

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Reviewing What’s Sold to Me

Valerie D’Orazio argues (link no longer available) that superhero comic stories should only be reviewed after they’re finished. Well, that might be a bit too strong. I don’t want to put words in her mouth. She asks, “Is it fair to review any story arc before it’s over?” and then lists reasons why it’s not. While that can be the safe approach — you have to make certain assumptions otherwise, and you risk guessing wrong, but that’s part of the […]

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How to Work a Booth

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning (shut UP! I know it’s June!), and while sorting through old papers, I found my copy of the Friends of Lulu booth guidelines from 1996. Since convention season is heating up, maybe some small publishers might find these tips helpful. (I’ve heavily excerpted the document to make it more general.) Opening the Booth A coordinator should have been designated in advance to take charge of booth setup. Make sure that all boxes and supplies […]

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Reviewing Serialized Chapters

A comment in response to my review of Mail Order Ninja brought up an interesting point I wanted to draw more attention to. MON Book 1 is only the beginning of a series, as I noted in the review. However, I reviewed it as a single element, because that was the package I was given. A reader responded “you seem to have an inability to recognize the inertia of character arcs”, telling me I should have more faith in the […]

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My Thoughts on Continuity

I’ve talked about this before online, but I thought I’d capture the core of my position in one location. Many continuing comic fans say, “Continuity is no barrier to readers to new readers. When I was a kid, I loved knowing that there was a bigger universe out there with more stories.” It’s a common thread among those who defend a tight continuity as an attractive element for a superhero comic universe. I’m not sure people realize a key factor […]

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Why I Review

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m feeling much better (after a week of having a cold for the second time in less than a month), and I had a realization that I’m going to share. I wish more of my reviewing experiences could go like it did for Solstice. Here’s many of the things that went right: I was sent the book unexpectedly, and it was already published (so no pressure about asking for it or feeling guilty […]

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Online Comic Fandom in 1995

At the Spring 1995 American Culture Assocation / Popular Culture Association national meeting, I presented on the state of online comic fandom using the following paper as a basis. The big three areas at the time were Usenet, CompuServe, and AOL (mainly DC’s then-exclusive content). Times have changed, ten years later, as the centers of online comic fandom (such as they are) have moved today to blogs, web boards, and invite-only mailing lists. This, by the way, was my last […]

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