A note: HAWAIIAN DICK #4 came out last week, and Griffin, operating on the advice of Tony Moore, figured out how to adjust the color levels to a degree that made him happy. I haven't seen the issue yet, but Steven says the color ("colour") looks great. So check it out:
So, Griffin sent me this "Mondo" review, and it made me happy.
Not because the guy liked the book, but because he clearly approached the book with genuine enthusiasm...as if he picked it up hoping to enjoy it, and then just let himself get into it:
Hawaiian Dick is a book that is beyond negative criticism. Why? Because it accomplishes exactly what we set out to accomplish, and if that's not your cup of tea, it's not because we failed you, it's because...it's not your cup of tea. It's a fun genre comic book, and we don't half-ass the effort, which is all you can ask of us. So if I read a negative review of the book from a guy who praises by the numbers photorealistic cape melodrama, I just get depressed that someone sold him the book in the first place. It's like listening to Poison fans review Barry Manilow albums. Or Teletubbies fanatics reviewing a Maysles documentary.
On reflection, "Beyond criticism" is probably the wrong way to put it.
But making a negative judgment call on something because it's not up your alley is the problem for me. Hawaiian Dick is a good example, because some people may not respond to the art. And if that's the case, fine. What I can't tolerate is someone making a qualitative judgement on the art because they don't personally connect to it.
I think anyone who pisses on creator-owned books in reviews should be smacked in the head with a mallet. Somebody saw something in the book, and someone sacrificed to make it happen. Someone will probably enjoy it, and the book sniping a smidgen of sales from the latest Mark Millar/Popular Artist juggernaut isn't going to kill anyone. To have failed writers with a limited comprehension of the medium trash the work simply to assuage their own superior egos is maddening.
Someone once wrote a bitchy letter to CMJ magazine, asking why they featured so many glowing CD reviews. The response was along the lines of, "A lot of stuff comes out each month, and we only have so much space. Instead of dumping on an artist, we try to guide people to music they might enjoy." As someone who bought the magazine looking for recommendations, I greatly appreciated that. What I didn't need were 200 pages telling me what NOT to buy.
Sure, I'd like intelligent analysis of things, and I don't need to read reviews from a guy who loves everything without applying any filter, but I get so fucking sick of the snarky condescension.
Addendum: I just read a THIRTEEN PARAGRAPH review of IRON FIST, which was, you know...a fun mainstream comic book. (look! I summed it up in four words!)
Addendum to the addendum: Okay, that was a cheap shot. There's nothing wrong with analyzing a book you find interesting, and thirteen paragraphs isn't unduly excessive, but it is very easy to lose sight of what you're reviewing (a mainstream superhero comic) when you take it that far.