Larry Young, publisher at comic book company AiT/PlanetLar has written an interesting piece over at Comic Book Resources dealing with the phenomenon of online negative comic book reviews. It’s where people with a website go out of their way to read comics they know they are not going to enjoy so they can have something to review. None of them are real critics or reviewers. They also aren’t paid for their reviews. None of them make a living this way. They merely write negative reviews because of their supposed love of the medium. Something like that.
I mean, how else to account for what passes for comics criticism, nowadays? When was the last time you read something online or in print that wasn’t a bunch of negativity, or, at best, dissembling? Where is everyone’s passion? Where is the enthusiasm? I mean, if you don’t like what you’re reading, here’s a thought: stop.
Amen brother. If you don’t like what you are reading, stop.
Do not read comics you know you are going to hate
Seems easy enough, right? You would think. The problem is, many online comic critics cannot seem to grasp this. They purposely go out of their way to read things they should know they are going to hate. Things that fall squarely and completely out of their favorite genres.
It would be like me writing online reviews of country western music.
Take for example online comic book reviewer Johanna Draper Carlson. She is the owner of a popular comic review site, Comics Worth Reading. Though I often read her accompanying blog, I rarely read her review website. Why you might ask? She seems to go out of her way to read material she should know she will not like and then write overly negative reviews about it. Case in point, the Luna Brothers and their comic Girls.
Girls #6 (Joshua and Jonathan Luna) would be ludicrously funny if it weren’t so earnest about justifying its nudity, violence, and swearing. In this issue, random men are killed by being torn into pieces by a giant sperm in a cornfield. The town tries to evacuate, but they find the area surrounded by a giant force bubble right out of a Silver Age superhero comic. Idiotic, juvenile tripe that only gets attention because it’s got nekkid wimmen in it.
Why did she even bother to read Girls #6? This “review” was after she gave an overly negative review of Girls #1. To me, it just doesn’t make any real sense. It’s not a “the king is wearing no clothes” type of situation. It’s not like Girls is any sort of top seller or a major mover in the comic book shop. ICv2 recently released the top 300 comic books in sales for the month of October and Girls #6 came in at number 147. It sold only 12,113 copies. What’s the point in dumping on it? Why continue picking on a low selling title people seem to be ignoring anyway?