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Scary Stuff

Today on the site, Frank Santoro is pondering the state of comics criticism, and discusses it at length with Sean T. Collins. I think their analysis will provoke some disagreement on a few points, but debate is healthy. Here’s a brief exchange:

Frank: It might be hard to phrase this question – but about 2008-09 it seemed like that’s when 1000-word reviews were common. And there was a “healthy” comment section in places like Comics Comics, the TCJ board, Study Group, etc. Then I noticed no one commenting anymore. Then I noticed that I wasn’t taking the time to read long reviews or blog posts. I’m sure that’s partly due to Facebook and Twitter and the conversation getting dispersed around, but it seems to me that there are less “longish” reviews and blog posts about new comics.

Sean: Yeah, I think the rise of social media leveled not just interactions of comparable length in “traditional” outlets like comment threads and message boards, but also larger reviews. It’s exceedingly easy to type up your strongest single impression of a new work and post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, and receive feedback almost immediately. And since your strongest single impression could be nothing more complex than “This is SO GOOD, you guys,” and the feedback can just be a like or a fav or a reblog or a retweet or a share, it’s tough to build up a thoroughgoing interrogation of a comic. The energy is diffused.

Elsewhere:

—Bloomberg BusinessWeek has an article on the myth vs. the reality of selling comic-book collections for big money, featuring our own Frank Santoro.

—Charles McGrath at the New York Times previews the new Jewish Museum Art Spiegelman exhibition at length.

—For Entertainment Weekly, Sergio Aragones draws an illustrated tour of Mad magazine history.

—Toyokazu Matsunaga, the creator of Bakune Young, has reportedly been arrested for allegedly making threats against a local politician.

—Can Allie Brosh’s work be considered comics? It’s certainly popular. Salon interviews her regarding her first Hyperbole and a Half book.

—Milo George looks at an old Al Wiseman Dennis the Menace story for Halloween.


One Response to Scary Stuff

  1. That Bloomberg article was a lot more grounded in reality than most comics collecting articles usually featured in the mainstream press. However, I think it’s funny how people are always trying to “discover” what causes the prices of collectible comics to change so dramatically from golden age treasures to the stuff that sells for a few dollars (or pennies). I think anyone with a basic grasp of the concepts of supply and demand would realize that by the time most people actually started collecting the books, the chances of them being worth real money went down the drain.

    I have to say that many of us are benefitted by this. I was born in 1981 and only started collecting around the mid-nineties. However, I’m a big fan of Kirby’s bronze age stuff, and can find many of the original issues in places like mycomicshop.com for one or two bucks a pop.

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