Heidi MacDonald posted some fascinating commentary on the quality of the comics and the rigor of comic book critics (here, here, and here). Heidi's blog is consistently good, and today's post (On the Critic's Role) was no different.
I would like a critic who can write outside of the first person. Not that first person writing in reviews should be banned. But with many, we get a little too much "I".
If a comic book can be judged and evaluated for its merit, then critics should also be judged and evaluated for their merit. Some are better than others. Then again, maybe like the British and their terrible food, we haven't developed a taste for quality writing on comics. Before someone starts another blog and applies for a Comic-Con press pass, I'd recommend chapter 18 of William Zinsser's ON WRITING WELL: "Writing About the Arts, Critics and Columnists." I've spent years trying to become a better writer. I expect the same effort from critics. Please, say whatever you want about my latest book, but I'd rather take it from someone who has shown a level of dedication that makes their opinion count.
In a three part series for Pop Syndicate, I interviewed five comic book critics (Randy Lander, Andrea Speed, Ken Lowery, Eric Lindberg, and Johanna Draper Carlson) on this exact topic -- A Critical Look at the Critics, one - two - three.