Hey there, readership. I’m going to start doing reviews at least once a week, to sharpen my critical writing a little and send more concerted promotion at a few deserving titles… Seriously NBM has sent me like 6 or 7 great books already this year, I should probably mention a couple of them. Anyway, I read and like books almost regardless of genre or intended age, and my main area of interest is basically the exact same as Jog’s main area of interest when it comes to reviews, and he’s fucking awesome. I don’t entirely see the point in doubling up on that… So I figured I’d throw it open to you guys to see what you’d like to read on the site… Kids comics and graphic novels? Sort through the slush to find the good superhero books? Shoujo manga? Art Comix? Only works originating from Europe? Finish up my Casanova or First Second Review series? Should I not be so sensitive and start out with Disappearance Diary and The Missing Girl or whatever? Do a sort of Chris Sims thing and pick some awful piece of trash like Tarot and/or Anita Blake and review every issue?
I’d love to know what you think, if you have any thoughts on the subject.

- Chris

22 Comments on “Reviews?”

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  1. Sean T. Collins says:

    Aw, just follow your bliss.

  2. Tlönista says:

    Local stuff would be great — but I’ll be looking forward to it whatever it is.

  3. Don says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’d be interested in seeing your reviews of graphic novels and the more mature manga. I tend to read a lot of non-superhero GNs, with some quality capes thrown in (The Boys, All-Star Supes, Astonishing X-Men). It very much depends on creators for me. The latest Tatsumi hardcover is waiting on my nightstand to be devoured. I also like the nouvelle manga a great deal.

    I also wanted to say I miss your Previews columns, when you expounded on certain key selections. They really pointed out some good stuff to me when you were doing those. Hope you can fit those in as well at some point, but I know it takes a lot of precious time.


  4. Pedro Tejeda says:

    Please don’t do the trash reviews. They are funny and all every once in awhile but don’t limit yourself to that.

    I would like to see more Euro stuff since I’ve been trying to get into it since I prefer it over manga, but that’s my bias.

  5. Naseem Hrab says:

    I think everyone above has great ideas. :D

    I would love to see stuff for kids, hidden gems you’ve tracked down, autobiographical stuff, emo/angsty crap, and your thoughts on Disappearance Diary–I quite liked it. :D

    Woo hoo! :D

  6. BDShannon says:

    I’d like to second the recommendation for reviews of mature manga.

  7. K. Covey says:

    I’d prefer to keep the reviews of bad stuff to a minimum, so that you can spend your time bringing our attention to the great stuff.

    As for what areas to focus your reviews on, as long as something is good, I don’t care too much what genre it fits into. If forced to choose, I think I’d be most interested reviews of good comics that might get missed elsewhere — art-comics, auto-bio, international (manga but also European/South American stuff), etc.

  8. Greg McElhatton says:

    Whatever you would be actually interested in reviewing, of course. There’s enough material out there that you won’t have to worry.

  9. Chris McLaren says:

    I always find your managa reviews useful, please continue to do that stuff.

    I’d also love to see you take advantage of the breadth of genre you have access to in order to review lots of “not superhero” stuff–I don’t want to say “art comix” because that’s too limiting: I want to see reviews of the new graphic novel offerings from traditional book publishers, but I also want to see NBM, D+Q, Top Shelf, etc. Hell I want to see the _really_ small publishers and indys who do good stuff.

    I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a dissection of some of the trash every once in a while as well, so long as it wasn’t played for laughs, but was instead treated as a critical look at what the book says about its audience, and possibly about its creator(s).

  10. Chris Mautner says:

    I agree with Sean. Write about what interests you.

  11. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I think there are enough people saying you should write what interests you that you should instead write about what doesn’t interest you. Pick five comics you have absolutely no interest in and then review the crap out of them.

  12. Abhay says:

    I would recommend avoiding long “series” of “I’ll review every single issue of ______.” When it feels like it’s working, those are super-fun, really satisfying, but, for me personally, it can feels a little too close to work, too, which I think is all wrong. Satisfying but very easy to kill your productivity.

    Have you thought about doing interviews? I haven’t been happy with the ones I’ve tried to do yet, but– I’ve had a lot of fun doing all of them. There’s a challenge to those. I know people like to complain about the comic reviews, but I think the state of comic interviews is way, way (way) worse. I think you’d be really good at those.

    Plus: If you google-image “futuristic haircut”, your photograph is #7 on the google image. So: that caught me by surprise.

  13. Abhay says:

    “I haven’t been happy with the ones I’ve tried to do yet”

    Oh– I should clarify that: I’ve been happy with the answers and the people who’ve been nice enough to say yes to the interviews; I just haven’t felt like I’ve ever managed to ask the right set of questions, yet.

  14. Jonathan Ellis says:

    Chris does great interviews – and great introductions to interviews [such as "How Grant Morrison Saved My Life"]

    Now Chris, reviews, no to the negative reviews unless it’s one of those instances where you absolutely have to take the piss out of something [but even then it's better just to rant then rant, type it up and unleash it] or if it’s more in a rational/critical vein then a rant [ i.e. "such and such was a good idea though horribly executed"]

    ditto on the previews comment, speaking for myself I tend to forget about things by the time they come out [or I simply didn't even know it was coming out] and we both have the tendency to notice things eachother missed – many of which deserve to be highlighted to your readers, for instance, John Pham has a new book coming out, don’t know what it’s called or when it comes out, but i’ll definitely buy it

    as for what to review, take one of our typical conversations “Chris? Have you read this?” “Yes. It’s good. Buy it” “O-Kay.” and expand on it, y’know, add in some whats and whys – whether its kids books, manga, superheroes, euro, etc. – is it really good and is it worth buying?

    also, anything you can get Andrew to read is probably worth reviewing [I still haven't read Tokyo is my Garden, despite being one of the books I most looked forward to getting this year]

    you could easily do theme reviews, i.e. 1st second books, doug wright nominee books, anything you brought back from SD, etc. but I would only go that route unless they’re books you really feel strongly about/want to have your say about

    all that aside, sorry i didn’t get to chat more/stick around more – you were naturally very busy otherwise we would’ve stolen you away for a bite, another day we’ll get time to sit


  15. Abhay says:

    “Chris does great interviews – and great introductions to interviews [such as “How Grant Morrison Saved My Life”]”

    Oh, right: Popimage! Slipped my mind– my apologies. Uh: Nevermind.

  16. Rivkah says:

    I would like to see reviews on kid’s comics! Not just grade school, but middle school aged kids, as well. I’ve found a few good series (loving what’s being done with Power Pack), but there only seems to be a handful of the genre out there right now. Or perhaps I’m not looking hard enough?

  17. Jonathan Ellis says:

    I think doing interviews is a great idea, but they do tend to take quite a bit of work, also you need to decide on a focus of creator/project/theme specific/oriented

  18. Chris says:

    Hey guys, thanks a bunch for all of your thoughts. I think I know what I’m going to do now…

    - Christopher

  19. Ziga Sparovec says:

    I have a hard time finding any good reviews of books reprinting or talking about classic comic books and strips, such as collections of the work of Milton Caniff, Alex Toth, Alex Raymond… Maybe some European ones too, like Hugo Pratt.

    I don’t think you should focus on any one thing, but if you could review some of what you think are the best books by or on these comic book masters, I’d be thrilled.

  20. Rococo Flow says:

    I’d love to hear about comics from Europe. (Honestly, I’d to specifically hear more about any French comics). But any part of Europe is good. =)

  21. Aaron says:

    Personally, I don’t mind if you cover the same ground as Jog – I typically can’t formulate any sort of an opinion on a movie until I have read more than one review, so why should books be any different? I for one would love to read reviews of Disappearance Diary and The Missing Girl (or even Dororo and Cat-Eyed Boy, which Jog has already reviewed). Do it! Write what you feel like covering, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

  22. Karl Ruben says:

    You doing weekly reviews is pretty good all in itself, I’ll be reading whatever you decide to do. Also, I have to add my voice to the chorus wishing you’d go back to Previews-reviewing – your monthly columns five-ish years back were a tremendous influence on my comics reading (and buying), and I’m so grateful for that.

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