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Comics Journal writer vs. Comics Journal website: FIGHT!

The Comics Journal #300

The Comics Journal #300

A contrarian’s contrarian known for writing pieces like an Art Spiegelman takedown titled “In the Shadow of No Talent,” Noah Berlatsky is the sort of writer whom people who’ve never read The Comics Journal but know of its fearsome reputation might conjure up as the notoriously cranky comics mag’s critical platonic ideal. In that light, the longtime Journal contributor and current Journal blogger’s essay on everything that’s wrong with the Journal‘s new web presence might be the Comics Journaliest thing ever written.

Writing at his usual blog platform The Hooded Utilitarian — which is now hosted at the Journal‘s site, — Berlatsky rattles off a laundry list of problems with the recently relaunched site. Gaudy ads, WordPress clutter, an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to organizing its bloggers and their very different approaches and beats, “read more” jump-cuts that interrupt every single post mid-sentence, launching in beta, lack of promotion, frequent outages, and the already-infamous posting and yanking of TCJ #300’s content are among the many targets that draw Berlatsky’s fire.

More Journal and contributors chime in in the comment thread, such as as well as blogger Derik Badman, who notes the site’s user-unfriendly headline-only RSS feed, which is undetectable to some browsers.

Though Journal publisher and guiding light Gary Groth continues to dismiss the comics blogosphere even as he admits he doesn’t follow it all that closely, the problems with his publication’s entry into the digital era make me wonder if we’ve reached a “physician, heal thyself” moment.



Just to be clear, I’m not a Journal or contributor (I wouldn’t say no if they asked though), which your sentence implies.

Groth’s dismissal of the blogosphere and how he can’t even follow the critics he likes, just shows his lack of knowledge of how the internet/blogosphere work. If he wants to follow Charles Hatfield (for instance, since he mentions him in the article), he could just subscribe to the Thought Balloonist feed, where Hatfield posts essays or links to his work elsewhere. Groth could even got that feed via email.

And to spread the critical site love around… how about some links to the individual post comment rss feeds on this site. It’s there (if you add “/feed” to the end of a post’s url).

I tried heading over to that site when it opened and the wall of poorly organized links and ads kept me from reading anything that wasn’t at the top of the page. I wish TCJ the best, but it’s gonna need to try a bit harder if it wants to gain more readers than it had while in print.

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