Robot 6

Quote of the day | Brian Michael Bendis vs. the comics blogosphere

comics as an art form is in fantastic shape. the only things missing? thoughtful longform investigative journalism and critique. all we get nowadays are knee-jerk reviews and cut and paste blogging. which I have no problem with but it’s ALL we get. on a slow news week like this one I would love to see some of our better reporters rolling up her sleeves and helping the medium thrive. even reviews of trade paperbacks and graphic novels have seemed to have fallen by the wayside even though the sales are crazy large.

you’ll forgive me but I think that a snarky pseudo-hip attitude towards mainstream comics is uninteresting. if you’re a cut-and-paste blogger or comics journalist and I just annoyed the shit out of you… prove me wrong.

I am enjoying the e-mails from professionals agreeing with me but not wanting to stir the pot :-) Cut and paste blogging is cut and pastes from an article from another source… then adding a line of comment & signing their name to it.

I’m sorry I got on my high horse, I just do love this medium and I know a lot of you out there do as well. I miss amazing heroes :-) and for clarification I go to almost every cut-and-paste comics blog :-)

Brian Michael Bendis, the industry’s most popular writer, taking aim at a lot of people who write about the industry, on Twitter today. Shots fired! Shots fired!

(And now, by cutting-and-pasting his tweets, adding a line of comment, and signing my name to it, I’ve become part of the problem. Dammit!)

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33 Comments

“(And now, by cutting-and-pasting his tweets, adding a line of comment, and signing my name to it, I’ve become part of the problem. Dammit!)”

Don’t feel bad, I personally….

OH MY GOD! Now I’M doing it too!

This is a slow news week. I don’t understand. Is this message from before this week?

I wondered about that too, Frank. He tweeted it today, which makes me wonder if he missed the DC news or if it was some kind of dig at them.

I completely back Bendis on this one; go to some of the best sites and there’s cut-and-paste journalism and I’m not a fan of it. The problem is, though, it seems the internet is.

I write for The Weekly Crisis and when I write a piece about the history of Icon Comics (http://www.weeklycrisis.com/2010/04/icon-comics-retrospective.html) or the Marvel Savage Style Magazines (http://www.weeklycrisis.com/2010/02/marvels-savage-magazine-format.html) or rundown the history of movies by Marvel (http://www.weeklycrisis.com/2010/04/short-history-of-marvel-movies.html), or any of our other Opinion/Editorial pieces (http://www.weeklycrisis.com/search/label/Opinion%2FEditorial) we get nowhere the amount of hits nor comments as when we do our weekly round up of Moments of the Week, or short Weekly Reviews as opposed to one issue in-depth reviews (unless the issue is something major…usually a Bendis comic, ha).

I don’t write my gonzo for the hits and the comments, I write it because I love it and will continue to, but it’s telling when those articles don’t see as much press.

Q. Why would a journalist spend ages crafting and researching a massive article when some CTRL-A-C-V will get them more feedback and dissemination?
A. For love of the game. And we need more of that.

Longform investigative journalism? Yes, please! Longform comics critique? Please, Brian, it’s EVERYWHERE and you don’t even have to look that hard for it, because there are people out there like Tom Spurgeon, Dirk Deppey, and Brigid Alverson who weed through the internets and separate out the wheat from the chaff. Seriously, each one prints an entire lengthy list of critiques worth reading five days a week. I wish I had enough hours in the day to read all the thoughtful longform comics criticism out there.

Then again, if you think the week DC ripped in half and Wildstorm died is a “slow news week,” then I’m not sure you have any idea what’s going on, really.

I am more interested in the comments regarding reviews – what exactly does he mean by “Knee-Jerk Reviews”

Is that to say he’s not a fan of the journalists who are overly critical just for the hell of it? Some clarification from any of you on your interpretation of it would be awesome :)

Nice to see a bit industry figure stand up and make some comments. It points us all in the right direction for the future.

I think the thing is, the internet is inherently Short Attention Span theater. I’m mostly online at work or during my lunch break, I want to hit as many sites as I can and gain nuggets of information. In depth, investigative, thought provoking articles are for a more leisurely time, which is a privilege that is rapidly going away. For some. And for that, I think even to this day, most would rather read something like that in a magazine, but who wants to buy a comic magazine when all the news is available in tiny chunks online? Or y’know, is Wizard.

“Thoughtful longform investigative journalism”? I agree with Mr. Bendis. I’d really like to see that, too.

But first somebody besides Alan Moore needs to produce material Worthy of thoughtful longform investigative journalism. Most comics can be aptly critiqued in a few paragraphs. Hell, you can read most comics in ten or twelve minutes — why invest more time than that in reviewing it? The reviews here at CBR are approximately the right depth for 99 per cent of the sensationalist yet repetitive stories and art in comics — that after all these years, still seems to be aimed at pubescent males.

DC and Marvel aren’t in the business of creating classics of western literature. They’re just trying to sell comics, and fire them out on a near-monthly basis. As long as they sell, they’ll continue to use the hackneyed tools of sensationalism, T&A, pop references, and recycled cliches like killing heroes and bringing them back to life.

I agree with Bendis here. One of the biggest reasons I visit Robot 6 and CSBG is because when they’re don’t write long, interesting pieces they usually link to them. And it irks me as well that a quick review of, let’s say Blackest Night, is going to get probably ten times the amount of comments as the more interesting articles, but I’ve *kinda* got used to it.

I’m gonna have to start cutting and pasting, I may merit a visit! Click through Brian, click through …

Not everything needs to be drawn out into 7 issues, Bendis.

HA! I just said that! YEAH!:)

“thoughtful longform investigative journalism ”

I see people clamor for this all the time, but is there really all that much going on in comics that’s worthy of “longform investigative journalism?” I mean, sure, there are plenty of interesting business stories to be written, but investigative journalism? Is Marvel printing its comics using the blood of dead babies or something? Is there a town in Indiana that’s been made into a superfund site due to discarded comics?

And beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be a comics news outlet out there, online or in print, that’s willing or able to make the kind of investment you’d need in terms of salary to get a journalist capable of worthwhile investigative journalism.

But again, when it comes to investigative journalism, I think of taking down corrupt government officials, corporations poisoning people, finding murderers — does any news issue in comics right now rise to that level?

I don’t have a problem with Bendis wanting more mainstream attention to be paid to comics. I want that too. BUT to complain that “all he gets” is hundreds of people devoting what for most is an unpaid part-time job reviewing/reporting/promoting his industry is insulting.

Bendis knows we can’t have actual investigative journalism here.

That would require the reports to hold DC/Marvel accountable for their errors and ask them the tough questions that we all complain about on message boards but the journalists/sites won’t do that because they don’t want their ability to be given exclusive info from the companies and be the first ones to announce it for the hits it will bring taken away from them.

They’re too scared to be left out of the loop to actually do anything.

I hate the comics blogosphere with the power of a thousand burning suns.

I’m with Jason on this one. There is a real need for more investigative journalism, but criticism? Come on, there’s so many good writers out there (like say, the who brought this quote to our attention, haha). Even though I don’t like everything that gets posted on their site, something like the Hooded Utilitarian fills part of the gap Mr. Bendis is talking about. Add the aforementioned Deppy, Spurgeon, and Alverson. Plus, everyone who writes for the Savage Critics, David Brothers, the Comics Comics staff, any number of manga critics like Katherine Dacey? That’s a real murder’s row of writers right there.

Honestly, I get the feeling that a large portion of mainstream comic writers and artists don’t dig too deep into this stuff. I see Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid chime in at places like the Beat, but there aren’t many more. I’d love to see guys like Bendis really engage with some of these writers, I think there could be a good dialogue coming out of it.

Doesn’t Bendis’ criticism really apply to the internet at large? Isn’t copying and pasting an issue everywhere and not just comics?

I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose that’s too snarky a response though. Well, snark kinda begets snark.

But still. I don’t even know where to begin.

Christ, Bendis destroyed Marvel’s “amazing heroes” when he took over the Avengers.

Man, BMB puts a Rip Hunter Timeline into the latest Avengers and then this?

Wow, if Bendis put a sliver of the effort he puts into whining like this that he does into his Avengers plots…

Bendis wants thoughtful, long-form investigation and criticism but he is also sick of what he calls the “snarky, pseudo-hip attitude toward mainstream comics” which implies he’d like unabashed enthusiasm and genuine fondness for the material instead of condescension. Which is it? Because if you’re really going to pick the nuts and bolts apart and think about everything critically, you might not like a lot of what you’re reading and a snarky tone might even be in order. If, on the other hand, you are going to be super-enthusiastic and writing from a place of unconditional love of the medium, your criticism might not be very rigorous.

I can think of examples of both, really. There’s more and better criticism than he’s giving the internet credit for. Bendis ought to go read http://tcj.com on a daily basis and Spurgeon, too, while he’s at it.

I read tonnes of thoughtful critiques about Morrison’s Batman work as a whole.
I’ve even read some in-depth critiques of Civil War written looooooong after the title wrapped up.

Just because they arnt on comicbookresources or newsarama doesnt mean they arnt out there.

The same writer who whines when comments from readers bashing him can be seen directly under an article where he’s interviewed wants a tougher, more focused eye turned towards the industry and its product?

He’s one of the creators that I have no doubt would cut off access to a site that broke an unflattering “hard journalism” story about Marvel before his employers even told him to.

And to someone else’s point: yes, there are tons of sites that publish long form critiques of comic book work, but they don’t count because they don’t give his work the same treatment.

Great, now I feel unimportant.

Maybe some pros think my stuff’s silly, but Dan Slott, Gabriel Ba, Joshua Dysart, Bryan Glass and Oeming seem to like it…

I agree the comicdom would benefit by “thoughtful longform investigative journalism”, but who would pay for it? I mean, I hope Bendis doesn’t believe people would do something as hard as “investigative journalism” for free.
Writing a review is much easier and needs less time time and effort. Of course the blogosphere is full of that kind of writing.

The net has been responsible for some of the worst grammar faux pas known to man and encouraged a dumbing down but some creators have used the lack of critical faculty on the net to their own ends. We only publish TRIPWIRE once a year but we try to approach things in a more literate and intelligent way. But people get what they deserve and I’m afraid this may be a case of that…

Hey Bendis,

Maybe you’ll get more ‘thoughtful longform investigative journalism’ when you stop writing ‘thoughtless, short-read comic retreads.’

There’s not enough long-form critical writing being done, said someone on twitter…??? Nope, no irony there. #mrvlcats.

Come on! Grab a copy of any supposedly fucking respectable newspaper. As well as the investigative stuff and the interviews and the reviews, there will be tons of columnists offering commentary by, guess what, cutting and pasting from other people’s news stories and press releases, and then giving their opinions on it. It’s just a part of journalism, even if it is the easy and lazy part.

Bendis knows we can’t have actual investigative journalism here.

That would require the reports to hold DC/Marvel accountable for their errors and ask them the tough questions that we all complain about on message boards but the journalists/sites won’t do that because they don’t want their ability to be given exclusive info from the companies and be the first ones to announce it for the hits it will bring taken away from them.

They’re too scared to be left out of the loop to actually do anything.

_______________________________________

You hit the nail right on the head.

“you’ll forgive me but I think that a snarky pseudo-hip attitude towards mainstream comics is uninteresting”

So who was writing all those snarky pseudo-hip Marvel comics? His evil twin Bret Bendis?

I despise this little writer so much; what an arrogant, hypocrite man. Yes, I’m sure you’d love uncompromising, thoughtful journalism in comics, Bendis…

… I’m sure you’re just dying to have a thoughtful, complex interview about all the accusations of racism, mysoginy, violence, contempt for other writers’ stories and stupidity your comics get all the time. And I’ sure your colleagues, who are sending e-mails agreeing with you, want the same.

Yes because several years ago during the infamous Tigra debacle, you showed yourself as an intelligent, sensitive writer when you made ‘rapey jokes’. Yes, I can just imagine you tolerating an interviewer barraging you with touchy questions about the way you portray women in comics, for instance.

Really, Bendis, do us all a favor: if you’re not going to help make comics smarter, because you’re not intelligent enough to do so, at least don’t make writers look dumber. Just keep your mouth shut and continue to write your fan-fiction.

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