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If I had to pick one person as the reporter-of-record for the American comics scene, it would be Heidi MacDonald. Although she may not write for Comic Book Resources, Newsarama or Wizard, her compelling voice and expansive knowledge of comics — and virtually all of its players — give her writing for Publishers Weekly and her own site, The Beat, a unique perspective. In addition to her comics commentary, she’s also served as a comics editor herself with stints at Disney, DC/Vertigo and Fox Atomic. This multifaceted experience gives her writing insider knowledge and credibility while lending MacDonald’s colorful wit intact to provide one of the most unique and strongest voices talking about comics.
I quote MacDonald often, many times for her idea of “the satisfying chunk” (ask her!), and with comics in the middle of a unique tectonic shift at the moment in terms of formats, genres and even ownership, I wanted to pick her brain on where things are and where they’re heading. Before I’d probably do this in a hallway to a press room at a convention or over weeks of emailing, but thanks to Robot 6 I can put it down for the world to see.
Chris Arrant: When people off the street ask, what do you tell them you do for a living?
Heidi MacDonald: I usually say I’m a writer, and they always ask what I write, so I say I run a website about comics (or graphic novels, depending on the crowd) and pop culture. They ask what it is called and I say “The Beat — just Google ‘Beat’ and ‘Heidi’ and it will come up.” Over the years the response has generally gotten more positive. Usually someone has a cousin or neighbor who is involved in comics. About half the time I have some familiarity with whoever it is, as opposed to the Olden Days when people were more aghast at the notion of comic books as a whole.