Input From The Followers And General Housekeeping

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It is time for one of my rare posts that does not deal with a review of a comic book. I think it is in order because I need some direction and input from the Followers of The Revolution.

Rapscallion86 and JonHend posted two very valid comments to the New Avengers #50 review. Both are loyal Followers of the Revolution, but they had real issues with the review. Both commented that I was too sarcastic and hostile in my review. And both commented that they would much rather read reviews from me on comic books that I enjoy rather than comic books that I dislike.

And I have to totally agree with Rapscallion86 and JonHend. They were both completely right in their assessments of my review. Normally, I try my hardest to be as unbiased and as clinical as I can be in my review in order to give a fair and well rounded review. I did not do that with New Avengers #50.

The fact is that the past two weeks have not been great. And I have been fairly hostile, irritated and extremely cranky. In short, I have pretty much been a total dick to just about everyone. Normally The Revolution is my release that allows me to escape the crap from work or whatever else is going on. And usually I can separate the two so you guys never have to put up with my pissy moods. I figure you guys all come to The Revolution for a bit of escapism as well. Everyone has problems and nobody wants to hear about someone else’s problems.

Well, my black mood clearly got the better of me and it really poured through in my New Avengers #50 review. I won’t apologize for my opinion of the issue.  But, I do want to give the Followers what they want.

The fact is that you guys out there, the Followers of The Revolution, control this blog. Not me. It is what you guys want that dictates what I give you. I have opened up the direction and format of The Revolution to a popular vote before. And I am not shy about doing it again.

The Revolution is not a platform for me to preach. The Revolution is not a vehicle to feed my ego. I mean, I hide my real identity from everyone because I do not want the focus on me. I want the focus solely on the comic books that I review. I never promote myself. I only promote the comic books that I enjoy.

I have always hesitated to only post positive reviews because I am afraid that I will lose my credibility as a reviewer and come across as nothing more than a shill. I have always hated how Wizard loves every single comic book that they review. So, I figured that if I posted reviews about comic books that I was not impressed with that I would retain more legitimacy and credibility than if I always raved about every comic book that I reviewed.

I also felt that readers would appreciate being able to get reviews of certain issues that were not good so that they could avoid wasting their time and money on those issues.  In a time when comics are more expensive than ever and the economy is getting worse, I figured that people might like to be aware that some massively hyped comic books might not be worth their hard earned cash.  I did not want The Revolution to just be me sycophantically praising issues.  I wanted The Revolution to be a resource for people to figure up how to spend their dollars on comic books.

So, I believe that it is time for another poll in order for the Followers of The Revolution to decide on any changes to the format of The Revolution. I have put up a poll and I urge all of you guys to vote. I know that plenty of people don’t like polls. But, this one is important. Everyone gets a say in the direction of The Revolution and the majority will decide the direction that I take.

The poll question is: “Which would you like to see The Revolution do with regard to the weekly reviews?”

  1. Only give detailed and lengthy reviews to comic books that receive a 7 or higher score. Any issue that scores a 6 or less should get a Bunker Bulletin only.
  2. I don’t care if you loved the issue or hated it. Give us detailed and lengthy reviews for whatever comic books you choose to review regardless of the score.
  3. Put a poll up every Monday and let us vote on which comic books from that week are to get detailed and lengthy reviews. The top four issues in the poll will get the detailed reviews regardless if you liked them or not.

All right. Let the voting begin. Polls will close next Wednesday, March 4.

Now a bit of housekeeping. The Revolution is happy to announce that we have left our blogspot days behind us. We now have our very own domain name: www.comicbookrevolution.net. The main page is still under construction. The blog is now blog.comicbookrevolution.net. The forums are at www.comicbookrevolution.net/forums/index.php. Hopefully, we will get the main page up and running soon.

The Revolution never stops trying to grow and evolve. I would love to have gotten the domain name comicbookrevolution.com. But, someone else has it and is doing next to nothing with it. So, if you are the owner of that domain name sell it to me! And for the record, we are the original Comic Book Revolution. We were around years before this other website.

And last, but not least, I would like to welcome aboard a new member of The Revolution. Nagacore has graciously agreed to contribute to The Revolution. I think he will be an invaluable addition to the team. That brings us to a crew of four members. Man, it seems like forever ago when it was just little old me posting reviews on this blog. Like I said, I am determined to make sure that The Revolution keeps on growing.

All right, enough talking. Go and vote!

17 Comments

  1. I’d suggest focussing your reviews on things you enjoy; you’d probably enjoy the hobby more that way.

  2. I think it’s perfectly fine to dump on a book if you don’t like it but i have to wonder at the fact that you bother to continually review stories that are obviously painful for you. Reviewing is of course and opinion based system but if you’re going to constantly post reviews of the same book week after week when it’s obvious you have no taste for it, that seems a bit strange.

    I’m not saying you ought to stop reading it (in case it does change) but you could save the review for something else you really liked, particularly in light of the fact that you’re attempting to branch out more from the big 2.

  3. I enjoy your commentary and it gives me a nice chuckle whenever I read it.

  4. ..

    Love yer site, first of all….

    I like the reviews when the comic is neither really good or really bad. THose seem to the ones that stand out in my mind.

    Obviously, being too negative will drive people away as well as being too positive.

    THe key is to find the happy medium, while still hitting the “major” releases.

    ..

  5. I enjoyed it despite it being negative. You tell it like you see it. Negative reviews make the positive ones more real and important. The comics verse is full of hype and/or bashing. But a detailed, reasoned, review which says *why* something is bad is rare.

    Also, DC and Marvel are *universes* and as such it’s nice to know what is going on across them. A detailed review of something like New Avengers #50 is a service to everyone who wants to know what the heck is happening in the broader DC or Marvel universe…

    Frankly, I like your writing. It’s fun to read. If I buy a crappy comic, I can at least console myself that maybe you’ll review it, and I’ll get the enjoyment of having someone else validate my opinion of its crappiness – or perhaps, show me something I missed about it, if we disagreed.

    Moreover, on a personal level, by seeing what you dislike, it illuminates what you *like* and why, making it easier for readers to understand your positive reviews in context.

    I love Roger Ebert. Used to watch his show before he got sick. Still read his reviews all the time. Think how damn boring his (or any other) review show would be if it was only “thumbs up” all the time.

    You’d start to think the guy was a shill for the movie industry instead of a critic.

    Likewise with print reviews. In fact, if you hate something, it’s almost MORE IMPORTANT that you explain why it sucked.

    I’m a professional writer (though not in comic cooks). I don’t like getting bad reviews, sure. But what I hate are reviews that say “this sucked” without saying why. Be honest, be detailed, and be yourself, and I’ll keep reading . . .

  6. If you are wanting to go the “credibility and legitimacy” route then instead of basing which book gets a full review or not on whether you liked it or not but how big and important the book is compared to the rest of that week.

    Of course, positive reviews tend to be more enjoyable, but if you think a book is worth the scorn, go for it.

  7. I would suggest tuning down the bashing, for one. It's kind of ironic that in the same review where you criticize Bendis for talking too much, you go on and on with all the things you didn't like, repeating many of the things you said in previous posts about Bendis' work in New Avengers.

    I like that you admitted you were a tad more agressive in this review; I like sarcastic reviewing as much as the next guy, but this time it seemed like an attack.

    I wouldn't say that you should relegate ALL bad issues to a Bulletin. However, if the last 4 or 5 issues of a certain book have been pretty much lackluster and the next one doesn't change the trend, you could demote it to BB. Because the thing is, for example, that Bendis always writes Ronin pissy and rant-y. And then you complain that Bendis always writes Ronin pissy and rant-y, becoming repetitive yourself. That's why I think the Bunker Bulletins should be for books that have gone on a bad streak and are always repeating their mistakes. There is a limited number of times that I can see Fraction writing an awful Cyclops, I agree with you, it's an awful Cyclops, but there is also a limited number of times that I can read your Fraction bashing.

    Another suggestion could be reviewing other works (they don't have to be new) from the same writers/artists you criticize. On most of your New Avengers reviews you say that Bendis' forte is the solo book, citing USM as an example. The last USM review is dated October 31st, 2007. Why? You get it every month and you never review it. This makes it look like you have some kind of grudge against Bendis, Fraction and Winick (I know you don't, but it looks that way). This idea I took from Shawn's FWIW on February 10.

    Which takes me to the next suggestion: Why doesn't another person start writing the lengthy reviews? You always write them, while Jim & Shawn always write Bulletins. You could write a Bulletin someday and Shawn (or Jim) one of the bigger ones.

    The thing is, we come to this blog because we like to read what you have to say. I may not agree with you in some things, but that's the beauty of it. I like that you are passionate about comics, and that you write your reviews accordingly. Hell, I became a DC fan after reading your Final Crisis reviews! After trying to read it and throwing it after not understanding one bit, I read your review and got "infected" by your enthusiasm.

    So keep up with the good work, and I hope we can all keep making this a better blog!

  8. What i would definitely miss would be all those snarky blue comments. Loving those:D

  9. I’ve been following for a year now… best comic blog on earth.

    I voted for reviewing whether it be positive, negative, or just… meh.

    Your fairness shows through time and again Are you sure you weren’t being fair with avengers 50. You did bring up some valid points. After all, If i had purchased the book for $5.. I’d been pretty pissed.

    I have dark moods on occasion…

    I treat them as a passing storm.

  10. -If you like a series,but hate an issue or a storyline, then a negative review is valid.I wouldn’t review each issue of that storyline. I would review the first and then review again if your opinion changes , or you feel the series is redeemed.I would exempt event series from this, I would want every issue of the latest Crisis or Skrull invasion reviewed.

  11. I like occasional negative reviews. I don’t want a parade of snark, but seeming someone get slammed hard occasionally works for me. Just don’t start reading crap that you don’t enjoy just because you feel obligated to review it.

    Ideally, I’d like you to have several “core” books that you will review every issue of, creating an ongoing narrative of your interaction with the text. It’s interesting to see you deal with your favorite characters through changes in creative teams and new story arcs. Beyond that, I think it would be reasonable to highlight things you like, things that you hate in an amusing way, and things that you think people should know about.

    You can, of course, build up your team. Right now, your output still dwarfs your other contributors.

  12. Just keep doing what you're doing. I don't see any problem with the reviews. If you don't like something, tell us why. If it's just, "AARGH, I HATE THIS< STUPID COMIC BLARGH", then, ya, that's pointless.

    As long as you're still giving us the reasons behind disliking the book, then there's no reason to stop posting negative reviews of books you read.

    As for some housekeeping, any chance of adding some colour to the blog? There's a lot of white space with the three column layout. Maybe a border or background to the sidebars to reduce the amount of whitespace?

  13. There wasn’t an option on the list which really matched what I enjoy reading on the site. In the spirit of feedback and not trying to be demanding here’s what I’d like to see.
    -The events. I love your reviews of the big stuff like Civil War, Final Crisis etc because you have a wider comic pull than myself so you put all the pieces into place.
    -One random selection a week, regardless of score. It helps your writing if your don’t always have a positive demeanour.
    -The best rated or the reads you most enjoyed over the week. Because the writing should be fun too.

  14. I think any and all perspectives, that are relatively well informed and well considered, and sometimes not, are valuable and vital contributions to the forum at large.

    Criticizing a review for being negative strikes me as one of the very unfortunate trends emerging in an increasingly young, and naively positive online audience. Frankly, these are exactly the people who should not be contributing to reviews.

    Good, bad, or indifferent, I see “Rokk’s Comic Book Revolution” as a resource to pick up in-fiction information and get a valuable preview of an issue. I’ve been able to make some difficult decisions with the aid of the good and bad of these reviews. This is their value.

    I wouldn’t go out of my way to review negatives any more than I would positives, but if you’re coming across this material, there’s no reason not to share the perspective. None at all.

  15. I’ll probably post this under your survey as well, so you can do with it as you wish. Granted, there are a several books I would like to see given review space (Moon Knight immediately jumps to mind), but as I see it, you are providing a service you certainly don’t have to provide, so what you devote review space to is your prerogative. That being said, any book with the word “Avengers” in the title – whether it’s a good or bad book – has to be regarded as a Marvel flagship title. I completely understand why, despite its consistent wretchedness, you continue to post review for “New Avengers.”

    People may not like negativity, but sometimes you’ve got to call a spade a spade. This book has not been even remotely good for a long time now, and Bendis has not only wrecked this title, but also managed to completely botch Marvel’s big event – “Secret Invasion” – last year. “New Avengers” is like the “Seinfeld” of comic books: It’s a book about nothing. Clint’s mad about Norman using the Avengers name. Big whoop! And, really, if Bucky is still this uncomfortable being Captain America, just bring Steve back already.

    I could go on and on, like you did in your review. The Hood is a ridiculously bad villain, and Luke is a pathetic excuse for an Avenger. And is the Sentry ever going to actually do anything? See, I had to catch myself again. It’s easy to do with crap like this.

    I’ll vote in the survey, but, Rokk, it’s your blog, and whatever you want to do, I’m with ya.

  16. I, for one, am usually disappointed whenever ANYTHING is relegated to just a bunker bulletin. I like reading your opinions, good OR bad, and I especially look forward to your full reviews because it has a lot of influence on what gets added to my pull list. The full reviews are a valuable service; I wouldn’t be reading X-Factor if not for them. And if JLA #30 had had more than just a bulletin, I might not have wasted my money on it. And I’m glad you take your comics so personally – if I wanted totally professional, cold reviews I’d buy Wizard or something. But I want my reviews from another fanboy – I want you to totally tear apart something if it’s that bad, because that’s how I feel when I read it.

    I’m personally a HUGE Bendis fan. And while I agree it seems like Bendis is “phoning in” New Avengers since before the Civil War, I did enjoy New Avengers #50 just for Spider-Man’s “You had sex?!” line. But even though I still buy it, and I still enjoy it, I absolutely agree with most everything you said. Bendis IS talking us to death, the pacing IS some of his worst, and his Ronin, Luke, and Spider-Woman characterizations are NOT my favorite.

    Monologue can be a good thing, when it’s fresh and done correctly. But Bendis just bombards us this issue, and none of it is original. Take the inner monologue during the fight scenes: did anyone else feel like it was a weak rip-off of Whedon’s Astonishing #7? And Whedon’s Wolverine punchline was much funnier (“I like beer.” vs “Kill em all!”).

    When you have an obviously talented writer like Bendis (see: Pre-Marvel Powers or USM or Dark Avengers), you’re not just disappointed when it’s weak… you’re offended (see: New Avengers or Secret Invasion). If we wanted poorly planned recycled plot devices and paper-thin characterization, Rob Liefeld would still be writing comics.

    My point is just that if a writer is good, I’ll hold him to a higher standard than I will other writers, and I’ll be much more personally invested when that writer decides he doesn’t have time to deliver the usual goods. And the fact that you seem to feel the same way makes me that much more interested in your reviews. It makes your good reviews that much more valuable.

    We’re not sheep – I enjoyed the last issue of Final Crisis and will continue to buy New Avengers despite your reviews. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see where you’re coming from, or that I think you’re being pissy when you’re personally affected by a bad issue. I think you’re delivering the honesty that a “professional” review can’t. And that’s why I keep coming back.

    With the exception of “more full reviews” (which I understand is an impossible prospect because of time-permission), I wouldn’t change a thing.

  17. Sometimes you gotta be a dick and that’s totally cool. This isn’t a political discussion in the Senate, its a review by someone we trust to give us good insight. But you are still a person. It would be ridiculous to think that your reviews are completely objective, even though that is what you strive for. Isn’t everyone’s work affected by their current frame of mind? Sure, at least sometimes. And you know what, those emotions that you (and us all) have usually help give the best insight and lead to some spectacular (and entertaining) observations. Look at van Gogh or Edgar Allen Poe.

    What is great about the Revolution is that we get to tell you when we think you’re wrong and, as always, you consider what we think. I say be yourself. We are coming here to hear your thoughts because we respect them (and where they came from). Be yourself, snark, pissy, ecstatic and all.

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