The weekend brings a flamewar

Hmm, what a weekend. I had stayed home sick Friday, so I decided to finish the review for Triquetra Cats, so I posted the news about the review on the comic genesis forums, as I usually do with the CG comics. I was surprised to see how fast the artist responded to it. Unlike other threads on bad reviews, I responded to the thread in a positive manner, attempting to respond to her criticism of the review. I never do this on a regular basis, because I found no point to responding it in the first place. On Saturday, I left for Primo’s house, where I spent most of the day playing Resident Evil 4. I checked the forums once again, seeing the initial response of some of the other webcomic artists on comicgenesis. It wasn’t until a popular forum member brought up the point that I review only bad webcomics, and that my reviews were biased towards ComicGenesis comics. It was the second time such a topic had been raised, and this time, it was more of a personal attack on my reviewing, or as he put it, a critique. It was harsh, but made some honest assessments that I’d like to address. He made a valid point that I am in favor of ComicGenesis webcomics, as I am closely tied with its community and I am friends with much of them. I admit, I am friends with these people. I go on the ComicGenesis IRC chat rather frequently, and they are the ones I turn to for support in my webcomic reviews. I feared that my attachment to the webcomic community may be attacked at one point or another, so I decided to play fair with the reviews they asked of me. For the Green Avenger review, I don’t really know Ryuko, the artist. We’ve spoken once or twice, and probably gone into a discussion once or twice on IRC. Those I do consider to be friends, I’ve already reviewed (like Pimpette or Legostar), but with other people I have yet to review (rkolter and his comic, Reasoned Cognition) I’ve taken my time to make the review a fair one. (The Reasoned Cognition review was written a good while ago, but I’ve held off on releasing it until I had ample time to re-read the archives a couple of times before I’m sure its fair.). And I try to be fair to the best of my extent. I’ve reviewed some of the more popular comics on ComicGenesis and given those poor reviews (Digital War, Star Bored, Burgandy Comics INC) even though the people on the forums are popular and contribute much to the community. I don’t care. I try to separate the person and the comic before I actually review. I admit. I have no damn credentials. I don’t write for anything big like the New York Times. At the same time, there are no credentials to be a webcomic artist. I hoped I could gain credentials not with where I write my reviews, but instead, in the eyes of those who read my reviews and try to enjoy them. I am as objective as possible when it comes to my review. Each facet of the comic – characters, story, pacing, art, premise, and writing- are all examined. I try to categorize the comic at first so that readers of my reviews can see if the comic in such a category. I admit, I don’t take much into giving suggestions on the corrections, and I’m slowly trying to change that. I did mention in the review of Triquetra cats to switch off the screentones, and I really have to give more suggestions in the future if I want my reviews to appeal to both the audiences and the artists alike. Roger Ebert doesn’t say what can be done better about the review. Hell, I read his reviews. The man doesn’t suggest different things to do with the reviews. Here’s his latest review on 16 Blocks. As you can read it, half of the review is a recap on the film and some of the major plot points and characters. It isn’t until the end of the review that he reflects on the film and its strong points. Nothing to it. Thinking back on it all, I’m probably not going to review any ComicGenesis comics in the near future, to avoid any more of this bullshit. The junkRIOT review was going to go up this Monday, but I held it off in lieu of this recent flamewar. Resident Evil 4 scared the shit out of me. I swear, I’m not going near chainsaws anytime soon. Damn villagers. and damn parasites.

5 Replies to “The weekend brings a flamewar”

  1. Darc here. I followed over from Korsil, I hope that’s alright. I read the forum post in question and am sorry it worked out like that. I’ve always been under the assumption that there is no need for credentials in order to review or create a comic. You just do what you love. If that’s not the case then I guess I should just throw all my supplies away because what the hell does a librarian know about making comics?

    I don’t know what others want, but I can tell you what I want in a review. What I’m interested in is whether or not a comic works as a whole. Aesthetically pleasing, yes that’s part of it. But the main thing is whether the comic is enjoyable, understandable, approachable, are there gaps or broken links, can you see yourself reading it or recommending it to someone else. Basically what you do now. You give me the reader’s perspective. If I wanted the artist’s perspective I’d ask an artist for their critique. I see critiques as, ‘I know something’s off and I want another artist’s opinion to see if I’m right and how to fix it.’ I see reviews as, ‘I want a heads up on how things are going so far so I have a general idea of if I’m moving in the right direction.’

    I don’t see how an artist should expect the reviewer to tell them how to fix something that’s off. It’s – in my mind – the artist’s responsibility to look at their work with the review in hand and say, ‘okay, my screen tones are overpowering and my images muddy. How can I fix this?’ This is something the artists should do since they are the only ones familiar with their abilities, their way of working, and any limitations they have (style or physical-wise). A good artist (and I don’t necessarily mean ability-wise but attitude-wise) can take a negative from a review, look at their work, and figure out how to fix things on their own. They want to improve and want to find ways that work best for them. The bad artist (again, not necessarily ability-wise but attitude-wise) will not listen to the negatives even if you hand them the solutions on a silver platter. They do not want to improve, in their mind they are ready for fame and are upset that the rest of the world isn’t basking in their glory yet. It’s the in-between artists who desire the extra help. They may ask for more info or find other artists who can give them pointers. But, you should never feel it is your responsibility to give this to them. If you feel comfortable giving this info then by all means please do. But if you don’t feel like doing that then don’t. You’ve already given something that a number of artists can’t see – the whole picture unclouded by future plans or personal ego. You tell me what the reader sees when they come in cold turkey. Most readers never say a word so you don’t know what they think. The ones who do speak have built up a form of devotion to the work. This is wonderful, it’s great to have fans but it colors the judgment after a while. You need that fresh eye to speak up.

    Oh, speaking of a small comic that’s pretty good have you ever heard of Get Medieval – http://get-medieval.livejournal.com/profile It’s here on LJ which isn’t the best of sites but the comic itself is well done. Updates daily and has a slowly growing following. If nothing else her version of the Battle of Hastings done to “Jack and Diane” is worth it.

    And as to Gyr he wasn’t meaning to come across as demanding. He runs the server our comic sits on and has had similar things happen with PHP forums we’ve hosted. He just wanted to let you and Barry know it’s a fairly quick fix whenever Barry has the time.

    I’ve rambled long enough and I’ve still a page to shade today. I just wanted to say sorry to hear about the response and to hang in there.

    And yes, she does need to tone down those screen tones.

  2. I would like to think that you didn’t give me a 4 star review cause you like me. Hell, that is what I think. If you went on how you felt about the artist, you’d probably give me a 1-2 star rating, due to my constantly nagging you to review comics, period. Hell, I think I just finished nagging you about being late with your next review, whatever it may be.

    Credentials are needed to review webcomics? HAH. That’s hilarious. I hope I don’t need credentials to draw webcomics, too…cause then I’d have to pack up my bags and leave lots and lots of people hanging.

    …and we don’t want to do that.

    As far as your decision to leave Comicgen comics, and branch out a little…I do applaud this decision. If you stayed where you were, there’d be a whole universe of comics you’d be missing. While you’re checking out Drunkduck, take a look over at WCN. There’s lots of great artists over there. (hint: you have to pay to have a WCN account. It weeds out the garbage, for the most part :P)

    Good luck with future endeavours.

  3. No matter how close your ties to the community are, if you’re involved at all you’re going to get accusations of favoritism. Look at Websnark! Eric is more or less the most prominent webcomics reviewer out there and he gets accused of pandering.

    I’m glad, though, that you’re reviewing non-comicgenesis comics, but I think that you should keep the option open. I’d like to see you take a nice equal view of many comics, hosted on networks and on their own. 🙂

  4. I love ya team, you know that. You’re a sweet intellegent guy and balls to what they say. All that crap about credentials…there’s no screening process for any thing on the internet…they can just go get bent. All a critic does is voice their opinion. They tell you what they think, and based on how much you trust their judgement you decided whether or not you want to be involved with the product. Not all critics will agree on what’s good or bad, not all of them will offer advice on how to change what needs to be changed. The bottom line is that Van wanted attention and the forum gave it to him. Don’t sweat the small stuff hon. Review what you want to and if they have a problem with it they can go read something else. Think of how you HAVE helped comics, your review got senshi to pull her head out of her artistic ass and try to better her art. so…simply, fuck em.

  5. also on a not so serious note, if I move my comic to my own site will you post the review then XD!

    just kidding, but could you at least email it to me? I wont share it with anyone, I just kinda want to know what you thought of it. I want to improve myself as much as I can.

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