It’s called biting the hand that feeds you…Posted: October 9, 2007
There is no “real” journalism of the comic book industry. There is no “industry” press that really covers the “behind the scenes”, the corporate aspect, of what goes into making comics (and by this don’t mean uncovering the fact that John Byrne hates Geoff Johns, or some such).
What we have is a “fan” press. That is to say 75 to 95% of the mainstream coverage of the comic industry prefers style over substance. This is obvious to many (especially online comic fans) but, I think, can not be stated enough.
Wizard is, of course, the worst example. But even the brand spanking new print version of Comic Foundry, the anti-Wizard, still suffers from some of the same problems.
(Brief aside, after reading the first issue of Comic Foundry I was struck as to how much it really is sort of the Indie-Wizard, or better yet, the comic industry equivalent of GQ. Which is kind of disappointing.)
In the online world Newsarama is the best and the worst comics journalism has to offer. Though Newsarama primarily serves as outlet to follow the latest dish about their favourite books and as a marketing/propaganda smoke screen for Marvel/DC, they often branch out and cover more difficult legal and industry issues (re: Superboy and the somewhat-recent Harlan Ellison flap). And, of course, Newsarama serves as the home for the great Blog@Newsarama.
I think the recent Imaginova announcement will make Newsarama worse, not better.
The money quote from the announcement was this: (Italics are, of course, mine)
And that’s really the story of this day …what you have come to expect from Newsarama –won’t be changing. We will continue to guide and grow the site editorially as we have since Day 1 and the writers you have come to know and trust will come along with us for this exciting ride.Starting now, however, we’ll be armed with the resources to begin phasing in additional content and introducing new media to improve site design, functionality, and dependability, and ultimately to expand our brand of coverage to other entertainment genres you’re all already interested in.
Even before Newsarama was aquired by Imaginova, I’ve been wary of their expansion into cover geek culture more generally. Newsarama didn’t always do a great job covering the comic book industry as a whole before it added more to its plate, expanding their focus even more is likely to make things worse.
Becoming a “geek chic” magazine made Wizard worse, a feat I did not think possible. What does that say about future of Newsarama?
Getting back to my point more generally, I think the comic book industry suffers from not having a true, semi-independent “industry” press. The “fan” press will always be at the beck and call of Marvel/DC because it serves their fannish purposes. It is not in the “fan” press interest nor inclination to burst the bubble of bullshit that Marvel/DC spin.
And, until a real “industry” press develops I think both the comic book industry and comic book fans are poorer for it.