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New Publication, The Webcomics Examiner, Premieres Today

The Webcomics Examiner -- a new web-based publication that states it will focus on "frank, sophisticated discussions of the boldest new works in the [webcomics] medium" -- was officially launched today.

The inaugural issue includes an interview with Eric Millikin, features on A Dog and His Elephant and Scott McCloud's The Right Number , as well as reviews of Outside the Box, It's About Girls, 1/0, Streets of Northampton and Sexy Losers.

You can learn more about The Webcomics Examiner's mandate and mission here.

I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

Are these people SERIOUS?

This is like Pitchfork Media for webcomics. Pretentious, overly artsy, and painfully critical -- except this site covers something most people are doing as a hobby in their free time.

And what's with all the Sexy Losers reviews this past month? Is everyone just ignoring the clear fact that hard hates it when people review his webcomic, whether it's a good review or not?

I thought webcomics were supposed to be fun.

Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

Hey, I like Pitchfork. ...Well, alright, I think the reviews are kinda masturbatory, but the fact that they look at a lot of different material at least makes it a good point from which to find out what's out there. Some people just like things to be intellectual like that. At the very least, it's more discussion and publicity, even if it is pretentious.

"Is everyone just ignoring the clear fact that hard hates it when people review his webcomic, whether it's a good review or not?"

Sources say "no."

Re: New Publication, The Webcomics Examiner, Premieres Today

C'mon, I think this is a nice effort. And I found the reviews much more in-depth and less flame-ish than those of Comixpedia and Sequential Tart.

I couldn't help but notice this is hosted by WCN. Does that mean the service will open for everyone soon?

Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

Yeah, I can understand how someone can enjoy stuff like that. I just think it's pretty ridiculous when it's applied to free webcomics. I thought that site was supposed to be a satire of some sort when I first saw it.

Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

What is the "ModernTales Propaganda"?

I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

In fact, it seems well done so far for what it is. It's the concept I find hilarious.

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

I don't get it. Their goal is, like they said it themselves, "to be a forum of reviews and critical articles evaluating webcomics as a fine art. We will strive to identify the most important new works, and further, to advance the dialog of what these works mean and why they matter. ".

It's still early to say if they are going to accomplish this goal, but I sure hope so. I like what I see so far. For one, not handing scores on the webcomic reviews was a very good start. Not saying the scores aren't important, but I feel ST and Comixpedia put them in the first place, and I feel that a review should not so much bash the artist as it should point out what the work has and it's good or bad so we too can discuss and apply to our own works.

meh

They're free webcomics that most people do with whatever free time they have and not looking to make a career out of it.

If they do that with webcomics that make money and people do for a living, fine. But some of us just want to be left alone to do whatever we want without BIG IMPORTANT CRITICS WITH BIG IMPORTANT OPINIONS holding our work up to high standards.

hard recently wrote a big rant about how reviews have no place in the webcomics community. His comic has been getting quite a lot of attention from critics recently for some odd reason, and he's sick and tired of it. And yet, the Webcomic Examiner goes ahead and does a huge review on Sexy Losers. It's annoying.

Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

Joey Manley's picture

"Modern Tales Propaganda" is any website, article, review, column, blog and/or messageboard posting that seems to imply that some cartoonists are better at what they do than others -- even if the website, article, review, column, blog and/or messageboard posting has nothing to do with Modern Tales itself, in reality.

The concept that there is such a thing as "quality" in webcomics, or that some cartoonists are better at what they do than others, is so preposterous, so unheard-of, so ridiculous on the face of it, so unprecedented when faced with the history of all human thought about the arts in general and comics in particular, that any website, article, review, column, blog and/or messageboard posting that upholds this bizarre idea of "quality" and "worthiness" must have some connection to Modern Tales, the originator of the nefarious concepts in question, and the root of All That Is Evil In the World, Especially the World of Webcomics.

;)

Hope that helps!

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Oh.

That's dumb.

Re: meh

Oh, I understand what your peeve is now. But wether you'll take the reviews seriously or not is your call, coyote. I know you and hard may be tired of all the annoyance you have to deal with, but you know, J.D.Salinger is also a very reclusive man, and that never stopped the media from reviewing his most famous book. I don't know, that must be how life goes when you're famous. I couldn't tell since I'm not.

not that anyone cares...

...but in my opinion, webcomic reviewers should ask the artist for permission before reviewing a comic. I'm sure most artists will be just fine with it, and those who don't want to be reviewed won't have to deal with the annoyances. Everybody's happy!

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

Umm... point of information?

There are no scores in Comixpedia reviews. Ever.

Likewise, there has not been a SINGLE bashing of a webcomic in our reviews, either.

A minority of our reviews were unfavorable, but they were never one-sided, unproductive bashing. We have always tried to look at both the strengths and weaknesses of a work in question when offering a review.

Please feel free to prove me wrong.

(And an added point: people must really learn to understand that a review is NOT a critique, meaning that we are NOT writing them to try to counsel creators, but rather to give readers a fair warning of what they can expect when delving into said work.)

where does one draw the line?

Anything that is made into public domain is fair game for an opinion.

A review is an opinion. The people at Comixpedia who offer reviews are volunteers who do this with THEIR free time, because they like doing so, for the same reasons that someone who likes to publish their webcomics likes to do the same.

Just like people don't have to read webcomics they don't like, people don't have to listen to reviewers if they don't want to.

Saying that people should ask for permission before reviewing a comic is like saying that people should ask for permission before READING a comic, or having an OPINION about a comic.

If an artist really only wants to produce art for themselves and/or close friends, they won't make the art publicly accessible. If they DO make it publicly accessible, chances are that they are aware that people are going to have opinions about the art. A reviewer is simply someone who offers their opinions in a more formal format, is all.

If you are willing to do some in public, no matter what that something is, you have to accept that someone is going to have an opinion.

It's your choice to decide what to do with said opinion, but you can't stop the opinion from being made or suppress it without going against your own beliefs in free expression (i.e., choosing to express something publicly, like a webcomic).

one more thing

The difference between hard and J.D. Salinger is that J.D. Salinger wrote for a living and made money off his book. For hard, doing comics is not a job, he doesn't sell merchandise, and he doesn't even advertise his comic. He's not part of a business. This is discussed here.

Re: not that anyone cares...

This would make for remarkably poor journalism. The reviewer would automatically be beholden to the creator, making for a situation where no reviewer could write honestly about the work. The creator would have the power to only allow writers who like the work to write about the work. Bad, bad journalism.

Also--I find the idea of wanting to be left alone to be highly at odds with the decision to publicly display your work. Once you've offered your work for public viewing, you have to expect the public to comment.

If you're not interested in the reviews--that's fine. You certainly aren't obligated to read them. Lots of people make a very specific point of not reading reviews of their own work.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

Right. Now it's just one of those times I wish Comixpedia had a way to edit comments. I was just going to reply about how Comixpedia does not have a score system either. It's all your fault, dammit! ;)

Seriously, tho, I never said the Webcomics Examiner reviews were better than the ones of Comixpedia. I just said I liked them best, that's all. The Examiner stated that it's goal is to promote a medium to criticize and yada-yada other works. You said Comixpedia's have the intention of giving an idea of what the comic is to potential new readers. You both have different editorial approaches, and I'm fine with it. I just said I like them best, that's all.

Re: one more thing

J.D. is a very elusive character. He hates talking about The Catcher in The Rye. In fact, he got so fed up with the public bugging him that he moved to the mountains so he can only write for himself. Now he just doesn't let anyone read his works.

If you are just as annoyed as him, here's an idea...

Re: meh

Who are these big important critics?

We here at Comixpedia are a bunch of volunteers with a love of webcomics, who wish to express our love through this volunteer project.

NONE of us here are trying to pretend we're anything else but volunteers, or normal people. None of us here are pretending we're "important". In fact, I think that if anything, my writers are very much underestimated and underappreciated.

They are young, or amateurs, or simply want to share their love of webcomics, and they take time out of their busy real life schedules to work hard on stuff that is either ignored by most, or slagged at by the people who don't agree with them. They offer so much and get nothing in return.

They don't try to say that they are better than anyone else, but all I hear from the dissenters is that they are pretentious or self-important. Does that means that anyone who offers up an opinion is a pompous ass? If so, does that mean that anyone who expresses anything is a pompous ass? Which means that anyone who draws a webcomic is a pompous ass because they obviously think that they are better than the rest of the world by daring to IMPOSE their ART on others?

No, no it doesn't.

It's all about tone, S-Coyote. If someone actually SAYS that they are better than others, or DOES speak in a pretentious tone, then yeah, I agree, that's not productive or useful for webcomics, or for anyone. But I will stand here and dare to say that my contributors are NOT pretentious, nor are they in any way elitist or snobbish. I am PROUD and GLAD to know the people who send us their interviews and features and reviews and columns. I am proud, because they are sharing their love of the medium freely, and asking for NOTHING in return.

Are they perfect? No. Am I? God, no. But does that mean we can't share our thoughts?

Just like a webcomic creator who does what s-he does in their free time 'cause they love to do it without expecting anything else.

You love webcomics in your way, and we at the 'Pedia love it in ours. Is that so wrong?

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

See, I tend to think that writings that use "I" and are directly from one person to a "gentle reader" AREN'T reviews, but opinions. They are first person and belong in a blog, not a review site.

Comixpedia's editorial approach is to edit things, as well. It's too bad the Examiner decided to do that differently as well. Ooh, snap, etc.

Sorry for being snarky, there's a lot of good and awesome going on over there, but it's really REALLY snarky to start out with a review that only exists to RESPOND to another review. I believe hard also said that most reviewers only review to gain attention. I think that comment can be applied here as well.

Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

Greg Stephens's picture

Joey Manley rocks to such a degree that I often confuse him for Joey Ramone.

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

And that is absolutely fine with me, Rodrigo. ^_^

uhh...

I wasn't talking about Comixpedia. I was talking about the Webcomics Examiner. None of the things I said up there are about your site.

Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

We never censor or delete anything unless it is an explicit violent attack, slur, threat, racial/cultural epithet, or blatant slander.

We NEVER censor negative feedback.

my heart stirs when someone mentions Salinger!

Salinger also has been sitting on a book for YEARS that I want to read that he keeps dangling about like he's going to publish. And he's done everything humanly possible to prevent people from reading certain of his stories published in magazines and such. You can't go into a library and read them, because his fans have cut them out because they're so rare. (Fortuantely, I have photocopies of one of those illegal printings of them).

It's funny to see people who do webcomics, who aren't making any money, who are deliberately offering things up for people to read get as possesive as Salinger. The man's a genius, he can afford his eccentricisms. Webcomics authors can't, unless they just want to pull their stuff off the internet and dissapear. Which is fine by me!

My apologies, then

It appears that I misinterpreted your above statement, then, S-Coyote -- it was phrased in a very general manner, and as such, I mistakenly thought that the 'Pedia was part of the statement. The hard rant, in particular, was about the 'Pedia, which further led me to think you were talking about us, as well.

I am relieved to hear that you do not see our contributors in that way. While I know we've got LOTS of rough spots and work to do, I have always felt that if anything, we've at least always been pretty up front and unpretentious... at least, my contributors are (*is known to get a little snippy and altruistic at time, due to his foolish quixotic nature*).

Will you accept the apologies and the likely comical appearance of this Acadian with egg on his face? ^_^

Re: one more thing

Joey Manley's picture

Shades of Tristan Farnon!

For those who don't know, Tristan Farnon's www.leisuretown.com used to house a set of highly-acclaimed webcomics -- he, along with Farley, garza, etc., was one of the people singled out by Scott McCloud in his very early book about the medium, "Reinventing Comics."

And now Leisuretown, and Farnon, have disappeared, seemingly on purpose.

The comics were even erased from the Internet Archive!

That's our Salinger -- except moreso. Imagine if J. D. were able to retroactively pull "Catcher in the Rye" from every bookshelf!

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

Funny, I considered it a very positive thing that the Examiner is willing to allow for "conversation" between the two publications. There's nothing uncommon at all about writers responding to something they disagreed with in one publication through an article published in another. Many important works have resulted from just that sort of interplay, and it can contribute tremendously to the broader discussion of the artform. The alternative is for each publication to pretend the other doesn't exist, which hardly seems productive.

And knowing Mike a bit, I can say that this had nothing at all to do with trying to gain attention. He feels very passionately about the subject he was writing about, which is precisely why he felt the need to respond. And while I thought that passion was clear in his essay, I saw little sign of snark.

Of course, I work with both publications, so I have an interest in seeing everyone get along. So, take my opinion for what it's worth.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

Re: my heart stirs when someone mentions Salinger!

Hey Meaghan, let me ask you this: would you happen to have any of those in a digital format, easy to send in by mail? ;) I used to hate Catcher in the Rye, but turns out what I hated was a poor brazilian translation. If finding those is hard enough for you guys, imagine how it is for poor little me...

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

"Conversation" is fine, the sum often being greater than the parts. You are very correct in that. I'd like to see more of it myself, which is why I was so interested in seeing this publication. There is more than enough room for more discussion on comics, especially from such a different view. But what I see here is something that generated a lot of discussion on Comixpedia and in blogs being taken advantage of. The review itself is a column in form, and it's connection with the comic itself is unrecognizable. All I read is the author and his views, nothing about the comic itself. And *I* already did that, but even in my *column* I left myself out more than he did.

I don't know Mike personally, but I've had entirely too much experience with him on IRC and in forums to believe that his is just a passion for webcomics and has nothing to do with putting down something to make himself and things he likes better in comparison. This is the guy who said webcomics didn't have "suspense", when he couldn't even define what he meant by suspense.

And don't take my snark badly, Alexander. I would love for everyone to get along, but I also have no reservations about calling 'em like I see 'em. I don't hold anything against these guys personally (and I just noticed they're all guys?) and I'll definitely keep reading, on account of some of it being fantastic. But who wants to talk about what's fantastic? We only like to complain! Oooh, that's irony... ouch. I gotta stop backstabbing myself. ^_^

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

We've obviously had very different experiences with Mike. Debating the person will, of course, be fruitless, so I won't pursue my arguments there, except to say that I disagree.

On issues of writing--the presense or absence of the first person form is something I see as much more of a stylistic issue than a formal one. It's not uncommon for magazine writing to allow for this sort of authorial presence in the writing. I tend to like the first person presence, especially in pieces where the subject matter really is subjective--it gives a sense of where the author is coming from in forming their opinions. Then again, I tend to favor the first person presence in my own writing as well. But I really think that has more to do with taste than quality (at least, I hope so, or else I suck).

As to the unusually large presence of the author's views here--that seemed to me an attempt to contextualize the comic, an attempt to lay the the reason why this particular comic matters. Which I found more interesting than yet another straight review would have been. (Of course, as someone who doesn't like SL at all, I'm particularly interested about the motivations behind what motivates other people to read it.)

Yes, you did something similar in your column. But it was establishing a very different context, which certainly didn't rule out the value of other contextualizaitons.

As to the presence of all guys...you know, I'm not really sure how that happened. Largely, I think, these are just the people who happened to be involved in the conversation when Joe came up with the concept. But it's entirely freelance, so there's no reason why the contributor base shouldn't balance out, so long as there are women submitting work.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

that's nice and all, but

I didn't come here to argue about webcomic reviews. I came here to say that I can't take the Webcomics Examiner seriously with all that flowerly language and the layout that screams "behold as we stand before you and and marvel at our intellect and sophisticated-ness." And to point out that Sexy Losers is getting reviewed an awful lot lately for some reason.

I'm not forcing anyone to agree with me, so I'm outta this discussion.

that's fine

My opinions on Comixpedia are totally different from my opinions on Webcomics Examiner. I see Comixpedia as a more fun and laid-back site, while the latter reminds me of Pitchfork Media, and feels like the writers are sitting in a big chair in their bathrobes, smoking a pipe carve out of cherrywood.

Re: my heart stirs when someone mentions Salinger!

They're all simple photocopies, about a couple inches of paper. I'm not sure how many pages that translates into, but it's a BUNCH. I wonder if they couldn't be found transcribed in the web, though, because for all Salinger's deligence in keeping these early stories out of print, the web's a strange and loose creature.

If I had access to a photocopier, I'd say I could just copy them all and mail them, because they're seriously worth it for any Salinger affectionado, even if the author hates them and doesn't want anyone to read them.

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

I'm guessing it's all guys just because it's such a small staff to start. That's not something you can fault a volunteer organization for in its infancy.

And yeah, you can't argue a person. I've had a very different experience with him and it colors anything I have to say about him and his writing, whether legitimately or not.

As for first person, I liked much better the features by Joe and even the one by Mike because they weren't reviews and pulled off the first person much more successfully. I feel that's where first person belongs. I don't like it at all in a review, because it doesn't belong there. Maybe I'm more concerned with CLASSIFICATION than actual content. Heh. ^_^

Re: my heart stirs when someone mentions Salinger!

Naw, it's fine. I just asked if you happened to have an easy access to those. Eventually I scan the net after his and other authors's writings, but rumor says he goes Nintendo on the asses of websites publishing his material without permission.

Re: that's nice and all, but

YIKES!

Some people take this stuff lightly, but it's not their obligation to care about the entire scene. Don't you think you're taking webcomics a little TOO seriously?

OOOOH BURN

I'm crying forever now!

wait... you're from the Webcomics Examiner??

But I think webcomics as a medium MUST be considered an artform in order to survive, and people who find them to be nothing more than hobbys are only setting us back and might as well be taking a community college course (and a class at the learning annex to boot...)

Wow. Just wow. I have no words.

If anyone ever doubted that the Webcomics Examiner is pretentious, there you have it, folks.

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

The review itself is a column in form, and it's connection with the comic itself is unrecognizable.

Shame on you, Megs! Shame shame! ;)

Re: that's nice and all, but

"I'm speaking only to people who dont like the idea of others taking webcomics seriously. It's as simple as this: If we as a community don't own up to the fact that webomics are a potential artform then we will never be respected in the way and artistic medium should. And, if getting webcomics on the pop-culture map isn't youre idea of a good thing, then don't go to the Examiner."

There are ways to go about it. For one, respecting Coyote's right to not like what you're doing there would be a great start. I'm among those people who do this primarily for fun, I have no intention whatsoever of making my comic my main source of income nor do I push myself into being better than anyone else.

I like what you did so far, but you must consider that not everyone will. Treating those people with the same respect as you treat your readers is only your duty.

Re: I'm not saying it's a poorly done site

This is why Frank's my editor. I get typing so fast and I right all wrong!

I got it write in other places, though! XD

Re: that's fine

Joey Manley's picture

I'm really fond of both publications -- possibly more fond of Comixpedia at this particular moment, but probably only because they have more of a track record. Any publication's first issue is similar to a teenager's first date: there may be mis-steps, and awkward moments, and so on. I expect the publication to grow into its own skin as time goes on. Just as Comixpedia has.

That the two publications are completely and totally different, in tone and intention, while covering the same field, is exactly wonderful. I'd hate to have seen them launch as a Comixpedia clone. Webcomics is large. It has room for all of us. And it can be many things for many people.

Those who sit on one side of the "comics are a hobby"/"comics are an art form" divide and disrespect the other side of it are silly.

The reality is that, for some people, comics are a hobby, and for other people, comics are an art form, or even a job. Both sides are right.

But, I do have to say, I've seen a lot of defensiveness and pettiness coming from the "comics is a hobby" side of the fence in the past -- and not just in this conversation, or on this topic. Some people on that side of the fence feel that anybody, anywhere, under any circumstances, who thinks of comics as anything *but* a hobby, are insulting the hobbyists, just by their very existence. That's where these flamewars come from. It's tiresome. I'm not thinking of anybody on this thread, actually, but I do see some movement on this thread in that direction.

That some of us take some comics very seriously doesn't mean that we are pointing at *you* and laughing. Honest.

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Re: that's fine

There really shouldn't even be a fence. Why must a webcomic be purely a hobby, artform or job?

I would say the pretentiousness is in thinking that every webcomic can be easily classified into one of a handfull of compartmentalized catagories. Just because a webcomic creator produces his or her comic as a hobby doesn't mean that it excludes it from consideration of being taken seriously or evaluated as an artform. Likewise, just because a webcomic creator works on his or her comic as a living doesn't mean that it should automatically be taken more seriously or be automatically evaluated as high art.

What is insulting is when people pass judgment on work by pigeonholing them into classes based on something that (short of having the creator come out and tell you) is almost impossible to determine like intent.

Re: that's fine

Joey Manley's picture

Actually, I couldn't agree more that "just because someone produces a webcomic as a hobby" that it can't, or shouldn't, be taken seriously. However, that is *precisely* the argument that is being made -- by the self-proclaimed hobbyists, such as the spacecoyote and hard. And that is precisely the attitude that annoys me.

Thanks for agreeing with me for once, FD!

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Wow, there are a lot of comments in this topic!

People are full of rage about webcomics!

Re: that's nice and all, but

m_estrugo's picture

Don't be silly. That's just Comixpedia's automatic censor in action. Apparently, it's missing some semicolon, so it typed &amp instead of "& amp ;"
I find this autocensor very funny, especially when Ghastly writes a rant, the censor censors his 'foul' words, and he gets very, very upset. :)


Re: I'm sorry, but I just have to say...

yeah, it's pretty stupid in my opinion. But it will probably be deleted and censored by the "elite" here who dont want any negative feedback to things.

This whole thing feels like ModernTales Propaganda sometimes.

Re: New Publication, The Webcomics Examiner, Premieres Today

As Bill Clinton would say, "That depends on how you define 'soon.'"

;)

I'm making steady progress, but still not comfortable opening the doors yet. The Examiner is one of several alpha and beta testers helping me get to the point where everybody can have some of that WCN lovin'.

Other than that, by the way (and I mention this because of Anonymous, who is posting in another thread), Modern Tales has no official connection to the Examiner, nor do I.

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Re: that's nice and all, but

(first off: I am speaking only for myself. Not anyone else at WCE)

<>

What? a parchment backround screams sophisicated-ness? (great word, BTW)and flowery language? you mean like "artform"? Or is the fact that there are people in webcomics that take them as art?

I doubt anyone one at Webcomics Examiner wants YOU to marvel at them, and they don't "stand before you". YOU clicked. So don't do it again cause next time you might like it. It might become your dirty little secret, and you might start thinking of some webcomics as noteworthy, instead of some #$@&*+!!! hobby. And then next thing you know, you might get paid to make them.

Take your #$@&*+!!! hobby and go home. E-mail your comics to your friends. Stop posting on message boards with links in your sig. Don't involve yourself in serious discussions about comics, only to say there shouldn't be a serious discussion...

Everyone is tired of you, and people like you. Move over so real artists can work on things they are passionate about, regardless of what a reviewer thinks...

Neal Von Flue