Tired of hearing nerds and, to a lesser extent, dorks, debate the fine points of comic books, arguing continuity, character development, and comically exaggerated musculature?
What’s that you say? You are?
Well, as Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor would say, WRONG!
You’re not tired of it, you just haven’t heard it done right. You haven’t heard it done by someone with style. And that’s where I come in: as a middleman between you and a small group of talented people who can write about comic books with the grace and shimmering beauty of a fairy princess. Ladies and gentlemen (okay, mostly gentlemen), I present to you: comic book blogs.
1. Dave’s Long Box
When two people truly love each other, they acknowledge and forgive each other’s faults. For them, each foible is simply another reason to love the other. When two people really truly actually love each other, they write blogs describing the faults of their loved ones in great and humiliating detail to anyone who wishes to read them.
Such is David Campbell’s love for comic books. His blog, Dave’s Long Box, is all about what makes comics great. And what makes comics great, we learn, is its capacity for the mind-bendingly ridiculous. A perusal of Dave’s Long Box will bring you closer to the writers who thought Unus the Untouchable and Dr. Dorcas were good names for villains. Dave will machete his way through the thick jungle vines of continuity, in a feature he calls “Boob War,” and explain why DC’s Power Girl must always be drawn with giant breasts. And, at great risk to his own life and livelihood, he will fearlessly expose the logistical problems of a one-page ad in which rock star Meatloaf enlists the reader to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
And whatever you do, don’t miss Dave’s other blog, The Velvet Marauder- an in-character story of an up-and-coming superhero, in blog form. Where else can you read about the sinister Jet Pack Mafia? Nowhere I’d be seen. Moving on.
2. Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog
Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog has all the action and excitement its name promises. Like Dave’s Long Box, his unstoppable ultra-blog revels in the strangest moments of comics past and present, but also specializes in updates listing new comics- his favorites, some mainstream, some obscure- with descriptions like… well, let me just give you an example:
“All-Star Superman #4: I can say with complete and utter certainty that this issue is one of my favorite comic books of all time.”
That’s not the most descriptive line, buy hey- that is decisive comic reviewing. There’s no sheepishness in the unbelievable hypno-blog, no pussyfooting. He’s not a pussyfooter, this Chris. If you see someone pussyfooting? Probably not him.
In addition to his unflappable quasi-blog, Chris’s work can also be seen on Cracked.com, Cracked magazine’s official website, and prismcomics.org, so he must be doing something right. Cheating, probably.
Okay, wait, I got one more: inconceivable liqui-blog. There, I’m done.
3. Graphic Novel News
Graphic Novel News isn’t, unlike the above blogs, especially funny. Yes, its url does abbreviate the words “graphic” and “novel” into the word “grovel,” but that’s about it.
But it’s not intended to be funny; it is what it says it is- graphic novel reviews. If you don’t want to have to wade through paragraph after paragraph of sniggering over anachronistic dialogue and unintentional homosexual innuendo in comics from the sixties- if you just want to find out whether a comic you can buy right now is any good or not- this is a good place to go. It’s by no means complete, but it spreads itself over a wide enough range that it might help you expand your comics- or, if you prefer, graphic novel- horizons.
And hey, maybe I’m not being fair to Graphic Novel News in the humor department. The URL shows that it’s a British site- maybe the humor is just too dry for my American sensibilities. Maybe when you run Fawlty Towers through the desiccator a couple times, you get straightforward comics reviews.
For similar content, see http://comicsworthreading.com/ – the reviews are longer, but I’m told some people like that.
4. The Savage Critic(s)
The Savage Critic(s) strikes a good balance between informativeness and snarkiness. It updates with a ship list of current comics, so it’s a useful place to go if you just want to know what’s available any given week, and its reviews are done with enough humor and style that you won’t get bored of them quickly. That’s savage criticism done right. Savage criticism done wrong would be dismissing the publication in the first sentence and spending the rest of the review pontificating on the intolerable ugliness of the writers’ and artists’ children.
Incidentally, according to my spellcheck, “informativeness” is a real word. The hell?
5. The Comics Curmudgeon
It’s not a comic book blog, but The Comics Curmudgeon definitely deserves a mention. There is, of course, an important difference between newspaper comics, which The Comics Curmudgeon reviews, and comic books: comic books have to be entertaining. Superman’s not going to go away if his comics start sucking for a while, but if a comic book writer can’t sell books, eventually he’ll be replaced with someone who can. But newspaper comic artists, once they’ve established themselves, are apparently free to be as bland and, in some cases, as insane as they want, because newspapers still sell. There are good comic strips, and in some places they’re actually gaining ground, but most of them are to entertainment and comedy what sugarfree gum is to real food. If you’re going to get anything out of them, you have to dig deep, tear each comic apart, and put the pieces back together in a way that’s funny.
Or you can let Josh, the blog’s resident curmudgeon, do it for you. In his hands, a mild drunken outburst in Mary Worth becomes a superhero origin story. An everyday childish misunderstanding in Family Circus becomes a castration-centered put-down. And an innocent case of child abduction by bears in Gasoline Alley becomes… well, no commentary could really make that more horrifying.
That’s it for me. And if you start getting the crazy idea that you have the right to make your own choices about which which comic blogs are best, check out http://www.simpleweblog.com/comics/comicweblogs.php for a list of more comic book blogs.