Reviewing To Promote Comics, Not Tear Down

We’ve covered what makes a good review on Comic Book Daily several times, but I recently came across this statement from Gina Gagliano of First Second Books that sums up nicely my thoughts on the process.

Reviewers to whom I send books are not obligated to write reviews!  In fact, if they get books from me in the mail and they hate them, I would probably prefer that they didn’t write any review at all.  Even if a reviewer gets a book and feels bland and vaguely indifferent towards it, I’ll probably be like, ‘how about you review a nice book from me that you thought was awesome instead of forcing yourself to write something vague and indifferent about this book — I’ll find someone else who loves it to cover it.’

Time is the commodity in today’s world that we all seem to be short on. If I read two books this week and love one but dislike the other, which is better to spend my time reviewing? The book I loved fires me up about the creators, the story and the medium in general and I want to share that wonder and amazement with others. The book I disliked leaves me with nothing but questions and a sour taste. It would be great to read all the new books this week and write a review for all of them, but few of us have the time, money and energy.

This comes to mind as I finish two of the Now! collections from Marvel, Uncanny Avengers Vol 1: The Red Shadow and Avengers Vol 1: Avengers World. I disliked both and wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. Should I write negative reviews of one, or both, giving people a suggestion what not to buy, or should my energy and time be focused on The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, a book I read last week and thoroughly enjoyed that I would like everyone to pick up, read and enjoy as much as I did. Seems like a simple choice.

Scott VanderPloeg

640 Posts. Scott VanderPloeg works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. Currently Editor-In-Chief of Comic Book Daily. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble.