Special Edition Podcast

06.22.2008 – Special Edition Podcast – B. Clay Moore

Show Notes

Running Time:  01:06:47

A couple of week’s back, a blog post from writer B. Clay Moore, spawned a response from Josh.  They got in touch, and decided to have a nice civil chat about their points of view, among other things about how Moore got to where he is, and what it’s like to produce indie comics.  We’ll also get a rundown of the numerous projects Moore has out there in shops, such as Hawaiian Dick, Casey Blue: Beyond Tomorrow, 76, and more.

Plus, get ready to hear the best damn Robert Kirkman impersonation you’ve ever heard.

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Comments

  1. DaveCarr DaveCarr says:

    Thanks Josh and B. Clay! It’s always good to hear a creator’s pespective.

  2. slimbilly says:

    i disagree with clay’s opinion dismissing reviewers.  in the podcast. in my opinion,  he comes across as petulant.  he criticizes people who review books in the same fashion that he himself does not like to be criticized – on the subjective nature of comics.  reviewing comics is the same as reviewing, well, reviewers.  it’s all subjective.  some nerds like their reviewers to be snarky.  others do not. 

    me, i depend on reviewers to help me find comics that i may not otherwise find.  i’ve been buying books for almost 30 years (that’s so depressing).  i have two jobs.  the only comic store around me has closed.  my friends have drifted away from comics. i buy all of my comics online two and three months ahead of time.

    i depend, in some respects, on reviews at websites like ifanboy or cbr.  i find people who have similar tastes to mine and i listen to them about books that i would otherwise not buy. 

     mr. clay is, in some ways, as bad as the folks he criticizes.  as he goes on, i just disagree with him over and over.  

     good job, josh, in not being baited.   josh handled himself very well and quite classily.  

     

  3. HumphreyLee HumphreyLee says:

    I wish I had been paying attention more as this was going on (I’ll have to catch up on this podcast later, but I just finally read all the posting that went back and forth to lead up to this). As someone who has been doing Internet reviews for quite a while now, I would have contributed a bit from my standpoint. On one hand, and given what I’ve been feeling about the Internet, or at least sections of the Internet like what we post on, I can kind of see and understand a notion that, with so much information floating around, with so many forums and blogs and places for people to get on their own little soapboxes and contribute to all the word traffic, I can see how the concept of "some Internet review" can lose a lot of meaning.

     Hell, half the time when I write mine I can’t help but wonder who gives a good flying goddamn. Sure, every once and a while I get a Thank You from a creator in email form, which I immediately fuck up by weakly replying some fanboy ramblings like "Mr. Johns I just love all your stuff the JSA is so good please come back on Flash would you like to do an interview?" but anyways, it’s a nice little nod that someone does care, but mostly when you give them a good write up. Again though, there’s just so much info flow running amok, what does it really all mean? For all we know, half the reviews on the internet are being written by the same Green Lantern t-shirt wearing, Cheeto munching, pit-stained basement dweller who has 1600 different account names all of some variation of "HlJrdnFn" or whatever (to use a gross misgeneralization of the comics community of course.

     But at the same time, to say certain comic books, or movies, or just about anything for that matter are "un-critiquable"or however you want to put it, is pretty asinine. Nothing is above criticism, particularly well thought out and educated criticism, and as far as I’m concerned I don’t think it happens enough. Sure, some topics warrant more attention or care, but even a "Labor of love" can still be disected. You can maybe lean off certain aspects of them, but quite frankly, if something is lacking, it’s lacking.Especially reviews themselves. If you’re going to put a part of you out there, you have to expect feedback to come of it, good or bad, better or worse. And any good reviewer out there is going to be able to at the least inflect a reasonable amount of either creative criticism, or just an understanding that whatever it is they’re talking about may just not be a material suited for them despite whatever quality it has and on and on. At least, I like to think that’s what I strive to establish when I do my gig off in the wilds of the Interweb. 

  4. Truthseeker Truthseeker says:

    I really enjoyed this conversation. It is great to hear his perspective in such a thoughtful discussion. I would love to hear more of these types of shows. He said a couple of times "that is a larger issue" and I would love to hear you guys talk about these issues as well.

    Maybe grab another creator or two and the other guys and do an Ifanboy industry discussion show.

  5. BClayMoore says:

    HumphreyLee – I think you’d do well to listen to the podcast, and you’ll see I don’t label anything "uncritiquable." Essentially, you sum up one of my points with, "And any good reviewer out there is going to be able to at the least inflect a reasonable amount of either creative criticism, or just an understanding that whatever it is they’re talking about may just not be a material suited for them despite whatever quality it has and on and on."

    If you get something out of your reviews, then that’s the important thing, right? A lot of creators refuse to read reviews or venture onto message boards, and at least one major company has a virtual "ignore the internet" policy, so any feedback you do get from creators should be valued.

    Slimbilly – Why would I "bait" Josh? This wasn’t a debate or a streetfight. It was a discussion, and a reasonable one, at that. If you listened, you might have noticed we didn’t really disagree on that much. You say, "i find people who have similar tastes to mine and i listen to them about books that i would otherwise not buy." That’s exactly what I agreed people should do in the podcast. 

    As for "nerds who like their snark," that’s great, but I think it’s bad for the industry. The Romans liked to watch lions eat Christians, but I’m not sure it was a good thing.

    I’ll never understand how such a large contingent of comics fandom devolved into a gang of bloodthirsty spectators looking for a fistfight.

    Anyway, thanks for the time, Josh. I think it underscored the value of a good podcast. The chance to discuss things reasonabty with good back and forth, and to explain a little more clearly where I’m coming from (and upon which experiences I base my opinions) was valuable. It was fun.

    -BCM

  6. HumphreyLee HumphreyLee says:

    Of course, I’ll definitely take a listen when I can and get back to this, because at the least it’s riled up a part of me I’ve been thinking about recently, i.e. sort of an "existential" crisis being a reviewer on the Internet and whether anyone really gives two tugs or not. I was just going from the base gyst I got reading the posting entries that led up to this.

     Long and short of it is, like I was saying earlier, with the Internet becoming the primary tool for relaying info and inflecting criticism on our entertainment there’s so much that gets lost in the shuffle, and with so many voices out there it seems to me that while more reviewers are probably the last thing we need to be wasting data with. A good one, or troupe of them like we have here at this iFanboy site that knows their stuff for the most part, and that doesn’t let too much of say "Fanboy snark" bog down their criticisms is something we could use more of, especially in a time where the economy is kind of in the shitter, and people’s non-essential purchases are going to be weighted more heavily.

     I admit, the site I "work" for has that wonderful "@$$hole" moniker that, yeah, we pretty much pride ourselves on so take what we say with a grain of salt, but despite fanboy tendencies on the part of my comrades, I like to think we know our stuff. And for the past, I dunno, year or so I’ve been taking it on myself to play things pretty straight-forward, and really just use whatever little "power of the press" I do happen to have to promote and/or disect  new material, or vastly overlooked material. I do love me a brand new series to buy and try out and then talk about. The guys here do their Pick of the Weeks, if I can do a brand new #1 or OGN or new creative run on an established book then I’m set. Whether anyone cares or not, that’s going back to what I was saying earlier about the "Voice in the Wind" that is the Internet, but if I can entertain someone for a few minutes of reading and get them to do a "Hmm, maybe I’ll give this book Humphrey mentioned a look" for something like the SCALPED’s or, hell, ’76′s out there well then I think this gig is worth the effort.

  7. nickmaynard says:

    so, bclay is saying it’s okay to think a book is "abysmal" but that it’s not okay to write that anywhere online?

  8. nickmaynard says:

    also, when bclay says "i dont think reviews make one bit of difference in terms of buying or selling", i disagree big time. i have bought SO MANY books because of reviews from this website, or threads from the bendis board. dozens of books? hundreds is more likely.

    hell, i dont know how i would have ever even heard of b. clay moore if it weren’t for sites like this, jinxworld, et. al. 

  9. MrBeebs37 MrBeebs37 says:

    First off, kudos to Josh and Mr. Moore for continuing this discussion so publicly and for being civil without apologizing for either of their viewpoints. Reading the original editorial got me passionate enough to finally sign up for this site, even though I’ve been a listener since the beginning.  I hear authors/artists making similar arguments as Mr. Moore all the time, I have to applaud Mr. Moore for putting it as bluntly as he has, something the others (and no, I won’t be naming names) always seem to want to do but don’t go all the way with.

    That being said, I don’t agree with him one bit, but that broad argument is already in play all over the Internet so I don’t see any reason to just be another voice screaming in the wilderness.  I do however have a problem with a specific part of the discussion that (I think) was brought up for the first time in this podcast.

    There seemed to be some sort of agreement between Josh and Mr. Moore that reviews exist to sell books, which I personally have never seen as being the case.  Yes, they might sell books and yes, they might also hinder the sale of books, but the reason people review, or at least the reason they should, is to create a cultural conversation about art.  And like any good conversation, there need to be at least two sides.

    None of us would have ever heard of someone like Bukowski or Kafka if a.) a handful full of reviewers weren’t championing them and, I would argue more importantly, b.) and handful of other guys didn’t disagree strongly about the value of the work. The moment that abstract conversation occurs, the work is given cultural value and it’s given a piece of the spotlight.  And yes, that might result in sales, but for anyone other than creators and publishers, that should be an afterthought.

    I’m writing this on the fly, as I was listening to the podcast while making dinner (which is getting cold, by the way) and got all riled up, so I won’t ramble on. Long story short, the last thing reviewers should be worrying about is sales. They need to worry about artistic merit, good or bad, and if they feel strongly about whichever side of that argument they fall into to talk about it, then the work can only benefit.

    Keep up the great work guys and thanks again to Mr. Moore for having the balls to come out and talk about this. Even if he’s wrong ;)

    -M

  10. BClayMoore says:

    It’s fine to write that a book is "abysmal" online. I wouldn’t do it personally (what’s the point on just pissing on some poor bastard’s hard work with intentionally insulting language), but it’s your right to say whatever you want.

    On the other hand,  unless you explain why you personally find it abysmal, and allow for the fact that others may not feel that way, then I’m not sure what the point is, except to let everyone know you hated it.

    I made it pretty clear during the podcast that I have no right to come down on anyone for reviewing anything. But I think it’s fair to review the reviewers, so to speak.

    One thing I wished we’d touched upon more is the idea that readers are better served by recommendations (with accompanying reasoning) than negative reviews.

    And, yeah, that "I don’t think reviews make one bit of difference" line was too strong, I agree. I don’t think reviews make a dent in sales of Millar’s FF, but for books that slip beneath the radar, they can certainly help build a slow momentum.

  11. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    One other thing about reviews, negative or positive, that I’ve considered since this conversation is that they serve to educate about what it is that works or doesn’t seem to work in narrative, and specifically, as we’re concerned here, with comics.  When I talk about a book that worked or didn’t work for me, I have to think about why it didn’t work, and come up with a way to articulate that.  What is it about the pacing in a narrative that made it feel wrong?  What was it that seemed so right in another story?  These are the things I’ve found myself thinking about as I review books, for good or bad.  I’ve learned a lot about how comics work, and I hope that I’ve helped others think a bit more about what they’re reading and why they like or dislike certain comics.

    But I might sound a bit high and mighty in my utopian reader fantasies.

  12. BClayMoore says:

    Mr. Beebs:

    "None of us would have ever heard of someone like Bukowski or Kafka if a.) a handful full of reviewers weren’t championing them and, I would argue more importantly, b.) and handful of other guys didn’t disagree strongly about the value of the work. The moment that abstract conversation occurs, the work is given cultural value and it’s given a piece of the spotlight.  And yes, that might result in sales, but for anyone other than creators and publishers, that should be an afterthought."

    Out of curiousity, how does a review of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1,983,234 relate to that observation? Surely you’re not suggesting that reviewing corporate-produced comics is akin to "creating a cultural conversation about art"?

    I mean, I hear what you’re saying (since it’s ultimately similar to what I’m saying), but mainstream comic books are commerce, first and foremost, and their existence as "art" is a distant afterthought (if it’s even a thought at all). Kafka wasn’t writing twelve stories a year on a deadline, at the direction of a staff of editors, using springboards created by guys he never even met, in collaboration with whomever his editors could find to get the story drawn in time, with the sole intention of generating the highest possible return on investment.

    I’m not sure what you think I’m "wrong" about, for what it’s worth. You might notice that I even mention the fact that sales isn’t my goal with creator-owned work. My goal is to provoke a positive reaction in a segment of the readership. I am absolutely concerned with the aesthetic merits of the work, but anonymous, open forums don’t tend to generate the most articulate analysis of art.

    Also, once a reviewer has identified what he considers to be "art," I do think it’s his responsibility to lead others to the work in question. Surely part of being a patron of the arts is introducing said art to a wider audience.

    If sales were my primary concern, I wouldn’t be killing myself week in and week out to bring creator-owned books to the public.  

    -BCM

  13. Muady Muady says:

    I kind of want to stay away from the word "art", since the concept is so loaded. . .

    But as far as relevent, thoughful, literature in mainstream comics goes, I think it is pretty unfair to suggest that the idea is a "distant afterthought" so much as it may even not be a thought at all. The system within DC/Marvel, with its editors deadlines, idea monkeys, and arbitrary collaborations, seems like it stifles any notion of authorship, but I don’t think it does. Before 1960, Hollywood was structured in the same kind of way in order to pump out "product" in the way you describe mainstream comics, but the auteur within the industry were still capable of finding way to produce relevent and interesting texts. The entire tradition of Film Noir is proof of this: no other tradition in American cinema garners more crticial (as in academic) attention, and it was all produced long before the hollywood studios became a (to varying degrees) more creatively free system.

    The easy examples would probably be Brubaker’s Captain America and Morrison’s Batman(Not the RIP-tie-ins in the other books of course). 

  14. christian christian says:

    I am going to buy BCM’s book my next trip the shop. That being said, I think sir is a little off base. Some one getting into comic books these days needs a helping hand. I found ifanboy to be perfect for my interests. I did not read comics before my girl friend started taking a graphic literature class.  I bought Batman DKR and feel in love.  We broke up a few weeks later and I had no one to help me out.  Most people are getting into comics are college age not pre-school. We are adults here and I am glad someone is keeping an eye on Spider-Man. If it is good, I will buy. What’s the issue?

     

     I found ifanboy and discovered a site built exactly for me. I knew as much about Marvel comics as I did about Top Shelf. I found incredible books with no genera bias.  Just great material.  I bought The Spirit because the guys raved about the paper it was printed on. I bought things I would never have known about, if not for the site. They and I suspect others, are trying to break down the genre walls and help prove comics as a medium to everyone.  Don’t put down spider-man 17963709630 because it’s somehow less pure than a cooperate-less indie. Both have a great amount of merit.  

     

    What I am trying to say is that without groups like ifanboy, I probably would have read DKR,  3 years ago, went back to borders; picked up Age of Apocalypse and quit after that.  This site is about the medium, not the genres.   I am pretty sure that I am not alone in getting so much from a site that asks for money less than PBS.

     

  15. Tork Tork says:

    I don’t think I quite see how we can’t qualify DC/Marvel books as art because it’s "mainstream" or that it’s a piece of commerce.  The Godfather and Gone With The Wind were both mainstream and commerical films that made a lot of money yet I don’t think anyone would question either’s standing as a piece of art in the motion picture world.  A book you think is good is a book you think is good, regardless of who’s footing the publishing bill.  Likewise, one you don’t like is one you don’t like whether it was from DC, Top Shelf, or your Uncle Fred.  I don’t think there’s a real distinction of merit between indie books and mainstream books. 

    As far as the purpose of a review goes, I agree with the sales thing, the thing Beebs said, and the thing Josh just said as several reasons for a review.  I find comic book reviews nice because you can see a different perspective on the merits of a book.  It breeds thought and conversation, which is good.  One might even look at the book again and see something they didn’t before and it makes you really think about WHY you felt a certain way about a book.  I think it can bring a better appreciation or a more rounded view on a work of art when you read others’ opinions and display you own.  And if you’re looking to enter the field of writing fiction (like I am) I think it’s very helpful to understand why you like what you like in a narrative and don’t like what you don’t.

  16. MrBeebs37 MrBeebs37 says:

    BCM,

    The part of the interview that I was specifically responding to was when you said something along the lines of "Why review Millar/McNiven’s Fantastic Four? It’s not going to affect readership." Am I misunderstanding that, paraphrased as it may be, or are you not placing a value judgement on reviews based on what they can and can’t do for readership/sales?

    My problem is that I get the impression that you believe that reviews exist for some purpose other than to start/facilitate discussions on a greater scale than just a few guys in a comic shop talking about what they like/don’t like. A conversation that negativity has a place in, otherwise there’s nothing to compare the positivity against. What doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t have a place in that is for reviewers to worry about which corporation is putting something out, how the review is going to affect readership, whether the creator is already doing well for him/herself or not, etc. (NOT that that’s your argument, I’m just speaking generally here). The only consideration should be the conversation, not what comes after it i.e sales/readership, good or bad.  It seems to me that we disagree on that, no?

    And yes, Amazing Spiderman #5465748971 might indeed be worth including in the cultural conversation, just like the next issue of Hawaiian Dick might not be worth including. We as a culture will decide that through personal conversations, message board posts, and legit reviews and there’s no reason to expect that we will dismiss/accept either book based on who publishes it, how much money they make, etc. That would be beyond the point.

    -M


  17. BClayMoore says:

    Mr Beebs, I love to see conversations related to the "art" of comics.

    I guess I just hate to see those conversations dominated by books created with one goal in mind: sell! sell! sell!, when there are a lot of books falling underneath the radar that are more pure expressions of creativity (for lack of a better term before my morning coffee). In other words, some people are aiming for "art," first and foremost. Sure, most of them might fail, but the goal of Dan Clowes (to use an example) isn’t to top the Diamond sales charts, so he doesn’t have to make compromises that hamstring his creativity.

    I can’t really wrap my head around comparisons between comics and other media, so suggesting Gone With the Wind is analagous to the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t connect. I think the only thing close to an apt comparison is television. So a really good episode of "CSI: Miami" (or, looking at recent ratings, "According to Jim") would be a more logical comparison to mainstream comics.

    Then again, I’d call the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko DR. STRANGE "art," or the Miller/Mazzuchelli DAREDEVIL. As stated, it’s all subjective, but, sure, mainstream entertainment can enter into the discussion of "art." I don’t think it happens as much these days as it once did, due to the stronger than ever corporate control over media (how often do consensus works of "art," or even attempted works of "art" top sales charts these days in any medium?), but it’s still possible.  I mentioned television earlier, and the shift in focus away from strictly commercial/advertising driven content has resulted in a leap in quality, spurred by HBO and cable channels, and bleeding over into the true "mainstream."

  18. MrBeebs37 MrBeebs37 says:

    BCM,

    I don’t know that I disagree with anything in your last post, except for maybe the ludicrous notion that anyone out there would ever consider reviewing According to Jim, but I do think that it’s dangerous to assume that any book exists with only the ‘sell!, sell!’, sell! goal in mind, just like I think the concept ’pure artistic expression’ is a bit too utopian. I don’t think that was your point exactly, so I won’t harp on it, but I think it’s important to note that the creative process behind every book on the market is much more complicated than the company bullet in the top left hand corner might imply.

    I’m slowly realizing here that what I’m actually talking about is critiquing comics, which perhaps isn’t the same thing as reviewing them. I’ll be honest, it’s not a distinction that I’ve got a very firm grasp on but I remember reading one of Steven Grant’s columns on CBR a few years back about this very topic and agreeing with him by the end of it.   

    -M

  19. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    To be fair, were it not for my partners here at iFanboy, and their reviews of the latest Amazing Spider-Man issues, drawn by the incomparable Marcos Martin, I wouldn’t have picked them up.  Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are out there doing fantastic comics in the cosmic Marvel U, and I flatter myself slightly when I say I think i helped people discover those books when they might not have otherwise.  They might come from Marvel, but they’re good work, and entertaining reads, as valid as any other.

  20. Tork Tork says:

    I wouldn’t say the last Amazing Spider-Man is analogus to Gone With The Wind (heck, I’m not even reading it right now) but my point was you can’t dismiss something from being art simply based on who’s publishing it.  However, in recent years both companies have managed to produce some very noteworthy series like Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier and Ed Brubaker’s Captain America series.  If we’re discounting them as art because they were designed to make money as well as tell a good story, then I don’t think that’s quite doing the books justice.  I find a lot of the things the Big Two have done to be art whether it’s on the main imprint or through side imprints like Vertigo or Icon and to say it doesn’t qualify as art because indie books are somehow more pure or more worthy of being art, I just don’t buy.

  21. Rofo Rofo says:

    Captain American, Green Lantern, X-Factor, Captain Britain and MI13, Green Arrow and Black Canary, Fables, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, DMZ, Checkmate, Gotham Central, Scalped, Queen and Country, Powers, Fear Agent, Pax Romana, Whiteout, Crecy, Strangers in Paradise.

    These are all books I picked up solely because of reviews I read or listened to on this website. I don’t hang out in a comic shop, my comic reading friends live in different states, and I don’t know many other readers. I count on internet reviews to turn me on to new books.

  22. Eyun Eyun says:

    Fantastic interview, Josh! I thought BCM came across as gracious, informative and an all-round nice bloke.

    Having said that, I also have to respectfully disagree with the idea that comic reviews don’t serve a point. I don’t have a LCS that nearby, I can get to one every few months or so, but the majority of my books are ordered online. As such, I’ve found the reviews on this site, and those of the iFanbase, absolutely invaluable when wanting to get a new trade or deciding whether to jump on a monthly book.

    But I think that’s obviously because the reviews, opinions and comments here are uniformly intelligent, well thought-out and constructive. I can completely appreciate how irritating badly written reviews along the lines of "nah, it was crap" must be to hard-working writers, but that’s more down to which sites you visit rather than reviewing as a whole.

    And for the record, the reviews on this site have got me reading so many indie books (like Phonogram, Screamland and The King) that otherwise I’d have never bought. But then this site has also got me reading Green Lantern and Nightwing, so a good review goes both ways.

  23. nickmaynard says:

    josh, you’re not flattering yourself at all. i went and bought guardians of the galaxy 1 and 2 after listening to the last podcast and LOVED THEM. so much fun.

    here’s the thing about comic book reviews online. i really have no friends who read comics. i’ve gotten my girlfriends to read a few trades, or one of the guys in my band read walking dead and liked it. but there is NO one in my life that goes to the store every wednesday like i do. so, i can tell my friends about civil war or y the last man, and they’ll think it sounds cool or whatever, but it’s never a DISCUSSION. its never a two way street.

    so thats where comic book podcasts come into the picture. they fill that void in my life. that might sound a little crazy, but its really not. if i had a dozen friends who loved comics and had pull lists, i dont know if i would listen to / watch these things. all of my friends are big into music so ive never had the need to read an album review on pitchfork or some such site.

    i just know that, for me personally, these podcasts are a big deal, especially when it comes to getting me to try new books. the list of books i’ve bought because these guys (or pulp secret, or wordballoon) recommended it, is unrealistically long. criminal, strangers in paradise, invincible, scott pilgrim, jeff brown’s stuff, bendis’ pre-marvel stuff, and on and on and on. comic book reviews, and comic book review podcasts make the whole comic book experience so much richer for me personally. good reviews, bad reviews, reviews of books i’ve read, reviews of books i haven’t. it doesn’t matter. i love to hear people praise good books, and mercilessly slam bad books, because i don’t really have friends that i can do that with.

    im rambling at this point. it’s late.

    anyways, i’d love to see more interviews like this! the jim mccann one ruled, this one was great, and the stan lee one was sublime. make it happen! 

  24. grigs grigs says:

    FWiW, sooner or later creators understand how much sites like iFanboy have the potential to influence sales. And this goes for both main stream and independent comics. These are just a few of the books that iFanboy has turned me onto:

    - Fables (I went back and bought all of the trades)

    - Crecy

    - Fell

    - Nova

    - Guardians of the Galaxy

    - Action Comics (dislike superman, but Conor is right, this book is great)

    - Fear Agent (I went back and bought every trade)

    - Queen and Country

    - JSA

    - Checkmate

    - Red Mass for Mars

    - Criminal

    - Invincible

    - Dan Dare

     

    The list goes on. I bumped into Rick Remender recently and told him how I would have never found his books without the iFanboy pointer. Out of all of the points mad during the podcast, the idea that sales wouldn’t be impacted by positive reviews is just wrong.

    The way I tend to think about it is that it is like listening to my friends recommend books. When they say something is good, I’ll take a flier on it. If the pick of the week is posted before I hit the store and it isn’t something on my pull list, I’ll look at it closely and often pick it up to try it out.

    Finally, the positive comics on the podcast recently about Hawaiian Dick–before the blog post that spurned all of this discussion–was my introduction to the comic. It put me on notice to look for it at the store and in particular to keep an eye out for the trade.

    Frankly, I don’t get why more creators aren’t courting iFanboy. 

  25. BClayMoore says:

    Thanks again for all the stimulating discussion, everyone.

    Just wanted to drop back by and thank Josh once more. I’ve received a lot of direct feedback from readers and creators, so people are definitely tuned into iFanboy.

    I’ll be in Chicago this coming weekend, lurking in the back of Artist’s Alley, so drop by and say hi, if anyone’s going. Or slap me silly.

    Your choice!

    -BCM

  26. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    I’ve had HAWAIIAN DICK on my Amazon Wish List for a while now but I finally ordered it after listening to this one because there are only so many times you can say "Hawaiian noir detective story" before I break down.

  27. DaveCarr DaveCarr says:

    @conor: Ha, I was totally wondering why you weren’t on board. The whole time I was like this is in Conor’s wheelhouse" C’mon now.

  28. KevinAB KevinAB says:

    I think I have some idea why Walking Dead got off the ground the way it did.

    I am extremely tuned into comcis and even I wasn’t aware of it until after the first two trades. i found out about it because fo the extreme buzz that Invincible generated. I remember Wizard did some big thing on Invincible and the twist with Omni-Man and that caused the guy at my former local comic book shop to ge ton board and start recommending it. I picked it up and was impressed. I was really impressed with Kirkman, and so I sought out his other stuff and found Walking Dead.

    The moral of that story is that a superhero book generated tons of buzz with the more traditional comic fans. Because of that noise Kirkman’s name took off and so did his other ongoings. I assume somehting similar happened with Bendis’s Powers after Ultimate Spider-Man took off. I would imagine people seek out Powers far less though as Bendis’s work is everywhere in the mainstream. It is more difficult to find Kirkman work and so people had to look further to get their fix of that writer.

    The Walking Dead’s popularity goes beyond that though because I think it is tuned in to a very specific genre niche, intelligent "horror" with a human element. After 28 Days Later and Dawn fo the Dead’s remake, zombies were the it thing for a while. Other comics companies have desperately tried to capitalize on this, but while they mainly serve up disposable gore, they are missing the strong chracter work of Walking Dead.

    I think Walking Dead’s success might have been equalled if a new creator who generated a lot of buzz on one book then did a work in another temporarily spotlighted genre, like say a good pirate book after the Pirates of the Caribbean.

    The key is doing one thing mainstream fans will dig, generate buzz on that particular writer, tapping into a genre popular outside the comcis community, and actually having a continuous sotry to tell rather than simple genre exploitation.

    Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man followed the creator buzz (because of Runaways) I think, but it lacked that vital genre connection that a book about zombies had.  

    Of course, I know nothing about business, so this is all conjecture that you should take with about a pound of salt. 

     

     

     

  29. BClayMoore says:

    Much as Powers was a big seller prior to Bendis doing much Marvel work, the Walking Dead was a phenomenon prior to Kirkman making waves at Marvel, and long before Invincible was a "hit." Hell, the Walking Dead was outselling Invincible almost two-to-one before Invincible started to take off. The first Walking Dead trade came out on the same day as Walking Dead #7, and it was a HUGE smash. I was handling PR for Image at the time, and it was pretty awesome to see.

    But I think you’re basically right about more attention being paid to the book once more people knew Kirkman’s name.

  30. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Yeah Kevin, I’ve got to disagree with you a bit.  As Clay says, Walking Dead was the bigger book for a good long while.

    But more so, I don’t think it was the zombie "fad" that lead this book’s success, because there were a crap load of bad zombie books out, but rather, this is simply a case of quality shining through, and outlasting the fad.  Simply put, Walking Dead was successful because it was very good.  

    Further, I’m pretty sure that Y The Last Man was making a big splash before there ever was a Runaways, and even though Runaways was a big success, I think Y was a much bigger, and more culturally important book, and made more of an impact on BKV’s career.

  31. squeakjones squeakjones says:

    Josh – that was fantastic.  Your response to Mr. Moore’s blog post was great, but to have a civilized confrontation that directly addressed the issue, allowed Moore to expand on the "whats" and "whys" of his post, and treated us to the best (and only to these ears) Kirkman impression EVER is the reason I follow this site.

    The fact that a large percentage of reviewers and commentators found on iFanboy are in direct opposition to the "snarky, negative" (I’m paraphrasing here) types Moore rails against is another reason.  I’m firmly in my mid-30′s, with a wife and 1-year old son, and have only recently re-ignited my passion for comics.  The information from the podcasts, reviews, and comments have helped me to discover a host of books – both mainstream and independent – I would otherwise never have tried.

    So thanks again, and thanks to Mr. Moore, whose Hawaiian Dick (I cringe at the bad joke built into this sentence) I am immediately picking up.

     Eewww.

  32. HumphreyLee HumphreyLee says:

    Yay! Finally got to listen to the cast (which, was really good Josh and BCM. Interesting to say the least) and I guess this is how I fall after listening to it and, like I said, being from the viewpoint of an Internet reviewer from a, I guess somewhat "infamous" review site:

     I agree and disagree.

     Even having listened to the cast, I pretty much stand by what I said earlier in this comments section, and I do stand by some points made by both these gentlemen.

     I still maintain that a bad book is a bad book. While I get what BCM is saying that when it comes to a more "labor of love" creative book that sets and does what it does, in that aspect to a creator I can see how a book can’t be "bad"… but it really can be. Even with the best intentions, and hopes that even something niche can find the audience it inherently has and should appeal to, it can still be just a bad comic, from a base technical standpoint. I’ve been reading up on some Hunter Thompson again, in prep for the new documentary about him coming up, and even with one of the most creative minds we’ve ever seen and a man who was passionate about his work, even with all that going for him and even when he was at his most incessed about his work, he still produced some stuff that was honestly just shit. It happens, it really just does. Now, how you approach talking about a comic book or whatnot in that manner is where a good reviewer, especially an internet reviewer, will step up with constructive criticism or just that bit of tough love to try and disect the book and say where the book went wrong and what worked and should be focused more on. And a good reviewer will also be able to discern whether a book isn’t so much "bad" as it’s just not for them. Much like Ron and his experience with THE SANDMAN for instance.

    But my point remains, even with the best intentions, a book can still be horrible. I’m sorry. Even the Sam Loeb tribute issue of Superman/Batman can be a "horrible" comic, but that’s just where taste and decency and a recognition of why that comic exists is supposed to take hold and a reviewer is supposed to show some goddamn class and either just ignore it from a review assignment standpoint, or at least just take the traffic space to give sympathy to those involved, which sadly a lot don’t do because, like BCM said and I mentioned last time, sometimes it’s just a person behind a keyboard like I am right now with a voice they want to share no matter how ignorant or snarky it might be and they’re going to share it come hell or high water or their mom calling down to them in the basement that the meatloaf is ready. 

     And as for the, I guess I would say, "frivolity" of reviewing more mainstream works like your primary DC and Marvel books.. again I agree and disagree. I think the higher up the sales chart you go, I can see it being semi-redundant. For the most part Batman fans are going to buy their Batman books, Spider-Man fans are going to buy their Spider-Man books, Mark Millar fans are going to try out his FF and Wolverine and so on… for the most part. But there will always be that group of "late-adopters", those people that have always been tentative about trying an FF book, no matter who the creative crew, and are looking for an opportunity to try them for once who want some conductive feedback as to if this is that time or if they should keep on waiting. Or those who see something like ONE MORE DAY happen and swear off Spidey comics (yeah, right) but then read that despite that shit storyline the BRAND NEW DAY stuff is overall pretty good and they should at least try out the Slott arcs or whatever.

    Yeah, I as a reviewer for the most part love to talk about more Indie creations and show people that might not know they exist, anyone who knows what I do at AICN knows I absolutely love the chance to promote stuff like FEAR AGENT, SCALPED, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, WASTELAND, and hell, I think I did BATTLE HYMN and THE LEADING MAN back in the day and so on and so on. But sometimes I think just getting someone to try a good FF run or what have you from time to time is just as important to the industry and building up Indie and creator owned books. Readers are readers, and hopefully you can eventually lead them on to those more Indie-centric titles once they’ve suckled the mainstream tit for so long.

     And besides, sometimes even these "mainstream" books don’t get anywhere near the sales they need and deserve, even though just having the Marvel or DC banners on them typically guarantees them double the sales of your typical Image book. MANHUNTER, NEXTWAVE, JONAH HEX, CHECKMATE, IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN, THE ORDER… all books that got cut way before their time or are barely hanging on because, despite being mainstream, they don’t routinely have Wolverine or Batman in their pages and get overlooked. Sometimes taking on one of those is almost as daunting as championing something like WASTELAND and all those I mentioned above. 

    And I think that’s enough from me. I may do my own blogging about this for the five people that read it, but it’s still something I like to talk about since I’ve been doing this reviewer gig for something like three years now. Three years? Sheesh. I read too many fucking comics.

     Again, good audio chat there gents.

     Cheers…

  33. Muady Muady says:

    I agree "bad comics" exist. But you also have think: "Bad criticism" exists as well. Everyone wants to step back, play the PC-card and say everyones "opinion" is valid because value in art is so subjective.  But the truth of the matter is that internet sites that focus on comics have such a bad foothold in the idea of "criticism", that I wouldn’t call what they do "criticism" at all. When you open up the New York Times Magazine, or the Book Review, you don’t see pages and pages of "This book was piece of shit; bad pacing, horrible characterization" or any of that nonsense. When someone hates a comic book whether it be a good or bad reasons, and writes a review tearing it apart its just amounts to someones opinion and is on the whole a useless and meaningless endeavor. The comics industry needs popular avenues of thoughtful, relevent, criticism with favorable and interesting things to say for the industry as a whole, beyond just the run of the mill paid-for puffery that exists right now.

    (For example, ever notice iFanboy does Pick of the Week but not Shit Book of the Week with it? Even Ron’s "no me gusta" article about New X-men was more focused on the interesting things going on in that book than the fact that Ron wasnt satisfied with it all in the long run)

  34. NogsOnline NogsOnline says:

    My, oh my.  BCM just basically spent the entire podcast complaining about the very definition of what a review is.  Whether it’s comic books, music, television, or movies, it’s ALL opinion, and Josh was completely correct in stating that it’s the job of the reader to take from it what they will.

    Then the audacity to say, I don’t care about a bad review on the internet, yet take the time to make the first post, then a reply post, then an hour long recorded conversation about "not caring"?

    I also love in the first 10 minutes he danced around his words trying to sound like he didn’t care, but the very essence of him talking about it contradicted his attempts.  Also, how many people does he think are out there that a 50s noir story is their cup-of-tea and also has an audience to listen to his review?  Those are the ONLY reviews he wants to read?  I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t MY cup-of-tea; don’t I have the freedom to say whether it was good or not?

    Listening to him go on and on and on put me in a bad mood, so much so that I felt the need to actually comment, which I rarely do on anything on the internet.  I’ve enjoyed the stuff I’ve read from him, but after listening to this, I’m going to have a skewed view on whether I’m going to spend any money on his books ever again.

    That said, I would like to close by welcoming BCM to the internet.  Grow some thick skin, buddy.

  35. If there is anymore interview podcast, there must always be a dog, and a crying baby. I think this is a must.

    Now I won’t lie, my stack consist of nothing but Marvel and DC as of right now, I use to take alot more chances, but when I lost my job back in december Indies what were cut back. But I have bought my fair share of trades and once I get going witha  job again, indies will be a coming back into my world. But I just had one thought, and that is this: The one flaw with some indies is that alot of comic stores do not hold them, so they are harder to get to. Yes they can of course be orderd on the interenet 3 months prior or perhaps found on ebay later. But if you miss out on an issue#1 or aren’t sure of the start of a new indie and want to wait for possible reviews, then you’re a bit screwed if the store doesn’t hold the book. DC and Marvel are of course easier to access cause every comic store will hold Batman or Spider-man, but not every store will hold indie books. This is not the fault of the book, or the publisher, or the writer or anything. Just saying that it gets harder to try new things when access is limited. 

    So I personally wait for good and smart reviews to let me know about something indie, that sounds like it’s down my alley and I can go on the hunt, be it online or the rare comic shop or whatever.  

  36. BClayMoore says:

    Humphrey-

    Nice summation of why you do what you do, and how you feel about things. Just wanted to let you know I appreciated you taking the time to respond, and that what you say makes a lot of sense. I wouldn’t really argue with anything you say, although I still have issues with anyone placing a broad-based value judgement on the quality of a particular comic book.

    Nogs – I think you missed the point, but I appreciate you giving it a try. As for thick skin…It takes pretty thick skin to stand up and be honest in places where people have free reign to take endless anonymous shots at you, and I’ve been doing that for a long time. As I’ve said, I wasn’t responding to reviews of my work, since most of my reviews are pretty positive. I was just doing what I often do…stating my opinion based on experience, and attempting to give people some perspective as to where I was coming from.

    As for whether or not you have the freedom to "say" whether or not my book was "good" or not…of course you do. You have the freedom to say whatever you want. But telling me my book isn’t "good" will pretty much get you ignored, since I’m not sure what supernatural powers you have to make such an absolute determination of value. Telling me why you personally didn’t connect with the book? That’s perfectly fine with me, and I’ll gladly listen to your reasons.

    In Chicago this weekend, I had a ton of people come up and tell me they heard the podcast and that it spurred them to say hi, thank me for doing the show, and even pick up my work for the first time. I think that goes to prove a point I made during our chat, which was that podcasts are a fine place to probe opinion.

    Squeaky (and anyone else picking my books up for the first time) – thanks for giving them a shot, and feel free to email me directly with any opinions you’ve got!

     -BCM

  37. MaddieDaddy MaddieDaddy says:

    I just want to re-affirm the notion of how much iFanboy has done for me as a comic reader.  I live in a place with absolutely NO comic shop or even places to buy them.  All my purchasing has to be done online or when I drive to a bigger town like an hour or so away.  I first started listening to iFanboy in 2005 when they first started putting out the podcast. It was like long lost friends that I hadn’t talked to in ages.  I felt that I "clicked" with these guys even though I had never actually met them.  I found their reviews fair, honest, and reliable.  Over time I have been able to determine, usually based on genre, which of them to listen into more when making purchase considerations.  But they definitely have reached a very trusted place in my decision making and have served as an enabler for me to find all kinds of titles that I never would have known about on my own.  It is reasons like iFanboy that make me thankful for the internet and the opportunity it provides to really be part of a community of like-minded individuals who share the same interests and passions and can "come together" in a fashion to discuss those things.  I think that is the basis for the worth of any review that is posted online. For me I pay little to no attention to a random review on a random website so I can’t really say much for people posting in other locations.  Like if I am looking to buy something on Amazon I rarely pay attention to the user reviews posted there.  I guess I have not built up a trust factor with that community. But a place like iFanboy is somewhere I know that people are going to give level headed and fair reviews 99.9% of the time.  And especially the opinions and views expressed by the triumvirate of Ron, Josh, and Conor. 

    While I am not interested in arguing vehemently on any subject like this I did just want to say I would take issue with anyone who broadcasts the opinion that the internet and more specifically sites such as this one have not had an impact on people to try other things.  If not for iFanboy I would not be reading 90% of the titles I so enjoy today.

  38. bean6344 bean6344 says:

    Great podcast!!!!  While I don’t agree with everything Mr. Moore had to say, it was refreshing to hear someone speak their mind and not back down from controversial comments.

    I often equate comics to the music business.  In my opinion, for the most part, the biggest sellers are not the best offerings out there.  I know I have shrugged off more than one comment like "who are all of these bands?  I’ve never heard of any of these guys.  Or, what kind of band name is Mission of Burma?  You listen to some weird stuff". (Mission of Burma was not playing at the time).  I have come to peace with the fact that the majority of the populace does not share my tastes, so I have choose to talk music with my friends who do share my tastes.  I talk sports or t.v. or movies, etc. with those that don’t see eye to eye with me.  Seems I’ve gotten a bit off topic.. 

    It is definately not as bad (on the comics side) as it was in the mid-nineties, but there are still large volumnes of under read/bought comics that many of us here feel should be getting better exposure.  One thing I like about this site is that most of the participants’ tastes are much broader than the average comic book site.   Who amongst us has not picked up an issue or trade outside of our normal tates based upon the recommedation of a fellow ifanboy comment?

    There were so many threads of thoughts that sparked my personal beliefs that I have to rank this one as one of the most though provoking episodes yet.  I could go on for hours but I will not bore you with my opinions.

    Thanks to both Josh and Mr. Moore for a great hour!

    Bean

     

     

  39. s30 s30 says:

    you’ve got yourself a damn fine patience there josh.

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