I’ve been having a weird month or so in terms of my online reading. Normally, I love tracking down a ton of different outlets and viewpoints, reading various comic blogs and news sites just to get a sense of what’s going on in the industry and readership. I can’t help it really, excessive reading’s been something I’ve done since I was a little kid.
Honestly though, the overall atmosphere and general reaction from the readership and amateur blogging/journalism community to recent major shifts in comics has been…disheartening. I’m bummed at a lot of the discussion floating around mainstream superhero comics, I’m bummed at the snarkiness thrown at newspaper cartooning, and I’m bummed at the lack of serious journalism and academic writing about a media type that needs less blog posts about Photoshopped memes and mashups, and more real symbolic, thematic, and historical analysis.
However, there still are some places that I’ve managed to find solace and the kind of writing I feel EVERYONE should be doing.
– Robot 6. Of the several blogs based out of ComicBookResources.Com, R6 is probably my favorite, and one of my go-to’s for current news and events in “the biz.” In particular, the feature “Comics College,” a spotlight on well-known and much-respected cartoonists/artists/writers, is awesome for educating yourself on comics in an easy read anyone can understand.
–The Comics Journal. If you’re into comics and reading about cartooning in an academic/critical/journalist sense at all, you need to be at least touching base w/the Journal once in a while. Essays, reviews, interviews, podcasts, etc…nevermind the giant yearly print volume.
–The Daily Cartoonist. If you didn’t already know, I’m a big fan of newspaper strips and editorial cartoons, both classic as well as newer ones. TDC’s a great resource for news about EVERY single kind of comics, from classic American graphic novels to editorial cartoonists all over the globe. Newswise, this is one of my go-to websites.
–Comix Cube. While I don’t necessarily always agree with the opinions that the guys at CC have, they’re all smart as fuck and I respect them immensely as both cartoonists and critics, and will always give you an ear and the benefit of the doubt when you talk to them about their theories. CC can be a little out there, but the draw of a serious and non-judgemental discussion is what keeps me coming back.
–The Schulz Library Blog. For someone like me who’s also a teacher who has occasionally incorporated cartooning and comic-reading theory into his work, this blog (associated with the Center For Cartoon Studies in VT) is a great little resource online.
–The Comics Reporter. Tom Spurgeon’s the gold standard in comic book journalism as far as I’m concerned. For those who think that comic book journalism rises and falls with Newsarama or IGN, you need to take a stroll over to his site and scroll through.
I know this isn’t exactly a “short” list, but think of it this way; I used to read daily/weekly three times as many blogs and news sites. As I’ve started cutting back and drastically changing the type of journalism and criticism I’ve been reading about the medium I love, I’ve felt a lot better about comics. And if you’re going to be miserable about something, why stay attached to it?
I don’t want to give up on comics, I want the medium to do well. It’s just sad that for me to feel like that, I need to take certain stuff and people out of my personal/online radar.