This is a follow up to my last post, where I talked about our Deconstructing Comics review.
Well, I was polite and thanked them for their review after I listened to it (via email), and I’ve had almost a week to think about it. Not that I’ve dwelled on it, it was just in the back of my mind.
But after giving it that time I’ve come to the realization, the reviewers at Deconstructing Comics are idiots.
That’s the real problem. Listen to the podcast again, and I think you’ll find that they are just two stupid guys who don’t really know anything. In part of the podcast they said you have to treat you’re readers like they are stupid, and that’s because that is they read. Stupidly.
Now I didn’t research them or look at anything but this one review, but I think that’s fair when they reviewed us by only looking at a few early pages of each comic.
Let’s look at why they are stupid, and thus much of their criticism is invalid.
First I’m Famous! They had a hard time understanding the set up. It’s a crazy superhero who wants to be a celebrity and is offered a movie deal. Is that difficult to understand? No. And you don’t need to read Black Snow to get that. It is set up on the first page. They were confused when the settings changed or time passed and thought we should label that. How do they feel when they read a comic like Far Side where the characters are always different (species even) and in different places. Did Calvin and Hobbes have to start a strip by saying “Back at school the next day.” No, because it is totally unnecessary, and quite frankly an asinine notion.
They didn’t like that the Lone Wolf sometimes laughed at his own jokes because they weren’t funny. The fact that he thinks his antics are hilarious when they are stupid IS the joke. They also said they often didn’t understand what the joke was supposed to be. Well, I can understand why. Stupid people need obvious punchlines shoved in their faces and can’t comprehend subtle or unusual humor. Based on what I’ve seen, most people laugh hard when they read the comic, and have no trouble seeing why it is funny.
One of them didn’t understand if Daniel’s drinking was supposed to be funny. Boy, these guys sure didn’t understand a lot. Of course drinking is a major running joke in our comics. Drinking has a long history of being used for jokes, and is its own sub-genre of humor. Sorry if your abusive alcoholic upbringing jaded you to such humor, but the rest of the world thinks it’s funny.
They chose to single out this page and the close up of the Lone Wolf’s feet as an example of the problems with the comic and it’s layout/style.
They thought a floor needed to be explicitly drawn and that there was some time disconnected between the two panels. What the hell would someone think he was standing on, if not a floor? Did it really need a couple floorboard lines? Why? They also claimed it was hard to figure out that the feet were joined to the above panel (which they are touching), and that they were tapping at the same time the above panel with the Lone Wolf looking impatient was taking place? They didn’t understand that the feet got their own panel because I wanted to highlight the action?
I’ve never met anyone who has read the comic and had any of these same confusions or concerns. I guess I haven’t met anyone this picky or stupid.
Now let’s talk Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum. They took major exception to the pacing of the first scene. It is 7 pages long plus a splash page. Keep in mind they didn’t know the total length of the completed graphic novel or anything about the overall story when they said this. Is 8 pages out of say 100 so insane for an opening scene that introduces the reader to the characters and world, and sets up the entire story/series? I don’t think so.
They didn’t think there was reason for the scene to be that long because they said not enough happened. That’s because they were too dumb to pay attention to the nuance in character development and exposition of pertinent information. Let’s look at what you could pick up from the scene.
This is just from page one: Black Snow lives in Detroit, only graduated from high school (so he’s not very educated), is in his thirties, is an alcoholic, charges people for helping them, has not achieved much notoriety or success (based on his crappy office and the headlines of the newspaper clippings), he smokes a lot, doesn’t take car of himself, and the Lone Wolf is a famous superhero with an energy drink endorsement deal.
Page 2 is also paced slowly, on purpose for dramatic effect, and focuses on the dark dirty world which Black Snow has built for himself. We also meet a meet a major character and possible love interest. Also, we see Black Snow is not very alert but is quite petty. Odd qualities for a superhero.
Page 3 reinforces the fact that Black Snow is not well known or witty (though he has false bravado and confidence), is in terrible shape, and that Marie has good reason to question whether it is wise to come to him for help.
Page 4 tells us that Black Snow has had dealings with the Lone Wolf and Lightning Man, is very hung over, and Marie is a TV reporter coming to him for information about the Lone Wolf based on positive things Lightning Man said.
Page 5 shows us that Marie takes her work seriously and thinks a lot of herself, Black Snow does not take her seriously, gives us some background info about Detroit and the stories Marie has covered, she is pursuing a story no one else takes seriously, and she suspects the Lone Wolf (who we already established as a popular hero) is actually involved in bad things.
Page 6 shows us that Black Snow doesn’t believe the Lone Wolf is involved in anything bad, that he doesn’t like the Lone Wolf, he may have been a sidekick to the Lone Wolf in the past, this woman’s name is Marie Summerhall, and Black Snow is dismissive and patronizing.
Page 7 shows us that Black Snow is misogynistic, slimy (though he thinks he’s charming), and he weasels a date out of Marie that will progress the plot.
Page 8 is a splash page that lets us see Black Snow in more detail and gives us the comic’s credits.
What did the reviewers get from these pages? They said Black Snow was a jerk, it focused on vomiting and being angry, Marie contradicts herself by saying she is a reporter then corrects herself and says she is a journalist (not a contradiction, btw, just showing how she thinks of herself versus the way others think of her), they think she would have left the office in real life (though it is explained that Black Snow is her last resort), and that was it. See what I mean? Not very observant or analytical.
Also, they went on at some length, laughing immaturely about the fact that they think Black Snow’s finger looks like a dick in the 3rd panel down on the left of this page:
Perhaps these two don’t have penises (or are too fat to see them), because I don’t anything resembling one on this page. The fact that they think like that and focus so much on it should tells us all we need to know about them.
They also took exception to my occasional integration of photos in my drawings. Who cares that these idiots don’t like it? I’ve received nothing but compliments on it and how original it is from everyone else, especially other artists. And I like the way it looks.
So while I wish no ill will towards Deconstructing Comics (they seem like really nice guys based on my limited email interaction), I must declare them idiots and disregard many of their criticisms.