Comics Journalism is dead and here’s why.

1: There is no money in it. Page views and ad impressions are the conventional way to revenue for bloggers. To keep traffic up, the content must flow. 

2: But the content is poor. Much of the content comes from press releases. Be they comic book movie news, solicits, or approved interviews, most of it is pre-written and disseminated accordingly.

3: However, publishers don’t care. It’s all for naught. No matter how much traffic comic bloggers generate or how careful they are to stay within publishers’ good graces, they can’t compete with The New York Times or USA Today.

4: In fact, nobody cares. Original content, good reporting, and writing that goes beyond the surface of, say, attaching a quip at the end of a quote from another blog tend to get the least amount of traffic.

At the end of the day, comic blogs are a minor marketing channel for publishers to communicate with their existing readers. AOL knows this, Marvel and DC Comics know this. The only people who don’t are… well… us.

And so ends @comicsblogger’s twitter account. Attempts to parody, criticize, and grammar check various blogs were initially a way to add levity to what is a shallow and amateur cottage industry. As it turns out, nobody likes being made fun of. Who knew?  

Any improvements to comics journalism certainly isn’t the result of some blogger actually giving a damn about what this anonymous troll tweets (and if it is, what a dark day for journalism everywhere).

The ending of ComicsAlliance was more than just the end to a content farm with occasionally well-written articles, it was the end to a lot of jobs. Levity would not have been appropriate.  

What happened instead was the product of a community that loves comics: support. 

Comic writers, artists, colleagues, even publishers expressed sympathy and support for everyone affected. Even folks who generally did not care for the site were sympathetic to their situation. Cynicism, insults and parody didn’t and don’t belong.

Unless you’re Scott Kurtz. Seriously. Fuck that guy.

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Easy Money

As predicted, Bleeding Cool has written a follow up post in typical “trolldja” fashion. Unsurprisingly, the post is more about Rich Johnston than Orson Scott Card (Card’s name is mentioned in the article four times. Rich is mentioned seventeen times).

Clarifications, twitter reporting, goal-post shifting? Check, check, and check.

Of all the Twitter replies Rich Johnston received, the most resounding replies made, yet not quoted in the article, was Phil Jimenez. His most salient point is thus, “Yo, @richjohnston — I may not be as important to the biz as Scott Card, but the defense of his views, which seem to claim I should be jailed for being a non-closeted gay person, and his push for public policy decisions that would negatively affect many of my friends and their children, seems pretty shitty, even if he wrote a couple of well-respected books once.”

Eventually, Rich points out his inability to see the difference between private and public speech, but he stops short of acknowledging the impact hateful rhetoric will have on our gay kids who will be reading their favorite superhero comic book. Why was that point missed? Also, why aren’t other comics bloggers either defending him or engaging him? Why talk about the importance or history of boycotts, free speech, and standing up against companies giving platforms to anti-gay people like Orson Scott Card when you can make the story about yourself?

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We’re back to our old friends, Evil or Stupid

Either A: Rich Johnston has no understanding about the political and social ramifications of using one’s own celebrity to further anti-gay causes, or B: he’s finally figured out the God formula for tapping into that sweet ass web traffic.

Probably the latter. 

What’s the over-under there will be a followup post on Bleeding Cool on clarifications, twitter conversation reposts, goal-post shifting, etc.?

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EXCLUSIVE: A journalist’s role is to hold people accountable

Twice now, The Beat has opted to not call out a convention for snubbing colorists from its guest listing. 

Why not name the show? I don’t think there’s a need to put it up on the internet (but catch me in person and I’ll tell you.) I was not impressed with the conversation I had with the organizer, and word will get around soon enough in the freelance community. The convention business is a competitive one, and people will go where they and their friends are treated better. The same goes for fans.

Journalism. Should a convention owner face molestation charges, that name will get published. Should a comic shop close down, their name will get published. These two examples are a matter of public record, so the point of protecting others from public scrutiny is moot. But why focus on reporting the facts when, as we heard from the previous video, staying in other’s good graces is high priority.

The Beat goes on to address the bigger problem of diversity in general. Rather than address the issue head-on (naming names), another convention escapes public scrutiny.

Here is one editorial board’s stance on accountability for perspective.

We understand that the article did not put Ellefson in a positive light. For that, we do sympathize with him, as well as with his close friends who are also upset. But in the end, we printed the truth and sometimes that hurts.

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EXCLUSIVE: Play well with the “Big Two” publishers, or you can’t be a journalist.*

Where is the line where you are you’re own media company, and where you are merely a PR outlet?

*roughly translated

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Bleeding Cool on GLAAD award nominees

Last year’s prize was won by Batwoman, with X-Factor winning it the year before. So what will win out? Astonishing X-Men’s gay maraige, Batwoman’s gay solo lead, Buffy with a gay male slayer, Earth 2 with a gay Green Lantern or the only non-superhero comic Kevin Keller for causing the original founders of Archie Comics to spin in their graves?

(typo included)

According to GLAAD’s website, they do not actually mention any criteria for giving out awards based on making people “spin in their graves”, but let’s not let facts get in the way of bad humor.

EXCLUSIVE: Statement. Blockquote. Conclusion.

One of the laziest forms of blogging is using other people’s content. It comes from an outdated SEO technique to get more visitors by link sharing. “Hey, I liked what this blog wrote. See? Go there now.” It has not only become the blogging norm, it’s the very business model of Huffington Post.

In the case of Comics Beat and sheer laziness, just repeat yourself and share on Twitter.

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EXCLUSIVE: Is Bleeding Cool stirring up controversy on something that hasn’t happened yet?

Yes.

Are his concerns valid? 

Yes.

Is he a total sensationalist douche nozzle for ginning up the issue in some sort of thought experiment about the ethics of comics and then taking the writer and editor to task for something that has not happened yet?

Yes.

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EXCLUSIVE: The worst comics blog posts of 2012

Who’s to say that any person with WordPress can’t write about what they love? Not this troll, certainly, but with a never ending supply of regurgitated press releases, echo-chamber reporting, countless typos and grammar errors, there is a strong argument to be made that maybe, comics blogs are utter crap. They are so bad, that it’s impossible to tell which ones are just fanboys with day jobs, which ones actually get paid for this or which ones just use their blog as a means to push their upcoming comic/magazine.

After all, there’s only so much to write about and so many people who will read it. Just how many different ways can you write about the same ten creators being reshuffled around the same five titles? How many different ways can you summarize and link to a USA Today article about this month’s stunt comic? How many shirts with Boba Fett high-fiving Doctor Who can you post about?

A lot, it turns out.

Yes, it’s been a banner year for this cottage industry. Among all the baseless speculation, scraping mashed-up IP found on Tumblr, and copying posts from other blogs and wrapping them in a blockquote, a handful of comics “journalism” really stood out.

Here are 2012’s most polished turds.

Announcing the Comics Industry People of the Year: Kate Beaton and Dan DiDio/Jim Lee

When Heidi MacDonald isn’t busy leaving typos all over her site and referring to herself in the plural form as if to mean her site is run by a staff of terrible spellers, she’s showering her readers with the worst photoshop/photo filters known to man.

Also voting for Steve Jobs as a “person of the year” because of digital comics is a bit like thanking Johannes Gutenberg for the Harry Potter books, don’t you think?

Hey, That’s My Cape! – COMIC BOOK MEN Revisited

If there was ever any question if Jill Pantozzi was a journalist, put that doubt aside. Just ask her. Journalists know the importance of not shitting where they eat, especially in the case of The Mary Sue not covering “Comic Book Men” while the show was paying for modal pop-up advertising. Fortunately, our deft ace reporter used her connections at another payola-free news outlet for her intrepid reporting. As Marie Colvin once said, “Has boobs, I’m dead.”

Comic shop comics: March 14 (I do get to the reviews eventually, and if that’s all you wanna read, prepare to scroll down 15 paragraphs)

For when Yelp.com just isn’t enough. At least J. Caleb Mozzocco was kind enough to put a disclaimer in the title of this pile-on. It could only have been more helpful if he highlighted which shame-splaining section he liked best for Comics Worth Reading to link to.

Gail Simone To Break The Internet Tomorrow. Again.

If there’s anything more powerful than Rich Johnston’s need to provoke, it’s Rich Johnston’s need to be loved by the people he’s supposed to be covering. Dude, your boner for Gail Simone is super creepy.

'Star Wars XXX': The Porn Parody Is Still Better Than The Prequels [Review]

When it comes to fair and balanced reporting, nobody does comics journalism like ComicsAlliance. Where else will you read an at length essay on harmful sexism in comics as well as a product review from one of the most sexist and exploitive industries ever? Remember, it’s a parody, which is totally different than con-sketches of the same IP.

Best Shots Advance Review: 10/10 AVENGERS #1 Marvel NOW!

Just take a page from Diamond Previews, scan it and post it online. That’s the writing process that occurred here. Our blogger hero, David Pepose, is unleashed in a thrilling new post that’s even bigger than before. This isn’t your parents blog post! Set in a dystopian website, this post teams up with classic Sky Mall phrases to battle it out to its shocking conclusion!

Op/Ed: BEFORE WATCHMEN is a Great Move!

Now pay me. Remember, Before Watchmen's best part is that Alan Moore doesn't like it. By that logic, we should really enjoy Batwoman right now. This attitude that creators rights are somehow a bad thing is right in line with the comics industry in general, so good job!

Can We Calm Down for a Second, Internet?

Finally, if there’s one things that’s always funny, it’s sexism, right ladies? And homophobia. The Internet just can’t take a joke about these things (also rape, depending which webcomic artists you speak to). These posts that play down man-cave mentality go a long way to make all nerds equal. All those racist, sexist, homophobic jocks in high school have nothing on nerds today. It gets better.

And just in under the wire…

Fanboy Rampage: Mark Waid And Larry Doherty

Wherein the only “fanboy” in the article is the author. Here we have the laziest forms of blogging combined into one: copying other people’s tweets, the ever popular “Shit someone famous says,” and proofing errors so bad, even Heidi would be embarrassed.

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The only post to out do all of these was taken down and an “apology” was posted in its place (if you count the phrase “I’m sorry you were offended” as an apology). Somehow, it’s lost on him that posting photos and letters from sick kids is bad comedy. It takes a troll to know a troll, and while Rich Johnston makes no claim to be a journalist, no word on his stance on being human.

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