“When critics are really good writers, it’s nice whether they like your work or not.”
– Gail Simone
Thanks for visiting the World Comic Book Review.
The concept for the World Comic Book Review had a number of points of inspiration:
a.) I obtained a literature degree many years ago and I perversely like literary criticism as a consequence of that study. I do not get much of a chance to exercise that particular muscle outside of this site. Several of our contributors find themselves in a similar position. They are lawyers, language tutors, social media managers and others with an interest in comic books but who otherwise have no or few outlets to engage in literary criticism of publications in a medium which they enjoy;
b.) I was writing the occasional column for a site, where in my reviews I treated comics as if they were literature. Which they are, of course. I received a lot of positive feedback for writing critiques which take comic books seriously. Comics writers should not get a free pass on nonsense content because their work is contained in the vehicle of a comic book, and writers should receive proper acknowledgement if they engage in good writing. Having said that, we do try to be kind to new entrants into the industry as it seems that as a matter of principle nascent writers should be encouraged to write and not be discouraged by a harsh review. We decline to review bad comics from new writers – causing public embarrassment is a horrible thing to do;
c.) Too many popular comic book review sites are sycophantic mouthpieces for publishers, and even nauseatingly so (one recent review of Geoff Johns’ Justice League #50 was cringe-worthy). There has been a gap in the market for some genuinely critical and hopefully thoughtful reviews of comic books. Accordingly, we publish our reviews without fear or favour, and always independent of publishers’ commercial or editorial agendas. We will not accept gifts of comic books for review without clearly indicating that is the case at the conclusion of the review;
d.) There seemed to be no English language site that reviews comics from countries other than the United States and Japan. One of our ambitions is to very frequently review comics from places with vibrant or interesting comic book industries like the UK, France, Australia, Israel, the Philippines, Iran, Hong Kong, and Chile (and indeed we would welcome any English languages reviews of publications from those places or others). Notwithstanding the primacy of the US comic book industry, most of our contributors live outside of the United States, and most of our readers (our recent average is approximately 3000 a month) seem to originate from outside the United States. We have so far written reviews of publications from Australia, Belgium, Japan, and Brazil, and so we have much ground yet to cover.
These factors distilled into an approach which I hope is evident from the style of our reviews. I think the vindication for our method came with Gail Simone’s tweet in 2016 (see above and the link), in which she noted the quality of our writing. If a prominent American comic book writer such as Ms Simone recognised that we were providing quality in our reviews, then it seemed to me that we were on the right path.
We openly admit that none of the contributors to the World Comic Book review have any expertise in art. This is obviously a gap in reviewing work published in a medium which heavily relies on art to tell stories. Regardless, our critiques do not ordinarily address the very subjective assessment of the art of any comic book. [Please see below: this has changed]
If at any time you have any questions about the site or its content, please feel free to contact me by way of [email protected] Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the site and its content.
29 June 2016
An update from the Editor: 31 January 2018
We have now reviewed comics from (in no particular order) Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Palestine, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States, Chile, Brazil, and Russia. Reviews of comics from Norway and Malaysia are soon to come. The World Comic Book Review still has much of the world to cover. If you would like us to review your comic, please send an electronic version to us. (I hasten to add that the shorter the comic is, the quicker we can turn around a review.) Thanks to those people who have submitted their work to us for critique. I recognise that putting your creative neck on the chopping block and hoping the axe is merciful is a difficult thing to do. – DGS
Another update from the Editor: 10 September 2019
Three years into the task, and I have had a belated realisation that comics are a dual-level art form, and it is a mistake to review only half of the content. Our reviews going forward will also include reference to the art. Thanks again to our loyal followers for reading. – DGS