Everyone's A Critic: A round-up of comic book reviews and thinkpieces

Andrew Rilstone's 60-page zine on Watchmen, Who Sent the Sentinels, has been garnering quite a bit of attention, mainly because of passages like this:

I've never stopped being surprised that something as geeky as Watchmen is so popular with people who are not geeks. How can a book which so full of superhero in-jokes be so much admired by people who have never read a superhero story -- by people who purport to dislike superhero stories -- by people who sometimes end up denying that Watchmen has got superheroes in it... Maybe Watchmen manages to generate its ironic double-vision internally: the text itself tells you both what superheroes are meant to be like, and what these superheroes are actually like, and it would do so even if there had never been another superhero comic in the world... Or maybe the people who were so enthusiastic about Watchmen were unaware of the idea of superheros, and read the story simply as a story - with an un-ironic single vision.

In which case they'd be reading a different comic to me and it wouldn't be surprising if they assessed it differently.

I've barely had a chance to do more than scrape the surface of this thing but I like what I've perused so far.

• There's a new blog in town titled Next Issue, where artists and critics Geoff Grogan (Look Out Monsters) and Kevin Mutch (Blurred Books) talk about the art form in general:

Criticism will naturally play a role in the discussion, but rather than critiquing specific books and their creators (there are plenty of excellent review sites for that) we'll be focussing on broader issues and ideas relating to works (new or old) that we are seeing, reading or otherwise encountering - with the intent of initiating critical dialogue.

Only a few posts in and they're already swining for the fences. Go check 'em out.

• Jeet Heer on the blackness of Felix the Cat. Also, Jeet Heer on what a depressing guy Carl Barks was.

Brian Heater on Jeff Lemire's The Nobody: "It’s not a bad book by any means, of course, but it’s certainly one struggling to come to grips with exactly what it wants to be."

• Jog offers the first major review of Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit and loves it to pieces. Note that a lot of the images aren't safe for work.

• David Welsh has good things to say about Asterios Polyp, but only fair-to-middling things to say about Detective Comics.

Richard Bruton recommends a new book entitled The Banal Pig Landscape Anthology.

Rob Clough on R. Sikoryak's Masterpiece Comics: "It's a stunning collision of so-called "high" and "low" art, done with an affectionate nod and wink to both."

Brandon Soderberg on Peter Milligan's recent run in Batman Confidential: "This is an engaging comic and it’s smarter than most of the stuff coming out and it’s one of the few arcs in Confidential that feels on-par with the series’ obvious predecessor, Legends of the Dark Knight."

• It's not criticism per se, but I'll stick it here anyway: The CBLDF has a podcast of the Conversational Comics chat between Jessica Abel, Jason Little and Matthew Thurber that took place last month.

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