What is the Purpose of a Review?

This is one of two articles I am writing after attending a panel at Thought Bubble.

Comics in Journalism was an interesting look at how comics are represented in journalism, focusing on reviews. The panelists were; Douglas Wolk, comic critic with New York Times and occasionally Time Magazine; Laura Snapes, Features Editor fire NME; Zainab Akhtar, Freelance Writer & Blogger. The host was Dan Berry, Blogger and Podcaster.

In this article I will discuss my thoughts regarding one topic the panel discussed. Purpose.

There are several purposes for reviews but in the main these can be summed up as: to raise awareness, to educate and inform, to entertain and to influence purchase. Most reviews are likely to intend to do one or more of these things.

Some reviews focus on the subject matter of a comic and will give opinions on plot and the visual appeal of the art. Others might focus on the technicalities of writing and art. I have read few reviews that sensationalism themselves in the way many mainstream TV, Film or Game reviews do, I am sure they exist though.

This all made me think a little about the purpose of my reviews and whether what I write fulfills that purpose.

Firstly, dear reader, I write for myself. I like writing and I believe the more one writes the better one becomes at writing.

Secondly I write for an audience, that’s you dear reader. I think the audience of this blog are rather diverse. Subjects I cover are diverse, though granted the majority is comic related.

If I write for an audience what do I want to write for them?

My main purpose with reviews is to inform, to bring comics to people’s attention. I only review comics if I like them, though me not reviewing something doesn’t mean I don’t like it (only so many hours in a day). So while I hope people willbuy comics I review I’m not always urging them to do so. As such my reviews are shiort n superlatives and I rarely enthuse about a comic as someone might if their message is ‘You really must watch this film, play this game, etc’.

You won’t see % scores, Stars or Marks X/XX from me either. That is because my reviews are my views only, I can’t quantify them for other people. What I think of as an engaging plot another person might think was over complicated or schmaltzy. You can’t quantify a comic in that way in my opinion, it is after all art. One person’s interpretation is not another’s.

It is easy to see a connection between a lot of the comics I review. I’m a 2000AD fan, the name of this blog should give that away, and many comics I read and review have a link to 2000AD. Many are written or illustrated by 2000AD creators or by creators I have met online or at conventions.

My reviews hopefully give a little insight into the comics I write about and hopefully readers enjoy the way I write and come back to check out my blog again. I also hope those creators whose comics I write about like what I write if they read it. Now obviously as I write positive reviews they won’t be offended in most cases but I do point out things I spot that I think might be improved sometimes.

The purpose of my reviews therefore are to:

  • To improve my writing
  • To entertain my readers
  • To bring comics I enjoy to the attention of others
  • Particularly to highlight independent, creator owned and small press comics

I can’t be certain that I succeed in the first two but from feedback I have received I know that some people have indeed purchased copies of many comics I have reviewed based on my review. So as long as I succeed from time to time with those second two points I think my reviews fulfill their purpose.

***

To assist readers of reviews I have now started adding the Genre to the review underneath the credits.

The next article I will write that has been inspired by the panel at Thought Bubble will deal with the technical aspects of reviewing comics.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s