Comics readers seem to love the mediocre. I don’t think the problem with comics criticism (in a broad, broad, very inclusive sense) isn’t that it rewards terrible, bottom-of-the-barrell work; it’s that it rewards second-rate work. Any stab at respectability, no matter how modest, is too-often greeted with hosannas. I’ve seen people laud Kingdom Come because it used foreshadowing–which I’m sure we all remember is an actual, honest-to-god literary technique! I guess that’s a step up from those who think crying superheroes holding the charred remains of less-famous superheroes connotes respectability.
Along similar lines, Laura Hudson is starting to wonder whether she should quit the Wednesday crowd scene:
Coming directly off of my weekend at SPX, as well as recently reading a string of excellent, engrossing graphic novels like Skim, Swallow Me Whole, and Alan’s War, picking up a comic book like Nightwing #149 feels a lot like shutting my hand in a car door. And I’m thinking — I’m thinking I should stop doing that.
I like well-crafted mainstream entertainment as much as the next fellow, but it does seem to me like we overpraise the “meh” to often at the expense of the “very good,” something that encourages people to abandon, rather than stick with, comics. But what do you think?