Busy Kiel Phegley talks to Gary Groth, Michael Dean, and Kristy Valenti about the digital future of The Comics Journal. Among the very good news: Shaenon Garrity, Robert Clough, and the Hooded Utilitarians gang of Noah Berlatsky and Ng Suat Tong will be contributing, as will R. Fiore and Kenneth Smith. Groth has more on the overall vision:
Groth: I see this is an opportunity to create a true web version of “The Comics Journal,” to in effect combine the virtues of both the web and print as I understand them, which is to say, a single “place” where readers can come and expect a consistently intelligent, idiosyncratic, combative, and occasionally clashing conversation about comics and cartooning. Over the past few years I’ve noticed smarter critical commentary on the Net, but it’s scattered all over the place, buried in the usual mountain of frivolous, tepid, dimwitted, unreadable fanboy drivel. There’s no single website you can visit and anticipate a range of interesting sensibilities on an equal footing, so one of my goals is to distill the best criticism and journalism we can into a single site.
ALSO, Jeet Heer looks at TCJ’s better qualities:
The strength of the magazine is in presenting essays that have a depth of analysis that can’t be found elsewhere. Most writing on comics tends to suffer from a shortness of breath: small reviews and bite-size blog postings. The Journal, at its best, doesn’t settle for such small snacks but offers a full-course meal.
Among its reviewers the Journal has a contingent of solid, trust-worthy writers: Kent Worcester, Rich Kreiner, Shaenon Garrity, and Kristian Williams, but they tend to get drowned out by crankier and less-informed critics, writers who mistake abrasiveness for insight. The magazine’s review section does seem too diffuse and scattershot. I’m never quite sure why some books get reviewed and others don’t. There’s a lot of good critics on the web now – Rob Clough comes to mind right way. The most promising prospect for the next incarnation of the Journal is to recruit these writers (I know Clough has already signed on).