More on Heroes Con Journalism panel

Tim Hodler explains what was going on at the journo panel:

If I’m going to be editing and writing comics criticism, it’s important to be able to separate personal friendships and acquaintances from my writing, and it’s already a lot more difficult to do than it was just two years ago. (Being married to a cartoonist, and not wanting to have her work unfairly linked to my opinions — we disagree on plenty, believe me — doesn’t really make it any easier.) It’s not really that difficult, but it’s an ethical distinction that I have to be vigilant about, and it’s also probably the largest single difference between how I currently approach comics and how I read and talked about them pre-CC, when I’d praise or trash comics with impunity. Now I try to make a point of not reviewing comics by people I know well, at least in print or on the blog, and I think that’s probably for the best, at least for now.

Meanwhile, Craig Fischer notes that The Beat and Matt Brady are blabbermouths, which, unfortunately is true.

For some reason–maybe through the sheer force of their personalities rather than anything else–Brady and MacDonald dominated the discussion. They complained about the mountain of information they have to sift through every day as part of their jobs, and about how they need to strike a balance between rigorous journalism and what Brady called “the long-term picture”: the need to stay on good terms with DC and Marvel so as to continue to receive timely news and information from these companies. Brady referred to Newsarama’s relationship with big comics publishers as “carrots and sticks, threats and spankings,” and indicated that the companies’ threats and spankings influenced the information posted on Newsarama.

Which, of course, sucks. I’m much more sympathetic to the work that Hodler, Draper-Carlson and Hargro do: careful, reasoned analysis of individual comics and graphic novels is more important to me than chasing after the six-hour “news cycles” of the comics industry. These critics responded to Brady’s description of the “threats and spankings” situation with admirable independence– Draper-Carlson said that because she has a day job, she doesn’t care “if someone is pissed” at her, while Hodler and Hargro pointed out that newspapers traditionally build strong firewalls between their editorial and advertising divisions to avoid the dangers inherent in allowing threats to chill journalistic speech.


  1. says

    So what this means is that there are things Matt Brady can do that Johanna can’t, and there are things Johanna can do that Matt can’t. That sounds all right to me.

  2. says

    Brady (and Jonah Weiland) have tough jobs that they do pretty well. They straddle the line between hard journalism (which if taken too far will get them blacklisted) and Wizard-like slurping.

  3. John Smith says

    I think the difference is that the things Johanna does are good, and the things Brady does are not.

  4. Ethan N. says

    I give them more credit than sites like ComicBloc, which has more ass kissing going on than an IML weekend.

  5. Evan says

    Ethan, no different then Millarworld, Jinxworld, etc.

    If the place is essentially run by a pro in the industry, they’re gonna go with the pro and his company every time.

  6. John Shableski says

    Journalism should never be driven by advertising(or the fear of losing the ad revenue) Back in the day, Variety reported on everything and wrote harsh, accurate reviews. The producers of the plays and movies were compelled to advertise because EVERYONE read Variety.

    If you are accurate in your reporting and faithful to a standard then your audience remains-no matter how bitter some of them are-they will remain.

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