A few words about San Diego Comic Con, the state of comics journalism and why I’m doing this blog in the first place..

As I mentioned in a recent blog, I’ve been following the San Diego Comic Con online partly because I’m possibly going to have to take a greater interest in comics due to a Cunning Plan I’ve been cooking up, and partly because some friends are over there and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the pictures of their trip, which brings me quite quickly to the point of this as virtually all the coverage of the Con is about the big events so you get endless coverage on blogs and sites about how Superman and Batman are being slung together in a World’s Finest type of film, or the Marvel Films panel, or even the frankly ludicrous Lego film which is a sign if ever there was any that the well of creativity is over in Hollywood and it’s now a slow running lukewarm stream of piss that you see outside of pubs in any city centre on a weekend.


You rarely if ever see anything about the thousands of people going for the fun of it as all these big events dominate to such a degree because the blogs and sites which mainly cover it want the hits these stories bring as it helps their SEO and gets them in many cases some advertising revenue, not to mention giving their site some sort of credibility, except most of the time what’s passing as ‘journalism’ is actually just churnalism. See this BBC report about the Superman/Batman film. It’s just a recycled press release. That’s it. Now I’m not going to be twattish (for the time being) enough to point out specific comic related sites which do exactly the same as many are just a single person trying to get by, or fansites, and anyhow naming the BBC for being guilty of churnalism is fine as they can take the small kick in the shins I can give, but really let’s be honest here, if you want to call yourself a ‘journalist’ and all your doing is rehashing press releases and being 100% positive about everything then all you and your site are doing is giving a company like Warners or Disney free advertising rather than telling the story and the truth of what’s happening at a particular time.

What annoys me is it’s giving this impression that all it’s about is helping making the studios money, when in fact from looking at friend’s pictures it looks enormous fun, but if the media (and this includes bloggers and comic sites)  only talk about one aspect, or let one aspect dominate their coverage as it helps with the hits and if their site or blog flies into the radar or Marvel or DC they might get a few freebies, and they might even get a paying gig.

All this is fine, but don’t pretend it’s journalism. It isn’t. It’s just free publicity. You’re representing only a part of the story of this generation, and you’re not telling the story of what should be told as you’re all too interested in the possibility of the paying gig at Marvel or DC, or possibly MTV, or even ITV4 rather than telling the everyday story of how people enjoy Comic Con for the big fun event I’m sure it is.

Which brings me again to reiterate the point of my blogging in that it’s not journalism, nor am I taking a moral high ground. Well, maybe just a bit, but in doing thing like my blogs about Glastonbury or the comics scene in Glasgow in the 80’s I hope I’m adding to the variety of voices, and in some cases actually adding an alternative voice to what has become, or seen, to be the consensus viewpoint which is normally that everything is wonderful or kewl or shite and sucks with little of no critical or journalistic practise going on. That’s the point of this as I’ve become so fed up with the idea that Glastonbury is about big bands playing in a field, or that comics in the 80’s was all sweetness and light. So hence this.

See the thing is in the 21st century when the web provides the greatest amount of information available in human history, the problem is that the same stories become ‘truth’ without being challenged because in many cases challenging those stories if you’re a comics journalist may mean pissing someone off who might give you a job. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since getting out of comics full time, or even part time around a decade or so ago is that you need to take criticism and that means criticising what you do as it helps you challenge things. Just accepting the norm is great if you want to progress but it doesn’t tell the truth and I suppose that’s what I’m trying to do by telling my little tales of what I’ve lived through.

That said, if someone wants to give me a paid job for doing this I’ll sell my soul gladly! Yeeee Haaaa!!!!! Man of Steel was brilllllllllllllliannnnnntttttttttttt…….LOL!!!!

Please shoot me if this ever happens….

Pale Blue Horizons- The San Diego Comic Con



It’s the San Diego Comic Con this week, which if you’re a comic person like myself is the Glastonbury Festival of comics as long as you ignore Angoulême of course.It’s the nirvana for comics fans and over the last 15 years or so has moved from being mainly comics focused to ‘popular arts’, which essentially seems to mean they’ve dumped comics out the back in favour of films, telly, games, and any old tat.

Sadly this is the nature of such things as I was predicting that at the last UKCAC in 1998 that the only way for comic conventions to expand was to look into other related genres, or even open the field of comics up in a way that’s certainly not been done in this country, but that’s aside the point & a blog for the very near future.

I’ve never been to Comic Con, and at this rate I probably won’t in the foreseeable future. Til I somehow do, I live vicariously through the Twitter feed of friends there, or though films such as the one I’ve posted the trailer of above, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which was released the other year. It’s a film worth watching as it captures some of the stress & fun of being a retailer, not to mention other aspects including being a budding artist. Now back in the late 80’s I used to see people’s portfolios at conventions due to me working for Trident Comics and on the whole, 95% of them were utter rubbish. It was that 5% we’d constantly look for, but it was letting people down in such a way that they’d not kill themselves as people were like the Skip chap in the film and they really did think they were the Next Big Thing. It was hard, but I’ve seen editors from DC or 2000AD be completely brutal, and I think that’s the best way to do it but in a constructive way.

It’s a film worth watching because the tone is overwhelmingly positive, which does means there’s not too much in the way of discussion of the negatives, but that’s not the point as it’s supposed to be a celebration. The one thing that comes out of it is how different British and American cons are, or at least, were as our cons are moving more towards the American model with is a plus and minus all at the same time as our cons have always had this wonderfully anarchic feel about them, and that isn’t referring to the organisation of them but the feel and ethics of them. Anyhow, I wish everyone well & hope they have fun because that’s what these things should be: fun!

I’ll be following this year’s Con online and wishing I was there. I probably won’t be there next year but never say never……