-If this were TV, all you nerds would be watching it. Read thisbook.
-If you don’t like Johnny Ryan, you won’t like his latest BleckyYuckarella collection, Back in Bleck. If you do like him, A) you’rebetter than that other guy I was just talking to and B) you will like this asmuch as I did.
-You may have noticed that I did not write a column last week. Thatis, if you were not struck blind by the list of awful comics Burgas reviews andenjoys for some reason.
-Are nerds freaking out about the revelations contained herein? Probably not. The awfulest nerds most likely didn’t read this.
-I suppose I have a soft spot in my heart for things that makesThunderbolts fans upset. To me, nothing says “bland” like Grummet +Busiek/Nicieza.
Well, at least he's right about the Thunderbolts.
Anyway, this particular post sees Rice beating on his favorite punching bag: fellow blog-mate Greg Burgas. Burgas is no favorite of mine; his recent series of columns on Fun Home were basically him digging a deeper and deeper ditch for himself. But at least he has the guts to take an unpopular and controversial--and possibly totally wrongheaded--stance (eg, Fun Home received its acclaim largely because Alison Bechdel is a lesbian). And he's not a guy you can easily fit into a category of fandom. He reads and reviews a wide array of things.
Joe Rice apparently was writing for Comics Should Be Good from the begining, left, then came back late last year. Burgas started writing there in the interim. Rice clearly doesn't approve of Burgas' work, and frequently belittles him in his columns (see the example above). The post in question here is ostensibly about objective standards of aesthetics--a naive enough conversation, but we'll leave that alone for now. What's interesting is this not-too-brief aside Rice makes in the middle of the column:
-And that word explains the problem I have with a lot of the reviewing at thissite, especially Greg’s. When we founded this blog, I wanted it tohighlight the good and the great, no matter how we felt about it. I canrecommend a comic I don’t particularly like, because I can ascertain it isobjectively good. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with recommending acomic based purely on how much you like it. But from time to time I seesome objectively bad stuff being pushed forward while personal taste of areviewer is pulling down Good Work. And it bugs the shit out of me. When a bunch of us left because of this sort of thing, Brian recruited a bunchof new reviewers singing the praises of Manhunter or Secret Six or whatever justbecause of personal taste. In moderation, that’s fine. I enjoy thehell out of the Goon Noir, and recognize it’s no Eightball. We all likesome stuff that isn’t so good. But when the chaff drowns out the wheat,we’ve got a problem. This is why I give Burgas a hard time. He’s gota forum here that people obviously read, and that’s great. But hiscritiques rarely go much beyond “I like Moon Knight” when he’s reviewing a bookhe’s got personal taste for. And when you’re spending more time praising amiddle-ground-at-best superhero monthly, you’re shortchanging a lot of work outthere.
Interesting, huh? Is this a post about comics criticism or a post about how Joe Rice doesn't like what Greg Burgas did to "his" site? I'd call this unprofessional but, well, it's a blog post. I'm not sure to what extent the question of professionalism is germane. Still, I'll be keeping my eyes on this feud. Will Joe Rice bully Greg Burgas to the point where he quits? Will he cow him into excluding Moon Knight from future columns?
And as a special bonus, here's some of the criticism Joe Rice has brought to the site, complete and uncut:
-I finally got around to reading Gary Panter’s Cola Madness. It’s noteasy to explain this sort of dream-logic work, but I can tell you it’s really,really good. An absurdist frame and content bely quite a bit going onunderneath. One read of this and you’ll immediately understand why he’sconsidered such a master of the form. It’s the kind of insanity you thinkyou can just throw on paper but you really can’t. Genius work, and I don’tuse that lightly.
-So I read a few glowing comments about this Paper Rad guy (?) and feellike an old fart for not knowing what the hell it’s about. So I gotCartoon Workshop/Pig Tales today. Jesus, I dunno. Maybe I AM an oldfart. But this was frickin stupid. And not Blecky stupid,either. Like the lame weird kid who tries to imitate the charming weirdkid’s sense of humor. Chuck Norris jokes? Really? Semi-traceddrawings of copywritten, dumb characters? And those colors! Like mywife said, “This is awful. It looks like something you’d get for free atMcDonald’s.” Do people really like this? Who? What’s thepoint? I don’t mind surrealism or semi-primitivism. I hearts me someGary Panter. But I can’t tell if this guy’s (?) just too much ahipster or functionally retarded. The people that love this probably don’tcome anywhere near this site, so I may never find out the appeal. AllI can say is, “At least it isn’t one of Burgas’ comics.”
-Ohmigod. Mouse Guard. You are so great. I love you, Mouse Guard. The big battle scene? It was like pure-kickass. Ifelt like I heard Zepplin or Wolfmother and the rolling of dice and the faintsmell of weed. This is what fantasy can be. I do hope you people areeither reading this or getting the trade. My opinion of you will belowered even further otherwise. Give me one good reason not to readthis. ONE! It’s got epic battles, treachery, forgotten heroes andall the slaying a mouse can handle. Muah, I kiss you Mouse Guard.