You don’t have to be a filmmaker to know if you like a movie or not, and to offer a critique of it.
You don’t have to be an author to know if you like a book or not, and to offer a critique of it.
And you don’t have to be an illustrator to know if you like a particular drawing or not, and to offer a critique of it.
Several times on this blog, I’ve drawn (get it?!) some fire for coming across as too harsh on a given artist or character or series or costume. Which is fine, that’s why they pay me the big bucks. But critique is a perfectly valid — in some ways, an invaluable — method of refining your own understanding of what you like and, more importantly, why you like it. Any art form can be appreciated (or not) at a gut level, and it’s perfectly fine to live your whole life experiencing it there and no further.
But for a subject you love, like me with comics, there’s so much more you can get out of it with a little time and effort. Which is why this week, I’m going to give YOU the chance to play critic.
I want you to go to Marvel’s site and check out the preview pages at the bottom for Rob Liefeld’s “Deadpool” issue 900. And then I want you to come back here and offer a genuine critique of the work. You don’t have to be mean, or glowing in your praise, or sycophantic, or snidely hip, or anything other than honest. I want you to look at the pages of what will surely be one of the best-selling issues of the year, and I want you to think about what you do and don’t like. Maybe you’ll focus on the panel layouts, or the overall page design. Maybe you’ll focus on the costumes or the environment, or the dialog, or the way the action flows.
Whatever it is you choose to comment on, give it some thought and give me your reaction to it. You all know my opinion of his overall “oeuvre” at this point, so there’s no surprises there, but I don’t want this to just be a bash-fest. The point is for you to take something that generates strong reactions in the viewer (which Deadpool 900 certainly should!) and to examine why you react to it the way you do. To articulate what it is you do and do not like.
Criticism gets a bad rap, because it’s awfully easy to slip from knowledgeable commentary for the purpose of enlightening your own understanding to schoolyard heckling. But it’s an important part of how we understand art, and I think it’s very much worth pursuing.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!