New Format, Same Combative Attitude

The Comics Journal 300
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. - Gary Groth

It's no secret that newspapers and magazines are suffering because so much of what they've traditionally done can be done on the web, faster and cheaper. We decided therefore to redesign the editorial and physical format of the magazine to take advantage of what print's best at -- upscale production values, longer prose, more permanent content -- and bring the Journal's mandate for criticism and commentary to the web with a vengeance. - Gary Groth

If the magazine's arrogance, whether a clever marketing ploy or come by honestly, wasn't much appreciated by publishers or talent, and often not even by most fans, it was the right approach, making THE COMICS JOURNAL indispensible reading for several years, and a bracing antidote to the sycophancy that by then increasingly earmarked other publications. Virtually nobody claimed to like the Journal, but virtually everyone read it.- Steven Grant

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). - Jeet Heer

For me, I've been happiest with the Journal when it pursued other visions — Tom Crippen working out why super-heroes matter and why they don't, for example, or Dirk's marvelous shojo issue. The larger, bi-annual approach seems like an opportunity to go further down that road...I'd love, for example, to see what Kristy Valenti or Bill Randall would do if given carte blanche with an issue. Gary will always be the Journal, in some sense, but one of the things he's done right over the years, in my view, is to have the courage and the generosity to let other folks pursue their own idiosyncratic ideas and interests with his ink and his press. - Noah Berlatsky

Everything will be free. We’ll maintain an archival copy of the current website for our online subscribers — more on that soon, I promise — but the new site will have no “subscriber area” or special features that need a password to access - Dirk Deppey