Sunday, April 06, 2003

functional critique and the messiah

One of the afterdinner topics last night was TXTMen - specifically, we took it to task from a critical perspective, questioning what made it work and what made it not work.

The good thing about an activity like this is the benefit we derive from criticism that matters. For us, it's never enough to say "it's okay" or "it didn't ring true" - there has to be brutally honest intelligent analysis and recommendations (action points).

We listen to each other, canvassing opinions, learning things big and small. If we cannot impart knowledge we have with each other, how can we expect to improve and grow?

Some of us are writers, so we provide criticism from a technical and literary angle (and believe me, I'm as harsh as they come - no way you'll razzle dazzle me with beautiful art if your story fundamentals are off).

Some of us are artists, so we give criticism in terms of design, craft and illustrative consistency, expression and sequencing (no way your lovely story will impress - if it bogged down with art that refuses to tell the story).

Some of us are both, so we listen to voices echoing concerns of both sides.

Ultimately, the goal is to improve on our craft, even if it's "just a comic book".

Especially since it is a comic book.


Because it is important that in every creative thing you do, you surprise yourself - make yourself smile. You know - think, create, innovate, beguile.

Inspire yourself.

Listen, learn, improve.

Only the arrogant and foolish do not listen to functional critique because they believe they know better than their intelligent audience. They may claim awards, experience and such and turn a deaf ear to opinions that do not stroke their egos or do not give them hard-ons.

It's funny because I have a few awards myself and I will be first to listen to criticism that is intelligently thought out, persuasively presented and void of bullshit prattle.

Ultimately, your past awards and achievements mean nothing. The context is the work at hand, and you are only as good as your current work. As far as I'm concerned, all your previous work, awards, relatives, friends and fancy blahblah are shit - remember, what matters is the work. No excuses, no letters, no pleas.

This means you cannot hide behind achievement or association with another creator or poor editing or expensive marketing.

You should listen.

Especially if you feel you're the Next Big Thing.

Or if you think you're the Messiah - here to save us all and usher us into the Exclusive Kingdom of the Mighty.


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