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Author Topic: Critiquing comics - what wins your 5-slice review?  (Read 1951 times)
AmeliaJames
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 07:47:20 AM »

For myself I typically evaluate a comic's value by how many times I will reread it, and enjoy doing so. I also consider how close to the end of my entire collection it would fall if I suddenly started giving away all my comics today.

I don't have names for those two methods. Have at it.

So Infinity Gauntlet, Identity Crisis, and Watchmen are all on that list, among others. Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men holds the top spot for me.

I think thats a great system!
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Navarre
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2012, 08:29:17 AM »

Thanks, Amelia. It is the best way I could devise to apply a system to something so subjective.
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Gaumer
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 09:29:00 AM »

Thanks, Amelia. It is the best way I could devise to apply a system to something so subjective.

I like it too, but how do you rate them on a 5-star system? Its easy to say, "Yup, that's a good comic" or "Nope, that's a waste of paper and ink" but finding middle ground is at the heart of the OP's question.
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 09:49:47 AM »

It would be difficult. I'd apply the same system though.

If I take all of my comics and had them ordered by "keep preference" as I mentioned above, then I'd have to begin grouping those into five sets. The 3 Star would be the average. The 5 star would be "My life will feel empty and meaningless without these" and my 1 Star would be "a tree died for this??".

I would start at the top of me Keep list and start selecting down until I didn't feel I had any more 5 Star choices for which I could be certain. Then I'd start at the bottom of the Keep list and similarly select out the 1 Star comics.

This would leave everything that is 2 Star through 4 Star.

A 4 Star comic would be one that, upon seeing again, I feel has any sort of merit over the average comic. A desire to at least thumb through it would be a good indicator of this, as would my ability to remember that the comic had ever had a spot in my collection in the first place.

Once these are selected out, I am left with the 2 Star and 3 Star. If 3 Star comics are average, I would take them to hold merit simply for the fact they are a comic book. They deserve to exist in the same way humans deserve to exist, holding intrinsic value by virtue of their existence themselves.

The 2 Stars are the ones that are the trickiest. But I take them as those that, for whatever reason, are somewhere between "average" and an abomination to print. Thus I would have successfully grouped my comics by a 5 Star system.

But the entire process is not only entirely subjective but arduous. Further, it does not easily apply to reviewing a new comic because such factors as "memorability" can not yet be factored in. But it can serve as a basic system, perhaps transplanting the "wow" factor or desire to immediately reread for memorability.

Any rating system based on subjective content will always be subjective as well, by its very nature. But that does not mean the system has no merit.

The system is always valid to the one who created it, because it is based on their subjective response. But it also hold some objective value to others if the reader has developed a history of agreeing with the reviewer's ratings.

So one must simply find a reviewer who has provided ratings in the past with which the reader agrees. This creates some assurance that the newly reviewed comic's rating is accurate and the reader can choose their reading material accordingly.
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Gaumer
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2012, 09:51:46 AM »

Does finding a new high bar change the entire system? Let's say, for example, you have a bunch of stuff you consider fivers, then you get Whedon's AXM run.

Does everything else lose a quarter of half a star with this newcomer's entry, or does it automatically get a 6 on the 5 star rating? Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2012, 09:56:44 AM »

No, I don't think so. The 5 Star rating is based on "So good I would feel deprived without it".

Discovering Whedon's AXM run doesn't make the previous 5 Star comics any less of that. It simply gives me a new favorite at the very top of that group.

Discovering Olympic hurdler Michelle Jenneke doesn't make Allison Stokke any less hot.  Wink
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Pearce
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2012, 04:14:18 AM »

Something to keep in mind when evaluating the Major Spoilers reviews is the method by which the reviews are assigned (self-selection, first come first served). Therefore, there is often a selection bias towards the positive side where someone will repeatedly review a book they love. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with this, it is just another factor you should keep in mind if you make purchasing decisions based on the reviews.
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2012, 07:15:24 AM »

That is a good point, Pearce. People usually don't take the time to review books they did not enjoy, unless maybe it was so horrible they had to tell someone about it.

Of course, the crew has access to all the comics around. So I suppose we could comclude that the one reviewed have already been evaluated against the other offerings and risen to the top?
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Pearce
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2012, 08:59:53 AM »

Of course, the crew has access to all the comics around. So I suppose we could comclude that the one reviewed have already been evaluated against the other offerings and risen to the top?

As far as I can tell, (maybe an actual reviewer can fill in my blanks, I'm going off second-hand information) the way it works is that someone will request a particular book they want to review from a communal list. This gives them 'dibs' on that title, and the review must be posted no later than 10 days after the publication date of the book. I can guess that there is a mix where some people try new stuff and others jump on their favourites.

I'm sure we all know of several examples of people calling a title. Stephen usually reviews Atomic Robo. He did every Fatale review so far. Zach has done most of the recent Chew reviews. It is notable to state that just because someone calls a book, doesn't mean it's their favourite and that they are guaranteed to review it well. For example, Matthew did all but one of the Avengers vs. X-Men titles, liked some, didn't like others.

So what does it all mean? Getting back to the heart of the original question posed by BRZA21... Each reviewer has their own metric regarding what is a 5 star review. Some hand them out like candy, others are more reserved. When I thought about this for myself, I couldn't nail down a metric without using fluffy words like, "Unless it WOWs me, leaves me thinking, etc." and other subjective terms. Reading comics then rating them is an intensely personal affair, which is why Matthew is so fond of stating, "Your mileage may vary."

Aggregating review scores might provide a broader picture of what the general consensus is on a book, but that's the subject of another post, as I've rambled on for long enough! Wink
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 10:05:03 AM »

as I've rambled on for long enough! Wink

Never stopped me.  Tongue

Yeah, I follow what you're saying. There will never be any way to quantify how "good" something is. It will always be a matter of opinion.

We can put faith in reviewers with whom we have agreed in the past. But it is still no guarantee.

We could listen to the masses, based on total number of reviews over time. But there's still no real merit to any of that.

In the end, we have to take a certain risk at reading something. Fortunately, the worst consequence of not enjoying it is usually a bit of disappointment and maybe a few lost dollars.
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Pearce
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« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2012, 07:15:33 AM »

As an addendum to this conversation, if you want to hear the MSP guys' views on the rating system, check out MSP 282 "The Big Reveal"

I'm a big numbers nerd, so I find this stuff way too fascinating. I've spent way too long over the past two months poring over the reviews database.
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