Hey, I resemble that statement! This is the second time I've read one of Sean's offhand disses and felt my eye twitching, but I'm not taking it personally since I'd have to be a paranoid bastard to assume it was all about me. Plus Sean was cool about me tweaking his nipples at the start of my Inglourious Basterds post, so there's no reason for me to be a dick here.
"Just a week or two before I wrote that piece [comparing The Dark Knight Strikes Again to glo-fi pop music], I was complaining to someone about the pieces you'll read here and there along the lines of "This issue of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch-Boy is exactly like my favorite Sleater-Kinney album!!!" Now, art is not made in a vacuum, and even when direct influences aren't in play, resonances can be--people can tap into similar ideas or make similar decisions. It's as valuable for critics to be aware of what's going on in multiple disciplines as it is for artists themselves, and I think making connections you can make between disciplines is a perfectly valid approach. That said, making connections between anything and everything is as useless, critically, as making no connections at all."
Sean makes the above comments to defend his DKSA piece against criticisms that the musical references he used were completely arbitrary, and he's quite right to do so. Still, I find myself wanting to argue with Sean here, so maybe I am feeling a little touchy on this one! So, for example: The Filth doesn't look like Beyonce, and Beyonce sure as shit doesn't sound like The Filth, but I do listen to Beyonce when I'm trying to get away from the feelings The Filth generates, and in writing about them both together I can get at why.
Sometimes this technique is a big load of juvenile nonsense, and sometimes it's a useful way to write something more interesting than "I liked it because it was good/it was good because I liked it." The same good to bad ratio exists for the sort of clear line criticism that Collins deals in -- writers like Sean and Douglas can make it work, but how many of the eight thousand comics reviews that hit the Internet every week are worth reading?
In other words, to echo a refrain Sean made good use of in that interview, it all depends on the piece!
[EDITED TO ADD: If I wasn't such a self-involved prick, I would have also taken issue with the part of the interview where Chris Allen asks Sean how he feels about snarky critics like Tucker Stone and Abhay Khosla.
Sean says that he feels "suspicious" of the validity of this kind of criticism because "the harshness quickly becomes an end in itself." In the abstract that might be a fair enough point, and Sean does qualify it by saying that "It depends on the piece," but when those two writers have been specifically mentioned? Well, then it's time to call bullshit. I mean sure, those guys take the piss A LOT, but in both cases you get the same sense that you get from TV critic Charlie Brooker, i.e. that the hatred comes from an awareness of how good this shit can be.
Also, the snark is only one part of Abhay's writing -- no one else has written anything that gets at the heart of Scott Pilgrim like this piece does, for example. And Tucker? Well, he's no one trick pony either, and it's not like he's shy about praising comics when he likes them. Only last week he gave the latest volume of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto a full on crotch rub while giving Flash: Rebirth a quick kick to the dick, and if that's not the key to cosmic balance then I'll eat my own power ring.
Still, Tucker and Abhay are big boys, and neither of them needs to hide behind my peely-wally Scottish arse. In fact, I've just got to the end of this edit, and I see that Tucker has (deliberately or otherwise) defended his style way better than I ever could. Just check out this priceless bit from the end of his latest Blackest Night review:
It's about exactly what it says it's about, which is that a whole bunch of various colored and various emotion themed magic ring wielding teams are going to team up and combine the colors of their various wishing rings to construct another, more powerful and more pure color so that they can stop the physical embodiment of death, which is a bipedal humanoid character who speaks English that used to fight Captain Atom. The best part of the entire thing so far was in an issue of Green Lantern Corps, when a big black thing tried to steal Queen Coleman from the Smurf planet, but then he was stopped by a Mexican suicide bomber.Yeah, that sums it up just nicely, I think. Saying the word "AWESOME!" 'til your mouth bleeds is easy. Making genuine entertainment out of a week's worth of shitty comics? That's pretty close to modern day alchemy.]
And honestly? You can pretty much add exclamation points to those last two sentences right there, and you can add the word "Awesome!", and you'll have produced a rough approximation of every positive review that this piece of shit is ever going to get. That's how easy it is to write about a positive comic book review. Make a fucking note.