As you know if you’ve been reading the internets, some mysterious anonymous soul showed up here in comments and stated that Comics Comics was going to be merging with our former hosts, The Comics Journal.
Matthias Wivel has a short piece about the good and the bad of this move. (If it’s true!)
The site [tcj.com] has long needed an overhaul, both in terms of design and editorial direction, so I’m looking forward to what’s next, even if it may mean a consolidation of two sites that ideally would continue each on their own. There are precious few comics resources online of ComicsComics’ quality, so it’ll be somewhat sad to see it subsumed, even if it means a much better Comics Journal.
I basically agree. As I noted recently, tcj.com has been a huge mess. Having CC in charge would almost certainly fix that. CC has a strong sense of mission and a clear editorial vision and focus. The CC guys are also very familiar and comfortable with the Internet — something nobody in control at tcj.com seems to have been thus far. Judging by the lovely CC redesign, there’s every reason to think that a CC-manned comics journal will look better than the current ugly site. Moreover, CC has tons of connections with great critics and creators— as just one example, there’s every reason to hope that with TCJ’s budget, a CC/TCJ amalgam would be able to publish more work by Nicole Rudick.
I can see some downsides too. As Matthias says, it seems kind of too bad that the Journal has lost its way so thoroughly that it has to cannibalize the competition in order to stay relevant.
Also, as I’ve said before, I have some differences with CC’s approach. I think (as I pointed out above) they have a very strong focus, but I worry that that can sometimes be at the expense of a diversity of views. CC is a very articulate advocate for a large canon of artists — but their canon is, for all its breadth, has few curve-balls, and their interest in things outside it can seem limited. They’re fearless enforcers of professional standards among critics, which is important and valuable (see this really smart Tim Hodler piece, for example, or Dan’s piece on the Masters of American Comics Criticism in the Best American Comics Criticism volume.) But they’ve been less interested in debating aesthetic first principles or questioning received critical wisdom. Jeet Heer’s decision to close comments on his (entirely reasonable) post defending Art Spiegelman was in no way wrong or indefensible, but it was, I think, indicative.
Still, it’s reasonable to assume that a CC that took over TCJ would be somewhat different in focus than their current site. And even if some of the weaknesses remain (or at least what seem like weaknesses from my perspective), I think the strengths will be more important. It would be great to see tcj.com establish a substantial online presence worthy of its legacy. I’m pretty sure that if CC takes the reigns, that will happen. So, overall, I’m hoping the rumors are true.