Sean Maher's Quality Control

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Welcome to Quality Control

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sean Maher. I love comics.

You may have seen me posting comics reviews and contests on Millarworld over the past couple years, championing great books like Sleeper and Small Gods. You may have read my old blog, the now-dead Zealot’s Lore, and seen the Rob Osborne World Domination Poetry contest or short essays like “How To Sell Me Your Comics”. You might have enjoyed my in-depth reviews at Bookshelf Comics. Or maybe you’ve been following the exciting experiment I just recently wrapped up – The Great Retailing Experiment, when I took full control of James Sime’s Isotope – the comic book lounge, slamming the pedal to the metal in four-and-a-half unbelievable days, running the gamut from swank partying with Fat Tire ale and sweet DJ grooves to an educational field trip with a class of reading-challenged kids discovering comics.

Throughout all this, I’ve dug into the world of comics as deep as I could; exploring contemporary fandom, observing the paths today’s creators have blazed, learning how comics retail works, and picking apart the industry as if it was a pocketwatch, trying to figure out what makes it tick.

From top to bottom – from fans, to retailers, to publishers, to creators – I’ve noticed a consistent, often dominant element: frustration.

I mean, have you seen the comics internet these days? It’s a hornet’s nest. Everybody seems to be pissed off about something. And often, they have a good reason.

But that’s not why I’m here. That’s not what this site is going to be about.

This is about enjoying yourself. Comics are riding the wave of a true renaissance, and I’m glad to be around to see it.

I’m here to talk about what I like. I’ll try to stick to comics, but sometimes I’m gonna have a meal that’s just too good to keep to myself, or I’ll see a movie that sends me walking away with a huge smile on my face. I’ll share that, too.

I’m building an oasis in the comics internet. There will be no sarcasm here, no bitterness or snark. Take that shit somewhere else.

Will you be critical of anything, I hear you cry? Are you telling me the emperor’s new clothes look great?

Well, that’s a delicate issue. If all I did was tell you everything was great, what reason would you ever have to believe me, right?

I’ve got two answers to that.

First, if I’m not talking about it – maybe I don’t like it. I’m not here to say the industry’s perfect and that everywhere you turn is peaches and cream. But I’m also not here to add my voice to the chorus of complaints. If you want to find out what sucks today, head on over to Fanboy Rampage; my good buddy Graeme McMillan will take care of you, and never steer you wrong with his intelligent criticism. Here, I’m narrowing my focus to what I like.

Second, I know that my liking something doesn’t make it perfect. There’s a term that’s been lost to comics as far as I can tell, a hell of a thing called constructive criticism. Look, anybody with the balls to put together their own comic and send it out into the world has a couple of points in my book. That doesn’t mean I have to dig what they’re trying to say, or how they’re saying it. But what I do see there is potential and passion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: people create comics because they love the hell out of them. These are people who are genuinely looking to make a real contribution to their chosen art form. And frankly, I think that means I owe them some consideration in return. Will every review you see here be a positive one? No, definitely not. But when I find something I don’t think is working, instead of panning it and tossing it in the bin, I’m gonna try and figure out what’s wrong with it and what works about it and how it could be made better.

And that’s what you’ll find here. I’m working to make life better; I’m stopping to smell the roses.

I’m running Quality Control.

And I hope you’ll join me.


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