How to Write Comic Book Reviews
Writing comic book reviews is a joy for me. I get to pick what I want to write about, I learn about the aspects of a good story and sometimes I even make money writing comic book or graphic novel reviews. Does any of that sound nice? The following steps focus on writing the basic comic book review.
Start with the classics. If you want to become a comic book reviewer, you need to know the basics of this vast world. That means exploring titles like “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Returns,” and the writers behind them. Who is Alan Moore? Who is Frank Miller? Who is Neil Gaiman? You should be able to answer those questions if you want to write comic book reviews, since many titles are similar in theme and need to be compared.
Explore publishers outside of Marvel and DC. Sure, it’s fun reading 20 straight issues of Spider-Man or Batman. But as a comic book reviewer, you need to learn about small publishers, too. These comic publishers need your help more than the big two.
Decide your article slant, or thesis. You need to see the slant in writing style and artwork for this comic book. It will become the thesis for your review. This isn’t a school essay, since you are out to entertain and not explain, but developing a thesis can help you write the review. Is this a horror comic? What do you think of horror comics? Ask a question and find an answer in the story.
Ask questions of the story. Entertain readers by explaining the themes of this story. Even an old Spider-Man comic from the 1960s has a theme; all stories do. So ask questions, compare and contrast, all because you want to write a good review.
Write a 200- to 400-word review. Can you write a 400-word review of a 22-page comic book? Yes, but you usually don’t have to. If you are writing a graphic novel review, or a review of a trade, you have more material to review, so it actually isn’t that hard. But if you offer the main theme of the single-issue comic story, background on characters, an analysis of the artwork and a general discussion on its entertainment value, you can often push the 400-word review mark.
Ask for review copies and take joy in the fact people are reading your work. Because they are reading your work, whether it’s for a site like Silver Bullet Comic Books or your own comic blog, someone wants to read your stuff. The bigger publishers might not respond to requests for review copies, but some will, and you will get free comics. Isn’t that fun? From now on, you can pick what you read and save money doing it.
- A few good publishers outside the big two are Dark Horse, IDW and 2000 AD.
- Rarely will you get paid much for a comic book review. It does happen on occasion. I have been paid for comic reviews, for example, but never that much.
- Courtesy DC Comics