Rant: How to Pitch a Small Indie Comic Reviewer

So let’s talk about something that happens with this site a lot: PR outreach. I’d say ICR gets hits up 3-5 times a week. Mostly it’s by people who have read another review on the site and want me to do a review for them. I am very happy to reply but unfortunately I can’t review every comic that comes my way. The proper way to reach out to reviewer is just to shoot them a quick little email. Something like:

“Hey ScottyG,

I just wanted to hit you up and see if you wanted to review my comic about super-powered crabs called, “Capt. Crabs”. Loved your review on [insert comic] and I’ve read [author’s name]’s work a bunch before.

Thanks!

Author’s Name”

 

Quick, personal (shows that he has at least read the site), informal, and doesn’t spoil anything. A reviewer knows you are looking to get reviewed and that you are probably reaching out to a lot of reviewers. They also know you probably didn’t have time to read every post from every one of those reviewers- but showing a little insight is always appreciated.

The wrong way to go about it is to blast a small personal review site like ICR with a generic PR/marketing blast. Something like:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Author WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE teams up with artist LEONARDO DA VINCI on the new title CAPTAIN JUSTICE AMERICAN. The comic focuses on BRUCE KENT and tells his origin as a billionaire farmer until his family was killed by an exploding planet. Now he fights crime as CAPTAIN JUSTICE AMERICAN with his sidekick BILLY THE KID. He tragically must kill his love interest/arch nemesis MISS DASTARDLY LADY who he learned is evil at the end of this FIRST ISSUE!

We will send you a comic and expect it reviewed sometime in the next two weeks. Please include a link to http://www.CAPTAINJUSTICEAMERICAN.com and make sure to review the first three issue we are sending you.

Thank You,

Bill Shakespeare”

 

Or something like…

 

“Hi! I am currently trying to promote a Kickstarter project for this generic superhero comics! What would happen if bunnies had magic powers and could talk in the real world!”

 

Both really don’t lend themselves well to being reviewed. They are impersonal, show no vested interest in the relationship they are establishing, sometimes outright spoil the comic for the reviewer, and place a lot of restrictions on them. Our review schedules are overbooked as it is, don’t give us a reason to discount you. I mean, you have to know your audience. If it’s some mega-syndicated comic/entertainment/game review site- yeah a PR blast works well but on a small indie review blog- personal works best.

 

I mean I even have the line, “Please don’t blast me with generic press releases… it is so impersonal. I’ll just make fun of you.” right above my contact form and I STILL get PR blasts all the time (FB is the worst!).

 

The indie comic community is pretty small one and blasting a bunch of folks with a press release or something super impersonal is a great way to make sure no one reviews your comic. We want to help though and we want to read good indie comics! This is the part of the sector where the magic happens! So just approach reviews right and we’ll be your best friends in the industry as you launch your comic.

 

Sorry for the rant folks. A lot of review requests come in and are really impersonal and demanding. It is just not the right way to go.

 

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UnDead End

UnDead End

Staff: J Wright

Overview:

Great characterization and art but lacking in the story department.

Review:

So zombie comics are never really my thing. I should say that before I get too far into this one (UnDead End). I feel our media is supersaturated with the comic and I never really got bit by the fad. Sure Walking Dead is fun and Shawn of the Dead is probably in my top 50 favorite movies but the whole genre as a whole has kind of worn thin on me. So I’ll be reviewing this one in an objective fashion to try to keep from relying on that.

First off the art is downright gorgeous. It’s the right blend of gonzo, realistic, detailed, and colorful that it really stands out. The cover doesn’t do much to allay my fears that this will fall into the “generic zombie” format however. Three teen to twenty somethings (a girl, a good looking guy, and a fat guy with glasses) looking concerned as zombies surround them. Composition wise it’s pretty cool and I dig the almost Scooby-Doo Show/ Scott Pilgrim style backdrop and punky logo. Very telling. I also want to point out that the art on this is DETAILED. A lot of artists kind of leave  background characters to the wayside but the cover features about a dozen zombies and they are all in dynamic poses with a lot of detail put in.

As we get further into the comic, the facial expressions really sell it and they continue the punky art style from the cover. The whole thing is rendered in very vibrant color and it combines to make a cohesive aesthetic. They do a great job at illustrating motion and I alway feel engaged- even in the slower scenes thanks to their use of exaggerated motion.

The lettering is spot on, even when I zoom in the font remains clear and legible. I know it’s a small thing but it always separates the bad comics from the good. Like the character designs, dialogue, color pallet, and cover, the font fits right in and is an asset rather than a detriment.

The characters are immediately identifiable and relatable. The dialogue is very real world and I can dig the depth and complexity they put into even a pizza delivery guy. A lot of times it’s not about how “awesome” your character is but how human they are. Having a guy worry about a birthmark and whine about being sick and not wanting to go to work is far more compelling than the normal run-of-the-mill “tragic” backstory I see week after week.

So while the characters are well developed it seemed like they kind of forgot to bring along a plot. Like I really like the characters and almost wish they were in a more interesting story. Each scene, as soon as you read the first few lines, kind of know where it is going. Yeah, the dialogue is enjoyable but it has all been done before and feel really derivative.

Overall this is a really well written comic with beautiful art that falls victim to it’s premise. It’s genetic and doesn’t exactly explore new territory. Geeky under-achieving nerd dude finds himself, his fat friend, and a love interest stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak (stop me if you’ve heard this one before…) However, don’t let that stop you from checking it out. The artwork and dialogue really make this a standout and if nothing else read it for that. This was a pretty solid comic, to the point where I think maybe I should give the zombie genre another shot!

 

Metrics

Art: 8/10 (Damn good)

Lettering: 6/10 (Exactly what was need)

Plot: 5/10 (Very predictable but saved by some good characterization)

Novelty: 2/10 (If you’ve read one zombie story you’ve read this one.)

Overall: 5.25/10

Link to Product