The Writer's Peril! ... and, oh yeah, new reviews.

Although it is not a full-time job, I really love having the opportunity to write reviews for Graphic Novel Reporter on a freelance basis.  The opportunity to read and write about comics was a dream I had when I was eight years old, so the chance to be paid to do so more than twenty years later is beyond fantastic.  Although it's an awful lot of fun and personally rewarding, I knew that I had to gain some experience in web-publishing and that I needed to expand and round-out my portfolio. My education and past writing experiences have all centered around print-media, but the writing and publishing industry is rapidly changing and quite a far cry from where it was 20 years ago.  A job ad I saw a few months back for a full-time comic book reviewer with a big-name website told applicants that if they didn't have a blog, social media page, and experience writing and publishing for the web then they needed to go back to 1995 when these things were unimportant.  That's quite a stark wake-up call to way new media has impacted the business of writing and getting your work out there to the public.  Nowadays, writers have to blog about and link to their work, and then tweet all about it.  It's a strange new world for old-fashioned, old-media types, as even old-school newspaper journalists are being encouraged (usually the nice way to say 'forced') by their corporate overseers to produce video content for the web, in addition to the written word and still photographs.  Some Heritage Newspaper staff were recently issued Flip video-recorders to take on assignment for uploading to the website in an effort to draw in an audience and compete with larger markets that offer a wider variety of media on their news-sites.  The old way of doing things just isn't enough anymore, and in order to be an effective writer (i.e. one that gets read and paid), new media is the way to go in order to stay on the current edge.  I had avoided blogging and tweeting for quite a while, believing those things would be nothing more than a distraction.  A friend in PR assured me that tweeting was vital to a healthy career in journalism and PR work, and that it never hurt to self-advertise, so I figured 'what the hell' and went with it.  In addition to hawking my own wares, I've also discovered how much actual breaking news is tweeted, from current news events to industry giants promoting upcoming works.  I have no idea if my tweeting is working, but hopefully my work has attracted some attention and helped introduce others to a few of the books I've been luck enough to enjoy.

I found myself on this weird road to embracing and adapting to all-things social media back in July after I submitted a spec review for Jason Aaron's opening run on PunisherMax. I was actually a bit surprised when it was met with such enthusiastic response from the editor, and was invited to keep on writing for them.  That was, of course, the goal, but I have to admit that it seemed too good to be true, the pipe dream of that little eight year old coming up again.  I've had a terrific run since, and have found a load of great material.  A couple of these finds are fresh to the web today, over at GNR!

My work with GNR has allowed me to discover new works, like Matt Fraction's Casanova (highly recommended, by the way), and have afforded me the chance to get caught up on old favorites who have new series, like Garth Ennis and Darick Roberston and their latest on-going title, The Boys.  With their milestone issue 50 new to the stands, I felt it was a great time to introduce myself, and hopefully others, to this work, starting with the first trade volume, The Name of the Game.  In one interview I read, Ennis stated his goal with The Boys was to out-Preacher Preacher.  After having read the next two volumes, and in particular Volume 3: Good for the Soul, Ennis appears to be on the verge of out-classing Watchmen with his incredible alt-history take on superheroes.

Expect another round-up of reviews in a few weeks, as I've got plenty in the hopper yet, including the recently released trade collection of the absolutely amazing Daytripper.

Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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