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Things become clearer with mission statements

After yesterday's Snark on Graphic Novel Review's cover, and the ensuing quasi-debate in the comments, Alexander Danner, the editor of GNR, posted the Mission Statement for GNR in his latest Profundities Forthcoming post. With his permission, I'm reprinting it here:

Many literary readers, having been exposed to one or two or three "crossover" graphic novels every few years, are already interested in exploring the larger context of the form. They want to gain a better understanding of the "scene" from which these outstanding works emerged, and they want to find new graphic novels to read. We provide that context and that understanding. Although we welcome readers from both the artcomix scene and mainstream fandom, we do not expect our audience to have comics at the center of their lives: We are writing for the average reader of contemporary literature who wants to explore the field of graphic novels.

Now, this I can support. If Graphic Novel Review, as a matter of editorial policy and intentional decision, is specifically targeting contemporary readers and not targeting either indy or mainstream comics fans (though of course, they'll be happy to have them too), then I can accept that their emphasis will be on graphic novels that would appeal to those fans.

I don't know if their mission can be successful. I do know it's a worthy one, and if it is will go light years into the promotion of Sequential Art as an art form.

Now, I think they both have to put this online and rewrite their Writer's Guidelines to reflect it more clearly. As it is now, the natural assumption a reader makes when they look at the writer's guidelines is going to either be mine -- which is that they were cutting their nose off to spite their face -- or one of my other readers, who thought it was an intentional shafting of mainstream comics fans. I take Danner at his word that it's neither -- and this makes it explicitly clear that what they're doing just doesn't involve mainstream or indy fans, editorially, and so it'll greatly serve GNR to rephrase things to make that clear to everyone.

And will clear the decks for me to write snarks about pretty covers and well written articles without having to throw in caveats, and that's a good thing. Caveats scare me.


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This is all my fault. Alexander did send me the mission statement and a revised "Writer's Guidelines" last month, at the same time he sent me all the contents of issue 2, but I plumb forgot to post them (I was up until 6 am getting all the production details in place for the issue's contents, but that's not really an excuse -- since I'm trying to live up to Edna Mole's anti-mediocrity credo). Thanks for calling this to our attention, and I hope I didn't come across as too snippy in the comments yesterday.


Well, to be fair, the revised guidelines at that point were just a revision to the pay rates (briefs are now a flat $5, while interviews and feature articles were bumped up to $30). I still need to do the revisions to the rest of it.

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