The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Of course, I think we all knew this was bound to happen one of these days

In case you missed it, Eric Burns has accepted an editorship over at Modern Tales.

And, honestly, why not? We all know he's the biggest name in webcomics criticism, perhaps the single person who could be identified as the progenitor of the concept of webcomics criticism. He inspired me to start writing, and he's inspired countless others as well. While some may question his loyalties, no one can question his writing talent or mastery of the criticism craft. His site has become something of a cultural Mecca for webcomic fans, a place where they can (nay, must) congregate to receive spiritual enlightenment on the webcomic form (sorry, Scott McCloud).

And we all know that he's a big fan of the Modern Tales umbrella. He dotes on Narbonic like it's going out of style, he's quick to mention strips like Digger, and he's got The Adventures of Brigadier General John Stark hosted on WebcomicsNation, for crying out loud. So there's no doubt he's into the whole collective.

And, quite frankly, it's the natural progression of things. People don't just stay critics their entire lives. If you're a good enough critic, at some point your opinions are considered to be valid enough that people want you to apply your critical skills toward improving the form itself. And there's one clear way you can do that: become an editor. All good editors began their lives as critics. The ability to evaluate pieces of work critically and determine their relative strengths and weaknesses is perhaps the most important skill of an editor. Now, naturally there are many other skills involved as well, but this skill is the one which is most important, and the most difficult to develop, and therefore most rare.

Eric Burns has the critical chops to become a stellar editor, and I wish him the best of luck with his new endeavor. It should be interesting to watch.


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