Andrew Asberry leaves weekly reviews, big changes coming to Batman News’ comics section

In almost 3 years, not a single week has gone by in which I haven’t written at least 2,000 words on The Dark Knight, but this run comes to an end now.

My time as the weekly comic book reviewer here at Batman News is drawing to a close for many reasons. There are too many comics to read and review every Wednesday, I get so involved in writing about the Batman mythology that it takes up far too much of my time for a non-paying gig, I’m running out of shelf-space for all of these comics, if I don’t step away from weekly reviews now I don’t know if I ever will… The list goes on and on, but the biggest reason is probably that I love to write, but it’s scary. I approached Chris long ago with the idea of adding comics to Batman News because I needed a retreat from work to talk about something I was truly passionate about for a change, but really I think it was an excuse to write without the risk. Yes, it would be fun and yes I would make great connections with other Batman fans, but ultimately it was a way to postpone my confrontation with the blank page. I set a few milestones for myself to reach and if I succeeded then I would turn back to working on a novel or something creative of my own, satisfied that I had accomplished everything I wanted as a reviewer. 1) I wanted to see if what I had to say would actually resonate with other Bat-fans, 2) I wanted DC to take notice and send me free books, and 3) I wanted to be approved for an official press pass to the big show, San Diego Comic Con. I achieved all of this a year ago. Obviously, it’s been extraordinarily hard to let go. With the highfalutin contacts, free stuff, and so much engaging conversation with other fans, comic reviews became tremendously fun and an even greater excuse to avoid creative writing of my own. I can’t stress enough that my stepping down is not because the comics have lost my interest– now is an amazing time to be a Batman fan no matter if your medium is books, TV, film, or games– it’s because I need to find a better balance between celebrating the things I love and achieving something of my own.

However, I can’t go cold turkey. My role will be more leisurely from here on out with one or two graphic novel reviews popping up per month. It’ll be a hobby, as it should be, instead of a crutch or a “cape” to hide behind. Articles will be released only when my schedule permits and I’m feeling totally energized to discuss the Batman. I’ll also come back to talk about the latest animated films, episodes of Beware the Batman, and I’m going to shine a light on the occasional DC Collectible. Leaving weekly reviews behind also means I’ll sometimes come around with another open letter rant just for fun or maybe I could even record audio commentary for episodes of Batman: The Animated Series or the live action movies in my free time.

Before any of this can happen, I’ll be taking a very long vacation. I’ll return in July with coverage from San Diego Comic-Con and then I’ll begin posting articles that talk in-depth about  the graphic novels. A few of the books you can look forward to seeing are:

  • JLA: Earth 2
  • Death of the Family
  • Dark Victory
  • Zero Year: Secret City
  • Batgirl: Year One/Robin: Year One
  • Gotham’s Most Wanted
  • Final Crisis
  • The Black Mirror
  • and more

Chris and I are still working out what’s to come of the weekly comic reviews and we’re open to suggestions. There’s been talk about taking applications and picking a replacement who would take on all of the Bat-books just like I did, but that could be a long selection process because I don’t want to pass it on to just anybody. I want to make sure we find someone more Dick Grayson and less Jean-Paul Valley, if you catch my drift. Another idea is to cast an entire team of reviewers and assign each person their own set of titles so that not a single Bat-book goes un-reviewed ever again. I also suggested to Chris that if we went this route, there should be a Big Brother-esque poll at the end of each month to see if readers want to oust any of the unlikable reviewers (Chris said this would be mean). Then there’s the other option of not having weekly reviews at all anymore and just letting the comics section stay quiet, but I think we’ve built-up too strong of a community around here for that to happen. This isn’t the end of comics on Batman News, it’s simply the beginning of a new chapter.