All ComicSpectrum reviews are rated on a scale of 0 to 5 (with halves allowed, such as 4.5 / 5). We've standardized all reviewers on the guidelines described here. They can be somewhat related to letter grades, but don't think of them as specific percentage scores related to any given school system, I've heard people say "in MY school system you need 80% for a C", all well and good, we're not trying to tie these to precise mathematical numbers that can be arrived at by a formula.
Art is VERY subjective. But there is a difference between not liking art and saying it is BAD art. The trick is trying to determine if an artist tried to draw something and failed or is drawing like they do as an stylistic/artistic choice. There are also elements of panel-to-panel storytelling, the integration of color, and many other factors. And similarly for art and writing we LOVE. What was so good about it?
When we do not like a story we should be trying to go deeper than "I don't like it" to try to figure out WHY we didn't like it. There are plenty of "this is my opinion" review blogs out there and those are fine when you like the "voice" of the owner of those blogs. I am trying for something different on ComicSpectrum. Since we have a team of reviewers we want to keep a consistency to our ratings as much as possible and have a set of objective underpinnings to our reviews that will ultimately still be a subjective opinion. The difference is that if we like or don't don't like something we should try to dig beneath the surface a bit and talk about it as specifically as possible. We won't be successful every time, but it's good to have some goals...
A = Excellent B = Good C = Average D = Barely Passing F = Failed
5 - "A". Does not need to be 100% perfect in every way, but it's one of the best books the reviewer has read. Art & writing are both great.
4.5 - "A- / B+". Pretty darned good book, definitely top 10% of what the reviewer is reading. No real issues with art or writing.
4 - "B". Above average book well deserving a place on the reviewers regular pull list. Minor issues in either art OR writing (not both).
3.5 - "B- / C+". Well done comic. Not the greatest book the reviewer has read but certainly worth reading. Some issues with the art and/or writing.
3 - "C". Average comic. This was OK. May be a decision point to cause the reviewer decide to drop a series. Supporting (constructive) criticism about choices in the art and/or writing.
2.5 - "C-/D+". Below average. Problems observed in art and/or writing that should really be addressed to improve this book/series.
2 - "D". Barely Passing. There are problems that should be examined in detail in the review. Issues in both the art AND writing.
1.5 - "D-". This was NOT a good comic. Reviewer should outline what did not work as objectively as possible. Serious issues in art AND writing.
1 - "F". This failed as a comic. The reviewer should make specific efforts to outline why this book was an utter failure. There should be very few positives about this book.
0.5 - Worse than a failure. It should be very rare that a book is rated this poorly and when one is, it should be explained.
0 - ABSOLUTELY no redeeming qualities of ANY kind. We'd really want a solid explanation as to why something is rated this low.
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There are so many different kinds of comics out there and we want our reviews to help match people up with comics they will love! We try to see the value in every comic and avoid automatically dismissing things we do not like as "bad". If we don't like it, we'll tell you why we didn't like it.
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Comic Reviews - A wide variety of new comic book reviews from the ComicSpectrum staff covering many publishers and genres
Back Issue Reviews - Reviews of comics that are more than 5 years old.
Collected Edition Reviews - Reviews of collected editions, also called TPBs (or Trade Paperbacks). Often incorrectly called "Graphic Novels".
Digital Comic Reviews - Reviews of comics available only in a digital format.
Manga Reviews - Reviews of current and classic manga series, generally in tankōbon format. We do not review or link to pirated downloads.
Crowdsourcing Reviews - Reviews of comics and related projects that we have backed on Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding platform. Sometimes we will also give an update when we receive the items we backed.