Friday, September 10, 2010

My sphere of influence is the size of a ping-pong ball

Sometimes you write something and send it out into the world and never know if anyone ever reads it (exhibit A: this blog). And then there are times when through luck, happenstance, or accident you find out that yeah, there are actually people who have read things you've written. For example, yesterday was Thursday, the day that the newest issue of The Coast, Halifax's weekly alternative newspaper, comes out. I occasionally write articles for the paper, but more often what I write is 100 word reviews of comics or movies I've read/watched recently. If not for my little one paragraph reviews, how would the people of Halifax now which horror film to watch next, or which post-apocalyptic comic book is worth their time?

I like writing the reviews for several reasons. It's in my nature to view things critically, to break things down to what works and what doesn't. I even like the 100-word cap, as it forces me to use only the words that are needed. Writing the reviews also helps ease my guilt about spending time and money to watch something like the live action movie version of Blood: the Last Vampire, the cinematic equivalent of cotton candy. I'm not just doing it because I want to see some awesome vampire vs. monster fights, but for work, damnit! Oh, how I suffer for my craft.

I sometimes worry that what I review holds no interest for anyone who might possibly read The Coast. Did my favorable review of Taiyo Matsumoto's Gogo Monster manage to win him any more fans? Will people who usually shy away from manga pick up Saturn Apartments or Solanin because of what I wrote? There's no way of knowing.

Or at least, usually I wouldn't, but yesterday I got lucky. In the most recent issue of The Coast I wrote a review of a manga called Black Blizzard (I wrote a longer review for Kuri-ousity here). While doing some errands downtown I stopped in at Strange Adventures, one of the best comic book shops on planet Earth. I like to think of it as 'Cheers' for nerds: it's where everybody knows your name. As I was talking to one of the staff there he mentioned that earlier in the day a guy came in looking for 'the manga that had been reviewed in The Coast.' The guy even turned to the page the review was on to point it out.

It's a very minor thing, but it's still neat to think that someone read my review of a book and was intrigued enough to go to a comic book store and seek it out (especially something as obscure as a Japanese comic from the 1950s). It's just nice to know, and gives me hope that maybe what I review isn't as off-the-wall or irrelevant as I sometimes think it is. So thanks a lot mystery manga dude. You don't know it but you made my day.

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