Comicbook Reviews

For almost the last 15 years, I’ve been heavily involved* with the site (UXN) where the Issue summaries that have been created** have a pure neutral tone, and are detailed textual synopsis of each issue, allowing someone to understand what happened without actually purchasing the comic i.e. its not a review.

While over at UXN we have never stopped an opinion based piece to be included on the site, on the whole the site is very neutral in tone or at least tries to be. Quite a few times the question of writing reviews has come up, but I’m glad to say that we’ve always felt the site worked better as a resource site, and where opinion based articles are created, they are done so with a view to compare and contrast a particular issue.

Of course, with this being a personal site, that doesn’t mean I have to follow the guidelines set out at UXN, and I quite fancy the idea of trying my hand at reviewing. I’ll be honest, with the exception of Paul O’Brien, who I used to read his weekly review of X-Men related comics called X-AXIS many years ago (By the way he can now be found over at, I’ve not read many other reviewers consistently. I think a lot of the time, the reviews are very long and go into the kind of detail that I’m not interested in. Likewise, given that most comics aren’t done in 1 issue storylines, I’ve found a lot of similarity in the reviews of certain issues.

For example, Most issue no.1’s , are setting out the stall for future issues. They maybe trying to hook you in, but leave you wanting more. Likewise when its one of the middle issues of a 6-part storyline, it might be going through the motions of getting from point a to point b. While I admit some writers are better at masking this than others, its still a case of moving the chess pieces to set up the finale (otherwise it wouldn’t be a 6 part storyline).

So with that in mind I’ve kind have tried to come up with an approach to writing reviews which I’d like to read and hopefully anyone who actually reads this would also like. The structure I’m going to start with (and may evolve over time) is as follows

  • I’ll be reviewing Graphic Novels / Trade Paperback’s (TPB)
    This is on the basis that, if its been collected, there is at least some definitive end point to the contained stories.
  • I’ll keep the chunk of the review fairly short
    I’ve never been a fan of reading long diatribes (is that the right word? – quick google says it is!) of how the colouring impacts the flow of the storyline, but at the same time this isn’t going to be twitter length
  • I’ll give you my view as to whether its made me want to pick up more by the same writer.
    Not to be a disservice to the rest of the creative team, but If I don’t like the way it reads, no matter how pretty it looks, I’m not going to pick up any more.
  • If its a Trade paperback of an ongoing title I’ll give my view as to whether it makes me want to read the next one.
  • I’ll try to give my view as to whether I’ll want to read it again in the future
    Just for reference, its quite rare for me to re-read a comic

So thats the plan. let see how it goes 🙂





*I started the damm thing
**I’ve written less than 50 of the 6,700+ Issue summaries on the site

Drupal VBO – Watch your Permissions

A small piece of advice while working with Views Bulk Operations – Watch your permissions!

I’d created a view for a specific group of users (lets call them editors) who could update multiple pieces of content to remove the “promoted to front page” check box via a Views bulk operations action button – fairly straight forward…

First Up I created a Table view of fields, and added a Bulk operations: content field to the view. from the pop up I then selected the action I wanted (as per the image)


As I only wanted the editors to be able to see this view I set the access rights set the access rights to the view based on a given role (in this case editors). After Publishing the view, I could see the VBO Button and ran a quick test to make sure it worked as Admin. Upon logging in as a test editor to test the view properly, I found that the button wasn’t visible. I could tick the check boxes against the content but couldn’t do anything else.

After logging back in as Admin I checked the user permissions and found that there are specific permissions for VBO actions. (see screen shot below)


After ticking the appropriate check box the view now worked for editors.

Points to remember:

  • Read the documentation associated with a module
  • Make sure you test as the appropriate user you are building functionality for
  • Check the modules page to see whether it has its own config page or permissions

Just one thing

On the basis that pretty much all my life i’ve been pretty awful at keeping new year resolutions, I’ve decided to start this blog. Many of you out there may have done, will do, plan to, procrastinate over doing this exact same thing.

While I’m no stranger to writing on the web, normally its with someone acting as an editor for the small amount of work that I’ve done over the last 15 years for the website, so its with trepidation that I throw myself into this with the goal of being better at writing in general and not needing someone to fix my miztakes mistakes.. or my feeble attempts at humour.

While I’ll likely use this blog to write about a number of topics dear to me such as web development (general html/CSS, Drupal, WordPress) or  Entertainment (Comics, TV Shows, Movies, Books, Lego),  I will likely meander onto other topics as I see fit. Its a personal blog after all.

One thing that I’m currently considering as My main aim for this blog is to highlight and  talk about the 1 new thing I accomplish that day. Now when I say new, Obviously I’m not going to be attempting to break a Guinness world record everyday, and some of these are going to be very mundane or even a complete cop out. I’m a serial procrastinator and I’m very good at putting off things that need to be done today, so this is a way for me to try and force myself to keep at it. The key thing is that I’m attempting to make sure that I do 1 new thing every day to push myself forward. I’m not going to state that I’m going to write everyday, because I’ve tried that kind of thing in the past, and when you keep putting it off till five to midnight eventually you give up, so the promise is to document when I can even if its a day or 2 later.

Of course time will tell if I actually do this.