the lack of more in-depth reviews & real journalism covering comic books.
Bendis fails to see the irony present in his statements, and that is that he probably wants HIS comics to be reviewed and dissected like the work of Alan Moore. Which they clearly aren't. And it pains me to say that, because the last thing I want to do is compliment the work of Alan Moore, in light of all his recent moaning.
It's laughable to see Bendis and, on occasion, Quesada, plead for more journalism because they'll shut down and cut off any site that writes something that doesn't conform to their agenda. Just ask . . . anybody with a site.
The man is exactly the fragile ego/high profile creator that sites have to treat with kid gloves in order to maintain access to. Hell, if readers can leave scathing comments right under an interview with him on your site, he's that much less likely to consent to speak with you if he has a choice.
That's a huge part of the problem.
"Comics journalism", as is commercially viable, hinges on access to creators. When some of those bigger names (companies or individuals) are divas who will punish a whole site for how they allow readers to participate or maybe the opinion of a single contributor, exactly where do you expect "hard journalism" to appear? The sites that have the resources and contacts to throw at such an undertaking would be blacklisted before you blink an eye.
Hard hitting journalism would have examined some of the accusations about the workplace environment that Valerie D'Orazio's memoirs detail...or even some of the stuff the DC Comics Insider said. Sure, the insider made some claims you wouldn't want to reprint without corroboration (and some that you wouldn't run even then). But 99% of sites that cover comic books pretended it didn't exist, going so far as to delete message board threads that linked to the claims.
Hard hitting journalism would have gotten even the biggest sites shut off from DC Comics access. Quite honestly, it would probably have resulted in even Marvel shrinking away from the site, rather than feed the popularity of a site that is sure to focus the same attention on them when the time comes.
If even one blogger did that kind of "hard hitting journalism", it'd probably be the one and only major story they ever had. Most pros that work with the Big Two wouldn't be prone to interview with them for fear of it hurting their ability to get work. This isn't a big enough industry that you can count on another story within six months that could be culled from "confidential sources". This industry has secrets, but not enough really gripping ones to generate regular material from. Well, not that I'm aware of...and if I was aware of 'em, I guess they wouldn't be secrets.
As far as more in-depth reviews? Let's be honest: Bendis (nor most other creators) wants more detailed reviews that pick apart their work, just longer verbal fellatio (ala the Alan Moore treatment). Never mind that, as long as serialization is the norm, in-depth reviewing is going to be rare. Twenty-two pages can only be poured over so much and going back to review a six issue arc will lose out to reviewing new material nine times out of ten.
But, you know, let's blame the quality of people covering the material. Clearly, there aren't enough people with the quality of writing about the industry exactly the way Bendis wants and never the way he doesn't. Wouldn't we all be better off if that wasn't the case?
I wish there was more hard journalism in comic book coverage. But I can say that, because I'm not someone who would turn around and refuse to talk to a site because the company I work for doesn't like them anymore or because I don't like something they published. And if I was that sort of person, I wouldn't call for that coverage, pretending that I've never given shit to anyone over what has been written on their site (even by a reader in their comments section).
Why? Because, on this subject, at least, I'm not a dishonest hypocrite.