Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire – Megan Kearney

2 out of 5

Yes, you can read the ‘about’ blurb of Hit Reblog a couple of different ways, and admittedly, the way I read it has impacted my rating.

Here are the choice blurbs: “Hit Reblog showcases the viral sensations of the webcomics world and the true stories behind their creators,” and “Learn about the origins behind the hit comic strips…”  If there are three statements made there, the one-word summary as to whether or not those statements are followed through on would be: Yes; not really; sorta.  I guess I was figuring on the “showcase” being a subset of learning about the strips, especially since the intro – a meta conversation between framework artist / writer Megan Kearney and editor Hope Williamson – proposes that the book will dig into what makes a meme a meme.  That… didn’t happen outside of that intro.  Instead, we get one or two page intros to each strip with Kearney arting up a proxy of the following strip’s creator, and (generally) musing over their sudden, and often uncredited, fame.  And as Kearney herself pokes fun late in the book: there are only so many ways you can write up that same scene.

If I was just evaluating Kearney, the rating would be significantly better.  She has fantastic comic timing, works motherhood jokes into the text without it overtaking the purpose, and does actually find a way to rewrite the same scene over and again, while also giving us a sense of the featured creator.  But, alas, I’m not evaluating just her, I’m evaluating the value of this as a book, which is really just “all your favorite web comics in one place,” and by “all your favorites” I mean more like a couple that you probably like, several you might not have been aware were memes, and several that you recognize as memes but seem relegated to an ancient style of humor that’s not actually all that amusing.  Regardless: if you were focused on the showcase aspect of those first mentioned statements: score,

Otherwise, there’s maybe like 5% context on the genesis of these things, and because the overall goal is to entertain, there’s no real sense of the negative impact the sudden exposure had on some of the creatives.  Lastly, Hope Williamson puts a stamp of ownership on the book by having the opening strip detail her hiring of Kearney for the task.  In other words, although Kearney is listed as the main contributor, if you read Hit Reblog without seeing that credit, you’d likely consider it Hope’s book just on the way it’s presented.  That being said… the grammatical editing is pretty stupid bad.  There are a lot of typos.  So putting your editor front and central, not to mention hyping this as a Comixology original – meaning it’s a featured product on a prominent platform – and then littering typos everywhere: not a good look.