Recently I was asked if I would like to review a comic book titled Vietnam Zombie Holocaust. Of course I said sure – send the book along. The comic comes out yearly and the newest issue, issue 4, has been released to wrap up the series. I read through the issues and thought the comic to be very fun. The basic plot has the U.S. creating zombie soldiers and everything goes awry. I wrote up my review for issue 4 and got ready to move on to whatever reviews I wanted to do next.

Well I thought that was going to be the case but I actually got a letter back from Vietnam Zombie Holocaust’s writer George Lennox. It wasn’t an “Amazing review!”. It wasn’t a “You fucking suck, asshole!” Rather it was a critique of my review and the author’s expectations of what he wanted from my review. I read it and actually giggled at times. I thought it was pretty ballsy, a tiny bit awesome, though it got me a bit perturbed. I took down the comic review because, honestly, I don’t need the hassle. Now if someone writes and hates that I gave their movie/comic/album a bad review score I really don’t care. It is what it is.  Or in Futurama speak, “You gotta do what you gotta do.”  I thought I would share all of this. First I’ll post the letter and then I’ll post a response. Because what else do I have to do?

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for the review.

Just a note on the review the research of the book was done by myself and not the artist. The artist was supplied with all the appropriate information, reference pictures of exact makes and models of weapons, uniforms, military vehicles and so on. In all my scripts these details are very important to me.

Also just to point out VZH is a b-movie grindhouse comic. It’s not a 3-way that sounds to me like porn. Just felt the review never really gave the book any respect and I would edit it the beginning as some of it is muddled up.

The comments about video cassettes seems a bit like looking for a fault instead of reviewing the issue 4 story. Just to let you understand when I originally wrote that it was to highlight the USA where using new technology no one ever heard of back then like b-movie terminology. I just felt why mention when you had all that action in the book.

Sorry I’m not falling out with you or anything as I always believe in conservative criticism but the review just made me feel like I had to defend the book. The comments about not caring about the characters again I felt you need to try understand the history of the Vietnam war as back them no one knew anyone for long because they all got wiped out which was the main focus on the tropic lighting. This book I tried to focus on real war only using zombies and black comedy to get away with the violence.

There was also nothing I could quote in the review which I found disappointing. For VZH we are doing the trade paperback in October so I was hoping for a good quote.

Anyway I hope you take my criticism constructive as I feel these are things you guys need to think about while doing reviews.

Cheers,

George

Well.  I guess I’m glad he started by saying thanks for the review.  George is obviously very passionate about his book. He should be. When you put that much time, energy, research, and thought into something (no matter what it is) you have to be passionate. If you aren’t passionate then why would you be doing it in the first place?

Let me go from paragraph to paragraph:

“Just a note on the review the research of the book was done by myself and not the artist. The artist was supplied with all the appropriate information, reference pictures of exact makes and models of weapons, uniforms, military vehicles and so on. In all my scripts these details are very important to me.”

What I had written in the review was: I thought a great deal of research was done by artist James Devlin because everything really looks great on the page from what Vietnam looks like to the weapons and helicopters used. George obviously wants all of the credit here. He was the one who was very meticulous in all of the research and getting all the reference material.  So basically he is saying the artist just came aboard and drew it. Everything else was him. Okay. Awesome. You want the credit? You got it.  HEY EVERYONE, GEORGE DID ALL THE RESEARCH!  Sorry I gave the artist credit for how he drew the helicopters.

George went on to say, “Also just to point out VZH is a b-movie grindhouse comic. It’s not a 3-way that sounds to me like porn. Just felt the review never really gave the book any respect and I would edit it the beginning as some of it is muddled up.”

Here’s the sentence that I wrote near the beginning of my review: How I can I describe this book? Vietnam Zombie Holocaust is if Universal Soldier met Dawn of the Dead and had a three-way with Platoon. If that sounds good then you will definitely love this comic. George points out that it sounds to him like I’m talking about a porn. If that’s the imagery, so be it. I could have said this in a number of different ways like, “This book is like a big mix of Universal Soldier, Dawn of the Dead, and Platoon.” I could have said, “This book is like Universal Soldier and Dawn of the Dead are walking in the park, spot Platoon walking her dog, and all three hang out.” I also could have said, “This book is like Universal Soldier fucking Dawn of the Dead hard up the ass while playing with Platoon’s big tits.” He’s quick to point out that the book is a B-movie grindhouse comic which is an assessment that I can agree with.  But for how I wrote what I wrote?  This is how I write!

If you read over this site you get to know me. You get to know my writing style. You get to see how I see things and how I then articulate that. He feels that my review never really gave his book any respect and he would have edited the beginning as he felt it was muddled up. Maybe it was muddled. Maybe it was not. Maybe this is the way that I write and I write how I write. I certainly don’t have Robby Robinson looking over my shoulder correcting things for me (though the job is open Robby if you want to). But respect? As a reviewer I don’t have to respect the book. This isn’t something that I’m forced to do. I can like it (which I did like this book), I can hate it, and I can verbalize any points that I agree or disagree with. I’ll actually get back to this point in just a moment.

George next wrote, “The comments about video cassettes seems a bit like looking for a fault instead of reviewing the issue 4 story. Just to let you understand when I originally wrote that it was to highlight the USA where using new technology no one ever heard of back then like b-movie terminology. I just felt why mention when you had all that action in the book.”

Anyone ever see Gladiator? How about Braveheart? Don’t you find it funny when you are watching Gladiator and you see an airplane flying overhead? Pretty sure jet airplane weren’t in ancient Rome. How about when William Wallace and his men rush into battle and you catch someone wearing a digital watch?  Maybe he time traveled back to be a part of the fight!  Are you just supposed to ignore these things?  I don’t.  I find them hilarious.

The point here is mistakes happen and I wasn’t even saying there was a mistake. I wrote: At one point (they) talk about a videocassette – and I’m not too sure if they existed …or even that terminology. I could be wrong but I’m too lazy to research if videocassettes were being used by the military circa early 1970’s.

Really it was an off-the-cuff remark that actually came at the tail end of the paragraph that talked about how impressed I was with the look of the weapons and helicopters being used. I spent 13 years in the military and for 8 years I was a part of an aviation unit. We had all kinds of helicopters like UH-60 Blackhawks, AH-1F Cobras (I was sad when they retired them), and one of my favorites….Vietnam era UH-1H Huey’s. I don’t have to go on Wikipedia and look this crap up…this is the shit I know (and love) from my many years or service. I loved being up in a Huey with the doors open enjoying the wind as it blew through (though this is just as fun in a Blackhawk). I said how I admired the accuracy of the drawings in the book.  George felt the need to school me on what exactly he was highlighting while talking down to me because he didn’t understand why I would waste precious words on finding any fault in the comic book. I guess my job as a reviewer is read/watch/listen to something, find all the good, and get out a bunch of great quotable quotes.  I’ll also get back to this point in a second as well.

He continued, “Sorry I’m not falling out with you or anything as I always believe in conservative criticism but the review just made me feel like I had to defend the book. The comments about not caring about the characters again I felt you need to try understand the history of the Vietnam war as back them no one knew anyone for long because they all got wiped out which was the main focus on the tropic lighting. This book I tried to focus on real war only using zombies and black comedy to get away with the violence.”

I’m really unsure of why there was a need to defend the work. I mean I guess any criticism on something you worked hard on can certainly hurt. Let’s take a look at a movie like Batman v Superman. It was a movie that people waited so long for and, when it came out, it didn’t even polarize moviegoers. Most were taken aback or even hated the film. I had my problems with the movie but actually dug it. Then there’s Zack Snyder who had to sit there thinking to himself, “Damn, did people really hate this movie this much!??!?!?!” I don’t see a problem standing up for your work and I guess I don’t even see a problem in needing to explain yourself. Zack himself had that Ultimate Cut of BvS ready to go so some of those confusing plot points could be more easy to swallow. I pretty much hated Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just do a decent adaptation from the comics. But Snyder didn’t feel the need to write me a letter to say, ‘Well Ryan, if you read comics like Superman: Y2K and Mark Waid’s Birthright you would see that Jesse’s Lex is an amalgam of sorts. So I am right. So fuck you.” I mean Zack may have wanted to, but he didn’t. Well…at least I personally didn’t get an e-mail like that.

He continued on, “There was also nothing I could quote in the review which I found disappointing. For VZH we are doing the trade paperback in October so I was hoping for a good quote.”

I’ve been lucky to be reviewing on and off for close to fifteen years. From print to the web I’ve worked for a lot of great people, writing about some amazing stuff, interviewing stars, and going to movie sets.  It’s a geek’s dream come true.  I’ve done a ton of reviews where later I saw my quotes put on Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, and Valiant Comics. Hell I was way fucking honored to be asked to write the introduction to the very first X-O Manowar trade paperback. I’ve seen my quotes on DVDs, commercials, and trailers. It’s awesome.  It makes me smile whenever anyone does use one of my quotes.  I truly enjoy that someone enjoyed what I wrote.  I’m not mentioning all that shit to puff out my chest.  I’m not.  I just want to put out there that I’ve made it this far and someone must like what I write.

But you know what? I am not someone’s fucking monkeyboy. My job as a reviewer is not to sit here and crank out quotes that you deem cover worthy. This really pisses me off. It really does.

I have a deep love for Roger Ebert. The man was a brilliant reviewer and I almost always agreed with his point of view. Ebert’s review for North comes quickly to mind when he wrote, “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.” Do you think Rob Reiner then wrote to Ebert and said, “Hey I really can’t use that for a quote on the VHS. I was hoping you would have said, “YAY NORTH!” for the cover.”??? I write what I write. If I do a review and say, “Strangers in Paradise is the best comic book ever created. It is a fantastic read that every comic fan should read.” and someone wants to put that on a SIP trade then fine.  If I say, “The Notebook is a huge piece of shit that I’d rather sleep in then watch.” and they want to use that on the DVD cover then so be it. It is doubtful but they certainly could. But I’m not doing reviews so people can mine my work to put quotes on a trade paperback cover. If you like what I write then use it. If you don’t then don’t. But don’t fucking complain about my review not living up to your expectations.

Art is subjective. I say this shit all the time. I look at Picasso and think blah. I look at my brother’s work and say hell yeah. And I would go out and get Vinita Mathur’s art pregnant…it’s that damn good. But my best friend could look at Vinita’s work and say, “I hate it.” and “Picasso is the most brilliant artist of all time.” Who is right? Who is wrong? No one is. Your opinion is your opinion and when you are a critic you are still giving your opinion no matter what you think.

In conclusion he finishes with, “Anyway I hope you take my criticism constructive as I feel these are things you guys need to think about while doing reviews.”

I’m not reviewing here for the money. The site doesn’t have advertising and it isn’t because I haven’t been asked. I have. But I’m not putting up some stupid bullshit for some stupid crap that I’d never want to use or have my readership buy. If it’s good advertising I’ll probably say yes. But I don’t need to peddle someone’s wares just so I can make a buck. I don’t have a Patreon and no offense meant to anyone who does have one. I actually contribute some bucks a month to a few Patreons out there – I really enjoy supporting some of the comic companies and YouTubers that I truly enjoy. But I personally don’t want to have a Patreon for this site.

So if it isn’t money then why am I doing this? I’m doing it for the love. I’m doing it because after a couple years of never wanting to write again I actually enjoy writing. I’m thrilled with the traffic that comes to this site on a daily basis. I don’t beg people to come. You can come to this site of your own volition. You can read a quarter of an article, say “Fuck you”, and leave. You can enjoy the hell out of my reviews. My inbox is pretty full of music, movies, and comics that people want me to review. If you send me your stuff I’m probably going to review it. No matter how amateur or professional something may look/sound I can always give a creator props for putting themselves out there. I didn’t ask to review Vietnam Zombie Holocaust but I certainly said yes to reviewing it. I read the issues. I enjoyed the issues. My review ended giving the book an A-. If you don’t like the way I wrote the review I’m certainly not going to apologize for the way I write on articles that I post on my site. I’m not going to apologize for giving my opinion. And I’m certainly not going to sit around trying to come up with quotes for whatever I am reviewing. If you like what I wrote and want to use it – do so. If not, fuck it. But don’t come back to me and complain that I didn’t write something quotable for you. Seriously…fuck you.

AND DO YOU KNOW HOW I’M GOING TO END THIS DIATRIBE? I’m going to say that even after all this I actually enjoyed the comic a lot and can recommend it to anyone who wants to see zombie soldiers in Vietnam causing some major havoc. Hell you can go here and buy it: http://cultempirecomics.tictail.com – go pick it up.

But if you think I owe you anything because I reviewed your book think again. I’m doing this because I love to write about movies. Love comics. Love great music. If you enjoy reading the stuff that spews from my mind then I’m seriously glad to have you here on my site.  Again – I really appreciate it. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you so very much. But just like those people who complained about Howard Stern, if you don’t like it all you need to do is turn off the radio. There’s literally 3 billion review sites out there and I’m certainly not special. If you don’t like me there’s a billion other reviewers out there you might like.  If you need a recommendation I can certainly point out many others who are truly more talented.
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/2Guys1Review
Follow us on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/2Guys1Review
Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/2Guys1Review
Follow us on Vidme: http://www.vidme.com/2Guys1Review
Click here to follow us on YouTube.