An Open Apology

Hi. If you are seeing this post, either on my website, or in your tumblr dashboard, you follow Sequential State, a website dedicated to thoughtful reviews of independently published comics, small press books, zines, and manga, as well as interviews of cartoonists and feature articles on various happenings in comics.

Earlier today, I was confronted by Zainab Akhtar, another independent comics reviewer, about lines in my reviews that are strikingly similar to lines in her own. Not necessarily cut whole cloth, or directly copied, but close.

At first, I was confused. I endeavor to write well reasoned reviews and strive to put myself into my writing as much as possible. I am firmly against plagiarism in any form. However, I’ve taken the time to go back and read the reviews Zainab and I have done on the same book, and in some reviews I have noticed the similarities Zainab is referring to.

My thoughts have always been influenced by writing, especially good writing. I have long admired Zainab’s thoughtfulness, her sense of taste, and ability to find and cover good comics that otherwise wouldn’t get a lot of press. If it were not for her blog Comics & Cola inspiring me to write about comics again, I would likely never have started this project.

While it was not my intention, I have in some cases let my writing become unduly and inappropriately influenced by Zainab’s work. This is both disheartening and embarrassing, and is directly antagonistic to my intent of delivering to my readers original, thoughtful comics criticism.

I am deeply sorry to both Zainab and to you, my readers, for what I have done.

My promise to you all is that I will work even harder to deliver strong, thoughtful criticism; that I will be more conscientious in my writing; that I will continue to try to confront my privilege; and that I will try as much as possible to be carefully aware of this personal tendency in the future as I move forward as a critic.

Thank you.
Alex

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