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AV Club Writer Loses Gig After Faking Review


Ceci n’est pas une book.

Ouch! A writer for the Onion A/V Club has lost his/her gig with the paper. Why?

Because of this review:

The latest in a flood of biographical collections of Golden and Silver Age comic-book artists, Genius, Isolated: The Life And Art Of Alex Toth (IDW) is easily the classiest of the group. It’s not only that the book is handsome, beautifully designed, and lengthy, with lots of rarities (including the terrific “Jon Fury” material Toth produced in the service). Nor is it that it’s much better written than most such works, by tested comics researchers Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell. It’s that Toth himself is an incredibly fascinating figure…..

Etcetera, etcetera, and so on.

Problem: Not only is Genius, Isolated not out yet, it’s not even done.

When A/V Editor Keith Phipps learned the book wasn’t out, he spoke to the writer and learned “it’s exactly what it looks like. This is someone given the assignment who could not track down the book—for now-obvious reasons—and faked it. This writer will not be writing comics reviews for us again. ”

Here’s the official apology on the A/V site.

ComicsComics Mag wrote to the designer of the book to see how he felt about the review. Dean Mullaney replied: “Surprise, at first. Then confusion. I thought perhaps I was on Earth-Two, where the book had already been published. Then mild pleasure in noting that we received the highest rating of the week!”

Update: The writer in question was Leonard Pierce, a San Antonio-based freelance writer. Here’s his own apology, posted pseudonymously on his blog:

That I had never done it [basing a review on secondhand sources] before and will never do it again is meaningless. The fact is, I did it, and by doing so, I scuttled 20+ years of tireless work as a writer and did my reputation near-irreparable harm. Worse, though, I damaged the credibility of the AV Club, the finest publication I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, in a way that they in no way deserved. I caused them no end of headaches through a rash, impulsive, and foolish decision.

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