How to Review a Book Without Reading It

The Onion's A.V. Club has forthrightly apologized after discovering that one of their writers wrote a review of a book without reading it. Because it hadn't been published yet. How'd the writer manage to fool his editors? Watch and learn.

The A.V. Club has pulled the review of the as-yet-unpublished Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth from its website; but it lives on at Comics Comics, which originally pointed out the fabrication by the (unnamed) writer. It's as good a demonstration as you'll get of how to fake your way through a review.

1. Praise Generically and Effusively.

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.

2. Pad with Easily Discoverable Background.

It's that Toth himself is an incredibly fascinating figure. Even if he were only known for his comics work, he'd be considered one of the greats. Genius, Isolated presents enough material showing his brilliance at action drawing and character design to firmly make the case that he deserves the deluxe biographical treatment. But Toth was also a fascinating person, an outspoken critic and defender of the comics medium, a pioneering animator, and a great cartoonist.

3. Positive Reviews Are Much Less Likely to Be Challenged by Their Subjects.

He's one of the great characters of the medium, as well as one of its best practitioners, and a worthy subject for this essential biography… A

That's all there is to it! There's nothing here you couldn't have learned by reading the work of the brilliant, brilliant Ludwig Wittgenstein, a very smart writer from Austria.

[Photo via]