Comics / Spotlight / Knowledge and Scholarship

Who's Who - Roger Burks

By Hervé St-Louis
July 29, 2012 - 21:17

Before starting the profile on Doctor Roger Burks, I’d like to apologize for my screw up. I tried to list every ComicBookBin contributor in a chronological manner and I already screwed up. Roger Burks started writing for ComicBookBin in September 2003 which means, I’ve skipped him over already. There has been so much talent @ComicBookBin that it’s a little bit difficult for me to sift through 18,000 articles and find out when people started writing for site first. For the first generation of writers, it was easy, I always had a clear understanding of how it started, but although Roger started early enough, I still screwed up.

Roger Burks is an entomologist. I’m not sure if he’s the same one I’ve spotted on LinkedIn, but I doubt there are two Roger Burks who are entomologists and are Americans. That could still happen but who knows. Roger wrote a particular column for ComicBookBin which he had been posting on the DC Comics’ message boards prior where he compiled fans’ comments on new comics on a weekly basis and stated used this to determine interest in the comics. He would count positive and negative comments and create a ranking based on the anecdotal comments. Once could say that he continued to do the same meticulous work he was used to doing in his university research work, but for the benefit of the comics’ sphere.

Roger who was still a PhD student at the time was systematic and consistent. For weeks he would count and accumulate data and offer his opinion on new comics through the crowdsourced voice of comic book readers like you. In a sense, Roger was also a precursor to the way social networks enabled customers to comment upon products and allow companies and publishers to understand how the public perceived their products. I thought Roger’s column was pure genius, although some might have found it a bit dry and to methodical. Roger, I believe, never missed a single week from September 2003 to February 2005.

Roger decided to leave to focus more on his research work, telling me it was becoming time consuming. Although from time to time I did see his ranking pop out on DC Comics’ message board. Habits die hard. Still,  Roger’s work was unique and thorough. Nowadays, larger publishers probably have staffers whose job is to assemble all reviews on their companies’ products. Politicians have people scanning for news daily. Still, if the major comic book publishers don’t have guys like Roger on staff, they should. Product information from clients and reviewer are valuable marketing research intelligence.

I believe Roger has since he was a writer @ComicBookBin has completed his doctoral studies in entomology. He never told me what comic book character was his favourite or an inspiration for him. For some odd reason, I would like to think that Hank Pym, better known as Ant-man is one of his favourites.

Who's Who @ComicBookBin is a feature celebrating the 10th anniversary of ComicBookBin where publisher Hervé St-Louis features writers past and present that have contributed to ComicBookBin over the years.

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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