This is it, this is what the internet is for.

Travel guidebooks have always seemed vaguely gross to me. They carry the promise of knowing more than you do about whatever it is you want to look up – a restaurant in Ravenna, a hotel in Tel Aviv – but they present a neutral face to their content. They presume things about your favored trade-offs, and they deliver their knowledge with a flat tone. This allows one to maintain a technocratic approach to one’s vacation–but is that what you want?

I want a trip to be a brief love affair with a place. I want to put some lens on it that allows that. I want to find out where to eat from someone who loves the place intensely, even if what they recommend is mediocre street food and a bench to eat it on watching people go by. What would someone who really cared recommend?

This is the kind of thing the internet is great at, because Fodor’s or Rick Steves or whoever can’t chase down a partisan of downtown Cork to tell you that a Nutella waffle will taste wonderful in the drizzle, and an aficionado of Edinburgh to explain which historical sites are worth the visit, and a local from Lima to sing the praises of lonche options, etc. etc. Finding people who care doesn’t scale.

But people who care – on the internet, they can put their own opinions out.

It’s thus that we come to “Draco’s Super Swag Website Thingy” and its review section – under construction – of Haunted Mansion media. I didn’t even know they’d made comics out of it – but reading the criticism of “trapped in the mansion” plotlines relative to the core conceit that the ghosts are there to party – like, would I have been able to identify that this weakens the whole idea of the Haunted Mansion? Absolutely not, because I have never thought that much about it, but I love that I can read opinions from someone who does.

Don’t get me wrong – we’d be impoverished if there weren’t people throwing tomatoes at the Marvel franchise from outside the commitments of decades of comics lore. It’s not the only way to review.

But especially for things I wouldn’t have realized people care about this much – this lovingly made little page demonstrates the cool potential of niche self-published stuff on the internet, just like fanzines on photocopiers did decades before. I get to put on Draco glasses and see the Haunted Mansion stuff totally differently – a vacation in the world of someone who can speak to unwarranted tropes about Madame Leota.

Five haunted hats out of five, Draco; I’ll be coming back to see how Muppets Haunted Mansion fares.