Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Post #150 - I've Been A BAD fanboy.
Welcome to post #150, wherein I think about the critical fanboy. Yup, it is time to bring them into discussion, because I've been one and a horrible one. I've bitched and griped, pissed and moaned, and all the rest of it. Thing is, a lot of that was before I had any idea of what went into a comic.
I was a horrible little mother fucker in my teens. I used to haunt the DC Universe message boards and call down John Ostrander's Martian Manhunter and Spectre comics. First, I didn't understand Mandrake's artwork. It looked sketchy, and I wanted the Image style of clean line, hulking men with pouches and guns everywhere. Secondly, I didn't understand Ostrander's writing. I didn't understand that punch-ups weren't the only way to tell a story, that you could tell a story with mystery, intrigue, horror, or a political bent. I just found the stories slow, and didn't even give them a chance. What a fucking little wanker I was! I remember laughing when Ostrander replied to one of my remarks and was obviously hurt. Yup, the comics community has a great bond with the creators, but at times that can really suck for the creators.
Dan Slott most recently called out one of his detractors that had stated he was not a fan. Slott basically told him to fuck off, "Eff off" being a paraphrase. This got a lot of attention from people, and served to remind the rabid fanbase that the creators on these comics are people, and geeks, and that they follow the message boards and take a look at what people are saying about their work.
We fanboys are horrid little twits, caring too much about whether Johnny's death is merited, or whether Spider-Man's new costume looks good. Warranted, the publishers want you to talk about what is happening with their characters. The old adage goes "If you're a PR person, any press is good press", at least people are talking.
The internet is a strange place for this. You don't know who I am, but I am typing away without a face hoping that you will enjoy whatever shallow insights that I may have on comics, but whenever I open my mouth, I am also inviting someone to slam me, and if they feel the need to, they will -- because they have never met me and would never feel awkward if we were to meet on the street. I would have no idea if bigwingedangel_66 is the gentleman having coffee next to me, the sprite of a girl passing me on the street, or Satan him/herself. I've received one review on our comic and it was a five star one for the first issue, and I've received one long intimate letter from a comics pro of thirty years with a ream of constructive criticism about how I can market myself and my ideas better, and I've enjoyed those.
I am afraid of the geeks though. When I go into my local comic shop, the Beguiling, I always want to talk to the people behind the desk about my project, let them know what I am doing, market myself in a way that is face-to-face, but I am afraid that they won't like what I'm doing and when I walk into the shop everyday they will laugh in my face. I'm not a shy person, I talk to people for a living, I am comfortable approaching strangers in the street and in clubs, whomever, whenever, but I am scared of the geeks. What if I'm approached with a "Your dialogue fucking sucks"? I will probably wilt on remark, because I am invested and am a million times more critical than any other person can be, and that remark would just affirm my worst fears.
Once again though, I am not impervious to letting my big fat mouth run off, I called down Dan Didio's Outsiders yesterday, as well as JSA All-Stars, so karma is a bitch isn't it? This week I have bitched about some comic thing or other, but I am getting better I believe. I am starting to spin a more positive way to tell people that "That might need a little work", or "You might want to tighten up that a little", because that is what I would like to hear. Indie comic creators don't have much of a buffer when it comes to this stuff. I am my editor, I am my web designer, I am my letterer, I am the one that will take the heat if there is any.
So please think before you leap into a comment that is scathing, hurtful and rude. I'm not going to say don't do it, because I'm not your mom, but there is someone watching. The comics industry is cool, because we've always been able to talk to the talent. Try not to muck it up too much, no matter how much you hate the linework, the dialogue or whatever. You might think "Grow a fucking set Martin", but this work is my heart work, my soul work, something I truly enjoy and want to foster. Just so you know, I can take horrid things being said to me, but I'd rather not.
Articles you can look at:
Robot Six about Dan Slott
and more Bleeding Cool #2