Friday, 26 August 2011

Fanboy That Broke The Camel's Back

Yesterday Bleeding Cool posted a story about penciller Brett Booth's reaction to a reader critiquing the finer points of Green Arrows archery form on a cover for the new DC Relaunch.  Long story short, Mr. Booth was not amused.  The full story can be found at
I do think that Brett Booth could have responded a little more tactfully, but my guess is this comment was the one that broke the proverbial camels back.  People think they can say whatever they want on the internet and they are discussing things, not work done by people.  Comics fans are particularly vicious with their commentary.

The internet has opened up lines of communication between comics creators and fans that most people take for granted.  Not very long ago creators could only be accessed through letters page and at comic conventions, and that was it.  Now we can interact with them on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and message services like Formspring.  I worry that if comic readers keep taking the creators interactions for granted, creators will cease to make the effort.

One of the best
comic series of all time.
I remember while in high school I somehow obtained John Ostrander's e-mail address.  At the time he was working on his Martian Manhunter book, which I intend to do at least one or more blog posts about because it is some of the best work I've ever read; John is to the Manhunter as Walt Simonson is to Thor.  Anyway, we had a back and forth conversation over a few e-mails that was one of the highlights of my comics reading career.  Not because I criticized or gushed, but because we had a pleasant conversation.  I wish I still had his e-mails but unfortunately that account was lost and I lost all the messages within.  A true gentleman is John Ostrander.

The Big 2 & 1/2
I often read people bashing Tom Brevoort for being curt on his Formspring account, but based on the way so many fanboys come out swinging with negative comments I can't really say I blame him.  I've interacted with Tom on several occassions through his old blog while he was doing a comic trading project (the goal was to take 5 random comics and trade up until he got a Fantastic Four #1, then auction off all the books he had to benefit the Hero Initiative).  I found him very pleasant and friendly to deal with.  One trade, where I was going to get several issues of the Champions, fell through because the books never made it to Tom.  He offered me something else instead, which I took reluctantly and told him I was really looking forward to reading the Champions books because I had always wanted to check them out.  Tom then offered to include a copy volume 1 of the Champions trade paperback that he had on his shelf, though he certainly did not have to do so.  In another trade, where I got the full run of Secret Invasion, I made a comment about getting Bendis to sign them before he sent them if he was kicking around (I was joking but thought it couldn't hurt).  When the books showed up, Bendis hadn't signed them, but since he was the editor on the series, Tom signed them himself.  Does it bump up the value?  Not really.  Was it cool that he did so?  Absolutely.

Comics creators are people, and I think it's important that the fans remember that when interacting with them, especially online.  I don't need someone coming to my office to nitpick every little thing I do, and I think that anyone reading this wouldn't appreciate that either, so why do we have the right to do so to those crafting the stories we enjoy?  The fact is we don't.  We can criticize, yes, but I feel that criticism should be constructive and delivered without malice.

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