Funnybook Babylon

December 4, 2007

We ain’t all Oscar Wao

Filed under: Articles,Blurbs — Pedro Tejeda @ 10:42 am

Two, much to my annoyance, reading superhero comics still carries the stench of loser. The ghost of Comic Book Guy haunts many…

But that guy with the stack of DC and Marvel comics? Well, he’s an unattractive social outcast in his thirties with dodgy views on women and minorities who sweats profusely and writes long-winded essays on how Marvel and DC have raped his childhood. But that’s only when he’s not busy harassing women online. – Cheryl Lynn

I read this post last night and there are a several things I don’t agree with in it. (Orange Box is an anomaly, Cheryl. It’s 5 games in one box. That’s some insane shit.) The thing that stood out to me was the continued stereotyping of super hero comic readers as the great unwashed virgins who habitat the lower basement of their parent’s home.

Seriously? It always seems to be based on some sort of anecdotal experience with that mythical comic guy I have never seen but always heard rumors of. I seen it used by a slightly embarrassed comic reader to non-readers to defend themselves, “Oh I’m not like those dudes. Those dudes are weird. I’m just like you. I got a girlfriend.”

Maybe it’s my point of view and experience that colors this, but this stereotype of the comic reader seems to be the exception instead of the rule. I’ll have to say almost everyone I have met through and shared this hobby with seems to be a “functional, reasonably laid, stop living with his parents, and got a job” motherfucker or at least 3 out of 4, which is pretty good considering the Bush economy. It seems to be on par with my friends who are into sports or music fanatically. Even the ones who do fill some or all the stereotype (David Brothers, I’m looking at you) are still valid interesting people with other things going on in there life. But all I’m doing is really using my personal anecdotal evidence to support my theory. Does it make it any less or more valid than anyone else prepared to group comic fans in a negative or positive way? It makes it just as valid, which is the problem.

We are all trying to take a group of reasonably diverse people and turn them into one group. No one can reasonably prove that comic fans are like this or like that. The characterization of the fans as one group of people who act the same, fuck the same, and mooch off their parents the same is what hurts the comics industry. This constant drive to sell to this one group drowns out multiple voices. We need a market that tries to serve just more than one type of customer and stereotypes help stifle that market.

Jamaal said the thing that saddens him the most about the Marvel Initiative is that it makes the comic world smaller. A writer can’t go off in their own direction and tell whatever stories they want to because Tony Starks needs to show up and force the story to meet the general Marvel narrative.

I feel that we all do this generalization to an extent on some level and by doing so, we just make the audience smaller than it really is.

30 Comments »

  1. Wow, she’s kind of a bitch. “Guys, I have anecdotal evidence that my non-comic fan friends are representative of comic fans.”

    Those dudes DO exist, though. Go to any comic convention and you’ll see plenty of them. Well, except for the harassing women onlnie bit. I hope.

    Comment by Endless Mike — December 4, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

  2. It’s a stereotype that’s not true but is reinforced in the media. Comic Book Guy. The 40 Year Old Virgin. Sadly, the one weird guy at the con is repping for all of us. That needs to be changed.

    How am I a bitch for pointing out a stereotype that needs to be battled? Especially when there are men saying the same thing?

    Comment by Cheryl Lynn — December 4, 2007 @ 1:37 pm

  3. I not sure if I quoted enough of her text to show it but Cheryl thinks it’s a stupid stereotype also, it’s why I used it as a springboard for my post. Dealing with it really throws me off in conversation.

    ” You like comics ? I thought you read alot of stuff. ”
    ” You go to cons ? Don’t you have a wife.”
    ” Life Sized Shield of who on your wall ? You don’t seem like a loser.”

    I’m not some Dios de Amor or anything but it feels really weird to think that you can be too hip or too good looking for comics, since almost everyday I run into people who are the anti-comic guy. I imagine there are stereotypes when people think of the fans of American Idol or Studio 60 or CSI, but no one ever does it with the entire medium of TV or at least the 4.5 major networks.

    I really think comic fans, “loser” or not, are the ones who help push that image of the comic book guy passively or actively. We seem to actively push this image of the unwashed comic fan as the one who holds the industry back, giving him our most hated traits.

    It’s this guy who buys Countdown and obsessively collects variant covers. It’s this motherfucker who we loathe. We aren’t him.

    We need to stop doing this shit because the truth is this guy is the minority and every time we bring this dying species up we help support the stereotype.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 4, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

  4. Wow, she’s kind of a bitch. […] Well, except for the harassing women onlnie bit. I hope.

    Is this like performance comedy or what?

    Even the ones who do fill some or all the stereotype (David Brothers, I’m looking at you) are still valid interesting people with other things going on in there life.

    Ya moms finds me very interesting!

    Comment by david brothers — December 4, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  5. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation.
    This is even more reason to punch you in the face when I see you next.

    Also herm, I kid cause I hate. I’m just saying this economy is a gamekiller. My mom said it was a pity date anyways.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 4, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  6. I’m not some Dios de Amor or anything but it feels really weird to think that you can be too hip or too good looking for comics, since almost everyday I run into people who are the anti-comic guy.

    And to take it a step further, because the ‘unhip’ are into superheroes, those books become disposable fluff not worth buying. But since these guys all want to see Tony Stark catch a beat down, they download. And then spend their money on ‘real art’ independent trades that are worthy of their cash and are socially acceptable.

    Closeted geeks, man. All because of a handful of weird maladjusted dudes and a few stereotypes.

    I have to wonder how much of my own behavior is affected by that stereotype. Love & Rockets, Strangers in Paradise, DMZ and Stagger Lee are prominently displayed on my bookshelf next to ‘real’ books, but I’ve got my old X-Men and WS books tucked away in buckets from IKEA on the bottom of the floor. I’ll happily spend money on independent books, but I complain if I have to buy stuff from Marvel and DC. I’m guilty of it too, and it’s not right. But not everyone is like that. Marvel and DC wouldn’t top the market every month if that were true. I’m just talking about my own little slice of nerdrom.

    Most of the people I know who are into comics? Normal looking guys and gals with happy lives and significant others. Even the ones who like superheroes.

    This is even more reason to punch you in the face when I see you next.

    No violence! However, Mike should be made to listen to U.N.I.T.Y at least three times before posting. :)

    Comment by Cheryl Lynn — December 4, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

  7. You probably won’t see me again. And if you do, I’ll maybe pretend it hurt! In any case, if it was a dude who said it, I’d call him a dick. Or maybe even a bitch if it was presented differently. I’m an equal opportunity “harasser.” Calling a spade a spade isn’t quite the same as specifically targeting a group.

    Frankly, I think the entire premise is incorrect. Barring a couple examples, I don’t think comic readers are really portrayed negatively. For the most part, they’re not portrayed at all. Not any more so than stereotypical nerd, stereotypical music geek, or stereotypical car guy, or anything else, really. Just like any stereotype, they pick the most extreme examples and run with them, despite them being inaccurate or representing a minority of that population. Just like anything else, the people who genuinely believe a stereotype are either ignorant or bigoted. At least one of those can be fixed, and fairly easily. The other, not so much, but it’s possible, or you just don’t associate with them. Like you said, very few live in their mom’s basements and don’t work. I sure as hell don’t fit either of those any more than anyone who’s replied here.

    Comment by Endless Mike — December 4, 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  8. Also, if you want to use the Simpsons for reference:

    *All Christians are fundamentalists whose kids are brainwashed.
    *All people who hang out in bars are fat alcoholics.
    *All cops are idiots.
    *All teachers are idiots.
    *All kids with glasses are socially awkward.
    *All old people are senile.

    Want me to go on?

    Comment by Endless Mike — December 4, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

  9. Not really fond of calling a woman a “bitch” myself. Words have power to them, ignorance can add to the power. When people begin a comment with “Wow, she’s kind of a bitch,” that kind of presents a stereotype about that person as well. Now granted, that person might not be a knuckle-dragging misogenistic asshat, but that’s an assumption one might make about that person.

    Stereotypes are stupid, but there is some truth to SOME of them. Living in the backyard of Pat Robertson, I can clearly see that there ARE a lot of fundamental Christians with brainwashed children. Not all Christians are like that (I’m a Christian myself, and a pretty tolerant one at that), but a lot of them are. There are fat alcoholics that hang out in bars just like their are skinny alcoholics. People that failed a few aptitude portions of entrance exams are police officers. Some teachers are only there for the paycheck. Some kids with glasses are socially awkward. A lot of older Americans have lost their faculties (I sadly take care of one, my grandfather, who has both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease).

    And the comic book nerd stereotype isn’t just a stereotype. The guy who runs a comic shop I used to frequent was the spitting image of Jeff Albertson aka Comic Book Guy. Everytime I went there, he was wearing a Superman t-shirt with red suspenders, had this standoffish attitude towards newcomers and the few minorities that did come inside, and spouted nonsense left and right.

    The comic book nerd stereotype is not only real, but it also seems to be the one the general media feels ALL comic fans are. Comic creators even celebrate/mock the stereotype from time to time. There are real-life Elttingville Club-like groups. While comic-loving folks don’t want to acknowledge that “those” fans actually exist, they do. Look at San Diego every summer. They’re perceived as the majority of us.

    It kind of seem like the “modern” fan is taking a . . . well, “new Klan” approach to comic fandom. Let me explain. Sometime in the mid-80s, the KKK tried to remarket themselves as someone no longer wearing the sheets and more personable. Yeah, they’re still racist souls of beasts, but most of them are straying away from and no longer looking like the stereotypical Klansman.

    That’s the vibe I’m getting from Pedro’s piece. The “new comic fan,” a hipper, culturally-relevant, diversely-minded individual who skims through mainstream comics, indy titles, and, on occasion, manga, while shunning the so-called “Marvel zombie” and “DC fanboy” that is still the majority of comic fans represented online, even going as far as to feel they no longer exist. The “new comic fan” also tends to keep his or her love for comics closeted from their non-comic reading friends, as if they’re ashamed by them.

    I’m not going to lie. I’m a cross between the old stereotype of the comic fanboy and the new comic fan. I’m not going to pretend that the old stereotype doesn’t exist anymore because it clearly does.

    Now, if only we can get rid of that stereotype that minorities don’t read comics . . .

    Comment by Jeff Harris — December 5, 2007 @ 12:14 am

  10. I’m an equal opportunity “harasser.” Calling a spade a spade isn’t quite the same as specifically targeting a group.

    You never explained why you think I’m a bitch though.

    Comment by Cheryl Lynn — December 5, 2007 @ 12:43 am

  11. Nobody here is a bitch!

    Also I’m pretty sure no one here is a New Klansman either. I can’t speak for everyone on the site, but I don’t hide the fact that I like comics, and I don’t get the impression anyone else does either. I don’t hide the fact that I like any types of comics — I will just as unabashedly sit on the subway (or my former Park Slope stoop) reading a copy of Catwoman, Ultimate Muscle or Kramer’s Ergot. Obviously a lot of terrible jerks read comic books, own comic book shops, etc. A lot of terrible jerks like some of my favorite television, film and music too, but that doesn’t mean I shove my wrestling DVDs and Radiohead CDs underneath the bed when company comes ’round because a lot of the fans of those things can be insufferable.

    I don’t want to speak for Pedro, but I think the point here is less “Comic Book Guy doesn’t exist”, but that “those people aren’t the only people who read superhero comic books, and why do all the non-terrible people who like comic books allow them to be the dominant perception of the industry”?

    Comment by Chris Eckert — December 5, 2007 @ 2:18 am

  12. You never explained why you think I’m a bitch though.

    I admittedly based it on the excerpt posted prior to reading your full post that it was culled from.

    Back to the subject at hand: the dominant image in media of a comic fan is what it is because a realistic view wouldn’t be interesting, or would be easily ignored (as it has been here). Examples: Micah (and Hiro to a lesser extent, but dude gets the girls) from Heroes, what’s his name in Superbad (he’s awkward but not because he’s a comic reader), and so on. You see them reading some comics, maybe talking about them a bit (Hiro is inspired by them and wants to be a hero) and that’s it. That’s not really very interesting, and it could have just as easily been a copy of The Old Man and the Sea. The Comic Book Guy type of character is far more interesting even if it’s just a one-note gag. Which again, every example that’s been stated has been from a comedy where it’s used as a source of laughs.

    Comment by Endless Mike — December 5, 2007 @ 8:32 am

  13. As Chris spoke for me, I just want to say there’s nothing wrong with reading superhero books guys. You don’t have to hide them underneath your porn mags, when company comes over.

    People need to come out of the superhero comics closet and let that freak flag fly. The comic guy probably exists in some fashion, someplace, I’m not some hipper cultural relevant guy to say Comic Book Guy is dead and long live Milo, but he doesn’t really seem to be the norm. If we want to change that perception of ourselves we really need to suck it up and admit it and stop allowing CBG to be our face. We should be proud of it and finally take ownership, so we can have all our individual voices spoken for in the material.

    Once the industry figures out we aren’t all CBG, they’ll stop writing comics for just him and instead for all of us.

    At the end of the day, the only thing that you can stereotype most comic fans, is that they are looking for a story that resonates with them.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 5, 2007 @ 8:40 am

  14. “those people aren’t the only people who read superhero comic books, and why do all the non-terrible people who like comic books allow them to be the dominant perception of the industry”?

    Actually, I think that the perception of superhero comics fans is partially created and perpetuated by comic book fans and not externally imposed on us. When fans who don’t like superhero comics discuss them, they characterize the audience as CBG. When female fans complain about the misogyny of companies, creators or the fanbase, they rely on the stereotype. We all do it, and hurt ourselves in the process.

    “And the comic nerd stereotype isn’t just a stereotype.”

    There is some truth to the stereotype, but that’s the nature of stereotypes. People use them to make unwarranted generalizations about large groups of people. It’s a shortcut. It’s easier to say a person’s a “Marvel Zombie” or a “DC fanatic” than to concede that other intelligent and well adjusted people have different tastes than you do. I’m sure that the guy at your store was like that. But that doesn’t mean that every guy (or most guys) at every similar store are precisely the same way.

    “Once the industry figures out we aren’t all CBG, they’ll stop writing comics for just him and instead for all of us.”

    I think that we don’t know what mainstream comics we want written for us. Although we may not all be CBG in terms of our social lives, a lot of people are only interested in these comics for nostalgia or to follow the continuity. I also wonder if that problem owes more to fan expectations or to the corporate production of the comics.

    Comment by Jamaal — December 5, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  15. Once the industry figures out we aren’t all CBG, they’ll stop writing comics for just him and instead for all of us.

    The thing is, as Cheryl implied in her post (if not outright stated) is that for the most part, the people BUYING comics, at least the monthlies, ARE those people. At the end of the day, Marvel and DC know that no matter how many Countdown tie-ins they make, there will be an audience buying it. Why do they cater to them? Because it’s where the money is, and they know it. They’re businesses just like anything else, and public ones, at that. They have to do what’s best for their (or their parent company’s) shareholders’ best interest. Keeping their “core” fans happy is how you do it, for better or worse. Just because you or I won’t purchase Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Arena: Countdown doesn’t mean no one will. Countdown’s sales show that fairly well. Yes, increasing that core fanbase is important in the long-term, but that’s a slow process.

    In any case, I wouldn’t expect the media’s version to change any faster than their idea of a metal fan is a burnout with long hair covered in tattoos. Why? Because “real” people aren’t as interesting as stereotypes when that’s your goal in a story. Would the Trekkies documentaries be half as interesting if they just talked to the normal people who were doubtlessly at the cons? Of course not. And that was the whole idea. CBG and the titular 40 year old virgin (who I don’t even really remember with any comics and frankly pointing to a Judd Apatow production as derogatory towards nerds is just silly) are both caricatures which virtually any comedy uses. You may as well just rage against the generic nerd caricature that’s existed since before electronic computers.

    Comment by Endless Mike — December 5, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  16. Mike,

    First of all, I think the post was aimed at our view of fellow fans, and not at media portrayals of comic book fans. The ‘comic book guy’ and Steve Carrell’s character in 40 Yr. Old Virgin were primarily used as examples. We don’t have any control over what the media does, especially when it concerns comedy. But we’ve internalized these stereotypes, which is the central problem.

    Second, can we really make any broad conclusions about the people who are the ‘core fans’? Just because they don’t share your (or my) preferences doesn’t entitle you to make inferences about the rest of their life, does it?

    Comment by Jamaal — December 5, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  17. Hey Mike, I know you are pretty much the only reason any one is linking to this blog post today, but you should go read a book (like Oscar Wao) and maybe go some place else for awhile.

    Thanks again for adding nothing.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 5, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  18. Hey man, I wasn’t aware dissenting opinions weren’t allowed here! I guess I will become like your e-friends and agree with everything you say! I apologize for offering a different point of view, which is what I thought your entire post was about!

    You are completely right about everything, Pedro. May I please kiss the ground you walk on?

    Comment by Endless Mike — December 5, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  19. Pedro, you have had the luxury of living in NYC and being blessed by a vibrant culture of hip, cool, multi-cultural comic book shops.

    If you go upstate, and in other places around the country you can often find the comic book / pokemon card / games dungeon by smell alone.

    I used to hang out in places like this in High School upstate, and yes many were interesting people, but many were the CBG’s often referred to. I know those people. I knew kids that fucking reeked, had magic cards and read witchblade, and had no social skills, and could only function in a argument of whether Gambit could actually figure out a way to fuck rogue.

    Truth is many were fat, ugly, and had a hard time at school, and the LCS/LGS was pretty much their only refuge.

    But my point is this, while we are now arguing about this, Comics are in general a fucking expensive hobby. I *know* how much you spend on comics Pedro, god bless your little heart, and that’s how we can keep doing reviews and shit, is because you keep spending so much money on it!

    That’s what Cheryl was getting at, and while I believe that Vinyl Underground a pretty fucking derivative, a comic that’s trying real hard to be cool and ultimately isn’t about anything (see Brian Wood’s Channel Zero & Fractions Casanova for more of the same) she’s right. If I buy a stack of trades I’ll still be done with them rather quickly.

    Gaming, as she mentioned in the deal of the fucking century that is ‘The Orange Box’, is also a pretty expensive hobby. But the best part of aformentioned box is ‘Portal’ a game that takes 3-6 hours to get through depending on your spatial reasoning capacity, and it’s possibly some of the most engaging entertainment of the year, while the rest of the orange box, while great, is still pretty standard fare as far as shooter.

    But do we really want to get into a “entertainment value/hr” debate? The only person that ever mentions that I know is Pedro, and even he doesn’t follow it. But every does make choices, and let’s face it, Video Games are the ascendant star, and fast becoming a more and more relevant medium in pop culture, and people are making less and less money these days. And you can have people call you racial epithets on halo all day long.

    As far as the “Real” comics vs. I guess what Cheryl would call “Fake” comics, I don’t know. I always hated that argument in film school when those pretentious assholes tried to say that ‘there are movies and there are *films*’. There’s simply shit I like. I like Blue Beetle, Deogratias, and Promethea, just like I like Death Race 2000, l’Eclisse, High and Low, Wavelength and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

    Also, I’m finding this pretty fucking hilarious, the five people on the internet who can put more than three coherent sentences about comics on the internet are fighting. It’s like fucking creative-writing grad-school up in here.

    Comment by Joseph Mastantuono — December 6, 2007 @ 12:15 am

  20. All I have to say is that I just found out I am highly biased against indy comic readers, mostly due to the high ground they seem to gain when this sort of conversation comes up. Time to overcome my own short-comings before I go pointing out others.

    Comment by carla — December 6, 2007 @ 1:46 am

  21. Carla, is anyone here an ” indy” comic reader though? That’s the problem. I wish it was just some indy cats hating on superhero fans, but most superhero fans are self loathing people who may never feel okay about their hobby. I feel that the quality of the books out there do add to this, but I think we’re still letting the ghost of Comic Book Guy haunt our industry just because he’s a good strawman.

    Joe, I think you are still not understanding what I’m getting at. I not saying some comic book guy doesn’t exist. I’m saying that he’s probably not the average fan, just the one people most remember because we continue to prop him up as the enemy of “rational and intelligent” comic thinking. He’s like the “sucker MC” that everyone in hip hop refers to that dominates the music industry. Like Jamaal said, it’s easier for us to generalize them then to take them as a serious person. I think it would be best overall if we just stop acting as if he was the driving force in the industry.

    That rural vs. urban stuff you posted is pretty lame. I imagine that for every shitty comic book store you had in upstate new york , there was an equivalently awesome store in the middle of Oregon or some shit like that. It’s all anecdotal. Even you say it yourself, at least half the people you ran into where awesome people.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 6, 2007 @ 8:55 am

  22. Dude, it’s not Rural vs. Urban, sure there’s your ‘rocketship’ type stores in Hippietown, OR. But if your only comic book shop in your area is the local dungeon, I’m telling you that comic book guy is there. But again, this is anecdotal, and there are varying degrees of CBG. And just because someone is an interesting person doesn’t mean they don’t start frothing at the mouth when I say that the psychic gorillas in the Flash trade they lent me is pretty silly.

    However, I *would* argue that the aggregate cost of comics over the year, and the accessibility and the necessity of sophistication necessary to even begin to comprehend what the fuck is going in any modern DC comic could to skew the audience towards upper-class and higher-ed. But you can’t deny that it is a pretty specialized audience. Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way, I see that the popularity of comic book movies and shows like heroes prove that the market is larger than people give it credit for. I wonder what studies if any have been done about this.

    There’s also the problem that writing comics is hard work. Coming up with a story that fits with the years of continuity, fits with the character, AND is actually interesting and engaging, and resets everything back to the status quo by the end of the arc isn’t easy. There’s a few formulas we’ve seen a thousand times, and some comics don’t make you set everything back to status quo.

    I can’t imagine any writers saying “Hmmm, I will be this comic for comic guy!”. You try to come up with an interesting plot, something cool, to your damndest, because you are constantly fighting for mind share. However deadlines loom, and to make the story work and be coherent you will inevitably lean on structures that may be cliché.

    I think that you guys are assuming that the industry has a HELL of a lot of contempt for the ‘average reader’ which honestly, in a world with sliding sales figures and a tough market, I think it’s probably generally inaccurate with the possible exception of a certain EIC over at a certain company. I don’t think Marvel’s letting the CBG haunt them. I don’t think any writer currently working is letting CBG haunt them.

    Comment by Joseph Mastantuono — December 6, 2007 @ 11:35 am

  23. The stereotypical assumption of the comic book guy is that he’ll buy any story regardless of quality as long as it features his favorite characters because he’s got nothing else going for him. He doesn’t like change. He wants things to be the status quo forever. He doesn’t go here for quality. He goes here for reliability.

    I think people assume this is what the market is full of and trying to sell to anyone else is a waste of time and money.

    The thing with running a dungeon is that those suckers got hurt and purged hard by the last industry contraction.

    Also man, if you don’t like psychic gorillas, maybe you should not read super hero comics.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 6, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  24. First, just because someone isn’t comfortable with your dismissal of something they like doesn’t make them the ‘CBG’.

    Second, both companies have made many efforts to distance themselves from the often stereotyped core audience. If it didn’t haunt them, they wouldn’t try to make the titles ‘cooler’ and more palatable to a wider audience by disassociating themselves from their past.

    And the industry’s always had contempt for the average reader.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — December 6, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  25. Well, Pedro, I’m sure there are independent comics you like, so maybe there’s a fan here but really, who knows? I was just noticing that by making a separation between the ‘superhero comics fan’ and other types of fans there seems to be a higher ground gained. I’ll admit it, I narrow my eyes at those turtle-neck wearing, latte drinking hipsters, but that’s my bias and I’ll cop to that. Maybe if there was a little more coping and a little less ‘the quality of the books out there do add to this’, maybe this discussion might change. Hey, maybe it won’t, what do I know? I didn’t like Ghost World.

    Comment by carla — December 6, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

  26. Riiight, because every superhero comic is about Psychic Gorillas. Jesus Pedro, way to miss the fucking point.

    As for the contempt issue, do you really think that that’s still true? It was at one point, but these days?

    Hack work isn’t necessarily contempt, and lots of people love the ‘cooler’ ‘edgier’ works, hell we all love it when it’s done well.

    Comment by Joseph Mastantuono — December 6, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  27. Joe,

    When I’m talking about contempt, I’m not talking about ‘hack-work’ done by professionals. If you look at the interviews of many (if not most) creators from the 1940’s through the 1980’s, it’s apparent. Even a lot of current ones admit the tradition exists. Not to mention the management of the companies themselves, who’ve never felt particularly affectionate towards their fanbase. I’d love to see some evidence (outside of more effective marketing practices) that this has changed in any substantial way.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — December 6, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  28. Carla,

    I’m not sure what you getting at here. I’m not making a distinction of fan types. I’m saying that the stereotype of Superhero fans is pretty false. Superhero fans, mainstream media, and comic companies all seem to operate on the concept that the stereotype is true. I think this makes for a poorer comic industry and the quality of the titles available out there. I think that this stereotype is imbued with all the negative aspects of comics, so everyone really looks at the bulk of the audience as the ones holding down the industry, and ourselves as the better fan, when in fact we are all really holding down the industry by assuming everyone who is not us is an “unwashed” virgin.

    Joe,

    psychic gorillas are one of the best parts of superhero comics. It’s that fantastical bit of sillyness, Kirbyesque, that makes the format totally awesome. It’s one of the things that if you can’t enjoy on some level, you’ll never really get everything the genre is about.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — December 6, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  29. I’m saying that the stereotype of Superhero fans is pretty false.

    Is this stereotype different for indy fans? Are they also ‘“unwashed” virgins’? Why does it have to be superhero fans?

    Comment by carla — December 8, 2007 @ 5:59 pm

  30. […] a nice display of your typical well functioning and well dressed comic fan that may never dispel the myth of Oscar Wao. I did get a weird look at the bar from a woman when I complained about missing my pull and liking […]

    Pingback by Funnybook Babylon » Blog Archive » Comics Foundry Spring 2008 Review — April 9, 2008 @ 2:17 am

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