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TC




ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
or, a plea that you do better.

Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”

In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.

Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.

By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.

Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.

Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.

Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.

So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.

The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.

Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.

You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.

And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?

This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.

The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.

So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.

Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.



Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
Omar Karindu




Everything you say is correct about mere judgments of aesthetic quality -- Kant famously remarked that judgments of taste are subjective, but that each person states their judgment as if it were a universal. He meant that we cannot but state our critiques of the aesthetic, in nature and artifice, without at least inadvertantly implying that all others share or should share our judgements. (It's those nasty "to be" verbs, really; even when you carefully avoid them, they are still lurking in "I think" and "I believe" -- after all, who of us would believe or think a thing that we knew or believed was untrue? It's a contradiction in terms.)

But critique can and should go beyond simply saying something is good or bad, and can instead talk about what levels its operating on, what method it chooses, and can attempt to reason out estimations of a work's failure or success...but yes, always by the terms of the critique. It's the way in which the terms of the critique are argued for or against that matters, and this is what makes informed reviews possible.

The blandishment that everything is rich and wonderful and good if only we'd try a little harder misses that -- everyone has a reading process, a method of aesthetic judgement. There is, in short, a context, are multiple contexts, of reading: the world in which the comic is published, the comics around it (before it and after it also), what the reader is looking for, and so on.

Some of those methods are going to be, yes, sorry, richer than others. The question of which is the richer is what's at stake in arguments about the quality of a writer or a comic, even arguments that seem unaware of themselves in that way. They tend to be passionate arguments, of course, because comics affect us emotionally. And arguing someone out of their feelings doesn't work; ask a marriage counselor or a divorce lawyer. THe best that can be done is to try and put the discussion at a level on which even disagreement is at least interesting. Saying "sucks" and "rules" doesn't do that, but neither does "everything works in its way." All of those responses are efforts to abolish debate and thought, not to enrich them.

If someone is not looking for the things that a Brian Bendis Avengers comic is providing, or if they see and can articulate flaws or faults in his method from their critical frame, they deserve to be taken seriously -- not agreed with, but at least they deserve a generous hearing out. Then we may feel free to respond, to reject their ideas, even to acknowledge their points and turn to some other quality or movement in the work from our own critical frame that works. But we cannot ever reasonably expect that we will win as if you are right on some imagined Platonic level, where we and we alone are the arbiter of taste.

As a postscript, I'd argue that while quality is an eternal subject of debate, there are things awful enough that they have no reasonable, honest defenders. You don't, for example, find too many unironic fans of the Friedrich issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the early 70s, nor many allies of some of the truly awful comics published at flash-in-the-pan superhero houses (Chip Goodman's Atlas imprint, Harvey's ill-fated superhero line during the "Batman" TV craze) in the 60s and 70s.

These are definitionally works in which basic technical skills, not just subtleties of craft or interpretation, are absent; that is to say, work so poor that it doesn't rise to the level of a style or method that one can critique positively or negatively in the first place. That's not rerally what we're talking about here -- generally, for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, or Image to publish something in the current market, it has to be at least technically proficient in some manner. But it does happen all the same; a quick flip through that behemoth catalogue, Previews, will turn up loads of comics that bad.

> ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> or, a plea that you do better.
>
> Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
>
> In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
>
> Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
>
> By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
>
> Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
>
> Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
>
> Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
>
> So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
>
> The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
>
> Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
>
> You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
>
> And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
>
> This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
>
> The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
>
> So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
>
> Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
>

- Omar Karindu

"A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It
displeased me." -- Doctor Doom

"It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey


Posted with Apple Safari on MacOS X
cynical reader




Damn you two are long-winded. I have had college level courses where the professors put less thought and effort into their lessons. I feel we dissenters have been a little unfairly labeled and lumped together. Sure, there are a lot of impulsive, unlearned folk that rip the current comics and creators for stupid or unfathomable reasons, but there is a number of bloggers that seem to lap up whatever is served to them and call it great for no logical reason that I can see.

My biggest problem with the current main creators in the MU is completely altering the personality of characters and disregarding continuity whenever it isn't conveniant. One of the things that floored me when I started buying these things over 30 years ago was the creative vastness of the MU and how it all at least loosely tied together. That to me was cool and showed a lot of brilliance. It seemed to me that the entertaining inclusive world that Stan sheparded is now some sort of closed off castle where the peasants are screaming for something of substance and the royalty says let them eat cake.

> Everything you say is correct about mere judgments of aesthetic quality -- Kant famously remarked that judgments of taste are subjective, but that each person states their judgment as if it were a universal. He meant that we cannot but state our critiques of the aesthetic, in nature and artifice, without at least inadvertantly implying that all others share or should share our judgements. (It's those nasty "to be" verbs, really; even when you carefully avoid them, they are still lurking in "I think" and "I believe" -- after all, who of us would believe or think a thing that we knew or believed was untrue? It's a contradiction in terms.)
>
> But critique can and should go beyond simply saying something is good or bad, and can instead talk about what levels its operating on, what method it chooses, and can attempt to reason out estimations of a work's failure or success...but yes, always by the terms of the critique. It's the way in which the terms of the critique are argued for or against that matters, and this is what makes informed reviews possible.
>
> The blandishment that everything is rich and wonderful and good if only we'd try a little harder misses that -- everyone has a reading process, a method of aesthetic judgement. There is, in short, a context, are multiple contexts, of reading: the world in which the comic is published, the comics around it (before it and after it also), what the reader is looking for, and so on.
>
> Some of those methods are going to be, yes, sorry, richer than others. The question of which is the richer is what's at stake in arguments about the quality of a writer or a comic, even arguments that seem unaware of themselves in that way. They tend to be passionate arguments, of course, because comics affect us emotionally. And arguing someone out of their feelings doesn't work; ask a marriage counselor or a divorce lawyer. THe best that can be done is to try and put the discussion at a level on which even disagreement is at least interesting. Saying "sucks" and "rules" doesn't do that, but neither does "everything works in its way." All of those responses are efforts to abolish debate and thought, not to enrich them.
>
> If someone is not looking for the things that a Brian Bendis Avengers comic is providing, or if they see and can articulate flaws or faults in his method from their critical frame, they deserve to be taken seriously -- not agreed with, but at least they deserve a generous hearing out. Then we may feel free to respond, to reject their ideas, even to acknowledge their points and turn to some other quality or movement in the work from our own critical frame that works. But we cannot ever reasonably expect that we will win as if you are right on some imagined Platonic level, where we and we alone are the arbiter of taste.
>
> As a postscript, I'd argue that while quality is an eternal subject of debate, there are things awful enough that they have no reasonable, honest defenders. You don't, for example, find too many unironic fans of the Friedrich issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the early 70s, nor many allies of some of the truly awful comics published at flash-in-the-pan superhero houses (Chip Goodman's Atlas imprint, Harvey's ill-fated superhero line during the "Batman" TV craze) in the 60s and 70s.
>
> These are definitionally works in which basic technical skills, not just subtleties of craft or interpretation, are absent; that is to say, work so poor that it doesn't rise to the level of a style or method that one can critique positively or negatively in the first place. That's not rerally what we're talking about here -- generally, for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, or Image to publish something in the current market, it has to be at least technically proficient in some manner. But it does happen all the same; a quick flip through that behemoth catalogue, Previews, will turn up loads of comics that bad.
>
> > ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> > or, a plea that you do better.
> >
> > Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
> >
> > In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
> >
> > Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
> >
> > By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
> >
> > Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
> >
> > Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> > This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
> >
> > Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
> >
> > So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
> >
> > The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
> >
> > Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
> >
> > You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
> >
> > And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
> >
> > This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
> >
> > The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
> >
> > So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
> >
> > Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
> >
>
> - Omar Karindu
>
> "A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It
> displeased me." -- Doctor Doom
>
> "It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey




Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
Dr. Shallot




> ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> or, a plea that you do better.
>
> Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
>
> In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
>
> Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
>
> By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
>
> Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
>
> Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
>
> Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
>
> So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
>
> The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
>
> Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
>
> You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
>
> And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
>
> This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
>
> The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
>
> So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
>
> Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
>


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP
TC





Hahaha... and I was worried I was talking over the heads of the people I wanted to reach.... very nice post, Omar, as usual.

To clarify, you should not have received an impression that I think that ALL comics are good, or that ALL comics creators are good at what they do. There are many comics that I myself find to be dismal, and many writers and artists as well. My hall of shame list, however, would be beside the point, as well as being a pretty long list.

My issue here is that so many yapping fans are judging various comics and creators as bad on an uninformed or poorly considered basis. The afore-mentioned good friend of mine will bray and almost scream with rage at the thought of Judd Winick, but cannot describe what it was specifically he didn't like about Winick's run on GREEN LANTERN. But guess what? He CAN say that it "sucked"!

Certainly there are terrible efforts on the stands; always have been, always will be. The question is, what makes a comic a bad read? Is it bad because it is poorly written, or drawn, or without substance? That is valid criticism. On the other hand, is it bad because the reader doesn't like the general direction of the book as they perceive it, regardless of how well the story or art may be executed, to which they will not pay enough attention to consider?

I am sad to say that in most of what I read or hear from fans, their complaints follow the latter train, and are as well poorly articulated, and full of false assumptions about the creators. Their dislike is rooted merely in a comparison of what the story WAS, as opposed to their Rod Flanders notion of what it should have been. John Byrne once admonished fans not to criticize his stories for no reason other than that they were not the stories the fans would have written themselves. He was right; no writer can turn out good stories under such restrictive guidelines. There would be no creative process involved.

A comic may be terrible. A reader may post a gripe about it. Still, if that reader's gripe consists of nothing more than some complaints and insults leveled at the writer and the editor in chief, and end in a glum and silly declaration that they've ruined the books' protagonist... in that case, they've said and proved nothing at all. Without considering the story's elements, or the plot, or its underlying themes, valid criticism cannot be given. And in most of these gripes, it is not.

A very new reader who christens himself an expert, as the fans so often do, cannot see a story in the context of the many stories that have gone before. They might think a new story should have portrayed a character in a certain way, because they do not (or even though they DO) know that there are countless stories that portray that character that same way, and that it has been run into the ground. The new story they don't like may be a fresh and much needed new perspective on that character.

Consider the Grey Hulk, or the Merged Hulk. How many new readers casually familiar with the Savage Hulk may have bellowed, "The Hulk should only be the Savage Hulk!!!" This reader, of whom there were countless, has the problem of being entirely unaware that there were 30 years of savage Hulk stories already, and that the creators were ready for a change, and that at least some longtime readers were bored with that, and very excited at these new possibilities.

It may seem that I am saying, "until you now what you're talking about, shut the hell up." I am, but I'm saying a little more than that. Hostility toward comics creators, which abounds, right here on these boards and all over fandom, is so wrongheaded and smallminded. I am tird of hearing it. I am tired of seeing these boards, which should be such interesting places, reduced to mindless attacks and heteful screeds against Joe Quesada, or Brian Michael Bendis, or Mark Millar, leveled by sub-par intellects who are just excited to have a voice. These people barely crasp the greator's intentions, let alone the realities of the creative process.

PS: Omar, I think you know better than to use quotations around statements that no one actually said.

PPS: Even awful comics have their fans, I imagine even Friedrich's S.H.I.E.L.D. stories, ... having just survived reading his work in ESSENTIAL GHOST RIDER #1 and commenting about how dreadful I found it, I was met with many staunch defenders of his work (coincidentally, on the DEFENDERS message board!) Rob Liefeld didn't make and blow a zillion dollars by NOT having fans. They may not admit to it today, but we know they're out there.....





> Everything you say is correct about mere judgments of aesthetic quality -- Kant famously remarked that judgments of taste are subjective, but that each person states their judgment as if it were a universal. He meant that we cannot but state our critiques of the aesthetic, in nature and artifice, without at least inadvertantly implying that all others share or should share our judgements. (It's those nasty "to be" verbs, really; even when you carefully avoid them, they are still lurking in "I think" and "I believe" -- after all, who of us would believe or think a thing that we knew or believed was untrue? It's a contradiction in terms.)
>
> But critique can and should go beyond simply saying something is good or bad, and can instead talk about what levels its operating on, what method it chooses, and can attempt to reason out estimations of a work's failure or success...but yes, always by the terms of the critique. It's the way in which the terms of the critique are argued for or against that matters, and this is what makes informed reviews possible.
>
> The blandishment that everything is rich and wonderful and good if only we'd TRY a little harder misses that -- everyone has a reading process, a method of aesthetic judgement. There is, in short, a context, are multiple contexts, of reading: the world in which the comic is published, the comics around it (before it and after it also), what the reader is looking for, and so on.
>
> Some of those methods are going to be, yes, sorry, richer than others. The question of which is the richer is what's at stake in arguments about the quality of a writer or a comic, even arguments that seem unaware of themselves in that way. They tend to be passionate arguments, of course, because comics affect us emotionally. And arguing someone out of their feelings doesn't work; ask a marriage counselor or a divorce lawyer. THe best that can be done is to try and put the discussion at a level on which even disagreement is at least interesting. Saying "sucks" and "rules" doesn't do that, but neither does "everything works in its way." All of those responses are efforts to abolish debate and thought, not to enrich them.
>
> If someone is not looking for the things that a Brian Bendis Avengers comic is providing, or if they see and can articulate flaws or faults in his method from their critical frame, they deserve to be taken seriously -- not agreed with, but at least they deserve a generous hearing out. Then we may feel free to respond, to reject their ideas, even to acknowledge their points and turn to some other quality or movement in the work from our own critical frame that works. But we cannot ever reasonably expect that we will win as if you are right on some imagined Platonic level, where we and we alone are the arbiter of taste.
>
> As a postscript, I'd argue that while quality is an eternal subject of debate, there are things awful enough that they have no reasonable, honest defenders. You don't, for example, find too many unironic fans of the Friedrich issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the early 70s, nor many allies of some of the truly awful comics published at flash-in-the-pan superhero houses (Chip Goodman's Atlas imprint, Harvey's ill-fated superhero line during the "Batman" TV craze) in the 60s and 70s.
>
> These are definitionally works in which basic technical skills, not just subtleties of craft or interpretation, are absent; that is to say, work so poor that it doesn't rise to the level of a style or method that one can critique positively or negatively in the first place. That's not really what we're talking about here -- generally, for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, or Image to publish something in the current market, it has to be at least technically proficient in some manner. But it does happen all the same; a quick flip through that behemoth catalogue, Previews, will turn up loads of comics that bad.



Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
Omar Karindu




These are all excellent points, and you're right in that I shouldn't have employed a hypothetical interlocutor -- read: straw man -- as a quote source.

Gary Friedrich's SHIELD stories with Frank Springer suffer mainly because they're quite obviously trying to do Steranko stories without quite grasping Steranko's methodology. Friedrich had a decent, if unspectacular run on Iron Man and Springer was quite a capable artist, but their SHIELD run is like listening to an all-kazoo cover of "White Rabbit."

> Hahaha... and I was worried I was talking over the heads of the people I wanted to reach.... very nice post, Omar, as usual.
>
> To clarify, you should not have received an impression that I think that ALL comics are good, or that ALL comics creators are good at what they do. There are many comics that I myself find to be dismal, and many writers and artists as well. My hall of shame list, however, would be beside the point, as well as being a pretty long list.
>
> My issue here is that so many yapping fans are judging various comics and creators as bad on an uninformed or poorly considered basis. The afore-mentioned good friend of mine will bray and almost scream with rage at the thought of Judd Winick, but cannot describe what it was specifically he didn't like about Winick's run on GREEN LANTERN. But guess what? He CAN say that it "sucked"!
>
> Certainly there are terrible efforts on the stands; always have been, always will be. The question is, what makes a comic a bad read? Is it bad because it is poorly written, or drawn, or without substance? That is valid criticism. On the other hand, is it bad because the reader doesn't like the general direction of the book as they perceive it, regardless of how well the story or art may be executed, to which they will not pay enough attention to consider?
>
> I am sad to say that in most of what I read or hear from fans, their complaints follow the latter train, and are as well poorly articulated, and full of false assumptions about the creators. Their dislike is rooted merely in a comparison of what the story WAS, as opposed to their Rod Flanders notion of what it should have been. John Byrne once admonished fans not to criticize his stories for no reason other than that they were not the stories the fans would have written themselves. He was right; no writer can turn out good stories under such restrictive guidelines. There would be no creative process involved.
>
> A comic may be terrible. A reader may post a gripe about it. Still, if that reader's gripe consists of nothing more than some complaints and insults leveled at the writer and the editor in chief, and end in a glum and silly declaration that they've ruined the books' protagonist... in that case, they've said and proved nothing at all. Without considering the story's elements, or the plot, or its underlying themes, valid criticism cannot be given. And in most of these gripes, it is not.
>
> A very new reader who christens himself an expert, as the fans so often do, cannot see a story in the context of the many stories that have gone before. They might think a new story should have portrayed a character in a certain way, because they do not (or even though they DO) know that there are countless stories that portray that character that same way, and that it has been run into the ground. The new story they don't like may be a fresh and much needed new perspective on that character.
>
> Consider the Grey Hulk, or the Merged Hulk. How many new readers casually familiar with the Savage Hulk may have bellowed, "The Hulk should only be the Savage Hulk!!!" This reader, of whom there were countless, has the problem of being entirely unaware that there were 30 years of savage Hulk stories already, and that the creators were ready for a change, and that at least some longtime readers were bored with that, and very excited at these new possibilities.
>
> It may seem that I am saying, "until you now what you're talking about, shut the hell up." I am, but I'm saying a little more than that. Hostility toward comics creators, which abounds, right here on these boards and all over fandom, is so wrongheaded and smallminded. I am tird of hearing it. I am tired of seeing these boards, which should be such interesting places, reduced to mindless attacks and heteful screeds against Joe Quesada, or Brian Michael Bendis, or Mark Millar, leveled by sub-par intellects who are just excited to have a voice. These people barely crasp the greator's intentions, let alone the realities of the creative process.
>
> PS: Omar, I think you know better than to use quotations around statements that no one actually said.
>
> PPS: Even awful comics have their fans, I imagine even Friedrich's S.H.I.E.L.D. stories, ... having just survived reading his work in ESSENTIAL GHOST RIDER #1 and commenting about how dreadful I found it, I was met with many staunch defenders of his work (coincidentally, on the DEFENDERS message board!) Rob Liefeld didn't make and blow a zillion dollars by NOT having fans. They may not admit to it today, but we know they're out there.....
>
>
>
>
>
> > Everything you say is correct about mere judgments of aesthetic quality -- Kant famously remarked that judgments of taste are subjective, but that each person states their judgment as if it were a universal. He meant that we cannot but state our critiques of the aesthetic, in nature and artifice, without at least inadvertantly implying that all others share or should share our judgements. (It's those nasty "to be" verbs, really; even when you carefully avoid them, they are still lurking in "I think" and "I believe" -- after all, who of us would believe or think a thing that we knew or believed was untrue? It's a contradiction in terms.)
> >
> > But critique can and should go beyond simply saying something is good or bad, and can instead talk about what levels its operating on, what method it chooses, and can attempt to reason out estimations of a work's failure or success...but yes, always by the terms of the critique. It's the way in which the terms of the critique are argued for or against that matters, and this is what makes informed reviews possible.
> >
> > The blandishment that everything is rich and wonderful and good if only we'd TRY a little harder misses that -- everyone has a reading process, a method of aesthetic judgement. There is, in short, a context, are multiple contexts, of reading: the world in which the comic is published, the comics around it (before it and after it also), what the reader is looking for, and so on.
> >
> > Some of those methods are going to be, yes, sorry, richer than others. The question of which is the richer is what's at stake in arguments about the quality of a writer or a comic, even arguments that seem unaware of themselves in that way. They tend to be passionate arguments, of course, because comics affect us emotionally. And arguing someone out of their feelings doesn't work; ask a marriage counselor or a divorce lawyer. THe best that can be done is to try and put the discussion at a level on which even disagreement is at least interesting. Saying "sucks" and "rules" doesn't do that, but neither does "everything works in its way." All of those responses are efforts to abolish debate and thought, not to enrich them.
> >
> > If someone is not looking for the things that a Brian Bendis Avengers comic is providing, or if they see and can articulate flaws or faults in his method from their critical frame, they deserve to be taken seriously -- not agreed with, but at least they deserve a generous hearing out. Then we may feel free to respond, to reject their ideas, even to acknowledge their points and turn to some other quality or movement in the work from our own critical frame that works. But we cannot ever reasonably expect that we will win as if you are right on some imagined Platonic level, where we and we alone are the arbiter of taste.
> >
> > As a postscript, I'd argue that while quality is an eternal subject of debate, there are things awful enough that they have no reasonable, honest defenders. You don't, for example, find too many unironic fans of the Friedrich issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the early 70s, nor many allies of some of the truly awful comics published at flash-in-the-pan superhero houses (Chip Goodman's Atlas imprint, Harvey's ill-fated superhero line during the "Batman" TV craze) in the 60s and 70s.
> >
> > These are definitionally works in which basic technical skills, not just subtleties of craft or interpretation, are absent; that is to say, work so poor that it doesn't rise to the level of a style or method that one can critique positively or negatively in the first place. That's not really what we're talking about here -- generally, for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, or Image to publish something in the current market, it has to be at least technically proficient in some manner. But it does happen all the same; a quick flip through that behemoth catalogue, Previews, will turn up loads of comics that bad.
>

- Omar Karindu

"A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It
displeased me." -- Doctor Doom

"It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey


Posted with Apple Safari on MacOS X
TC




> These are all excellent points, and you're right in that I shouldn't have employed a hypothetical interlocutor -- read: straw man -- as a quote source.
>
> Gary Friedrich's SHIELD stories with Frank Springer suffer mainly because they're quite obviously trying to do Steranko stories without quite grasping Steranko's methodology. Friedrich had a decent, if unspectacular run on Iron Man and Springer was quite a capable artist, but their SHIELD run is like listening to an all-kazoo cover of "White Rabbit."
>
> > Hahaha... and I was worried I was talking over the heads of the people I wanted to reach.... very nice post, Omar, as usual.
> >
> > To clarify, you should not have received an impression that I think that ALL comics are good, or that ALL comics creators are good at what they do. There are many comics that I myself find to be dismal, and many writers and artists as well. My hall of shame list, however, would be beside the point, as well as being a pretty long list.
> >
> > My issue here is that so many yapping fans are judging various comics and creators as bad on an uninformed or poorly considered basis. The afore-mentioned good friend of mine will bray and almost scream with rage at the thought of Judd Winick, but cannot describe what it was specifically he didn't like about Winick's run on GREEN LANTERN. But guess what? He CAN say that it "sucked"!
> >
> > Certainly there are terrible efforts on the stands; always have been, always will be. The question is, what makes a comic a bad read? Is it bad because it is poorly written, or drawn, or without substance? That is valid criticism. On the other hand, is it bad because the reader doesn't like the general direction of the book as they perceive it, regardless of how well the story or art may be executed, to which they will not pay enough attention to consider?
> >
> > I am sad to say that in most of what I read or hear from fans, their complaints follow the latter train, and are as well poorly articulated, and full of false assumptions about the creators. Their dislike is rooted merely in a comparison of what the story WAS, as opposed to their Rod Flanders notion of what it should have been. John Byrne once admonished fans not to criticize his stories for no reason other than that they were not the stories the fans would have written themselves. He was right; no writer can turn out good stories under such restrictive guidelines. There would be no creative process involved.
> >
> > A comic may be terrible. A reader may post a gripe about it. Still, if that reader's gripe consists of nothing more than some complaints and insults leveled at the writer and the editor in chief, and end in a glum and silly declaration that they've ruined the books' protagonist... in that case, they've said and proved nothing at all. Without considering the story's elements, or the plot, or its underlying themes, valid criticism cannot be given. And in most of these gripes, it is not.
> >
> > A very new reader who christens himself an expert, as the fans so often do, cannot see a story in the context of the many stories that have gone before. They might think a new story should have portrayed a character in a certain way, because they do not (or even though they DO) know that there are countless stories that portray that character that same way, and that it has been run into the ground. The new story they don't like may be a fresh and much needed new perspective on that character.
> >
> > Consider the Grey Hulk, or the Merged Hulk. How many new readers casually familiar with the Savage Hulk may have bellowed, "The Hulk should only be the Savage Hulk!!!" This reader, of whom there were countless, has the problem of being entirely unaware that there were 30 years of savage Hulk stories already, and that the creators were ready for a change, and that at least some longtime readers were bored with that, and very excited at these new possibilities.
> >
> > It may seem that I am saying, "until you now what you're talking about, shut the hell up." I am, but I'm saying a little more than that. Hostility toward comics creators, which abounds, right here on these boards and all over fandom, is so wrongheaded and smallminded. I am tird of hearing it. I am tired of seeing these boards, which should be such interesting places, reduced to mindless attacks and heteful screeds against Joe Quesada, or Brian Michael Bendis, or Mark Millar, leveled by sub-par intellects who are just excited to have a voice. These people barely crasp the greator's intentions, let alone the realities of the creative process.
> >
> > PS: Omar, I think you know better than to use quotations around statements that no one actually said.
> >
> > PPS: Even awful comics have their fans, I imagine even Friedrich's S.H.I.E.L.D. stories, ... having just survived reading his work in ESSENTIAL GHOST RIDER #1 and commenting about how dreadful I found it, I was met with many staunch defenders of his work (coincidentally, on the DEFENDERS message board!) Rob Liefeld didn't make and blow a zillion dollars by NOT having fans. They may not admit to it today, but we know they're out there.....
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > Everything you say is correct about mere judgments of aesthetic quality -- Kant famously remarked that judgments of taste are subjective, but that each person states their judgment as if it were a universal. He meant that we cannot but state our critiques of the aesthetic, in nature and artifice, without at least inadvertantly implying that all others share or should share our judgements. (It's those nasty "to be" verbs, really; even when you carefully avoid them, they are still lurking in "I think" and "I believe" -- after all, who of us would believe or think a thing that we knew or believed was untrue? It's a contradiction in terms.)
> > >
> > > But critique can and should go beyond simply saying something is good or bad, and can instead talk about what levels its operating on, what method it chooses, and can attempt to reason out estimations of a work's failure or success...but yes, always by the terms of the critique. It's the way in which the terms of the critique are argued for or against that matters, and this is what makes informed reviews possible.
> > >
> > > The blandishment that everything is rich and wonderful and good if only we'd TRY a little harder misses that -- everyone has a reading process, a method of aesthetic judgement. There is, in short, a context, are multiple contexts, of reading: the world in which the comic is published, the comics around it (before it and after it also), what the reader is looking for, and so on.
> > >
> > > Some of those methods are going to be, yes, sorry, richer than others. The question of which is the richer is what's at stake in arguments about the quality of a writer or a comic, even arguments that seem unaware of themselves in that way. They tend to be passionate arguments, of course, because comics affect us emotionally. And arguing someone out of their feelings doesn't work; ask a marriage counselor or a divorce lawyer. THe best that can be done is to try and put the discussion at a level on which even disagreement is at least interesting. Saying "sucks" and "rules" doesn't do that, but neither does "everything works in its way." All of those responses are efforts to abolish debate and thought, not to enrich them.
> > >
> > > If someone is not looking for the things that a Brian Bendis Avengers comic is providing, or if they see and can articulate flaws or faults in his method from their critical frame, they deserve to be taken seriously -- not agreed with, but at least they deserve a generous hearing out. Then we may feel free to respond, to reject their ideas, even to acknowledge their points and turn to some other quality or movement in the work from our own critical frame that works. But we cannot ever reasonably expect that we will win as if you are right on some imagined Platonic level, where we and we alone are the arbiter of taste.
> > >
> > > As a postscript, I'd argue that while quality is an eternal subject of debate, there are things awful enough that they have no reasonable, honest defenders. You don't, for example, find too many unironic fans of the Friedrich issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the early 70s, nor many allies of some of the truly awful comics published at flash-in-the-pan superhero houses (Chip Goodman's Atlas imprint, Harvey's ill-fated superhero line during the "Batman" TV craze) in the 60s and 70s.
> > >
> > > These are definitionally works in which basic technical skills, not just subtleties of craft or interpretation, are absent; that is to say, work so poor that it doesn't rise to the level of a style or method that one can critique positively or negatively in the first place. That's not really what we're talking about here -- generally, for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, or Image to publish something in the current market, it has to be at least technically proficient in some manner. But it does happen all the same; a quick flip through that behemoth catalogue, Previews, will turn up loads of comics that bad.
> >
>
> - Omar Karindu
>
> "A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It
> displeased me." -- Doctor Doom
>
> "It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
Spiffy




The below is debate, not attack, so please read it with that in mind. I'm questioning the posters own words directly, point by point, and have no personal animus.

===============================================================

I'm sorry, but with respect, a lot of what you argue is bull. Or at best, totally wrongheaded.

> ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> or, a plea that you do better.
>
> Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
>
> In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
>
> Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.

This assertion demands proof. You may have seen fans who act like this, but your argument is structured towards defining EVERY fan that way. Bull. Okay... lets see what you do with the rest of the argument.

> By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.

Okay, so you ARE trying to define scope. So maybe you don't literally mean EVERY fan. You give yourself an "out" to say "well it might not apply to you" to any individual arguing with you, while holding onto the assertion that your estimation of fandom applies to virtually everyone. In many ways this is even worse than simply making a blanket statement, because you can use it to try and weasel out of the fact that it IS in fact still an unsupported sweeping statement.

> Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.

If I wanted to I could say "prove it" about that last statement. But me asking you prove it is as peripheral to me debating your main point as you raising it in the first place was towards defending your main thesis--your analysis of fandom.

> Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.

Okay, this goes to proving the point you raised above, but you make another unsubstantiated claim--that a collaborative vision will be more successful than a singular one. You completely dismiss the possibility that in some cases collaboration can simply water a vision down instead of improving it.

> Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.

Okay, fine. Most of us can agree with that ON PRINCIPAL. Maybe just not applied in the way you may be doing so...

> So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices.

And you know this how? Based on cherrypicking comments from a public messageboard? First, your own evaluation of them may be incorrect. Secondly, they may not be truly representative even of the environment you took them from. Third, your evaluation might not equally apply to ALL messageboards, or even moreso to fandom who don't post on message boards.

> Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.

Again, you are presuming an awful lot, based on very little to no evidence.

> The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.

This goes beyond mere presumption, as some earlier points have suffered from, and into an a virtually insoluble philosophical debate along the lines of "what is the subjective nature of reality" or "what is art" or any other gobbledygook thrown around coffee houses or beatnik poetry readings or wherever the current crowd performs mental masturbation. Its like advice from Yoda... "there is no good, there is no bad, there only IS!"

Bull.

This has been argued a million times here and elsewhere and I'm sure nothing I say will convince you of my opinion that there ARE absolutes of quality, just as I'm sure nothing you can say will convince me that "all art is subjective".

For those reading this who ARE more likely to be convinced think about two things:

1.) the saying "I don't know what makes good art, but I know it when I see it".

To me this timeless chestnut DOES actually have some meaning. I think its a statement about how we ALL have a somewhat built in compass which can differentiate bullshit from real "vision". Our sensitivities differ, but its there.

2.) storytelling, as an art form, is best received when its LOGICAL. A lot of the "it sucks" comments made by people about certain comic book story arcs happen when the chain of logic grows weak. Please note that a demand for logic is NOT the same as a demand for realism. Something can be wildly unrealistic, and can be a total masterpiece, of both art AND logic, because it is internally consistent. It sets "rules", even if fictional ones, and sticks to them. The "crap" the person I am responding to thinks doesn't exist is the stuff which isn't consistent.

> Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.

Huh?

I get the argument that new things need to be tried to arrive at new stories. What I DON'T get is the inevitable conclusion that certain expectations aren't good. For example, that "expectation" I talked about before about internal consistency. Within the realm of keeping something logical there are still billions of possibilities. And in the worst case? A comic company can always branch off into new creative directions with NEW characters. New settings. New universes. Or even, yes, reboots and recreations like the Ultimate line. What doesn't always make sense is breaking the chain of established history behind a character or series on a weak creative whim, which risks much for an entire franchise for very little potential payoff. And a company like Marvel has made a habit of doing this all too often. If you have to change something about the core of a character, there are always ways to do it which consider the past. But Marvel doesn't always take the trouble to reason them out.

> You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about.

Why is this "obvious"? It isn't to me. I don't think its true of all of these people, but I respect the right these posters have to have that opinion. Its not obvious that they are all universally wrong, as you insist, to dislike the creative visions of certain authors.

> They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.

Maybe they are being overly simplistic with many of their comments, but you have done zero to prove that they are wrong in their opinions.

> And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character.

Okay... so he's a CHARACTER who's an idiot. Is that better?

> More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?

Does having a literate motivation for his actions (although its a badly cobbled together one, not supported by many of his appearances) mean he's RIGHT? Characters can be wrong. If they are, might we not refer to them as "idiots"? Why not?

> This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.

I'm sure they are glad to hear that from you. Again, maybe some posts could be less simplistic, but that doesn't make them invalid. And you can dismiss the simple, but are you really so sure you know what's actually in people's minds that they haven't communicated? Have you actually read every post, every opinion, to know for sure that all "fans" are thoughtless idiots? No. You don't.

> The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.

Well, okay. You could be right. Its really a debate for another time, since our main focus is how smart or dumb fans are.

> So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.

I guess you don't think much of your "friend". Again, how have you proved he's wrong? Or even if he is, how does that apply to millions of other fans with THEIR own opinions, who you have summarily dismissed because they don't see this as a golden age?

> Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do.

If I recall correctly, many of the best authors and illustrators in comic history grew out of fandom. You seem to be dismissing the very source of much of this talent you are lauding as "infallible".

> Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.

Why drop those words? Maybe they should be used more intelligently, because they are hammers and not chisels, but at times they can be adequate. You yourself have used terms almost as strong to describe the fans who are reading these stories. I'm tempted to use them to describe your argument. They are just opinions.

You have no idea of whats in people's minds and yet your arguments seem to all assume that you do. That they all somehow "don't get" something. That we don't understand the nature of art, and that critical thought is impossible from fandom. You dismiss the possibilities than creators are fallible, that stories can be illogical, that fan criticism can't even help direct misdirected creation. And even as you champion the creators, you also weaken them by insisting that joint creative visions driven by one creator contradicting another makes comics strong than a single singular vision maintained by a good editorial staff imposing limits which adhere to the original creator. Your arguments are all over the place when it comes to creators, basically. In one section of your argument they are sacred, in another interchangeable.

As we do, you have the right to your opinion. I just buy very little of it. Sorry.


Posted with Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.2pre on Linux
TC




If you were going to do that poor a job, you shouldn't have posted to begin with. I can't argue with you, because for the most part, you barely disagree with anything I said.

It is not "debate" if you don't address what I actually say. If you restate what I say and then argue with that instead, then you're just shadowboxing.

The funny thing is, when I posted, I realized there would be two kinds of responses, those who agreed with me and those who didn't (of course). Since my main point is that comics fans should reconsider how they read and examine what they've read, so that many of them will stop cluttering the boards and running off at the mouth with their uninformed drivel. So, those who disagree with me may very well feel that I'm talking about them. Since I was VERY specific about the kind of low quality commentary I take issue with, I suppose that if you read what I wrote, and you think I'm talking about you, then I probably am.

All I can argue here is your semantics, because all you really did was twist my words around. Time and again you restate what I say erroneously, so that you can argue with what you want to argue with rather than my actual words. As I said, step up your reading game.

You didn't really make any real counterpoint except a repitition of: nuh-uh, not EVERYONE! Not ALL the time! Since I never made any such absolute statements, you debated against nothing I said. And so I have nothing to debate with you, other than your defense of the terms "suck" and "crap", when used in criticism.

Let's face it, "Suck" refers to oral sex. When boys or men say it to each other, they are making a homosexual slur. That is all. It does not mean anything else, except in it's original use as a basic verb. And when you say something "sucks", you are accusing the other side of performing oral sex in a derogatory way. It is a sexual insult. If you really, truly think you can use that in some intelligent manner, or that it is somehow appropriate when discussing stories in a written forum, then yes, you are the kind of sub-par thinker and clutterer I am talking about.

Ditto for the word "crap" or it's alternates. "Crap" describes a pile of feces. That is all. To apply it as a criticism to something is only to say that you don't like that thing in the most insulting way possible, while avoiding giving any reasons.

Well, this was tedious. Think about what I said, because by the time I finished yur post, it was clear that you could really benefit.


> The below is debate, not attack, so please read it with that in mind. I'm questioning the posters own words directly, point by point, and have no personal animus.
>
> ===============================================================
>
> I'm sorry, but with respect, a lot of what you argue is bull. Or at best, totally wrongheaded.
>
> > ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> > or, a plea that you do better.
> >
> > Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
> >
> > In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
> >
> > Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
>
> This assertion demands proof. You may have seen fans who act like this, but your argument is structured towards defining EVERY fan that way. Bull. Okay... lets see what you do with the rest of the argument.
>
> > By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
>
> Okay, so you ARE trying to define scope. So maybe you don't literally mean EVERY fan. You give yourself an "out" to say "well it might not apply to you" to any individual arguing with you, while holding onto the assertion that your estimation of fandom applies to virtually everyone. In many ways this is even worse than simply making a blanket statement, because you can use it to try and weasel out of the fact that it IS in fact still an unsupported sweeping statement.
>
> > Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
>
> If I wanted to I could say "prove it" about that last statement. But me asking you prove it is as peripheral to me debating your main point as you raising it in the first place was towards defending your main thesis--your analysis of fandom.
>
> > Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> > This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
>
> Okay, this goes to proving the point you raised above, but you make another unsubstantiated claim--that a collaborative vision will be more successful than a singular one. You completely dismiss the possibility that in some cases collaboration can simply water a vision down instead of improving it.
>
> > Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
>
> Okay, fine. Most of us can agree with that ON PRINCIPAL. Maybe just not applied in the way you may be doing so...
>
> > So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices.
>
> And you know this how? Based on cherrypicking comments from a public messageboard? First, your own evaluation of them may be incorrect. Secondly, they may not be truly representative even of the environment you took them from. Third, your evaluation might not equally apply to ALL messageboards, or even moreso to fandom who don't post on message boards.
>
> > Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
>
> Again, you are presuming an awful lot, based on very little to no evidence.
>
> > The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
>
> This goes beyond mere presumption, as some earlier points have suffered from, and into an a virtually insoluble philosophical debate along the lines of "what is the subjective nature of reality" or "what is art" or any other gobbledygook thrown around coffee houses or beatnik poetry readings or wherever the current crowd performs mental masturbation. Its like advice from Yoda... "there is no good, there is no bad, there only IS!"
>
> Bull.
>
> This has been argued a million times here and elsewhere and I'm sure nothing I say will convince you of my opinion that there ARE absolutes of quality, just as I'm sure nothing you can say will convince me that "all art is subjective".
>
> For those reading this who ARE more likely to be convinced think about two things:
>
> 1.) the saying "I don't know what makes good art, but I know it when I see it".
>
> To me this timeless chestnut DOES actually have some meaning. I think its a statement about how we ALL have a somewhat built in compass which can differentiate bullshit from real "vision". Our sensitivities differ, but its there.
>
> 2.) storytelling, as an art form, is best received when its LOGICAL. A lot of the "it sucks" comments made by people about certain comic book story arcs happen when the chain of logic grows weak. Please note that a demand for logic is NOT the same as a demand for realism. Something can be wildly unrealistic, and can be a total masterpiece, of both art AND logic, because it is internally consistent. It sets "rules", even if fictional ones, and sticks to them. The "crap" the person I am responding to thinks doesn't exist is the stuff which isn't consistent.
>
> > Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
>
> Huh?
>
> I get the argument that new things need to be tried to arrive at new stories. What I DON'T get is the inevitable conclusion that certain expectations aren't good. For example, that "expectation" I talked about before about internal consistency. Within the realm of keeping something logical there are still billions of possibilities. And in the worst case? A comic company can always branch off into new creative directions with NEW characters. New settings. New universes. Or even, yes, reboots and recreations like the Ultimate line. What doesn't always make sense is breaking the chain of established history behind a character or series on a weak creative whim, which risks much for an entire franchise for very little potential payoff. And a company like Marvel has made a habit of doing this all too often. If you have to change something about the core of a character, there are always ways to do it which consider the past. But Marvel doesn't always take the trouble to reason them out.
>
> > You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about.
>
> Why is this "obvious"? It isn't to me. I don't think its true of all of these people, but I respect the right these posters have to have that opinion. Its not obvious that they are all universally wrong, as you insist, to dislike the creative visions of certain authors.
>
> > They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
>
> Maybe they are being overly simplistic with many of their comments, but you have done zero to prove that they are wrong in their opinions.
>
> > And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character.
>
> Okay... so he's a CHARACTER who's an idiot. Is that better?
>
> > More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
>
> Does having a literate motivation for his actions (although its a badly cobbled together one, not supported by many of his appearances) mean he's RIGHT? Characters can be wrong. If they are, might we not refer to them as "idiots"? Why not?
>
> > This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
>
> I'm sure they are glad to hear that from you. Again, maybe some posts could be less simplistic, but that doesn't make them invalid. And you can dismiss the simple, but are you really so sure you know what's actually in people's minds that they haven't communicated? Have you actually read every post, every opinion, to know for sure that all "fans" are thoughtless idiots? No. You don't.
>
> > The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
>
> Well, okay. You could be right. Its really a debate for another time, since our main focus is how smart or dumb fans are.
>
> > So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
>
> I guess you don't think much of your "friend". Again, how have you proved he's wrong? Or even if he is, how does that apply to millions of other fans with THEIR own opinions, who you have summarily dismissed because they don't see this as a golden age?
>
> > Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do.
>
> If I recall correctly, many of the best authors and illustrators in comic history grew out of fandom. You seem to be dismissing the very source of much of this talent you are lauding as "infallible".
>
> > Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
>
> Why drop those words? Maybe they should be used more intelligently, because they are hammers and not chisels, but at times they can be adequate. You yourself have used terms almost as strong to describe the fans who are reading these stories. I'm tempted to use them to describe your argument. They are just opinions.
>
> You have no idea of whats in people's minds and yet your arguments seem to all assume that you do. That they all somehow "don't get" something. That we don't understand the nature of art, and that critical thought is impossible from fandom. You dismiss the possibilities than creators are fallible, that stories can be illogical, that fan criticism can't even help direct misdirected creation. And even as you champion the creators, you also weaken them by insisting that joint creative visions driven by one creator contradicting another makes comics strong than a single singular vision maintained by a good editorial staff imposing limits which adhere to the original creator. Your arguments are all over the place when it comes to creators, basically. In one section of your argument they are sacred, in another interchangeable.
>
> As we do, you have the right to your opinion. I just buy very little of it. Sorry.


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
TC




> Damn you two are long-winded. I have had college level courses where the professors put less thought and effort into their lessons. I feel we dissenters have been a little unfairly labeled and lumped together. Sure, there are a lot of impulsive, unlearned folk that rip the current comics and creators for stupid or unfathomable reasons, but there is a number of bloggers that seem to lap up whatever is served to them and call it great for no logical reason that I can see.
>
> My biggest problem with the current main creators in the MU is completely altering the personality of characters and disregarding continuity whenever it isn't conveniant. One of the things that floored me when I started buying these things over 30 years ago was the creative vastness of the MU and how it all at least loosely tied together. That to me was cool and showed a lot of brilliance. It seemed to me that the entertaining inclusive world that Stan sheparded is now some sort of closed off castle where the peasants are screaming for something of substance and the royalty says let them eat cake.

I would like to know, what were some of these stores that you say you enjoyed as being interconnected? Having started reading in 1984, I missed all of the 60's, all of the 70's, and half of the 80's, so I do not have first-hand knowledge of how well Marvel did the interconnected/continuity thing after their legendary Silver Age. My impression is that it was strong all through Roy Thomas's heyday, and I know it was strong under Jim Shooter.

One of the things I love Marvel for these days is their copius reprints. I love the Essentials TPB's. As a kid I was always happy to get my hands on reprints of the stuff I'd missed. I loved my WARLOCK reprints, and my Moon Knight reprints, too.



Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
jarkoer




It's clear by several statements you've made that you feel yourself intellectually superior to most people here, but you're being insulting to the very people you claim to want to convince. People don't appreciate having their intelligence put into question or their positions (which they may feel passionately about) made into a charicature. I would also like to say that you are passionate about what you feel is correct just like everyone else here, but you need to work on your interpersonal skills. If you still have a copy of your freshman year English Composition textbook, please refer to the chapter dealing with the differing strategies to use with various types of audiences. It provides a good lesson in objectivity.

Any replies calling into question MY intelligence will not receive a response.

> ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> or, a plea that you do better.
>
> Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
>
> In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
>
> Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
>
> By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
>
> Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
>
> Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
>
> Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
>
> So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
>
> The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
>
> Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
>
> You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
>
> And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
>
> This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
>
> The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
>
> So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
>
> Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
>


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
Michael Hoskin




> These are all excellent points, and you're right in that I shouldn't have employed a hypothetical interlocutor -- read: straw man -- as a quote source.
>
> Gary Friedrich's SHIELD stories with Frank Springer suffer mainly because they're quite obviously trying to do Steranko stories without quite grasping Steranko's methodology. Friedrich had a decent, if unspectacular run on Iron Man and Springer was quite a capable artist, but their SHIELD run is like listening to an all-kazoo cover of "White Rabbit."

Even then, not all of their results were that dismal-- the Christmas story from NF#10 is fairly well-regarded. The most obvious attempt at aping Steranko were the double-page splashes that appeared mid-story in Steranko-fashion. The Friedrich-Springer collaboration was at its worst with #11 (the "Wild in the Streets" teens-conquer-US story), which definitely meets your appraisal of their work. NF#11 is quite possibly the worst Nick Fury story ever written (but still charming if you like your comics with camp).

However, I thought that the Friedrich-Trimpe issues (#13-15) were overall a much weaker collaboration, especially given that it spun out of a decent issue by Barry Windsor-Smith (#12) that was a lot closer to Steranko's spirit than anything else seen since his departure. Issues #13-15 pick up the idea of Fury being on the run from SHIELD, only to turn it all into a bad dream, then finally execute Fury in the last issue. Based on those issues, I would guess that Friedrich was stumped for ideas.

There's also that bizarre dropped plot point in #9 about Fury's eye possibly regaining its sight; thank goodness Friedrich never pursued it or he would have done some actual damage to the character by removing his best-known trademark. Compared to losing the eyepatch, killing Fury was no big deal. \:\-\)

MH


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 2000
Nitz the Bloody




Unfortunately, in the absence of bad, there can be no good; if you want to say that something is a quality work, there has to be the possibility of a lack of quality to make that statement mean anything. Bad comics do exist, otherwise we wouldn't have good comics by comparison.


Posted with Apple Safari on MacOS X
Spiffy




> If you were going to do that poor a job, you shouldn't have posted to begin with. I can't argue with you, because for the most part, you barely disagree with anything I said.

Of course I disagreed, and made it very clear. You failed to give proof of most of your assertions and I pointed that out. If you didn't get that this means that I disagreed with them, that's your lack of comprehension, not mine.

> It is not "debate" if you don't address what I actually say. If you restate what I say and then argue with that instead, then you're just shadowboxing.

I gave plenty of countering points, on the few occasions where you raised an issue which actually merited that. Mostly you just made sweeping statements and treated them as facts, without proof, and there's no "countering logic" to statements which aren't built on logic in the first place.

> The funny thing is, when I posted, I realized there would be two kinds of responses, those who agreed with me and those who didn't (of course). Since my main point is that comics fans should reconsider how they read and examine what they've read, so that many of them will stop cluttering the boards and running off at the mouth with their uninformed drivel. So, those who disagree with me may very well feel that I'm talking about them. Since I was VERY specific about the kind of low quality commentary I take issue with, I suppose that if you read what I wrote, and you think I'm talking about you, then I probably am.

This logic is so flawed I don't even know where to begin. Its basically "I'm smarter than you, and by disagreeing you've obviously proved my point". How can this even be countering without this all becoming about trading insults? You don't want people to disagree with you--you are looking for nothing but affirmation.

>
> All I can argue here is your semantics, because all you really did was twist my words around. Time and again you restate what I say erroneously, so that you can argue with what you want to argue with rather than my actual words. As I said, step up your reading game.

Lets say that I did somehow misconstrue everything you said. Rather than tell me how, you've chosen instead to simply say that I've done so without being specific.

> You didn't really make any real counterpoint except a repitition of: nuh-uh, not EVERYONE! Not ALL the time! Since I never made any such absolute statements, you debated against nothing I said. And so I have nothing to debate with you, other than your defense of the terms "suck" and "crap", when used in criticism.

All you had to do was point out how I've misconstrued you. And the "no not everyone" statement was only the first point I made. Later on I talked about other things you didn't consider in your argument. I spoke about how you blithely assert that a collaborative creative vision is better than a singular one, for example. How is that simply me saying "not everyone"? I think you stopped reading my response as soon as you disagreed with it.

> Let's face it, "Suck" refers to oral sex. When boys or men say it to each other, they are making a homosexual slur. That is all. It does not mean anything else, except in it's original use as a basic verb. And when you say something "sucks", you are accusing the other side of performing oral sex in a derogatory way. It is a sexual insult. If you really, truly think you can use that in some intelligent manner, or that it is somehow appropriate when discussing stories in a written forum, then yes, you are the kind of sub-par thinker and clutterer I am talking about.

Do a baby is performing oral sex when he sucks on a bottle?

The English language is pretty flexible--organic and constantly growing. Enough people use "suck" as a term to describe a lack of quality that its become generally accepted--apparently by most people other than you I guess. Maybe a high-brow term might SOUND better, but is it really all that different if someone said "it was of poor quality"? What's the difference?

> Ditto for the word "crap" or it's alternates. "Crap" describes a pile of feces. That is all. To apply it as a criticism to something is only to say that you don't like that thing in the most insulting way possible, while avoiding giving any reasons.

I accept the assertion that "suck", and even more so "crap" DO deliver an insult along with a rating of quality. That doesn't make them invalid, but yes, its not polite. And as a general rule politeness is preferable to consideration and respect. But you've taken this position that people aren't as polite as they could be to a whole new level and insist its about people being unintelligent. That doesn't follow. Not at all.

> Well, this was tedious. Think about what I said, because by the time I finished yur post, it was clear that you could really benefit.

Again, this is simply the "you don't agree with me, so obviously you aren't intelligent" approach to debate. It serves no one. Well, maybe it makes you feel better, but not anyone else reading it.

I'd like to think you had the best intentions with your original post, but I'm at a loss figuring out how it was supposed to actually benefit anyone to simply tell them that they aren't as smart as you if they don't agree, that its wrong to question creative visions, that a collaborative process always trumps a singular one, and yet at the same time while one particular creator is writing we dare not question, since apparently OUR part of the collaboration doesn't matter. If all you were really trying to say was "give the writers a chance to finish their stories before you nitpick and jump down their throats", that wouldn't have been so bad. But instead its all about how dumb we are for not "getting it".

>
> > The below is debate, not attack, so please read it with that in mind. I'm questioning the posters own words directly, point by point, and have no personal animus.
> >
> > ===============================================================
> >
> > I'm sorry, but with respect, a lot of what you argue is bull. Or at best, totally wrongheaded.
> >
> > > ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> > > or, a plea that you do better.
> > >
> > > Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
> > >
> > > In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
> > >
> > > Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
> >
> > This assertion demands proof. You may have seen fans who act like this, but your argument is structured towards defining EVERY fan that way. Bull. Okay... lets see what you do with the rest of the argument.
> >
> > > By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
> >
> > Okay, so you ARE trying to define scope. So maybe you don't literally mean EVERY fan. You give yourself an "out" to say "well it might not apply to you" to any individual arguing with you, while holding onto the assertion that your estimation of fandom applies to virtually everyone. In many ways this is even worse than simply making a blanket statement, because you can use it to try and weasel out of the fact that it IS in fact still an unsupported sweeping statement.
> >
> > > Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
> >
> > If I wanted to I could say "prove it" about that last statement. But me asking you prove it is as peripheral to me debating your main point as you raising it in the first place was towards defending your main thesis--your analysis of fandom.
> >
> > > Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> > > This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
> >
> > Okay, this goes to proving the point you raised above, but you make another unsubstantiated claim--that a collaborative vision will be more successful than a singular one. You completely dismiss the possibility that in some cases collaboration can simply water a vision down instead of improving it.
> >
> > > Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
> >
> > Okay, fine. Most of us can agree with that ON PRINCIPAL. Maybe just not applied in the way you may be doing so...
> >
> > > So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices.
> >
> > And you know this how? Based on cherrypicking comments from a public messageboard? First, your own evaluation of them may be incorrect. Secondly, they may not be truly representative even of the environment you took them from. Third, your evaluation might not equally apply to ALL messageboards, or even moreso to fandom who don't post on message boards.
> >
> > > Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
> >
> > Again, you are presuming an awful lot, based on very little to no evidence.
> >
> > > The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
> >
> > This goes beyond mere presumption, as some earlier points have suffered from, and into an a virtually insoluble philosophical debate along the lines of "what is the subjective nature of reality" or "what is art" or any other gobbledygook thrown around coffee houses or beatnik poetry readings or wherever the current crowd performs mental masturbation. Its like advice from Yoda... "there is no good, there is no bad, there only IS!"
> >
> > Bull.
> >
> > This has been argued a million times here and elsewhere and I'm sure nothing I say will convince you of my opinion that there ARE absolutes of quality, just as I'm sure nothing you can say will convince me that "all art is subjective".
> >
> > For those reading this who ARE more likely to be convinced think about two things:
> >
> > 1.) the saying "I don't know what makes good art, but I know it when I see it".
> >
> > To me this timeless chestnut DOES actually have some meaning. I think its a statement about how we ALL have a somewhat built in compass which can differentiate bullshit from real "vision". Our sensitivities differ, but its there.
> >
> > 2.) storytelling, as an art form, is best received when its LOGICAL. A lot of the "it sucks" comments made by people about certain comic book story arcs happen when the chain of logic grows weak. Please note that a demand for logic is NOT the same as a demand for realism. Something can be wildly unrealistic, and can be a total masterpiece, of both art AND logic, because it is internally consistent. It sets "rules", even if fictional ones, and sticks to them. The "crap" the person I am responding to thinks doesn't exist is the stuff which isn't consistent.
> >
> > > Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
> >
> > Huh?
> >
> > I get the argument that new things need to be tried to arrive at new stories. What I DON'T get is the inevitable conclusion that certain expectations aren't good. For example, that "expectation" I talked about before about internal consistency. Within the realm of keeping something logical there are still billions of possibilities. And in the worst case? A comic company can always branch off into new creative directions with NEW characters. New settings. New universes. Or even, yes, reboots and recreations like the Ultimate line. What doesn't always make sense is breaking the chain of established history behind a character or series on a weak creative whim, which risks much for an entire franchise for very little potential payoff. And a company like Marvel has made a habit of doing this all too often. If you have to change something about the core of a character, there are always ways to do it which consider the past. But Marvel doesn't always take the trouble to reason them out.
> >
> > > You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about.
> >
> > Why is this "obvious"? It isn't to me. I don't think its true of all of these people, but I respect the right these posters have to have that opinion. Its not obvious that they are all universally wrong, as you insist, to dislike the creative visions of certain authors.
> >
> > > They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
> >
> > Maybe they are being overly simplistic with many of their comments, but you have done zero to prove that they are wrong in their opinions.
> >
> > > And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character.
> >
> > Okay... so he's a CHARACTER who's an idiot. Is that better?
> >
> > > More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
> >
> > Does having a literate motivation for his actions (although its a badly cobbled together one, not supported by many of his appearances) mean he's RIGHT? Characters can be wrong. If they are, might we not refer to them as "idiots"? Why not?
> >
> > > This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
> >
> > I'm sure they are glad to hear that from you. Again, maybe some posts could be less simplistic, but that doesn't make them invalid. And you can dismiss the simple, but are you really so sure you know what's actually in people's minds that they haven't communicated? Have you actually read every post, every opinion, to know for sure that all "fans" are thoughtless idiots? No. You don't.
> >
> > > The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
> >
> > Well, okay. You could be right. Its really a debate for another time, since our main focus is how smart or dumb fans are.
> >
> > > So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
> >
> > I guess you don't think much of your "friend". Again, how have you proved he's wrong? Or even if he is, how does that apply to millions of other fans with THEIR own opinions, who you have summarily dismissed because they don't see this as a golden age?
> >
> > > Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do.
> >
> > If I recall correctly, many of the best authors and illustrators in comic history grew out of fandom. You seem to be dismissing the very source of much of this talent you are lauding as "infallible".
> >
> > > Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
> >
> > Why drop those words? Maybe they should be used more intelligently, because they are hammers and not chisels, but at times they can be adequate. You yourself have used terms almost as strong to describe the fans who are reading these stories. I'm tempted to use them to describe your argument. They are just opinions.
> >
> > You have no idea of whats in people's minds and yet your arguments seem to all assume that you do. That they all somehow "don't get" something. That we don't understand the nature of art, and that critical thought is impossible from fandom. You dismiss the possibilities than creators are fallible, that stories can be illogical, that fan criticism can't even help direct misdirected creation. And even as you champion the creators, you also weaken them by insisting that joint creative visions driven by one creator contradicting another makes comics strong than a single singular vision maintained by a good editorial staff imposing limits which adhere to the original creator. Your arguments are all over the place when it comes to creators, basically. In one section of your argument they are sacred, in another interchangeable.
> >
> > As we do, you have the right to your opinion. I just buy very little of it. Sorry.


Posted with Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.2pre on Linux
Spiffy




P.S. - [More to other readers than the guy I wrote this to--who is just going to use it as proof I'm not as "smart" as him anyway--even though he made his own typos in his post too]... Idiotically I forgot to put a password on the above post, and was distracted by some of the frustrating statements I was countering. So if I made any dumb spelling / typo mistakes in the above post, please forgive me. For example, I have no idea how I typed "Do a baby" instead of "Is a baby". Or "countering" instead of "countered". Again, my apologies for trying to assert intelligence, while too pissed off to match the actions of my fingers to my brain.

> > If you were going to do that poor a job, you shouldn't have posted to begin with. I can't argue with you, because for the most part, you barely disagree with anything I said.
>
> Of course I disagreed, and made it very clear. You failed to give proof of most of your assertions and I pointed that out. If you didn't get that this means that I disagreed with them, that's your lack of comprehension, not mine.
>
> > It is not "debate" if you don't address what I actually say. If you restate what I say and then argue with that instead, then you're just shadowboxing.
>
> I gave plenty of countering points, on the few occasions where you raised an issue which actually merited that. Mostly you just made sweeping statements and treated them as facts, without proof, and there's no "countering logic" to statements which aren't built on logic in the first place.
>
> > The funny thing is, when I posted, I realized there would be two kinds of responses, those who agreed with me and those who didn't (of course). Since my main point is that comics fans should reconsider how they read and examine what they've read, so that many of them will stop cluttering the boards and running off at the mouth with their uninformed drivel. So, those who disagree with me may very well feel that I'm talking about them. Since I was VERY specific about the kind of low quality commentary I take issue with, I suppose that if you read what I wrote, and you think I'm talking about you, then I probably am.
>
> This logic is so flawed I don't even know where to begin. Its basically "I'm smarter than you, and by disagreeing you've obviously proved my point". How can this even be countering without this all becoming about trading insults? You don't want people to disagree with you--you are looking for nothing but affirmation.
>
> >
> > All I can argue here is your semantics, because all you really did was twist my words around. Time and again you restate what I say erroneously, so that you can argue with what you want to argue with rather than my actual words. As I said, step up your reading game.
>
> Lets say that I did somehow misconstrue everything you said. Rather than tell me how, you've chosen instead to simply say that I've done so without being specific.
>
> > You didn't really make any real counterpoint except a repitition of: nuh-uh, not EVERYONE! Not ALL the time! Since I never made any such absolute statements, you debated against nothing I said. And so I have nothing to debate with you, other than your defense of the terms "suck" and "crap", when used in criticism.
>
> All you had to do was point out how I've misconstrued you. And the "no not everyone" statement was only the first point I made. Later on I talked about other things you didn't consider in your argument. I spoke about how you blithely assert that a collaborative creative vision is better than a singular one, for example. How is that simply me saying "not everyone"? I think you stopped reading my response as soon as you disagreed with it.
>
> > Let's face it, "Suck" refers to oral sex. When boys or men say it to each other, they are making a homosexual slur. That is all. It does not mean anything else, except in it's original use as a basic verb. And when you say something "sucks", you are accusing the other side of performing oral sex in a derogatory way. It is a sexual insult. If you really, truly think you can use that in some intelligent manner, or that it is somehow appropriate when discussing stories in a written forum, then yes, you are the kind of sub-par thinker and clutterer I am talking about.
>
> Do a baby is performing oral sex when he sucks on a bottle?
>
> The English language is pretty flexible--organic and constantly growing. Enough people use "suck" as a term to describe a lack of quality that its become generally accepted--apparently by most people other than you I guess. Maybe a high-brow term might SOUND better, but is it really all that different if someone said "it was of poor quality"? What's the difference?
>
> > Ditto for the word "crap" or it's alternates. "Crap" describes a pile of feces. That is all. To apply it as a criticism to something is only to say that you don't like that thing in the most insulting way possible, while avoiding giving any reasons.
>
> I accept the assertion that "suck", and even more so "crap" DO deliver an insult along with a rating of quality. That doesn't make them invalid, but yes, its not polite. And as a general rule politeness is preferable to consideration and respect. But you've taken this position that people aren't as polite as they could be to a whole new level and insist its about people being unintelligent. That doesn't follow. Not at all.
>
> > Well, this was tedious. Think about what I said, because by the time I finished yur post, it was clear that you could really benefit.
>
> Again, this is simply the "you don't agree with me, so obviously you aren't intelligent" approach to debate. It serves no one. Well, maybe it makes you feel better, but not anyone else reading it.
>
> I'd like to think you had the best intentions with your original post, but I'm at a loss figuring out how it was supposed to actually benefit anyone to simply tell them that they aren't as smart as you if they don't agree, that its wrong to question creative visions, that a collaborative process always trumps a singular one, and yet at the same time while one particular creator is writing we dare not question, since apparently OUR part of the collaboration doesn't matter. If all you were really trying to say was "give the writers a chance to finish their stories before you nitpick and jump down their throats", that wouldn't have been so bad. But instead its all about how dumb we are for not "getting it".
>
> >
> > > The below is debate, not attack, so please read it with that in mind. I'm questioning the posters own words directly, point by point, and have no personal animus.
> > >
> > > ===============================================================
> > >
> > > I'm sorry, but with respect, a lot of what you argue is bull. Or at best, totally wrongheaded.
> > >
> > > > ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> > > > or, a plea that you do better.
> > > >
> > > > Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
> > > >
> > > > In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
> > > >
> > > > Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
> > >
> > > This assertion demands proof. You may have seen fans who act like this, but your argument is structured towards defining EVERY fan that way. Bull. Okay... lets see what you do with the rest of the argument.
> > >
> > > > By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
> > >
> > > Okay, so you ARE trying to define scope. So maybe you don't literally mean EVERY fan. You give yourself an "out" to say "well it might not apply to you" to any individual arguing with you, while holding onto the assertion that your estimation of fandom applies to virtually everyone. In many ways this is even worse than simply making a blanket statement, because you can use it to try and weasel out of the fact that it IS in fact still an unsupported sweeping statement.
> > >
> > > > Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
> > >
> > > If I wanted to I could say "prove it" about that last statement. But me asking you prove it is as peripheral to me debating your main point as you raising it in the first place was towards defending your main thesis--your analysis of fandom.
> > >
> > > > Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> > > > This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
> > >
> > > Okay, this goes to proving the point you raised above, but you make another unsubstantiated claim--that a collaborative vision will be more successful than a singular one. You completely dismiss the possibility that in some cases collaboration can simply water a vision down instead of improving it.
> > >
> > > > Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
> > >
> > > Okay, fine. Most of us can agree with that ON PRINCIPAL. Maybe just not applied in the way you may be doing so...
> > >
> > > > So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices.
> > >
> > > And you know this how? Based on cherrypicking comments from a public messageboard? First, your own evaluation of them may be incorrect. Secondly, they may not be truly representative even of the environment you took them from. Third, your evaluation might not equally apply to ALL messageboards, or even moreso to fandom who don't post on message boards.
> > >
> > > > Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
> > >
> > > Again, you are presuming an awful lot, based on very little to no evidence.
> > >
> > > > The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
> > >
> > > This goes beyond mere presumption, as some earlier points have suffered from, and into an a virtually insoluble philosophical debate along the lines of "what is the subjective nature of reality" or "what is art" or any other gobbledygook thrown around coffee houses or beatnik poetry readings or wherever the current crowd performs mental masturbation. Its like advice from Yoda... "there is no good, there is no bad, there only IS!"
> > >
> > > Bull.
> > >
> > > This has been argued a million times here and elsewhere and I'm sure nothing I say will convince you of my opinion that there ARE absolutes of quality, just as I'm sure nothing you can say will convince me that "all art is subjective".
> > >
> > > For those reading this who ARE more likely to be convinced think about two things:
> > >
> > > 1.) the saying "I don't know what makes good art, but I know it when I see it".
> > >
> > > To me this timeless chestnut DOES actually have some meaning. I think its a statement about how we ALL have a somewhat built in compass which can differentiate bullshit from real "vision". Our sensitivities differ, but its there.
> > >
> > > 2.) storytelling, as an art form, is best received when its LOGICAL. A lot of the "it sucks" comments made by people about certain comic book story arcs happen when the chain of logic grows weak. Please note that a demand for logic is NOT the same as a demand for realism. Something can be wildly unrealistic, and can be a total masterpiece, of both art AND logic, because it is internally consistent. It sets "rules", even if fictional ones, and sticks to them. The "crap" the person I am responding to thinks doesn't exist is the stuff which isn't consistent.
> > >
> > > > Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
> > >
> > > Huh?
> > >
> > > I get the argument that new things need to be tried to arrive at new stories. What I DON'T get is the inevitable conclusion that certain expectations aren't good. For example, that "expectation" I talked about before about internal consistency. Within the realm of keeping something logical there are still billions of possibilities. And in the worst case? A comic company can always branch off into new creative directions with NEW characters. New settings. New universes. Or even, yes, reboots and recreations like the Ultimate line. What doesn't always make sense is breaking the chain of established history behind a character or series on a weak creative whim, which risks much for an entire franchise for very little potential payoff. And a company like Marvel has made a habit of doing this all too often. If you have to change something about the core of a character, there are always ways to do it which consider the past. But Marvel doesn't always take the trouble to reason them out.
> > >
> > > > You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about.
> > >
> > > Why is this "obvious"? It isn't to me. I don't think its true of all of these people, but I respect the right these posters have to have that opinion. Its not obvious that they are all universally wrong, as you insist, to dislike the creative visions of certain authors.
> > >
> > > > They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
> > >
> > > Maybe they are being overly simplistic with many of their comments, but you have done zero to prove that they are wrong in their opinions.
> > >
> > > > And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character.
> > >
> > > Okay... so he's a CHARACTER who's an idiot. Is that better?
> > >
> > > > More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
> > >
> > > Does having a literate motivation for his actions (although its a badly cobbled together one, not supported by many of his appearances) mean he's RIGHT? Characters can be wrong. If they are, might we not refer to them as "idiots"? Why not?
> > >
> > > > This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
> > >
> > > I'm sure they are glad to hear that from you. Again, maybe some posts could be less simplistic, but that doesn't make them invalid. And you can dismiss the simple, but are you really so sure you know what's actually in people's minds that they haven't communicated? Have you actually read every post, every opinion, to know for sure that all "fans" are thoughtless idiots? No. You don't.
> > >
> > > > The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
> > >
> > > Well, okay. You could be right. Its really a debate for another time, since our main focus is how smart or dumb fans are.
> > >
> > > > So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
> > >
> > > I guess you don't think much of your "friend". Again, how have you proved he's wrong? Or even if he is, how does that apply to millions of other fans with THEIR own opinions, who you have summarily dismissed because they don't see this as a golden age?
> > >
> > > > Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do.
> > >
> > > If I recall correctly, many of the best authors and illustrators in comic history grew out of fandom. You seem to be dismissing the very source of much of this talent you are lauding as "infallible".
> > >
> > > > Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
> > >
> > > Why drop those words? Maybe they should be used more intelligently, because they are hammers and not chisels, but at times they can be adequate. You yourself have used terms almost as strong to describe the fans who are reading these stories. I'm tempted to use them to describe your argument. They are just opinions.
> > >
> > > You have no idea of whats in people's minds and yet your arguments seem to all assume that you do. That they all somehow "don't get" something. That we don't understand the nature of art, and that critical thought is impossible from fandom. You dismiss the possibilities than creators are fallible, that stories can be illogical, that fan criticism can't even help direct misdirected creation. And even as you champion the creators, you also weaken them by insisting that joint creative visions driven by one creator contradicting another makes comics strong than a single singular vision maintained by a good editorial staff imposing limits which adhere to the original creator. Your arguments are all over the place when it comes to creators, basically. In one section of your argument they are sacred, in another interchangeable.
> > >
> > > As we do, you have the right to your opinion. I just buy very little of it. Sorry.


Posted with Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.2pre on Linux
Omar Karindu




> > These are all excellent points, and you're right in that I shouldn't have employed a hypothetical interlocutor -- read: straw man -- as a quote source.
> >
> > Gary Friedrich's SHIELD stories with Frank Springer suffer mainly because they're quite obviously trying to do Steranko stories without quite grasping Steranko's methodology. Friedrich had a decent, if unspectacular run on Iron Man and Springer was quite a capable artist, but their SHIELD run is like listening to an all-kazoo cover of "White Rabbit."
>
> Even then, not all of their results were that dismal-- the Christmas story from NF#10 is fairly well-regarded. The most obvious attempt at aping Steranko were the double-page splashes that appeared mid-story in Steranko-fashion.

Well, that and the sorts of Eisneresque images -- like the cover to #10, or the record imagery that opens #11 -- that Steranko was aping from old Spirit stories. But I've honestly never been that fond of the weirdly episodic Hate-Monger series as a whole...even #10 presents the bizarre spectacle of a Hitler-clone's biowarfare scheme being accidentally foiled by Santa Claus. (Are you sure you aren't thinking of #9, which was a decent enough tale?) For one thing, the stories, IIRC, are all effectively separate, despite all featuring the same villain...and killing him off at the finish. Taken as an arc, it doesn't work at all, even if Peter B. Gillis, years later, explained how the resurrections worked.

I will admit that I love that visual of the Hate-Monger being tossed into space in #11, aping as it was of Baron Strucker's similar "wrong door" death under Steranko, probably because I encountered it in the OHOTMU and spent years trying to work out what story it was from.

> The Friedrich-Springer collaboration was at its worst with #11 (the "Wild in the Streets" teens-conquer-US story), which definitely meets your appraisal of their work. NF#11 is quite possibly the worst Nick Fury story ever written (but still charming if you like your comics with camp).

This was quite bad, including the disastrous effort at a "cold open" featuring a hateful rock band and rather tame psychedelic imagery. Straight out of a 50s exploitation film, that was.

> However, I thought that the Friedrich-Trimpe issues (#13-15) were overall a much weaker collaboration, especially given that it spun out of a decent issue by Barry Windsor-Smith (#12) that was a lot closer to Steranko's spirit than anything else seen since his departure. Issues #13-15 pick up the idea of Fury being on the run from SHIELD, only to turn it all into a bad dream, then finally execute Fury in the last issue. Based on those issues, I would guess that Friedrich was stumped for ideas.

I'd blocked those from my mind, apparently, but I must agree. They're down there with Gerry Conway's resolution of his Mr. Kline story, which managed to range across three titles for something close to half a year without making a lick of sense. We did get the Man-Bull out of it, though.

Come to think of it, Kline and the Black Lama (another initially promising arc with a crap conclusion) share in common the sense that they started out as plot devices to let the writer introduce lots of new villains in a short period of time, and ended by requiring explanations that were half-baked and overly convoluted.

> There's also that bizarre dropped plot point in #9 about Fury's eye possibly regaining its sight; thank goodness Friedrich never pursued it or he would have done some actual damage to the character by removing his best-known trademark. Compared to losing the eyepatch, killing Fury was no big deal. \:\-\)
>
> MH

Heh, well, and it inaugurated a grand tradition of LMD fakeouts. Pity it led into a prototype of the Hobgoblin confusion what with Scorpio's ID turning out to be Jake Fury, despite the impossibility of that being the original concept based on publication dates.

By the way, about your "parable of doom"/Strucker speculations -- Centurius uses the same phrase in SHIELD #2 to describe his "ark" plan, so it may just be that Steranko liked the phrase...or perhaps he was builing to something. We'll never know, will we?

- Omar Karindu

"A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It
displeased me." -- Doctor Doom

"It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey


Posted with Apple Safari on MacOS X
Michael Hoskin




> > > Gary Friedrich's SHIELD stories with Frank Springer suffer mainly because they're quite obviously trying to do Steranko stories without quite grasping Steranko's methodology. Friedrich had a decent, if unspectacular run on Iron Man and Springer was quite a capable artist, but their SHIELD run is like listening to an all-kazoo cover of "White Rabbit."
> >
> > Even then, not all of their results were that dismal-- the Christmas story from NF#10 is fairly well-regarded. The most obvious attempt at aping Steranko were the double-page splashes that appeared mid-story in Steranko-fashion.
>
> Well, that and the sorts of Eisneresque images -- like the cover to #10, or the record imagery that opens #11 -- that Steranko was aping from old Spirit stories. But I've honestly never been that fond of the weirdly episodic Hate-Monger series as a whole...even #10 presents the bizarre spectacle of a Hitler-clone's biowarfare scheme being accidentally foiled by Santa Claus. (Are you sure you aren't thinking of #9, which was a decent enough tale?)

I didn't care much for #9, I thought the Steranko-aping was clumsy and interrupted the story (only to find even clumsier aping in #11). Also, there was the reintroduction of Laura Brown which seemed (strangely enough) to have been done to spite Steranko's fans.*

> For one thing, the stories, IIRC, are all effectively separate, despite all featuring the same villain...and killing him off at the finish. Taken as an arc, it doesn't work at all, even if Peter B. Gillis, years later, explained how the resurrections worked.

It really doesn't help that the Hate-Monger is killed off at the start and the finish.

> I will admit that I love that visual of the Hate-Monger being tossed into space in #11, aping as it was of Baron Strucker's similar "wrong door" death under Steranko, probably because I encountered it in the OHOTMU and spent years trying to work out what story it was from.

It is a good visual, true.

> > The Friedrich-Springer collaboration was at its worst with #11 (the "Wild in the Streets" teens-conquer-US story), which definitely meets your appraisal of their work. NF#11 is quite possibly the worst Nick Fury story ever written (but still charming if you like your comics with camp).
>
> This was quite bad, including the disastrous effort at a "cold open" featuring a hateful rock band and rather tame psychedelic imagery. Straight out of a 50s exploitation film, that was.

To quote my comment from the Appendix's Hate-Monger entry: "The Hate-Monger's appearances in Nick Fury are some truly bad comics. Throughout, artist Frank Springer attempted to emulate Jim Steranko's work on the series, most noticeably with the two-page spreads that would appear in every story, and the attempts at psychedelicism and surrealism. But nothing, absolutely nothing can compare to issue #11, where the young people of America conquer the country, like something from the movie Wild in the Streets. For, you see, the American people are helpless against their own youth. You can tell this story was written before the Kent State shootings."

> > However, I thought that the Friedrich-Trimpe issues (#13-15) were overall a much weaker collaboration, especially given that it spun out of a decent issue by Barry Windsor-Smith (#12) that was a lot closer to Steranko's spirit than anything else seen since his departure. Issues #13-15 pick up the idea of Fury being on the run from SHIELD, only to turn it all into a bad dream, then finally execute Fury in the last issue. Based on those issues, I would guess that Friedrich was stumped for ideas.
>
> I'd blocked those from my mind, apparently, but I must agree. They're down there with Gerry Conway's resolution of his Mr. Kline story, which managed to range across three titles for something close to half a year without making a lick of sense. We did get the Man-Bull out of it, though.

And we nearly saw the cancellation of Daredevil & Iron Man, for that matter. Mr. Kline is the Ron Pearlman of super-villains.

> Come to think of it, Kline and the Black Lama (another initially promising arc with a crap conclusion) share in common the sense that they started out as plot devices to let the writer introduce lots of new villains in a short period of time, and ended by requiring explanations that were half-baked and overly convoluted.

It's a pity that the resolution to Black Lama had to be so crappy; it would have been better to leave the character unresolved than to inflict such a lame origin story on the readership.

> > There's also that bizarre dropped plot point in #9 about Fury's eye possibly regaining its sight; thank goodness Friedrich never pursued it or he would have done some actual damage to the character by removing his best-known trademark. Compared to losing the eyepatch, killing Fury was no big deal. \:\-\)
> >
> Heh, well, and it inaugurated a grand tradition of LMD fakeouts.

Yes...the worst thing to happen to the LMDs in that they became plot devices. It reached its absolute highest stupidity with Fury's second death, which, we were assured, was most definitely not an LMD. So how did they bring him back? It was an LMD that couldn't be recognized as an LMD. Could you be more transparent?

> Pity it led into a prototype of the Hobgoblin confusion what with Scorpio's ID turning out to be Jake Fury, despite the impossibility of that being the original concept based on publication dates.
>
> By the way, about your "parable of doom"/Strucker speculations -- Centurius uses the same phrase in SHIELD #2 to describe his "ark" plan, so it may just be that Steranko liked the phrase...or perhaps he was builing to something. We'll never know, will we?

Considering how Steranko's other two SHIELD epics brought in Strucker and Doom at their respective conclusions, I imagine that he was planning something. I wish it had been him who wrapped up the Scorpio plot. Kraft's resolution is probably the best thing he ever wrote, but it was the end of Scorpio as a compelling super-villain; he'd gone from an intriguing mystery man who could beat Fury at his own game to a recriminating drunken bozo.

> "It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey

Thanks for linking this blog, by the way-- I've been visiting it regularly the past few weeks since you started signing with it.

MH

*=There was a great deal of opposition to the introduction of Val De Fontaine during Steranko's issues, and the letters page revealed a number of fans calling for her removal and for Laura Brown to be brought back. Friedrich seemed to be sympathetic, and intentionally or not, he ignored Val and the other Steranko creations. 40 years later, Laura is a barely-remembered footnote, and Val is the definitive Fury love interest.


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 2000
cynical reader




> > Damn you two are long-winded. I have had college level courses where the professors put less thought and effort into their lessons. I feel we dissenters have been a little unfairly labeled and lumped together. Sure, there are a lot of impulsive, unlearned folk that rip the current comics and creators for stupid or unfathomable reasons, but there is a number of bloggers that seem to lap up whatever is served to them and call it great for no logical reason that I can see.
> >
> > My biggest problem with the current main creators in the MU is completely altering the personality of characters and disregarding continuity whenever it isn't conveniant. One of the things that floored me when I started buying these things over 30 years ago was the creative vastness of the MU and how it all at least loosely tied together. That to me was cool and showed a lot of brilliance. It seemed to me that the entertaining inclusive world that Stan sheparded is now some sort of closed off castle where the peasants are screaming for something of substance and the royalty says let them eat cake.
>
> I would like to know, what were some of these stores that you say you enjoyed as being interconnected? Having started reading in 1984, I missed all of the 60's, all of the 70's, and half of the 80's, so I do not have first-hand knowledge of how well Marvel did the interconnected/continuity thing after their legendary Silver Age. My impression is that it was strong all through Roy Thomas's heyday, and I know it was strong under Jim Shooter.
>
> One of the things I love Marvel for these days is their copius reprints. I love the Essentials TPB's. As a kid I was always happy to get my hands on reprints of the stuff I'd missed. I loved my WARLOCK reprints, and my Moon Knight reprints, too.

I am too lazy to go digging for specifics and really what I was talking about was the general overall care taken in a somewhat cohesive universe. This could mean little things such as "This story takes place before Amazing Spider Man #161" Or maybe referencing a villans last appearance and who he fought and so forth. The general feeling was that the writers and editors legitimately cared about the product as a whole and your enjoyment of it.
>


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
?




I mean I'm not quite old enough to have a "the good old day" I'm 19 and I bought my first comic in the first grade. However that is a bit of a pre-non-sequider to what I'm about to say but still valid to the top point.

I think there are quite a few reasons why people did not dig Civil War. I can only give my own, first I'd like to say the satellite books (or at least the ones I read) where great to passible, however I found the actual Civil War comic unevenly spaced out, lacking vitil information to what was supposidly the core book, and just plain poorly written. Now another thing to remember is these aren't Millar's charecters they have there own hisories he has to be mindful of, he was not. I feel that also the idea of this extending is sort of a limited rift soon it will be,oh the new avengers are still on the run and trying to take down Iron Man." Or "oh, look Peter is still in hiding." It can't last. All this coupled with me like I think most people am just sick to freaking death of big events to reshape every thing. I'm not going to go into how insulted I was that Paul Jenkins presumed to say what America is, I found it insulting. Anyway I would like to disprove your theory with one nae: Ed Brubaker, he is right now Marvel's most beloved writer and he has shaken up every title he's worked on and continues to move foreward.

P.S. The line is," Todd was two space years older." and it wasn't leanard skinnard or freebird, it was Taking care of business and the workin' over time part







> ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> or, a plea that you do better.
>
> Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
>
> In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
>
> Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
>
> By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
>
> Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
>
> Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
>
> Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
>
> So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
>
> The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
>
> Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
>
> You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
>
> And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
>
> This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
>
> The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
>
> So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
>
> Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
>


Posted with Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.3 on Windows XP
Jeff Harvey




> I mean I'm not quite old enough to have a "the good old day" I'm 19 and I bought my first comic in the first grade. However that is a bit of a pre-non-sequider to what I'm about to say but still valid to the top point.
>
> I think there are quite a few reasons why people did not dig Civil War. I can only give my own, first I'd like to say the satellite books (or at least the ones I read) where great to passible, however I found the actual Civil War comic unevenly spaced out, lacking vitil information to what was supposidly the core book, and just plain poorly written. Now another thing to remember is these aren't Millar's charecters they have there own hisories he has to be mindful of, he was not. I feel that also the idea of this extending is sort of a limited rift soon it will be,oh the new avengers are still on the run and trying to take down Iron Man." Or "oh, look Peter is still in hiding." It can't last. All this coupled with me like I think most people am just sick to freaking death of big events to reshape every thing. I'm not going to go into how insulted I was that Paul Jenkins presumed to say what America is, I found it insulting. Anyway I would like to disprove your theory with one nae: Ed Brubaker, he is right now Marvel's most beloved writer and he has shaken up every title he's worked on and continues to move foreward.
>
> P.S. The line is," Todd was two space years older." and it wasn't leanard skinnard or freebird, it was Taking care of business and the workin' over time part
>
>
It's Lynyrd Skynynd and "Takin' Care of Business" is a Bachman-Turner
Overdrive song

>
>
>
>
>
> > ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> > or, a plea that you do better.
> >
> > Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
> >
> > In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
> >
> > Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
> >
> > By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
> >
> > Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
> >
> > Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> > This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
> >
> > Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
> >
> > So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
> >
> > The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
> >
> > Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
> >
> > You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
> >
> > And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
> >
> > This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
> >
> > The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
> >
> > So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
> >
> > Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
> >


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP
?




> > I mean I'm not quite old enough to have a "the good old day" I'm 19 and I bought my first comic in the first grade. However that is a bit of a pre-non-sequider to what I'm about to say but still valid to the top point.
> >
> > I think there are quite a few reasons why people did not dig Civil War. I can only give my own, first I'd like to say the satellite books (or at least the ones I read) where great to passible, however I found the actual Civil War comic unevenly spaced out, lacking vitil information to what was supposidly the core book, and just plain poorly written. Now another thing to remember is these aren't Millar's charecters they have there own hisories he has to be mindful of, he was not. I feel that also the idea of this extending is sort of a limited rift soon it will be,oh the new avengers are still on the run and trying to take down Iron Man." Or "oh, look Peter is still in hiding." It can't last. All this coupled with me like I think most people am just sick to freaking death of big events to reshape every thing. I'm not going to go into how insulted I was that Paul Jenkins presumed to say what America is, I found it insulting. Anyway I would like to disprove your theory with one nae: Ed Brubaker, he is right now Marvel's most beloved writer and he has shaken up every title he's worked on and continues to move foreward.
> >
> > P.S. The line is," Todd was two space years older." and it wasn't leanard skinnard or freebird, it was Taking care of business and the workin' over time part
> >
> >
> It's Lynyrd Skynynd and "Takin' Care of Business" is a Bachman-Turner
> Overdrive song
I'm aware Takin'n care of ussiness isn't Lynard Skynyd, we may be talking about two differant episodes, The scene I'm refering to is Lisa's class is playing at the stae fair, but before Hoer and Bart listen to Bachman-Turner overdrive
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > ROD, TOD, AND HOMER THEORY OF FANDOM
> > > or, a plea that you do better.
> > >
> > > Some of you may remember a couple of scenes from THE SIMPSONS. In one, Lisa is babysitting the neighbors’ children, Rod and Tod. The younger boy asks her for a bedtime story, and before she can think of one, he continues, “…about TWO ROBOTS! Named ROD AND TOD!!!” So, Lisa begins to tell this story, making it up as she tells it. “Once upon a time there were two robots,” and the boy is pleased, “Named Rod and Tod…” and the boy smiles, “And one of the robots was just a little bit older than the other one…” and the boy shudders and hides under his covers, wailing, “I don’t like this story!”
> > >
> > > In the second, Homer is at a fair where Lynrd Skynrd is playing. They announce that they’d like to play some new material that they’re happy with, but Homer is in the audience bellowing, “PLAY FREEBIRD!!!!” Since he won’t stop, they sigh and start playing the song. Still not happy, Homer yells, “NO! PLAY THAT PART THAT GOES ‘DEERN-DRRUN-DRRINNNN’!!!”, leaving the unhappy musicians forced to play three notes over and over again, at which point a satisfied Homer pulls out his lighter and begins swaying happily.
> > >
> > > Both of the above illustrate a perceptual flaw in comics fandom and how they set their expectations; the demand that comics companies produce the exact stories the readers already expect. Any deviation from what the reader wants is treated as an atrocity from the start.
> > >
> > > By “fandom”, I mean a great many of you; you readers that post on message boards and blogs, who write letters to the companies, who stand around and often work at comics shops and talk about what’s going on, or who go on at great length to anyone who will listen. I have heard it in every forum. So many of these “readers” don’t understand what comics are.
> > >
> > > Comics are a form of literature, and a very special form at that, because unlike most mediums, these are stories can continue and develop for generations. The stories about a given hero can be looked at in different eras and enjoyed on many levels, for the stories themselves, for the different styles of art, the varying qualities of production, of dialogue, or how the stories reflect, or deny, the times in which they are produced. All of this is fascinating, and what it means is that comics have more potential than most other storytelling mediums.
> > >
> > > Really. As derided and overlooked as comics are, they actually have the potential to bring stories to more vivid life movies than can, or then most novelists can, or than TV can.
> > > This is because comics have all the time in the world to tell their stories, and because they are a collaborative effort, which invite input from many creative minds.
> > >
> > > Literature is an art. It is the dramatization of vital themes, and reflections on the nature of life. There may be those who feel that comics shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other forms of lit, but I throw that right back in your faces. Comics that are not literate are not worth a fraction of the paper they are printed on.
> > >
> > > So, onto fans, and the issue I take with them. Comics draw a wide and varied base of fans. It is the nature of comics fans to imagine that they become experts on the subject pretty quickly, but many of these fans do not have more than basic reading skills, and no ability to recognize the presence or absence of literary themes or even devices. Even so, they blare their angry criticisms and denunciations at full volume. Most fans have no idea what is involved in writing, or editing, or drawing a comics story, but are more than eager to mouth off that a given writer or artist “sucks”, or that a story “sucked”, or that a whole company is no good, or that an editor-in-chief doesn’t know his job.
> > >
> > > The reality is, no, that writer does not “suck”, and that artist does not “suck”. You, the griping fan, may not have been turned on or titillated in the exact way you wanted to be by their story or art, but that is a matter of taste, and more often than not, it is matter of what expectations you had to begin with, expectations which may or may not have grasped a story’s actual possibilities, and which the writer had no way of knowing in advance.
> > >
> > > Which is good, because if stories are written to meet an audience’s expectations, they are pointless. That kind of readership may as well just read whatever past chapters they liked over and over again, like Homer and his favorite three notes, instead of demanding that they be repeated in the place of new product. They may as well stop reading new things, and just close their eyes, and imagine their own Rod and Tod Robot stories. Or write their own, which will just be repetitions of other writers work.
> > >
> > > You might be this kind of fan, because it’s not a rare breed. Here on the Comicboards, you can go to any page and find reams and reams of this kind of correspondence, this kind of obnoxious, insulting diatribes. I have read posts that say that Brian Michael Bendis is a bad writer, or that Mark Millar is a bad writer, or J. M. Straczynski, or Chuck Austen, or that Joe Quesada is a bad editor-in-chief (that one is hilarious; what do ANY of these goofballs know about being an editor-in-chief??). I have read posts that claim that Alan Moore writes “unimaginative crap”, and posts that claim that this is the worst era ever for Marvel comics, or for comics in general. Obviously, NONE of these people know what they are talking about. They aren’t well versed in even very recent comics history. They do not know what is involved in writing a story, or about visual storytelling, or writing dialogue. All they know is that if their immediate expectations are not met exactly, then the writer must be bad, the artist must be bad, the editor must be an idiot, the book must “suck”, and so on.
> > >
> > > And below, just in time to provide an example, we have another genius, Halo82, with his “A post CW Marvel and the SHRA is still a flaming pile of crap and Tony is an idiot” post. Well, no, “Tony” is not an idiot, he is a character. More importantly, within the context of Civil War, he is a literary comment on the nature of commitment. Do you commit to something for only as long as all your friends agree with you? Do you stick it out even to the point of doing things you don’t want to do, because you believe that your goal is necessary? How close does this come to “the ends justify the means”?
> > >
> > > This is good, thought provoking stuff. All the fanboy hatred for the Iron Man character over the past year, and I haven’t read more than one or two posts that acknowledge this, and that this is the major (not the only) point of the whole story. These are readers who do not recognize what they read.
> > >
> > > The truth is, these are very exciting days for comics. I have been reading regularly since 1984, and I have seen many eras and styles come and go. What we are seeing in mainstream comics today is a whole new level of development. We saw something like this in the late 80’s at DC pre and post Crisis, and before that you have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Silver Age for this kind of innovation. Well trained and educated, high quality writers are being given a lot of freedom to work, and the result is that comics stories are being pushed into new directions. This is all for the better.
> > >
> > > So, my call to fandom is this: be a little self-aware. A very good friend of mine told me that the recent issue of Waid and Perez's BRAVE AND BOLD “pissed him off” because it was too wordy. This same guy hated the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (the art “sucked”, he prefers Michael Turner) and Frank Miller’s work on DAREDEVIL for big “too wordy” and couldn’t get through WATCHMEN. See what he missed out on? If something is “too wordy’ it’s not because Frank Miller “sucks”. You need to step up your reading game. While most fans are not quite THAT handicapped, most DO need to step up their game to a large degree.
> > >
> > > Set aside your weird hatreds and jealousies, set aside your preconceived notions and unreasonable expectations. You are not professional writers, or artists, or editors, and should not be judging and denouncing those who are as if you could do what they do. Drop the words "suck" and "crap" from your vocabulary. True, a story may not be exactly what you want it to be. I tell you this: If you look at a story for WHAT IT IS, rather than for what it is NOT, you will find a lot more enjoyment and surprise in what you read. You will stop missing out on good work.
> > >


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> It's clear by several statements you've made that you feel yourself intellectually superior to most people here,...

Going purely on the way the people in question present themselves in writing, I have to say, "yeah...". Spiffy down there accused me of thinking I could read people's minds... Again, all I go on in this matter is what the posters (or my friends actually say). There is no need for me to read minds or make assumptions, because they'veput it all in writing. Usually very poorly.

>... but you're being insulting to the very people you claim to want to convince. People don't appreciate having their intelligence put into question or their positions (which they may feel passionately about) made into a charicature. I would also like to say that you are passionate about what you feel is correct just like everyone else here,

No. If I whined and whined, and said that people I don't know, people who are blessed enough to get paid well for writing comics, and who love comics enough to do their best, "sucked" or produced "crap", and could not present any intelligent argument, THEN I would be like what you call "everyone else here" and what I call a good portion of posters and readers.

> but you need to work on your interpersonal skills.

lol ... They only people who could be insulted are those who know they are guilty. And only THEY know that. It is like if I said, "kicking puppies is bad". Why would you be offended unless you, in fact, kick puppies?

> If you still have a copy of your freshman year English Composition textbook, please refer to the chapter dealing with the differing strategies to use with various types of audiences. It provides a good lesson in objectivity.

lol... There's so much wrong with that statement, not the least of which the delerious assumptions you make about every english composition book, that I don't know where to start.

> Any replies calling into question MY intelligence will not receive a response.

Well, you were doing alright until the weird english book thing...



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> Unfortunately, in the absence of bad, there can be no good; if you want to say that something is a quality work, there has to be the possibility of a lack of quality to make that statement mean anything. Bad comics do exist, otherwise we wouldn't have good comics by comparison.

You and Omar both... Where you would get that I somehow don't believe in the existence of bad comics is beyond me. It's like if I'd said alot of people are bad drivers, and you got out of that that I was saying was that all cars are great. \(\?\)

I made no comment on comics, except to the extent that alot of comics and talent are bearing the brunt of alot of poorly thought out ugliness. I was talking about readers, and their reading, analytical, and critical skills. I was talking about how sick I am of post after post of ignorant whining and insulting comments directed at the creators.



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