Welcome to another installment of “Side-Notes”, where I just share meaningless observations. Today’s observation is about people whining over things that don’t really matter. I reign myself in when I want to address this directly, because internet arguments are never constructive. Have there been things that have been done to some of my favorite characters that I disagreed with? Hell yes, but I try to have the perspective that it’s somebody else’s story, and my favorite stories still exist, plus a new favorite could come on the heals of what I think is less that stellar.
I saw some videos of people complaining about Marvel’s Children of the Atom, and DC’s Gotham High, to name a few. Being a 50 year old fan, and primarily a collector of Silver and Bronze age issues, I had no clue so I listen to their arguments. The arguments quickly turned into whining about how nobody asked for this, or want this. I, respectfully or not, disagree. Corporations don’t blow their nose without some sort of focus group or metric involved that show positive numbers. Gone are the days of just throwing something against the wall and seeing if it’ll stick.
My Papaw, my Father’s Father, called comic books “funny books”. As I grow older, that’s what I wish to focus more on when I look for a bit of respite from a reality that seems to exist only to crush you in every way possible, before it eventually kills you. So crying about something in a funny book that isn’t what I think it should be had become a very foreign concept to me now. Perhaps when I had a bit less perspective, sure I threw a hissy fit or two in my time, but I grew and continue to grow. Papaw’s been gone nearly 17 years now, and I can still remember him taking me to get some funny books, and every time I see one of the issues he bought for me I smile. Comics should be fun, so I seek out the ones that are fun to me.
There are things in life that we can and should lend our voices and actions to. The struggle for equality, voting, treating our fellow humans with dignity and fairness, leading by example even when you feel like the rest of the planet isn’t paying attention, standing up for those who cannot, and so much more. Whether a comic book, that isn’t aimed at your demographic OR isn’t even something that would interest you in the first place, lives up to YOUR personal taste isn’t a deal-breaker. What if I told you, there are other people out there who might want to see themselves in the pages they read too? Sure, this could mean that you are not going to see your favorite WASP hero as HE has been depicted for 80+ years in that book. Does that negate your hero? Nope. It’s just another flavor of your favorite characters, they are not toward you and that’s OK. Those other folks out there represent a different market that have barely been served, why leave money on the table? The comic book industry is a business, and it doesn’t give two fucks about your feelings, their feelings, or mine. The industry only cares about making money, and when they make money, we get more stories. The individual creators care about making people happy, but they are artists and being so, shouldn’t be dictated to as to what to write/draw/plot.
At the end of the day, if the stories you don’t like do well then you’ll see more of them. If they don’t then they’ll (the industry) will try something else. That’s the game. Whining about these things on social media, in blogs, or making entire YouTube videos that are nothing but pity party bitch sessions don’t do shit. Well they DO attract like/single minded people so you can shout in the echo chamber together, if that is your thing and it makes you feel like you are accomplishing something… good on ya. Since you are not the intended audience, the industry will continue to ignore your angry tweets, like I ignore Dumbp’s. Vote with your dollars. Buy the books that you like, and avoid the ones that bring up negative feelings for you. It’s that simple. If you must take to social media, talk up the books you love… that becomes a metric in your favor 😉
There’s room at the table for everyone, even those we don’t agree with. Remember, there are hundreds of actual things in the world to be outraged over… this first-world “problem” isn’t one of them.
Great post! It’s nice to know that you have some wonderful memories of your Papaw.
That photo of you from 1977 brings back a ton of memories for me. In it, you are holding a Pulsar figure!! I had one and still think about it from time-to-time.
You’ll get no argument from me. I agree with pretty much everything you said here.
I think the only time I really lost my shit as a teenage comic book fan and went off on a huge tirade was when Mark Waid & Ron Garney were fired from Captain America so Rob Liefeld could do the book. Almost a quarter of a century later and I am STILL bummed out about that. Waid & Garney were totally on fire on their first Cap run. Even though they were able to return after Heroes Reborn, the magic of their first run could not be recaptured, and it just wasn’t the same. So if social media had existed in 1996 I’m sure I would have gone on a major tirade. But that was pretty much the exception of the rule for me.
Runner up: I was very disappointed when just three years later Joe Casey & Jose Ladronn were fired from Cable so that, yep, Rob Liefeld could do the book. Geeze, Marvel, stop pulling crap like that! Short-sighted stunts like that are why I rapidly lost interest in Marvel in the early 2000s.
Man… those were real world things though. Voicing emotion over people losing jobs is righteous, while crying about whether Superman’s underwear should be on the outside or inside is just silly.