Friday, November 21, 2008

Fanboy Rage

I was posting a comment under one of my reviews at today and I started a whole tangent of thought that I decided to capture here.

Lately there has been massive amounts of fanboy rage directed at the comics industry, with DC Comics taking the brunt of this animosity. Some of the key points being attacked are : Dan DiDio and his alleged inability to run DC Comics to fanboy standards, artist and writer changes on key stories, comics pricing, and shipping schedules (i.e. comics arriving later than their proposed shipping dates).

Throughout this article I’ll be playing Devil’s Advocate. I’m not saying that these things don’t upset me, but a recurring theme throughout my thoughts is : “Come on people, these are comic books”.

We’ll start our discussion with the perceived “destroyer” of DC Comics right now, Senior VP & Executive Editor Dan DiDio. I do not envy this man’s job at all. But, the key word in that statement is “job”. There are tons of video and text interviews with Mr. DiDio on the net, I recommend going out to find some of them and check them out. In fact, he has a new bi-weekly feature on Newsarama where he answers fan questions in what I feel is an honest fashion. He has to wrangle together artists, writers, production, editorial and all of the other departments to produce comics that are enjoyable and on time AND answer to a huge corporation that backs DC (Warner Brothers). Being an artist and writer, I’m not an easy person to “wrangle”, just ask my wife.

The problem with his job is that when one of these many parts slows down or fails, the blame falls completely on him. I’m not saying that he is completely free of blame, but let’s give the guy a chance here. I know at my job, if one of my people screws up guess who gets yelled at (I’ll give you a big hint : ME). I respect DiDio’s attempts at changing the status quo and shaking things up with the big name characters, it’s what keeps comic books interesting.

As expected, the on-time thing doesn’t always work out because, and this might surprise some people, comics take TIME to produce, it’s an art form. The day that we start being more concerned with putting out bland stories and art according to a corporate schedule rather than putting out fantastic stories and art that will be remembered and re-read for a long time is when I get out of comic books altogether.

Time to bring this in for a landing from atop my high horse. I wasn’t reading comic books when the now perceived epitome of event books, Crisis on Infinite Earths, came out but was there the same amount of fan backlash back then? I know the internet and anonymous board postings add fuel to the fire now, but I bet the same criticism of these “status quo” changing stories were around then and now look at how COIE is viewed in the DC canon.

In the end, it’s comic books people, you know that people can be re-born or resurrected, you can have another big event to re-change the status quo yet again, these things happen. And as far as stories, let the storytellers finish their story before ripping them apart. You don't like where Grant Morrison is taking Batman in R.I.P. ? Show your opinion by not buying it. The medium, as a whole, cannot move forward without people attempting new things and unfortunately sometimes failing or not pleasing everyone.

- Jason


Pendragon's Post said...

While I agree with you on many points, the one I can't agree on is delayed comics. Deadlines we're met in the 70's, 80's, & most of the 90's. The fact that books can't come out on time is ridiculous. Neither Didio or Quasada are good at their jobs as Editor In Chief. Yes, both of them are great at hyping & markteting their products, though Marvel seems to do more, but neither one of them is able to do what an EIC needs to do. I'm not saying fire them from the company, just move them to Marketing position, and put a hard ass as EIC. Comics aren't only an art form, but a publication & a consumer product. If I can't produce at my job, I get fired & the same should be said for comics. For every Morrison out there, there's 10 more, just as good or better, but can't get their foot in the door. But you are right about if you don't like something, not to buy it. But as long as we keep thinking ourselves as "fanboys" & not consumers, the present course will continue, & eventually get worse.

Jason D. Manger said...

I guess an unfinished part of my thoughts would agree with you on the on-time issue. Another problem is that the companies are so concerned with getting their big events out first. They should be gathering the stories and getting them finished and then releasing them in a timely manner only after they are finished or maybe 75% in the can. This way the fans don't lose interest due to long breaks (ahem, Final Crisis and All Star Batman & Robin).