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People suck

by  in Comic News Comment
People suck

Specifically, comic book readers.  Yes, you!  Well, and me.  Allow me to explain under the fold, where there will be spoilers aplenty.  You’ve been warned!

So I’m reading the old comics blogaxy today instead of, you know, parenting, and I cam across this post. “Came across” being a folksy misnomer, as I read Ragnell’s blog quite often.  She links to this, (on Comic Book Resources!) which is the cover of the new Justice League comicky book.  So there are SPOILERS!  Of course, everyone in the universe now knows who is in the new Justice League, even those (like me) who couldn’t give a tiny rat’s ass.  So now I must rant.  And you should know by now that when I rant, I can go all incoherent on your ass, so bear with me.

Item the first: The whole idea of spoilers.  Ragnell uses the word “joker” to refer to the person who put up the cover, leading me to believe that she is a bit grumpy about the posting in the first place.  I am, frankly, getting a little sick of spoilers.  I have really no problem with it when the book is already out, because it’s in the public domain and if I haven’t read it yet so I don’t know that Batman is a pederast, that’s my fault, innit?  But this idea that we must know who’s in the Justice League before it hits the stands smacks of, to be frank, nerdishness at its absolute worst.  I’m sorry to play the nerd card (hey, I used to participate in all-night Risk marathons, if it makes it any better), but it’s true.  My source at the comic book store (who could be wrong, of course) told me that DC is planning on not sending out review copies anymore because of Internetters spoiling things.  That’s a bit extreme, but they have a point.  Who the fuck cares who is in the new JLA?  Won’t you find out when the issue actually comes out?  All this speculation about every single little thing annoys me, because I enjoy being surprised.  Sure, most people alert you that there are spoilers coming, unlike the fatuous and condescending way Michael Medved gave up the ending to Million Dollar Baby (which he defends here, in typical smarmy Medved fashion), but it’s still annoying.  I occasionally do it, so you can include me in this, but I often try not to.  Only when it’s something almost everyone either reads or knows about (Foggy’s really not dead? Shocking!) do I spoil something.  And again, I would never spoil something that hasn’t even come out yet.  What good does that do?

But that’s what we, as a society, have become.  I would argue this push for spoilers is greater in a nerd culture like comic books, because everyone’s desperately trying to “outcool” everyone else.  (Yes, I’m generalizing.  Deal with it.)  Oooh, look, it’s the next big scoop!  Again, who fucking cares?

Yes, I’m bitter.  Not because of the spoiling specifically – I can think of very few things in comics that are ruined because of someone blabbing – but because of the attitude of it all.  We’re always pushing ahead, without really caring what is in the present.  In comics, this is a weird phenomenon.  On the one hand, we have people who are, frankly, sadly stuck in the past.  “Comics were better when I was a kid!” we hear.  Well, probably not.  You may have enjoyed them more when you were a kid, but that’s probably because kids like a lot of shit that’s shit.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Manimal, but you know what? it’s a shitty show.  It was on when I was twelve, though, so of course I loved it!  So the comics you liked when you were a kid were probably not better than the ones we have today.  Some were.  A lot weren’t.  Get over it.  On the other hand, we have the idea that we must know everything about what’s coming out in the future right now!  Who’s the new Spectre?  Who is in the JLA?  Who is in the Avengers?  Who is Supernova?  Dear Lord, people, chill the fuck out, as S. L. Jackson might say.  You’ll find out soon enough, and you know what?  You’ll still be disappointed.  And then you’ll want to find out the next new thing.

Why don’t we appreciate what’s coming out right now, or has come out in the recent past?  If it’s not from twenty years ago or the future, we don’t care.  We buy comics every week or every month, read them, and instantly want to know what’s going to happen in the next issue.  This is happening in every medium – the short attention span syndrome – and it vexes me.  The opening weekend gross is all that matters in movies.  The day after the World Series ends the sports channels are talking about next year.  In comics, it manifests this way, with spoilers.  Look how fucking cool I am!  I know who’s going to be in the JLA before the issue comes out!  Validate me, everyone!

Take some time to re-read recent issues, people.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  It will be here soon enough.

The comments that Ragnell’s post (she threw it up yesterday – the 20th – and as of 9 pm Pacific time had 42 of them) and the forum post inspired leads me to …

Item the second: The book itself.  Ragnell says she will mock it once it comes out, and I really hope she doesn’t spend money on it just to mock it.  A lot of people will buy this, however, and that makes me angry as well.  Well, not angry, because you can spend your money on whatever the hell you want to, but more than a little confused.  Meltzer is responsible for one of the most egregious insults to comic fandom in the past decade, yet people will flock to this like it’s the Second Coming.  Michael Turner’s cover is truly, truly hideous, and does anyone think Ed Benes is a) a good artist; b) likely to stay on the title long?  Yet it will sell.  Oh yes, it will sell.  If anyone buys this book and then expresses shock that it sucks I may have to reach through cyberspace and punch them in the brain.  But it’s the Justice League!  And look – Red Tornado is on the team!  I remember him from The SuperFriends!  And Vixen!  She has some awesome breasts on her, yes indeed!  This ties into the whole brouhaha over Civil War‘s delay.  Some people on other blogs have commented that it’s a fine thing that Marvel is delaying the book (and every other book in its purview) because the fans are buying it for Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, damn it, and if they got a fill-in artist, it would just suck, and who cares anyway, because in ten years when you read the trade paperback you won’t remember the delay!  Well, those people are either a) wrong; b) in the tiny minority.  Marvel could have gotten … I’m trying to think of a writer everyone hates … Chuck Austen to write Civil War and … how about an artist everyone hates … me to draw it (stick figures RULE!) and it would have sold by the truckload.  (Okay, maybe not me.  How about … Don Kramer?  Nobody seems to like him.)  Yes, to a certain point people follow creators these days, but those marvelous characters still have a hold on a lot of comic book readers, so DC can put a guy who has shown no ability to, you know, get superheroes on its premier superhero group book and put a guy on art who has shown no ability to, you know, get basic anatomy, and everyone will buy it up.  It doesn’t fucking matter.  Oh sure, after two years or so fans might leave the book, but then DC will just reboot it and everyone will buy it up again.  DC loves that fans argue ad infinitum et nauseum about how Superman looks creepy on that cover.  Even if Brian disagrees, they know that the morbidly curious will pick this book up even if a TON o’ people bash it.  And it becomes a question more of marketing than of quality.  Movies already do this – I mentioned the opening weekend gross.  Studios pump so much into advertising in the hopes that everyone will go see the movie the first weekend before they find out it sucks.  After that, who cares?

My ultimate disappointment is that there’s really nothing we can do about it.  We’re hardwired to love these heroes, to the point that we will return to them, like dogs to vomit, and DC and Marvel know this.  Hell, they count on it.

Okay, I’m done ranting.  Explain to me why I’m wrong and that spoilers are awesome and that Meltzer’s JLA will kick so much ass my head will explode from the awesomeness.  We shall see, my good readers.  We shall see.       

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