“… it’s hard for me to be all that upset about some character to whose new adventures I enjoy absolutely no relationship, nor is there a web-sized hole in my life were such a relationship could go.”
I’m not quoting him in order to comment on the controversy itself. Like Spurgeon, I don’t have or miss a relationship with the current adventures of Spider-Man that gives me a stake in that discussion. What strikes me about the quote is how it acknowledges a phenomenon that I’ve noticed several times over the course of my long relationship with corporate-owned superhero characters — that is, when I stop investing time in them, I sort of don’t miss them.
I’m not saying that everyone should completely give up reading Marvel and DC. I may not have a current relationship with Spider-Man, but I do with several other characters: Rogue, Wonder Woman and pretty much every member of John Byrne’s Alpha Flight, for instance. And there have been times when I’ve felt compelled to follow the adventures of all of those people, regardless of how I thought they were being handled by the creators in charge of them at the time. That’s a frustrating spot to be in: in love with a character while loathing how that character is currently represented. It leads to all kinds of fan outrage, the likes of which we’ve all seen over and over again on countless comments threads and message boards.
What I see in Spurgeon’s comment is the liberation that comes from not having to keep up with those relationships. I wish I’d known about that during several runs on Alpha Flight after Byrne left (not Steven Seagle’s, though, or the recent Van Lente/Pak/Eaglesham run; those were awesome). Again, I think there are some really fine DC and Marvel comics, but if more comics readers were to get pickier about the relationships they form with comics (and that includes companies, series, and creators as well as characters) and were willing to sever those relationships when the comics are no longer enjoyable, the comics Internet would be a much more pleasant place and I bet we’d find that we don’t even really miss keeping up with every little thing Superhero X is doing this month.