DC spoiling the events of this week's Batman #50 in The New York Times has stirred a lot of controversy among comic book fans and retailers, and also brings the subject of spoilers to the forefront of the national comic book conversation again.
Writer Dan Slott, who has dealt with a number of major spoilers involving his long run on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man, posted a self-described rant on Facebook voicing his displeasure with "spoiler culture" that also serves as a warning to fans to avoid having the story of Batman #50 ruined for them.
He explained the main concern he has about spoiler culture is that it deprives the storytellers of the joy of surprising fans and prevents readers from experiencing the twists in the story in the context of the issue itself, as opposed to a recap of the story somewhere else. He notes, "Storytellers WANT to tell you the BEST stories possible. To do that, some of the most important tools in our toolbox are surprise reveals. If you rob us of that, you can kill the heart of a story that MANY people have poured months of our lives into- writers, pencilers, inkers, colorists, letterers, and editors. For a lot of us TELLING that story is more rewarding than any paycheck -- it's why we do what we do."
"We so want you to be invested in a world of fantasy -- to care about the characters and what's happening to them as if it were real," Slott continued. "And it sucks for everyone -- it sucks for YOU -- if someone jumps in and tells you THEIR opinion/interpretation/summary/snarky-take/version of a story before YOU ever get a chance to experience it for the first time for YOURSELF."
However, Slott also differentiates between companies choosing to spoil the events of their own stories and comic book websites and fans online doing so. He argues that publishers are doing it to "get traction in the mainstream and OUTSIDE of the usual people who buy comics. They're doing that to grow the industry, bring in new readers, and make the industry stronger -- so we can keep the lights on at the company -- and at brick and mortar stores," while he believes that comic book websites are doing it simply "for clicks" and fans online are doing it for attention.
He notes, though, that one of the strangest aspects of it all is when fans are so excited about a story that they want to tell everyone about it, even though doing so would deprive the other fans of enjoying it in the same way that the original fan did. As Slott notes, the whole thing is "So. Damn. Frustrating."
Batman #50 goes on sale Wednesday from DC. See if you can keep yourself from being spoiled beforehand.