So… for those of you who were expecting me to talk about poetry and ran into that spinning buzzsaw yesterday, I think I should explain what happened – the technical part, and what it meant to me, without rehashing the actual argument.
This all started last Friday night, after Capital Slam, when I sat down to read my weekly comics. In the pile was Avengers 1959 #3. I read it and didn’t like it. (As I said, I am not going to go into the whys. If you want that, feel free to read the last few posts on this blog).
I put it on top of the pile (I rank the books as I read them for Ruthanne. She likes to save the best ones for last. It is just something we do.) She saw it was on top and asked if there was more of the ‘hero as whore’ thing from the last issue. (The previous issue I had been annoyed about the portrayal of a character.) I said nope.
Then I started trying to track down an e-mail address to write a letter of complaint.
When she got to the page in question, with no prompting from me, Ruthanne exclaimed, “Rape jokes?!?”
That was enough confirmation for me that I wasn’t imagining things.
It took a while to track down the e-mail address. First, it was the weekend, so when I went to twitter to ask, those who could answer were not there. On Monday I tried CB Cebulski and he give me what he thought was the right address. It wasn’t. I tried Axel Alonso and he suggested asking Tom Breevoort (as did Cebulski). Breevoort came up with the mheroes address so I wrote my letter and sent it in.
I then blogged it.
I have some readers on this blog, but as I said, they are expecting poetry discussion. Still, I had something to say and I said it.
I figured that was probably the end of that. (I was hoping Marvel would respond to my letter. They have not.)
Later that evening (Tuesday), I read an article on Bleeding Cool about Marvel changing the name of a Deadpool collection so it wouldn’t have the word Balls on the cover. I felt it odd that a company that wouldn’t include the word Balls on the cover of a comic (a MAX comic, by the way, meaning it is for mature readers only) would have no problem with the exchange of a rape joke in a comic that was NOT labelled for mature readers. I decided to point this out to Bleeding Cool, thinking that Rich might like to do one of his mini-features on it. Rather than write out my position on it again, I included a link to my blog so he could read about it there.
He responded, thanking me, and said he would include it the next day. I assumed he would put up a little post pointing out the hypocrisy (or at least inconsistency).
Nope. Instead the morning ‘round-up’ (a collection of headlines etc. from around the web) included a link to my blog (without the Deadpool Max reference, which is what I thought made it a point of interest to Bleeding Cool in the first place.)
The insults started on a couple of message boards. Had I touched a nerve? More likely I think that some people are so protective of what they like that they had a knee jerk response.
Then the hits to my blog started racking up.
The conversation that happened here upset me a lot more than the morons tossing the insults, because for the most part they did not expose their ignorance with such blatant stupidity. (For the MOST part…)
Instead I saw people defending the comic and claiming it was perfectly okay to make comics in that manner in a book aimed at the general populace. (Again, I do NOT want to rehash the argument here. If you want to argue the point, go back to the last few posts where the dartboard with my face on it is all set up…)
It made me very sad.
There were points when I had trouble putting into words what I was trying to say because it seemed so OBVIOUS to me. It felt kind of like arguing with a racist. How do you explain to someone the damage that is caused by casual comments when they don’t seem to care about that damage?
When REALLY made me sad is that I guarantee that not a SINGLE person defending that stance thought they were doing any damage. (Well, maybe a single person. Some people are just assholes…)
In the end, my blog, which had previously had a maximum number of daily hits of 74, reached 1,520 yesterday… and the vast majority of them (based on the sample I could seen) were there to tell me that I should just shut up and stop caring about the damage done by an industry that I love.
And I do… love the industry, that is.
I am just finding that I don’t love the bulk of the people who READ those comics very much.
(Of the people who took my side of the argument, I believe that only one – Ruthanne – actually reads comics. I still love and respect the people who stood up for me when I stood up…)
This is not all about the reaction to a single panel in a single comic. I understand that not everyone feels the same way about things that SEEM (to me, duh) obvious.
It just made me think about some of the other things I have read on the comic message boards in recent times.
People complaining about the creation of Miles Morales as the new Ultimate Spider-man – saying he was a ‘token’ and that it was all about ‘political correctness’ and (a true low) why can’t ‘they’ have ‘their own’ characters instead of ruing ‘ours’.
People constantly complaining about Jessica Jones (a character who is portrayed as a ‘regular’ person who gained super powers, who later had a baby with Luke Cage and then got married). They call her ugly (because she isn’t drawn like a stereotypical super hero, I assume), they call her a whore (because she had sex with Luke Cage, I assume), they call her… well, they call her a lot of things. Oh, by the way, she is white and Luke Cage is black. Do you think that has anything to do with it? (No? Bullshit.)
People fawning over the art of people whose only ‘skill’ is ass shots, boob shots and crotch shots of female characters. (To clarify, I have no problem with artists who draw sexy women well. Adam Hughes, Terry Dodson, Amanda Connor… The problem is with the Deodatos and Beneses of the business who draw cookie-cutter people but do so while making the women ‘hot’ so they stay popular…)
Anyway… the point is, I love the medium and strongly dislike the community.
So, what do I do about it?
I could just ignore the larger community and just buy and enjoy some comic books. That is a pretty good solution, but I LIKE discussing stuff I like with people who have similar interests. There is nothing odd about that.
So, what am I going to do?
I’ll start by removing Comic Book Resources from my bookmarks. It was my primary news site, but it contains the forum where I saw all of that stuff above. I am not blaming the site, but once the well is poisoned…
I’ll still read Comics Should Be Good (which is affiliated with CBR, but much better…) and Bleeding Cool. I don’t like the forum on B.C. so much either, but I can separate it from the news, which is generally solid.
That gets me news but not much in the way of discussion.
So, here is what I am going to try. I am going to create a new blog (probably called ‘Rusty’s World’, which is what I wanted to call my hypothetical comic store back when I was a business student). On this blog I am going to write about and review comics. (I have enjoyed the ‘ranking’ I do of my comics for Ruthanne. I will expand on that.) Then, I HOPE that some likeminded people will read it and discuss the comics etc. in the threads.
I really HOPE that happens, because reading in a vacuum means you never hear about books you aren’t reading. If you love something and I’m not talking about it, let me know!
It needs to be a new blog, because the bulk of the people reading my poetry blog likely have no interest in reading about comic books. At least I assume that is true.
HOWEVER, I know there are poetry people out there who are into comics. The ‘likes’ I have been getting on Facebook when I list something as ‘Rusty’s Comic of the Week’ tell me that.
The TL/DR version: I’m making a new blog about comics. Come read it if you want. I’ll let you know when it is up.
For now, I am going to go back to being sad at the state of the world.