Thoughts from the Geek - Hating the Haters
Comic books have always been good to me. They've never stolen from me or made fun of my multitude of physical flaws. My copy Ultimate Spiderman #1 did up and run away with a friend and I'm still hurting about that... it was fun while it lasted. But comic books don't just explode into being. Contrary to popular belief they are not magical artifacts but pieces of work created by man (and woman). So in saying that comic books have never wronged me what I'm actually saying is that it is the comic book creators who have never done me wrong. They write the books that make me a happy chap. This is why I just don't understand, or tolerate, haters. I'll explain more but only if you choose to read on. It's like a choose your own adventure book except that there's only one outcome... and the choice is to read or not to read... that is the question... whether tis nobler... okay I'll stop now.
Many fanboys can be brutal and take great pleasure in voicing their distaste for a book, a publisher or a creator. I don't have a problem with people voicing their opinion as long as you have a reasonable argument to back it up. If you didn't like the last issue of Captain Australia because the art isn't quite up to the usual standards that's fine or if you're frustrated because you've been waiting for nearly 2 bloody years for the next issue of Tall Car Rat Fan and Bobbin... fair enough. But outline your issues in a logical and constructive way. Just saying that it's crap isn't of use to anyone.
My biggest complaint is that there are haters out there that target certain creators because of their success and just go hell for leather. This phenomenon isn't just limited to comic books. Actors, artists, directors and musicians also feel the sting of a passionate audience. Haters bandy around some negative talk but with nary a cogent argument to be found. They way I see it is that if a certain writer or artist is one of the big names and highly regarded in their field, they must have been doing something right to be as successful as they are. People don't get the lead creator, actor or director gig out of the blue or without at least proving their chops elsewhere. Publishers and movie studios spend massive amounts of time and money preparing their flagship titles for release so why would they risk ongoing revenue by putting some two bit hack on their biggest properties?
Unfortunately at times you'll here people talking crap like "I just hate Mr. X. He's a jerk." or "Ms. Y can't write for peanuts". In response to this I have a few things to say. Firstly, my personal experience with comic book folk is that they are just good, honest geeks like the rest of us who have have the skill, passion and the drive to succeed in the career that I could only dream of. They have always been incredibly giving of their time and nothing but a pleasure to deal with. Paul Tobin took part in an interview on the day of his deadline, Marjorie M. Liu answered her interview from China and Brian Michael Bendis returned his marathon of an interview to me within an hour... that guy is writing 8 god damn books and still took the time to speak with me!
Before saying that a creator is no good you should take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself a couple of questions:
A) Could you do better? If you could you should be quitting your day job and writing or drawing comic books because if you're better than the creators out there at the moment, I want to be reading your gear!
B) If it's so bad, why are you buying it? If it really is as bad as you cry, let your dollars do the talking. Publishers will cotton on if a high profile title, which is being marketed hard, doesn't end up moving units. They will have no other option than to look at the creative team and consider some serious changes.
and C) If it's selling like donuts near a police station and you're still banging on about how bad it is, maybe you're the problem because I have some bad news for you, you're a hater and their is no amount of cream, ointment, salve or liniment that can cure that disease.
As a writer I don't do negative reviews. That's not to say that I never read or watch anything that I dislike, it's just that I choose not to force that opinion on anyone. I don't want to be the jerk who says "I know this is work that someone has poured their heart and soul into, but don't bother reading it". I'd much prefer to be the guy who says "this book is awesome and everyone should support these brilliant creators". I also realise that just because I don't dig it doesn't mean that nobody else will enjoy it. I don't sugar coat things but if I don't have anything nice to say... I'd prefer to keep my trap shut.
So the next time that you're thinking of trash talking a book, movie, album or a creator stop and think for a second. If it's so bad, don't buy it. Take your hard earned and support some other book that is more to your standards and then think, if you'd put so much of yourself into a project how would you feel to have someone trash your work?
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