Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, if I feel like it, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!
Actual email I got after my Buy Pile reviews posted on Thursday, September 26th (profanity edits are mine)…
holy f***, we get it, you like transformers. if fables and transformers weren’t on the shelves you’d have to drop the industry entirely. time for a new reviewer.
Hh. My response.
Thanks for writing in.
Also, thanks for reading the column, especially (in the last month) the glowing reviews of Saga, Sex Criminals (brand new this week!), Astro City, Batman #23.2, Chew, Lazarus (only on issue #3) and Kill Shakespeare.
Hold on, you might think Kill Shakespeare is too much like Fables. Well, at least there’s the other wildly different comics not involving giant robots or classical literary characters during one of the most diverse and engaging periods in the entire history of comics.
Thanks again for writing in!
Earlier this month, my pal John Layman went to war with … honestly I can’t remember the guy’s name, or what his website was. Anyway, some reviewer wrote up John’s book and said that something happened in the book, something that absolutely did not happen. John went after the guy, demanding an apology. The guy hemmed, hawed, played at “really being a big fan,” and all kinds of foolishness, but would not retract and did not apologize for the actual clearly provable offense. It reminded me of this, even if tangentially, because John’s incredulity at this ill-informed person on the unpaid side of the screen somewhat mirrored my own.
Everybody won’t like what I like. I know that. Some people hate read my weekly column and gnash their teeth that I get paid to do this while their (in their minds) clearly superior opinions languish in perhaps lesser seen corners of da intawebs.
I get it. I’ve felt the same way at times. I’ve echoed Kanye’s thoughts, “damn, these ******s that much better than me?” reading names of new writer assignments and multimedia deals off of Twitter accounts. I remember even staring, gape jawed, at Roger Ebert (spirit bless his soul) when he completely misunderstood the film Biker Boyz. I’ve gritted my teeth when reading licensed properties that saw me through puberty, wishing I was turning in the script and cashing the check so things could be the right way. My way. I understand all of that.
What I don’t understand — and being raised in the south never really understood — is the lack of civility. I may think (and do) that 2 Chainz is the worst thing to happen to hip hop since the word “recoup,” and if asked, I’d be happy to say the same (and have, via Twitter), even directly to him. However, angrily volunteering my opinion, especially with profanity … what’s that supposed to accomplish exactly? Did this guy believe I’d look at the screen and say, “My god … he’s right! Well, time to write up a letter of resignation and stop doing the job I’ve done consistently for longer than my stepdaughter has even been alive!”
It’s not just the “more honey with flies than vinegar” issue (which I had to learn and strive to apply all the time, another reason I talk about the work, not the people, because I don’t know them). It’s basic human decency, the fundamental idea of going out in the world without trying to start a fight that serves no purpose and returns no profit. I write these reviews for three reasons: I love comic books, I get paid to do this, and when I do it lots of people take a look at what I’m doing, which is all good for a writer. It’s a business relationship and I do try to approach it in a professional manner. Any effects of antagonism upon people are purely accidental, but my laughter at their reactions is often quite genuine and intentional.
It’s not like hate mail even bothers me — I kind of love it, because I don’t really know how to process the admiration of others. Bad wiring somewhere in my head, I guess. I know what to do with unprovoked hatred, though. Black guy, survives growing up in the south, that’s a very early lesson. In laughing at it, I still can’t comprehend the thought pattern that goes into it … which brings us here I suppose.
To be fair, I don’t understand much of human behavior. I am able to write characters due to observation, but most people I know don’t even know why they do things. Most of that kind of foolishness, generally, has the common decency to stay out of my inbox. Funny old life.
Playing (Music): “Speechless” by Lady Gaga