WOQW: More Reasons Why Being Deaf Sucks/Rocks


‘Tis I the voice of reason. I am the mediator between me and myself. They don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes it’s just better to let them tire each other out. But I should probably let me introduce myself.

Hey guys it’s me. Sometimes it’s cool being me, but sometimes it’s a burden. However it’s safe to say that there is no one like myself.

You can say that again. It’s a good thing that I didn’t introduce myself. Because if I had, I probably would have made myself blush. But you’d better believe that anything is better than having to put up with me.

Guys, I’m kind of curious how you feel about the internet and it’s effects on the Comic industry.

Ok, so I was just on the DC Message Boards. Man, those Firestorm fans are insane. I can really see why folks say that the Internet is bad for comics, and right now I agree with them.

You are insane. If it weren’t for the Internet you wouldn’t be writing a weekly column on comics! The Internet has been great for the comic book industry. Just look that those Message Boards; there you have hundreds of people sharing a similar interest. People from different states, countries and continents are communicating about comic books. What could be wrong with that?

Hm, let’s peruse some of those thread titles, shall we? “Is Judd Bored Already?” “What’s up with ethnicization?” “Formerly White Characters that aren’t anymore.” “Kendra’s Heinie” “Count Down To Cancellation” “How Many Trees Died To Make This Crap.” Oh but I’m sure that those are all full of great discourse about comics.

Now see you are cherry picking. I also saw “DC’s Version of the Crew” a very long running thread about Black heroes in the DCU. Plus titles can be deceiving. Take the “More Sex” thread from the 100 Bullets Board. It began crude, but evolved into a discussion on the role of sex and characters in the book. So clearly you can’t judge a thread by it’s title. The message boards are great tools of communication. Is there any other place where you have a chance to communicate with a creator on a regular basis? Brian K Vaughn, Brian Azzarello, Pia Guerra, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti all make frequent appearances on the MB’s.

Um, that’s only because they haven’t really been attacked yet. Azz didn’t venture to the Batman boards, where he doesn’t have too many fans. Rather he stays in the 100 Bullets forum. The same goes for Vaughn. He makes monthly appearances, to get feedback in the latest issue. And while it is a manner of communication, I would hardly sing its praises.

More often than not creators get run off the boards. Do you really think Dan Jolley will ever venture back into the Firestorm Boards? And how about that blasting that Judd Winick got on the Green Lantern board? Or that he continues to occasionally receive on the Green Arrow and Outsiders boards? There is very little civility on the Internet. Posters utilize the relative anonymity to post things that they would never say to someone’s face. If they don’t like an issue, log on and trash the creator.

Don’t you think they are allowed their criticism? After all they did pay their money they deserve to speak their mind. And the Message Boards are the forum for it.

There is a difference between criticism, and tearing something to shreds and being spiteful about it. More often than not the criticism isn’t limited to the issue at hand but rather focuses on the creators. And thus it evolves into personal attacks.

Great so now you are saying folks can’t speak their mind. Next you will be saying that sites that review comics are bad for the industry.

Well I wasn’t going to mention it, but now I will. I don’t know if I’m really for reviewing comics on any level.

What?! You review comics for a site.

Exactly, but what gives me the right? What makes me an expert on the medium so much so that I can say that this creator, who spent a great deal of time actually creating something, did his or her job poorly?

You’re a guy who’s been reading comics for quite a few years. You have a degree in English. You have taken numerous criticism classes, as well as classes on scriptwriting and story structure. Um, you seem like an ideal candidate to me.

That’s not my point, my point is that I’ve read (and probably written) reviews that were super critical of the creators and not the finished product. I guess my point is that unless you’ve been in their place, who are you to judge?

Look reviews do a service. They help consumers make informed decisions about comic books. For every bad review there are two glowing ones (DC New Frontier & Common Grounds anyone?) Comic book sites are no different than Wizard, a monthly magazine.

But sites are different because Wizard has a policy not to trash a book. They are about promoting the comic industry. As a result they don’t really do negative reviews. The Internet has no such policy. So while you may not have enjoyed the Black Circle storyline, there may be a guy out there who would have, but didn’t pick it up as a result of your review. And that kid might have really enjoyed Ben Raab’s run on Green Lantern. Suppose that kid got everyone he knew to pick the book up, imagine how much better Raab’s run might have sold?

You are being ridiculous. By that token you are responsible for Human Target and Plastic Man being nominated for Harveys. I’m not responsible for the failure of a book, nor am I responsible for it’s success. I am a journalist.

Oh I get it you’re “just reporting the news” like those guys who spill the beans about what character is killed months before the issue comes out? You can’t tell me that you enjoy lack of surprise inherent in a post Internet comic industry? Remember Green Lantern #181, when Hal quit? That was major. And would the surprise of Hal returning to the Corp in Green Lantern #198 have been ruined months in advance if that story were published now? And what about the “Return of Barry Allen” over in The Flash? Wouldn’t that killer surprise have been ruined, that thus the story would have lost some of its luster as a result?

And what about Hush? Wasn’t that secret pretty well kept? 100 Bullets is also pretty good on keeping things quiet. And you can’t blame the Internet for releasing details on future books. There is this catalogue that comic shops get called “Previews” which details months in advance what is happening in a particular issue.

But not everyone has access to “Previews.” I can bypass the catalogue, but if I’m checking out a Message Board I may stumble onto something that I don’t necessarily want to find out about.

Again you are blaming the net. I seem to recall a certain event called “Armageddon 2001” which took place in DC’s 1991 annuals. The villain was supposed to be revealed as Captain Atom, but that got out. In an effort to keep the identity a secret The Powers That Be decided that Hawk of Hawk & Dove would be the villain. It was a huge fiasco and it happened before the Internet was a dominant force in the industry.

Whatever. How do you defend the Firestorm board where (so called) fans torpedoed the book, months before the first issue came out? They claim that the new character is boring, even though they’ve not read an issue.

They are entitled to their opinion no matter how ill informed it is. To paraphrase a billionaire in the DCU “Comic fans are a fiercely loyal lot.” They are responding to the fact that a character that they love is being replaced. If I remember correctly you were more than a little disturbed when Kyle Rayner replaced a certain Hal Jordan.

Oh well then you should also remember that I never stopped collecting the title nor did I trash the character. What those Firestorm fans are doing is terrible; they are essentially dooming the book before it starts. They have drawn a line and basically said that any true Firestorm fan should boycott the book. The have yet to read an issue! Is that fair to anyone involved in the book? They are dooming the book to premature cancellation.

So you are blaming the Internet for people planning a boycott?

Basically. If not for the Internet this book might have had a decent chance at survival. But because of the Internet people have been blasting this books approach for a long time. Months of swelling hatred festering inside, which has caused them to say some pretty mean things on the Message Boards.

Wouldn’t the same things been printed in a letter column? I mean aren’t the message boards just a 21st Century version of the Letter column? I can remember reading letters that had unfavorable things to say. This is just an extension of that. Plus everyone has a chance to voice his or her opinion unlike the letter column where only a handful got printed. And you don’t have to wait months to see what everyone else thought of an issue.

Don’t you dare compare the Message Boards to the Letter Columns. Firstly, Letter Columns had editors, who responded. Sometimes even the writers would respond to letters. There was a feeling of camaraderie and a modicum of respect. The same can’t be said for the Message Boards. You are right, everyone can post their thoughts, no matter how inane or asinine those thoughts are. People can post vulgar things about creator’s sexual preferences. In letter columns you didn’t have vicious personal attacks, among fellow letter writers. Letters were insightful or inquisitive. You know why? Because they were sent to someone. There was some decorum because someone at the comic company actually was reading them. The message boards are like a bar, where everyone loudly and sloppily states their opinion. No respect, no decorum, no insight.

Well guess what old timer? You had better get used to it. Because at the end of the day, it’s all you’ve got. A new era is upon us. The Internet is doing great things for the industry and for fans.

I still feel like the internet is taking the magic out of a magical industry. Why imagine what’s going to happen next month when you can look it up online.

I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

And their you have it a stalemate to a conversation that took place entirely within my head.