Wednesday Comments – Sick of Spoilers

Since Mad Men returned this week there’s been a lot written about Matthew Weiner’s “rules” for reviewers. Apparently when the screeners for the season premiere of Mad Men were sent out they came with a memo that outlines a few requests for writers when reviewing the episode.

For the most part writers respected Weiner’s wishes. Mad Men is Weiner’s baby and he’s holds it in precious regard. Weiner cares about the viewing experience and he knows the world that we live in.

Of course given the world that we live in Weiner and his requests were mocked in some circles on the internet. But I totally get where he’s coming from.

Spoiler alert; I’m not really a big fan of spoilers. But I am a fan of comic books. So that means I’ve pretty much got to stay away from the internet. But since I live in the year 2013, that’s nearly impossible.

I do miss the days before spoilers. I was happy that DC was able to keep the death of Damian Wayne a secret for as long as they did. It definitely made the story more powerful and made reading it more enjoyable. I was impressed with how that was handled in every way.

And I know it’s a double-edged sword. Companies want to get people to pick up their comics and a more informed customer base means more people picking up the product. And if you can get a little extra buzz for your book by spoiling it, what’s the harm?

Well, I think it harms the enjoyment of the person experiencing it. Case in point; months from now in Batman/Superman #2 the Superman and Batman from Earth 2 are going to show up. Mind you, Batman/Superman hasn’t even launched yet. It hasn’t even hit the stands and I’ve already got an idea of what’s going to happen in the second issue.

Think about how cool it would be to walk into the comic shop and see the cover to Batman/Superman #2 with two sets of Batmen and Supermen. Think about how that might actually cause you to grab the issue because you really wanted to know what was going on. But now that moment is spoiled. I’ve seen the cover and whatever curiosity I’ve got about the issue is filed away and hopefully months from now I’ll still be able to muster up the same enthusiasm.

I know that I’m from a different generation, one with patience. I remember in the late 80’s, when I was only ready two books; Green Lantern and The Flash. The wait between issues was brutal and I had no idea what was coming next. But I’d fill that void with back issues or other books with covers that looked interesting.

Of course now, with all of the competition, both in terms of other comics and other media, comics are doing what they need to do to stay alive. I get that. I just wish there was some sort of middle ground.

100 Bullets was a book that existed in the internet age and it managed to have a pretty spoiler free existence. Granted, Azzarello maintained a pretty cryptic aura around the book, even with solicits in Previews. The covers by Dave Johnson were beautiful, alluring, but never really gave much away.

But being on the old Vertigo Message Boards and sharing theories about 100 Bullets was a blast. It was one of those communities that you occasionally see on the internet. I’ll never forget Helm of Nabu’s promise to “punch myself in the face” if this theory was wrong or if that character ended up not being a Minuteman.

So, I guess it is possible for a book to have a spoiler-free existence in the internet age. I just wish more books had it.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday go and get some fresh new comics from your local comic shop. But try not to spoil them for others.

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