Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ways to Help... Comics?: Fans Edition

Ways to Help... Comics?: Fans Edition

Okay, enough picking on DC, it’s our turn now.

Expecting this to be a Wonder Woman article? Well, not happening. while I was writing I realized that, there aren’t that many isolated moments of fans causing issues for (or helping) just Wonder Woman. unlike the DC edition, all of these can be applied to all kinds of fandoms. Mostly comics.

Little disclaimer: This directed at all fans, myself included. And don’t worry, I'm not going to just get mad at fandoms. If anything, this article has slowly turned into a “guide to proper fan rage”. Let get started:

1: Cleaning up our Image

Every image has it’s stereotypes, and comics is no different. Honestly, our image isn’t that bad. The comics industry has crossed several hurdles. Hurdles that every fandom crosses. There was comic book burnings once and getting a comic with the mention of violence or sex would have been impossible outside of underground comics. And today, comics have earned there place as artistic and intellectual works, through books from Art Spiegelman and Alan Moore, and from the help of fine artists such as adam Hughes.

And yet, when most people think of comics they still think:

Pouches and muscles like chunks of ham. Joy.

geh... the 90s was not kind to the comics stereotype

And when they think of the readers of comics they think:

I guess part of the problem is getting the word out that comics aren’t like that anymore. There are moments, but fans are quick to see it, and point it out. Which is a good thing. The less blatant smut in our books, the better. I’ve still got my “ways to advertise comics without reboots” thing to post, but there are things fans can do: Share your books with your friends, tell them about comics... slowly. It’s best to get a person interested and wait to ask there questions. If you pile information on them, no matter how normal it may seem to you, you’ll mostly end up confusing people and turning them off (My moms a wonder woman TV show fan. And then I kinda ...blurted out Wondy’s “moulded from sand origin”. Confusion and weird looks followed) Or you'll end up looking like an obsessive-obnoxious fan. Not a good thing.

Speaking of which... when it comes to the image of readers, some of us do have some cleaning up to do. I’ll get to a lot of these points in more detail in the next point but doing simple things like controlling our rage and not freaking out at any little change will do wonders. Not acting like the world revolves around comics. (This means you Basement dwellers. I know there's a little truth to that picture) Basically: Make sure comics are a healthy obsession (not an oxymoron)

And I've seen many fans already doing this. Forming comic clubs where people get together and share their comics, and discuss them. Parents taking there kids with them to comic shops and conventions---making it a family thing. Participating in healthy (there's that word again) discussions.

How about telling off or kicking out people who are not helping the situation. People who are continuously rude, impolite, or start arguments purely to start arguments. I get it, trolls exists and haters gonna hate. These are not excuses. Tell off such people, educate them, and if they refuse to change, then ignore them or kick them out of the community. They can still buy comics, but we can at least say “they aren’t one of us”

So what about the rest of us?

2: Anger is a powerful thing.

As a fan I am, of course, prone to bouts of--ahem--- rage. Glorious, stress-relieving fan rage. Sigh. And it’s basically become an unfortunate stereotype that fandoms will rage about everything and anything. Whether they deserve it or not.

But we know that there are times that our comics deserve our rage! When our hate and anger are the only things standing between glorious, beautiful stories and the agonizing perversions that dare to call themselves anything but! We fans might whine! But we whine with dignity! For the express purpose of fighting for what we believe in! For what our fandoms represent! And heaven help anyone who tries to stand in the way of it! YES! WE HAVE GREAT RAGE IN OUR HEARTS!

How many people saw this coming?

We also tend to abuse it.

There are things that make us mad. But maybe not all things deserve it. We’ve all have this happen: You rage about a comic event that made you mad to someone not quite as nerdy and before you know it, you’ve made a scene without even meaning too. I’ve done it. I’m not proud.

I think we all need to stand outside of ourselves for a bit. Everyone try something: Try really hard to pretend your not a fan. Or better yet, look at a fandom you don’t care about. Or one you don’t know anything about.

Now tell me...

Is the actual issue or problem still important? And in some cases the answer is indeed yes. From a Narrative point of view, Spiderman One More Day was just terribly written. Green Lantern #54 look bad for the whole comic community because of how a woman was violently killed, creating the phrase and organization known as “Woman in the refrigerator syndrome”. Making Barbara Gordon Bargirl might sound good, but at the same time, we lost one of the few paraplegic heroes. And the death or change of a character might not be important to you, but that character probably had a fan that looked up to them, or even cared about them even, ought to get mad over it.

But if the answer is no, then tell me why. Be honest. Will getting rid of superman’s red underwear, or shortening Batman’s pointy ears, make much a difference to a character if it’s doesn't look bad, and doesn’t interfering with there personal? What's wrong with changing a little bit of an origin story, or adding on to it, if it might do the character good? Why freak out about said changes, when we haven't seen them put into play? (btw these are rhetorical)

And if we rage about everything, they why would people listen when it really counts?

3 Learn the facts.

What’s the difference between whining trolls and dedicated fans with actual substantial points?

If you ask me, it’s well, having actual points. Do a little research, show that you got all the facts. If all you have is just hypothesis about what with “probably happen” of what “might happen” if a series continues down a certain path, that won’t convince many. Find out what are just rumours. Research the comics. Why are you worried about a certain comic? Do you have an example where it happened before? If a character is acting out of place, do you have an example that proves it?

One of the reasons I’ve dived so deeply into Wonder Woman’s history is because I like the character, and I wanted to answer some the questions I had about her: Why is her costume the american flag, why does she have a lass?. Now I'm using such information to help fight for her. And as a plus, discovering all the cool, silly, and even disturbing history it made me love and fight for the character even more.


Ahem. Oh, and there's one other thing that helps people listen to you:

4 Be open minded

Stop looking at me like that. I’m not saying to suck it up and like every single thing you disagree with.

There is always two sides to an argument. Learn them. You can see it as “knowing your enemy” but a better way to see it is just being open minded about things. If you are against something like a death of a character, or a story event, find out why other people are for it, and perhaps more importantly, why the artists/writers/publishers/editors/company/etc., are for it. Either you’ll discover something that will change your mind,(or at least be more sympathetic to the views or the other side,) or you’ll find more substantial points for you're side.

Other thing about being open minded

Also. Guys. How do I put this?

When something does change in comics... could you at least, Y'know, wait, until we get more information regarding it, or see it in it’s full form, before you start organizing boycotts and protests? Please?

5: Protests/ Boycotts and all the rest

Okay, lets get a few things straight: I don’t like boycotts or protests for comic books, but I have used them as a last resort. I especially don’t like them when they are for things that haven’t actually been published. I simply prefer to read the comic first, and then decide what I think about it.

It’s true that protests have worked before. Ever hear about the Hal Emerald Attack Team?

Years and years ago, DC thought it would be a good idea to take one of the most admired characters in there universe, Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, and turn him into a psychotic maniac, who killed off other green lanterns, and basically became the big bad of the universe, and dishonoured the character in every way possible. On the light side, we got Kyle Rayner. On the down side? Everything else. I should also not that I have not yet gotten the chance to read the whole series, (but this isn’t about how well it was written but what resulted from it) and only found out about it a few months ago. If you want to hear about this from someone who knows a lot more about the situation I’ll send you over to the Bob Chipman's Big Picture for part1 and part2 of his Green Lantern history.

Long story short, the Hal’s Emerald Action Team was created by fans that oppose what was done to Hal Jordan, and wanted him back, alive, and as a redeemed hero. And it worked. Took a long time, but eventually, someone did listen, and we got Geoff John’s beautiful take on the Green Lanterns and the entire Lantern Mythology.

The difference between, say, the Hal Emerald Action Team protest and the New 52 protest at comic con, is that HEAT was fighting something that we saw entirely, and wanted to undo. The New 52 protest was trying to stop a potential mess before it stated. And, admitingly, if DC said that they were going to relaunch Superman’s Origin so he wasn’t an alien but just a regular human with lots of money, ninja skills and several orphan side kicks, you would not be able to stop the screams erupting from my lips. But I would have at least like to see where they take the story and more importantly, why before I lay judgement on it.

Also, protests are not that effective, at least when it comes to stories. It took a decade for HEAT to see justice.

6: Truth in Advertising? Ha!

Another reason as to why I would prefer to wait for something to be published and see where the story is going?

Advertising is evil.

It is a evil devious, but wonderful thing. It can be used by people who have a good product they want to tell others about. It can be done by talented advertises that fully understand how to communicated the product correctly. But it can be used by greedy business men. Or by people who are great big idiots. It’s not just comics. I’ve seen so many a trailer for a movie that sucked me in, only to realize that it lied to my face and I just paid to sit though 2 hours of head banging awful...ness. And likewise, a bad advertisement can hide a really good product too.

And honestly, I don’t think DC has any idea what it’s doing with it’s advertising.

I’ve already mentioned how the All New Wonder Woman was advertised as a reboot when it actually wasn’t. Because of the advertisements, fans gave up on the series before it started, despite how good or bad it ended up being.

Advertising is hard. You want to suck in you’re audience so they’ll buy the product. And sometimes that means advertising certain aspects more then others. Or outright lieing. Not that this is actually a bad thing. Look at the trailer for Rapunzel. Based on the trailer, people expected Shrek but got an old fashion Disney musical when they sat down to watch it. The big fight scene from the trailer never even happened. But the movie also became highly rated. The point of the trailer was to get people to see a really good product that the masses would usually ignore. Shrek-esk movies was what the masses expect from children's films at the time. Sure it was a completely lie, but it got attention to something really good that probably would have been passed over.

Sometimes, it works because it pulls in an audience that normally wouldn’t go anywhere near the product, but allows the consumer to try it out, and maybe even discover how much they like it.

Look at the DC reboot. Honestly, out of what I’ve read, there haven’t been many changes to characters, and where they have changed, it hasn’t been very promising. But Sales are through the roof, and people who didn't care about certain heroes are actually trying out their comics. And finding out they like them! Even though I'm seeing very little between certain heroes now and before the reboot, the reboot has attracted new fans.

But I can’t actually tell you what kinds of ads to watch out for, or which ones to trust (other then the usual “inappropriate, sexist, racist, bias, abusive, etc” ilk that shouldn’t be in anything). Ads don’t work that way. I also can’t tell you which kinds work better then others cause... I’m far from an expert. There are people with far more experience with advertising then me.

But, please, take every ad, and trailer with a grain of salt. And not with an un-healthy dose of fan rage.

7: Learn to Accept Change... as long as is isn’t horrible

This is more of a summary of what I’ve talked about. I’ve talked about fan rage, and I swear, the number 1 issue to cause fan rage: Change. Doesn’t matter how big or how small. Sometimes, it’s called for. Other times...

mustnotmentionpants-mustnotmentionpants-mustnotmentionpants... ahem.

Guys, change happens. And it’s not always bad. I get how these are characters that we look up too. If DC or Marvel didn’t changed there characters a little now and gain, the stories would become stale and boring. If DC didn’t do that during the silver age, we never would have gotten todays Flash or Green Lantern. We wouldn’t have depth to our characters. Years ago, the level of violence and topics in comic were actually ILLEGAL. Women that were masculine or heroic without relying on a man, would be considered lesbians, and back then, that was condemning. Sure we got bad stories. Count Down. One Moment In Time. But we still got good stories out of that.

Do you see what I'm getting at? Or do I need to continue hammering it in?

Change. Isn’t. Bad... Sometimes. Yes, there are bad changes (See: Parallax. Again.) But I think it deserves a chance, and it looks bad on us as fans to yell at every change, instead of looking critically at the ones that deserve it. And I’ve already talked about how to deal with this stuff: Think hard and critically at something before to fully rage at it, learn your facts first, wait until we see something in full before yelling at it, take the ads with a grain of salt, and be a little more open minded. Especially when it comes to change.

So, that’s my thoughts. I’d love to hear from everyone else about their thoughts on the subject!

Next: The All New Wonder Woman review

 Tegan Dumpleton aka SlugLady28

Images from:

... Wow, and did anyone else notice the amount of times I referenced the Lanterns? O_o

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