Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You can act like a fan!

I realize that there are some folks who read my blog but automatically skip the ones that are comics related. (Just as I realize that some people only read the comics-related ones. My most-viewed page is the one where I speculate on the Green Lantern movie. 172 hits, and that's only counting Blogspot!) Anyway, this one's comics related, but I think that anybody who's a fan of anything should be able to relate on some level.

One of the most controversial comics creators is a fella named Rob Liefeld. Amongst the numerous complaints, one of the biggest is simply that he's not a very good artist. (See his picture of Captain America below if you need an example.) Not only that, but he rode a wave of popularity during the 90s when comics were emphasizing art over story. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the popular style emphasized big guns and big boobs (even big by comic book standards) with little thought given to proper proportions, or more importantly - storytelling. You'd get a lot of stuff that was confusing to look at, but a lot of people scooped it up because it looked "cool". Liefeld was one of the worst offenders, and what's worse is that he even inspired a legion of imitators. Nowadays, his star has faded quite a bit, but he still seems to have some following.

Anyway, this isn't a rant about Liefeld. What prompted this is that some fan at a convention recently took it upon himself to demand that Liefeld "apologize" for a comic series that he did over ten years ago. Liefeld handled it well, and then the guy came back to give him a copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way so he could "learn how to draw". What's even worse, this guy is even bragging about it on his own blog. (Google it, as I don't want to link it.)

Obviously, I'm no fan of Liefeld. Still, I think that what this guy did was pretty classless. He wanted Liefeld to apologize? Crap. I thought that the series in question looked pretty crappy, so I stuck it to Liefeld by NOT BUYING IT. Turns out I wasn't alone, as he was sacked from the series after six issues.

Of course, we all sometimes pay for things that turn out to be crappy, whether it's a book, a movie, etcetera. If you don't like it, then you have every right to voice your criticism of it. Shoot, with the Internet, you even have a forum for your critiques. That said, Liefeld was there at the convention to sign autographs for his fans. Wasn't there somebody at the convention that this guy wanted to see? Instead, he could have gone in that guy's line and gotten an autograph and thanked him for all the entertainment.

I guess the thing that I feel troubling is all the vitriol you get with fandom nowadays. I was actually in a comic book store one time where a guy was essentially saying that there's something wrong with you if you're reading comic books. Yes, AT the COMIC BOOK store. That's like going to a baseball game and telling everybody there how boring it is. I've also seen fans put down other fans for what they read.

Of course, the Internet has made this even worse. And it's not just comics; it's movies. I've taken a lot of crap for some of the movies that I've liked. Now, it's one thing when somebody can make a case for why something's bad and try to convince me that I'm mistaken, but oftentimes you'll see this sort of a thing degenerate into personal insults.

What about me, though? Am I just as guilty of this? While I wouldn't say that my hands are completely clean, I did just re-read my comments regarding Transformers. Yeah, I'm really critical, but I think that my critiques are limited to the film itself. I know some smart people who liked Transformers, and I don't think that liking the film makes them stupid. At worst, it makes them a little less discerning than I think they should be, but that's different. (And to be fair, it's not even people liking the film that bothers me so much as those who think that it's quality stuff. There's nothing wrong with liking crap so long as you realize it's crap. Did I mention that I bought Punisher War Zone? Holy crap, it's dumb, but dammit if I don't enjoy the hell out of it.)

I think that if you look through my blog, you'll find more positive comments about movies and comics than negative ones. My Comics Roundup is little more than a love-fest for what I'm reading. I've written about some of my favorite movies and why I like them. I even wrote about a movie that I think is objectively bad and yet like anyway (Yeah, "War Zone" again. I need to write a blog on Predator 2 one of these days).

I guess the thing is, if we're going to be fans of something, then maybe we should actually act like it. Spend more time talking about what you like, and when you dislike something, keep it to constructive criticism (which doesn't mean that you can't be brutally honest too) and avoid insulting people who don't like what you do. Who knows, maybe they'll come around, but even if they don't, you probably like some crappy stuff too (without even realizing that it's crappy).

So, Rob Liefeld doesn't owe that guy an apology. If the guy bought the comic series, then that's his own damn fault. I don't think that Michael Bay owes me money either. I could have been able to discern that I wouldn't have liked the first Transformers from the trailers and reviews alone, but even if I couldn't, I decided to stick it to him by not giving him my money for Transformers 2.

Oh, and speaking of acting like a fan, here's a cool image from Captain America: Reborn. Suck it, Hitler!


Nolan said...

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg raped Indiana Jones.

Lance Christian Johnson said...


Nolan said...

Oh, and I liked the title to this. Godfather, right?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Indeed. Sometimes, I wish that you were a comic fan because I know that you'd be the type who'd really hate Rob Liefeld. (Probably not as extremely as the douche at the convention though.) You'd get into online debates with his fanboys who insist that all the random lines he puts all over the place is an example of "detail". Trust me. You would.

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