|Your bitching makes Spidey sad.|
Dan Slott is the current writer of Amazing Spider-Man. Over his career Mr Slott has proven himself an immensely talented and entertaining writer with such critically acclaimed work as his run on She-Hulk, his Spider-Man/Human Torch mini series and the Batman mini-series Arkham Asylum: Living Hell. Personally I think he's one of the best writers Spider-Man has ever had and I believe that he's returned a sense of fun to the character that has been missing for a long time.
A couple of days ago somebody posted the following statement on Twitter:
I wish@danslott would die in a car accident so I could start reading spider-man again
That's right! Not only did this complete ball-bag publicly wish for a comic creator's death but he ensured Mr Slott would see this bile by tagging him in the tweet! What a cock! Even if you disagree with everything I say about Mr Slott in my opening paragraph, surely no one deserves to receive such a hateful tweet just for writing a comic book? Well according to what seems like a large portion of comic fans on the internet, he does. This is just one (albeit extreme) example of an attitude that is far too prevalent among online comic fans. An unpleasant us-and-them attitude and a huge sense of entitlement that seems to be held by a large and vocal percentage of fans. These fans actually seem to believe that comic creators are part of a network of money hungry con-artists who are out to deliberately swindle "true fans". They believe that comic creators are motivated not only by a love of money but by feelings of personal spite towards the fans and a contempt for the characters that feature in the comics. They believe that the creation of a comic that they don't care for justifies the posting of personal criticism in public forums that is, at best, sneering, mean-spirited and unfair, and at worst, vile, offensive and upsetting.
These fans are not fans at all, they are bell-ends!
It seems to me that far too many commentators on the internet can't express an opinion about a creator's work without accusing them of ruining the character, and comics in general, forever. A bad comic can't just be a bad comic, it's always "the final nail in the coffin" for Spider-Man/Superman/Archie/DC/Marvel etc etc. A particular editorial direction for one character can signal the death knell for the entire medium!
According to these commentators there are three main motivating factors for these contentious decisions. The first is money. Because of course, if you want to become filthy rich, the life of a comic creator is the obvious direction to take! The other motivation is a hatred of the characters. You can just imagine a creator working for years at art school, slaving away at a nine-to-five job and drawing at night, sending their work off and receiving rejection after rejection, just so one day they can show that snooty Blue Beetle who's boss! The third motivational factor is the fact that these creators just don't like YOU! That's right, YOU! Not fans, not comics bloggers, just YOU personally. They are out to get YOU!
You might think I'm exaggerating but just Google-search subjects such as "DC Comics Nu52" or "Spider-Man: One More Day" and it won't be long before you find a blog or a message board just chock-full of people expressing variations of the opinions I described above. I can think of at least one comics blogger in particular who honestly seems to believe that former Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada holds a personal dislike of older fans and that he gained some sort of perverse pleasure from the online outrage generated from his controversial decision to eradicate Spider-Man's marriage to Mary Jane.
I'm no expert but it seems to me that if someone wants to be a writer or an artist then there are far more lucrative careers to pursue, say for example, in film, TV, journalism or advertising. The very fact that someone has gone to the effort to pursue a career specifically in comics would seem to imply to me that this person possesses a love for the medium at least, if not a love for the characters and the mythology that they're working with. Why then, would money be their sole motive? Why would spite be their motive?! Most comic creators are unlikely to be contemptuous of fans because chances are, they're fans themselves!
There is one simple fact that a lot of comic fans need to wrap their heads around; you can't please everybody! If a comic creator has killed someone off or rebooted some aspect of a character, then chances are they weren't trying to piss YOU off, they were just trying to tell the best story that they possibly could. Naturally, not everyone is going to agree with their decision, but just because you and your internet pals don't like it, doesn't mean that there's not a lot of people out there enjoying the hell out of it. Sometimes these creators are going to make a decision that proves universally unpopular. Sometimes it can be said with hindsight that the wrong decision was made. But these people have worked hard to get into the position where they can make these decisions, not you! It's their call to make, not yours!
I know that the behaviour I've described isn't exclusive to comic fans. There are a lot of very unpleasant people on the internet and they're fans of all kinds of things, from music to toys. I'm also not saying that comic creators are untouchable and shouldn't be criticised, but let's criticise the work and not the person. Let's keep a sense of perspective and bear in mind that our taste in comics might not be shared by every fan. Comic creators aren't some aloof elite tossing out comics from on high while they siphon up your money. They're talented men and women that work hard. There's a good chance that they love comics just as much as you do and there's a good chance that they might read whatever snarky shit you've decided to post about them, especially if you tag them on Twitter!
All I'm saying is, let's not be pricks about it.