I recently read a silly article entitled 10 Harsh Truths You Don’t Want To Admit About Comic Books. Most of it consisted of the usual stuff you find while reading comics commentary on the internet; moaning, snarkiness, and an inability to distinguish between "Marvel & DC's superhero comics" and "all comics of every genre currently being produced". But one paragraph particularly irked me, so I thought I'd have a little rant about it. Here's the irksome paragraph:
Think about your latest batch of comics picked up from your local store, or downloaded onto Comixology. How many of those single issues really stood out to you? How many will you remember in a few months’ time, without re-reading them? Maybe one or two, if you’re lucky. And then look around the shop/app and see how many other single issues came out that month. How come you’re not reading them? Because most monthly superhero comics aren’t masterpieces. Most of them are thoroughly average, and a lot of them don’t even manage that. Yet we keep reading them out of a sort of brand loyalty, or because they’ve always had our support; like a football team, you stay with a title through the rough patches and the smooth. And you hope that, amidst all the rubbish, you’ll come across some real gems. It’s just tough to admit that, most of the time, we’re reading what are decidedly not gems.Yeah, speak for yourself dude. I'm sick of being made out to be some kool-aid swigging drone, just because I enjoy mainstream superhero comics. If you're stupid enough to waste money on a hobby you don't actually enjoy, fine, but don't make out that we're all in the same boat. It makes us all sound like arseholes. I know this sounds crazy but many fans are actually able to distinguish between what they like and don't like when spending their cash. I also imagine most fans simply can't afford to fritter away their hard earned money on stuff they don't actually like. "Look around the shop/app and see how many other single issues came out that month. How come you’re not reading them?" Er... because I'm not a bloody billionaire!
I honestly believe that there's a lot of talent working for the Big Two and it's pretty insulting to blame them for your consistent disappointment. If you get ill every time you eat ice-cream, sure, maybe there's some dodgy ice-cream out there, but maybe it's not all Ben & Jerry's fault. Maybe we don't all constantly eat ice cream even though it makes us sick, in the vain hope of finding that elusive flavour that made us happy when we were a kid. Maybe it's just you. Maybe you just don't like ice cream and you're an idiot to keep eating it.
I'm not saying that we should just shut up and be grateful for what we get, of course we should criticise comics when we feel they're lacking in quality. And I know "don't like it, don't buy it" is a bit of a cliche. But I think there's a difference between thinking critically about the pop culture you consume, and indiscriminately buying everything and then bitching because most of it wasn't to your taste. It seems to me that a huge portion of comic book fandom behave like a man gorging himself on the entire contents of a fridge and then complaining 'cos some of the food tastes like plastic ice cube trays.
Frankly, when there's literally hundreds of superhero comics being produced by Marvel & DC every month, buying them all and then bitching because most of them aren't to your liking and then acting like the rest of the comics reading community shares your views makes us all look like greedy, spoiled wankers. It's just a bit embarassing.