The Awful Truth
Yes, Virginia, there is a worse place for a superhero scholar to hang out than The Comics Journal Messageboard. It’s called the Ninth Art Forum! This has been a great week for me every which way but netwise. What happened? Well, Alasdair Watson claimed that anyone who writes superhero comics does it for purely mercenary reasons (oh yeah, or because they’re just an idiot) and, just as an aside, he blamed “comics fans” for what he considers the sorry state of the medium–you know, for buying what they like (oh yeah, and for not buying his friends’ work). I took exception to all of this–and charged in there. To no one’s surprise but my own, everyone lectured everyone else, and nobody listened, because, let’s face it, Alasdair claimed that anyone with my habits is a moron and a crony of “The Man”, and I claimed that anyone who thinks I am a moron is a moron. It was good stuff. Along the way, I decided that, since I’m writing a paper that deals with Archibald Lampman and the pathetic fallacy (and because I haven’t slept in a long time), I was somehow entitled to use the term “pathetic fallacy” in any way that I wanted to, regardless of what the literary critical lexicon and common sense dictate. That’s crazy. But the best was yet to come.
Here’s my final stab at communication:
Could this discussion have gone any other way–given the fact that I was determined to voice my opinion that I *enjoy* certain superhero comics fully as much as other passions such as Hawthorne, Melville, Hammett, Emily Bronte, Capra, Cassavettes, Frank O’Hara, etc. and if I had any money for comics, I would most likely be giving it to Marvel or DC? Not to mention that I like them for reasons that you people anathematize? i.e. work-for-hire has created a huge, cross-time metatextual potluck that a few people have done such wonderful things with that they justify the entire structure? I don’t think it’s a good thing that people have been exploited, but I don’t think this qualifies as a tragedy either. No one forces anyone to enter into these contracts. And if no one *really* wants to write superheroes, why do they get so upset when they aren’t allowed to continue to plot out the characters’ lives (see Tony Isabella for example). If you don’t get anything out of writing for Marvel, why do it? It took me two years to write my novel, and it has sold 300 copies. It will take me at least two years to write the one I’m working on now, and I don’t expect to realize any more of a profit on it. Do I feel compelled to knock off a bunch romance novels to pay the bills? No. I don’t. I work, I pursue my studies, and I write whenever I can. I certainly would love it if all of you ran out to buy Darkling I Listen, but I don’t think you owe it to me, and I’m not going to blame Tom Clancy for the fact that I have to work at a bookstore to pay the bills.
So what I’m asking is:
Is silence my only option here?
In return, I got this:
LOOK! OVER THERE! NAZIS!
NAZIS FIGHTING WOLVERINE!
No, look over THERE !
Nazi boyfriends on smack fighting with their girlfriends.
ALL IN GLORIOUS BLACK & WHITE !!!
Seriously though, Britney Spears is the contemporary equivalent of Cole Porter. She is really saying something, really saying something, bop bop shooby doo wah !
I read it on a blog, so it must be true.
No, sorry, not true, but incontravertible.
Look, now !
Stephen Hawking is the new Galileo !
I am a chastened man. Believe me.
Back to good stuff tomorrow!
Good Night Friends!