RU continues his exploration of the fanboy mindset to find out why we read bad comics. In this fourth, and final, of four articles, RU examines morbid curiosity and how it relates to the collector's process and adds some closing comments to the discusion.
Hello there, internet people, it’s your good buddy, RU, here for something a little bit different. Rather than helping you through the minefield of garbage comics I am going to ask why it is that we read garbage books to begin with.
As discussed in parts one, two, and three, I belive that there are three, often overlapping, primary forces that drive collectors to purchase books that they do not like; habit, completeism, and hope, in this final piece of the series we will take a look at a fourth influence that inspires us to read garbage; morbid curriosity. This will be followed by a few closing remarks.
“Wow, I almost want to read it now to see how bad it is”
This quote from our forums sums up morbid curiosity better than I ever could. In this specific case the poster was expressing empathy towards those of us who read (and will continue to read) Age of Ultron, but there is a more extreme form of morbid curriosity that affects us all and people cursed with this over the top morbin curriosity are called “haters.”
Reading a book because, not in spite of, you know you will not like it serves no purpose beyond making the reader feel better by complaining often and loudly about how bad it was. We’ve all seen or heard some version of this sentence “DC hasn’t produced a good comic in years, I know because I read them all.” What is wrong with this person? Why are they reading books they know they hate? The answer is, simply, just to tear them down. There is no internal joy in reading comic books for haters, all they want is to appear talented by shooting down the efforts of people who do. They are not content with not buying a book and hoping it goes away, no they have to yell, scream, insult, and annoy anyone and everyone associated with the book and anyone who happens to like it. Haters must read the books they hate just so they can appear to know what they are talking about.
Notice I never said they buy the books only that they read them; “Glad I didn’t buy this issue.” “I said I read the book, not that I bought it.” There is a portion of the hater population that no only takes pride in their negativity, but also their thievery. They remind me of people who are proud of their ignorance: “I thought Georgia was a city in Mississippi, lol.” Torrents and Bryne stealing (reading a comic book in the store without buying it) give the false impression that they are not helping the comic they hate, when in fact they are doing the next best thing to buying a comic; constantly talking about it. Do we really think that DC looks at all the threads, topics, forums, etc dedicated to their comics for connotation, or do they simply do some sort of internet search to see what is being talked about? Knowing everything about a book, family of books, writer, publisher, industry that you hate does nothing but make you and the people who have to deal with your well-educated ignorance miserable. Haters take credit for actions they had nothing to do with. “HA! Finally, Loeb is off of Hulk, we did it!” This reaction to the 25th issues of a planned 25 issue run is just one example of credit stealing. Loeb was only going to be on the book for 25 issues, yet the internet tried to take credit for Parker taking over rather than Loeb moving on.
I am not saying all haters steal their comics, but many do so they can maintain the self delusion that they are not aiding and abetting the continuation of production of whatever it is they are hating on at the moment. I’ve always thought that it would be funny to see the stats of loathed creators, like Loeb and Bendis, if haters stopped buying their comics? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what a conversation about these books would be like with constructive criticism and a welcoming attitude towards fans of the books? The difference between “I wasn’t really a fan of how this character behaved.” and “I bought this book, and it sucked, just like I knew it would.” I’ve always thought it would be interesting to find out what would happen if Liefeld wrote the next Watchmen under a nom de plum, just to see who loved the book before the reveal and compare that to a list of Liefeld haters?
It is very easy to say “stop buying crap” but until comic book fans realize some simple and important things, the industry will continue to take advantage of the collector’s mindset that they have instilled into us. First, holes in our collections are ok. We don’t need a 40+ year unbroken run of anything. We especially do not need large portions of that run to be books we didn’t enjoy. Second, comics are not a special product and we should not treat retailers or companies different than we do anyother industry that makes products we like and don’t like. Don’t like Cheese-Nips, don’t buy them and move on with your day. Don’t like Subway? Go to Jimmy Johns and let it be. It is not incumbent on us to keep stores, books, publishers in business; that is their job. Your store treats you poorly? They forget to order books for you? Sell out of books on your pull list? Go to a different store. There are cheaper options out there with better customer service. If you need to go back and they ask, tell them why you left. Third, even if there are valid reasons for you to buy a book you don’t like, hope or completism, stop blaming the industry. You made this choice to buy the book, either stop buying it or don’t but own the decision and stop blaming other people for your collection.
Finally, haters hate, that’s what they do. Yes, they’ll rap it up in some sort of bow that makes it look like they are the victim that they are the only ones who really know what’s going on, and that it is your fault that they ruined an experience for you. None of that is true, these people thrive on hate, think Sith without the personality, and hating on things they have no need to read or buy brings them meaning in their mommy’s basement and keeps them warm on Friday nights. The minute you let a hater decide for you what to buy or not buy, the minute you let them dictate your opinions, the minute you validate them by reacting to their drivel they win and we all lose. Every aspect of entertainment has haters, but for some reason it seems that fanboy haters are a whole separate breed, they aren’t. Much like the comic book industry is nothing but a capitalistic enterprise, haters are haters and do not disserve special respect or attention because they happen to hate comic books. Ignore them and enjoy your super-hero books, your New52 comics, Bendis, Loeb, even Fraction and Gishler. Like what you like, support what you enjoy, and stop it with buying crap. Or, at least own up to why you buy crap.
RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 1 - Habit
RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 2 - Completionism
RU’s Views: Why We Read Crap pt. 3 - Hope
Written or Contributed by GHERU
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