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The Electric Bugaloo: The Internet

Hi, I’m the new guy, the name’s Kieran. Thanks in advance for starting to read, and please try and make it to the end, you might enjoy it. Imagine it’s the Eighties and you’re in the comic shop. Today’s the day you’ve waited for, Watchmen #11 is out today! Walking to the counter a [...]

man stops you: “This is the greatest comic of all time!”

Another man pulls him aside:“What are you kidding? Alan Moore sucks!”

You didn’t ask these men for their opinions, but yet more and more are joining in. The shop becomes louder so the opinions get louder, you pay for you comic, struggle through the crowd, and make it out the shop only to have someone stop you:“Ozymandias did it. He did it thirty-five minutes ago and Rorschach and Nite-Owl had no clue. That was the best twist ever!”

Your anticipation for the comic withers and your day is ruined.

We’ve all had an experience like that on the internet. You’re casually cruising the Darkhawk Appreciation Thread when someone manages to relate the topic of conversation to the latest New Avengers and you find out Elektra is a Skrull. This is usually the minority of people on forums, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the internet, to some extent, makes comic reading a lot less special.

Remember back before you started frequenting the forums? I do, it was around the time Civil War was in full swing and I was a naïve little newbie and I thought it was greatest thing ever. I started at the Marvel forums before moving up to Rama because that’s where everyone linked to anyway, but since I started posting more and more frequently, I’m more cynical now, I see twists coming, I spot plot holes. I bash writers I’ve never met and stories I’m sure they’ve worked very hard on. I don’t really want to be this person.

I know different now obviously, I read Civil War again a month back and it sucked, but I can’t help but wonder: do I see the faults because people on the internet told me to look out for them, am I better off recognising a bad story and staying away, or living blissfully ignorant?

On the counter side though, it could be argued that the internet is the greatest tool the industry has today. If it wasn’t for the internet, I’d be stuck reading nothing but generic big two books and wouldn’t go near lesser known, but just as good (if not better) titles like Proof and Casanova. It’s also an indispensable application for creators, I regular frequent the websites of the likes of Ellis, Fraction, Cornell and Ngyuen, and the webcomic craze has made those Penny Arcade guys pretty damn wealthy.

Also, if I didn’t talk on forums, I’d burst because I’d have no place to vent my amazement, anger or downright apathy towards certain comics. Forums are a place for the like-minded to get together and shout at complete strangers for liking Nighthawk. Let me ask you, how many of your fellow posters do you consider friends? How many know your real name? How many have you met? I’ve made countless friends through The Outhouse and ‘Rama, some I intend to meet very soon. Yeah, there are douches out there, but they’re out on the street and in your comic shop as well. I’ve had some bad experiences on the internet and in forums, but if I could go back to when I signed up for Talk@, the only thing different I’d do would be to start posting a hell of a lot sooner.

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Posted originally: 2008-08-18 16:02:46
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