Comic book fans are smart. They’re also loyal, to a fault. Much like some media outlets today have certain agendas (no matter which side of the aisle you’re on), monthly comic sale figures and pie charts do the same, evoking unnecessary emotion and hatred.
“Let me show you this chart” –Ross Perot 1993
Here is the endgame a comic fan should always arrive to; if you like something, like it. If you don’t, don’t. Outside influences should never have a say in your thought process. Ever. Be a person that says, ‘heck yes I like the new Space Ghost comic’. Who cares if you get brush back? At the end of the day, does that opinion(s) really affect your enjoyment of something you truly enjoy? It shouldn’t. There should never come a point the crowd dictates how you or anyone should feel about a personal enjoyment within the comic community. It’s unfair to you as a reader.
Back to the pie charts. Each month Diamond Distributors release the top sales of comic books, merchandise, etc. When the masses begin to get a hold of this information, the barrage begins once again as it does every month…. “Marvel is horrible!”, “DC is boring!”, “Marvel doesn’t know what they’re doing!”, “Image Comics could be better!”, “The indie comics are going to take over the world!” …and on and on, the ridiculous statements fly around as though they are written verbatim.
…the sales numbers are a bit skewed because of the rhetoric being tossed around.
This isn’t a new practice either, it’s been going on for years. It’s more recent the mobs have grown louder. Many times the parties releasing this information from Diamond Distributors are the responsible parties in rallying the troops into believing their particular rhetoric, thus creating such hostility and a negative environment.
Cant’ we all just get along?
The main reasoning for most of the ‘agreement’ with an original poster on social media is to ‘save face’ and still have their ‘friend’ in tow at the end of the day. Heaven forbid we go against the grain and disagree a bit about why some sale numbers are the way they are. Here’s a thought, maybe, just maybe, the sales numbers are a bit skewed because of the rhetoric being tossed around. Thus the buyer NEVER gives that new Marvel comic a chance because they’ll sooner listen to the mob, instead of garnering their own opinion and check it out for themselves? Is it possible, no? Just a thought.
Anyone remember the craziness that ensued once we all found out that Captain America was hailing Hydra this ‘whole time’? Remember that uproar? Remember the protest on social media? Statements rang out; “I’m never reading or buying a Marvel comic again!” Really?
How about when some fans lost their minds with “No more Mutants”…
…or when Joe Quesada unraveled Spider-Man’s history? The fanbase went nuts, vowing to ‘NEVER BUY ANOTHER MARVEL COMIC EVER!’. They came back. They always do.
Captain America is ‘American’ once again, Spider-Man will eventually marry Mary Jane again, and mutants are still all over the freaking place. Can we all relax? Stories are subjective. It’s the way it is meant to be. Storytelling is envisioned differently than an artist sees fit to draw the spider or the ‘S’ bigger or smaller. It’s okay, let’s all take a collective breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Do not misunderstand here, storytelling should, in fact, evoke emotion, but it should not incite irrational thinking. If a reader reads something and does not like the story, that’s fine, but not liking it and trying to force your own ideas onto others on why THEY shouldn’t like it is not only misleading, it’s not fair to a potential new reader.
How about the story is simply not for you? How about you are not capturing the true essence of what the writer is trying to convey? Could it be that maybe you just don’t feel the writers thought process? Perhaps your vision is different? It’s okay to not follow or understand a vision.
Think about how absurd this sounds…
there are people out there that actually do not feel the Walking Dead or Game of Thronesstories, but others do, that’s alright. Newsflash, every Stephen King novel is not a ten. He has duds too. It’s okay. Just because Mr. King puts out a clunker does not mean a Stephen King fan will vow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. that they’ll never buy a Stephen King novel again.
We have to cease the negativity and this line of thinking in our small comic community…
Could you imagine a forty-year-old John Grisham fan railing against a new novel and informing everyone how bad the book is and asking fans not to buy it? It’s completely off the wall, but this occurs ALL THE TIME within the comic book community. You’ll find that SAME 40-year-old, posting how bad the new DC Rebirth universe stories are. Seriously? Yes, that ‘adult’ is very serious and causes a backlash because twenty of their friends want to remain a friend and believe him/her. We have to cease the negativity and this line of thinking in our small comic community and let fans decide for themselves what they want or like without having to get ridiculed for it. Social media has become the obvious focal point in veering and deterring so many individuals from seeing the potential in new material.
Comic fans must be stronger than this.
The next time you read a social media thread with hatred and venom towards a particular company, creator, storyline, do your best and ignore it. Do not feed into the negativity. An opinion is worth more when there is validity to one’s personal thoughts behind it. Constructive criticism is a real viable thing. It’s healthy and begs for the trolling to weed itself out. Engage the person that states the Wonder Woman movie was okay, but the rest of the DC movies will stink. Why? Why the negative condensations? Explain, in viable meaningful spoken words, not ‘just because’.
Be brave and explain that there is too much negativity. Things need to change for the better.
Agree to disagree?
We must grow inward as a comic community if we want this ‘comic book’ thing to survive. Not outward. Does anyone really believe with waning sales that Disney or Warner Brothers will continue to print comics in 10 to 20 years with all of the negativity shrouding the comics themselves? The writing is on the wall here folks, the digital age is approaching and we probably have a limited time to still enjoy what we all get every single Wednesday. Going digital, of course, does not hamper the trolls or Mr/Ms negativity, but it does dampen the volume a bit because many fans will not follow from paper to digital.
When scrolling up on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whichever and you come across that ‘Diamond Monthly Sales’ post, go in there and straighten some things out. Be brave and explain that there is too much negativity. Things need to change for the better. Let’s be proactive and not reactive. Discuss things as would the two fans that agree to disagree regarding that new King novel.
-Jay Katz, a comic book collector since 1983 and is the owner/creator of InvestComics LLC since 2005. InvestComics LLC was originally a magazine in 2005 before the website launched in 2005.