Geek Speak: Still Outsiders

In today’s day in age, getting into comics is easier and less stigmatizing than ever. What with quarter yearly film releases of superhero movies. Streaming services. Apps to read comics. Funko Pop figures of every Deadpool variation. And loot crates, so you don’t even have to keep up with your geek culture, it’s processed and itemized for you.

So, you’d think that the old issue by issue readers would rejoice in this renaissance, right? No, that is not the case. We are accused of gatekeeping, complaining about change, called racists, sexists, and homophobes. And why? Because we LOVE comics, we LOVE the characters. We’ve watched them from their stilted beginnings, cancelled books, resurgences, odd team-ups, we’ve kept up with all 5 other their retcons, even stuff that contradicts the other stuff. We know it, we lived through it, we LOVE it.

But now, now our hobby, our precious stories are unnaturally mutating in the glowing green ooze of Hollywood. The comic industry bends to the will of the casual fan, they gots to get that new fan moolah. They change characters, backgrounds, origins, settings, and even include new characters that we’re in that show or movie.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t love a good superhero movie. Hell, one of my favorites is The Specials written, directed, & costarring James Gunn (That’s right, I’m pulling the hipster card, “I liked his stuff before GotG”) and there is almost 0% superheroing in it! I love the culture of comics and superheroes. And I understand that certain things don’t work on film, but the same is true that certain things don’t work in comics (if there was a Specials comic it would not do well).

So you can call me a gatekeeper or any of those other things, but growing up I was called much worse, things that get you banned on social networks, because I liked to read comics. Because I teared up when Captain Stacey’s dying words were being proud that Peter was Spider-Man. Because I got upset when the writers betrayed Tigra’s character in Civil War. Because i yelled when they canceled JLI. Because I say Kingdom Come is the greatest piece of art this side of the ’70s.

Now I’m criticized by the same kinds of people only now they’re wearing Deadpool shirts that says “Chimichangas”. My writing is criticized for not being dark and being to silly by people who quote GotG. My art is criticized for looking unprofessional by people who own Squirrel Girl’s on-the-spectrum phase comics.

New decade, same crap, just with 100% chance of hypocrisy.

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you understand where us long time fans are coming from. We are invested in these characters. We care about what happens to them. And if you don’t get it, consider this:

I make a popular movie based on your favorite video game. Sure I get some details wrong and change the overall story, but it makes alot of money. Then the next game comes out and is inexplicably more like my movie than your videogame.