Why I Write The Way I Do

By | Friday, April 27, 2007 Leave a Comment
I'm going to start today's blog entry with some required reading. You'll first need to download the second issue of Comics Comics (PDF) and then read Peter Bagge's article about Spider-Man. Don't worry -- it's only a page long.

The first thing that leaps out at me about Bagge's piece is that it's full of venom. (That's "venom" with a lower-case "v".) Towards Spider-Man, certainly, but also towards Steve Ditko and Marvel and DC and comic book fans and people who know comics only casually and society on the whole and... The whole piece is just dripping with disgust for just about everything. It's bound to cloud everyone's judgement reading it (except perhaps those who also are disgusted with just about everything). You can't really take what he says with any seriousness because there's so much negativity packed into it. Readers are going to have their view colored in reading the material so that the material itself won't soak in. Which is a shame, here at least, because Bagge does actually make some valid points. You don't see them, though, because you're thinking about he just called you "some fat ugly kid who can't throw a baseball."

One thing I've actively tried to cultivate is a sense of self that's rooted in rationality. Even in my most vile posts, I've still tried to keep a sense of decorum about myself and present my arguements rationally and with something to back them up. I don't try to conceal my emotions, mind you, I only make a point of presenting them in a way that provides readers with some way of determining how and why I have them. It doesn't do any good to say, "I hate Spider-Man" if you don't say why. So I take some time to think about what I like and don't and why. What about this book works? What about that creator is cringe-worthy? How does that relate to the overall context in which it was created?

How about a metaphor to illustrate my point?

Classic stereotype of the guy walking around with a placard or sandwich board that says, "The end is near!" No one takes this guy seriously. That's why he's a stereotype -- it's a flat arguement with nothing behind it. Compare that against Al Gore, who's spent a great deal of time and money explaining WHY the end is near and what we might do to avert it. Even if you disbelieve everything he says, he holds more credence than the first guy because he at least had a reason to think the end of the world is coming.

So I'm just saying, if you're going to come online and rant about how Marvel's recent storylines suck or that DC is putting out nothing but garbage, back it up with some rationale. Convince me that you're right, don't just demand to be heard!

Finally, on a semi-related side note, there's also a decent article in Comics Comics about Steve Gerber. Worth checking out, especially if you contributed to the old Seven Soliders of Steve meme from a while back.
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