Room Enough for All

By | Wednesday, December 06, 2023 Leave a Comment
There are literally thousands upon thousands of comic and book publishers out there. And millions upon millions of people who buy and/or read those comics and books. Not every book is for every reader. Not every publisher is for every reader. And whether that's because you, as a reader, don't like the specific content being published, or because you, as a consumer, don't abide by the principles or morals of the writer or publisher is irrelevant. You are not going to buy/read every book out there. There's just too much.

In fact, maybe there's so much out there that there are books being published that literally no one but the author has read. I mean, statistically, that has to have happened, right? Somebody had an idea for a book, sat down to write it, self-published the thing, and then found out that absolutely no one was interested. And while that probably was emotionally disappointing, perhaps even angering, to the author, that really hurt no one. Some lost time and money on the part of the author, but that's pretty much it.

What about those books which have a really small audience? Maybe 100 people or less. Still valid, right? Same for 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000. Unless the book is actively advocating hurting or killing people, what's the harm in any publisher putting out whatever books they want.

I've heard people disparage publisher Craig Yoe for around a decade and a half now. Mostly complaints that he's self-centered, and more interested in promoting himself than anything else. I've never met him so I don't know how he acts in person, but I can see how his branding efforts look like that. The other complaint I've heard about him is that many of his reprint books are superficial. They collect obscure public domain (mostly) comics but don't add much of anything by way of context, and don't do all that much to make the artwork look better than the crappy newsprint they were orginally printed on. But my thinking is... "Whatever. If he puts out something I'm interested in, I don't really give a shit if I might get along with him in person or not. And if he's putting out material no one else is, why disparage him for it?"

When I was first studying comics fandom, I found there was really only one guy writing specifically on comics fandom at the time. I bought some of his books, read through them, and then reached out because I had some additional questions. He did respond, but mostly by suggesting I buy his other books. The handful of other interactions I had with him were similar, so I stopped bothering to reach out. He came across as a salesman who didn't want anything to do with you unless you give him money. I would still buy some of his books, but I gave up trying to have any meaningful discussions or dialogue with him.

And that's okay.

He wasn't doing anything to hurt me or others, just being curt. So he can keep publishing whatever he likes. It impacts me not at all.

If I found one of his books useful or entertaining, I might've written up a positive review. If I found one trite or poorly done, I might've written up a negative review. But it's about the work, not the individual. Same with Yoe Books. I might write a positive review of a book if I find it entertaining, and a negative one if I don't care for it. Although, more than likely, I wouldn't bother with a negative review because life is too short to worry about bad comics.

I know some people are out there thinking comics should be universally praised as "high art" and they're still defensive about years of a derogatory perception, but let it go, man! Not all art is for all people; just because a book doesn't meet your standards of what the medium should strive for doesn't mean you should attack those who don't agree with your standards. It's a big enough field that there's room for everybody.
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