Saturday, November 05, 2005

Comic book "snobs"

I never really understood why famous people become so “snobby.”  Aren’t us “little people” the ones who buy the stuff that makes them famous to begin with? Sure, when they’re being chased by paparazzi and can’t have any kind of privacy I can see becoming a bit jaded towards the public. But maybe if they weren’t so self-important to begin with the mass media wouldn’t feel the need to chase them down constantly.  There’s always some kind of crazy out to stalk them, but that happens to regular folks too.  I just think famous people need to remember who made them that way.

Now being a music “diva” or huge movie star is one thing, but what about being a comic book “super-star.”  Is there even such a thing?  Keep in mind that around 2% of the total US population reads comics.  If you wanted to be generous, you could make it 5% to include those that have read them in the past and those that have gone to a comic book shop with a friend that actually buys them.  Not every comic shopper buys or even likes the same writers and artists, either.  So, out of that 5%, how many are actually fans of any one comic book writer or artist?  These “super-stars” are by far less famous than a Tom Cruise, or even a Joe Pantoliano.  So, what makes them think they’re so important? What makes them think they can blow off the few fans they have? Shouldn’t comic book “super-stars” do more, rather than less, to build and grow their fan base? Seriously, when was the last time you saw Geoff Johns or Alex Ross being chased down by paparazzi? When was the last article on them in the National Inquirer?  NEVER!!  They’re NOT that famous.  Yet, they can be snobby and self-righteous.

This is not the case for every comic book writer/creator/artist.  Not by far.  Many do what they can to gain popularity of themselves and their work.  There are a lot of comic book folks out there, and a lot of comics (if you don’t believe me, take a look at the Preview’s catalog sometime).  But what happens when they finally become a “hot commodity” in the comic book fandom world? They think they don’t need to mix and mingle with the rest of us anymore.  They don’t do signings unless it’s a very large event like Wizard World or the San Diego Comic-Con.  They won’t send a congratulatory letter to someone for graduating suma cume laud from Harvard or for being accepted into the Air force Academy, even though the President of the United States can assign a staff member to do it.  Somehow this comic book “super-star” thinks he’s more important than the President of the United States—he just doesn’t have the two minutes it would take to throw down a note saying, “congratulations on your achievements, best wishes for the future.”  That’s horrible!!  You are a glorified ‘geek-boy’ ok. Not the King of London or the star of the hit TV show, Lost.  You write or draw or both for “funny-books.”  And if you walked down to your local grocery store and sat there all day, you’d be lucky to have more than one or two people recognize you and say they loved your work.  

Seriously, get over yourselves, you snobby comic book guys. Come down to earth. Realize that there are others working hard to take your spot, and if you brush off and don’t take time for the few fans you have, you will loose them once the new guy becomes the “hot property.”  I don’t care if you paint comic books by hand with live models. Sure, it looks really neat, and for a while you were the only one and the best one. But now there are a bunch of other guys who do a great job painting comics that look as good as yours—I’ve even some digitally painted comics that look very nice.  So, if someone sends you a letter saying, my son earned this achievement, can you send a letter of acknowledgement to him, do it. It will take you two seconds, reinforce his loyalty to you, and maybe he’ll even get another person to become a fan of your work.  Don’t assume that because you’re “so good” that you don’t need to do any outreach to fans.  I, for one, won’t support a comic book creator who thinks this way. Sure, I’ll still carry the comics for those that want to buy it, but I will let them know what a “snob” you are and I won’t buy your comics for my own collections.

Remember, you’re luck if 5% of the US population even knows who you are! Even if most of that 5% know you, you’re still a small fish in a big pond when it comes to famous people.  Everyone who works in comic books should want to grow the business, should want more fans, and thinking you’re too important to acknowledge them is definitely NOT the way to do this.  What happens when no one buys comics anymore? Or when people don’t buy enough of them to make it a viable business for anyone? Where are you and your fancy comics then?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy, who was it that got you all riled up and out of place? I agree with you but normally a response like this is set off by some event.