By Carroll B.
hate strongly dislike John Byrne.
I have nowhere else to express my anger, so I shall do it here. If you like Mr. Byrne, then please, move along. Otherwise, continue reading.
Here is what set me off:
To think that the internet allowing fans to feel that they are “not alone as readers” plays to the “clubhouse” mentality that is a large part of what’s wrong with comics today.
When you have isolated fans, reading the books on their own and not knowing (or much caring) if anybody else is, then the prime reason for reading is enjoyment — it’s all about the books themselves. It’s not about “getting together” with fellow fans to dissect and deconstruct. It’s not about posting to websites where even the most boneheaded “letters” get “published” because there is no editor to separate the wheat from the chaff.
And, most especially, it is not about the creating of product that is so dense, so self-referential, so impenentrable, that a new reader, someone who has not been part of the “club” for years, even decades, has no hope of getting into.
Every time you go to a website and see a post from someone bitching about MAN OF STEEL, or the Clone Saga, or the Death of Phoenix — or, for that matter, even just discussing these twenty and thirty year old stories — you see how inbred fandom has become.* And why the internet is, overall, a very bad thing.
Basically, what he’s saying is that comics, and their fans, all suck because people talk to each other and comics should only be read when alone and friendless. Otherwise, you’re disgracing the medium. Yeah, okay.
It’s people like John Byrne that keep the medium from reaching its full potential. Want to know why so many people turn their nose at comics? Because of the kind of crap Byrne is spewing here. Comics have to evolve, they have to change with the times. If Byrne is so short-sighted, so entrenched in his ways that he can’t – or refuses – to see this, then I hope he never gets work in comics again. I don’t want to go back to the old days. I want comics to be as common place as TV or movies or music. Byrne wants comics to continue to be a nerd club, a niche hobby on the fringes of society. No thanks!
I have a message for Mr. Byrne: STAY OUT OF COMICS.