Comic Fandom Drama… Why? (opinion)
I certainly do miss the good old days of comics… Man! I sound old saying that. Truth is, the “good old days” weren’t that long ago. I can remember being able to walk onto a convention floor and see creators of all different backgrounds conversing and sharing. There was a day when comics brought the unlikely together…
In middle school, we are all trying to figure out who we are and what we are gonna be. It was at this time that the love of comics really surfaced for me. It was over this love of comics that I met my friend, Hilton. We were an unlikely team, but we rushed into school every day to talk about comics and what we had created! Sure, we had tons of differences, but we had comics.
I recently sat down for an event at a local comic book shop called C.H.A.T. (That stands for Costumed Heroes and Theology). Given my vocation, I was interested in what this was, so I drove 40 minutes to attend. What I found was a diverse group of people sharing their worldview and opinions in a very respectful forum. There were times that I wondered how such an eclectic group could have found themselves together like this. The answer was right over my shoulder.
In both cases, it was Superman, Batman, Gambit, Professor X, Captain America, Hulk, and so many more that introduced us all to one another. Comics had a way of helping people connect. The same isn’t so true today. That meeting at a local shop is a rare example of embracing other people irrespective of affiliation in the name of comics and unity.
So, these days I look around the chaos and cesspool of negativity that is “social media” and wonder what went wrong. There is more drama within the creator communities than what is being played out in the actual comics! The extremes on one side have birthed the extremes on the other and the ones truly losing are those that love comics. It’s like seeing parents battle over the kids in an ugly divorce.
My encouragement for us all… Can we try to be respectful of each other long enough to hear where people are coming from? Can we try and keep the insane drama on the pages of the comics and get back to a community that celebrates a medium that allows EVERYONE the opportunity to BE THEMSELVES? We are never going to get the hive mind and agree with each other 100%. Who would want that anyway? I much prefer the diverse thinking and alternative perspectives that I get when I engage in meaningful conversation with those who don’t look, act, or think like me.
The fringe groups on either side have had their time to speak. They have done a poor job representing those of us in the middle. I think it is time that we stood up, extended a loving hand and began to repair the divide. Maybe we can leave the wood pile a little higher than we found it.