Thursday, February 3, 2011

Touchy Fanboys 1, Funny 0

[RANT] So last week, funnybook man Eric Powell posted up a video urging people to buy (and make) more creator-owned funnybooks. We thought it was pretty funny, and that it put forth an opinion we here on the Dork Forty support all the way. In the video, Powell equates doing corporate super hero books, when you have no real creative interest in the genre, with prostitution. He does this by showing a struggling young artist reluctantly taking on super hero work to make ends meet, and then being... well... pounded in the butt by a super hero. While his loving family watches on in shock and horror.

Sure, it's a bit harsh. It's even kinda unfair. But it's also funny, and more than a little true. But now Powell's taken the video down in the face of an amazing onslaught of ignorant fanboy anger. He feels that it's become too divisive, and is hurting his cause more than it's helping. Which is probably true, but GODDAMMIT, PEOPLE! This is sort of shit that makes me ashamed to be a comics fan. Eric Powell trades in satire and mildly transgressive humor...

...okay, maybe mildly is the wrong word...

...and that's exactly what he delivered in his video message. He gave us a satire of a situation in the funnybook business that not enough people are willing to talk about: in American funnybooks, you do corporate spandex comics, or you don't make any money. Powell is (as he says in the video) lucky enough to be the exception to this rule, but that doesn't make it any less sad. If the American funnybook is to survive as a medium, it needs more diversity of story. And it needs a system to attract more (and better) creators to the field, by offering them the same sort of deal they'd get if they wrote a prose novel instead of one with pictures. Which is to say, a deal where they don't give up ownership of their own creations. Or even one where they get to do something of their own creation, rather than a corporate-owned franchise.

But say anything that even hints at a criticism of super heroes, and you're gonna get flamed. Take note, guys: this wasn't intended as an insult. Nowhere does Powell say that you shouldn't buy, or like, super hero comics. He just wants other genres to be as important a part of the industry as the corporate spandex books. And for people with an original creative vision to have a shot at making money with it, as they do in fiction markets that haven't been hobbled by years of inbreeding.

I mean, do you really wanna wind up like this guy?

And he wants these things for the good of the industry. Because he loves comics just as much as you do, and he wants them to survive and thrive, with an audience that can sustain them for the foreseeable future. And that means people reading, and creating, a few more comics that don't have super heroes in them. Because, as much as you and I might like the genre... If sales figures are anything to judge by, we're a dying breed. [/RANT]


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