WHERE ARE THE RABID FANBOYS?
The other night I was going over a bunch of recent pull lists that I’ve been providing my local comic book shop over the past few weeks. While gazing down at the names of all the DC Universe books I order, I began thinking on a particular matter.
Where are the rabid fanboys that I’ve been reading so much about?
There are a lot of Internet blogs devoted to the state of the comic book industry, and along with them are the people commenting on the comments of the bloggers. One of the biggest complaints by bloggers and “commenters” alike is how DC is catering varied and relentless dishes of continuity porn to rabid fanboys. I’m not going to argue with the continuity porn (called in some circles, “corporate fan fiction”) because right now I feel DC is out of control with it.
However, I do wonder about these rabid fanboys.
When I write “rabid fanboy,” I’m writing of the fanatical folks who buy one issue each of all the DC Universe titles published every month to keep up with DCU continuity. How many comics is that? Some fifty books?
The majority of them are $2.99 a pop, but there are also a few ranging from $3.50 to $3.95. Fifty comic books at $2.99 each comes to almost $150 a month. That’s a lot of money to be spending on comics, but it does make such big spenders rabid fanboys–and I can see why DC would want to please them if they’re spending that kind of money to keep up on their continuity porn.
Comic book sales are quite skewed. For every twenty issues of Catwoman ordered in a given month, only fifteen may actually be sold. However, even if Catwoman sells 50,000 copies of a single title a month (as opposed to, say, 65,000 ordered), how many of these buyers are rabid fanboys?
And where are these rabid fanboys?
Again, I read about them, but I never hear from them. I don’t know of any DC Universe cults or clubs. I don’t see any announcements of DCU assemblies or seminars. Do they have Web sites? Or are they some kind of silent minority or majority?
Now, I know a lot of people who buy several DC comics a month, but they also purchase All Star Superman and a few Vertigo comics. These folks are buying DCU titles because they like the characters or the creators, not because they’re into keeping up with continuity.
Personally, I see myself as a rabid fanboy. I’ve been buying DC comics consistently since the age of ten, and I seriously try to keep up on all of them (in fact, I’m probably worse than a rabid fanboy because I buy dozens of additional comics and graphic novels, too).
However, I’m months behind on keeping up with the current DC Universe because there’s just too much of it right now. There are holes in my Countdown collection. Countdown: Arena? How many issues is that?
There were a couple of issues of Action Comics and Nightwing published at the end of 2007 that I’ve overlooked. Who knows if I’ll ever purchase another issue of Outsiders. I’ve yet to complete Metamorpho: Year One and Wonder Girl (and, y’see . . . I’m concerned about completing Wonder Girl! That makes me an insane rabid fanboy).
Once budgetary constraints check in, as it has with me, rabidity loses its flair.
Seriously, if I’m the one true rabid fanboy that DC is catering to, then they’ve gotta stop. Not because I’m being threatened by the angry bloggers and their followers on various comic book blogs (after all, they only know me in general terms and see me as much more of a threat than I actually am). DC has to stop because these rabid fanboys everyone is writing and complaining about simply may not exist.
There is no one to cater to. The table may have been set, continuity porn is now being served, but there may be no one sitting down to eat. I’m beginning to think the rabid fanboys only work for DC Comics–but I could be wrong.
So if the rabid fanboys do exist, where are they?
To understand the DC Universe as it now stands in continuity, and to qualify as a rabid fanboy, these are the titles you should have bought and read during the month of February 2008:
The All-New Atom
Countdown to Final Crisis
Justice Society of America
Teen Titans: Year One
Green Arrow and Black Canary
Green Lantern Corps
Batman and the Outsiders
Birds of Prey
The Brave and the Bold
Death of the New Gods
Justice League of America
Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood
Legion of Super-Heroes
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters
Countdown to Adventure
Countdown to Mystery
Countdown Presents: Lord Havok and the Extremists
Yep, that’s forty-four titles.
At least Jonah Hex and Bat Lash are optional.