A close associate spends his afternoons at a local elementary school supervising a collective of hyper-kinetic youngsters enjoying the heaven that is recess. His job duties include the frequent use of a whistle, coupled with the necessity to yell, “Hey!“, “Stop that!“, “Don’t kick him!” and “Don’t make me come over there!” in varying intensities.
Bad news folks…I’m blowin’ the whistle on the playground the comic industry has become of late, and screaming that we have more productive things to do than throw tantrums and kick each other.
The date is September 11, and through a brutal act of terrorism, executed in a matter of hours, the face of the world was left forever changed. Newsweek and Time are rife with articles on how to successively protect oneself from bioterrorism, and the United States is officially at war.
Long lasting effects have not remained exclusive to airport security, as an arcing wave of sensitivity has grasped the entertainment industry, resulting in the cancellation and/or postponement of several projects that those effected may deem inappropriate or offensive in the wake of these cowardly attacks. The comic industry has turned on their heels, re-aligning schedules, planning tributes, and otherwise doing their part to help. How ironic, that as this time of tragedy has served to bring out the best in us…it’s also served to bring out the worst. The past couple of weeks have been punctuated by those within our insular community basically behaving badly in a series of incidents that’s gradually escalated to the level of senseless bickering, and while caught in the heat of battle, and the thrill of competition…we forgot the reason we’re disagreeing.
Beware the ire of some that frequently post on message boards, for their rage is strong, and their logical reasoning non-existent. Several issues of the Authority were recently pulled by DC, supposedly for content possibly proving objectionable. Now, I love The Authority to be honest. I’ve been waiting for the conclusion to New World Order as long as you have. I’ve been anticipating a true return to form for Bryan Hitch on the book that made him a household name. Now, I’m forced to wait for these potential comic gems. Months. Many long, lonely months without my dear Authority comics. Whatever the hell will I do? Get over it? Damn right. Realize there’s more to life than comics? I think so.
The lack of sensitivity displayed by some that scream, “Why is DC doing this,” is combined with, “Why can’t we get on with our lives,” and the end result is the elevation of my blood pressure. The damn Authority isn’t important. People behave as if the industry is literally shutting down, which is far from the truth. I’m not proposing that companies refuse to publish scenes of urban destruction and random carnage for the duration of their existence, but for the next few months, I think some may find the effort to prevent art from imitating life appreciative. And that’s what this display is for…those effected by a tragedy that wasn’t supposed to happen.
Sit back, wait patiently for your issues of The Authority and kindly shut up.
And just when you think things won’t become any worse…the big boys begin pitching rocks at each other.
It appears this started when Diamond Distributors cancelled a retailer rally to be held in Baltimore in response to the September 11 bombings, but some will have you believe that it began when Marvel and DC exchanged a series of not-so subtle verbal barbs months ago during the San Diego Comic-Con. Whatever the reason, some thought it cowardly to allow terrorism to stop us from taking care of business, and others thought that cancellation was more than necessary for an event that would require significant air travel, therefore causing retailers undue stress. Fine. Both fine points with their own merit. As human beings…sometimes we disagree. Let’s shake on it, deal with the tragedy in our own ways, and move on.
Then people began issuing statements rife with personal jabs and assaults on business practices. Phrases like “hastily planned”, “thrown-together” and “most important” were tossed into focus. As an online columnist, readers expect to be passionately caressed by the opinions expressed here, and on occasion, stiffly slapped. Being belligerent and militant in one’s views is sometimes an asset in a venue of this sort, but I’m not running a comic company. The rightful face of authority suggests a level of maturity that will allow entities to disagree relatively peacefully, and continue playing nice.
No one can survive alone in the cold and whatever Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, and CrossGen think about the manner in which their competitors conduct their business…the industry would lose something as a whole if someone unexpectedly disappeared. People would suffer creatively and probably financially. We need Spidey, just like we need Batman, and Sin City, and Powers, and Scion. So why can’t everyone just do what they can to aid in the relief effort and leave the bullshit at the door?
Instead the public was witness to “press releases” and statements containing profanity and clever insults that were in essence unwarranted. Do you think that the executives from two movie studios engage in hostile e-mail exchanges using phrases like, “patriotic posturing,” “divisive and contentious,” “shit hits the fan,” and calls each other assholes? I doubt it, and if they did, the public wouldn’t even be aware that such an exchange occurred. When nearly every facet of a businesses operation is subject to public scrutiny like in our beautiful little world, one has to be very mindful of what is said, and in this case everyone threw caution and tact to the wind and spoke their mind without pulling punches.
I apologize for being so forward with this, but I recently had a very personal incident where my mouth and my balls got away from me. An article was offered to the public called the Coming of the Crucible, which was an old pitch started a couple of years ago that didn’t pan out. That’s one component of being Ambidextrous, check the Introduction if you don’t believe me.
Someone had the nerve to question the authenticity of the work, not the quality, that I don’t mind…but it was suggested that the concept was stolen from another source, I put my name on it, and tried to make a claim. Now I take my work very seriously and I wasn’t going to let this accusation go unchallenged. I proceeded to embroil myself in a fierce message board war with someone that obviously wasn’t very interested in anything I had to say from the inception. I should’ve realized this and let it go. Instead, I attacked him with both fists, swore at him, and basically allowed him to yank my chain far too easily.
I got away from myself and would like to close the topic down completely, because every time I think about it…I feel like an ass. Like my friends told me, after yanking the keyboard away, the person was beneath my notice. You think when Michael Jordan is challenged to a game of street ball by a loser claiming he’s better than him, he laces his shoes up and goes to work? Hell no. He ignores the fool. He’s got better things to do with his time, and I did as well the afternoon I devoted to flaming this interloper.
My new signature, which I heard in a rap song, reads as follows, “A wise man once told me don’t argue with fools…’cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”
The fans don’t know who started the fight, or even the true reasons why it started, but the end result is that everyone looks foolish.
Let’s re-commit ourselves to respecting each others’ differences and performing the tasks that we each do best. Not insult each other when things refuse to turn our way, not take shots at those that are obviously attempting to bait us into saying something that will downplay the immaturity of their own statements. Let’s make things right as a unit, not as individuals. I’m willing to give it a try if you are.
There are still 5, 219 people missing at the World Trade Center, and the bodies of nearly fifty firefighters have been found recently.
Think about that ladies and gentlemen….
Next time: No more coherent complaining. The shipping list indicates that October 3rd will be a great day to be a comic fan, and my bank account will surely hate me when I’m through, but certain sacrifices are necessary for the good of all. I will review the entire bag of goodness for next week’s column and deliver the reviews in a manner that could only be described as Rapid Fire. Tell your friends.