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Toxic Fandom & Contrarians
May 21, 2020, 10:22 am

Anybody familiar with The Eltingville Club by Evan Dorkin?  It's not only a very funny book but also a scathing indictment of the more negative aspects of nerd and comic culture.  The characters are awful, selfish people who spend the majority of their time arguing with each other and thinking they're better than anyone else who happens to like what they like.  They could be called caricatures but unfortunately, those people exist.  We all know them.  The snobs that know more about everything than you, have read so much more than you and can tell you everything that's wrong with that thing you like.  But they're not exactly who I'm talking about.  Within the pages of The Eltingville Club is a parody of the parody called The Northwest Comic Collective.  These jokers HATE mainstream comics and everything about them.  They think superheroes are stupid and the only things worth reading are obscure, underground, indie self published books that you've never heard of.  They're also artists and writers themselves and are currently working on their own graphic novel that you probably wouldn't get.  These aren't caricatures either.  You may not have met them, but they're out there.  A certain youtube channel who's name I'll not mention springs to mind.  These people will talk endlessly about how stupid mainstream comics are but suspiciously seem to know a lot about them.  The problem with this is not what people like (to each their own) but how they like it.  I'm more than happy to expand my comic horizons and be exposed to some more obscure and potentially intersting work but when the information is presented with super toxic, opinion heavy trash talk about what is considered the opposite of "quality comics", it leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I'm checking out.  There's also a certain logical flaw in decrying the super hero genre and mainstream comics because without them, we wouldn't have any of it.  Now that's not to say comics wouldn't exist at all, but certainly the culture would not exist in the form we recognize today and those who write/draw underground indie books wouldn't have a field to work in.  It's also worth stating that it's a pretty good bet that the first comic any of us read was a super hero book.  Sure that's a direct result of the market being saturated with them but the point is, it's a gateway and people wouldn't like what they like if they hadn't picked up that fateful issue of Spider-Man in the 2nd grade.  The other thing I'd like to touch on are the contrarians.  Those who only like that thing because everyone else hates it.  I'm going to use Rob Liefeld as an example here.  I am NOT trying to start a whole thing here, it's just an example.  There's a whole lot of people out there that hate Liefeld and think he's a terrible artist and there's plenty of people out there that think the exact opposite.  That's fine.  Again, to each their own.  What's strange to me are the people out there that I'm pretty sure are just pretending to like Liefeld's work or whatever other example you want to throw in here because they know people hate it.  Just come by your own taste honestly is all.  And, at the end of the day, let's remember that we read these books because they're entertaining and sequential art is a legitimate artform.  No matter what your taste.  Just be nice about it.  

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  • ObsessedNerd
    No never heard of that. But it sounds like something very relevant to a lot of people I have had the unfortunate experience of interacting with on other platforms. Although I have to say thankfully not here. Twitter is especially bad. Another aspect of this type of toxic fandom seems to be based around gender bias like "girls have never/don't/shouldn't make comics" or "girls who like comics are just pretending to attract boys." Never mind some of the hatred when a woman is cosplaying as a comic character. Seems to offend certain types of people if she is either too sexy, or not sexy enough by their definition. or god help them happens to cosplay a version of the character that isn't their favourite or expresses an opinion they don't agree with. Some of the online harassment I've seen is just abhorrent.
    Reply  ·  2 weeks ago
  • Taren

    I think ObsessedNerd hit the nail on the head. 

    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • realmrider

    100% agreed

    Reply  ·  2 days ago
  • KingKrypton

    Cartoon Network made a pilot episode for a cartoon series in 2002 that you can watch on Youtube. The episode is an adaptation of the first comic from 1995. The behavior was terrible even before the internet and social media.

    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • Taren

    I read that when I Google the book. Cool. 

    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • undeadquinn

    I think it goes both male and female among  fandom, that goes too far.

    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • ComicsGatekeeper
    I've been in and out of comic shops on a regular basis for 30+ years and not once have i ran into anyone that said  "women/girls shouldn't make comics". We've had talented women(Louise Simonson, Ann Nocenti, Marie Severin, Glynis Oliver just to name a few)  in the industry forever.
    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • ComicsGatekeeper

    Most people who complain about mainstream comics are ones that read and support/have supported them. Some of those people are more familiar with mainstreams and superhero comics than most of the newbs reading today. And those same complaints also came from writers and artists who went on to form some of the most respected comic book companies of today.

    I think your comment on Liefeld is rather weird. Pretty much 180 of whats really going on imo. I'm pretty sure there are A LOT of people who hate on Liefelds artwork because others hate it or that its the cool thing to do nowadays, not the other way around.

    And where is this mysterious group of people that hate superheroes? Been reading for over 30 years and i luckily havent come across them outside of your occasional indie hipster. Superhero comics will always be the heart of the industry.

    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • Taren

    My eyes hurt from rolling. 

    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • ComicsGatekeeper
    Well that's not good. Maybe you forgot to take your seizure medication?
    Reply  ·  1 week ago
  • backalleycomics

    Don't sweat it, Taren.  I have a sneaking suspicion we've uncovered an individual relevant to the topic of this thread. 

    Reply  ·  2 days ago
  • ComicsGatekeeper

    "uncovered" ...  lmfao

    Reply  ·  2 days ago
  • Taren

    @ backallycomics I do believe you are correct. 

    Reply  ·  2 days ago
  • ComicsGatekeeper
    @Backalley What exactly do you think you've "uncovered" and how do my comments in any way indicate that i am "relevant to the topic" or more correctly your complaints? Me championing superhero comic books? Saying that most of the people who hate on them are indie hipsters? That a bunch of authors in the late 80's and 90's got sick and tired of mainstream superhero comics and moved to writing their own stuff? That lot of the people who are disgruntled with a lot of today mainstream superhero books are guys who have been reading(which btw also translates to supporting) them for their whole lives? That i said people today love to hate on Liefields work? Just curious.
    Reply  ·  5 hours ago