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Monday, November 17, 2008

Stop Bashing Older "Fanboys"

Note: I didn't write the following quote: Evan Dorkin did.

"Average age, I'd say, at a guess, was in the late 30's, early 40's. Older, balding, grizzled, overweight, zombified manboys in t-shirts and faded old clothes, shambling, ghoulish prospectors of dead dreams and junk, panning about with their crumpled want lists and thumb oil-soaked notebooks of who to hit up for what drawing or signature or who to browbeat into a 2-out-of-3 falls Texas Submission Monologue Death Conversation Match. A lot of sports talk. Knicks, Rangers, Nets, Yankees, Mets, local talk, boy talk, men talk. And a lot of cursing. I like cursing, but I shut it down at shows, at least I work at it, especially loud cursing. With a lack of female pheremones in the room, and far, far fewer kids at the show than any I'd seen in years, vulgarity was on the loose. And the volume was set at 11 for the majority of the boisterous contingent, which was amplified by the closeness of the surroundings and the horrible acoustics (I'm not kidding when I say Artist's Alley was a fire hazard, and I'm not talking about attendance). It was a sports bar, a 1986 comics shop, a Creation Con atmosphere. It was a vibe I haven't witnessed in ages, something I quite honestly forgot about. It was dinosaur times, and I like dinosaurs, but there's a reason the fuckers died. This was one disheartening scene, even allowing for my own inherent pessimism and cynicism."

I don't have time to write a big thing about Evan Dorkin's comments on Big Apple Con, but I just want to say: it's getting tired already. Yeah, I think the comic book industry should more aggressively market to teens and women. Yeah, I've been on the receiving end of harassment from one or two individuals from this demographic. But this level of bashing sounds elitist.

"A lot of sports talk. Knicks, Rangers, Nets, Yankees, Mets, local talk, boy talk, men talk."

ZOMG! Sports talk! The barbarians!

"Older, balding, grizzled, overweight, zombified manboys in t-shirts and faded old clothes, shambling, ghoulish prospectors of dead dreams and junk."

Have a heart. I know I'm going to be laughed to oblivion for saying that, that it sounds ridiculous. But have a fucking heart. Some of these older collectors are some of the nicest people I've ever met. I grew up around these people. I'm not ashamed of it. Some have used comics as one of their only bright spots in a life that in every other respect might have been awful. If it makes them happy, let them do it. If they aren't bothering you (other than by the fact of their very existence, offending your delicate sensibilities), stop fucking ragging on them. I can't fucking stand this anymore.

Big Apple Con/The National donated Friends of Lulu a booth this year. We raised a good amount of money for our organization. Most of the people who donated are in the basic demographic Dorkin cites in his post: late 30s/early 40s comic collectors. Big Apple Con's organizer, Michael Carbonaro, used to attend every New York City Chapter meeting of Friends of Lulu.

"It wasn't just one endless freak parade by any means, but the monsters did tend to obscure the fauns and woodlings. Whatever the fuck that means. A backhanded way of saying thanks to the non-nutjobs who stopped by to say hi, we certainly appreciated the breath of fresh air and humanity and the brief staving off of thoughts of suicide or career change."

I want to expand the audience for comic books to younger people, and I believe that not doing so will hurt this industry. I believe that comic companies that get too hung-up on nostalgia are sacrificing long-term viability for short term profit. But there is no call to dehumanize a whole (really frickin' large) segment of the comic buying populace in the process.

It's this elitist attitude that will be as much responsible for "killing" comics as the targets of their criticism. I have no fucking patience for it. It's elitist, it's socio-economic-cultural snobbery.

"This time around, I wanted to go get a job in a deli."

Go! But are you sure you want to work there? Bologna is so low-class.