Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Would You Wipe Your Butt With A Bad Comic?

Bad Comic

No seriously -- what's the most you would do to a comic book you hated?

The gentleman at this link hated the old Uncanny X-Men comics so much, he set the omnibus on fire. Or rather, did after many dangerous attempts. I think it's the slick ultra-white archival paper that was the problem.

Then there is the matter of the actual butt-wiping. I've heard many an angry fanboy state their intention to do the deed with this or that comic he disliked, but never have seen much in the way of follow-through.

You could always send the book back to the publisher and ask for your money back. This has actually happened before. It's not too extreme. It might actually get you your money back. If you tear it up into little pieces first, you might not be as successful in getting the money back.

Then there are books that I didn't want to tear up, but I felt uncomfortable about keeping physically in my house. Such was the case with Titans East Special. Maybe it was the guilt over paying money for it, I'm not sure. But, I also felt that way about Dave Sim's Glamourpuss #1. There was nothing in the book that offended me in the least; it just had this...aura around it. I can't explain it. It bothered me. It bothered me to keep it physically in my house.

I'm also shy sometimes about keeping books I myself have edited, because I look back on them and get all perfectionistic (not an actual word, but apropos) about them. I see little flaws. And some books give me bad memories and I've thrown all my comps in the garbage; I don't even keep a "file" copy. I must believe that these things happen with some editors regarding their books. Space is also a factor. You feel you must hold on to every book, in multiple copies, that you have worked on. That can add up. I mean, do I really need 15 copies of Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #3 on my bookshelf?

Yes. Yes, I do.


  1. Replace that photo of Fozzy with anyone who has won "Last Comic Standing". That would be someone worthy of wiping your butt on.

    As for the idea of destroying bad comics? If you really think that's what's best, then sure. But in the end, I feel it's ultimatly an empty and immature gesture that serves to feed into the "some people are never happy" mindset, and won't really change the quality of future work. I like your idea of sending it back to the publisher and politly requesting a refund.

    As for 15 copies of Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #3. You only need 12. Quit being a glory hog.

  2. No.. let's not waste money like that.

    As for the books you've edited, sure you might not want to look at them now, but there will probably come a time when you'll want to. You know, for sentimental reasons. Or to have a good laugh.

    Oh, how you might have a laugh.

    Bad comics, expensive comics, and other stuff that are just clutter, I'd suggest selling em off or donating to ... i don't know, an orphanage? What do I know, anyway?


  3. I'll never forgive myself for buying the Fables: Legends in Exile trade. Try as I might, I could never get into Fables, and I don't see what all the fuss is about. I would not hesitate to burn it for firewood, if only so that it would no longer sit on my bookshelf next to Mark Waid's Kingdom Come

  4. I really disliked the World War 3 tie-in for 52. I simply tossed the books in the trash.

  5. I threw away both Virgin's The Sadhu and Marvel's Claws (and a few other issues, such as Morrison's Batman text issue), but generally will leave comics I don't want in some public place where someone who would enjoy them might find them. There's really no reason to keep something you don't like, unless you're establishing an archive of some sort.

    'Perfectionistic' actually is, a work, btw. ;)

  6. I bought the Supergirl with Batgirl in it last year so I could read for myself if it was as bad as everyone was saying it was.

    And it was.

    Then... I destroyed it. I didn't wipe my butt with it. That paper is way too harsh! But I destroyed it. A mercy killing as I see it.

    But I can't destroy having read it. Or having spent my hard-earned yen on it. Spending money on something you hate is the same as someone spending money on something they love- a vote in favor of it with your wallet.

    So I vowed never to do that again!

  7. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Slightly OT: I do know that your average Tokyo Pop can be used for such a job. About five years ago at a Texas convention, an artist friend had to resort to using it while traveling home. Since then, it's sort of running joke - TP stands for more than just Tokyo Pop.

    Not bashing their titles...just speaking on the durability of their paper. ^_-

  8. I've only had this kind of experience once, with a copy of Wormwood that my comic seller slipped into my bag. I ended up so disappointed with it that I gave it back to him so he could re-sell it. Normally I wouldn't do such a thing, but given how much free beer I've gotten from him (best. comic store. ever.) I figured I could let this slide.

    Lately I've been making judicious use of the recycling bin for books I don't want, especially back issues. Part of that is just to break the hoarding mentality I developed as an early collector. Lots of comics are nice, but so is having room for furniture in one's apartment.

  9. I recycled my World War 3 comics, as well. Ugh.

    Many of my old Vertigo comics like the old House of Secrets run with that "Rain" character are now mulch.

  10. Burning books . . . man.

    They're just comics.

    The history around book-burning is . . . ugh.

    Spending money on something you hate is the same as someone spending money on something they love- a vote in favor of it with your wallet.

    Which is why you go to get that money back by asking for a refund.

  11. If the bad comic was a one shot, nothing I can do except shrug and go meh. Maybe take notice of the team on it and be wary of anything further they produce. After that, I usually end up lambasting the thing in any forum it should happen to be presented and dissuade others from even touching it. I don't think I've ever removed anything from any of my collections, regardless of crappiness. And boy, do I have some stinkers worth removing!

    As for books I'm invovled with, I know my first published credit I bought 15 copies of the book and had everyone involved sign it so I could mail it out to friends and family, then proceeded to give away the 8 or 9 comp copies I ended up getting (my refusal refused) to others here and there. I think I still have about 3 or 4 left... Anyways, I'll always keep those because those're my roots. It'll be a fun little trip down memory lane as the more I produce, the more I can watch my skills evolve and grow.

    Although I totally get the perfectionist mentality as I look at stories I've done years ago and constantly come up with new ways to tweak them and improve them. It's just the curse of the creative.

  12. Unless you think a comic is like aggressively offensive and promotes a really loathsome ideology, I have no idea why you'd ever want to burn it. There are plenty of used booksellers who will take comics and trades, and even if the comics are worthless, there are plenty of non-profit bookstores, libraries, literacy centers etc. that would be happy to have more reading material around.

    I'm pretty sure anything and everything with Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, Batman etc. would be greedily devoured by the kids at the writing center where I volunteer, even if it doesn't cut the mustard with the blogosphere.

    Outside of performance art or necessity, I don't understand why you'd do either of these things with any printed work.

  13. Andrew- I agree. People who make the mistake of buying something drecky should demand refunds.

    Or they should do what I do, which is no longer buy it in the first place. I do something more effective and a lot more fun than asking for a refund- I stopped buying stuff I know to be crap in favor of buying things in direct competition with DC, or at least alternative choices.

    I used to do that in conjunction with telling DC WHY I wasn't buying their products anymore but then I hipped to the fact they could care less.

  14. Somehow, I bought Green Arrow Black Canary Wedding Planner.

    I wouldn't want to defile it, but I'd like to take it out drinking. We'd drink like Judah Maccabee and Nexus, then go looking for an Elvis impersonator. Instead, we'd find the Blues Ranger, a horribly bad schtick of a guy dressed up as the Lone Ranger who plays the blues. Somewhere, Wedding Planner would suggest a tequila shot or three. I'd sneak in an order of ouzo, while excusing myself to the bathroom, where I would ditch Wedding Planner.

    Hopefully, I would lose both the Wedding Planner and the brain cells with the memory of it.

    (I actually did see the Blues Ranger at the Check Board in Chicago.)

  15. People throw out magazines all the time. The last time I moved, I chucked all my issues of Ultimates vol. 1 in the recycling. Not because I don't love Ultimates, but because the hardcover was easier to pack. I suppose I could've sold them or donated them or whatever, but moving was enough of a headache and tossing them and a stack of others made for one less thing to think about.

  16. People do throw out magazines all the time, but (most) magazines are designed to be more ephemeral news conveyances rather than (theoretically) timeless stories that could be enjoyed by a reader months or years after the fact.

    Again, I am not trying to exalt your run-of-the-mill mediocre superhero comic, but in most cities there are pretty convenient ways to donate your unwanted comics (and magazines even!) to a literacy center or library or somewhere, and I don't see why more people don't make that effort.

    And even if that's a lot of hassle, at least recycle those crappy comics. There are enough reasons to feel guilty about our crappy comic purchases without contributing to landfills on top of it.

  17. The comics I hate get tossed in a box and forgotten, to be cataloged one day as part of a research library collection. Kinda like radioactive waste.

    The awful comics, like my Gold Key Star Trek Voodoo Planet issue, get mirthfully disected with glee. (Like making the dead frog twitch by poking it's leg with a pin.)

    I tend to stay away from the bad stuff. Got better titles to spend my money on.

    Oh, and remember, when burning paper, you need to allow air to circulate. Crinkle the pages, or turn it upside down on a barbecue grill. If burning a copy of the Simpsons (why?), be sure to soak it in gasoline overnight.

  18. Anonymous3:56 PM

    Seeing how today's comics paper is more toxic than it was in the newsprint / baxter paper era, you'd have to be pretty dumb to burn it.

    Now, while I have never actually used comics to wipe down there, I have used bad comics to line my cat's litter box with, as wrapping paper for smaller gifts for birthdays, for archery target practice, and for packaging paper for mailing stuff.

    So there are other legitimate uses to get your money's worth out of the book, if not from reading it.