I know from experience that it is great to be a fanboy. There is nothing like sitting in a crowded theater, waiting on a film like Star Wars: Episode III to premiere while you watch Episode II over the shoulder of those in front of you. It’s one of those moments when you feel thankful to be alive. But, as in the Star Wars universe, where there is a light side, there is a dark side.
That dark side of the nerd/geek force became pretty evident recently when Dan Slott, current Amazing Spider-man and Superior Spider-man writer, started receiving death threats from “fans” over the leaked ending of issue #700, the last issue in the ASM series. Whatever Slott did (I didn’t read the spoilers so I don’t know) has left some Spidey followers in quite a troubled state.
From Slott’s Twitter feed on December 18:
@DanSlott I’m blocking rudeness and vulgarity. Instantly. Not criticism. Feel free to be critical if you can keep it civil. Thank you.
For every ten of us who simply stop getting a comic if we don’t like the direction it’s going, there is always that one who will continue to purchase it. And that person will bitch and moan about it the whole time. That’s okay, though, because it’s to be expected. No matter what you do in the world of art, there’s always someone out there who thinks they know your art better than you do. But, what you don’t expect is for someone to get so upset over your work, especially work on a fictional character, as to spew death threats over the internet.
I mean, we expect this nonsense from Bieber fans! Are we Bieber fans? Are we not better than that?
I’ve had my fair share of letdowns over the years with regards to art and entertainment. Keeping with the Star Wars theme, Episode I was a letdown for me above all others. Of course Jar Jar Binks was a part of my disappoint, just like most other fans. But, I never found myself stating that I knew better than George Lucas when it came to Star Wars and what should and shouldn’t be in the prequels. Better yet, I wasn’t mad enough to even pretend to dream of wishing to kill Lucas for his films. Because, at the end of the day, these are just movies we’re talking about. If I really didn’t like it, I could just turn off the TV and walk away.
No harm, no foul.
One of the problems with nerd or geek culture is that we can spend so much of our time digging to the core of a movie or comic book that we forget why we’re watching or reading it. The devil’s in the details, and the more your choose to dig into a particle medium, the more willing you are to criticize it. We forget that the whole point of these art pieces is to entertain us. But, above all else, though, we forget that we aren’t the ones who are writing these works, so everything won’t go the way we think it should go. Let’s be honest, if your idea was that great or important, shouldn’t you be trying to get it published instead of attacking someone via Twitter?
I know I have a Batman story and a few other comic ideas up my sleeve that I’m fleshing out right now. Just sayin’…
Teachers used to tell us back in grade school that the deeds of the few can tarnish the group as a whole. Is used to think that notion bologna, but I’m not so sure now. When self-described fans decide to take to the internet with their hopes of telling a certain writer or filmmaker that their time on earth is about to come to an end, it reflects poorly upon the nerd / geek culture as a whole. It is up to us, the true fans of art, to clean up the messes that they make. When these snobs choose to make the extreme jump into threats of violence, we all get egg on our faces.
Here is the last honesty bomb for you – these “angry Spidey fans” aren’t going to get off of their asses to harm Dan Slott. These threats are about as empty as their beds are at night. But, what does make these threats so horrible is the timing. Perhaps these Spidey fans could have gotten their heads out of Aunt May’s ass for two seconds to realize that America isn’t in the mood for their death threats, especially after the shocking events of this past week. For goodness sake, movies with gun violence in them are having their premieres canceled out of respect of the little victims in Connecticut. Couldn’t you, Mr. Big and Bad Twitter poster, have taken two seconds to think about what you were about to write? Doesn’t your little hissy fit over Spider-man seem pretty insignificant this week?
To those among us who are comic book or movie snobs, I ask that you lay off a bit. Although it is okay to be a die-hard fan or a critic, there is no need in getting so bent out of shape over something like a comic book character that you’d resort to petty internet death threats. If the material being presented to you is so appalling, go back home and write the story you want your favorite character to be in yourself.
Please, don’t succumb to the dark side of the nerd / geek force. It will only lead to pain and suffering and a lack of friends or bedfellows. So, due to your irresponsible internet usage, you’ve lost a friend in me today. Mr. Slott, I am sorry about all of this. Sometimes these people know not what they do. Or maybe they do know. Who knows, really. They’re snobs after all, for they think they know everything they do and they can do it better than you. Now, if they could just get off the couch to do it…