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“I know I won’t.”

July 2nd, 2009 by | Tags: , , , ,

I’m definitely a fan of Dwayne McDuffie. I’ve spoken at length about how disappointed I was that DC hamstrung his run on JLA, leading to an uneven pace, choppy character work, and a general feeling of unease. I was actually surprised when I saw this post on his website:

Here’s a preview of my final issue of Justice League of America, featuring the JLA teaming with Icon and Hardware in battle with Starbreaker. Don’t miss the secret of how the Milestone heroes ended up in DC Comics’ continuity.

I also suggest you take a look at some of the comments from your fellow comic book fans. Every once in awhile, I’m reminded how racially backwards a portion of our audience is and how important it is to… You know what? I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“…how many blacks did McDuffie manage to sneak onto the team this time–five? (I bet DC editorial gave him the same order as Burger King in that lawsuit–to “lighten things up around here.”)”

“Why don’t they call this the “Minority League”? ”

“I don’t think anyone will support an original black “mainstream” character. I know I won’t.”

“Couldn’t they get Static, Black Lightning, or one of his daughters instead of Dr. Light on the cover of BET League of America? Ha!”

“Maybe they should establish a separate league for all the negro superheroes. I’m not saying kick them ALL off. One would be okay. (Doesn’t Hollywood have some kind of law that says every movie has to have at least one black in it?) I just think they’re going overboard with all this diversity stuff. I mean, how many comics do minorities read anyway?”

Dwayne again. Welcome to my world. You know, the one where race doesn’t matter…

The comments come from Newsarama’s preview of JLA #34. It’s fair to say that I got a little pissed over it. I took a break, wrote a review, and decided to come back and write about it some, because I still think it’s ridiculous.

Newsarama is basically one of the three biggest comic sites on the internet. It’s only competitors are Comic Book Resources and IGN’s comics section. When people look for comics news, they go to CBR or Newsarama. It’s one of the outlets for mainstream comics.

So, why does it suck?

I like some of it. Jimmy Palmiotti’s column on Blog@, Brandon Thomas’s Ambidextrous, Chris Arrant, and Vaneta Rogers’s interviews are all great. I generally enjoy all of those. The rest of it, though, seems to be a pit of low standards and fluff pieces.

A bunch of smart people consider Newsarama’s forums among the lowest of the low. They’ve got a rep for being terrible. Honestly? It’s true. The boards are filled with mouth breathing bottom feeding neckbeard douchebags who have nothing better to do than put their illiteracy on display for every to see.

The comments I quoted above appear below a preview of Justice League of America, a book that has been consistently in the top 10 of comics sold and is written by a man who is the highest profile black writer in comics and a well-respected one in animation. This isn’t exactly Johnny Noname shopping around his Spawn ripoff. Many of the comments are clearly racist in nature, which is in direct violation of Imaginova’s TOS, but the commenters have yet to be banned or even have their comments deleted. A few of them are regulars. What am I missing?

Basically, judging by this, a lot of comic fans deserve the mouth-breathing manchild reputation that fanboys get. This sort of thing is pathetic, and for Newsarama to allow it on their servers, when they are one of the gatekeepers of comics news and culture, is ridiculous. It makes me not even want to interact with these people or read the same books they do, just so that I’m not guilty of being stupid by association.

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44 comments to ““I know I won’t.””

  1. If you want to blame anybody blame comic book resources. Especially the Dick who who posted all of Dwaynes saved comments. Good ridance Lying in the Gutters. It was sucking major balls anyways when they switched over to that British f*ck.


  2. You think they’re bad. I’m a veteran of the ‘Rama, having quit after seeing that Grant Morrison’s idea of a comic reader using their imagination was equated with Morrison simply saying “Fuck You” by many of their posters. They’re some of the most anally backward idiots on the Internet, and even more so after it’s small intelligent subcommunity left following the transfer to Imaginova.

    But the crown Prince of the ‘Rama is known as Herald. If you were to ever shake hands with Herald (God Forbid) the entire Universe would implode and explode at the same time. He lives in a cloud of his own smug self-righteousness, desperately pointing the finger at Dan Didio for the world’s problems and swearing that there has never been as good a piiece of writing in the history of man as his Dr. Light II fanfic. When Jamal Igle recently interrupted a thread he was violating to inform him the truth of how dull and without charms Kimoyo Hoshi is, he responded with 9 pages of froth concluding in a challenge aimed at DC creators to wildly insult him.

    Don’t go near Newsarama – it’s like walking into a pit full of serpents without teeth, moaning and fastening their wet gums to your leg, desperate to tear down everything they can but entirely unable to do so.

    Oh, and for the record – I mainly pick up comic news via here, bleedingcool.com, and Majorspoilers.com. Much more friendly, much more intelligent, much less adverts and a smaller tendency to fly into apoplectic rages when, say, Dr. Light is not given leave to beat Black Canary to a pulp for the title of JLA leader.

    And if you think they’re bad, don’t get me STARTED on the childish mewlings of scans_daily…


  3. @Ryan: It was hardly Johnstone’s fault. The whole thing was really DC editorial screwing up and making the worst decisions possible – if they’d simply said they’d done the wrong thing, rather than firing McDuffie for pretty much telling the Internet that they had…then this mess might never have come to pass.

    But I will admit CBR dropped the ball on letting Rich publish that whole compilation.


  4. @Ryan: I published an excerpt of McDuffie’s anger, or unhappiness, at DC here, too. In fact, I did it before Rich Johnston did. He’s a grown man who knew exactly what he was doing, and his (mature and measured) attitude shows that.


  5. “Good ridance Lying in the Gutters. It was sucking major balls anyways when they switched over to that British f*ck.”

    Um, Gutters was always written by “that British fuck.”

    It sickens me how comics fandom can be filled with racist idiots (and homophones, too, don’t forget them), but I’m sure it’s not just localized to Newsarama. There used to be a fun community there, and it was my go-to comics site on the ‘net. Not so much since Imaginova bought it out and repurposed/redesigned it into oblivion. Meanwhile, CBR gets better and better (and not just because they happen to host the blog I write for).


  6. Idiots are everywhere

    http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=269856


  7. The only boards worse than Newsarama are 4chan and Scans_Daily and that’s only because they’re swimming in posters that are just down right CREEPY.


  8. @Debaser: Earlier this month, Esther was talking about ‘character fans’ versus ‘writer fans’ or ‘story fans’. I believe the people here on 4th are generally the better kind of character fan who don’t get wildly obsessed with certain portrayals or accuse writers they’ve never met of having bizarre sexual fetishes or try to nail down everything under that freakishly annoying ‘TV Tropes’ lingo of theirs.

    scans_daily is mostly populated with the worse kind of character fan, who do all of those things and worse. Mostly, they seem to be obsessed with simplistic, childish stories and characters – even to the extent that they will call “Gotham City Sirens” (an average piece of cheesecake with one or two elements of a narrative chucked about here and there) one of the greatest comics ever published simply because it features Harley Quinn.


  9. You know it’s those somethingawful.com comics people that really chap my ass…


  10. @Salieri: I won’t mention my theory that Geoff Johns needs to brutally kill a post-COIE character in order to get his gentleman parts working then.

    As for the whole “a lot of comic fans deserve the mouth-breathing manchild reputation that fanboys get” then yeah, the cliche exists for a reason, but I’d also like to introduce you to John Gabriel’s Greater Internet F**kwad Theory:

    Normal Person + Anonimity + Audience = Total F**kwad

    Sadly, it’s true. People whom you might otherwise think of as ok people turn into slavering monsters when there’s a screen between them and the world.


  11. I don’t go near Newsarama, I tried it a long time ago and after looking on their message boards I was ashamed to be associated with some of the scumbags on there.

    @Debaser: I quite enjoyed Gotham City Sirens. Horrible art though.

    @Stig “Don’t go near Newsarama – it’s like walking into a pit full of serpents without teeth, moaning and fastening their wet gums to your leg, desperate to tear down everything they can but entirely unable to do so.” – Brilliant!


  12. @Paul Wilson: At the risk of sounding cynical about the innate goodness of people, It is my opinion that the actual equation is all about subtraction instead of addition. check it:

    Total F**kwad – Audience and/or Anonymity=Decent Human Being

    It’s more a reveal than a change, you see.

    @Stig: Why does it have to be a truism that Kimiyo Hoshi is “dull and without charms”? Personally, I hated her when she was introduced in COIE, but she’s quite grown on me as the Quicksilver of the JLA. but that’s just my opinion. and I’ve never written a fanfic about anyone. except in the wild country of my head. You don’t like the character. It’s cool. but that is your preference. Character Quality is a subjective truth, not an objective one.


  13. I enjoy the Blog@ Newsarama, but I tried joining the forum for all of one day and just gave up.

    I don’t think everyone is bad, my fellow blogger Ryan (over at TWC) is a genuinely nice and smart fan. Then again, he may be the exception to the rule.


  14. And I forgot to mention that Ryan used to post over at Newsarama. Woops.


  15. @haloHawk: I don’t buy that we’re all f**kwads down in our cores. I’ve known some utter dicks in my time, but I’ve known enough basically well-intentioned and kind people to know that the asswipes are the minority.

    That said, the anonimity and relative freedom from reprisal of the internet does tend to make that minority vocal.

    There’s also an element of hyperbolic one-upmanship. At one point you could just say “I don’t like X’s books”. But after a while, someone needs to up their dislike and it becomes “I don’t like X‘s books and futher more, X is a Ying Z“.


  16. Another way of looking at it is this: in real life, if a child says something stupid or unkind, then it is likely that an authority figure will reprimand them in one way or another. If, also, a child expresses an opinion which is not merely something to debate over but just plain wrong, then that authority figure will then tell them so.

    On the internet, there is no authority as powerful as a parent or teacher. If you say something racist, and you’re reprimanded, on the internet, then it’s not the same as being given a good telling-off and/or being sent to your room without supper. Without the psychological trauma associated with those experiences, you don’t learn that being racist is a bad thing, just something that some other person disagreed with. And, unlike a parent, you can simply turn that other person off.

    So, basically, a large part of the internet is full of people embracing their inner brat.


  17. Anonymous idiots on the internet are truly pathetic.
    McDuffie’s run on Justice League hasn’t been great. I think we would all pretty much agree with that. But he is a terrific writer and a respected one. He doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment.
    I actually didn’t even notice the large number of black characters in his run until the most recent issue, at which point I basically said “huh, there’s a lot of black folks in this issue. Cool.”
    I can’t imagine how much of a dirtbag you’d have to be to think there should only be ONE black per comic or whatever.


  18. @Salieri: I have to say I still don’t get the idea of reading a character that interests you written and drawn by a terrible creative team. To be a total jackass, it’s the sort of thing I’d do when I was twelve, but part of mature appreciation of any art form involves moving away from fetishistic attachment to icons that better creators made you like.


  19. @P_B: For me, it’s sometimes a balancing act; I couldn’t currently care less about Dainel Way’s Wolverine, but I’m really digging Jason Aaron’s. Similarly, I love the New Gods and the all-new Multiverse, but unless you have Morrison, Ellis, Gaiman or someone else at their level on writing, I won’t be interested.


  20. Thanks for posting that David. I didn’t know there was that kind of racist vitriol being posted in online comics communities. As a future creator, I guess I better be prepared for it – at least on the internet, where fans are tempted to give vent to their “inner brats” and be inflamatory with their comments just because they can.


  21. @knifight: Better yet, just give up on getting into the business now, like I did. I’ve found online webcomic commenters are a lot friendlier.


  22. @Debaser- At least scans_daily banhammers anyone who says anything racist or homophobic. Not to mention, S_D 1.0 was frequented by Gail Simone, Warren Ellis, and Kurt Busiek. Can you imagine any of them anywhere near Newsarama’s forums/comments?


  23. @Alexa: Yeah, but that’s a side-effect of the community being filled with creepy furryvore fetishists.


  24. It’s Newsarama, I’m not quite sure why you’re surprised and suddenly disappointed. Have you not been paying attention to the comments there, but haven’t realized you were avoiding them?

    Newsarama as in:

    * Shut up Ragnell and get back in the kitchen.

    * Everything that Willow person says is [insert picture] ‘That’s Racist’.

    * Needs more tits.

    ___

    I feel like I need to say the name to you, very slowly with proper enunciation. As if somehow you thought you were going to a completely different site. There are many reasons I won’t click a Newsarama link anymore and have it in fact blocked from loading in my browser. My blood pressure being raised by a budding net nation idiocracy is likely first on the list.


  25. Unfortunately, the power fantasy nature of mainstream superhero comics attracts a lot of disaffected skinhead-types. I even noticed this as a kid haunting local (Southern) comic book shops. These guys are very vocal, but they are a minority and I suspect a highly regionalized one. I’ve never understood why so much of online fandom tolerates them and I’m glad to see someone finally pointing out the hypocrisy involved.


  26. @Paul wilson: Your point is well taken. and it was put forth in a measured response. Kudos, sir.

    I apologize if it looked like I was blanketing the entire human race there. What I meant to articulate is that Hateful Fanboy Creeps are that way at their core, as opposed to society or even the comics counterculture at large. HFC’s present a good face in public because they will not be rewarded for tossing flame-bombs at others and/or they fear reprisal for their actions. However, online commentary is not a pressure-cooker situation. There is no negative impact on one’s quality of living that results from being civil or tasteful. No moneys will be lost, no freedoms stripped from persons engaged in respectful discourse. HFC’s choose to burn accumulated good will of their own volition. Tough times can push otherwise decent people towards bad behaviors, but this scenario does not fit the definition.

    If one is that much of a jerk with no pressures from outside forces exerted on them, I feel it to be a sheer giveaway as to an extreme paucity of solid character.

    I quite liked McDuffie’s lineup during the Starbreaker storyline, btw. especially since they were drawn by Rags and not Eddy Beans. Look! different faces for different characters of different ethnicities! Amazing, huh?


  27. Honestly, I’ve started using “Newsarama commenter” as a synonym for “closed-minded scum” recently. They’re not as bad as the white supremacists haunting the comments of hip hop videos over at Youtube, but god some of things they say make me scowl and quickly close the tab before I admonish myself for reading the comments again.


  28. I agree that there are a lot of idiots in that thread. However, there were also several people in the thread calling them idiots and racists. At least one of the above comments was removed, too.

    As for their TOS, there are probably some clear violations, but I don’t think that they can kick someone out for saying that they won’t support a book with a black lead, no matter how deplorable that sentiment is.

    I think that Newsarama is a good site overall. A lot of the readers suck, but they have some good writers and some some good features.


  29. How old is the average Newsarama commenter? I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m sincerely curious. Are these twentysomethings? Thirtysomethings?


  30. I’ve completely given up on basically every comic website out there, I go to newsarama for some nice covers, but this is the only website I read for opinions, and the only one I bother to occasionally post at.
    the people at Nrama and cbr make me want to give up comics and read ikea catalogues.


  31. It’s not just comic sites, though, David; there’s a whole website – “if you like it so much why don’t you live there” – dedicated to cataloguing the most egregious excesses of commenters on the BBC website; delightedly broadcasting their vote for the racist BNP and so forth. It is absolutely racist, and should be banned, but I can really only be zen enough to say these people are punished by being themselves.

    And hope this sort of behaviour is carcinogenic.


  32. @Duncan: I recently stunned a BNP supporter into silence in a Facebook comments debate with the following argument: what other parties would be particularly pleased to have a huge presence on YouTube?


  33. [...] RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION! Dwayne McDuffie and David Brothers team up, so to speak, as 4thletter! points out racist idiots on Newsarama. Apparently they didn’t check the box that said they wanted to read about black [...]


  34. The main reason I visit Newsarama are the previews. I stay away from the forums, because I’d rather discuss comics with people who have grown beyond the need to insult everyone and their mother.

    I post often at the Captain Comics message board, and if you like good discussion with the childish attitude, then you should check it out. (captaincomics.ning.com)


  35. I would love to say that I’m shocked by those comments on Newsarama, but honestly I’m not. Some people really mean the comments they post and others (probably a small percentage) just want to stir the pot and rile up others.
    I usually read whatever article I choose and simply leave. I don’t bother with reader comments. Now I know I’ve made my “BND sucks” comments here and there, but I keep them to a site where people know me and understand I will usually follow up with something, hopefully, a lot more intelligent.


  36. Yeah, I learned awhile ago to simply not read below the actual article at Newsarama.


  37. I, as someone with strong allergies and therefore a continually stuffed nose, take offense at this columns derogatory references to mouth breathers.


  38. I haven’t been following this McDuffie stuff on the Internet very well. The last issue of Justice League I read was **awesome** and I’ve loved the idea of the stupid hot-headed white man superheroes trotting of on their crusade for JUSTICE leaving the ladies and people of color in charge of the show. McDuffie’s done a great job with nothing to work with and now that he’s going, I think I’m going to have to stop reading Justice League. For some reason, I don’t get the sense that Len Wein or Robinson will be trotting my Milestone favorites around the pages of JLA, so it looks I’m stuck reading Brave and the Bold for the near future.

    Also, this is why I hate message boards.


  39. To be fair, every fandom of any kind has people who are just despicable. There are probably people on golf forums talking about how the PGA fixes tournaments to let Tiger Woods win so they won’t appear to be racist. It’s not that being a fan of comics brings out anything in particular in people, it’s just how the world works that there are a lot of weirdos out there. Sadly, the internet has given a voice to those who maybe should have remained voiceless.

    It’s kind of sad that in our case, the idea of the hot sauce stained basement dweller who is afraid of blacks and girls and vicariously lives through superheroes is a lingering stereotype. Most people who are worthwhile realize that it’s just that: a stereotype. The best thing we can do about it is not rail against it, but to just be ourselves.

    @P_B: I can understand the people who just quickly breeze through bad comics with favourite characters who realize it’s terrible and treat it as such. People have their tics and guilty pleasures. Not everyone wallows in it, man. This seems to be a bit of a divisive issue here, doesn’t it?

    @Endless Mike: Totally, I turned off the comments thread on youtube as well. Much better.


  40. For my money, the DC Comics boards are the worst of all.

    At ‘Rama, there’s at least a mild chance you might find an intelligent conversation somewhere. DC Comics is all rabid sychophants who decry anyone who dare suggest that their favorite book/writer/artist is in any way inferior.

    Don’t believe me? Check out the Green Arrow board, wonder why it hasn’t been changed to ‘Green Arrow/Black Canary’ after two years of them sharing a book and then look at any thread started by anyone who complains about Black Canary being turned into a sidekick or being improperly written.


  41. @“Starman” Matt Morrison: I swear I remember someone posting a thread that started with “why does green lantern black jon stewart have to be black?” It could be my memory playing tricks on me, I escaped from that place pretty quickly.


  42. Wow, this is quite a big discussion.

    I liked Dwayne McDuffies’ work for a while, but the more and more I think back on the issues, the more I’m glad he’s off the book. He definately was restricted as a writer on that book, but I recall the same level of writing on his Fantastic Four run. (Though that might have been hampered as well, since Reed and Sue where having problems at the time)

    I’m really happy about James Robinson taking over the JLA. I think McDuffies biggest weakness as a writer is being able to take those editorial changes and roll with them. Using and building up minor characters is always a good tactic. I don’t see why he couldn’t do that with Vixen, Red Tornado, and others (who appear in no other books). To be fair he got far more editorial changes than most – but some writers deal with them better.

    But those racially charged comments on Newsarama are indeed unacceptable. Wether you like him as a writer or not, he doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment.

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  43. I hate coming so late to the party, but there’s a chance that these are textbook examples of fakeposts. It seems far, far too ignorant to be real. However, the fact that it’s possible that they could be genuine is a scathing indictment in itself.


  44. [...] for it) ComicBookMovie.com. The guy also hit up everyone’s favorite bastion of good taste and peaceful tolerance, Newsarama! The conversations on both sites go about how you’d expect. The usual [...]