watch who you beef with

February 28th, 2012 by | Tags: ,

I screwed up with the Stephen Wacker thing. I take this stuff seriously, and I shoulda been better than I was.

I took his insults personally. I think he was being a jerk, but that him being a jerk gave me a chance to choose to either be a jerk in kind or bail out. I chose to engage, then I bailed out, then I engaged again. He got me, and he got me good. I helped turn my site into the exact type of comics site I hate. That’s on me, no question.

I shouldn’t have engaged him. I think that I was correct in what I said to him, but I should’ve picked my battles better, rather than stepping in with both feet. My comments should’ve been a expanded into a fully-reasoned post, or something. I don’t know. But I screwed up, and I failed myself and my readers. So I’m sorry for that. I’ll do better in the future.

I’d be lying if I said I was happy with how anything or everything went down, but it is what it is. Wacker’s actions were definitely reason to stop holding out and take a break from Marvel for a while. The company’s a bit sour now, so other than two posts I’ve got in progress, I’m done for a bit. No boycott, no big statement, none of that. I just can’t do it. I’ll reassess later.

Tomorrow, look for a brief post on Marjorie Liu & Phil Noto. It was going to be the third and final part of my look at creative teams, but it feels limp now. Thursday or Friday, look for a 4 Elements on Kaare Andrews Spider-Man: Reign. Whichever day doesn’t have Reign should have an exploration of clothes & colors and why I’ve been consciously branching out past black and dark blue.

Don’t let the comments be a Wacker hate-fest or whatever, please. I’m over it! I would much rather do drugs and play NBA 2k12 than deal with more of that.

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27 comments to “watch who you beef with”

  1. Liu & Noto? And a Reign post? I’m looking forward to it man!

  2. Classy. Good on you.

  3. You are being too hard on yourself.

  4. @bad wolf: Yeah, that’s entirely possible.

  5. I really don’t think you need to apologize to anyone over this. It sucks getting drawn into stupid arguments with people who are not actually reading/listening to what you say, so of course getting frustrated by it is understandable. But as far as I can see, you were pretty fair and sensible about it.

  6. True story: I actually liked Spider-Man Reign. Yes, I was the one! It was MEEEEEEEEE!

  7. Jeez, that really got out of hand. You shouldn’t let that stuff get to you. I personally hold you in real high regard in terms of comics commentary. You shouldn’t have to apologize for some petty squabble that some dumb editor started in the first place. All it does is reflect badly on him since he’s the one representing the major publishing company.

  8. @B Lau: Jeez, that really got out of hand.

    Brick killed a guy!

  9. I never finished SM:R. Not sure why, but I wasn’t digging it at the time it was coming out and never went back to revisit it like I wanted because I normally enjoy Kaare Andrews

  10. Just to throw my two cents in… I hadn’t checked your site in a while, so when I read it this morning, I experienced this whole thing Memento-style: The first thing I read was your post about the Twitter exchange, then the previous post, then the one that started everything. So, coming in after the fact, perhaps I have some distance and perspective on the whole thing.

    Here’s my take: Wacker’s original comment, the first one I could find, was not made with any malice or anger. He wrote something that was part snark, part defensiveness, part company shill. (Which, let’s be honest, is the default mode of communication for much of the internet, so fair enough.)

    Wacker’s first mistake, however, was that he was responding to points that weren’t made by you or the comment he was replying to. It’s pretty clear that he hadn’t really read the post or other comments. I don’t know what he thought he was replying to… Maybe he had seen a bunch of complaints at other sites and thought you were giving more of the same. But, again, no big deal so far, just a bit of miscommunication.

    The main problem is that, after people pointed out that no one was making the claims that he thought people were making, and that you were actually trying to have a grown up conversation, he never switched out of the half-snark, half-defensive mode. And when more and more people started to enter in, he got more and more defensive. (Which I guess I can understand, because he probably really did think he was under attack by that point.)

    In my opinion, none of his comments ever decended into nastiness, but rather were aiming for snark/humor. The problem is, on the internet, the two are often indistinguishable. It’s very easy to have one’s tone taken in a way other than intended. This is nothing new. Maybe this online persona of his is necessary on the message boards, I don’t know. I don’t hang out there. But it’s clear that he tone he adopted was the wrong one for this site, and he was unwilling or unable to self-correct.

    For what it’s worth, I think his tweet was a sincere way to try to make amends and let you know that there weren’t any hard feelings on his part. (Disclaimer: I am not a Twitter follower at ALL, and likely don’t know what I’m talking about.) And telling him to fuck off was probably your only… well, I hesitate to use the word “mistake”, but maybe it was ill-considered? Even if he wasn’t being sincere, it’s still a bit of an over-reaction.

    Look, like I said, I don’t hang out on message boards. I don’t know how Wacker usually is. All I know from him are what I read in his letter columns, and an interview that House to Astonish did with him on their podcast. And on that he came across as thoughtful, self-deprecating, and a guy in love with his job.

    I like the Wacker that I “know”: he’s funny, he attracts some top talent to his books, and I think he hits an above-average standard of quality of the work that comes out of his office. Objectively, I think the online behavior of a book’s editor is a weak reason to stop reading a book you like. (Subjectively, though, I know these things have an effect.) If you want to quit Marvel, then quit Marvel. But not over this; it’s too… I dunno, silly? Trivial? Beneath you? I dunno…

    Hey, Brothers. Don’t do drugs, man!

  11. @Gavok: Lol, yes, exactly.

  12. @Gavok: Yeah, but he kinda gave him no choice.

  13. Drugs are NEVER the answer, Brothers.

  14. MORE drugs, FEWER comics.

  15. Kaare Andrews is a funny one – his work on Spider-Man: Reign and Astonishing X-Men is really lovely, but those Ultimate Comics Ultimate Covers boil my eyes.

  16. @bad wolf: @Maddy: Agree with you both!

    Re: SM:R – I remember comparing it to Dark Knight Returns in a review for Best Shots(something that, in context, said it essentially was trying too hard to be the equivalent for Spidey). Marvel, as so many content producers are wont to do, ran it out of context in advertising as a compliment. I didn’t hate it the mini, but it just wasn’t for me.

  17. @Jeremy: “Drugs are ALWAYS the answer, Brothers.” There, fixed that for ya!

    You are being too hard on yourself dude, you didn’t go to his webpage and pick a fight. You’re also right to to drop it and move on to other things that aren’t arguments 🙂

    Have fun gettin high and playin the vidya bball…may I recommend Skyrim for some whacked out fun if NBA2k12 gets boring?

  18. Pretty sure most of us completely understood where you’re coming from. I get the guilt and the apology, but frankly, the quality of your work speaks for itself and your reactions showed humanity. You’re being too hard on yourself, but I doubt us telling you that will make a difference, so just keep being you.

    I eagerly await your piece on Reign. Loved the hell out of that book, Kaare Andrews is a beast.

  19. Picked up SM:R for under 10 dollars 2 years ago. Really liked the look of the book. I love Venom, but I wish Norman was at least a part of the book. Of Course he would have been 110 years old in the book. Unless he was taking Jonah’s vitamins. Also it had everything I’ve always wanted in a Spider-Man book. Penis and toxic semen.

  20. there are a lot of assholes in the world. Don’t let it affect your love of comics just because a huge one works at marvel.
    And we should all stop calling Mr. Wacker a troll. Troll’s spew their hate anonymously over the internet. We know exactly who steven wacker is. he is a dick

  21. Ok that was a bit much. my bad. i hate to see people like david or graeme at blog@ attacked for saying what everybody else is thinking.
    I used to be the biggest marvel zombie in tennessee, now im down to x-factor. between books costing too much, too damned many of them, and now with double shipping and interchangeable artists its just too much.
    Marvel drives us away, and now its minions hurl feces at us on way out. It’s rather painful, and it really does get some of us emotional to see.
    But i still don’t need to stoop to their level. I apologize.

  22. I think Brothers is right to step away to worthier material, and I don’t feel he let his readers down in any way. Cape comics struggle with a shrinking base, yet they play happy host to too many people all too eager to trash those who react to their work with anything but slavering adulation. Analyze the business decisions of the Big Two like they’re grown-up companies or give their work the thoughtful critiques that mature art would warrant, and the effort’s dismissed as a fanboy tirade. You don’t need that.

  23. I want to discuss this on my blog as I often link to your posts and you handled this quite well, but I’m scared too in case you-know-who shows up in my comments. The odds are tiny as I have few readers and barely ever a comment, but when you least expect something….

  24. And I do mean “too” as in also, I wasn’t making a typo. Hate that mistake.

  25. @David Bitterbaum: If you don’t want him coming around, you probably shouldn’t. I had a brief discussion with someone on twitter who was defending him, and he came after me. :rolleyes:

  26. Seriously? It’s like he is jacked-into the internet as if he were one of those people from the Matrix.

  27. @David Bitterbaum: Yeah, it’s a wonder he finds time to actually edit books with all the self-googling he must be doing.