Comics, Fans, and the Internet

August 4th, 2009 by | Tags:

I have no memory of what made me buy my first comic book, and I don’t know what made me buy the one after that.  What I do know, is that I never would have gotten into comics at all, let alone bought half the comics I own, if it weren’t for fan culture on the internet.

You want to know who the current Robin is?  There’s a site for that.

You want to know what happened in issue 82 of Legends of the Dark Knight?  There is a site for that.

You want to talk about the psychological problems of Batman, or the physics of Superman, or how cute Nightwing’s butt looks, or the exact continuity of the Crises?  There’s a site for that, and that, and that, and god help you, but that, too.

There are also scans, and stories written by fans, and fan art, and a thousand arguments to get involved with.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about how comics, particularly superhero comics, are dying a slow painful death.  I have no idea whether they are or not, but what I do know is that you’re unlikely to find people down the street from you who are into comics.  The internet serves as both a social place in and of itself, and a way to meet other people who have an interest in the same things you do.

It also serves as a way to gather information.  How many people here would be into comics if they couldn’t get online?  How many became more involved when online societies began forming?  What ‘net stuff do you like?

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6 comments to “Comics, Fans, and the Internet”

  1. I definitely wouldn’t be reading comics regularly if it weren’t for the Internet, and my go-to place for information and to get a feel for various comics was always scans_daily. Wikipedia helps too.

  2. Although I do sometimes wish I had people in real life to discuss my various genre related interests like comics, video games, or death metal, I’ve found that whenever I do encounter people who are into the same kinds of things I immediately want to exit the situation as quickly as possible.

  3. Without the internet, I would not still be reading comics. When allt he shops closed up, I would use ebay and online retailers to buy them. When no one was reading anymore, the only place to talk about them was online. The only place to find out what was going on was online. Hell, I wouldnt even know about half the new books without an online presence over the past few years. When I quit for a bit, I would never have come back if not for checking in on some online stuff and finding out more about the current comics and what was going on post-speculator bubble burst.

  4. I do miss the days when I’d run into someone else who likes RPGs whilst “browsing” Dragon in a newsagent, or a workmate would notice a Batman comic I picked up on the way to work and admit he was a giant X-Fan. But these are rare occurances. Generally it’s just easier to find people into the stuff you like via the interweb.

  5. I definitely appreciate t’internet, now that I’m more ofay with it. Particularly finding out back stories and discussing new releases and directions and if I’m honest I love reading bad reviews of stuff I haven’t read. I definitely read more than I did years ago, but I don’t know if that’s because of the internet, because I have more disposable income or because now that I live and work in London I have more access to the shops. I love picking up my weekly stack on a Thursday (we get ‘em on a Thursday not Wednesday in the UK) and certainly wouldn’t swap that for web comics or a subscription.

    I have a rather active social life and am surprised at how often I do bump into people who are into comics or were. I tend to mention in passing that I’m a massive comic geek at some point and it often leads to either an interesting conversation in defence of the medium or the finding of a kindred spirit, so to speak. Ok, sometimes It leads to nothing, or I just get a funny look, but that happens rarely these days.

    I have to say though, I refuse to read things like Newsarama boards, some of the hate in there is just scary. When it stops being fun, stop.

  6. I probably would still be reading comics, regardless of whether or not I had internet access, though what I was reading would probably be a tad different.

    I think I have a bit of an advantage over a lot of people though, as I have easy access to comics.
    Where I live, there’s three comic shops within ten minutes walking distance of where I live, and a library with an extensive tradepaperback collection. There’s another fifteen or so libraries in the city that I’m perfectly happy to walk to, which often also carry a bunch of tradepaperbacks.
    So, the libraries let me read comics for free, turning me onto creators or series I might like, then the easy access to local shops mean I can usually buy anything that might interest me.

    I don’t really like discussing comics online that much. I’ll make the odd post on a forum or blog, and I do tend to read quite a lot of people’s commentaries on comics and the comicbook industry, but I’m mostly just reading, I don’t say that much.