Monday, March 16, 2009

Warrior Nun Areala, Ben Dunn

Warrior nuns, Nazi evil and the occult!

As much as I've always enjoyed the books produced by Antarctic Press, and yes they are still putting out quality titles, I've always enjoyed reading the editorials nestled between the covers of their magazines. When I look back at their thoughts, reflections and opinions on the state of the comic book industry during the early and mid-nineties I'm struck how much more relevant their comments are today than they were then.

The relationship between those who produce comic books these days and those who read them is as dysfunctional and abusive as that between Cris Brown and Rihanna. Somehow the dynamic between creator and reader has devolved into a love hate relationship where all the comic book companies, irregardless of size, seem to love is our (the readers) money and they hate everything else about us. What the heck happened? When did we become nothing more than bitches to be pimp-slapped and abused? When did purchasing your products become a reason to ridicule and a license to treat us as the lowest possible forms of life on the planet?

With that in mind I reprint the following editorial by Ben Dunn originally published in, Warrior Nun Areala: Portraits, March 1996.

The Politics of Fanboy

Doesn't sound very nice, does it?
Why is it that in this industry we are in the mood to quickly label those that have a genuine passion for the hobby? Do we feel the need to exercise our own superiority or is it a way to cover our own inner passion? Why is it so many professionals in the comic industry need to label comic readers as 'fanboy'? You'll notice there is little regard to call someone a 'fangirl'. Probably because there are so few of them we are afraid to chase off females who actually enter the hobby of comic collecting.

I remember a time it was a badge of honor to be called a 'fan'. I was passionate about comics because I loved the medium. I loved anime, manga, and science-fiction. I loved it so much I created a company. As time went on and I came to know more and more people in the industry , I began to encounter prejudices: the accepted practice of calling comic readers 'fanboys'. Why is that? You wouldn't call a Jew a 'kike', you wouldn't call an Asian a 'chink', you wouldn't call an African American a 'nigger'-unless you were a racist. So why is it okay to call a comic reader a 'fanboy'? Isn't that labeling someone because of what they are? Let's face it, nobody would want to admit in public that he or she is a fanboy, but isn't that what all of us are? Isn't the appreciation of comics the reason we are in this industry to begin with? I have not seen any other industry that treats its own customers with with such utter contempt. Through its own actions and its own words it continues to play these readers, thinking they are fools-i.e., 'fanboys' "Lets go exclusive!" was the rallying cry , and to hell with the readers, "Who cares about them? They will follow us because they are 'fanboys'" was the mantra in the industry. "Let's flood the market with as much similar product as possible because they are fanboys and will buy what we feed them," continued the industry. Just how long did they think the readers were going to fall for it? Now the industry is in the midst of almost collapsing and they have no one to blame but themselves...or do they? Perhaps, in some nameless comic company boardroom, an executive is blaming the fall on those stupid 'fanboys'. They did not realize it was these 'fanboys' that were supporting them for years, and now the truth comes out that they never cared for them to begin with.

I am a comic reader. I like reading comics and I like talking about them. I am not afraid to admit that. I think the industry needs to take a hard look at itself and its readers and try to understand that the passion of collecting and reading comics comes from within. Sure, there are those who try to manipulate it, twist it and take advantage of others to enrich themselves in this industry. It is those I consider the real threat.

Ben Dunn, 03/96

Like any bad relationship the abused victim will stick around for awhile because of the feelings of love they have have for the abuser. Eventually however the bruises become too much to bear and the return on investment diminishes beyond the ability to endure. Even the name calling becomes too much...

To paraphrase an old saying, "If you torture us, we will leave."

This post is dedicated to, Marc Hansen, who needs to read his blog, then ask himself if he were a prospective customer would he purchase his own product, given what he thinks of comic book reader/collectors regardless of whatever format he offers it?

C'mon, Dude, even Cris Brown treats his bitches better...

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