Robot 6

Quote of the day | Steve Niles on supporting creator-owned work

Steve Niles

“Can I say something I’ve wanted to say for a long time? If you like something, tell your friends. If you love it, tell the world. But if you hate something, just throw it away, don’t buy it again and move on. We spend way too much time tearing shit down. I just want to try the other direction for a while.”

30 Days of Night and Mystery Society writer Steve Niles, who has started a simple grassroots networking campaign to support his fellow creators in their publicity efforts around creator-owned books.

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15 Comments

I don’t get that logic. That is like going to see a movie and finding out it is really, really horrible, then you hear that a dozen of your friends are going to see that same movie. Wouldn’t you want to warn them about what they are about to endure, the time they will waste, the money the will lose, etc, etc?

If someone spends any money on something, they have every right to voice their negative opinion, if it is so.

Totally agree with Alemander, it’s really up to the reader to decide what he/she will try and who he/she trusts, I think negative reviews are just as valid as positive reviews when they’re from someone you trust.

I love that there are already negative comments about being positive and supportive. Thank you for helping prove just how badly being positive is needed for creator-owned (and mainstream) comics to thrive and survive.

I think the main point being made on that quote isn’t that you can’t give your opinion if it’s negative, only that more attention should be given to the positive things in the comics industry.

I think all of us can agree that if there’s one thing that the Internet has in unlimited supply, it’s snarky douchebags. Comics are no exception.

I think Steve’s whole point is that this whole monthly dredgery of “OH MY GOD, THIS BOOK SUCKS SO MUCH! THIS CONTINUES TO BE CRAP! MY INTELLIGENCE IS BEING INSULTED! WORST! BOOK! EVER!” on a title that then continues to be at the top of the best-seller list needs to stop. I find it baffling, when you go onto message boards and the like and you encounter people who seem to experience physical pain while reading the latest monthly adventures of their favorite superhero, yet still they keep on buying and reading and complaining about it.

I’ve been told this opinion is naive, but maybe there’d be a lot less whining and curmudgeonry in internet comic fan circles if people just read and talked about the comics they liked, and STOPPED BUYING the comics they didn’t? People talk about how crap the latest big event is, and how “SWORD” or “Captain Britain and MI-13″ or whatever are far superior examples of great storytelling in the superhero medium. Yet the events go into multiple reprints while “SWORD” and “Captain Britain” are cancelled due to low sales. Because we’re so negative, it’s the stuff we hate that always ends up the core talking point, and what becomes the “MUST-READ” stuff so people know what they’re supposed to be angry about. Someone dilligently telling quality stories month in and month out? Not so common.

I’d love to spend more time talking about the quality creator-owned books I’m reading – be it “The Walking Dead” or “The Sixth Gun” or Vertigo books like “Scalped” or “American Vampire” – rather than finding the latest continuity-defiling outrage being all that anyone is interested in discussing. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

Sorry, I meant to say “PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT someone dilligently telling quality stories month in and month out?” I’m not implying there aren’t good comics out there, rather that they don’t get recognised enough.

Does Niles know he is competing with his fellow creators? Why would I want to help my competition?

And Steve, there are tons of positive responses to all creator owned stuff. Even amateurish efforts are praised by hipster bloggers all over the internets.

Positive to negative ratio is 5-1. Fact.

Trey:
Why wouldn’t you want to succeed against strong competition? Why would you want to fail against weak competition? Spite? And why are you being so negative about people who are positive? “How dare they like that!” What’s the point of that other than to be confrontational? What hipster bloggers are you talking about? What are you gaining by calling the work amateurish or the calling the bloggers hipsters? And where do you get those “facts” about the positive/negative ratio?

Also, I’ll expand on John Lees point about the weekly curmudgeon-ry by saying that a lot of that vitriol isn’t even really very thought out. It’s more about “X-character did Y-action! How dare they disrespect X!” than any sort of thought out reasoning. I’d rather read this four part thoughtful criticism on Superman: Earth One, and why it critically wasn’t very good;
http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com/2010/11/making-sense-of-straczynski-daviss.html

than 4 pages of people complaining “Superman is wearing a hoodie!? Why does DC hate Superman!”
One looks like it was made by someone who knows what they’re talking about in terms of effective storytelling, and the other by people who are just looking for reasons to be spiteful.

The whole comics reading/collecting experience would be a lot better if we just stopped buying stuff we don’t like or want. Or stopped wanting stuff we don’t like. In fact, we could take it to another level entirely if we if we choose not to settle at all and spent our money on things we positively wanted and enjoyed.

I am going to follow Niles on this one and have even decided to follow him on Twitter so I can hear what he’s recommending (as William Dunedin, all the David Birds were taken).

I’ve gotta be honest. I don’t visit too many comic book forums or online comic news sites so I can’t really voice my opinion on those particular resources. I will say there’s a big difference between being “negative” and being “critical” (I’m insanely critical). And curiously critiquing something vs. “bitching” about something. If a movie sucks I’ll absolutely let my friends know it so they don’t support with their hard-earned money. But if a comic continues to suck I won’t buy it anymore. And if it’s good, I will. I think that’s what Steve meant.

To get all philosophically deep with this the interesting thing is that ultimately this all leads to the basic idea that people are generally negative, unfortunately. The most negative of these sadly don’t even realize it. It actually takes effort to be positive and to notice good things. It’s incredibly easy to bitch and whine and complain. But to critique something in a smart way, to know when to stop buying something that continuously sucks, to support something less popular instead because it’s really great. These things can be tough, especially for those who don’t make a habit of doing it. But it’s a good thing to do and ultimately will make things more competitive, erase work of lesser quality, and grow work of better quality. And anyone who does should get a high-five.

That’s what I think anyway.

If the first person that read “The Walking Dead” thought it sucked, by these standards of “warn everybody not to spend their money on crap,” none of us would know about it now. Niles has a point. Don’t give garbage ANY press. If you hate it, toss it, and let others form their own opinion.

Thank you, Steve.

Saying the truth usually takes very few words.
I consider your 62 words, spot on!

Sincerely,
Sheila Stahl

Nothing gets “torn down” if you like comics enough to want to talk honestly about your opinion of them. The comic is still there– it’s still on the shelf– it’s not somehow gone away. As urgently as I wish otherwise, opinions unfortunately aren’t made out of fire.

There’s nothing wrong with negative, if it’s well-reasoned and thought out. There’s also something a little wrong with blind, unreasoning positivity.

In the end, comics, like all entertainment, is subjective. Different folks gonna like different things.

I’d love to see sniggering snark eliminated from comic book blogging and reviewing (hi, Abhay!).

A renewed focus on promoting the positive is something anyone should be able to get behind.

Right on the money, Steve.

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