Robot 6

Quote of the day | The audience doesn’t know what it wants

Mark Waid

In a recent interview with SotoColor Graphics (by way of Chris Sims), Mark Waid had this to say: “The audience doesn’t know what it wants. If it knew what it wanted, it wouldn’t be an audience. It just knows that it wants to be entertained somehow, and that’s a perfectly reasonable expectation. I wish we were better at it. The 50,000 hardcore fans of periodical print comics that we have left, the ones we haven’t and can’t drive away, seem to indicate with their buying patterns that they’re interested only in nostalgia, which is terrifying. And I understand why publishers cater to that; they’re kinda forced to, given that the print distribution system is targeted SOLELY TO THOSE 50,000.”

“The audience doesn’t know what it wants” is an old adage shared by many many writers, including me. That’s not an easy statement for some fans to hear over their own shouting, “Why do DC and Marvel not respond to our concerns and demands?” After all, we’re the audience. We should have a say in what kind of stories we read, right?

Well, of course we do. But we say that with the decisions we make about what to buy and read, not by crying over being “forced” to read things we don’t enjoy and then demanding that writers give us exactly what we tell them we want. Art doesn’t work that way.

One of the writers of Grey’s Anatomy explained it this way to fans of the show:  “We read your comments – maybe not all of them but a lot of them – and sometimes we use them as a jumping off place for discussion in the [writers] room. Like, ‘A lot of fans don’t like this character right now. Why is that?’ … Our discussions that are prompted by your feedback often lead us down interesting paths, but they never end with us going, ‘Yeah, some of the fans don’t like that, we should just stop it.’ Ever. Because it’s our job to keep you on the edge of your seats, it’s our job to inspire you to write us in a feverish rage, it’s our job to sometimes piss you off and hopefully, always, to keep you coming back for more. ”

Sam Raimi also explained how catering to the audience contributed to the ruin of Spider-Man 3: “I had worked on the story with my brother Ivan. Primarily, it was a story that featured the Sandman. It was really about Peter, Mary Jane, Harry and that new character. When we were done, Avi Arad, my partner and president of Marvel at the time, came to me and said, ‘Sam, you’re not paying attention to the fans enough. You need to think about them. You’ve made two movies now with your favorite villains and now you’re about to make another one with your favorite villains. The fans love Venom. He is the fan-favorite. All Spider-Man readers love Venom. Even though you came from ’70s Spider-Man, this is what the kids are thinking about. Please incorporate Venom. Listen to the fans now.'” Yeesh.

Here’s another quote by Pixar writer Andrew Stanton: “I don’t mean this in a negative way, but I don’t think of the audience at all [when I’m writing], because I don’t go to see a movie hoping the filmmaker’s second-guessed what I want. I go to see what he wants, because I like his taste and style, and I want to see what he’s going to do next.

“The day we start thinking about what the audience wants, we’re going to make bad choices. We’ve always holed ourselves up in a building for 4 years and ignored the rest of the world, because nobody are bigger movie geeks than we are, so we know exactly what we are dying to see with our family and kids. We don’t need other people to tell us that. We trust the audience member in ourselves.”

And here’s Johanna Draper Carlson: “When did fans get the idea that they could dictate content to creators? If you aren’t enjoying something, stop buying/watching/reading it. (And if the overall ongoing story gets to a place you’d like even more, you’ll feel like an idiot for not having any patience or trust in the creators.) If they’re creating something you like, then have a little faith.”

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On not quite the other hand, literary agent Jessica Faust reminds writers that completely ignoring audience-feedback is a bad idea: “The difficulty you all face when getting published is living up to the expectations of your readers. There is no publicity as good as the publicity you get when you write a great book, and then your next book is even better. Let’s face it, we’re all fickle readers. We have limited incomes and when an author disappoints it’s often difficult to get us to spend our money on the next book.

“…Writing suspense? Your readers are going to expect the same level, if not a higher level, of suspense with your next book. What about fantasy? Your world building needs to be just as strong in your second book as it is in your first. The minute you become a published author you are writing for a lot more than yourself. You’re writing for your agent, your editor and, most important, your audience.”

Though that last sentence appears to contradict all of the other quotes, Faust follows it up with, “Does that mean you need to write the books they think you should write? Not at all, but you do need to come as close as possible to matching the expectations you’ve now set for them.” Which is more or less what that Grey’s Anatomy writer was saying. Audience feedback is important, but it doesn’t have the final say.

The question that Mark Waid goes on to pose in his interview is: Which audience should we be seeking feedback from? “I can’t wait to hear what the non-hardcore audience wants; digital will tell us that. I don’t care nearly as much what ‘comics fans’ want as I do what ‘potential readers’ want.”

Is he right?



I’m all about Comics. It’s really sad what Marvel did not so long ago with their most famous character. I can’t think of a medium or a business that puts out it’s worst material and takes pride in it. Perhaps the saddest part is readers like me saw it coming. It looked bad from about a year and a half before it. They destroyed Gwen Stacy’s character (some say) even though it’s obvious ‘they at Marvel’ wanted her back. They made Spider-man a ‘new evolved magical Spider-man’ who was just like the old one. Then they had a new stuff every month. Then they revealed his identity to the world yet it seemed like nobody noticed. The biggest thing ever and they never played it out. It seemed like they stopped caring if the stories were any good. Readers (like me) knew it was just about erasing the marriage and nothing else. We saw that bad issue coming from a year and a half away. I know people wrote letters telling them what a bad idea this was and afterwards wrote more. They didn’t care. It took away the soul of the book, because they told us all these things were going to happen and it didn’t matter because they didn’t do that big ‘unmasking’ story and Peter’s actions were not only questionable they had absolutely no consequence. He only cared about his mother figure and no one else.

Now, if they at Marvel had read some letters or emails or atleast considered that readers would hate this stuff, maybe they wouldn’t be in this mess. Maybe Marvel should of ignored falling sales and letters and kept Ben Reilly as the real Spider-man. He was a good single Spider-man. On the other hand, I bet DC read some emails about that thing they did with Superman recently and wisely decided to ignore it. You can’t always do that, but if something’s big, they should certainly consider the readers opinions and do their best, not put out the worst comic ever and take pride in it. ‘Someone’ at marvel takes pride in that terrible event. Why would you take pride in doing your worst?

RK Milholland had a comic about this very topic.

In this day and age, if a comic book reader actually knew better than the professional creator, he would be making his own comic. That’s a basic litmus test for bullshit in most armchair criticism that reeks of entitlement, really – “You think you can do better?”

Damn right, he is. The comic industry needs to evolve and create stories to any and every kind of reader. If the movie industry was catering just to the people who were there in the beginning, there wouldn’t be such a wonderful variety of works to choose from (heck, there wouldn’t be a movie industry today!)

I think that we have a lot of variety already, but the capes and thights genre seems to be the dominating one, and that is counterproductive if you want to get new readers on board.

@RM Rhodes – “You think you can do better?”

From what I see online, most people absolutely do think they can do better, and they love to pitch. The vast, vast majority of those ideas are, of course, terrible. And in its own way, its pretty telling about the readership.

If I can make a recommendation for what’s sure to be a long comment chain: There should be a moratorium on fans responding to these sorts of posts by saying “I JUST WANT GOOD STORIES”. Its a completely data free point, and its become the refuge in comment sections for an uncritical approach to discussing the foibles of the audience and gives a false sense that the commenter, in fact, knows that they mean by that statement.

We all want good stories, and we all have different definitions of what that means. Also, it misses the point of what Waid is trying to say. In fact, DON’T SAY WHAT YOU WANT AT ALL.

Stop pitching. You’re not the writer.

Why is this even a topic? This is just another stupid story where “comics fan” is actually “superhero fan.” Get over yourself, “comics fans.” Everyone else has moved on. It has already evolved and grown (or you know, actually doing what it always has). There are already comics about every topic out there, and to whine and whine about Marvel or DC not catering to those demographics, who cares? It’s not their job to grow the industry. Their job is to give us our bread and butter superhero schlock, and to complain about it, but still buy it, is just your guy’s way of shooting yourself in the foot. Stop it.

Superhero comics are basically not a market right now. The average person wants superhero stories, but they don’t want to read them. They want to read how comics deal with topics such as a dying mother, reasons why a guy who visits prostitutes, or giant monsters fighting, all in various ways.

Yep, I agree with Mark. Really, readers should be speaking with their wallets. As long as the stories being told by Marvel & DC continue to sell (how well is another argument), they’ve got no impetus to change. Furthermore, these aren’t just characters anymore, they’re brands, so any major change we see is going to be temporary, lest it destroy the brand recognition. Batman is always going to be millionaire Bruce Wayne. Period. Dick may be under the cowl for awhile, but the one, true Batman will always be Bruce. Same arguments can be made for Spider-Man, X-Men, Superman, etc.

With that said, I think it was Bendis who once said that he realized that the relationship between super hero comics and their fans is much like sports fans following their favorite teams. Even if the team is having a crappy season, the fans stick around. They’re not going to stop watching their games and wait until they start doing better. Their fans stick around through the thick and thin. That’s the mentality that comics fans have. Even if the current X-Men direction sucks, the fans will stick by it, hoping it gets better. Again, the fan standing by through thick and thin.

It’s that loyalty that seems to be choking things. We (the royal ‘we’) should be responding to content we don’t like with our wallets, but instead we stick by our favorite ‘teams’ no matter how poorly they’re doing. And as long as they’re doing well enough, the publishers will keep doing what they’re doing. Nothing changes.

I know what I want, that is why I only buy Kirby reprints and Grant Morrison.

Mike Thompson

May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm

@Richard – I’ve never heard a better analogy than the sports team idea. Comic fans tend to yell the equivalent of “fire the coach” whenever the story doesn’t follow their myopic view of “how things should be”.

I’ve been reading Marvel comics since 1970 (as long as I’ve been a Maple Leafs fan!). There are peaks and valleys over the years in terms of the content, and I’m OK with that. I cut my reading list by about 95% in the early 90’s and the Authority (yes, I know, not Marvel, carry on…) pulled me back in nearly 10 years later.

Even if my team sucks currently, I still love the game.

Waid’s a bit too much of a believer in Digital Jesus, but he’s right about audiences. One of the biggest problems with audiences, of course, is that the individual members don’t all want the same thing. Arad’s a good example of that; he either was listening to a lot of Venom fans and assumed that they were indicative of the whole, or he was himself a Venom fan and assumed that he was indicative of the whole. In either case, he was wrong, and Spider-Man 3 ended up being a movie nobody wanted.

What’s really interesting is that in Marvel’s very early Silver Age lettercols, the creators would actively solicit reader opinions. A lot of them were pretty awful “put Thor on the FF” kind of things, but they did seem to take to heart the types of things the audience liked/disliked.

I really don’t know how the sales of today compare to those of fifty years ago, but I doubt they could be much worse than they are now, so I have to wonder: why not ask what the readers want? The whole “let the creators create” attitude sounds good, but what most mainstream publishers seem to be doing is “let the editors tell the creators what to do based on what they think will sell,” and that’s proven to be a losing strategy for way too long. I think Brevoort said not too long ago that Marvel doesn’t do market research for their comics audience. So why not stop making decision based on instincts and flawed reasoning and actually find out why people by your dang comics? We might learn some surprising things.

Sorry if that got a little ranty.

How bad are the sales? How bad are the sales? Given the bombardment other media and entertainment innovations have hit the comic book industry with, the lack of time and money that has evolved on average for both the casual reader and devoted comicphile, (I hope I spelled that right), and the onslaught of self rightous, politically correct, psudeo- enlightened, overworked (but, lot of times very pretty, and somehow thought provoking, I must say) product that has overtaken at least half the market in the past ten to twenty years, (no disrespect intended, kinda) the market is in pretty good shape.

That being said, the product itself isn’t spontaneous enough. It’s got no guts. It’s just hitting the bottom, scapping along as a result of the deluge of material that’s just to over done, and over calculated. For want of a better term, too left brain.

If it ever gets any better than this, well, that is another thing altogether.


May 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Mr. Waid is so right. The “direct” market is only directed at a couple thousand people. Those couple thousand people buy nothing but cape comics. I don’t get the completist mind set of buying a book simply because it’s the new issue. If the storyline sucks, try another book. There’s too many interesting books out there for readers to stay with sub par stories because it’s the next chapter in a book that never ends.

This 4 color habit of buying only gives the publishers the excuse to pump out dozens of books starring the same character and, in the end, hurting said character. Instead of putting out a 100 Thor books to coincide with the movie and dub that tactic as “cross promotion”, why not put out a book dealing with one of the other 8 realms on the World Tree. And being that it isn’t a “superhero” book guess what? You can sell it to people beyond the couple thousand who would pick it up but only if it ties into the “main” Thor books.

I stay puzzled at DC, when they hold 2 of the biggest characters in fiction, with their own supporting cast and worlds, can’t sell a book with those supporting characters and worlds that barely has the big 2 in them. Fans actually said ” I’m not buying Action Comics without Superman in it” due only to the fact that Superman wasn’t in it. Not because of the premise but only because a character that has featured in the book 800 some odd times wouldn’t be anchoring it… for about 12 issues.

People bemoan Bendis Avengers ( myself included at times) because they don’t seem Avengery enough. They mostly just sit and talk. How can that be one of the top selling comics? Perhaps a combo of the couple thousand club staying the course and possibly “new” readers who another superhero book but it didn’t have the look or feel of another superhero book. It had a mix of bread winners ( Spidey, Wolvie), C listers who, like all C listers, are a mere good run by a caring creator away from the A list.

When fans found out that Mark Millars Trouble was being re released as a trade, they bemoaned. How about if you not the intended audience? What if people who never thought to be comics ( thinking that comics= only super powered man in tights) were to pick it up and…enjoy it? Just because you hate the idea of Aunt Mays’ young romance days being recounted ( a completely contradicting all her history) doesn’t mean someone else will. It’s not your cup of tea. Fine, it cost you nothing, pay it no mind. If you don’t like it, you like it, doesn’t mean that you’re hating. But to totally dismiss it and rant that it has no place in the market completely illustrates the problem with the market and those it caters to. You don’t know what all people want. The worlds bigger than your block. You must learn to dream a little bigger, darling.

I buy the comics I like because of good storytelling and art.

But I want the writers to tell the stories they want to tell. If it does anything to increase the character’s potential I’m all for it. You’re good when you’re “catering to us” you’ll be even better when you get to do what you want to do.

Sides, they’ve learned by now we’re not going away. We’ll never go away. Do what you want, we’re never going away.

Joss Whedon has said, many times, that he doesn’t give the audience what it wants, but what it needs — and most of the time, they don’t know what they need. That makes a lot of what he does make sense, and it really works for him.



May 26, 2011 at 5:47 am

R.M. Rhodes wrote that ‘a basic litmus test for bullshit in most armchair criticism that reeks of entitlement’ is the question, “You think you can do better?”

There’s no doubt that too much of the criticism found online is the consequence of an arrogant “if I don’t like it then no one else will” attitude. It’s that sort of thinking that accounts for the vitriol in “debates” pitting DC’s product against Marvel’s, Apple against everyone else, etc.

But I really have to roll my eyes every time I see the proposition that one doesn’t have the right to criticism unless she can do better. There’s a big difference between understanding a medium’s standards and actually fulfilling them. If you can’t criticize what you can’t outdo, then your average restaurant patron hasn’t the right to criticize a master chef; still, if that restaurant patron gets a plate with raw chicken on it, her complaining can’t be so easily dismissed.

There are plenty of reasons that a critic might not be able create a masterpiece to best their target of criticism: lack of resources; lack of inclination; yes, even lack of talent. That simply isn’t enough to narrow the critic’s choices to liking what she’s given or leaving it.

As a fan, I want to be entertained but I don’t want to read rubbish. I don’t want to read a story that is editorially mandated. I don’t want to read a story that is in a writer’s heads and they’re just using the characters to tell it (this is why I don’t care for Identity Crisis or Civil War). The editor should allow the writer leeway and reign them in only if there is a major conflict as to how it affects the character down the road.

Tyrannosauron – I agree with your basic argument, which is why I was extremely specific about the words that I wrote: ‘armchair criticism that reeks of entitlement.’

There is a massive difference between a critic who with an established track record and understanding of the nuances of the medium providing a rational, thoughtful critique of a piece of work and a guy who stands around in a comic shop pontificating because he feels that his specific needs are not being met – his needs being paramount because he’s been buying this particular title on a weekly basis for the past twenty years without fail.

Having said that, if an armchair critic actually believes that he knows better than a professional, he is – by default – implying that he has the talent to actually create his own work. As for inclination… I know several creators (myself included) whose real impetus to making their own comics boiled down to reading something that had been professionally published and saying “I could do better than that.”

Been reading comics since the early 70’s and the only thing I want is the same thing I wanted then.

Cool , exciting stories about cool characters that I like.

I do not want endless storylines with no clear endings.
I do not want super-mega-crossovers.
I do not want to read some writers failed tv pitch shoe-horned into a superhero comic.
I do not want to read about creators dealing with their personal issues through comic book characters.
I do not want morally ambiguous “heroes” in every book that I read.

I read, and have always read superhero comics for the escapism and the vicarious thrill of seeing justice done in ways that will never happen in the real world.

The comics I buy give me that for the most part. If they didn’t, why would I waste my money and time? Life is too short to waste it on stupid crap.

I think Mark Waid is totally correct!

If you read online, the fans make you believe that Thor: The Mighty Avenger was the best thing published in the last three decades. But the reality is, no one bought it! Fans make it sound like no one liked Civil War, Secret Invasion, or Identity Crisis, yet those titles sold like crazy! Fans say they want stand alone issues, yet books like JMS’s Brave and the Bold sell like crap, while every publisher knows that tie ins to major events WILL sell (I’ll bet a month’s pay that every Fear Itself tie-in sells better than the best selling issue of T:TMA). In almost every single interview I’ve read with Dan Didio, he mentions that stand alone story don’t sell (take the fill-in issue about Lois in JMS’s Superman run. At our store it sold less than 1/2 the previous issues!).

Someone above mentioned that fans need to speak with their wallets, well, they are! They would rather read another Fear Itself tie-in, than Thor: The Mighty Avenger!

Mike Thompson

May 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

It’s easy to assume that online comments represent the majority of comic book buyers’ opinions. To further Goofball’s point, it most likely isn’t so. Just as Fear Itself tie-ins will outsell anything published by, say, Oni (regardless of percieved quality), more people will watch Law & Order than Mad Men.

I have friends that are huge comic book fans, but never read online comic sites, nevermind express opinions online. I’ve seen estimates of 25K to 100K people read comics in the US, but I’d bet 10% of the low range ever bother to check out more than Previews.

Back to Mark Waid’s statement, exactly what “audience” are we talking about anyway? The audience that buys and quietly goes about their business (the vast majority, I’m assuming) or the very vocal minority you find here for example (no offence intended, of course).

I worked in pro sports management for nearly two decades. The vocal minority there, as here, is always ready with opinions but rarely with viable solutions.

Mike Thompson

May 26, 2011 at 11:40 am

Comic Book Resources Forums Statistics
Threads: 285,876, Posts: 11,718,266, Members: 78,363

Over 78K members on CBR, eh? What does this suggest? That I’m {gulp} wrong?

If the best selling comic hits 100K, and the 100th best hits about 2500, then really, what is the number of semi-regular comic book readers?

I am very curious. Help!

“What’s really interesting is that in Marvel’s very early Silver Age lettercols, the creators would actively solicit reader opinions. A lot of them were pretty awful “put Thor on the FF” kind of things, but they did seem to take to heart the types of things the audience liked/disliked. ”

Not really, they just wanted the audience to feel like part of a big, happy family.

Simon DelMonte

May 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Mark, I get what you are saying and I appreciate that you want to move forward. But sometimes I wonder if you really want to alienate your readers.

While the basic argument put forward here is true–of course its true–I couldn’t help but read it with a lot of reservations.

First off, given the state of comics sales, I don’t know that telling people to speak with their wallets is such a good idea. Really, if you are writing for the Big Two you’re livelihood depends on fan boys habitually buying their favorite comics whether they like your writing or not.

Second, I don’t know of another industry that treats its customers with the same contempt you see in comics. Really, what we’re seeing here is the fanboys with the keys to the franchise versus the fanboys who have to pay for the gas.

Finally, for all the talk of ‘creators’ when it comes to superhero comics most of the writers aren’t the creators. They are working in universes created decades ago and should keep in mind that someday one of those angry fanboys just might wipe away all the incredible, wonderful things you thing you are doing. Remember voting to kill Jason Todd? Judd Winick voted no, lost, but got to have the last say 17 years later.

I hate how Venom is still thrown under the bus for being the reason Spider-Man 3 sucked. Sam Raimi was the reason Spider-Man 3 sucked. Most of the issues with that movie were due to stupid decisions by Raimi that had nothing to do with the symbiote or Brock.

When Avi Arad told Sam Raimi that the fans wanted to see Venom in the next Spidey movie Raimi had the choice of either a.) arguing that his previous two movies were huge hits and that he was going to go ahead and do what he thought was right (i.e., use Sandman as the main villain) or b.) jettison his plan to use the Sandman and use Venom as his main villain. Unfortunately he chose c.) use BOTH Sandman and a very different Venom than appears in the source material, ultimately doing neither character justice. This lead to an awful film that effectively killed the franchise. Who gets the blame for that lousy decision?

“Not really, they just wanted the audience to feel like part of a big, happy family.”

I disagree. Marvel literally ran polls in some of those early issues to gauge reader interest in certain characters and ideas. In one case, they asked about removing Sue Storm from the FF in response to frequent complaints that she played little to no part in the action sequences. The vote was a landslide in favor of keeping Sue, but Stan & Jack eventually gave her new powers, making her more useful. I find it hard to believe that these decisions were made in a vacuum.

My point is that Waid skirting a massive point in his opinion – most comics from the major publishers aren’t art, at least not in the way that we think about art. They have heavy influence from corporate and editorial forces, often to the detriment of their stories (look at McDuffie’s JLA, the interference was so bad that he was basically asking to be fired). We’re not talking about artistic decisions, but business decisions. So why not do the leg work to find out what the customers want?

Wasn’t a fan of Spider-Man 3, but it wasn’t a flop. It made (worldwide) more than triple its very large budget.

A lesson from the auto industry:

American car makers spend billions of dollars on focus groups and surveys and polls and then build exactly the car that the people say they want. The people then look at it and say “uhhh…. nah.” And the Fords and Chevys that people said they wanted sit on the lot.

Japanese and German car makers sit down and design the car that they want to drive. Then they show it to the public. The people look at it and say “I didn’t know I could have this!” And they buy a Toyota or BMW that they never would have thought to ask for.

The goal is always to give the customer something he didn’t know he could have, not just more of what he’s always been settling for.

@Jim MacQ I couldn’t agree more. And for those of you who say the best way to execute change is the pocketbook, comic readers have already done that. The cape comics market has declined and growth is stagnant. When a core market is buying less, it might mean that you need to find a bigger market outside the core.

Super-hero comic books today are made mostly by creators that enjoyed them in their youth and were able to watch the subject matter mature as they did as readers.

As these creators broke into the field they were able to continue making comics that they would enjoy themselves and the industry evolved in a strange incestuous way that catered to a very specific group with similar tastes and expectations.

The consequences of this creator-reader inbreeding are the alienation of two significant demographics that were the backbone of the industry for decades.

1. The casual reader who does not want the commitment of following a long story arc or or a degree in comic book continuity to appreciate a story.

2. The young reader that would grow into a more mature comic reader. I know there are plenty of comics for kids, blah, blah, blah, but today’s youth does not have the same kind of dynamic, exciting and flat out, fun jumping-in point that existed in the Silver Age.

The comics industry does need to take a stronger look at the sports analogy. There are the hardcore fans that shell out huge bucks to sit in stadiums and root for their team through thick and thin and understand every nuance of the game this group numbers in size about as big as the comics market 50 -100 K.

The big bucks however are the casual fans that sit in front of the TV and enjoy the game for free in the comfort of their homes. They have closets full of team paraphernalia that comes out only when the team is good or on big game days and they instill their team loyalties in their children. This group numbers in the millions.

We can sell the second group movies, toys, television series, cartoons, licensed merchandise, you name it, but we can’t sell them comic books at $3 a pop. Why?
Because the comic book industry makes no effort to know this side of the market and has no interest in making product that will appeal to them and no inviting vehicle to to put the product in their hands.

Good sports franchises know both sides of their market. They can fill seats in the stadiums and engage their casual followers for a lifetime of intermittent faithfulness.

Comics can still and always will cater to the hardcore fan but more product needs to be available to access the rest of the market for long term success.

It really is too bad that Sam Raimi’s Sandman story was also shit and that Sam Raimi is solely responsible for ruining his movie.

It is always LOL to read superhero comics fans and what they want.

No one should ever pay attention to them when it comes to anything, though. They need to be clothed and fed by other people, usually.

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