Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Brian Wood on ‘emo’ Conan

The ‘emo’ thing is both really funny and really annoying. All my books have been called ‘emo’ at one point or another, since Demo in 2003. Even Northlanders was called ‘emo’. Clearly its a meaningless insult, issued by lazy people who don’t have the proper words to describe something that is even a little bit less than 100% macho and straightforward. So Becky draws a sketch of Conan with a smile on his face, and only reaction available is to call it ‘emo’. It’s absurd. The funny part of it is these same people don’t even know what ‘emo’ is, what the word really means. A fun variation on this, something I spotted on some forum, was “Conan looks like a barista!”. I almost emailed Becky to ask her to sketch Conan working at Starbucks for the fun of it.

Brian Wood, talking to MTV Geek about his new Conan series, which launches this week, and the critique on some message boards that his character was too “emo.”

As funny as it is to imagine an emo Conan (paging Kate Beaton!), what I like about this quote in particular is Wood’s healthy attitude about criticism of his work. It’s not easy to put things out there and have them critiqued by the world at large, but dealing with it is a part of the job. Wood talks a little later about the passion of serious Conan fans and remarks that creators really should stay away from forums that discuss their work, saying, “I think readers should have the privacy and feel free to talk openly about a book without the writer or artist lurking over their shoulder, ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. It’s a little creepy, really.”



Emo is definitely an insult that gets bandied about pretty freely.

So “a healthy attitude” is denial, rebuttal, and accusing critics of being lazy and dumb

My how far we’ve come

I only listen to Embrace and Rites of Spring.

“…a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth…”

—Robert E. Howard

Conan smiles. And he broods. And everything in between and beyond.


Emo is certainly a lazy insult. Smiling makes him emo? I would have thought the gigantic melancholies would be the thing that makes him emo.

But I thought people who had called everything emo were now calling those same things “hipster”?

Basically, if something seems off slightly it’s emo/hipster.

Not even gonna bother picking this title up. I’m good with King Conan for now.

@yumph: Well uh yes I think rebuttal IS absolutely a healthy response to criticism.

Anyway. Met Brian once; he was a nice guy and I think you’re right about his sunny disposition. Demo wasn’t my cup of tea but I’m definitely intrigued by Cloonan Conan; much as I love the Vallejo/Frazetta/et al musclebound depiction, there’s more than one way to draw the dude.

And while I’ll agree with Wood saying you shouldn’t let complainers get to you, I think there’s a real positive side to having forums where a creator might just pop in unexpectedly and share some insight (hi Kurt).

“… much as I love the Vallejo/Frazetta/et al musclebound depiction, there’s more than one way to draw the dude.”

As long as it’s hot Conan eye-candy to accompany the excellent storytelling, I’m fine with a somewhat leaner beloinclothed Cimmerian. :)

Having been a huge fan of all of DHs Conan books, I’m looking forward to this.

And if Kurt Busiek is still here, when are we going to see more Prince, Wazir and Janissa?

Yeah, the emo/hipster ‘critique’ is used far too easily. I’ve seen everything from xkcd to Transmetropolitan to The Avengers as being described as ‘hipster trash.’ I’ve also heard all of those as being perfect for casual/hardcore readers and if you don’t read them then you then you must be a nerd/plebian. It’s gotten so you can’t enjoy ANYTHING without your taste being put on trial for being either too simple-minded or too pretentious. Or both.

Labeling lazy criticism as lazy is healthy, yes. It’s much better than either accepting or arguing with every tiny complaint. If you intentionally avoid the people that put forth solid and well-thought out critique, then that’s not healthy either.

Noooomph!! Namecalling and dismissing someone’s critique is not a “healthy attitude.” It is the same dismissive and I’m-in-denial attitude that pervades the big 2 right now

Wood can shuck off his critics that way if he wants – it beats taking any responsibility for possible flaws in his work. But to applaud him for his “healthy attitude.” Get real

>> And if Kurt Busiek is still here, when are we going to see more Prince, Wazir and Janissa? >>

I don’t know, at this point. But it’s Been Discussed. And will surely Be Discussed further.


The problem is that “emo Conan” is a pretty easy criticism to ignore or rebut, and focusing on it obscures more legitimate concerns like fidelity to the source material.

Incidentally, I’ve only seen one “message board” (really a comment on a new site somewhere) that made the emo statement.

I don’t care what you call it… I hate Conan as a character and an idea… I’m just not into the whole sword and sorcery thing. But I’m definitely pre-ordering all of this title b/c I have full faith in Brian (and Becky) to deliver a kick-ass comic. No matter what label you put on it.

“Basically, if something seems off slightly it’s emo/hipster.”

I think it’s more that if Brian Wood is involved with something, it’s emo/hipster.


February 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm

@Emo Conan you’re the best

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