Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Every Spider-Man fan knows that with great power comes great responsibility. I don’t know if the ability to make your voice heard on a message board counts as “great power,” but surely there’s some responsibility attached to that, too. A recent run-in between Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and a CBR message-board user named lejayjay serves as an object lesson on this point, and who you think abused their power-responsibility balance the worst may well reveal a lot about you as a fan and consumer of comics and art.
In a thread called “How long do you expect Dan Slott to be the lead/ sole writer of Amazing Spider-Man?”, lejayjay posted a comment seemingly deriding Slott as a fair-weather comics writer who would likely depart for a more lucrative field. Though the comment eventually spun off into facetiously hyperbolic territory, it began by directly attacking Slott’s motives for writing ASM at all:
It is jus a paycheck for Slott anyway. He’s not a real fan.
So you’ve seen the X-Men teaser images Marvel’s been putting out featuring (among other strange character choices like Elektra and She-Hulk II) Blade and what sure looks like Vampire Jubilee, right? So has Ultimate Comics Avengers writer — and current toast of Hollywood thanks to Kick-Ass — Mark Millar.
Apparently the “X-Men vs. vampire mutants” storyline people have deduced from the teaser images is awfully similar to an upcoming Ultimate Avengers storyline Millar’s been talking about for years…and he’s very, very upset about this. Like, to the point where if I were Marvel, I’d worry that he might show up at the office in a green-and-yellow jumpsuit with a crowbar or two.
Here’s the rundown of Millar’s furious posts on his message board, in a thread titled “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS X-MEN/ BLADE THING” (all-caps in original):
Con War is hell, and you never know who’s gonna get caught in the crossfire. Wizard owner Gareb Shamus’s evolving effort to rebrand his publishing and online empire and take on Reed Exhibitions’s C2E2 and New York Comic Con by aggressively counter-scheduling his Anaheim and Big Apple events has produced some nasty peripheral exchanges, even as direct confrontations between the two convention promoters have all but ceased.
Take the back-and-forth we noted last week between PvP creator Scott Kurtz and Comics Alliance honcho Laura Hudso . It started when Kurtz publicly blasted a Wizard/Shamus functionary with both barrels after the staffer obliviously sent him an email addressed to “Kurt” — hey, these things happen — soliciting his attendance at Anaheim Comic Con. Hudson took Kurtz to task for tarring all Wizard employees with a brush perhaps better reserved for the company’s decision-makers. This led to a lengthy and ugly comment-thread roundelay between Hudson — who, as the former senior editor of Tim Leong’s defunct Comic Foundry magazine, need bow to no one in the “taking cheap shots at Wizard and its employees as though the two were fungible entities” department — and Kurtz, some of his fans, and former Wizard staff writer Chris Ward. Over the course of the argument’s five pages, posts were deleted; accusations of trollery, spamming, egomania and hypocrisy were thrown about like so much confetti; Hudson’s problems during her tenure with Jenna Jameson-publishing Virgin Comics were hashed out; former Wizard President Fred Pierce was accused of buying off former Wizard critic Frank Miller; and a horrid time was had by all.
Full-scale warfare between convention promoters isn’t universal, believe it or not — some are giving peace a chance. In addition to the recent arrangement worked out by Heroes Con and Supercon to avoid a date conflict, Emerald City ComiCon‘s Jim Demonakos tells Robot 6 that following an unavoidable conflict with Orlando’s MegaCon the weekend of March 13, 2010, he and MegaCon’s Beth Widera collaborated on choosing dates for 2011 so that future overlap could be avoided. “We ended up on the same dates for 2010 and neither of us could move, but we’ve talked and coordinated and our mutual 2011 dates will not be on each other’s dates at all,” says Demonakos. “Con planning, always an adventure.”
“Board offline” — that’s what visitors are seeing when they attempt to use the Wizard Universe Message Board. As first noted on the comics discussion site Panels on Pages, the WUMB, as its users affectionately dubbed it, ceased to exist just before 7:30 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.
The board was launched in 2006, at the start of Wizard’s often-shaky attempt to maintain a web presence in a comics-news scene increasingly dominated by online outlets. The WUMB was a priority for then-Editor-in-Chief Pat McCallum, who mandated daily posts from all editorial staffers as a way to increase the sense of community with readers of Wizard’s publications (at the time, there were four monthly magazines).
McCallum and many other high-ranking editorial figures — among them, Wizard Editor Brian Cunningham, ToyFare Editors Zach Oat and Justin Aclin, VP Joe Yanarella, Anime Insider Editor Summer Mullins, WizardUniverse.com Editors Rick Marshall and Jim Gibbons, and Wizard and WizardUniverse.com Managing Editor, uh, me — posted on the board frequently, even though its hosting on an outside company’s server prevented its hits from being counted toward Wizard’s main site.
At Comixology, Shaenon K. Garrity presents her “Half-Assed Guide to Comic Book Message Boards,” where she painfully, but hilariously and rather accurately breaks down the various places one can go to gripe about ‘One More Day’ or how they don’t ‘get’ manga. Here’s her take on the Comics Journal’s board:
The most necrotic section of the board is the “Comics Journal” section itself, where people only post to bitch that their subscription copies are late. Many TCJ subscribers seem to be under the impression that Gary Groth runs not just Fantagraphics but the U.S. Postal Service from his basement. They get really pissed. No one ever posts about the content of the magazine itself, proving that not even the most hardcore fans of The Comics Journal read The Comics Journal.
Ouch. She also demolishes Comicon, Newsarama and, of course, Byrne Robotics, though, oddly enough, CBR seems to stay out her sights. Perhaps a sequel is in order.