This post is near and dear to me. There is a growing problem that is stopping comic fandom from expanding.
First let me backtrack with a little anecdote:
One day I entered a comic book shop, a holy place where supposedly our kind was allowed to gather. I had entered only to be greeted by the steely gaze of the cashier (and owner!). I immediately felt unwelcomed. Undeterred, I walked around and flipped through the dollar comics. Soon, another guy entered and it was clear he was a regular. He was welcomed and given his reserved comics (aka The Pull List for those who are new). The Regular and The Owner began talking about Fantastic Four and 20th Century Fox. At this point I was by the register so I causally chipped in my point of view. I immediately saw a shift in attitude. Suddenly the owner treated me with respect because I was able to form an educated opinion. With my nerdy knowledge, I proved that I was one of them and was suddenly welcomed into the discussion.
And that’s the problem.
I see it all the time. People are turned away from comics because they think it’s reserved for a nerdy subculture. Potential readers are turned off because they aren’t up to speed or in the know. How many times have you heard a person say, “I think Batman is cool…but I just don’t know where to start.” This is why the Big 2 are constantly rebooting. And sometime, people experience that same judgmental look that I did, quietly set down their comic and leave the store.
For some reason, some comic fans act like they’re in this special club. I have no idea where this comes from. Maybe they’re anti-social and don’t want others apart of their passion. Maybe, they’re afraid of ridicule (who cares?). If you have any inkling as to why, please comment below.
If we treat potential new readers like “outsiders,” then the industry, in all of its glory, will wither away. So, I kindly ask that you treat any person as a potential lover of comics. People shrug them off, but I know for a fact that if they come across that perfect story or well-designed cover tailored to them, they’ll be hooked. All it takes is one glance from a curious onlooker, uninhibited by some store owner’s judgmental gaze.
I don’t intend to typecast some comic readers. Many I know are very welcoming. This is just a simple PSA telling some to not be so quick to judge. Do not roll your eyes when someone says Superman is their favorite Marvel Character. Do not scold someone for saying they’re a fan, even if they only watch the movies. If someone asks about comics, don’t write them off, introduce and enthrall them. You’ll be helping the comics cause and you’ll have made a new comic-loving friend.
Don’t be that snooty store owner.
***This has been a Public Service Announcement***