Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Fanboy Schisms, or, Is Dan DiDio the Pope of Avignon?

Comic fandom is, as many dedicated groups are, split by numerous ideological schisms. This is not a bad thing. It reflects the many facets of human nature. However, it leads to boring nonsense on a lot of online comic message boards and blogs.

Me, I think it’d be damn useful if folks on comic book message boards simply declared their allegiances to particular sides of issues right in their names. Like a party affiliation for politicians, knowing what a fanboy believes helps everyone place his comments in context.

Not every fanboy has a side in each and every schism, and there are always qualifications to an allegiance. Yes, yes. But dadgumit, I’m out to ruthlessly simplify and strip away nuance! So can yer misgivings and pansy-ass equivocations and start affiliatin’! Grr!

Below are my suggestions for a code to be used, abbreviations to tag the ends of fanboy online names to announce the issues one cares about and what stand that person takes.


Nostalgia vs. Novelty (NOS/NOV)
Should comics be as they always have been (at some time in the past), or should there be frequent change, even for its own sake?

Hey Kids, Comics vs. Comics Should Be Grown Up (HKC/CSBGU)
Should mainstream comics be created with an eye towards a juvenile audience and try to recapture the youth market, or should they be more adult-themed?

Yay Superheroes vs. Tights Are For Dopes (YS/TAFD)
Are mainstream comics, almost all superhero books, worthwhile, or are they the Dipstick Cousin Larry of the industry and should be shunted aside for something else?

Continuity Is Hugely Important vs. Continuity, Schmontinuity (CIHI/CSch)
Is story continuity a great thing or a hinderance to good stories? Corollary: Is continuity a great way to lure in readers, as it makes them curious about what’s going on, or is it a boondoggle that scares and bores away new readers?

Marvel Partisan vs. DC Partisan vs. Indy Partisan vs. Non-Partisan (MP/DP/IP/NP)
Do you have a particular brand loyalty? One of the big two, or perhaps a fierce loyalty to anybody but the big two? Or do you have a committed practice of non-loyalty?

Satan’s Cabana Boy (SCB=)
Do you despise one comic creator or editor with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns? For example, the writer Brian Michael Bendis is considered by many fans to be Satan’s Cabana Boy. Other common choices are the editors-in-chief of the Big Two publishers, Joe Quesada and Dan DiDio, and creators John Byrne and Chuck Austen. One who can do no right in that fanboy’s eyes.

God’s Second Child (GSC=)
The reverse of the SCB: a creator or editor beloved with great fervor. One who can do no wrong in that fanboy’s eyes.

This is off the top of my head, so I may be missing a few.

Let’s see how this would work. Imagine you opened a messageboard and found an entry by KewlDood44. Aside from laughing at the name, you don’t know if his raves about X-Men: The Pantsing is based on a pro-Marvel fixation, or if it’s a rare step out of the ordinary for a fanboy who normally loathes the work of that book’s writer.

If instead his name were KewlDood44-NOS, CSBGU, SCB=BMB, you’d know that he’s a fan of older-style comics, yet wants them to be for grownups (a not-uncommon paradox), and that he loathes Brian Michael Bendis. This would put his comments about Wolverine’s struggles with his Haggar Action Slacks in a bit better perspective.

To put my affiliations out there, I’d call myself Harvey Jerkwater-CSch, NP, YS. I don’t much care for continuity issues (and loathe crossovers), I’m aggressively uninterested in what company produces what, and, um, I love superhero crap. Soy el dork grande.

No SCB or GSC? Nah. I don’t have a grudge against anybody. Bendis, Quesada, any of those guys are fine by me. None of them ever punched me in the gut or spread raccoon entrails across my lawn.

‘Course, none of them ever bought me a drink, either.


  • If I do not read X-Men: The Pantsing in the next year, I will be sorely disappointed in Marvel. Holy crap - Bendis and Ellis could write it, and it could be eight issues long! McNiven could pencil the first issue, but then it would take seven months for issue 2 to show up, so they'd have to get a fill-in artist. Awesome.

    Of course, this is why I don't frequent message boards. I'm pretty much a mix of everything. To extend your metaphor, I'm Emperor Maximilian at the Council of Constance, telling everyone to get along!

    By Blogger Greg, at 10:36 PM  

  • Yes!

    You are correct, Harvey. An n-dimensional schema of the fanboy issue-verse is precisely what we need.

    So much so that I fully intend to steal your idea, er, I mean, help to popularize your concept.

    I think you've defined most of the spectra correctly (although some of your terminology could use some tightening!).

    By Blogger Scipio, at 10:35 AM  

  • Scipio,

    By all means, swipe it. Though please keep my name involved. I'm a complete whore for attention.

    The terminology does indeed require redaction. This is but the first assay into the field of Fanboy Ideology Codification. There are all kinds of interesting and irresponsible directions this line of thinking could take.

    By Blogger Harvey Jerkwater, at 2:34 PM  

  • This is obviously the single greatest idea in the history of the world.

    I know I said that when Cheerios with Real! Dried! Berries! hit the shelves and when my girlfriend said she wanted a carpet made of real grass, but this time I mean it.

    Still, in accordance with my lifelong policy of only following the rules I like, I have some misgivings and pansy-ass equivocations:

    I generally think supey-hero type books peaked in quality 'n imagination circa 1973, but I don't care nuttin' for folks who try to write like it's 1973. Yay Old Comics! Booo people who try to recycle old Comics!

    Nos or Nov?

    I think the biggest audience for books featuring folks who dress up in their jammy jams an' fight untextured "Evil" is always gonna median around eight no matter how Identity Crisisy DC tries to make 'em...

    But I've also owned eight different copies of Ghost World.

    HKC or CSBGU?

    But Staunchly TaFD/CHscMD/NP/SCB=Geoff "I can't spell my first name" Johns, GSC = Rebecca Dart

    By Blogger MarkAndrew, at 2:07 AM  

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