Some people are saying that “Comics Gate” is upon us. Others say that we’re in a “comic book culture war.” Whatever you decide, the bottom line is that Marvel writer Dan Slott gives bloggers and YouTuber creators like yours truly plenty of material to work with on a weekly basis.
If you want to know why Marvel Comics is struggling these days, then look no further than Mr. Slott’s stance on the “job of the artist,” which he shares with Alan Moore.
Both men believe “it is the job of the artists to give the audience what they need“ (emphasis mine).
Ask yourself, though: Is that true? Do artists decide what you “need,” or is that the position of men with seriously bizarre god complexes? Check out my latest YouTube video on the proper role of the artist, and then sound off in the comments section below.
This topic lit up YouTube, Twitter, and writer Roger McKenzie’s Facebook page this weekend, so I’d like to hear what you think.
Editor’s Note: When backed into a corner, Dan’s go-to option is to look for the “Stan Lee escape hatch,” even if the damage control is painfully obvious.
I have become completely disinterested with current comic books that I now only go to my local comic book shop for back issues.
What Alan Moore always gailed to understand is that he writes comic books. He does not write literary masterpieces.
It’s actually marketing that should determine, what readers really want. Otherwise, folks should refrain from buying comics – they don’t like. Just because the artist likes it.
@Andrew: Absolutely. These guys imagine they are artistes. They’re divorced from reality: they write commercial heroic fiction magazines, about genre characters who fly around in brightly colored costumes, for a niche market. Faulkners they are not.
What Slott needs is for the audience to buy his product, otherwise he returns to an assistant manager job at Wendy’s. It is exactly this bizarre, arrogant thinking that has shipwrecked Marvel.
Any discussion of writers thinking they are gods has to involve Stan Lee. Moore, for all his faults, is a cut above that. Slott has written some entertaining stuff, but doesn’t even enter the conversation.
The thing is, Stan Lee in his glory days tended to have a good rapport with the fans on what they wanted to see. In fact, he actively -encouraged- the fans to inform Marvel of what they felt was working and what they felt didn’t.
It even lead to a bizarre, albeit memorable early Fantastic Four story where the team answered their fan mail.
(Odd as it was, the story did lead to some good developments, such as Sue becoming a more proactive character -and- getting her powers boosted.)
Man, reading old Marvel letter columns can provide all sort of insights. In the first Uncanny X-Men Omnibus, a letter is reprinted object to the then-recent killing off of Thunderbird, pointing out how few American Indian super-heroes there are and asking how Marvel can justify removing one?
The very sensible response is that they felt Thunderbird wasn’t working out as a character, that he seemed more like a cheap knock-off of other, better characters, and they’d rather write him out in a dramatic way than subject the readers to a poor character and poor story-telling.
(And a few years later, when characters like Dani Moonstar and Warpath turned up, they proved to be far better fits for the Mutant books.)