Saturday, August 16, 2008

San Giacomo's BND Editorial @ Newsarama

Mike San Giacomo is taking some shots from pro-BND readers over on Newsarama that, largely, hold no merit (the shots, not the readers). I was going to respond over there, but I got long-winded enough that I felt it wasn't appropriate to basically blog in the comments section. So I brought it here.

First, the comments that triggered my response:

RJT wrote:

Honestly? You've read all the Clone saga issues, the horrid Howard Mackie-John Byrne issues, and you honestly are dropping the book now? Because it feels like "things don't count"? Spider-man is a fictional character, and everything that happens to him is fictional. It all "counts", or none of it "counts". What a ridiculous statement.

I don't think you should buy any comic that you don't want to, but this wringing of the hands and "oh, precious continuity" seems a bit much.

evilGonz wrote:

@RJT: I'm 100% with you.

Clearly, dropping ASM was a big decision for the writer, partly fueled by not enjoying BND. But the article leads us to believe this decision comes only because he was not enjoying BND, which would therefore make it (gasp!) worse than *anything* since issue 1. And yet the article betrays other reasons why the title was dropped. He was older, he was (clearly) bitter about OMD (which I understand), and how knows what else? So doing our ooh's and aahhh's and look-quesada-told-you-so's at him dropping ASM after 550+ issues is just a little inane, and becomes the focal point of an article that I was hoping would be a bit more objective (just a bit).

In other words, RJT, I'm 100% with you.

How does someone giving a book 18 issues before dropping it a sign of being clearly bitter? And objective? IT'S AN EDITORIAL!!!! DO YOU NOT GET THAT EDITORIALS AND REVIEWS ARE NOT OBJECTIVE THINGS???

Some of the readers are missing his point: the stories feel vapid and insubstantial to him. On top of that, he seems to find the way BND was launched and its failure to demonstrate being part of the larger Marvel U to imply that things might not be as they seem. So it is hard for him to muster interest in stories he thinks will be retconned or explained away in a matter of months (as part of a plan).

And all stories count or none count? No...when companies tell you that stories never happened, were just a dream sequence or have been wiped from the memory of every fictional character so as to have no impact on them...a story can "not count". Now, if you enjoyed them originally, you'll still have those happy memories.

But if you're not thrilled by a story that appears to have no long term bearing on the character, why bother buying it?

There are really two reasons people buy their franchise super-hero books:

1. For good, entertaining stories.
2. To find out what happens to the characters.

If a book isn't doing it for you on #1, you might keep buying it for #2. I know I've had trouble dropping a book because I just needed to know what happened with the characters I like (Winick's Outsiders & Lieberman's Martian Manhunter come to mind).It's that soap-opera-like addiction.

But when you get the feeling that there's really nothing of consequence happening in the books or that everything will be wiped out again soon, #2 doesn't push you to buy the book anymore.

And that, folks, is what I think San Giacomo is trying to say. He ain't bitter. He ain't taking his books too seriously, either. He has an opinion that he is entitled to and one that doesn't resemble what the peanut gallery are trying to ridicule him for.

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