Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Of Fanfic Published As Product...

I often read/hear people complaining that so many of today's super-hero comic books are just fanfic dressed up and published. Normally, I really don't see it at all. Sometimes, I see it...but don't get the problem.

Take OLD MAN LOGAN, for instance. So many of the elements in the story could have come from someone just throwing wild ass ideas out there that don't have to take the time to fill in all the blanks. There's a clunky moment or two where Millar has thugs spouting out Ashley's heritage, again, when that just seems unnecessary.

But overall? Those wild ass ideas are executed very well and accompanied with beautiful artwork to make (so far) a damn enjoyable story.

Maybe someone out there can tell me where the fanfic complaint comes into the super-hero comic book pastime? As far as I can tell, it's just a way of trying to say you don't like a story and dress it up more like a factual observation than one's singular opinion.


  1. How about Ultimate X-Men under Kirkman's pen?

    I see fanfic more as when a writer creates a new character (a mary sue, which is a staple of fanfiction), simply to make them be this great thing just praying that it will catch on.

    Or let's put it this way: the subtlety with which many of today's writers make new character appear is hit you over the head mundane and annoying.

    Kitty Pryde worked because she wasn't thrown in our face the whole time about how cool phasing is. They first made a bond with the audience (her age and youthfulness), then expanded on her being this character you want to read about. And then when an issue dedicated to her comes along (that Christmas alien issue, #140 I think?), it doesn't feel like a chore reading it.

  2. I think bringing fanfiction discussion tropes into conversations about actual material is a common and awful mistake, and I absolutely cannot stand use of terms such as "Mary Sue" and "OTP" in critical discussions, as they're reductionist terms used to minimize any rational discourse and instead rely on tired crutches. Everyone seems to have this idea of what fanfiction is, and at the end of the day it's just stuff written with someone else's characters. So that's goddamn everybody working at the Big Two.

    Are Old Man Logan or Legion of Three Worlds "fanfiction" because they include lots of Easter eggs and incorporate a large scope of existing work to extrapolate from? Can't we drop the puerile and vacant argument of whether or not something's "fanfiction" and just talk about how it works as, you know, fiction?

  3. David, as much as you wanted to be my new adversary, I agree with you on this. ;)

    I really think that calling published product "fanfic" is just a bad way to try to say you didn't like it. Why can't we just go back to calling it bad writing if we think it is, you know, bad? Like we did before the internet made fanfic so well known.

  4. But Kirkman's Ultimate X-Men sucked sooooo much, I need to find some other way to classify it.

  5. Petition signed, Kevin, seriously. Shit writing is shit writing; analyze WHY it's bad rather than going "MARY SUE MARY SUE OTP OTP MARY SUE OOC OTP MARY SUE AAAAAAGH"

  6. I crap bigger than your fanficFri Sep 05, 02:25:00 PM EDT

    "Why can't we just go back to calling it bad writing if we think it is, you know, bad? Like we did before the internet made fanfic so well known."

    Well, one, because calling it bad fanfic makes it easier to say "I could do better. Want to see - check my MySpace page! LOLZ!!?!?!!$$!"

    And two, as it's already been said, calling published work "bad fanfic" is just another way to say that you don't like it because it isn't how you'd write the characters. It's the same as calling something fanwank. Terms like "fanfic" or "fanwank" are tossed around by people who don't have an expansive enough vocabulary to discuss why they didn't like something, beyond "It sucks."

    Angry Fanboy - "Did you read the latest (insert popular Marvel/DC title here)? Man, what a pile of shit!"

    Moderate Fan - "Really, I enjoyed it. What about it didn't you like?"

    Angry Fanboy - "Uh...well, I didn't like how, uh...y' was just, uh - a bunch of, of, of bad fanfic bullshit! Yeah, that's it! That damn (insert character created after 1985) is such a Mary Sue!"

    Moderate Fan - "Well, I have to disagree, I thought the characterization was pretty spot on, & -"

    Angry Fanboy - "Characterization? What are you, a fag?"

    Moderate Fan - "What? No, I'm not ga-"

    Angry Fan - "You're so gay! (Popular writer) is a gay fanfic writer! Gay gay gay!"

    Creepy Never Seen A Real Woman Naked Before Dude - "Starfire is teh hawtness I would totally pwn her Titans OMFG"

    Moderate Fan - "Uh, what?"

    Angry Fanboy - "Yeah, see, you're gay!"

    Wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum. And people wonder why "teh Internetz" aren't taken seriously.

  7. Ah...the next blog will be about how people blame the internet for the exact same stupidity that happened in dark, dank comic shops long before Al Gore invented it.

  8. MySpace - the afterbirth of the internetSat Sep 06, 11:07:00 AM EDT

    "Ah...the next blog will be about how people blame the internet for the exact same stupidity that happened in dark, dank comic shops long before Al Gore invented it."

    I can't tell if that's supposed to be to conservative or liberal propoganda...:)

    That same stupidity was certainy on display many moons before the Internet came crawling out of Al Gore's va-jay-jay, but there was nowhere near the level of overindulgent self-importance that's so prevalent today. Or maybe it was just harder to get one's opinion "out there," since you had to go to the trouble of getting it printed up & distributed. Now, there's no effort involved at all - any asshole with DSL can hop online & spout off whatever inane gibberish they want at the drop of a hat.

    Uh, no offense. :)


  9. Ha! No offense taken. I'll agree that the internet has given every disgruntled fan a stronger sense of entitlement because they sit back and say, "33 other posters on the message board agree with me that it is utter crap!"

    So, if you're saying the internet potentially amplified the strength of the idiocy on display, I can get behind that.

  10. I always figured fanfic meant something that only appeals to a tiny portion of an already tiny audience, which, for me, doesn't really apply to something like Wolverine. But it does apply to something like Army of Darkness versus Marvel Zombies, that kind of thing. Something that automatically handicaps itself by fully embracing a niche audience, a comic that revels in it's label as acquired taste.

    But the guy above has a nice point--anybody who writes fan fiction has no business criticizing something else as fan fiction.

    I'm at a loss for what the hell Mary Sue and OTP mean though. Don't tell me. I'm glad I don't know.

  11. Ok...if you admitted to not knowing, then I can finally say: I have no idea what an OTP is.

    There...a weight is off my shoulders. ;)

    I see what you're saying about the obscure crossovers, but the common usage these days with fanfic is about quality, not relative size of the target audience. I'm just as happy to just use "niche" for those items, rather than adopting fanfic.


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