Monday, May 03, 2010

A New Low (updated)

When an internet message board troll who has practically made Didio-bashing a profession gets written into a DC Comics issue to be beaten and embarrassed, I think the people who published that product should be more ashamed than the target.


"Harold Winer".

Who goes on to become "Herald".

A shot at a message board poster who obsesses over D-level and lesser characters on the 'net, with the user name of Herald.

Who happens to be black just like the character in the book.

Who has gotten into arguments with DC Comics creators and had one say that he is well known in the DC offices, where he is regularly laughed at.

Sadly, if you remove this thinly veiled shot at a reader from the equation, the writing involved in making this "Harold Winer" character is even worse. But the thought process behind actually using 5 pages (and possibly more to come) to take a shot at a hater is just impossible for me to come to grips with.

We want to argue that the online fan presence is a vocal minority, right? I've actually started to embrace that idea more over the last year. But when members within that group can have such an effect on you that you have to devote pages to taking them down? Makes me wonder how much the people behind the scenes believe it.

Addendum: Just to add in a few things based on all the internet chatter mentioning the long existing character named Herald and that they feel it is a bit much to draw the conclusion that this is a shot on an internet poster.

The original Herald is now called Vox and doesn't require a horn, this is true. It is possible that this character will become a new Herald in the DC Universe. Sure, the horn doesn't seem to be of the same origin as the one the previous Herald used, but anything is possible  (apparently, this is familiar enough to how Mal Duncan received the horn way back when). I did leave this character's existence open-ended.

But "Harold Winer" and protestations that he "would not change one thing" about a D-list character who is so wounded by the character changing, turned into a character named Herald...I'm saying there is a helluva lot of smoke there. Potentially being turned into a new Herald doesn't negate the possibility that this is a shot at Didio hater. Superboy/man Prime became a somewhat better constructed comment on general fanboy complaining; his continued existence and being some form of legacy character (depending on your definition) doesn't change the meta elements.


  1. Is there a prior page where Harold Winer relentlessly quotes TV Tropes?

    Joking aside, this is really kind of mean spirited. I'd love to say I'd never expect DC to do this, but I don't want to lie to myself.

  2. Your TV Tropes reference makes it clear you've had experience with "Harold Winer" on the boards or in chat.

    I can honestly say that I'd never have expected DC to do this. This is exactly where it makes the most sense for it to happen, though, as it is the boss taking a shot at one of his most vocal/annoying internet critics, where no editor would have an easy time saying no.

  3. I remember Herald well from my infrequent posting/consistent lurking on Newsarama, back before I quit comics forums cold turkey in deference to my continued sanity. He's a passionate fan with the kind of ownership sense that people like Dan DiDio want us to have but then mock us for having.

    I know there was a lot of ire over Superboy Prime's portrayal as the 'angry internet fanboy', but it was never hurtful - at its best, it was meta-commentary on the relationship between fans and the media. Calling someone specific out like this is hurtful. And petty. And you're right - nobody is going to tell the boss 'No.'

  4. The worst I could say about the Superboy Prime thing was that, at times, it had it's meta-message completely take the place of telling a story. Since his appearances were always part of "major events", I felt that was particularly bad. But, as you state, it wasn't hurtful.

    Of course, the fan in question here might actually have gotten a kick out of this. I don't know if that completely removes any complaint of this being potentially hurtful, as the intent is more important there.

  5. I think the poster in question might be more offended by being called and internet troll in this blog post than by the issue in question as he's made a point in bragging about how the DC offices know who he is even if its through mocking.

    This is pretty petty but considering the target I actually find it hilarious! I'm waiting for a Dr. Light romance to be introduced next. It might actually encourage me to overlook who the writer is and read the book again.

    Ah well, more fodder for Herald I suppose.

  6. Heh. I'm using "internet message board troll" mostly to capture the way it seems he is seen by DC Comics than my own judgement of him, but I admit that's not made clear in the above.

    I've had online conversations with him. He can be reasonable, unless you hit one of his hot button topics where he completely closes himself off to hearing differing opinions. He's not a troll in the sense that he doesn't go out there looking to stir shit up just for the hell of it. But a large percentage of those labeled trolls just have blindly passionate opinions on a topic that leads to behavior that irritates other readers/posters. So the term probably fits as well on Herald as it does on a large majority of people labeled such across the 'net.

  7. Agreed. I wouldn't say "Troll" for the reasons you stated in that he doesn't go out just to stir up trouble but incredibly f***ing annoying in his inability to justify his arguments on an equal level to those he demands justify theirs to him and the obsessive need to use TV Tropes instead of his own words to make an argument as if they represent the epitome of unarguable fact has led him to be banned from many a message board.

    Anyway... kudos to Didio for making me laugh and to yourself for alerting me to it. Shame it'll do more harm than good to DC I expect and only strengthen Herald's ego and justify his martyr complex and make him more annoying for DC and fans alike.

  8. Yeah, I think you seized on one of the key parts that makes this, in my opinion, a bad idea: it might serve to only encourage more of the same from Herald and copycats that want to see themselves written into a book.

    Of course, maybe this is DC Comics anti-troll strategy: create a battlefield with Didio on Outsiders in order to draw the trolls away from other targets in their line. Maybe they think that folks will be so busy ripping his work that James Robinson will get a pass over on JLA?

  9. Maybe! But if they really wanted an Anti-Troll strategy they'd get Garth Ennis to write the trolls' fates.

    There are fates worse than death!

  10. Herald is awesome, he's legendary now--but good guy.

  11. I call bullshit on this and think you guys are trying to make yourselves seem more important than you are. There is no conclusive evidence that this is a shot at anyone at all.

  12. You're entitled to your opinion, Anonymous...if that is your REAL name. ;)

    But it is a fact that creators have said that the DC offices are aware of Herald and that he is a running joke. The character was named "Harold (Herald?) Winer (Whiner?)" and went on to be given a horn to blow and be called Herald. 100% conclusive? No. Way too much to dismiss as coincidence? I think so.

  13. Added a little something to the blog about why I think this is a shot at the poster named Herald and the chances that this is now a legacy character doesn't negate that.

  14. Which comic was this in?

  15. I sparred with Herald under the handle 'Salieri'. Just before I quit, he added a diatribe telling everyone (arrogantly) that he thought their telling him how wrong he was had gotten stale, then GOADED creators into coming online to argue with him.

    So, yes, he IS a troll, at times a colossal one, and this is his deserved comeuppance. Next, I'd suggest Harold and Dr Light II get mutually killed by a falling piano.

  16. Salieri... or DAN DIDIO?!

    Get him, faceless Phantom Zone inhabitants!

  17. Haha I love this. I got under DiDio's skin at last!

  18. No, DC (Depressing Comics) is whats sad, under the Didiotic regime, and his pals like "Justice!" Robinson.

    I hope I get to hook up with my Kimiyo, but then again, with the stupid Didiotic and "Justice!" Robinson, who ruined the characters, I won't hope anything.

  19. And now, if that lame pretender is done, it's time for the REAL Deal! :D

    Here's some things I want to address (the other stuff you guys mentioned, you can believe if you want):

    "Sure, the horn doesn't seem to be of the same origin as the one the previous Herald used..."

    Actually, it is, Kevin. In Teen Titans (first series) #45, Mal Duncan was given Gabriel's Horn from the angel Gabriel, and it looked just like it does in the first page you posted.

    It was supposed to make him "the equal of his opponent", but in practice, it worked sort of like Scarlet Witch's powers did, causing any number of effects. This included teleporting other Titans to Mal, blowing back villains, doing the ol' "Pied Piper" routine with the Fiddler's collection of vermin, etc.

    "Is there a prior page where Harold Winer relentlessly quotes TV Tropes?"

    Well, I *was* going to forego the tropes, but since Jeff here practically begged for one... :p

    Here's an entry that's quite apropos to the situation:

    "If anyone *really* pisses you off, depict them in your comic as a ridiculous strawman and mock them with infuriating self-righteousness. You know, kind of like exactly what I'm doing now."
    — Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, offering some advice for budding webcomic artists.

  20. "I'd love to say I'd never expect DC to do this, but I don't want to lie to myself."

    I'm only surprised that it took this long...

    "This is exactly where it makes the most sense for it to happen, though, as it is the boss taking a shot at one of his most vocal/annoying internet critics, where no editor would have an easy time saying no."

    Further proof that this is not so much a comic book company anymore; it's really DiDio, Johns, and Morrison's personal fanfic factory.

    "Of course, the fan in question here might actually have gotten a kick out of this."

    Yes, I do, for many reasons, one of which is that now, no one can deny that they're paying attention to me. That's a big part of what I wanted in the first place.

    And the fact that this "response" comes from no less than the once-Executive Editor/now Co-Publisher of DC himself, when he could and SHOULD have better things to write into a comic, illustrates that I've REALLY struck a nerve. :D

  21. "I think the poster in question might be more offended by being called and internet troll..."

    Meh. It's happened before, it'll happen again. Some people can't stand it when someone takes a stand and won't back down. That's fine with me.

    I don't put every opinion I have up for a public vote before expressing it. Do you??

    "I'm waiting for a Dr. Light romance to be introduced next."

    And this would certainly not be without interest. ;)
    (If you do that, DiDio, there better be plenty of "the ol' in-out, in-out"! In fact, better make this a Vertigo book, so we can see it ALL! >:D )

    That said, I've mentioned that I'd rather see her with an Asian (preferably Japanese) man. They are too often underrepresented or misrepresented in popular media.

    "Maybe they think that folks will be so busy ripping his work that James Robinson will get a pass over on JLA?"

    Bwah-ha-ha!! Not a chance of THAT happening!

  22. "But if they really wanted an Anti-Troll strategy they'd get Garth Ennis to write the trolls' fates."

    Ennis is too fixated on doing mean things to superheroes (except Superman, of course) to do mean things to fans.

    "Herald is awesome, he's legendary now--but good guy."

    Thank you, my good Anon. :D

    "...then GOADED creators into coming online to argue with him."

    Incorrect. What I said was that I wanted to hear the jokes that they were supposedly telling about me. (Still do, actually...) I'm not particularly interested in arguing with them, but if an argument is what happens, that's what happens.

    "...this is his deserved comeuppance."

    Yes... official acknowledgement from the top that DC knows about me, which, as mentioned, is part of what I was going for...

    ...a tacit admission that DiDio and DC have to resort to attempted mockery instead of doing something productive, like actually addressing the points I've been making...

    ...and the fact that someone who is supposed to be me is IN a frickin' COMIC... sure putting the hurt on ol' Herald! LOL! :D

    "Next, I'd suggest Harold and Dr Light II get mutually killed by a falling piano."

    Please try to contain your jealousy, Sal. :p

  23. "Herald ur sad"

    Fake Herald sure is.

    Just another person with nothing better to do than create a poor imitation of me...

  24. So.. Still unable to articulate a single intelligent point without referring back to your own self-love. Good to know.

    Frankly, you and your ilk aren't worth the effort any more - but it's not really an effort to point out that as usual, your disgusting narcissism shows you up as nothing but a strutting Malvolio - except, unlike that noble gentleman, you refuse to accept that you have been tricked, and pretend that you can spin something positive and self-serving out of it. So, amazingly, you ignore the plain and simple truth - that you have been obviously humiliated in front of millions, that you fully deserved it for your record of apallingly stupid behaviour - the type, I see, that you are still unable to give up - and that the only people who aren't going to find this funny are you and anyone who hasn't been around you long enough to know how truly aggravating you really are.

    Poor little man-child, doesn't really get the joke. Didio is not being petulant or childish here - he's dealing with an annoyance through art. To acknowledge Herald as a threat would be to attempt to join Newsarama and answer his petty diatribes. Instead, he's shown the world exactly what Herald is - an obsessive, whiny idiot - through the subtle art of parody and mockery, ala the classic Mad Magazine. When Lady Caroline Lamb created Lord Ruthven, she never suggested that any man could do wrong to her in order to get turned into a book character - just that she hated Lird Byron and wanted to show it through literature. And Byron survived it through being one of the greatest poetical minds of all time.

    Because, no matter how many "Think of the children" blog posts like this appear, the majority of the readers of Outsiders will see Harold Winer as just another caricature, and unlike Byron, Herald is not a known creator nor a succesful nor even an intelligent this will be his geatest legacy to the world, his greatest achievement; that a professional like Dan Didio thought it would be funny to show the world what an arrogant pissbubble he was, on the Internet and off.

    And, unlike those cowardly tea-party pleasers at Marvel, Didio has the balls not to retract it either in the trade or in a public statement. This goes pm the permanent record.

  25. I repeat: Please try to contain your jealousy, Sal. :p

  26. And as usual, a complete lack of any intelligent response in favour of stroking your self-centred delusion. Do you need me to keep handing you shovels before you realise you're standing in your own grave?

  27. Fellas, I'm sure all of this is giving you old 'Rama message board flame war flashbacks (PTMBSD, if you will), but let's keep it to a level where you can honestly argue civility is in play.

  28. Kevin, I don't know you personally, but as a fellow human I must warn you that this will only end when you block that arrogant troglodyte's IP address from posting on your site. Never before has he been shown to back down in his war on anyone who won't worship his genitals, without being banned by the owner of the website that he's writing on.

    I couldn't care less if you decide to block me too. Just do it to him and I'll be happy. You can't let him try to spin this as anything other than it is: well-deserved comeuppance.

  29. Salieri, it is true that we don't know each other. I hope that you don't take this personally, but when I made my comment out to be generally about you and Herald, I was really commenting more on your behavior in the discussion and hoping to head off any reciprocation by Herald.

    While his words clearly infuriate you, he hasn't taken to direct insults. Even if I can probably pick out what parts of his comments push your buttons, nothing in what he's said compares to...I don't know...calling someone a troglodyte.

    I really don't want to have to dig up anyone's IP address and have their attempts to access the site wind up redirected to NSFW sites that imply some sort of embarrassing sexual fetish on their part. Especially not when the preferred alternative...somewhat civil discussion by adults that should know how to partake in it...shouldn't be a lot to ask.

    You two can debate each other all you want. It can even happen here, as long as you can bring it down a few notches/decibels.

  30. I am sad, someone kill me


    Reading Herald's posts already makes me hate him. Now all DC needs to do is to take a shot at the pedophiles at scans daily.

  32. "I was really commenting more on your behavior in the discussion and hoping to head off any reciprocation by Herald."

    No need to worry; the latter wasn't going to happen. I'm not interested in debating Salieri, especially since it's clear that he's not interested in debating. And thank you for pointing out that I'm not the one trying to escalate this supposed "war of words".

    "I am sad, someone kill me"

    Sorry you feel that way, Fake Herald.

  33. Sorry, I'm late to the party, has Herald already started telling people that their opinion is wrong?

  34. Herald is a CLiNT. He's 99.9% of the reason there are no message board posters of any real quality left on Newsarama, because anyone with half a brain & a desire to not spend all time arguing w/ a needle-dicked fanatic has gone elsewhere. That his sorry ass hasn't been banned is a joke too.

    I'm glad DC did this. I wish they'd do a Lobo/Herald special. 48 pages of Lobo beating that skinny little fucker's ass - sign me up. That Herald views this as a "win" is a clear sign of delusion. He's been turned into a punchline in a comic because so many creators think he's a laughing stock. Congrats, homie. Thanks for playing.

  35. Oh herald. You'll never get to fuck Dr. Light buddy.

  36. I just saw that people are saying Herald isn't a troll because he doesn't go looking for a fight. Bull. Shit. I can't begin to tell you how many threads that little cocksucker derailed by wading in with his "DiDio Regime," "Tropety tropes a lot", "Quotey McQuotegame" bullshit. Herald ABSOLUTELY, with EVERY FIBER IN HIS BEING, seeks that kind of response out. Fact - Herald doesn't read the majority of the comics DC puts out. He skims them for free at the store (hmmm...a skinny black guy w/ shitty tastes in comics that reads them for free & bitches about them online - is Herald really Hannibal Tabu?) Fact - Herald spends ALL FUCKING DAY telling people how much the comics they like suck, & why.

    Let's call a spade a spade - Herald is the worst kind of Internet troll. He's the kid who picks & picks & picks & picks at other kids in school, but cries "What'd I do?" when they finally punch him in his fuckin' mouth.

  37. I didn't know about this before reading this post, but I don't see how it is a bad thing or sad. Herald has a way to make even those he agrees with loathe him through the sheer power of obnoxiousness. Hopefully next he will show up in a Marvel book, preferably something like PunisherMAX, and meet a gruesome end.

  38. It's not about feeling bad for Herald, but feeling like the behavior here (the head of a company using his writing gig to take a shot at a vocal detractor) is shockingly unprofessional on one level and just cheating readers out of a few pages that could be used to attempt to tell a good story.

  39. Why so butthurt?
    this is awesome

  40. The only things I know about these events is what I've read here. And since I haven't read DC since they ruined Hank Hall's character; I really don't have any input on their "possible" antics. I can say that Herald's detractors on this website have revealed themselves to be caustic, rude, and disinclined to hold a civilized discourse; while least on this page...has been civil and intelligible--if unrelentingly emphatic.

  41. @Wallace: wow you're stupid as fuck.

  42. Baffled by inanityThu Aug 25, 06:06:00 AM EDT

    Wow. Just... Wow.

  43. Herald is fanatic who has forgotten that comics are about entertainment, not endless tirades and obsessions. Jesus. We're talking about COMIC BOOKS. He deserves any jabs that Didio took at him. God knows if Herald had the same "power" he would do the same thing to Dan

  44. Another newcomer to this issue, and another old DC fan from the 80s/90s/2000s whose fallen by the wayside cause of all of the shenanigans the company's gotten up to under DiDio and Johns.

    Have to agree, from a completely unbiased standpoint, Herald's critics seem completely rabid. Herald just seems to be an on-point critic.

    The scene depicting a beating seems like petty, mean spirited nonsense from a subpar writer.

    Sticks and stones, people. Even imaginary sticks and stones in a comic book scene. C'mon.


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