Friday, February 23, 2007


Kevin Church points the Finger of Blame in an interesting direction.

At first, I was reminded of one of the last pieces contributed by Andrew Wheeler to Ninth Art. But Wheeler's commentary was an expression of disappointment and self-implication, whereas Church... Church is pure rage.

(Gee, I wonder what could have set him off, she asked sarcastically.)

What impressed me, though, is how effectively Church channels that anger. He drops precise, methodical criticism on a lot of problem zones that people (myself included) have clucked their tongues about without suggesting viable alternatives.

I've always believed in the ideas that Church is espousing here - namely, the notion that the readership bears a great deal of responsibility for both the highs and the lows of the Big Two. Also, that a consolidated and organized readership could find itself wielding more power and influence than any executive. There's precedent - readers restored Mark Waid to "Fantastic Four", to name one recent example. Marvel and DC get away with a lot because they're allowed to do so, because Frank Miller and Jim Lee suffer no reprecussions if "All-Star Batman" is both vile in content and insulting in frequency. The feminist backlash doesn't manifest strongly enough to stop an idiot like Michael Turner glorifying Paris Hilton by giving her superpowers. Church is absolutely right: we're getting what we deserve because we don't demand more.

Unfortunately, his article ends by imploring his peers to take action, and that's where he and I part ways, ideologically speaking. I've long since given up on the hope that the readership can or will ever be motivated to exercise their power en masse, because let's face it: dropping books you don't enjoy should be common sense, not something that requires soapboxing. But the comics industry are plagued by those individuals Wheeler calls Zombies, and they provide a basic safety buffer for the companies. If you know 40,000 people will always buy your product come hell or high waters, you'll feel confident enough to do things no sane consumer in any other business would even contemplate, such as price-gouging and duplicitous solicitations that border on fraud and false advertising.

At any rate, it's good to know some people believe change is still possible. Who knows, maybe if people like Church make enough noise, and enough people listen... Okay, cue John Lennon's "Imagine" here.

Still. It'd be nice.