I recently attended MegaCon in Orlando, Florida. When writing my main con report I searched the Internet for other recaps of the event and I was frustrated when I came across an article from Forbes that called out all those people who ‘don’t read comics’.
I mean, David DiSalvo has been buying comics since they cost $.0.25, guys! I understand that his argument is against those who gained interest in comic book characters like the Avengers because of the recent movies, but the importance that he puts on price point alienates not only those who did gain interest in comic book characters because of the recent movies, but also anyone who learned to read long after comics cost $0.25 each. Additionally, he knows how to separate those who have been reading comics for 30 years from those who haven’t with just a few choice questions!
(Seriously, though – can’t we all agree that the idea of spouting ‘litmus questions’ in order to call out ‘fake geeks’ needs to go away?)
Despite his insistence that he’s ‘not judging’, that’s what Mr. DiSalvo does throughout his MegaCon article. For instance, he says nothing about attending panels or conversing with artists in the dealer room, and he brings up cosplay only to twist it back around to the question of who was a fan of, say, Iron Man or Captain America before the recent movies?
Because apparently anyone who didn’t read (or wasn’t alive) when comics cost $0.25 or less is a ‘newbie fan’. And if you’re a Walking Dead fan, for instance, Mr. DiSalvo is going to assume that you don’t even know that the show is based on comic books.
That’s right, not only have you not read them, you don’t even know they exist. Regardless if either or both of those is the case, the reality is that it shouldn’t matter – but no matter how much he may attempt to soften his opinion, David DiSalvo doesn’t believe you’re a proper fan.
While it’s understandable that someone who loves comics would want other fans to read them, it’s all about the medium you prefer. But like so many other ‘real geeks’ out there, DiSalvo makes the flawed assumption that the recent con culture phenomenon is being bolstered by people who have never picked up a comic in their lives, and the fact that this actually matters. No, the fate of printed comics doesn’t look good, and as a comic book reader (and general fan of printed media over e-books and the like) I agree that this is sad. But just because someone didn’t buy a Model T doesn’t mean that person can’t enjoy a brand new Ford Mustang. People are products of their culture and environment, and comics (especially once that cost just $0.25) aren’t what up-and-coming fans are exposed to.
The problem isn’t that David DiSalvo is pushing for people to read comics rather than just watching the movies that are based on them. I myself have urged friends who watch Walking Dead to read the comics, or friends who watch Game of Thrones to read the books. The difference is between wanting to share a thing you love with other fans and believing that if they don’t enjoy the story in its original form, they aren’t fans at all.
If ‘we’re all geeks now’, then why is it so difficult for some people to truly embrace that idea?
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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