I’ve allowed myself to be dragged into some discussions of Jean Grey and her “continuity”. It’s very frustrating because I’m quite enjoying Jean as a dead character. Apparently she has some very passionate fans. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great. I know the old saying, every character is someone’s favorite but I am getting a bit fed up with the refusal on some “fans” part to enjoy current stories. Yes, it is a refusal to enjoy. People, as far as I can tell, are CHOOSING to be angry about comic books. Does this make any sense?
Looking good Jeanie. Totally alive there.
Well no, obviously it doesn’t. Comics are often referred to as funny books, and it has become an ironic reference. More and more, as fandom gets older and older and younger readers are not showing up like they used to, the readers are contradicting themselves in the same fashion as they claim writers contradict continuity. Hardcore obsessive Jean Grey fans are screaming bloody murder about about the current Phoenix-centric story over at Marvel not having Jean Grey in it. They literally telling Marvel staff, “Oh you hate Jean Grey fans. It’s so obvious.” Really? So you’re mind readers because you love Jean Grey so much? At this point they may be hating on argumentative a-holes who can’t let something go when they don’t get the answer they want. Now, most fans, I think, want the stories to matter. They want there to be consequences. Great stories have consequences, and when death has a revolving door there are no consequences.
“But…but what about the recent deaths of Thor and Bucky and Human Torch and Captain America and Batman?” Well, you make an interesting point that both supports and detracts from your argument concerning Jean Grey. Thor is an Asgardian god, and it has been shown repeatedly that death is a cycle for a lot of those characters. At least the popular ones. Bucky wasn’t actually dead, so no resurrection there. Cap and Batman…their “deaths” were so similar, coming at the tale end of two big events, and so were their resurrections, trapped traveling through eras of time or whatever. The other similarity is that I was really enjoying their replacements and really would have been okay with them staying dead quite a while longer. In fact, as far as Batman goes I’d have preferred it. Some of these deaths were handled poorly and so were the resurrections. So a lot of fans say “Why doesn’t death mean anything? No one stays dead.” However, a lot of those fans are the same ones who complain that their favorite is still dead. “Make death mean something! Unless you kill a character I like, then bring them back when I say so.” Some complain that events leading up to Avengers Vs. X-Men had teased the return of Jean Grey. Well of course it did, why wouldn’t it? And where were they when Astonishing X-Men debuted and Marvel leaked drawings of Phoenix to make you think Jean was coming back and it turned out to be Colossus that was returning? (GREAT story by the way.) Oh, goddamn them for not spelling out exactly what was coming so I could whine and complain without the benefit of actually buying the book. Their job is to get everyone involved in the mystery and then build a great story that people want to buy. Again, as I’ve said before, it’s a business! Entertainment cannot be for everyone. No entertainment is universally loved. Hell, the Avengers movie is now the #3 movie of all time and I still see people online acting like they hated it.
My main problem with the attitudes is that they are literally stopping themselves from enjoying the stories. On top of that they are reinforcing the negative stereotype of comic fans. Not everyone who reads comic is a hopeless nerd who will rant and rave and burn you in effigy for not doing what they want you to with their favorite character. Unfortunately, the really vocal ones that refuse to accept logic and shut up are. I say, if you want to be surprised and entertained, read the books and relax and enjoy. If you only want the characters to do what you want them to do, write fan fiction. Because let’s face it, you guys are never going to be at the level the pros are. Someone, I think it was Len Wein, said the first story you would write as a fan should be the last one you would write as a pro. It makes sense. If they’re just going to write the stories you would write, why in the hell would you bother reading the books?
So, to bring this back around to the beginning a bit, they’re often called funny books. They are supposed to be entertaining. They are supposed to be fun. It’s escapist fare, enjoy it. When you nitpick and pull everything apart because it doesn’t match exactly some story from years ago, you’re missing the point.
Sean Stoltey, writer, raconteur and retired rabble rouser, hails originally from California’s Central Coast but currently resides in Southern California’s BEAUTIFUL–San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter, Comic Book author, these are things he does because he’s too poor to be a Producer or Publisher.
Sean has been reading comics, watching movies, reading books and selling his soul (or at least his hearing) to Rock’n’Roll for as long as he can remember. He has been discussing and arguing about these things for almost as long.
So now he has come here to throw his opinions in your face as well and hope that, even if you don’t agree, hopefully you will enjoy them. For the record: Kirk was the greatest Enterprise Captain, Han was the only one that shot, Led Zeppelin was the greatest Rock band to walk the Earth and Keith Richards is the coolest undead person to walk the Earth. Coolest living people are my sons and my Mom and Dad. My Dad F—in’ rocks, and my Mom can kick your ass.