Monday, February 28, 2005

On message boards, everyone can hear you scream

Also at Ninth Art, Paul O'Brien challenges the recent dismissal of online fandom by Joe Quesada and Brian Michael Bendis:
It's easy, and understandably tempting, to dismiss a lot of internet opinion as meaningless ranting. Let's be honest, that's what most of it is. On the other hand, some people seem to have unrealistic expectations from their audience feedback. "Your comic sucks" is not a very constructive comment. It isn't a valid piece of literary criticism, because it lacks reasoning. But it is a valid opinion. The audience react how they react. If they're not entertained, if they find the book boring or incomprehensible... well, those are the facts. When bands get bottled off or comedians die on stage, they don't get to lecture the audience for giving inadequate reasons.

It's not the audience's job to tell you where you went wrong. Nor, for that matter, is the audience obliged to pore over some throwaway superhero crossover in hopes of deciphering a gratuitously oblique plot, whatever some writers seem to think.

O'Brien also touches upon their criticism of rumor monger Rich Johnston, which gives me an excuse to link to this great article in Sunday's New York Times about the surprising absence of printed gossip columns in Los Angeles. (I also get to use the photos of Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper, who's wearing a great hat.)