In case you hadn't noticed, the internet is a seemingly endless parade of whine-fests, controversy mongering, name-calling, rants, tirades and soap boxing. When it comes to the corners of the net devoted to comics fandom it's even worse. Seriously, I don't know if anyone else sees it but the comics corner (and broadening from "comics" to "genre" yields the same results) of the web is even more guilty of all those things. Every day... strike that, every hour sees some new article or blog post bringing some new, controversial or negative aspect of the comics world to light. A couple months ago it was Catwoman and Starfire, the next month it's Frank Miller, the next day it's everyone boycotting Frank Miller in outrage, then we're on to Alan Moore saying some slanderous thing about his fellow creators for the five billionth time...
Enough already! If that's what being a fan and interacting with fellow fans and trying to talk about comics online has come to then I don't want any part of it.
Thankfully, it's the interwebs... the wide, wonderful digital frontier where if something doesn't sit right with someone they can simply pull up stakes, and start creating something (along with people who see things similarly) on their own. See, the way it worked for me is that one day I got fed up. I got fed up with negativity. I got fed up with name-calling and uninformed rants and what I've come to believe is a real "hive mind" mentality amongst fanboys and girls. Someone gets angry about something, they round up a posse, then the posse grabs their pitchforks and torches and before you know it they've burned a whole village to the ground and they've hung Frankenstein's Monster by his toes in the (now burning) village square. The mob proceeds to rampage across the hillside burning anyone alive who sees things differently and eventually they've killed, run off or devoured anyone who isn't a part of the mob.
And that's just the social media aspect of how comics fans behave. Unfortunately, comics "journalism" isn't much better, due mostly to the fact that these are the same people throwing fits on twitter. Comics journalism, as it stands, is mostly made up a lot of blogs. Sure there are a few honest-to-goodness comics news sites but for the most part the guys writing about comics are unorganized, and unrelenting in their dislike for every little thing that doesn't go the way they want it to.
I'm not criticizing comics blogging, heck, Ancillary Characters is a blog. But, I do believe there needs to be a counter to the increasingly dark side of comics fandom. A Jedi to the more prevalent Sith. That's one of the main reasons I started this site. So instead of there being yet another haven of negativity and attention-grabbing controversy in the comics blogging jungle we can create something positive and fun.
I don't want to create a site that only an angry fanboy can read and enjoy. I want to write content for new comics readers that doesn't terrify them of other comics fans. I'd like to think this is a place where seasoned fans can come and interact without resorting to angry fights over whether or not Winter Soldier should be back. I want to write about comics, not some inane manufactured controversy.
The content you find on Ancillary Characters won't all be positive reactions. We're fans after all, and often we'll read books that don't click with us or something will happen within the industry that begs to be written about that may not be to our liking. But everything will be as balanced as can be.
The perfect example of this would be how Paul and I read and write about comics. I'm more of a critical reader than Paul. I tend to pay attention to character development and dialogue and specific art styles. Paul... well, Paul just loves stuff that he finds "cool". He loves a good Batman yarn or an insane Grant Morrison plot twist. While he has an eye for character and craft as well, for the most part Paul is an unrepentant FAN. He loves comics and he wants them to be awesome and that totally comes across in his writing.
I like to talk about dialogue and character and nitpick at art styles that I don't like. The thing is, while we both come at this from different angles we're pretty well agreed that we just want to write about some comics and have fun doing it.
|It's impossible to be an angry fan when you're looking at these guys...|
We're doing this for a few reasons. Fun, obviously, and a love of comics, but also we created this site so we have something to do together. See, Paul lives in Kentucky, (a fact which is blatantly obvious when you hear his deep-fried accent on our oncoming podcast) and I live in Ohio. We're a couple hundred miles away from each other and we don't get to see a whole lot of one another. This site serves as a way for us to keep in touch and a means of being able to interact while creating something that can be shared with other people. So Ancillary Characters is, in a way, just a site founded by two buddies who want something to do together.
Hopefully you'll interact with us. Post comments, go over to Facebook and start discussions about books you're reading. Heck, maybe we'll even let you join the staff. There's plenty of room for everyone. Just don't expect to find a lot of name calling, angry rants or controversy; we're bored with that stuff.