Honestly, it’s something that will always annoy me, seeing people agree with their idols so blindly without even trying to see the situation from an unbiased perspective. I was a huge fan of her when that happened and it didn’t stop me from going “Well, that’s not okay.”
For example, if she had contacted someone else, let’s say another professional writer, with a question of her own that she didn’t know that other writer was asked frequently and had gotten an ‘Urgh’ in response…
I don’t know what her reaction would be, but you can be sure that A LOT of the same fans who backed her up when she did it, would then attack whoever replied that to her even if the situation is exactly the same. (“NO, don’t you DARE reply to HER that way!” and so on, while if SHE does it then it’s fine.) Honestly I’ve seen a lot of stupid messages of people backing her up on it. Thankfully I also saw someone reply “This is where I click unfollow” when she sent her justifications, and I congratulate that person. Not for having unfollowed her, he could have disagreed and continued reading and enjoying her stuff. Rather, I congratulate the person for having his own opinion on something despite that he must have been a fan too since he followed her initially. There was also a girl who was somewhere in-between, saying she understood Gail’s frustration but also thought she could have put something in her front page to let people know not to send certain messages. Even though I don’t agree with going ‘Aw poor Gail, who has so many fans asking her for advice.’ on this one, that was also good because that girl clearly thought the reply was too harsh despite being a fan. She did have an opinion on it. I’m not saying people need to drop their fandoms at the slightest incident either.
To all the fanboys and fangirls out there… Remember to always form your own opinions and be honest with yourselves, will you? These people whose work you follow are not perfect. They’re exactly like everyone else, sometimes they mess up. Admitting that they can do wrong at times doesn’t mean you suddenly have to stop liking and/or following what the person does. (Or sometimes maybe it does, but it’s not mandatory!)
So I considered stopping this blog and shared my thoughts about it. Honestly, I feel a little ashamed of myself now… For having allowed myself to be soured by some things that I shouldn’t have let affect me so much. If you want the short version to start with: I’m going to continue writing this blog.
And now for the long version.
I must admit, it was a whiny post. After all, maybe not a lot of people read my blog, but you know what? Some do. It’s not true that I’m writing things that no one will ever read. As long as one person enjoys one of my articles, it’s been worth it. So that’s that when it comes to the popularity of the blog.
About how I was left disgusted by the aggressive reaction of many bloggers when I expressed my disgust for sexual/romantic fanfic that used the bat-family in an incestuous way… Well, you know what? Fuck them. No seriously, if they can’t take a little bit of criticism, or if they can’t hear the simple fact that incest stories can be gross for some people, then fuck them. And the thing is, I have a female friend who enjoys that kind of stuff. (Yes, I’m going there, I’m using the “I know someone who’s like that.” card.) We’re good friends. We annoy the hell out of each other if that particular subject comes up, but I never said nor ever will say that whoever ships those characters together is automatically a bad person. But I’ll speak my mind about it. And if you feel like it’s a personal attack on you, then tough. I’m not an intolerant douchebag. I wouldn’t support a law that would forbid anyone from writing that sort of fanfiction either, I would defend their right to do so. But I’d never pretend I agree with it or like it. But expressing oneself is a right we all have. And like I said before, I never sought out any of them directly to bash them personally or point fingers at their blog unless they did the same to me in the first place. So that’s my opinion, and if it offends you, too bad.
My opinion does become a lot harsher when it comes to including a ten-year-old Damian Wayne Robin into the whole thing though. At that point, yes I’d judge you as a human being. I’d say you’re sick. To anyone who’d defend the very notion of pedophilia fanfic, you’re an idiot at best, and very possibly worse.
Now, about Gail Simone… She was rude to one of her fans. Period. I wrote an article about how fans shouldn’t cheer that sort of behavior from anyone, even if they’re a fan of that person. She completely misread its purpose, called me a liar and made no sense at all from my perspective. She also tried to justify her rudeness. Is she a good writer? Oh yes. Do I respect her as a person? Not on a personal level, no. For anyone who wants to know exactly what went on in those private messages, here they are. I’m not going to add anything more about them, I’ve already expressed my point of view on the subject many times already and you can see it in the very messages anyway. And if you are on Gail’s side, that’s your right. I’m just saying where I stand on the matter, and that I think she reacted very arrogantly. Maybe I did too, but at least I didn’t bash one of my supporters gratuitously like she did.
I stopped replying after that. It seemed pointless, from my point of view she wasn’t even considering some arguments that were pretty obvious to me. Anyway, it’s out there now, feel free to take a side or roll your eyes at us both.
In the replies of my post about possibly quitting this blog, someone wrote to me: “Don’t quit or stop having fun because other people are jerks or idiots. They’re your ammunition, and your keyboard is your gun. Speak your mind.”
And I very well intend to do just that. I might make some enemies by being honest and true to my opinions, but to quote Paul Newman, “A man with no enemies is a man without character.”
Oh, and I’ll be bringing back Paul the blog’s mascot soon. ;D
First of all, I want to explain that this isn’t a whining type of post, nor is it about pointing fingers. Nor am I saying I am 100% sure I will stop… I’m writing this for two reasons. The first is that I simply need to get this off my chest. The second is that if anyone is actually following my blog, actually following it, not just that they clicked on ‘follow’ Tumblr-wise, I feel like I owe an explanation a bit beforehand if/when I actually decide to stop. Or maybe it’ll just be a hiatus, or maybe tomorrow there will be something I’ll absolutely need to write about and I’ll change my mind. But for now, it’s not looking good for Bruno’s Geek Reviews.
When I started this blog, I did it with a child-like enthusiasm. I thought it was really fun to have an outlet like this, a place where I could reach out to other people with common interests. Eventually it even led to me using a mascot from this toy I bought at a dollar store, which I named Paul. Sure I would rant about this thing or that from time to time, but I treated my blog in a light-hearted way mostly.
I tried a few different things, movie suggestions, versus, interviews, etc. All with enthusiasm and looking perhaps with what would connect with other people. And I’m not saying this as a complaint, but just a fact; it seems that mostly, people in Tumblr prefer to exchange gifs of shows and movies they like and reblog things by adding ‘This’ to it, or just an insult to the original poster if they disagreed with it. I am not bashing this, it’s a perfectly legitimate way to blog if that’s what you like. But maybe I should have chosen a different blog site for my idea. Or perhaps not, admittedly some of the more heavy-texted blogs have gained a decent amount of followers… But then again they are few and far between, at least from what I’ve seen. Admittedly I could be wrong.
But while I didn’t have many followers, I could at least count on my blog to get things off my chest about what I liked or disliked about geek culture and then feel better about it for sharing it. But things stopped being fun a while back.
First came my post where I gave my opinion on what I consider to be creepy sexual/romantic fan-fiction concerning the Robins from the Batman mythos. (Because the characters are all family members in the first place and because they often portray underage Robins with adult members of the Bat-Family.) The amount of stupidity I received from angered fanfic lovers was astounding. And I don’t mean they were stupid because they disagreed with me, but rather in the way they handled their rage. If you haven’t read what I’m talking about and are curious, just go back a few pages, it’s not that far from this post. And still I replied to them with actual arguments and by trying to keep a semblance of conversation and pretend they weren’t just throwing random insults at me. And that revealed a certain attitude a lot of people have in Tumblr… The “Don’t judge me! Don’t judge ANYONE!” attitude. I can understand that online blogging is an outlet, and it should be. But when someone writes pedophilia fiction, yes I am going to say it’s wrong. Yes I’m going to judge the sicko who wrote that story. And if you write about brothers having sex, adoptive or not, yes I’ll point out it’s kinda gross and creepy. And if the only arguments you can muster are as idiotic as most of those I’ve received, you’re just proving my point for me. But honestly, it was really a depressing experience to see just how many people were like that. During those days I lost some faith in humanity, and every time I see the edited reblog of that post reblogged by more people to congratulate the person, I grow a little bit more disgusted with that attitude of “Everything is okay and nothing should be judged!” Oh and guess what? Many of the reblogs contain one of those Gifs that add absolutely nothing to the post other than back-patting between those people.
And not long after, there was the whole thing with Gail Simone. I was very fond of Gail because her presence had really cheered me up at a past comic-book convention in Montreal and I was a HUGE fan of her Secret Six book. Last year, things were not perfect in my life but I was going to the Montreal comic convention because I thought it’d be good to change my mind. I was actually going on my own. I knew James Marsters was going to be there so I brought my ‘Spike Omnibus’ comic, hoping to get it signed by him. Once there, I learned that it cost 30$ to meet with him. I could have easily afforded it, but it didn’t feel right to me that I should pay someone 30 $ for writing his name. I have nothing against it, the guy is taking some of his time to do it so he can ask for compensation if he wants to, and the people who pay for it didn’t have their arms twisted, they actually wanted it. But I’ve never been much of a fanboy in the traditional sense. Even people whose work I admire will never be idolized in my eyes. Therefore I won’t pay someone to write me their name. So it might sound silly, but I felt a bit sad to walk away from that line with my Spike Omnibus still unsigned in my backpack.
So anyway, I learned once there that Gail Simone, the writer of Secret Six, was present. I cursed not having known that beforehand because I would have brought my Secret Six #1, or my Batgirl #1. And she signed things and met people for free! I bought Batgirl #1 a second time at a much higher price than the cover price already, even though it was fairly recent, and went to see her. I remember I geeked out and rambled a bit. I’ve come across celebrities of all sorts in my life and never felt anything particular about it, but in this case I was a bit starstruck. And she took a picture with me, which I proudly posted on my blog about a month later. She made that day a lot more bright for me with just that, and I am still happy she was there that time.
But then she gave a harsh reply to one of her fans. (You can find the whole thing if you click the previous ‘Gail Simone’ link) It surprised me. What surprised me even more was that none of her fans seemed shocked by it. I was pretty sure if anyone else had given such a reply to someone, many of the same people would see it differently. So I wrote an article about it, because I disagreed with it and I thought fanboys and fangirls sometimes put their idols on a pedestal when they shouldn’t. I still made it clear that normally Gail was nice with her fans and seemed to genuinely want to give them good advice and never said she was a bad person. I just pointed out that, hey, that was actually rude of her and I’m shocked people don’t react accordingly and instead tell the girl she put on the spot that she should have known better.
It all led to Gail Simone calling me a liar in a private exchange. According to her, I had hidden motives to write that article (beats me as to what advantage I could have gained from it) and that I ‘made things worse’. Well, I know for a fact that the person I backed up was glad to have at least one person who supported her. I’m also pretty sure she would never have comforted the girl if someone hadn’t brought up that, hey, maybe that was hurtful. And that was the only point I wanted to bring to the table. So I didn’t make things worse. I did what I thought was right, and it ended up souring my feelings towards a writer I previously really enjoyed by her reaction to what I did. I realize she couldn’t have been happy with it, but the way she decided to completely discredit my opinion by dismissing me as a liar was really disappointing, especially since she so often likes to point out things she thinks are unfair of others. Very, very often.
By then, I removed Paul the mascot from the main image of my blog on the front page, because it no longer felt like a lighthearted blog. It no longer felt fun. There was no room for cutesy Paul with all this anger and arguing going around.
And almost no one reads what I write or post anyway. I’ll be lucky if a post of mine gets five ‘Likes’ or a single reblog. It’s also why I’ve been doing more reblogs lately and less actual articles… My heart just isn’t into it anymore.
I’m gaining nothing from working on this blog. It’s no longer fun, I feel like I’m writing things that no one will read anyway.
Again, I’m not posting this to whine. I’m just explaining myself. I’m losing interest in doing this for what it brings me.
Just from reading the title of this article, without even knowing what it’s about yet, one might think right away “People bash authors on the internet all the time!” True. But in this case I’m talking about how fans of certain authors will treat them like they’re this mentor figure, or like they deserve their unconditional support, or like they’re personal friends. Like they can’t be wrong.
I’ve never been one to give unconditional support.
Since the creation of this blog, I’ve made very clear the fact that I’m a fan of Gail Simone’s writing.
And to give credit where it’s due, she’s often supported her fans on her blog and often taken the time to reply to their questions. But today I read something that really bothered me on her blog, her reply to a fan’s question:
I was seriously taken aback by this. I went to check the blog of the person who asked the question and saw this:
I genuinely felt like the person shouldn’t feel bad. I sent her a message to her AND to Gail, basically stating the same thing. The fan shouldn’t feel bad, Gail shouldn’t expect people to have read all of her past online statements, and if she really wants to not have that question asked anymore, she could leave a remark about it on the front page of her blog. Especially to the fan, I made it clear, they should NOT feel bad about it. And then I noticed the ‘read more’ section and clicked on it:
This broke my heart. Obviously this person looks up to Gail Simone’s opinion, and her harsh reply seems to have really affected her. I went to read the ‘about me’ section of her blog.
I think it’s safe to say that she might have taken a harsh reply from someone she looks up to way worse than some other people would have.
I then got a reply from Gail Simone on the matter.
In her reply, Gail makes some fair points, but also some other points that I disagreed with. I agree with her that it’s a very difficult question to reply to in the first place, even without taking into consideration, as she pointed out, how good the person is at it. I can also understand it’s frustrating to receive the same questions repeatedly, I went through the same thing myself very recently when some people disagreed with my article against ‘shipping’ the Robins together and I found myself repeating some things over and over, and in my case it only lasted one day. She obviously gets that particular question a lot more often.
I also agree with the idea that writing is her job and she doesn’t have to reply to all writing-related questions asked of her. In fact, she doesn’t owe anyone, I’ll agree with that too. When you buy a comic, you’re repaid with storytelling. Supporting an author does not mean the author owes you anything beyond that, the trade has already been made and was fair.
But here’s where I strongly disagree with Gail. First of all, one shouldn’t have to do homework to ask her a question. Maybe the person was just excited to discover she had a blog and didn’t know about the rest. Maybe because some fans get really excited over these things when they admire someone, some of those who asked her that question simply started typing in joy before they could think of looking elsewhere for that answer. Should they really be punished and, let’s face it, humiliated online for it??? If I do an interview with someone on my blog, I’ll do my homework. If I want to send them a simple question which they can even choose to ignore, I probably won’t.
Gail thinks that the context justifies her harsh reply. But I don’t think it does. Because people will continue asking her that question, because most people won’t think of doing a search online to see if she’s answered it before. And if she refuses to at least put a message on her front page to let people know not to ask it, whatever harsh message she leaves to anyone about it will be gratuitous and will serve no purpose in the long run because people won’t see this past reply any more than they’ll see her past comments about it.
Gail is entitled not to put such a statement on her front page though. She’s entitled not to reply to such messages too (which I personally think she should have simply done). And in a way, since it’s her blog, she’s entitled to give harsh replies. But as a follower of her blog, I’m entitled to determine if I want to continue giving this person my support.
I think her and I disagree on how important these questions and replies are. She’s giving her opinions here, which are as good as any other, but they’re not gold either. They’re just another person’s opinion. Always consider ‘Would I think the same thing if I didn’t enjoy this person’s work so much?’ when these things happen. In fact, I even applied it to myself as I pondered this. Why am I following the ‘Batgirl’ title? Retconning Oracle out of the DC Universe and putting Barbara back in the Batgirl costume was a really stupid idea. The only reason I bought the title is because Gail Simone is the writer. But honestly, I haven’t been enjoying it that much. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stand out to me. I guess because I’m such a bat-fan I also want to know how Barbara got to walk again, I want to be up to date. So I’ll stick to the series until after issue #0 comes out explaining how that happened. After that, I’ll remove the title from my list. Make no mistake, I’m not boycotting Gail Simone and I’d still pick up a new ‘Secret Six’ by her in a heartbeat. I’m simply deciding to be less biased about her work.
I suspect I might get some hate for this post. I don’t hope to, I don’t like to push people’s buttons just to do it, but I won’t remain quiet about things that I find unfair either. I think Gail Simone was needlessly mean to one of her fans and I think no one will say different. I think the person who asked the question will only get messages telling her she should have ‘known better’ and she’s going to feel bad about it when she shouldn’t.
And I don’t agree with that. I don’t support it.
EDIT: Gail has reblogged and replied to this article, which you can read here.
To Gail: Regarding my position on the matter, I simply acted as someone who saw something that I disagreed with strongly. I don’t need to be the one directly affected to comment on a situation that I find was not correct, and I have seen you often do the same. So while it’s true that I’m on neither position in this matter, I still felt like it was important to speak up, especially since no one seemed to point out that the person did not deserve that sort of reply and she was obviously feeling bad because of it.
Also, I have mentioned in my post that I agree with the fact that you don’t owe anyone anything. I simply think your way of dealing with that question and that situation was poorly handled and lacked respect towards the fan in question, especially since they clearly weren’t in on the context of the situation (since they sent the question in the first place). I also agree on the fact that you are often very supportive of your fans. If anything, it made the way you handled this all the more shocking. No you’re not forced to reply to it, I agree with that. Bashing it, I agree a lot less.
I’m glad you will contact the person in question. I am pretty sure from your past comments and efforts that you’re not a bad person and that you like to support your fans, but I will stick to my opinion that you handled that situation very, very poorly and needlessly hurt someone’s feelings by acting rashly. This wasn’t someone who made an ignorant and intolerant comment, this wasn’t someone who bashed your work, this wasn’t someone who deserved to be exposed online in a way that left them open to be judged by others. I will respectfully stand by what I said about it.
As for the pedestal metaphor, I wasn’t saying you asked others to treat you like that as much as used it as a way to tell fans not to idolize too much the people whose work they follow or to agree with them too quickly without looking at the situation from an unbiased point of view, which I felt was happening at the moment I wrote my post. [Short 2nd edit: Although on second thought, the pedestal metaphor certainly works for someone who would reply to one of their fans that way.]
So I will leave the text of my original post as it was, but I’m adding to it your reply via the link to your reblog along with this present edit.
2nd Edit (and probably my last): Gail Simone later added this about it on her blog. I thought at that moment that it was a correct way to handle the situation. I think her reply as far as the girl is concerned is honest.
On my side of things though, she did accuse me during a private exchange of not really wanting to help the girl and of supposedly making things worse, that the situation would have been better handled just between the two of them. She completely dismissed my argument that if I hadn’t done all that, she would never have contacted the girl in the first place since she had been happy with just telling her ‘URGH’. She also seemed not to realize that calling to question my purposes did not in itself nullify every argument brought during this situation. (Because I have so much to gain from giving support to one person while suspecting a lot of Gail’s fanboys and fangirls will hate me for writing that article. Oh no, wait, I don’t have anything to gain from it.)
I think it was just easier for her to dismiss me as being a liar. When you dismiss someone completely, you don’t have to face the arguments they bring to you. On my side, I never said she was a bad person and pointed out the good things she did and does for her fans. I simply stated she was impolite and harsh to one of her fans for no good reason.
Was my article harsh towards Gail Simone? Yes it was. But she seems to be comfortable with it when she’s the one dishing out the harshness.
Thing is, right now my writing time is spent on this blog and on a RPG book I hope to publish. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I’ve got a collaborator I’m very excited to work with and when things become a bit more official, I’ll proudly let as many people know as I can.
The fact is, the petition got nowhere near enough likes and reblogs for a big-time company like DC to take notice. Maybe Tumblr is too small a medium for this kind of thing.
If I were to create a blog just for the return of Secret Six to comics, either my blog or my RPG project would suffer from it because it would take me time to do the new blog correctly, and I won’t do it if I can’t do it right. I have to prioritize what I want to do most. As a reader, I would love to see Secret Six back on the shelves and have always supported it by buying every issue of the series and getting the previous minis in TPB. As a writer though, there is little I can do or say for this and I’d rather create my own material or voice varied opinions on different subjects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure such a blog would be more popular than my current one, but I can’t see myself adding that much more to the very direct message of my petition after a few posts, and then it’d basically become yet another Secret Six fan blog, of which there’s already quite a few out there. How many different ways can I say the very simple message of ‘DC, I think you made a mistake canceling this title!’? The blog is something I do because I like to, so it has to be about things I find interesting to write about, not about something where I’d be repeating myself silly.
My hopes when I posted the petition were that enough notes would be gathered for someone at DC to go “Look at the amount of people who want this back!” after someone pointed it out to them. To be honest I doubted it would work, but I wanted to at least try it.
As far as I’m concerned, I did my part as a fan of the series. I bought it when it was published and I voiced my disappointment about its cancellation. Obviously (to me at least) they were trying to replace Secret Six with the new Suicide Squad. I am not buying Suicide Squad right now, even if I did give it a chance for two issues. It just couldn’t compare to Simone’s book of villains and anti-heroes. That said, if Suicide Squad is selling better than Secret Six was, DC is probably thinking they did the right thing while missing the point.
In my opinion if they had kept Secret Six it would have benefited in sales from the relaunch just as much as the Suicide Squad book did, except the excellent quality of the ‘Six would have probably made it a lot more popular with comic-book readers than the Suicide Squad currently is. I’m not saying the ‘Squad book is bad, I’m just saying that when it started it simply wasn’t as unique as ‘Secret Six’ was and it failed to catch my interest in a market filled with awesome comics.
Secret Six just had the perfect mix of… well, everything. Humor, drama, sexiness, action, great characterization, you name it! Newcomers to comic-books during the relaunch would have loved it, I’m sure. It was edgy and fun in a very non-forced way.
Anyway, if anyone does a whole blog with the goal of bringing back the Secret Six, let me know and I’ll follow it, as long as it’s done in a way that would be taken seriously by those who make the decisions at the DC offices. For example, I’ve stumbled upon Secret Six blogs out there that looked more like fan-porn blogs than a blog that was more directly about the comic-book itself. I’ve nothing against that, but I doubt such a blog would be taken seriously as a petition blog, and on a more personal level I’ve no interest in following that material.
So if anyone does a serious blog requesting that Secret Six be brought back and manages to stick to its mission statement, I would follow it and announce it on my own blog to support it.
Beyond that, I encourage people to go join the petition to bring back Secret Six if you haven’t already.
EDIT: Given recent events, I won’t put time and energy to support the return of this title anymore. My previous opinion about the title still stands, it was great, and I won’t remove my petition because it’s out there at this point anyway and a lot of people would be happy to see it return.
THIS IS A PETITION FOR DC COMICS TO BRING BACK THE TITLE ‘SECRET SIX’ WITH GAIL SIMONE AS ITS WRITER!!!
WHILE THIS IS BUT A FAN’S ATTEMPT TO BRING BACK THE TITLE, SOME OF DC’S CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE ON TUMBLR AND MAYBE DC WILL TAKE NOTICE IF ENOUGH OF US SHOW SUPPORT!
REBLOG OR LIKE THIS TO PARTICIPATE!
EDIT: Given recent events, I won’t put time and energy to support the return of this title anymore. My previous opinion about the title still stands, it was great, and I won’t remove my petition because it’s out there at this point anyway and a lot of people would be happy to see it return.