Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why no one cares what fans think. 

I've done a pretty good job keeping to my "buy no Marvel books not written by Garth Ennis, Daniel Way, or Dan Slott" resolution -- though I admit I modified it after I dropped She-Hulk and started picking up Peter Milligan's Dead Girl mini.

Way and Steve Dillion are doing Punisher vs. Bullseye, whose fourth (of five) issues came out today. It's a fun read. Definitely popcorn comics, but told with enough sly wit to rise above the usual bottom-line-padding minis Marvel turns out on a regular basis.

There's even a letter section in the back. I say "letter" section because there's only one -- and that one letter pretty much explains exactly why letters sections should have died out in 196-fucking-8.

Here's the first paragraph:

Just finished reading PUNISHER VS. BULLSEYE #2, and I'm loving it! It's already running laps (sorry, Lapham!) around PUNISHER VS. DD, which didn't portray Frank in the best light. But this is coming from a lifelong Frank Follower. I'm also happy to see the return of a letter page! Brings me back to the old days when there was new Punishment each and every week at my local comic shop.

Now, I like the Punisher. He is, in fact, my favorite Marvel character. I like to think of the character as a far more rational (and far more cynical) take on the Batman concept, and in the hands of the right people (Steven Grant, Chuck Dixon, Garth Ennis) arguments can be made with the character, even if that argument is the validity of a particular genre in comics (as Grant used Castle to make a case for modern-day crime comics.)

But I will do everything within my power, up to and including kicking down the doors at Marvel and shooting everyone there, before allowing them to return us back to the "old days" that guy is talking about. I guess he figures himself an authority on the character because he has "the largest collection of Punisher merchandise in the US."

Me, I think that makes him a fucking wanker.

But not only for that. It's that little dig at Lapham at the beginning of the letter that associate editor Cory Sedlmeier for some fucking reason chose out of what must have been a pile of fanboy man-jam in letter form.

Here's how that paragraph reads to me, with Fanwank Filters on:

I don't like it when crossovers are presented as a clash of very real ideals that affects a large tapestry of characters surrounding the two main ones. I'm even less comfortable when fictional characters I for some reason idolize are presented as having flaws or ideological blindspots. Also, I prefer "clever" dialogue to anything resembling organic human speech. Oh, and hey, thanks for letting me prattle on inanely in print! I love it when you give us the opportunity to wash your balls in a public forum and act grateful for the opportunity to do so. Maybe if we keep this trend up, we can return to the glory days when comics were complete and utter horseshit.

The response to this letter becomes a PR spiel for other Marvel titles within two sentences, and keeps that ball rolling for seven more. God, I love free speech!

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