Comics Negativity is an Endangered Species

Oh my God! Come quick, you guys! I’ve spotted one.

A synonym for stupid...? But I'm... what's that? Dead for 400 years? Fair enough.

It’s off in the distance, but you can still see it if you look really closely. Right over that hill, perched up on… that perch. I guess that’s why they call them that, now that I think about it. Seems sort of obvious now.

You can’t see it? Here, use my field glasses. Right up there. Your other left. You see it now?… I know, right? It’s amazing. The perfect specimen of a comic watcher’s greatest prize: the elusive, increasingly rare Red-Faced Outrage.

It’s spectacular, isn’t it? There was a time not too long ago when the Red-Faced Outrage was an utterly common sight among even average comic watchers. The conditions for the habitat of the Red-Faced Outrage were thriving: the air was thick with contention. The whole environment was rich with controversy.The false DC-versus-Marvel divide was infusing the soil with much needed manure. The industry was churning out hype into the atmosphere without a moment’s thought about how it would impact the delicate online ecosystem… and the creators. God bless the creators, hopping onto Twitter and shooting their mouths off without a whit of concern about their impact on the environment. Outrages were abundant.

Needless to say, it was a great time to be one of the comics bloggers, whose diets consisted entirely of the Outrage. “Yee-haw, they’re in production on another movie based on uh Alan Moore comic!” the bloggers would say. “Mah fambly eats tonight!”

Then, for some inscrutable reason, the beasts began dying out.

We should have seen the warning signs. The New 52 and Avengers Vs. X-Men filled the atmosphere with genuine enthusiasm, which of course is deadly poison to the Red-Faced Outrage. Then the habitat fell victim to overpopulation: I don’t know how to tell you this, but… sales are up. Paper purveyors report twelve consecutive months of growth in this field. And digital…? Well, DC reports that their sales of digital comics have grown roughly two hundred percent in the last year (up from, to be fair, zero percent the previous year; hard to do anything but better). Things… are looking up. Regardless of bias.

I know. It’s confusing. Nerds are most comfortable when being picked on.

But it’s great. The earth is fertile for comic books, and they are set to thrive.

But whither the poor Red-Faced Outrage? Can none of these artists take time out of their days to have some kind of hashtag war with one another? Think of the children! The hateful, ugly, misshapen troll children.

It’s time to circle the wagons. We must take our specimens where we can find them at this point, and at the moment we have no better specimen than the elusive Red-Faced Outrage exhibiting itself over by Uncanny Avengers.

When they first announced John Cassaday as the artist on this book, I thought, “Yowza. That is exciting. Mind you, I can’t imagine how it will work, but it’s exciting. Every time I’ve seen Cassaday’s name in connection with a book, it’s been in an article about that book’s epic lateness, but never mind all that now. Marvel have launched this huge initiative about this bold new direction. Uncanny Avengers is the flagship book of that initiative. I don’t know what’s going on, but if they announced Cassaday on their flagship monthly book, they must know what they’re doing. They must have worked out one helluva plan.”

Life spoiler: hey, whaddya know?, there is no plan at all. Plan equals zero! There apparently never was a notion, vis-à-vis “what we do next.” The first issue of Uncanny Avengers came out on time. The second issue was immediately late. The third issue will be delivered via space-mail to your deathbed.

WTE (“What The Eff?’)? These people want us to focus on their bold new direction, and then their bold new direction doesn’t come out? The flagship is anchored off the coast of the foreseeable future? Ridiculous. This is some bald-faced nonsense. This is… some prime feeding ground for the Red-Faced Outrage.

It’s downright considerate, if you think about it.

In the end, of course, it is the endangered species’ nearest cousin, Much Ado About Nothing, that will rule us all. In the meantime, it’s up to us to perpetuate the habitat. Try to start a fight with a stranger today.

Jim Mroczkowski should be more agreeable at this age.


  1. we found a direction for our nerd rage in He who shall not be named!

  2. I saw a whole flock of outrage in June 2011 when they announced the new 52. Especially surrounding Batgirl when they announced that Barbara Gordon would be a) Batgirl again and b) able to walk again. And that was just 2 birds in the flock, Lol.

    • i wonder if the same people would get pissed off if Stephen Hawking miraculously started walking again. 😉
      i wonder how Babs would feel if she knew how angery her ability to walk makes some people. 😀

    • Oracle was a better character than Babs Batgirl. Babs Batgirl is great, but her character evolved. She became a shining example of disabled hero. She showed how one can turn a tragic life change into something positive. She was no longer a female derivative of a male hero. Barbara was a better character as Oracle, and Batgirl already had a couple of great successors in Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. Making her Batgirl again is pretty regressive, there are flashback stories and out-of-continuity tales that could have scratched that itch.

    • @jokersnuts: Great point.

    • Uh oh, think I opened that can of worms again….. LOL

    • Oops, I didn’t mean to contribute to something that is a hot button topic. I don’t follow Batgirl at all so am unaware if this was a hotly contested point at the time; I just thought @jokersnuts point regarding disabled superheros was a good one.

      Maybe this comment will be allowed…

    • I just honestly felt Oracle played such a larger role than Batgirl. She did more good as the central command info hub to the entire DCU than as a single street level hero.

    • It was also cool in various stories to see Batgirl as a distinct legacy from Batman with all the subsequent Batgirls being so different from each other.

      While to be honest, most of the Robins are a lot alike. At least visually and personality wise. They switch between the helpful slightly mischeivious Robin (Dick, Tim, Carrie) to the antagonistic and brash Robin (Jason, Damian, Stephanie)

    • Yeah, I’ve always been a fan of Oracle and I LOVED Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. But I do like Babs new series too so I can’t complain too much.

      Hey, now should I open the can of worms about how DC says Stephanie Brown was never a Robin in the new 52? 😉 Oh, and how in the new ‘Lil Gotham series coming out it had the Stephanie Brown Batgirl in it? But when DC found out they made them re-color Stephanie Brown’s hair to red from blonde and make her Babs instead of Stephanie? Let’s discuss….. 🙂

    • maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll shoot and paralyze Cassandra or Stephanie or even both since both are clearly less cool than Babs. then everyone can be happy that there is both a Babs Batgirl and disabled heroes working the computers. 😛

    • A joke about characters getting paralyzed! How funny!

    • thank you! i’m here all week!

  3. Great article. Hopefully you’re right and the environment that feeds this type of behavior is disappearing!

    I would say the most recent (and inanely stupid) bout of Red Faced Outrage came in the form of Before Watchmen.

    Also there was a little surrounding the recent release of Cyberfore by Silvestri but given how few people read that comic it was pretty contained.

    • You may disagree with people being outraged over Before Watchmen, but that doesn’t mean the outrage was / is inanely stupid. There were some pretty articulate and rational reasons behind the reaction written about online.

    • There were certainly a number of articulate and rational reasons written about online but I didn’t really agree with the majority of them. My major complaint with the Red Faced Outrage toward Before Watchmen was the “artists rights” contingent. Let me just make clear I fully support artists rights but I also think Alan Moore doesn’t have a leg to stand on in this situation, and many online commentators co-opted this cause for use against Before Watchmen when it isn’t really appropriate. He is complaining about people stealing his characters, which he had already stolen from Charleston Comics. This isn’t of course the whole point but that is what it boils down to in a simplistic sense. I really don’t want to get into a whole Alan Moore vs. DC discussion here as I’ve already had it many times and have learned that people are very passionate about this subject and will not be swayed. Suffice it to say that although there were many articulate and rational discussions all over comic sites regarding Before Watchmen I still found the root point of most of them to be inanely stupid.

    • I think the argument about the rage being stupid is that no one is forcing anyone to read these books, nor should they be seen as ruining the original.

    • @ed209af: Great point. Totally agree.

    • Well folks, I’m backing JokersNuts on this one.

      To describe any criticism of ‘Before Watchmen’ as insane is . . . . . bonkers.

    • Inane. The description was inane, not insane.

    • criticism after reading is completely rational. even encouraged and healthy regardless if it’s a positive or negative view.
      bashing before viewing or simply because it exists? illogical and prejudice.

    • @sitara: Here here.

    • Forgive my typo, USPUNX.

      To describe any criticism of ‘Before Watchmen’ as inane is . . . . Bonkers!

    • Eh, to each their own. I have found most of the criticism I’ve read to be pretty inane in my opinion.

    • Except Alan Moore never comp[lained about artist’s rights. People transpose their preconception on anyone…

    • @muddi: That’s actually exactly what I said in so many words.

      From my comment above: “My major complaint with the Red Faced Outrage toward Before Watchmen was the “artists rights” contingent. Many online commentators co-opted this cause for use against Before Watchmen when it isn’t really appropriate.”


    • @USPUNX

      But there’s a flaw within you own bout of red-faced outrage in that you picked the WORST argument to mad at. Get it?

      Its like… if some nefarious adult held out both hands and told a kid “you can either pick what’s in my left hand, which is a shiny new Gameboy, or you can choose what’s in my right hand, which is an AIDS infected heroin needle”… well when the kid chooses the needle, you stop wondering about the nefarious adult and start wondering how stupid is that kid.

    • Or rather… you keep saying “I find most of the criticism…” No, according to what you just posted here, you only found ONE criticism and held on to that and either dismissed or ignored some of the more valid points people have made.

      Overall though, ed209AF is right though. Don’t like it, then don’t buy it. Whining about it is pretty moot.

      What people do seem to miss is that indifference is worse than ‘red faced outrage’.

    • i think i would still be concerned with the nefarious adult who’s offering a child “an aids infected, heroin needle.”
      but, i have children so you might argue that i’m biased. that is if shot up the heroin. 😉

    • @:jessecuster: Well I also made both of these points:
      1) “This isn’t of course the whole point but that is what it boils down to in a simplistic sense.” NOT the whole point. A SIMPLISTIC sense.
      2) “I really don’t want to get into a whole Alan Moore vs. DC discussion here as I’ve already had it many times and have learned that people are very passionate about this subject and will not be swayed.”

      But I guess you just choose to ignore both of those lines in order to make your point which really isn’t valid if you bother to read my WHOLE comment and not just the sections that allow you to warp it into something it’s not.

      I also said this: “There were certainly a number of articulate and rational reasons written about online but I didn’t really agree with the majority of them. My major complaint with the Red Faced Outrage toward Before Watchmen was the “artists rights” contingent.” The MAJORITY of them, and my MAJOR complaint. I never simplified it down to two choices, that was you. As I stated it wasn’t my intention to reopen a debate we’ve all had numerous times so I focused on what I found to be the most egregious Red Faced Outrage in the BW discussion. Which is what ties into THIS particular article. Nowhere did I state I was talking about the entire breadth of BW issues. Never once. I was using the major problem I had with the BW outrage, again not talking about EVERY problem, to illustrate a point that tied into this article.

      Now if you’d like to have a discussion based on the points I ACTUALLY made rather than the ones you have simply created I would be more than happy. Otherwise we’re done here.

    • @jessecuster: You also contradict yourself twice in your second post.

      First, you only call what I’m doing whining because you don’t agree with me. This is a comic book discussion forum. So, holy shit, I’m discussing comic books. I have no doubt if I was agreeing with you you’d be saying what a great “conversation” we were having, but because I disagree with you I’m “whining.” If we can’t both make our points and discuss them in a reasonable manner, note the word reasonable, then what is the point of even coming to this site? If you just want to pontificate about your opinion and engender no discussion then stop coming here and start a blog.

      Second, you said “What people do seem to miss is that indifference is worse than ‘red faced outrage’,” right after you said “Don’t like it, then don’t buy it. Whining about it is pretty moot.” Isn’t that exactly what indifference is? Not caring enough about something to talk about it? To have a feeling about it? Just shut up and float through? Those two points are completely contradictory. How can you say indifference is worse than outrage right after saying you don’t care if someone has an opinion?

    • this thread is officially being titled rageception

  4. I think it has a lot to do with so much more stuff being published.

    If a given Bat-book sucks you have your choice of a dozen others. Hate about the direction of Superman has been ameliorated by optimism over a new Snyder/Lee Supes book.

    All the different Image titles and new Marvel Now titles mean that there’s new stuff all the time. I think that diversity and novelty deflects a lot of criticism.

  5. I’m sure it hasn’t died out – I’m usually outraged by something every two weeks on my podcast (it’s usually terrible Batman comics, next time will be Hellblazer).

  6. Oh they’re still out there, the red faced “THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!” guy, the “Anything produced after 19XX is garbage!” guy, and “Kirby is overrated!” guy (yes, this guy does exist). They’re just not coming to sites like iFanboy, where people won’t stand for that crap. On the plus side, these people DO drive people like me to sites like iFanboy where we can discuss things rationally, where the Big Two isn’t the only thing going on, and where I don’t think ANYONE has said that Kirby was overrated.

  7. I think those people who only feel happy when they are miserable will always be there…that’s just people, but i do agree that they tend to have gotten quieter in the comics world…at least in the sites i frequent. I still see the nerd rage, i still see the irrational “the sky is falling” type of stuff out there, but i agree with others….there is SO MUCH variety out there, if you can’t find something that’s for you then its time to move on.

    There are a lot of popular comics that i don’t like…so i don’t buy them. As a result i have no opinion to offer on them…its a good way to be.

    • When you are at the store and see all those books and think “Who would BUY THAT??” Then I see posts on instagram or facebook of people ONLY BUYING THOSE COMICS. So there’s room for everyone.

  8. There’s still plenty for people to get irate about, whether it’s the end of Hellblazer (well, about 9000 people can get upset about that), and the lack of return of Stephanie Brown (which I speculate is still just another 9000 or so people).

  9. I kind of come and go from this site and the podcast, but I’ve been back for a bit…

    Why do Josh, Ron and Conner rarely ever write anything for the site anymore other than the POTW and BOTM?

    It seems like all of their posts are preview images, etc., and other people like Jim write posts like this one.

  10. Leave John Cassaday alone. There, now goodbye.

  11. We will always have Land to be mad at.

  12. I had no idea about the woes Uncanny Avengers was having until I read this article. Well that certainly isn’t good considering, I thought anyways, Marvel was hyping it to be their new flagship title. Guess when Cassaday decides to actually give a shit about his pencils it takes longer to finish an issue.

    Apart from Liefeld’s recent quotes about ifanboy and fans in general I haven’t felt the need to be angry over something comics related. I’ve been more annoyed at things then anything else.

  13. I wish there was more comics love and less hate on the internet, but I’m not seeing it. Seems like it’s the nature of the beast. But I guess we can only do our small parts to celebrate this art form we love.

    I still hate Marvel and their 3.99. I still hate any books Tom DeFalco ruins. But other than those two quibbles, things are looking good!

  14. This image popped up in my brain:
    Uncanny Avengers: I’m not late.
    Yoda: You will be. *leans in* YOU WILL BE.

    Anyway since I get my comics every 3 or 4 weeks by mail, I can’t tell when my titles are late from the publisher; only when they’re late from the shop. And I’m mad/happy as hell about other things during election seasons so maybe that’s distracting people this year. Check in again in like 3 months when we have time to get pissed/excited about

  15. Criticism = Improvement. It just depends on if those criticisms represent a majority or minority.

    Case in point: Walking Dead the TV series, Season 3 VS Season 2. Now, if Season 2 wasn’t really so bad, then why the ‘improvements’? Why all the comments ‘This season is much better’?

    You will ALWAYS have a complainer. BUT, you also always have that person who will always praise EVERYTHING. Yes, those people exist and are EQUALLY AS DUMB AND ANNOYING. They pat themselves on the back and have fooled themselves into thinking they are so open-minded when in reality they are simple minded and complacent. Either way, vapid hater or relentless praiser, most of the time they are just going against the grain for the sake of going against the grain.