In the aftermath of my previous post about Wally West… and the interesting reactions to it, I figured now was a good a time as any to explore the notion of creators reading forums, blogs and fan sites that focus on the materials they’re working on. Furthermore, I want to share my thoughts about using social media as a means of connecting to the fans.
After it was announced that Francis and I would be writing Flash, I started to check out fan forums @ CBR, Comic Bloc, and DC. Why? Because I was curious… I wanted to gauge the reaction of the Flash fan base. Despite being cautioned NOT to do so (by a few writer friends), I went ahead and started rooting around to see what “the people” thought. Across the board their was skepticism and doubt… peppered with some genuine wrath that DC would think to hand over the keys to Flash to a pair of literary unknowns. Was I surprised?
The response is pretty much what I thought it would be. Sight unseen, how could anyone really be FOR us? Most were dubious… some folks took a wait and see attitude… and a few were even cautiously optimistic because they love Francis’ art. No matter what the opinion, we never took it personally –
-- I must say that I wasn’t fond of those knee-jerk reactions that trumpeted certain doomsday, claiming Francis was an unreliable artist and incapable of meeting deadlines. Why? Because that just ain’t true. He’s a fully invested and dedicated artist / writing partner that has put his EVERYTHING into this re-launch. I can tell you this because I have seen it first hand. It is a fact. And for those keeping score… he’s currently finishing up the art for issue three. Sorry for the digression, but I just wanted to put that out there.
Back to my point…
Anyway, I never took any of those negative reactions personally. And I don’t think I ever will. We are all different people, with different experiences, interests, tastes and expectations. It’s a great thing when those elements line up and the masses respond positively to what someone has created… but no matter how many people dig what you are doing, there will ALWAYS be those that don’t. Some people will even HATE the eff out of your most beloved creative babies – the ones you labor over, birth and nurture into what you think is your finest example of creative expression. People will metaphorically spit on it, point out every perceived flaw, and dismiss your work in a host of ways.
And you know what… they have every right to.
That’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it? Setting aside the commercial aspect, art is meant to entertain… it’s meant to provoke an emotional response… it’s meant to be judged. At least that is MY understanding of what art is. SO even if the reaction to issue #1 is overwhelmingly negative… even if every Flash fan out there calls for our heads… at the end of the day I WON’T take it personally. I’m not gonna lie and say that I will be happy about it. I’m not going to sit there and say it won’t sting like hell and make me want to (momentarily) lash out at all those, “Jerks that wouldn’t know good writing if it fell out of their asses!” Hey, that would be my normal and fair emotional response. But ultimately, it would be just that… an emotional response to being judged. In this hypothetical doomsday scenario (I say hypothetical because EVERYONE is gonna love our Flash), it wouldn’t take me that long to get down off the ledge. Why? Because I get it.
SO… that is why I am fine with reading blogs, fan sites, and forums. I really do get it. I understand that for every fan offering to kiss the ground you walk on, there is another dude that would just as soon gut you like a fish. That’s just the way it is, folks. And if I want to write commercially, I have to accept that.
And if I didn’t, I would just scrawl my thoughts into a diary and lock it up so that NO ONE could ever see it -- unless they were able to break the sophisticated and nearly impregnable dairy locking mechanism.
Anyway, after all this rambling, I haven’t yet talked about social media, connecting WITH the fans (not just reading their opinions), and my willingness to be accessible to people and be accountable for what I put out into the universe. Looks like there’s gonna be a part two to this, kids….
It’s late. Sorry to cut this off (not short… it’s definitely not short)…
TO BE CONTINUED