No Stranger to Fiction #21: Let’s Talk About Flux

“We must always think about things, and we must think about things as they are, not as they are said to be.”

— George Bernard Shaw

Today we’re not going to talk about the state of comics journalism, so recently and pointedly examined by various talented and respected writers. We’re not going to talk about how it’s a field riddled with typographical errors. We’re certainly not going to compare it to the comics industry’s own, from Jimmy Woo’s recent glaring mention of “Docter” [sic] Voodoo, in Atlas #5, Perry White referring to his “pubisher” in Superman: Secret Origin #4,, or even the unfortunate coincidence of Sabretooth being inexplicably identified as a Jewish ethnic slur instead of a “killer” in a 1998 issue of Wolverine released on Yom Kippur.

We’re not going to talk about how comics journalism is full of shoddy editing jobs, nor will we mention the perfect editing of modern comics. You’re all aware of that perfect editing, right? We’re talking about how Paladin can go from being a paid mercenary for hire fighting the title character in Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.] to a registered government employee, presumably working for the same man, in The Last Defenders in storylines occurring simultaneously. Flawless, perfect editing.

We’re not going to talk about comics journalism’s horrid fact‐checking, just as we won’t talk about the comics industry’s perfect employment of the same standard. When J. Jonah Jameson is implied to be a racist in the backmatter of Avengers #5. His distrust of people with masked secret identities and his championing of minorities like mutants clearly indicates that the level of Spider‐Man’s menace is dependent on his ethnicity.

We certainly won’t talk about how all comics journalism is clearly nothing but “cutting and pasting”. We can’t possibly, when comics like Powers Vol. 1 #7 make extensive use of creators like Warren Ellis as guest characters, going so far as to quote, verbatim, many of that author’s rants at various points in the issue.

There’s absolutely no way to deal with the lack of investigative journalism in comics journalism, is there? No, not when so many of us have inside sources to help us get to the bottom of things that are confusing other comics news outlets or the fans themselves. Not when stories get rooted out and released early due to the equivalent of comic book muckraking. We’re going to say no to the culturecancer that has come to infest sites like Bleeding Cool or Comic Book Resources.

That’d just be crazy talk, and, like I said, it’d be pointless to talk about, mention, or even think about. Things are as we are told, even about our own work, and we have to accept what others say because it’s the truth. We only know ourselves and what we do as well as others do. I wish I knew my own writing output half as well as my detractors, I truly do. It might even help me to understand my process, opinions and even myself that much better.

Yet the world is what it is, and desiring something different is wrong. Wrong in that we cannot fully express our own opinions, thoughts and viewpoints on stories people have desired to tell about flying heroes who fell from the sky, into cornfields, tasked with giving the people of this world hope.

This would be wrong, and the epitome of ridiculousness.

Any field has its problems, its flaws, its grand failings. There’s only one way to handle them: from within. Don’t like what you see? Step in and change it. Subvert the norm. Defy the standard. Dare to be different.

Until then, see you in the funny papers.