I recently responded to a question on the Quora website that I feel is relevant to my themes here. The lady posted the following query:
Does my obsession for these superhero CW TV shows make me a ‘bad’ or a ‘fake fan’? (Although I love the comics!)
In short, no. People come into fandom from various points of entry. That’s part of the reason that properties are expanded into various media. And you have stated that you already read the comics. So you know the “base” medium and have it as a means of comparison. The reason that shows like Flash and Arrow don’t slavishly regurgitate the comics is because, while it’s cool when we see moments taken straight from our favorite stories, it would get old for those of us who read the books and/ or know the histories pretty quickly. The producers want to hold our interests as well as attracting new fans, who will watch a well-crafted series but may have never considered reading a comic. As a creative person, I don’t feel that a bad fan exists. If you were to buy and enjoy my work and keep coming back, I want to maintain my quality and keep your patronage and loyalty.
Well, I first got into comics and superheroes because of my dad. He collected comics since he was 7 (he had over $50,000 in comics). I used to watch the terrible 70’s superhero movies and then my dad got the 1990’s TV show: The Flash and I was immediately obsessed. And I started reading comics and watching the cartoons such as: Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, Superman: The Animated series, Batman: The Animated Series, Young Justice, Teen Titans etc… I’m a junkie for this kind of stuff 🙂
Wow . . . I’ll bet he had quite a collection. I can’t even imagine the volume, let alone the value. And it’s awesome that the two of you could share that. My kids can watch the movies, but none of them turned into readers or collectors. My son would be closest with video games. But I followed your path with the TV shows through the years. Reruns of the 60’s Batman in the early 70’s were my first exposure to that character. Yet he became my favorite character, despite the distinct difference in presentation between the show and the tone of the comics. I just don’t see a bad way of introducing someone to the industry. If they have a genuine interest, they’ll want to see the source material. Then they’ll either stay or go, but it’s an individual choice. And nothing says they can’t still enjoy the medium that hooked them at the outset.
As was stated later in the thread, there’s a sense of tribalism among some in fandom; the actual feeling that something needs to be guarded. These “Gatekeepers” are keeping a lot of new people away — or at the very least, a discreet distance — to preserve either a sense of superiority or purity. Either would be misguided. Especially in an industry as relatively small as the comic book industry, we should be embracing those who show a genuine interest. We should be guiding them toward the highest quality creators and projects on the stands and in the bins. We should be inviting them to the local comic book store with us every Wednesday. As a self-publisher, I don’t currently have the tools to branch out into other media, but I see the value of Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Valiant and other companies doing so reach new audiences. And I definitely see the how completely suicidal it would be for us as an industry to sabotage their efforts. Just a thought . . .