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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Joey Manley's Column "WEBHEAD" at...the Pulse?

Posted by Nathaniel at 1:50 PM
ComicsTrusted friend to webcomics everywhere, Joey Manley (arbiter supreme of such phenomenal webcomics destinations as Modern Tales , Girlamatic, and most recently Webcomics Nation) insults the intelligence of every comic book reader on the Pulse by suggesting that not only do they know nothing about online comics, but that they need to know more, and that he is the person to do it. While Manley has been one of the most vocal supporters of webcomics on the internet, this introductory column is a bit discouraging to read. It isn't tailored to an audience of comic book readers; it appears to be more designed for people who don't understand general thought. His pathetic attempt at gaining credibility with this specific audience is to surround his column with alleged "preconceived notions" of comic book readers--which, being one of those people myself--are laughably ill-conceived. Case in point:
There's really no such thing as a "superhero" fan, I believe: there are fans of Wolverine, or of Green Lantern, or even fans of the Marvel and/or DC Universes as a whole. It's not about superheroes as a genre so much as it is about particular characters, particular shared experiences that go back for decades, particular worlds, particular continuities and histories. That's why new superheroes – and especially new superhero publishers – generally fail. And maybe that's why there aren't very many superhero webcomics, too.

I'm pretty sure I'm right.
I'm pretty sure that's where I stopped reading. Although I did manage to skip through some of the comments following Manley's column, and found this nugget from Eric Burns that pretty much sums up about two-thirds of my frustrations with Manley's article:
For the record, I am in fact a superhero fan.

Not a Superman fan, or Green Lantern fan, or Wonder Woman fan, though I've enjoyed all of those. Not even a DC or Marvel fan.

I like Superheroes.

I like the Superhero genre.

I like morality tales told in four colors, where spandex clad centurions trade blows and bon mots and philosophy all at the same time. I like tales of the fantastic where men rise into the air by force of will and women possess helium enriched bosoms and -- against all odds and against all post-modernism -- people do the right thing because it's the right thing, even in the face of overwhelming odds and superhuman temptation.

I'm looking forward to Joey's column, but unlike Joey, I think there's a good number of people out there like me. People who are willing to give new superheroes a try because they actually like Superheroes.

That my webcomics have nothing to do with superheroes notwithstanding.
And that's why I really like Eric Burns.

Supposedly in his next column, Manley will tell the audience who he is, what this whole annoying concept is about, and then proceed to pelt them with bits of gravel. I, for one, will not be reading. I feel insulted that Manley assumes that comic book readers know nothing about webcomics, and that they need to be educated in such practices if they are to fully appreciate the modern internet-tastic universe they exist within. While I am a proponent of promoting webcomics, I don't favor this type of brash, unapologetic marketing, especially when it first assumes ignorance. Granted, he admits his potential ignorance, but that doesn't make it right. Who knows, maybe I'll be proven wrong, and Manley's column will become the hit of the internets, but I don't expect it to (well, honestly, I do expect it to to some extent, because this is Joey Manley after all, and everything the man touches turns to webcomic gold). But I think too many comic book readers will decide they just don't care, and the only people reading the column will be a part of the already established webcomic audience.

Which, if you read some of the comments, looks to be what is already taking place.


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