This is an open letter to any and all types of fans. Despite this letter being a long time coming, it’s being written because I’m sick of the harassment of Leslie Jones, Lauren Zuke, and COUNTLESS others for being criticized violently for their craft.
For the record, I have not seen the new Ghostbusters movie, and (since I don’t have cable) have never seen Steven Universe (save for the footage at SDCC on the Cartoon Network Panel in 2013), but that really doesn’t matter when anger and harassment aren’t limited to these two incidents.
I know I’m not the be all and end all of comic creators, but this isn’t about me. It’s about fans and how they treat the people who write, create, perform, draw, and bring characters and story lines to life.
Fans are people who love something, be it a TV show, character, movie franchise, you name it. Fandom is terrific and wonderful, and I love being a part of the comic fandom. HOWEVER, fandom turns toxic when fans verbally attack people online or at conventions for not making their “dreams” come true.
Look, writers, artists, CREATORS work on shows, comics, and movies and bring their heart and soul to it. Despite what you think, not everyone in the creative business makes $1 million a minute. There are COUNTLESS hours of work to bring a product (comic, movie, TV show, whatever) to fruition. That time is not only for them, but for you, the fans. You put something out there and you hope for the best. Some people love it. Some people don’t. And that’s okay. You’re allowed to NOT like something.
What you’re NOT allowed to do is to contact the creator and say, “You did it wrong! This person and that person were supposed to get married and adopt a shelter beaver together!”
Now, let me backtrack. I said that it’s for the fans, but that DOES NOT mean that creators owe you anything. FANS, CREATORS OWE YOU NOTHING. Creators, be gracious and appreciative for your support and fandom, but you do not owe anyone a tweet, a retweet, your time, your first born, nothing.
In this internet age, it’s very easy to have direct contact with people you admire. That’s terrific. Tell an actor you loved them in a particular role. Don’t tweet them that you want to f*ck them. Have a little class. You can contact a creator and say, “Man…I really hoped that this person and that person would live happily ever after and you had to kill him/her. Not cool, man.” Don’t say, “You’re an @sshole and I’m never buying your $hitty book again you piece of $hit and I’m going to kill you and rape you and eat your cat!” Nope. That’s not how to approach creators. That’s how you bully people.
(SIDEBAR: Many fans talk about how they fell into this fandom or that fandom because they were bullied…Hmm…bullying creatives isn’t right either.)
Look, we don’t all have to have the hive mind. I know people who really loved Batman v Superman. I didn’t. Do I send rude tweets to DC, Zack Snyder, or WB? Nope. Do I make snarky comments sometimes on Twitter about the movie? Sure. But I’m not attacking the people who made it, and I’m not attacking people who like it.
I think everyone needs to just chill out a moment and take a step back. I know since we all seem to be living in a really $hitty and uncertain world, we tend to retreat into fandom as comfort, and that’s fine. But if creators aren’t telling the stories and relationships you want to read, then write fan fiction. Faith does it. Ms. Marvel does it. Tina does it. Hell, weren’t those 50 Shades books originally Twilight fan fiction? For all you know, you can become RICH doing it!
The point is this: If you think you can do it better, then write your own story. Then maybe some day you’ll have the opportunity to work on the character you love so much and retcon the Hell out of them to tell your story. But right now, let creators be. Let them tell THEIR stories. Because remember…if you get the opportunity to tell a story some day and it doesn’t please all the fans, you may be on the receiving end of the same kind of abuse and bull$hit creatives are subjected to (see aforementioned SIDEBAR). Besides, creating a coherent and readable story is a lot harder than you think, so go ahead…give it a shot.
So, to recap:
- Don’t be a jerk.
- Have a little class.
- Don’t harass people.
- If you don’t like what you’re seeing/reading/watching, get out your laptop and write some fan fiction and post it on your Tumblr.
Remember…With great Social Media power comes great responsibility. Have a great Saturday, all.