Rage Against the Casuals: Age of the Pretentious Fanboys
My Facebook news feed is a plethora of comic book news, movie updates and plenty of other fandom related things. I’m a member of dozens of great comic related groups and follow an untold number of related pages. For the most part it makes going onto Facebook a very much needed therapeutic retreat for the harshness of real life. But of course, ever good thing has to come with some bad.
It’s a trend that has been going since the beginning of the comic book movie boom, but it something that I’ve been noticing more and more lately. Things like “Fanboys think they know everything after watching the movies.” and “They’re just a bunch of idiots who have never read comics.” No paraphrasing, these are actual quotes I pulled from a lackluster conversation that I came across. It’s pretentious, thinking like this that builds a toxic fan base. We seem to forget that our love of comics and the movies that they have eventually spawned has not been mainstream for a very long time, and that for more years than not, society more or less looked down their noses on us lowly comic book loving nerds as a joke and a the epitome of the negative aspects of the word nerd.
Look it’s great that you love reading comics, hell reading in general is all around fantastic, and by all means, do it as much as possible, it’s good for you on a lot of levels. But the fact of the matter is, even though people love the movies, they’re just not comic book readers, it’s not a medium for everyone. Or, sadly, some people just don’t read for fun, whether they’ve not the time, attention span or, like I mentioned before, just don’t like to do it. It doesn’t make them any less of a fan of the character, they just have their preferred medium for consumption.
The argument of “they think they’re an expert because they’ve seen a movie” is a very void argument. If they’re not comic book readers, and only know the character via the films, then they are “experts”…in that medium. They’re not going to know the details of Bucky’s return as Winter Soldier in 2005’s Captain America #1, or the Flash scene in Batman vs Superman was possibly setting up the Injustice storyline, but for all intents and purposes, they are experts of the characters in their chosen medium, which is film.
Sure, it always prompts comic readers to want to “correct” these casuals and finally reign our knowledge of comic book cannon over them in what is quite possibly the nerdiest dick measuring contest you could possibly have. Arrogance is never met with a positive response in any situation, you’re just going to come off as a dick. Instead, why don’t we take the opportunity to have an actual conversation. The person is obviously enjoying these characters and or teams, it’s the perfect time to segue the conversation into any difference the movies and comics have, and be able to tell them a story that, let’s be honest here fellow geeks, someone better has already gotten to tell. Be engaging with it, pull them into the story and let them know where the things they love are actually based on without being a dick about it. You’ll find people are actually incredibly open to hearing these things when it’s not cloaked in a fog of arrogance.
Casuals aren’t bad people folks, they’re just new to things. You were new to all of this at some point too, don’t forget that. Keep yourselves humble folks, and lets not give our fandom a bad name.