Don't Be That Guy
Hello everyone, my name is Mike W Lunsford. You may have read the interview that Pete Rogers did with me and my co-creator Ben Shaw about our comic book Ethan Stone P.I. (shameless plug, I know). I am a contributor on this website under a different name (because having an alias makes us all feel like superheroes :-D) but I wanted to post this one as myself because of the subject matter.
Being a comic book enthusiast is a funny thing. There are those who will stand on every table and scream at the top of their lungs about their passion for Spider-man. Then there are those who are afraid to admit how much they love something because others might think less of them. Times have changed though. It wasn't always cool to be into comics, but some awesome things happened to change that. The comic book movie evolved and made it cool to love comics and other "nerdy" things (Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, etc). It wasn't just a brainless action flick; it was now a great movie! Did you ever think the time would come when you could say that Batman: The Dark Knight received serious consideration for an Academy Award and the guy who played the Joker would win an Oscar for his portrayal? Now it’s cool to like Batman, the X-Men or Aquaman…just kidding. No one actually likes Aquaman.
But back to my point; it’s OK to be into comics now, unless you’re a long time comic book fan and then apparently newcomers are not welcome. And herein lies the reason I write this article.
This is a plea to the comic fans out there who call out others for not being genuine. I beseech you good sirs and madams to end your hostilities. This is a pointless fight and you’re only hurting yourselves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overhead people at a Comic Convention complain that the girl who is dressed like slave Princess Leia is only doing it for attention and they probably can’t even name a character in the extended universe (quick aside; this is the most overused costume ever. Ladies, we love that you want to be alluring and show your love for Star Wars at the same time, but mix it up. Variety is the spice of life). First off, don’t ever bring up the EU. That negates any valid argument you had.
But seriously…who cares? An attractive woman is dressed like a character you've dreamed about since you were a child and you’re finding an excuse to hate it? And…let’s hold the phone on another one. Don’t you dare run your mouth if that women happens to NOT be in perfect shape. God forbid if she might have a little bit of a belly or some cellulite on her thighs. Settle down and chew your cheesesteak before you speak.
She’s dressed like that for one of two reasons; she loves the Star Wars Universe as much as you do or she’s with some nerdy boy who talked her into wearing this ridiculous metal bikini with a set of drapes hanging from it. We all could only be so lucky that we would have a girlfriend or wife who would be cool enough to cosplay with us at a con. ACCEPT EVERYONE! It’s an easy mantra because it involves no effort!
If a little kid is talking about how much he loves Batman and you roll your eyes because you KNOW there is no way he’s read Batman Year One or the Killing Joke and therefore, has no idea who Batman really is…stop. Just stop. Instead of walling off and further isolating yourself from the growing community, tell that kid about how cool Batman the Animated Series (now on old school, delivery-by-mail Netflix :-D) is a great way to learn more about Batman if you can’t buy a lot of comics. When your mom took you to the grocery store with her, you would sneak off and grab some twist ties and make yourself a makeshift Green Lantern ring, but you didn’t know that Hal Jordan actually succumbed to fear and became possessed by the being Paralax and killed the majority of the Green Lantern Corps…and that was OK. No one shot you down and called you a poser when you went to your first comic book shop. INTRODUCE MORE PEOPLE TO OUR WORLD! You know why you should? Because then we get more Doctor Who, we get more Avengers, we get more Arkham Asylum video games. More interest means more money, and Hollywood will make a movie about your obscure comic… so you can find some fault in that, too. Being enthusiastic about something does not mean you have to be a subject matter expert. If you are that expert, FANTASTIC! Share your knowledge with others instead of scoffing at them for not being as knowledgeable as you. If you have to make others feel awful to make yourself better, there are plenty of psychotherapists who can help you with this issue...or you can just try a new approach. Watch what happens when you share their excitement. There is a certain joy in seeing someone else’s passion and helping them refine it into knowledge about the thing they love. Isn’t that what this is all about; being joyful and sharing that with others? Don’t call others out; share your love, share your knowledge, and show everyone that comic book fans are not elitist. All are welcome!