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Remembering

(Went a little crazy with the hyperlinks. Most are pointless. Use of Fandom_Wank hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement. Use at your own risk. ^_^)

One of the criticisms I keep seeing leveled our way is that our conversation wasn’t what other forums were like. Some of this frankly seems like ignorance of Livejournal culture (a place that billed itself as an online diary) as well as the purpose of the community.

Why didn’t we have serious discussions on 
s_d? Why did we prefer to be silly and have fun and squee in delight rather than pontificate? Why did we scream at the top of our lungs to the heavens in futile rage? Why did the powerless bitch so much?

Because that was what it was 
for.

There were other 
forums for discussing comics seriously. Most preferred to do it in their own livejournals, treating them like blogs. Some, like me, went to the forum message boards at sites like Newsarama, Alvaro message boards, and ComicBloc. I had to because almost nobody else liked Hal Jordan but me, for the longest. :/

S_D was about abandoning analysis for rampant speculation, preferably pornographic. As the creator, Mary, 
thefakeheadline, put it ‘by slash fans, for slash fans’.

At some point, some guy lectured us on our silliness, pointing out that Batman, probably, wasn’t doing it with Robin.

Thoughts on Bat-slash, from a purist
Originally posted: 2004-12-16 04:18:00

 

 

 

I am something of a fogey when it comes to slash. That people like it, I have no problem with - much in the same way that people, for example, like Hee Haw - that is their thing and they are welcome to it. However, slash fans are, well, kind of evangelistic about their love of slash to fellow geeks in a way that is disconcertingly reminiscent of, say, Mormons on crack. Hence me leafing through a very long, very mediocre piece of Bruce/Dick slash forwarded to me yesterday and just rubbing my temples in disbelief. See, the concept of Batman/ANYBODY slash, be it homo or het, just makes me groan, much in the way that Potter-fic where Dumbledore rapes Harry makes HP fans groan (I mean with contempt, like). The concept of Batman having sex with anybody in a fanfic of less length than 'War and Peace' is simply ludicrous because it would take that much length to justify the act. The man is an emotional cripple - terrified of admitting an emotional connection to anybody at all because deep in his heart he believes that if he does, the Bad Man Will Come And Take Them Away. ...... .....  ....I say this not to be a spoilsport, because I understand fully that posting scans where comic artists have perhaps somewhat inappropriately placed Bruce's hand and suchlike is fun, and well and good to that (even if it is sorta the grownup equivalent of asking a girl in the schoolyard to look down her shirt and spell "attic").



Can you imagine the
response? You’d think he was Peter David>.> I think I said something along the lines of “Do you go to politics forums and tell people not to talk about politics?” I didn’t bother following the thread. It was embarrassing. I figured he was just another Scarfe, a straight male intruder with entitlement issues. What would you expect from someone calling himself 'mightygodking'?

Much to my surprise, he apologized, to the comm. as a whole, and was quite charming. 

An apology in two parts
Originally posted: 2004-12-17 04:38:00

I would like to make an apology to the entire community here for the previous post. Please understand that my intentions were not to denigrate people for liking slash, but merely to illustrate why the scans in question were important to me (and they are - Batman is one of the top three favorites I have). And if people felt that I was trying to dismiss or put down the silliness that goes on here, that's really not the case either, because I like all that, really. So, again, my apologies.

(Then, he posted gayness, and all was well.)

I still can’t understand why he stayed. Surely there were better places for a guy? But he did and we got
Archie scans. (Til he got TOSed.)

The trickle of fanboys continued—though warned now that we had a
Homo-Gay Agenda.
megatexas  has suggested that this had a “You must be this tolerant to go on this ride.” effect, weeding out most of the nitwits that make us crazy or depressed everywhere else in comicdom.

The material began to change as S_D got more popular. Material that should’ve been listed elsewhere was pimped on the comm. Simply because s_d was a bigger audience. There was more likelihood of response and we all know mail to our box means love, right? There was a poll on what to start cracking down on, but the purpose of the comm. was widened.

Always a contentious fandom (just start by insisting on any comic board how ridiculous it is that a ninja acrobat could ever really beat Superman) the cozy atmosphere of friends made it all the more unpleasant (and the reaction worse) when we got a drive-by
troll. The bigger the group created more reaction feeding the trolls. We got a bad reputation.

But s_d is high volume and given a few days, a discussion is lost to the radar to all but the most die-hard. The new mod,
skalja , had a hard time keeping up. Nevertheless, abusing your fellow poster was frowned on, and we were usually willing to defend each other.

Creators weren’t included in the fellow respected category. They weren’t real people to us. We were the peons, they were the bigtime. You might go to their spaces, on their forums, but you didn’t expect them to show up at your house (and watch you masturbate).

It wasn’t like we advertised, or something. Til Lying in the Gutters pointed us out for those who didn’t like downloading and Journalista began putting up daily picks of s_d material.

As such, there wasn’t really a problem in saying something like “so-and-so ought to have his balls crushed in a juicer for doing such-and-such with this story”. They were abstracts and you couldn’t really have an equal conversation with someone with power over you and what you love. Fans mostly whined or fawned about them. We were ‘ants’ after all! Why would an ‘eagle’ bother to notice us? Or care?

Over the years, there began to be a urban legend that creators lurked at S_D. Certainly we began to see ‘shout-outs’, jokes in books that seemed to reference our jokes and tastes personally. They had to be doing it for us, the fanboys didn’t like that sort of thing, after all. These shout-outs were rarely acknowledged—most posters found their humor funnier when it was unintentional. Some shout-outs went too far (Loeb on Ultimates III), and fangirls who’d previously laughed about their twisted speculation were horrified to find them turned into canon. (But some people liked it. Go figure.)

Warren Ellis said, about us, "They only posted your work if they really liked it or they really hated it. I liked that about it.”

Gotta wonder about that. If I didn’t pirate scans from a creator’s book, was I not showing him enough love?! Did he wonder “why aren’t I good enough?” Did he resent us for our casual mockery of his hard work? A beta-reader I once used said critiques of your work are like a death of a thousand cuts. In a bathtub filled with razor blades. With lemon juice. I cannot imagine the strain of worrying about how reaction to my work would affect my livelihood.

(Many mocked Loeb ruthlessly. We didn’t appreciate Ultimate III. Is that why Red Hulk is the way he is? When he battles the Lady Liberators, are we the ones who are too weak to stand up to his overpowering contempt?)

Warren Ellis began showing up, but I never thought he was pimping himself. I just figured he liked the company of perverts.

So many mixed messages. Fanboys who hated us (but went there everyday).  
Creators who thought we were pirates (but never  complained. (I remember Anonymous telling us to take down the final page spoiler of that Very Special Page of Nightwing--nobody needed to be told who it was)). People who said that only a few pages of Final Crisis weren’t enough to decide if it was worth buying or not—which led to a debate on how much of a given book is necessary to decide if you like it? With FC, the answer is: everything!  And you’d better have that Superman mini-series too!

Which brings us to the crisis of now. Dan Slott came by and got mugged, a little. His eventual response--after being accused of being a creator troll there just to make fun of us--on the subject was very intelligent and thoughtful, but it’s lost now. I’ve tried to weave some of those thoughts as I remember them. (And Racefail has yielded this discussion on
author/fan distance. skalja  decided we needed to be more welcoming when creators came by (but again, it was a surprise when they came out of nowhere to reply to something you’d been ranting about to friends). And then the Great Disaster. 

So..where to from here? The mods are the owners, but we are Hydra! this was a shared idea.   I came across an old mod post telling people to cut down on the essays they were writing to accompany their scans--people were here for the pretty! Ironic now. Does that mean dr_hermes can include full dissertations now? Too bad LJ-cuts don’t seem to work over the feed. I wonder sometimes if all the posts irrelevant to me mean its time for a new comm. more
specifically oriented. Of course, I do believe that scans_daily may have turned me into a bisexual..It all started with
 porn and humor in a space that struggled to keep comfortable for women. Where there is porn fanboys follow, and creators go where the audience is. But it was also a place where fans ruled and the corporations didn’t get to tell us what to like or put up and we said what we felt—the new rules of conduct make me feel gelded.   How can I feel enthusiastic if I can't hate?  Should someone start a male-slash scans invitation only comm.? Anyone for 4kun? Can we finally include photoshopped comics that are all legal and stuff?  I'd love to have those comic book parodies here..





Edit:  Interesting online magazine on Transformative Works includes an essay by cereta  about Livejournal.
 


Comments

( 96 comments — Leave a comment )
righthon
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
All I can say is that the phrase 'homo-gay agenda' makes me LOL in real life everytime I read it. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the intended effect.
badficwriter
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
I'd like to see it as one of our new rules. :)
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skalja
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
If I say, for example, "the rest of the issue makes me want to put nails through someone's skull - my own, Author X's, his editors, I'm not picky" - is it clear enough from my inclusion of myself in the comment that I'm not being serious about actual physical harm? Or is that simply no longer acceptable language, on the chance that Author X or his editors may interpret it differently?

Okay, hmm. I'd call that a borderline case and I'd probably want to see the full context, and very possibly ask another mod for a second opinion, before I made a final judgment - sorry if that sounds wishy-washy, but I really do think context does matter in this kind of situation.

I'd probably end up saying that because you're immediately contextualizing your strong words in terms of the creator's work, and also including yourself as a victim of your hypothetical violence (*g*), I'd give it a pass.

As for the rest of it, I think you might find my comment below enlightening.
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skalja
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
You know the timing of the suspension in relation to the new rules was really unfortunate, because I think a lot of people are seeing the "be nicer especially to creators" rule as a result of the whole hullaballo, when they were already drafted. (We were trying to tweak other parts of the ruleset before we slapped them up, in case anyone's wondering why they weren't in force yet.) And it wasn't just about creators, though that is part of it, based not just on the fact that creators lurk here but that some of them are active participants in the community, or were at the old comm (mckelvie? Still here?), and it seemed unfair to have a double standard. It's also about fans - fans who have told me they left the community because they felt constantly attacked for liking certain creators or creative trends that other fans hated, or who just felt tired of what they (and I) perceived as increasing negativity. It also goes along with our working on broadening the antidiscriminatory rules: don't be racist, don't be sexist, don't bash other people -- just don't, in general, be an asshole.

But that doesn't mean, and we explicitly say as much, that you can't criticize or express your dislike. There are plenty of ways to do that without expressing your hopes that somebody's balls get crushed in a juicer, you know? (And yes, unlike PAD, I'm fully aware that isn't literal.) Like, "Reading this story was like being shat on by a hippo, only worse." Or, you know, use your imagination, but I disagree with the contention that not letting people insult creators personally suppresses their freedom to be enthusiastic about comics, positively or negatively. I wouldn't have worked with the other mods to change the rules if I felt otherwise.

I don't know whether or not this will reassure you, but I thought I should get that out there.
misterandersen
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
The phrase "talentless egotistical hack who shouldn't be let near a pen agan on pain of death" is I think a perfecty fair criticism to use.
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parsimonia
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
This looks like a really awesome post and I can't wait to read it, but the font size is *really* tiny. =(
foxhack
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Not to mention, blue text on white background hurts my eyes.
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mullon
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
It's too blue! It's too bright blue! What does it say?!
parsimonia
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
HOMO-GAY AGENDA icons
Because I couldn't resist. Feel free to steal these or make better ones.



foxhack
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: HOMO-GAY AGENDA icons
NOT GAY ENOUGH!

They need more glittery effects!
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parsimonia
Mar. 11th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
It still bugs the hell out of me that the scans_daily fiasco FW report was so crappy and devoid of links and updates. I even linked to some more relevant wank in the comments, but to no avail. And they couldn't even spell schmevil's name right! I guess the HP-related wank posts of yore spoiled me.

They were abstracts and you couldn’t really have an equal conversation with someone with power over you and what you love. Fans mostly whined or fawned about them. We were ‘ants’ after all! Why would an ‘eagle’ bother to notice us? Or care?

That is a good way of putting it.

Very interesting post--I'm going to have to think on it a bit.

(Oh, and for the record, dr_hermes is still posting away on his own journal. Definitely worth watching IMO.)
skalja
Mar. 11th, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
That whole "ants" and "eagles" thing irritates me so much. I mean, this is the comics industry, where the creators are as close as you can get to being nobodies while still having some measure of fame. If we're going to talk ants and any kind of avian, it should be ants and hummingbirds, seriously. Let's save the "eagle" title for, I don't know ... Madonna, or JFK. Or, hey, the Beatles. But Frank Miller, seriously?

Also, what about fans who are famous and important people in their own right, eh? Like ... Barack Obama, maybe? Yeah, I know PAD was probably talking about fans who would dare to question the almighty god-creator, but I bet Obama used to do that too. (It would be hilarious if he still does, but I doubt he has the time.)
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leo_snake89
Mar. 11th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
I never really understood all the creator bashing. If a story ruins a beloved character, my virtually cursing them isn't going make it any less cannon (until a re-con) or them a better writer. Heck, maybe they've written terrific stuff in the past and this title just isn't their book.

I find it more acceptable to say, "This is an awful, horrid story and now I must gouge out my eyes."

But to say "This single person right here is the reason this series sucks and I wish bodily harm upon them." is frankly unnecessary.

It doesn't matter whether or not you actually mean it, it's rude and no one should have to put up with it. It doesn't add to the conversation, it just makes you look like an ass.

Um, I'm going to go back to lurking now.
skalja
Mar. 11th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing and I do, actually, agree with the general principle of your argument, seeing as I made the new rules - but badficwriter did just spend a lot of time explaining why she felt being able to insult creators was an important part of the community culture, and you just effectively called her and several other people asses. I realize it might have been unintentional, given that she didn't explicitly say that she said ____ about ____, but still, please don't do that.
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"I SAY THEE..." - abbadie - Mar. 11th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC) - Expand
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schmevil
Mar. 11th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
iirc the unhappiness with essays stemmed from the shift away from scans to text. So the balance of the post was text, mostly personal feelings about comics, with a few scattered scans to ensure legality, rather than directly engaging with the material being presented. I haven't seen anyone complain about tl;dr posts that have lots of scans, and are either directly about the scans, or use the scans to illustrate a point. Anyway, what I'm saying is that you can of course post a scan essay on SD 2.0, but it needs to use the scans in a meaningful way - otherwise it's off topic.

Regarding the creator/fan issue, the trouble is that in comics fandom, those spaces are already blurred. The comics industry and fandom is a drop in the proverbial bucket, compared to SW, ST or HP. It's a small world, and one in which there are fewer barriers to entering creatorhood. As hard as it is to break into comics professionally, it's a lot harder to become a movie director, or a billionaire novelist. We're in a fandom in which potentially, any of us could become creators, and in which creators are also operating as fans. Remember, we have a lot of members who produce their own webcomics, or are artists and writers working for small presses. Some of whom were using scans_daily to promote their work.

We're also looking at increasing numbers of creators wanting to get in on the action; to try to steer the conversation to their advantage, and use fora like ours, to promote themselves and their work. And although it might be more comfortable for us, we can't keep them out. We can't put up an anti-creator firewall. What we could do, is be as unwelcoming as possible to creators, but that amounts to a) begging for trolls; and b) excluding people like Gail Simone, Kurt Busiek, and Warren Ellis, who've figured out how to navigate the uncertain waters of creator/fan interaction on the internet. So the dilemma becomes do we exclude all creators, or find a way to potentially let all creators in? A community can't cherry pick its membership and still be open and welcoming - I think that would change the SD culture far more than moving away from calling for creator-evisceration (live on channel 5!).

contd below

Edited at 2009-03-11 02:37 pm (UTC)
schmevil
Mar. 11th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
contd (talk about tl;dr)
I don't think we have to kiss ass to be welcoming to creators. I don't think we should kiss ass. If I wanted to spend my fannish time fawning over say, Gail Simone, I would be on a Gail fansite, singing her praises. I also don't think that we're being ruled by corporations. What we're being ruled by, is common sense. If we can't keep the creators out (and do we want to, completely?) then we have to live with them. We fans make up the majority of SD's population, and as such, we have more power to shape how creator/fan interactions will play out here. Yes, creators bring with them their creatorly power (a certain amount of authority to speak about their work, and the comics industry as a whole), but they are stepping into our space. We have a certain amount of ability to make those interactions work for us, and likewise, we have to bear a some responsibility for when they go pear shaped. Barring outright ignorance or trolling on the part of creators, which hey, in no way is on us. And look, many of our conversations here will continue to be uninteresting to a lot of creators. Being less overtly hostile to creators doesn't mean they'll suddenly descend on us, in a flurry of self-promotion. Dealing with fans, even ones as mild as us *cough* are a challenge for quite a lot of creators. The fact is that some will never be interested in deepening their relationship with us - I hardly think we have to worry about Frank Miller showing up and complaining about his work not getting enough love.

Our particular fannish expression exists in a legal gray area (and it's a very dark shade of gray). We've seen our community shut down, and some of our members threatened. Right now, not just the rules, but also the community norms are in flux. None of us know what this community will look like in six months. I for one vote AWESOME, but, yeah. That's up to you guys too. :)

It's my opinion that we can being critical without being vitriolic. We can hate, with the power of a thousands suns even, without being shaming ourselves with nastiness and pettiness. And ultimately, I don't think that creator-bashing is an essential part of our culture. (Maybe comics culture as a whole, but...)
thatnickguy
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
The thing is, we might bash creators sometimes (or, you know, all the time with Land or Liefeld, but I'm sorry, that's deserved), but we were also sometimes respectably critical.

Gail Simone always responded politely to the criticism, I found. And Warren Ellis would just tell us to 'eff off, which was, you know, Ellis.

For all the hate that we have, it's really no different than any other areas of comic book discussions on the 'net.

Of course, when there was a particularly bad comic (Ultimates III, Red Hulk, the Bruce Jones issues of Checkmate), I'd post my Picard "WTF is this shit?!" picture. But again, I feel those were deserved.
schmevil
Mar. 11th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't LAAAAAAND was really abusive. :) There was some extremely harsh mockery going on where Land and Liefeld were concerned, but not too many instances of people calling for them to be killed.
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22by7
Mar. 13th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, 'shouldn't have quit their day job.'
proteus_lives
Mar. 13th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
Homo-Gay Agenda?
Why does everyone get an agenda but me?

I'm starting my own Agenda to corrupt and/or save America/World!
( 96 comments — Leave a comment )