“Creators are more important than fictional characters and corporations.”

Today was going to be my review of Kotsko’s Why We Love Sociopaths but I got busy writing something for Nightmare Mode and running errands, so that has to wait at least one more day.

Instead, you get this gem that Jamaal Thomas wrote over at Funnybook Babylon.

For the most part, the post is just a condemnation of DC Comics’ treatment of Alan Moore and the general massive fuckery that has gone on in that camp over the past couple years. It then spreads into a larger discussion about creators rights and our ethical responsibilities as consumers of comic books. Thomas writes:

Are we members of a thriving community dedicated to a unique art form? Or are we simply consumers of entertainment products featuring our favorite characters? There’s something very freeing about being a consumer. You can limit your engagement with the industry to buying comics at your local store, from Amazon or on Comixology. You can care about creator’s rights to the extent that they are protected by criminal and civil law. Your purchasing decisions can be purely defined by the quality/entertainment value of the work. If you’re a customer, it’s all about choice. In contrast, if we self-identify as members of a community, we feel an obligation to assume an expanded sense of responsibility to our own, even if they signed a bad contract.

I’d prefer to be a member of a community. There’s nothing dishonorable about limiting one’s engagement with industry to consuming the product, even though I would hope that readers who make this choice try to be ethical consumers by paying some attention to the conditions under which the books they enjoy are created.

Creators are more important than fictional characters and corporations. They are more important than the fifteen minutes of entertainment that I get from reading a good Marvel/DC superhero comic, or the two hours plus of ‘entertainment’ from a superhero action movie. I don’t know if that means I should stop reading comics published by Marvel or DC yet. I want to continue buying books written and drawn by some of my favorite creators, many of whom don’t publish work independently or for other publishers. I don’t really want to boycott either publisher (though I understand why some do). I like contributing to not-for-profits or other funds that support creators in need of help, but that just doesn’t feel sufficient.

I’m not quite ready to quit, but Moore’s words keep echoing in my mind.

This is basically my exact feelings on the subject. I’m not ready to make the David Brothers leap just yet, but I am incredibly close, and it isn’t like I buy enough Big Two for it to matter much in my life anyway. The only cape comics that I really read with any regularity are whenever The Punisher kicks up into high gear, which is pretty rare. Other than that it is Animal Man when he is being written well, fun one-shots, and miniseries. I’m pretty certain that no one at the Big Two makes comics for me anyway, so it isn’t a hug loss.

Anyway, I just really wanted you to read that bit I quoted and to check out Thomas’ article. It is good stuff.

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