A fan in a yellow hat went to Chicago Comic-Con, saw Rob Liefeld — who has certainly had his ups and downs in the comics industry but still goes out to shows and takes his lumps like a grown-up — and showed Liefeld who’s boss by slipping him a copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way with a snotty note inside. And then took a surreptitious video of it. And wrote a triumphant blog post about it. We decline to link to the post in question because all this guy was after was attention and he’s certainly got it, as a 300+ post reply thread has emerged with various comics professionals — from Ethan van Sciver to Sarah Oleksyk — telling Yellow Hat how petty and immature he was being. Here’s a representative response from Tony Shasteen:
Seriously dude, whether you like him or not, Rob is know as an industry professional that made a truck load of money in the heyday of Image. You’re known, and soon to be forgotten, as the guy in the ridiculous yellow hat that acts like a twat. Bravo…
Seriously dude, if you behave like such a douche that you are getting the comics industry to rally behind Rob Liefeld you’ve really behaved like a douche.
Or, in the words of Cameron Stewart:
So you don’t like Rob Liefeld, big deal. His work isn’t to my tastes either but I would never dream of trying to publicly humiliate him in person. He’s taken the time and expense to come to that show to ply his trade – just as you work at your job – and interact with the people who DO appreciate his work and presence. He’s not there for you to be snide and condescending and to be the recipient of your asinine, half-witted pranks.
Actually, Dustin Harbin had the best suggestion:
Guys, let’s increase the peace. A SUGGESTION:
Those people who agree with Yellow Hat Guy should signify so by wearing yellow hats at comic book events. Also trenchcoats–those are always in style, year-round. People LOVE TRENCHCOATS.
Those who disagree with Yellow Hat Guy should walk up to people with yellow hats, hand them a bag with a surprise in it (a turd? you decide!) and a note which asks for an apology for the yellow-hat wearer’s douchery. Origin of the douchery not important–the recipient likely is inhuman and lacks feelings, so it doesn’t matter at all whether it makes sense or hurts them in any way. They almost certainly love being publicly insulted by people, like most of us do.
Then film (or have a friend film, that’s okay too, still ballsy) the whole thing from between some other con-goers’ shoulders. Like a stud.
UPDATE 2 pm EDT: Well, this has really taken on a life of its own — check out the Twitter hashtag #douchebaginayellowhat. The term “yellow hat,’ as yuo can read in The Beat’s comments, is now a code word for a kind of obnoxious fan.
Also every blog out there has lit up with comments on it. Our favorite, however is this from Jordyn Marcellus, who analyzes the incident in terms of the work of Prof. Henry Jenkins, who has made extensive study of the psychology of fandom:
In Poachers, Jenkins refers to a paper by John Tulloch about Dr. Who fans. In short, he argues these fans (and what I want to generalize to all “fans”) is that they are a “powerless elite” who find themselves with an inability to affect their decisions on the production of their fannish interest, despite their relative mastery over it. Jenkins says this kind of knowledge is comparable to, or better than, an academic’s knowledge of their particular academic area of interest. (In short: a Harry Potter obsessive may know more relative knowledge and are better able to analyze the subject of Harry Potter than an academic who studies pornography or film. I’m not sure if I agree with that, but I want to continue with it because it’ll be important quickly).
It’s this sense of elitism that has led some (not many) fans to condone the Yellow Hat actions.