§ Shaenon K. Garrity looks at the sad status of the comic book message boards and the result is savagely insightful from top to bottom:

Once, Kyle Baker went on the DC message boards to promote his then-new run on Plastic Man. He was chased away under a hail of abuse and slurs in under 24 hours. Later, somebody posed as him under a fake username to further smear him. Populated by self-hating teenagers, woman-hating teenagers, and self-hating, woman-hating, forty-year-old teenagers, each a few IQ points short of the people who post comments on YouTube, the DC message boards are the most grotesque comic book message boards on the Internet, but only because Marvel doesn’t have its own boards anymore.

What was it exactly that killed the message board? Was is MySpace. Facebook or Twitter or Warren Ellis? We hear there are still some decent message boards around, but all small and private, but we aren’t invited to them and neither are you.

§ Paul Karasik compares storytelling technique of Giotto and Jack Kirby.

§ The Boston Globe sensibly asks What to do if your child has superpowers:

You may have heard that it could happen at any time. One moment your child might be playing with a toy truck and the next moment he or she is levitating a few feet above the ground. Or your baby might suddenly transform into an ice sculpture. Or – and I have heard this worry expressed by more than one parent – your child might become orange and rock-like, even though he was nowhere near any cosmic rays.

§ Sean T. Collins posts a list of indie comics type on Twitter, so, in the words of Tom Jones, “Follow, follow, follow, follow.”


  1. For creators, and many others, message boards just evolved into blog comments. The barrier for creators to communicate with fans are so low, it’s easier to just do it yourself with a blog where you can have a dialog and filter out noise without being at the mercy of the some forum users’ sense of entitlement.

  2. The DC Comics message boards can be pretty nasty at times, but it seems to depend on the particular forum. Proclaiming your preference of Ronnie Raymond on the Firestorm board causes a near-automatic barrage from the same six Jason Rusch fans, while posting your desire to see trade paperback collections of the Ronnie Raymond Firestorm stories on the DC Archives board is more well-received.

  3. Does Shaenon not know about the CBR Forums? They’re kinda like Newsarama, but not retarded. Except the X-Board, which is kinda like Newsarama, but *more* retarded.

  4. I will second Rantz Hosely’s, Panel & Pixel.
    A calm in stormy seas. Plus, you *must* use your real name – non of that fake name / avatar crap to hide behind.

    The Image Comics forums are also fairly well controlled and creator specific. In fact, several indy creators are accessible there. And since the creators moderate their own forums things don’t get out of hand… or suffer waiting for some overhead editorial to delete the trolls.

  5. “it’s easier to just do it yourself with a blog where you can have a dialog and filter out noise without being at the mercy of the some forum users’ sense of entitlement.”

    No, the discussion on blogs is just at the mercy of the creator’s thin skin and the fact that Creator X’s blog will disproportionately draw fans of Creator X.


  6. Mike,
    You have to factor in RSS feeds, linkblogging, google searches and the like. Sure, some blog commenters are like fanclub boosters, but the meta discussion is bigger than that and is much more accessible than the closed communities of message boards. Message boards are great if you’re part of the community but for outsiders or people who want to reach beyond one forum’s readership, they’re just too much work.

  7. I started one of the first hosted, single-sponsor comics message boards of the kind that still exist now. It seemed to me back then that a huge attracting element for a lot of people was to talk about themselves. There are now a lot of ways for people to talk about themselves on-line.

  8. “Once, Kyle Baker went on the DC message boards to promote his then-new run on Plastic Man.”


    In the same way, can we take the fact that the American public once believed Nixon as proof that the American people are now, in 2009, collectively gullible?

    Or the fact that America elected Dan Quayle to the Vice Presidency as proof that we are currently a nation of idiots?

    So in looking at the example cited, all that Shaenon K. Garrity can do to “prove” her point is to bring up one 5 1/2 year old example and combine it with a litany of insults that make her sound no different from those that she seeks to denigrate?

    If that’s indeed the case, and her argumentative skills are truly THAT deficient, then I feel that I must say express quite a bit of disappointment in that which passes for critical reasoning these days.

  9. @Alwaysoptimistic:

    I believe you just proved everything awful about forum users in one fell swoop.

    Very impressive.

  10. No garrett, he got it exactly right. Theres at least half a dozen other boards not mentioned which are pretty good. And whats with insulting every poster on those boards. Following that example you could say things about people who read the beat.

  11. I think it’s pretty obvious what kind of people reads The Beat: big people, little people, people who climb on rocks, fat people, skinny people, even people with chicken pox.

  12. @ Garrett

    If you truly believe that one 5 1/2 year old example, presented without any evidence, is representative of anything then I would be willing to listen to your argument.

    If you feel that all of those insults were witty and are deserved by the thousands of people whom neither you nor the author have ever met (or seemingly ever even spoken to), then I would be interested in hearing your case.

    I do have to admit that generalizing and insulting others is indeed a technique with which I am unfamiliar, perhaps you might explain it, and the reasoning behind it, to me in further detail?

    Or is simply that you disagree with my definition of critical reasoning?

  13. alwaysoptimistic:

    I don’t think Garrity’s intent with that article was critical reasoning. At all. I mean, come on. The title is a “Half-Assed Guide to Comic Book Message Boards”, for cripes’ sake.

    It was just personal expression regarding what she felt was the sad state of comic book message board culture.

    And, while I don’t want to turn this into an argument, I get Garret’s comment regarding your first post. Taking an article called a “Half-Assed Guide” to task about argumentative skills and critical reasoning? It’s reminiscent of the things some of the more irritable people on message boards take their comics and creators to task about. I apologize in advance if you think I’m labeling you as “irritable”, I’m just making a comparison.

    What does this say about people who read The Beat? That they probably have more fun, and get more out of, reading The Beat than going on forums. I’m definitely one of those people, by the way.

  14. Except the X-Board, which is kinda like Newsarama, but *more* retarded.

    As someone who used to be a moderator at CBR, let me just say… that gave me a much needed laugh when I read that.