Friday, July 07, 2006

Talking with creators whose work you do NOT enjoy...

This is about comics, but probably applies across-the-board, to books, movies, tv shows, etc.

Not long ago, I asked the following of some folks in an online forum:
' Let's say you see a comic book professional ("celebrity" started with a "c," that's all) at a comic book convention and get a chance to talk with him or her.

I doubt anyone would have a problem with being told all the things they've done well, but is there anything wrong with telling them the things you disliked?

This all assumes, of course, that the pro isn't taking a dump or anything like that, at the time.

It's a convention and they're speaking to fans and you're a fan. Do you talk about the bad as well as the good? '

A number of the respondents thought that the very idea of saying something negative to a creator proves that you're a dick-head.

I disagree. (No surprise, huh?)

I only bring it up now because Erik Larsen, a well-known comic book professional/creator, had the following to say on the subject:
' What do you say to a creator whose work you don't enjoy?

The same stuff [you'd say to a creator whose work you do enjoy], really, minus the whole "I think your work kicks serious ass" speech. '

This is the part where I stick out my e-tongue and tell you I e-told you so, but instead I'll just copy & paste something else I said in that thread when someone asked, '...why bother having a conversation with [someone whose work you disliked]?':

In-response, I said,...
1) Because sometimes there are good reasons why a person's work has been sub-standard.
2) Because they may be working on a character or series that I'm quite fond of.
3) Because some artists like feedback, not just positive feedback.

For example, Joe Quesada had a panel at the 2004 MegaCON. I attended and, when I got the opportunity, I brought up something that we'd discussed at CBR. In fact, I think Smarty Jones was the one who first brought it up.

It was well-received and Quesada's response and reaction were great. In fact, the comics since then have often seemed to take into account some of the kinds of concerns I mentioned, that day. That doesn't mean that that's why those things happened, but it wasn't a bad thing that these things were mentioned.

The idea that any and all feedback should be positive definitely works to the creator's ego's advantage, but I don't think we're doing them a disservice by saying what we dislike.

If I'd spoken with Kordey, when he took over X-TREME X-MEN, I'd have LOVED to hear that his work looked like that because Marvel put him under some unfair deadlines. He might've appreciated the chance to vent and I certainly would've appreciated the information (which I actually got from CBR or somewhere).'


asdf said...

I think as long as you bring your problems with their work up in a decent manner then there shouldn't be a problem. I think everybody could use some contructive criticism.

West said...

That's how I see it, really.