A post from my Marvel blog of the past talking about the rise of online interaction with the fans.
Everybody in this industry has a real love-hate relationship with the Internet. You wouldn’t believe how often we all tell one another to stop going online, and to stop worrying about what’s being said–all at the same time we’re all looking online at what’s being said. It’s like an addiction.
It can be a wonderful thing to get the kind of instantaneous feedback that the Internet provides. But it can also be crippling. Like those who work in almost any entertainment media, the people who make comic books are simultaneously supremely confident and emotionally needy.
And when the relationship goes wrong, it can destroy careers. We’ve seen a couple of creators who became so reviled after they melted down publicly on the Internet that it began to affect the sales of their books. In other instances, creators were so traumatized by the harshness of fan reactions to their work that they retreated entirely, and some of them even left the business for awhile.
It’s no great secret that the Internet is extremely conducive to letting peoples’ bad sides run free. It’s almost like a Rorschach test. Removed from the immediacy of personal interaction and any consequences for what is said, posters of all stripes, both fan and pro, let their worst selves show through.
Every performer, every writer and artist and craftsman and entertainer wants to be loved. That’s part of the drive that makes somebody go into these fields in the first place. So, given that, the Internet can be a very potent drug, and a drug that can become as crippling, as life-altering, as any narcotic. And even when people know better, like a digital car crash it’s impossible to look away. Doesn’t matter how smart you are, how sharp you are, how secure you are–it gets almost everyone in the end.
So like the public service announcements say: drink responsibly.