Whenever a comic book story gets media attention, I cringe. Here is this hobby that I enjoy so well, that I can take so much from, and now the national spotlight is going to make it go crazy.
I first remember it happening with “The Death of Superman.” There was a huge media storm. Some of my relatives would come up to me and try to talk to me about it, but that was when I learned that they knew squat about the Reign of Superman story that followed his death or about any of the details of the actual story behind his death. The lesson was learned though—they just weren’t a fan like I was.
The phrase “fairweather fan” comes to mind when the media grabs a hold of a comic book story. It always surprises me how these fans come out of the wood works whenever these stories hit, and I just wonder where they are every Wednesday. But that’s the cynical side of me. I actually am happy that comics get national attention, and I hope that it would bring in fans that I can meet up with on new comic book Wednesdays. Then, to really get my funny bone going, I look at the brighter side of things: reporters who only read the press release.
Oh, these are the good ones.
I understand how reporting goes. Sometimes you just aren’t happy with the assignment you got. But you have a deadline so away you go to research and write. You look over the quotes from the press release and try to build a story around it. Then you do a little light research and fire it off to an editor who helps glossy it up, and then away it goes off to internet fame and glory.
So what happens when you mix a politically charged topic like the Occupy movement and comics? Comedy gold. You can tell when some reporters didn’t do the right research or made grandiose assumptions about the material that just isn’t there.
First, read the Capeless article that gets you the info for the subject matter here. Second, go to Google news, and let’s see what a simple search for said topic will bring. (Please, please would somebody make a drinking game out of this?)
Wired has a pretty standard take on the situation. They will at least acknowledge that this is a revival from an old series DC had in 1975. They do use a quote from Gail Simone to describe The Movement, but not before the article takes a few shots at DC about their publishing line. Well, more than a few. Every other paragraph has some shot at DC. At least they got that DC previously published V for Vendetta and The Invisibles, although they can’t seem to come up with any recent examples of DC or any comic book taking sides in a political matter. (There are some that do, just wait!)
So, yea, Wired just was on an attack. There is some semblance of reporting there, but it is hidden in all the snark and obvious slant on the subject matter that wouldn’t pass a journalism 101 class. Impartiality is such a bitch like that sometimes.
It wouldn’t be fair to attack NewsBusters who outright say that their angle is to expose liberal media bias. So how much of what is essentially an opinion piece is correct? Well, they quote the Wired article from above, but they at least admit that they aren’t sure what will be involved in the comic. NewsBusters does wonder if the violence that national media didn’t mention about the Occupy movement would be portrayed in the comic, which is a fair question. Then the comedy nugget of gold is discovered when they mention that DC has been political before in comics when, in 2003 they had Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman promote the UN. Granted, this is more recent that Wired’s examples of The Invisibles and V for Vendetta, but there is a missed opportunity for something even more politically charged since 2003 in a DC comic: Superman renouncing his US citizenship. Even Fox News had a field day with that topic.
Breitbart does a good job of just cherry picking random quotes and stringing them together, but how much of it is correct information? According to writer Gail Simone via Twitter, “…they got EVERYTHING WRONG :).”
And trust me, you will want to check out the hashtag #madeupmovementfacts on Twitter. The hashtag was promoted by Simone as a way to show people’s ignorance of what they were reporting about the comic series, even though very little information is out about the book.
Just take a look at Washington Times and their opinion piece on the series, which opens with a question about whether DC Comics has run out of ideas.
Let’s take a page out of Gail Simone’s playbook on this one with the hashtag #madeupmovementfacts. These aren’t actual reporters investigating facts. This is opinion news, and it is so far removed from what actual reality is that it becomes something funny. None of the articles mentioned that the books will be a part of the New 52, so these teams are right next door to Batman and Superman. Barely any of them mentioned that this is a somewhat revival of previous DC stories. You know what might make a more important news article? That fact that a female creator is on a book that is under the national spotlight.
I wonder if this book will be “WTF certified,” as a part of DC’s new branding initiative, because seeing a female creator on a title that is getting promoted on a national level like this is sure to make some people out there go “WTF?”