Comic Fodder

Note to Main Media: Stop Ruining My Comics!

In my day job, I have to look through the internet for some up-to-date information. It’s a daily thing, and it doesn’t take too long, but it does involve visiting online news sites. I would like to think I am as conscientious as the next person in keeping my searches to a minimum and only accessing those articles that are job-related, but when the headline is ”Superman’s dad is dead… again,” I hope I can be forgiven for clicking on the link.

At first I was thinking this was concerning Brad Meltzer’s new novel, Book of Lies, since part of the premise concerns the real-life death of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel's father. Either that, or some movie news, or an actor somewhere had died who had portrayed Superman’s father. Nope, none of that. What followed was a CNN webpage of an Associated Press release. The whole article was only 94 words long. It’s purpose? To spoil the ending of a comic book.

On this site, we try to preserve as much mystery as we can for good stories. The internet is rife with places to find a recap of every single page of every single comic, on the day of its release, sometimes accompanied by digital scans of the artwork, even. If you want it, you can find it with no problem. We like to think people come to our site for other reasons. What do these major news organizations want to do, though?

Evidently, they want to ruin our stories as quickly as they can. This was not an in-depth article, nor was this a review of the latest issue. The entire article was just to announce a comic book character had died. Not even a major one, like Superman himself, which caused an uproar in the commercial comics market, while veteran readers knew he’d come back in a little while. It’s like the day the movie Citizen Kane came out, a major news report revealed the meaning of Rosebud, before anyone had a chance to get to the theatre. Come on!

They did this to us recently, with Marvel Comics making a major news release to announce the death of Captain America. There wasn’t even a chance to avoid this one, as major websites posted his death on their main portal page, no spoiler warning or anything. Like they couldn’t wait for three or six hours to give some people a chance to get to the comic store. Did the AP pick this up and run with it, or was this the bright idea of some DC executive who thought it was “newsworthy?” Either way, it is insufferable.

Look, I’m a big kid. I understand that in this day and age, it is impossible to take somebody new to a big thing like Star Wars and have them sit down and watch all the decades-old movies without them already knowing who Luke Skywalker’s father turns out to be. I don’t expect everyone renting Sixth Sense to be surprised at the ending; the movie’s been out for ages. But when a new comic comes out, how about the big comic publishers and almighty news agencies have a little pity on the poor reader and just hold their yaps shut for half a newsday?

Now, I know when the next Harry Potter book comes out, I should avoid all book reviews, because half of them will want to mention the details. I know not to click on any links referring the book or future movies until I have had a chance to get my grubby mitts on the thing. This Action leak was not even close. It was designed solely for the purpose of immediately conveying the most important surprise that happened in the issue, if not one of the most important things to happen in the entire series since almost forever.

This is foul play. Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson. On Wednesday mornings, I will browse the internet with my eyes half-closed, desperately hoping to be able to visit my comic store in the evening and take home a pile of mystery. Because we can’t count on the major media and the publishers themselves to stop ruining our fun.
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Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

I'd be really curious to speak with the person who reported this and the editor who approved it to hear thier justification for running that when they did. I can't imagine anything they would say to change my opinion that they are both expletives deleted.

-- Posted by: Jim Brocius at October 13, 2008 9:05 PM

How sad is it that I saw the headline from Newsarama before I read the actual news that day...

(I think most Superman readers knew the spoiler was happening months ago, though...)

-- Posted by: Ryan at October 13, 2008 10:49 PM

Yeah, it's amazing isn't it. You never see mainstream media reporting the final scene of a movie or the last page in a book but I guess it is okay to ruin a surprise in a comic.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at October 13, 2008 10:53 PM