Professionals Vs Fans

slottfansNewsarama recently posted an interesting article focusing on the fine line between fan interaction and comic professionals.  The professional writers and editors talked about dealing with fandom online. They have to deal with everything from praise, criticism to the extreme which are death threats.
The article interviewed Amazing Spider-Man Writer Dan Slott and he has some interesting quotes in it. Here they are,

Dan Slott, Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man writer, muses that “I could write whole books on this,” but gets very itchy, declining to cite specific examples.

“You never want to let that guy know he got under your skin, and you never want to show people examples of bad behavior to emulate,” he says.

Slott is a gregarious, friendly guy who’s always willing to interact with fans on Twitter and the like. It’s where he’s from.

“When I was a fan 25, 30, 35 years ago, if there was a way I could interact with Stan Lee and John Romita, with Denny O’Neil or Walt Simonson, just by typing an at-symbol in front of their name…yeah! I would do that!” he says. “It would be awesome to be able to do that! I would ask them questions. I would engage.”

But personally, that’s where Slott would draw the line.

“But what I wouldn’t do is just ring someone’s bell to tell them I didn’t like their work, to call them an asshole and then run away,” he says. “That’s what I don’t get. Why do that?”

On the whole, Slott tries to measure his online interactions. He recently called the aggregate a “heightened reality,”where the bright spots get brighter, but the dark areas show up so much darker.

“It’s confusing,” he says. “Going forward, I think that when a fan rings my bell and tells me they like my stuff, I need to pay more attention to them, focus on them instead of the other guy, and engage them. Become part of and reward the good example. Maybe that’s the only way we all get better.”

Slott recently engaged in a debate with several posters over on CBR who didn’t care for Amazing Spider-Man #3. They wondered why Johnny Storm wouldn’t be the owner of the Baxter Building instead of Peter Parker buying it. Here’s a link to some of his quotes.  The thread went pretty much off the rails. It involved Slott asking the fans to quit buying this book. Others quit the book.  And Slott aimed some insults at people who enjoy this website. 

So here’s some questions I’d like you to discuss in the comment section. 
1) Should creators stay offline and avoid engaging in discussion and let the work speak for itself? 
2) What are your thoughts on Dan Slott’s online behavior with fans who criticize his work?
3) What advice would you have for your fellow fans on how to deal with professionals online?
4) Why does Slott lump this whole website as negative? Our podcast grades and online grades of his work are all over the place.
Again, please be civil in the comment section.

(54) Comments

  1. Captain Frugal

    #50 "If you look at the CBR message boards, there are plenty of people who say stuff that is critical of Slott. Some of them have posted in this comments section." I agree, and I do not like personal attacks, but to act like Dan does not do it is silly. Dan starts it very often and he participates in it when he should walk away or present himself in a more professional manner. Dan likes to make mean tweets and posts when he knows he can control the situation. I have seen him protected many times, even more so when Marvel had an open forum. I saw the moderation remove pages of his posts to protect him from his meltdowns. Side not: I liked your last article!

  2. QuilSniv

    I think Slott's problem is that he views Amazing Spider-Man as his pet project, or more accurately, as an extension of his own vision and body. If anybody lays a finger on it, he will spring to its defense. This is human, and a person will typically defend a project they're proud of. The problem here is that Slott has no self-control. One minute he can be on one side praising himself on the book, the next he can savagely ripping whoever critiqued his book a new one. It's not the need to defense his work that the Crawlspace has a problem with, from my perspective. It's the aggressive, childish way he handles his defense, and his need to tightly grip the throats of every person who disagrees with him until they relent. But in a sense, he can viewed as an extension of Marvel. As head writer for ASM, it is embarrassing to them that he is acting this way, and makes the Crawlspace staff Picard Face-palm hard enough to break the sound barrier. As I already stated and will close with, it's how Slott acts so childishly and immature when he should be holding a higher degree of self-control; if not for himself, then for his credibility as a Marvel representative.

  3. Chase the Blues Away

    #42: You said: "I think this board has a reader space ethos, in the sense of how Ilona Andrews sees it, but it doesn’t explicltly identify itself as such." In Crawlspace 101, Brad writes: "I've been a fan of Spider-Man ever since I was two years old. I had wanted to start up my own site for awhile, and a site devoted to my favorite web head was a natural. I was also wanting to communicate with other fans and vent about the current happenings of Spider-Man through reviews." That's pretty explicit. Your comparison is still fallacious. So what if people were discouraged from criticizing the board "years ago?" (which lowers the relevancy when discussing something occurring in the present. Also not helpful is the continual absence of links, so the rest of us can't judge whether this actually occurred or not). The boards are privately owned. The boards have community standards. Crawlspace can control what happens in Crawlspace's space. Just as Dan Slott is free to block as many people he wants on Twitter, or enact IP bans on his personal website if he had one. But Brad and the regular contributors to Crawlspace are not public figures. If Brad and Dan Slott both show up to SDCC, which one will have a line for his autograph? Which one will be on multiple panels in rooms filled to capacity? Which one will be asked for multiple interviews? The law agrees the standards for public discussion of public figures vs. private citizens are different. In addition, Slott and Marvel executives have, in Ilona Andrews's words, power. They have creative power over the characters' canon. This gives them an authority (note the root for authority - it has the same root as "author") no mere fan can ever approach. And they have social power. They have scores more fans and white knights willing to attack on their behalf than does the average reader. Dan Slott acknowledged that power when his tweet attacking Ami_Angelwings was criticized (he tweeted an apology - that completely missed why people were mad - "Making fun of their post while including their twitter handle (when I've got 65+ K followers) was not cool"). So speech for one is not comparable or analogous to speech for another. In addition, while sometimes Dan Slott's behavior, as in the case referenced above, does come under scrutiny here and elsewhere, in 95% of the cases the criticism is of the BOOK, not Dan HIMSELF. Yet Dan tends to go on the offensive and responds to criticism of the BOOK with a PERSONAL attack - including lumping all negative opinions as "Crawlspace." Thus encouraging others to disregard what is being said and to attack the person, because Dan has power. Thus encouraging others to keep quiet and not share their true opinions, because Dan has power. But his book is a commercial product, put on sale for public consumption (and he should be aware and grateful of this fact, because it allows him to make money). Once the book leaves his hands, that's it. It's not "his." But he and a handful of others tend to react as if the negative criticism were about their helpless child. THAT's where any feeling of "Fan vs. Professional" comes in, because the professionals under discussion react in a manner wholly out of the social norm and disproportionate for the discussion at hand.

  4. Phantom Roxas

    @50: From post #38: "I’ve noticed complaints about the behavior of pros from fans who are nastier" I put "nasty" in quotes specifically in reference to that comment. Or do the different suffixes somehow invalidate that? Just because the vast majority of Slott's comments don't occur at CBR doesn't mean you can't stop the minority that is there. Just because he's active in some corner of the Internet doesn't mean you can't stop him in others.

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