Revenge Of The Message-Board Men

So…it appears that Mark Millar has suddenly found out about the existence of Graeme McMillan, and he has let himself get all in a tizzy about it. Over on Millarworld, he has publicly wondered if Graeme might not be dangerously unbalanced mentally, and in need of an intervention. Mr. Millar urges him to take the matter seriously, and not just make a big joke about it, because Graeme clearly has a problem…he then asks his legion of fans (some of whom decline to participate in this bullshit, it must be said) to display a little collage of Graeme’s most cry-for-help-ish anti-Millar posts, so that when Graeme sees them all stacked up together like that, he’ll realize how far out of touch he’s fallen with appropriate social conduct.The resulting thread runs to eight pages.

This is UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR.

One yearns for the Trump-like asshattery of a John Byrne, or a Harlan Ellison, in this case: as dickheaded as they are, at least they’re forthright dickheads, and don’t descend to pretending to be genuinely worried about the mental health of those who criticize them. I really feel for Millar, in a way: he seems quite hurt by all of Graeme’s roasting, and apparently isn’t sure what he should do about it. He appears to consider it harrassment, but apparently his personal ethics won’t permit him to send an angry e-mail to the big cheeses at Newsarama, or file a report with the police. So he asks his message-board men to justify his position for him, and sure enough they do.

It’s hilarious, by the way.

Apparently the life of a comic-book professional is a pretty sheltered one, when it comes to criticism: for example, in the world I live in, the kind of passive-aggressive weaselhood that Millar indulges in here leads, pretty inevitably, to a fist in a face. Oh, I wish it didn’t, but it does, and it’s hardly ever what you’d call surprising: why, even in the elevated realm of highbrow literary magazines like (for example) the New Yorker, dust-ups in public places are not unheard-of. Someone implies someone else has the literary equivalent of a small dick, and BOOM! It’s on. At least it isn’t sniping. At least it isn’t defamatory. The person who throws the punch looks like an ass; the person on the receiving end is often perceived as having had it coming; sometimes, I presume, the whole thing ends up with Judge Judy scolding both parties for their childishness. But that’s as far as the thing goes. No one tries to get away with saying that they were just trying to help the other person.

Mark Millar and Graeme McMillan are just names to me. I think these days Millar writes a lot of stuff which is averagely-good for wrapping fish in, and then makes himself look like an idiot by praising it to the skies. Graeme McMillan, by contrast, writes a lot of things which cogently and amusingly indicate the absurdity of this endless self-promotion, all somehow without ever descending into mean-spiritedness. I admire that in him. Millar should, too. Because this is probably the easiest and most genial criticism he will ever have to face.

And if he plays the bully again, he’ll get much worse.

Unacceptable behaviour; however, if it isn’t repeated we need say no more about it. Everyone acts like a jackass sometime. But seriously, Millar, get a grip on yourself: you don’t want a name like this to stick to you.

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14 responses to “Revenge Of The Message-Board Men

  1. Well said.

    Millar’s not fooling anyone for a second that he’s genuinely concerned about Graeme….not even his horde of Flying Monkies who jump at his every whim.

    I really don’t get the Svengali-like influence he has over so many otherwise free-thinking individuals.

  2. I’m a little bit cheered that there were quite a few who dared to speak out against the proposition, and against the whole post, and who were sharply critical of Millar…but then I guess there’s only one Byrne Robotics!

    On the other hand, the fansheep on both those boards seem to have a “repel boarders” argot they share…where do they pick up this way of talking, I wonder? Well, I don’t wonder, actually, the answer’s obvious: from the playground. Always giving birth to logical fallacy and empty rhetoric, is the playground! Where we all first picked up on the power of shouting down the opponent, or blaming the victim, or taking refuge in mob consensus, or pretending the argument is really about something else! If you look around carefully, you can notice two or three times a month when someone uses one of these tactics near you, but then is left open-mouth gaping when it doesn’t work. They literally have nothing else to fall back on. They just stand there.

    I like the way this starts: Graeme does a couple recent posts on B@N about Millarworld, and gets a couple obvious MW long-range scouts ineffectively taking him to task for it…and I remember thinking, gee, they don’t usually pop up so quick, these guys must really be paying attention now…they called him a stalker in the last one, by the way…and then here’s this post from Mark: have you ever heard of Graeme McMillan, guys? Because apparently this guy’s some sort of stalker…

    It is to laugh.

  3. I’m always happy to hear about this kind of crap. Makes me feel justified in avoiding forums dedicated to a specific creator or fandom nowadays…

  4. Putting @ into your post makes WordPress think it’s an email address.

    Do you have some links to the Millar/McMillan dust-up? I couldn’t find it on Millarworld.

    These writer v writer fights make good reading, though, if only in a slow-motion-car-crash way, like Scipio v Marionette.

    Incidentally, since you’re pretty much my only connection to comics these days, could you tell me whether it’s worth getting the climax to Civil War? Or will it just make me cry?

  5. Well, the Tetsubo parody will pretty much tell you all you need to know, I think. But, as to whether it’s the climax, I doubt that: apparently there’s about five more years worth of MILKING IT in the works, over at Marvel…I wouldn’t be surprised if the damn thing never had an orgasm.

    Me, I went out and got a Top Ten TPB today. Next week: Hellboy!

    By the way, I put the link in — boy, the Scipio/Marionette thing turned into some really slow motion by the end there, didn’t it?

  6. If you get into the Top 10 series keep in mind that there are five trades currently. AVOID THE NON-MOORE ONE. Top 10: The Farthest Precinct is freaking TERRIBLE. On the other hand the prequel The 49ers has vampires, crazy versions of the BlackHawks, a super hero version of Joan of Arc and SkyWitch – who has a rocket powered broom stick. AWESOME. Plus of course the Smax the Barbarian collection…

  7. I really hope you like Hellboy.

    Any early thoughts on Top Ten? The 3 Moore/Ha books are really so understated at what Moore is doing. It’s the E.R./Hill Street Blues formula, but it works stunningly.

  8. I know I’ll love Hellboy — I’ve read The Corpse, and a bunch of excerpts from a TCJ interview with Mignola, and it’s enough to know.

    On Top Ten, the thing I noticed the most was how easy it all was. I’d read the first issue when it came out the first time, and (obviously) liked it, but by the time I hit issue #3 in the TPB I was noticing an elegance to it that wasn’t yet fully on display in #1: you want “realistic” superheroes? Okay fine, they’re all cops. Happy now? It’s comical, really: there is nothing at all in Top Ten that deviates from the basic superhero story-structure, you’ve got your heroes and your headquarters and your villains, it is all exactly the same…it just so happens that it’s exactly the same as Hill Street Blues, too. But, if anyone ever watched Hill Street Blues, can they honestly claim to be surprised by that? The only thing missing, from either one, is their extreme sense of melodrama: somehow, in mixing these two genres, both are normalized, and the bullshit disappears.

    Compare this with the free pages of Runaways spinoff “The Losers”, which I just read on Newsarama, where the “realistic” elements are deliberately used to amplify the bullshit. American TV drama can be a powerful influence on weak minds, and don’t you forget it: on just about any popular show you care to name, characters don’t just hit their marks, they hit ’em with a hammer, and they keep hitting them until it is impossible for you to overlook the fact that they’ve been hit. People walk around with their chests puffed out, they relentlessly BRING IT to the other characters around them, even scenes revolving around water-coolers are positively brimming with adrenaline and testosterone. It’s soap opera acting, as according to Phil Hartman: “you’d better find those bags…”

    In comics, I find this sort of thing to be a real unnecessary pain in the ass. I mean, I’m sure The Losers will be very fine and good and nice, but I’ve got zero interest in reading it. I can’t relate to the characters’ problems. I don’t care about the Powers Anonymous angle. Oh, it’s an interesting take, I’ll admit it’s an interesting take! But, you see, that doesn’t automatically mean I’m going to give a damn about it, just because it’s a neat idea, because for me this is all of a piece with American Cop And Doctor Show Stuff: these characters have emotions that run far too hot on far too little fuel, and to watch them pound the shit out of their character beats is just tiring.

    That Top Ten doesn’t have this problem is hilarious. Want “realism” in your comics? Well, you can’t have it; whatever you do, you’re dealing with superheroes, people with capes and code-names and powers, and realistic is just what they’ll never be. Extravagantly silly fantasy is part of the package, and you can only call so much attention to the absurdity of it, or the strangeness of it, or the scariness, before you have to wonder what the point of doing that is. By contrast, you can actually read Top Ten and enjoy it! Wow. And it’s so simple. It makes you wonder why more people aren’t doing it.

    I might do a post on this. Geoff Klock sees elaborate political messages in Tom Strong, but America’s Best Comics fascinates me for what I perceive as its carefree re-entry into the continuum of influences that makes a genre, High Modernism not excepted. Over at (for example) Marvel, superheroes are still going to the superhero bar and the superhero toilet, “exploring” tensions between reality and fantasy that I, for one, have gained a pretty decent familiarity with over the last twenty-five years or so. Top Ten has something else going on, which (incredibly!) manages to be both interesting, and NOT boring.

    But, those are just my early thoughts.

  9. I think you’re mixing up “The Loners” which is meh and your right about it (though their origin is one of the bright spots in the Runaways – hey, lets have Young Avengers meets Buffy but slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and all talking no action – Darkhawk with armor-as-roid-rage worked really well for some reason)
    ;
    and “The Losers” which is one of the best action comics ever published in english (The A-Team as political transgression!).

    And Tom Strong was the only ABC book that I didn’t follow, mostly because of the rotating artists and eventually writers. Nothing ever lived up to the first four or so issues (actually nothing lived up to the scene on the faux-statue-of-liberty).

    I read Top Ten late in the trades – and blew through it in about two hours. It’s so incredibly tight but the reliance on formula actually forces Moore to make you care about the characters while in something else he’d just dazzle with structure and high concept.

    I’m not sure if you can blanket statement about ABC. To me – Tom Strong was very much simplifying everything about childhood comics reading, Promethea was a manifesto in disguise with a year of groundwork to lull in readers, LOEG was both Moore’s definitive superhero book and a meta-commentary on the history of fiction, and Top Ten was… pretty much a straight character drama, and I’m not sure if that was intentional or as a result of the “Hill-Street-Blues-As-Superheros” basis.

    Did you look at either Powers or Gotham Central by the way? Same concept all defined by approach, all are surprisingly quite good and don’t share many similarites.

  10. The Loners, right! Damnit. I was okay with them in Runaways. But then, I wasn’t asked to care about them all that much, was I!

    You’re soooo right about the awesomeness of Tom Strong’s showdown with Paul Saveen, my favourite supervillain…I only read the first few issues of TS, which were really great, but gave me the strong impression that something was still building, there…so I can’t have much to say about the whole series, yet. Hopefully sometime this year, since I intend to fill out the collection in this way as much as I can. LOEG I read almost all of, and, y’know, WOW…I’m picking up those trades too, just for the hell of it…while Promethea is something I’m looking forward to so much I can’t tell you. If Alan’s got a manifesto, all I can say is: I’m in. The man’s my hero, I’d read his laundry lists.

    Powers I’ve read quite a bit of, and I like it a lot — BUT NOT FOR THE PLOTTING! And, not for the goddamn stand-up comedians. But if Bendis has a way with something, shit, he has a way with this…and naturally I think you could make an interesting comparison with Top Ten, but I’m not sure it’d go too deep, considering that where Top Ten is, as you say, freakin’ tight, Powers is beautifully loose. I don’t think it’s really a blending of superheroes and cops at all, actually, but more something like the Luna Bros. Ultra (which I didn’t expect to like, but did), that is, superheroes as celebrities…trite to say, I know, but basically who wouldn’t want to read about Pilgrim and Walker arresting a superpowered Quincy Jones after he freaks out and kills a superpowered Michael Jackson? Just about my favourite thing in Powers is seeing the nuclear dude from Unity sitting in his house in the middle of the desert, in full armour, sipping a foo-foo drink as he flames people on message boards. Total lunacy. The snarky opposite of Top Ten.

    Gotham Central I only read a little of. I like Rucka, though: when he was writing Wonder Woman I actually found myself interested to see what would happen next.

    On generalizing about ABC: I’m sure you’re right — after all, ABC was all over the map, it even had actual humour strips in it for God’s sake! — but then again, I can’t help but see this as Moore’s suggested antidote to his “bad mood” back in the Eighties — hey, look, see, we can play with all these things, right? Look, Captain Nemo’s just as cool as Dr. Manhattan, Doc Savage can meet Wonder Woman, we don’t need Lex Luthor or Star City or another Justice League analogue, we can make our own stuff, it’s fun!

    Ya gotta appreciate that.

  11. Well, when I was in university, there was an “Anarchist’s Club”, so that seems kinda old hat to me, I guess…man, did their potlucks ever suck

  12. Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

    The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

    The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

    The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

    It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

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