Reading that has just given some internet troll his hard on for the day.
And I am being serious. Back in the 1979s and 1980s we had the comic fanzines where fans could discuss and, yes, even argue about characters or books but the editor kept things civil and a bit of debate is always fun.
But then came the internet. That great killer of any fun and home of the asses who did not like the fact that twenty (20) years before you did not give their Small Press comic a glowing review. Oh, they pretended that they were okay with it and understood the points made and, after all, we were all comic fans, right?
People whom I interviewed, promoted and thought were friends got onto UK comic discussion groups and someone says “is that true?” Me: “Sorry, what?” So I check and there are some of the nastiest, back-stabbing lies and character assassination you could ever find. But in person it’s all “I’m one of the great nice guys of British comics” so you think “Did I read it all wrong? Was he being Devil’s Advocate?” but then you find that your friendly meeting is discussed and includes a massive chain of lies.
What is more, from 2000 onward you get nasty, vitriolic, name-calling and outright insulting emails from these people and their friends –their, uh, “friends” are important because that makes the arschloch think he’s the boss of a gang of bullies. Not once a day but 36 times a day and EVERY day.
These attacks are launched on comic sites as well as discussion groups. You explain to the owner-moderator that this type of thing just is not on. It goes against all the group guidelines. The response? “Nothing I can do about it –maybe you ought to leave the group?” Why? Because the group owner is SCARED of the little bully. If you upset him you’ll get some of the same.
And challenge the bully openly? “But…but why are you saying this about me? I’m one of the nicest guys in comics –you keep attacking me!” Here’s the thing, these people love to edit and repost what they said so it looks like YOU have added nasty bits to their message.
One in particular (I still have all 50+ of his and his brain dead side-kicks comments and my responses saved because only after legal threats and reporting them to their ISP did they stop) kept commenting on WordPress CBO. Over and over. He would then demand –demand- “or else” that the comments be deleted because he had no control over them and he was, to put it mildly, left out in a field with his dick dangling. My response was simply that he SHOULD “or else” and his pal then made a threat.
Firstly, threaten me? Yeah, that is going to terrify me. Secondly, bullies always make that mistake because if they cannot scare you or frighten you with words a threat is inevitably made. At that point I had both over a burning coal fire.
The emails eventually stopped because of, again, reporting them to their ISP and ISPs are a LOT tougher today or trolling and abusive mail than they were back in 2007. Yes, 1999/2000 to 2007 I put up with this daily because if I blocked an emailer they would go and create a new account.
Today they still carry on but on their own little groups. And do you know what? There are others who love to wind them up to create a little “flame war” and they love it.
Even on my own Face Book and Yahoo groups I’ve had this problem. Now NO ONE joins anonymously. You may be a member using a pseudonym (however stupid it might be) but you need to tell ME who you are.
You then have the people who only want one thing: scans of comics. You don’t provide the scans you get name called or they constantly moan. I’ve lost literally thousands of pounds because of illegal scanning. I will not scan comics for that reason any more. If a group is set up for discussion of a comic, a character or a publisher then you join, presumably, to do just that? Golden Age comics are okay to scan because most of the characters are forgotten if even known these days. It keeps that era and discussion alive.
My Yahoo Alan Class, British Comic Book Archives and Britcomics as well as the Face Book Class group are loaded with cover scans, etc.. They are an archive. But active? Not really.
You see, Yahoo destroyed all the great Yahoo 360 blogs for no real reason. They have a track record for doing that kind of thing. Even the Yahoo groups they have screwed up. But negative postings, personal attacks and even more nastiness began to take its toll.
Comic fans wanted to discuss their favourites and ask questions. Questions that certain trouble-makers responded to with personal attacks “Call yourself a fan –even a five year old would know that!” (no, they wouldn’t). Or even “Well, maybe if you read a comic and knew the basics…”
I was a member of 70 yahoo comic groups that are now defunct. Just lying there dormant.
I closed and re-opened three of mine because of spammers and others creating problems and if you asked who they were when they tried to join you got:
“I’m not giving you my private information. I want to join this group!” No.
“Oh you’re going all Big Brother are you?”
“My information is private and being Hitler and acting like a Nazi you can **** off!”
There is a basic rule on the internet that the person who first uses phrases like: “You are like Hitler” or “That’s like Hitler/the Nazis” loses.
You try to explain politely but no. Even if on the group they can use their pseudonyms they are NOT letting you as a group owner who is responsible for the group know who they are. So they do not get onto the groups.
The internet has made it easy for trolls to go about their business (the ones who object to the name “trolls” is usually…a troll). I have seen blogs and groups and even video channels centred around arts and crafts, model-making as well as comics attacked by these trolls. I think it gives them something to do between bouts of chronic masturbation. Certainly they have no real lives, talent or ability because that is why they keep up these campaigns.
I’ve seen a woman who simply pointed out something, made a correction, called a middle class, short-haired lesbian and worse. Why?
Luckily, no one can remain anonymous on the internet now. You see, the very moment you pay and sign for and then switch on your laptop or PC you HAVE a history. Using pseudonyms does not work because you cannot hide your ISP. I have seen comic vloggers name and shame or threaten to publicly name –even contact the wives of these petty little trollers who seem to delight in focussing in one females and making nasty remarks. And it works.
I log every ISP involved in trolling. I had one person tracked and banned from a county library service where he was logged on as the user of a specific library computer to send out his impotent trolling. One had their internet services stopped because of persistent complaints over his activity.
Now I include messages and full personal details of all trollers for the public record and legal action.
But where are all the fans? The above named groups all rally round and close ranks against the morons and that is great but in comics you often wonder whether there are really any fans left (I know there are but I’m making a point).
Example. I was looking for a particular comic with a certain strip in it. I’d pointed this out on one of the groups I belonged to. No one could help but then I came across the very book on Ebay. So I told my ‘friends’ on the group that I had found the very book but was waiting to hear back from the dealer on an offer. The intention was because of the age of the book I would scan it and put it in the group’s archives. Within half an hour one of my ‘friends’ messaged the group to say he had bought the book at the full price. I pointed out that he had not known of the book until I’d mentioned it, he knew I was waiting to hear back from the dealer but he’d jumped straight in and bought it? He didn’t seem to see anything wrong with that. A year or so on the promised scan has still not appeared but he got it and I didn’t –yah! Boo! Sucks!
This is not a one off. I mentioned in general chats on a couple groups that I was bidding on certain comics. The comics were won by someone paying ridiculous prices. Message on the groups –my, uh, ‘pals’ had won the items. Items they had not known about or had any real interest in.
I have written about ridiculous prices being asked for Tarzan UK comics after I started writing about them (a standard price now seems to be £9.99-40.00 for a comic worth £2 at best). It appears the sellers with the highest prices are actually people I thought were friends on comic groups. And now it seems similar ‘friends’ are bidding against me on Class Comics to the point of offering ridiculous amounts.
This ain’t comic fandom.
And do not get me started on the scanners. They seriously refer to themselves as “editors” because they scan a book. I offered a UK Golden Age comic scan because they are rare and the negativity. I had obviously not used “this” setting or “that” dpi and this was an inferior scan blah blah blah. These people are scanning books –not with written permission which is not necessary with public domain books but bear with me- they scan books, offer them on their groups and will then explode because someone on Ebay has put the scans together onto a CD and is offering them at a price (not excessive either)….without giving them full credit for their editing work. I do mean “explode”, too.
I once received four messages from members of one group that were very nasty and accusing me of making money from the scans by selling them on disc via Ebay. I had no idea what they were talking about. I checked to find what they were talking about. I do NOT sell via Ebay and I have enough work without editing and burning off discs. I did explain this. An apology? NOT ONE. When I referred to the matter no one knew what I was talking about –but the feckin messages were THERE!!
I’ve quit those groups. Pity but they had developed into little cliques with certain group members being THE mouths. Odd, though, scanners calling themselves editors complaining about someone editing a CD of comic scans. Yes, a credit to scanners of this or that group would have been nice but this is where another problem lies.
A couple of people have, over the years, helped out with UK Golden Age comic scans. They get a thanks in the Black Tower Golden Age collections. But you cannot really thank “Spam2007@yahoo” in a publication. Two people I asked for names to credit them –“NO!” Okay, I’ll send them a copy once printed if they let me have a mailing address? “NO!” So you cannot thank or credit them. In a year some trouble maker could say “I’m Spam2007@yahoo” and I want a percentage from sales of the book with my scans or “I withdraw permission for you to use my scans” (good luck with that) but HOW could I prove that this was who they claimed to be? So their scans were never used.
So someone putting scanned comics onto a CD cannot credit a person…it gets very messy.
One person even attacked me in an email for using his scans of a certain UK Golden Age comic. I sent him a photo of myself with MY copy of the comic. No apology. Then another one and another. I have quite a few UK Golden Age books. These are the ones I scan for my printed collections.
From today, Sunday, 10th April, 2016, all comments to my groups are being blocked. You want to see what’s on the groups you join. That simple. No commenting allowed. I’ve had it with this.
Take your snide remarks somewhere else.
A lot of genuine comic fans and Small Pressers have left the internet because of all aspects of negativity and are beginning to produce printed fanzines. Ignoring the net completely. Good.
It really is time for comic fans –the genuine ones- to reclaim comic events like Donna Barr has. To reclaim comics for people who love the medium because there is way too much negativity and darkness in the world and comics were, and should be, something you can escape into and feel good about.
If you want to buy the stuff Marvel and DC publish because you like it and get enjoyment from it then that is your right and if it cheers you up –cool. You buy Small Press only –same thing.
I like Salvador Dali art but I get a few negative remarks about that “crap”. Well, fuck you. I like what I like. You like what you like.
We need more printed fanzines and more comic events without all the merchandise and big corporation leeching. Events for comic fans to buy comics old and new and discuss them if they want to –like the old Bath, Bristol and Westminster marts.
Is comic fandom really dead?