Remember a time when collecting comic books meant going down to your local drug store and checking out the spinning rack for what was new that week? Or how about a time when we had four channels to choose from and were glad just to see a sci-fi movie on TV? Or when we had one theater in town and movies stayed a week or two, leaving us happy when a horror flick actually hit the big screen? Before Star Wars in 1977, we didn’t have much out there that was mainstream and when something did come along, we devoured it. Times have indeed changed and I must now admit I’ve become an old man. I’m starting to feel like I need to chase the kids off the lawn.
Back on July 16, I talked about embracing your inner child at the movies. In that article, I encouraged people to enjoy the movies they go see and to be less critical. I don’t want to live a fairyland of unicorns but want everyone to remember why we’re in it in the first place. In the two months that have followed, the trend and “in thing” continues to be ever present online, especially Facebook. It seems there are some very brave souls out there who just love to bully others for what they love or dislike. These same individuals are the same ones who rush out to see every big movie and then rush home to make sure they are the first ones on Facebook to post how much they hated it. Just this past week, the first trailer for the new Robocop was released and those same people are already to trash and bash it. Remember the days we’d actually wait to review a movie until after we’ve seen it? We didn’t just judge it by a two minute trailer.
We also used to respect each other in the sci-fi and horror community. And, for the most part, we all still do. Yet, with the anonymity of the internet, the bullies are creeping into our world. These same types of people used to be outside of our nerd and geek world. Somehow, they made it in the front door just to bash us and what some of us enjoy. Every single movie out there has its own fan base as well as its detractors. Diversity and tolerance is what made our community so wonderful. The lack of it is also what’s causing some to turn away. Just this past week, I read one such person leave a group on Facebook only to be called a coward because he didn’t have the passion to fight for what he believed in. Really?
The comic book world is also going through some growing pains. From a social media and worldwide perspective, comic books have never been more “in fashion”. Every year, we get at least several new blockbuster movies. TV is seeing superheroes brought to life. With this comes change, just as when DC Comics launched the New 52 two years ago. It essentially reset the DC universe, abandoning decades of continuity. No different than what we saw when the Silver Age ushered in a new Flash and a new Green Lantern. It was needed to continue to stay relevant and bring new readers to the table. After a year, this old reader decided it was time to move on. The New 52 isn’t my DC anymore but, rather than rant and rave, I quietly left the table and opted to begin purchasing old comics from 60s and 70s. There are decades of past issues of Batman and Justice League of America just waiting for me to discover while the new generation reads the current issues. And I’m okay with that.
My message here is simple. There is a growing need for tolerance, patience and acceptance. Debate amongst people discussing a film or a book is amazing. But bullying others is not and will push people away from the worlds we love to explore. Be tolerant of each other’s likes and dislikes; be open to discovering new visions and patient for what is coming down the road. Judge something only after you’ve seen it or read it. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion but be respectful of those who may disagree with it. I love that the internet has brought me together virtually with others who share my passions. But like every playground, it only takes one or two bullies to ruin the fun. I prefer to enjoy my time with my hobbies and passions in a positive light rather than getting sucked in to someone else’s negativity. I encourage you to do the same.