4 Unfair Assumptions About Comic Book Readers

4. Fanboys Are All Basement Dwelling Losers

big bang theory cbs

Often when a longtime fan objects to one of their favorite characters getting a race lift, or being replaced by a minority, he is dismissed as a virgin who lives in his mother’s basement, is afraid to go outside, and reads comics instead of interacting with people. While there are undoubtedly comic readers who do, in fact, reside underground and shy away from social interaction, anyone who goes to a comic shop on Wednesdays can attest to seeing all manner of regulars there, from antisocial youngsters to successful small business running adults. Many shop owners are themselves devoted fans - surely they are capable of more than merely trolling from the cellar. Just seeing the debates whenever some controversy occurs (e.g., the recent Mockingbird cover fiasco) proves that there is a wide range of diverse opinions throughout comics fandom.

Also, let’s not forget about these supposedly progressive people using all kinds of tactics they are supposed to be against: they body-shame overweight men and call them “neckbeards,” implying that they are incapable of growing full beards like a proper man or that they are unkempt and ugly. Why be shackled by these outdated standards of appearance? If someone describes feminists as being fat with ugly, multi-colored hairstyles, there is an appropriate uproar, yet body type and living situations are used against male comic book fans constantly. So what if a man has to live in his mother’s basement, anyway? Have you seen the state of the economy? How does that invalidate what he’s saying?

Why is there even an assumption that anyone who is objecting must be a straight white man? One could make certain assumptions about the writer of this very article due to its subject matter, assumptions that would be incorrect. There is some fallacious thinking that states “No true Scotsman would ever disagree with me.”

Why are we demonizing being a “loser?” Isn’t geekdom striving to be inclusive to all types? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be working toward? An environment where nobody has to worry about not living up to some predetermined idea of what it means to be a cool kid? Geeks, nerds, otaku, whatever you want to call them, are all in support of the idea that obsessing over fake reality is preferable to dealing with actual reality. “Wow, you’re so obsessed with Spider-Man that you take any changes to the character personally? Get a life!” Yet, if you spend all day baking a Spidey cake or create some elaborate costume for your three year old daughter, that’s amazing behavior that needs to be posted, shared, and eventually go viral in celebration of “Best Dad Ever.”

Of course, if you’re someone who behaves inappropriately online and harasses other fans and creators, that’s indefensible. Nobody is saying that’s okay. But don’t pretend that only one side brigades others when they feel justified in doing so.

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Trevor Gentry-Birnbaum spends most of his time sitting around and thinking about things that don't matter.