With the Internet providing instant contact for information, it’s given those of us who are fans the chance to express our opinions in a hyper-quick time period, often as soon as the news has been posted. Is that a good thing?
BEN AFFLECK AS ‘BATFLECK’
One example of this being not quite as healthy, I think, was when actor Ben Affleck was chosen to play Batman.
The actor was warned NOT to go on the Internet for at least a month or so, and was even given copies of fan reaction to the reaction of others being selected for comics-related roles. He chose to ignore all that, and went to the website where the official announcement was made.
As he later told a late-night show host, he opened up the first reaction, which said, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” (or something close to that number of O’s).
He immediately banned all Internet contact at his home for the foreseeable future. Smart man.
Let’s jump ahead to today, after his appearance in Zach Snyder’s Justice League. People who saw the movie came down on all sides (I liked it, can’t wait until I have time to see the black and white version, though), but the one thing that MOST people really warmed up to (and apparently liked) is … Affleck as Batman. Many now say he’s the best movie Batman ever!
CAPTAIN AMERICA SAID ‘HAIL HYDRA’
The opposite side of the coin was the release of Steve Rogers as Captain America #1, in which Cap was revealed to be a supporter of Hydra, even saying, “Hail Hydra!”
The reaction online was swift and mostly negative – at least, from my looking things over. Many creators and fans did come to Nick Spencer’s defense, and I was happy to see that. But making Cap a supporter of Hydra offended many, including those who saw this as a serious slight to the creators of Captain America, who were Jewish. In the Marvel Universe, Hydra is the new Nazi.
I’ve never read this anywhere, but the solution to this whole situation, instead of waiting for the fifth issue, which often happens in this era of trade paperback-itis, appeared in the second book, hitting the stands about a month later.
Was it planned that way? I doubt it, given the fact that trades often have complete or near-complete stories in them. My guess is, and I may be completely wrong here, the reaction to that debut issue was so strong that Marvel quickly reversed course and wrapped that up in a hurry! Again, that’s simply my speculation!
From my perspective, this may be a case of where instant fan reaction was a good thing, giving Marvel a chance to move in a different direction as soon as possible.
I often spend time scoping out reaction to genre news, and most of it has been almost entirely positive. But not all.
What really caught my attention recently has been the responses to the Star Trek comics and the new television shows. Overall, the reaction to the new IDW Publishing comics was really strong, and that was well deserved since they do a terrific job with a franchise that has been tough for other companies to manage in the past.
Not so much, however, with Star Trek: Discovery. I particularly remember the initial response to their video showing a CGI viewing of their new ship named Discovery (hence the show’s name) coming out for a trial run. I mean, I’m a vessel guy, love the U.S.S. Defiant from Deep Space Nine in particular, but the rest are still pretty cool. I was at first unimpressed with drawings of the Voyager, which had the nacelles turned down, but they later turned them up, which made me like it more.
Online, Trek fans really didn’t like what the new ship looks like … at least the ones I came across.
The nacelles (which propel the ship) don’t go up OR down! Instead, they go directly out to the left and right from the lower portion of the ship. You’ve got the round saucer section, a standard in Trek ships, but the bottom looks triangular in shape, resembling the pins worn on the chest of Starfleet officers to indicate which area they work in, later doubling as communication devices.
My reaction was, “Hey, it’s a Trek ship, so maybe it’ll grow on me more later on.” I wasn’t impressed or unhappy with it – it didn’t do anything for me at all.
Wow, the folks I saw online discussing it despised it. I mean, really hated it. And many still do.
This violent reaction prompted some fans to go out and talk about how Star Trek isn’t really about ships, it’s about the people. Yeah, I get that, but I also want to appreciate the ship and station designs, too.
Maybe it’s going to take even more time for those of us into Trek to warm up to this design. We’ll have to wait and see. At least one good thing is that I didn’t see people fussing over the new typeface in the logo. At least, not so far. Maybe the new female captain of color will help!
All this makes me look at online responses with a grain of salt. Some fans are in the “extreme” realms, called “gushers” or “bashers,” and they are often the most vocal. Most of us fall in between, and that’s where it’s good to have civil discussions about what’s going on.