The posters at Millarworld discuss whether they are “fandom” or not (and come up on the “not” side of things), but what’s worthwhile about the thread is really this interesting, and not entirely incorrect, theory of online fandom from Jason Hendriks:
I have noticed something about “fandom” in the past ten years or so. We have all of these places online, and all of these people online, but nobody discusses comic books anymore. I can remember long ago, back when most of the discussion of comic books was done on usenet, that people would actually discuss the comics they were reading. Whenever a new issue of Sandman, Preacher, or The Invisibles came out, that thing would get dissected like a frog in a high school biology class.
Now, not so much. New issues of Saga or Walking Dead or The Boys come out, and there’s nary a peep. Now people will discuss companies and creators, press releases, but not the stories themselves.
I seem to recall, around 2000 or 2001, that there was sort of a migration away from the newsgroups and toward message boards, particularly boards operated by specific creators like Warren Ellis (The WEF) or Brian Bendis (Jinxworld), so that might have something to do with the shift in the culture. It might be seen as rude to go to a creator’s message board and critically discuss his own work or the work of others where it wouldn’t be on a group like rec.arts.comics.dc.vertigo, or it might be seen as improper to discuss the work of other creators on someone’s board. But even on places like comicon.com, which were general discussion sites, the general quality of the discussion was so degraded that it was almost meaningless.
And now, with a move away from message boards ceding users to social networking sites like Facebook (which I find sort of impenetrable and exclusive) and Twitter (which, by its 140 character nature, precludes any discussion more insightful than a bumper sticker) it would seem that critical discussion is a thing of the distant past.
This is something that’s going to stick with me for awhile, I’m sure. He’s not wrong, but the reasoning behind it is what fascinates me. Are there less comics worthy of in-depth discussion now, or has Internet culture sped things up to the point where we’re more interested in what lies ahead than what’s actually there in front of us…?