Why Fan-Boys Be Hatin'?

fan-boy-rageI came across this thought on a typical sunny Seattle afternoon, where the denizens proclaim obscene lies about “rain” to ward off Californians from traveling too far north.

On the corner of third and pine, where Scott, the bagpipe playing Argentinian broadcasted the theme of downtown, was the Walgreens you not dare approach. It was full of low-lifes, crazies, and old people with oxygen tanks that doubled as carnies in the summer. However, this was the only drop-off I had familiarized myself with as none other was quite so notorious and thereby not as recognizable.

Once I was dropped off, I sifted through the excess of people with skin conditions, humpbacks and limps — limps from an ongoing battle with diabetes or limps from some Vietnam war wound, I couldn’t say, but they did, or at least tried to with their illegible chicken-scratch on cardboard.

I waited for the crosswalk when I saw some serviceable wares being sold by a man with missing teeth and a T-shirt that read “Shh… This is my hangover shirt.” I chuckled to myself and, being the extraordinary salesman that he was, he lured me over with hand gestures you could only misinterpret if you were blind, deaf, and dumb. As such, while most of the assorted homelies (as I call them) did not take notice, I sauntered over, knowing full well that I would miss my light — a predicament akin to missing a flight when facing homelies.

I was shocked by what I saw however. Spread upon his table — and by table I mean Whole Foods grocery cart — were several of the latest Batman V. Superman toys. I found myself oddly intrigued at their plastic intricacies. I say intrigued, rather than nostalgic because I never read a Batman comic in my youth and to this day have read nothing of the universally iconic Superman. No, my nostalgia bone dates as far back as my Facebook timeline will allow, and by then the privacy settings are so cryptic that I cannot decipher my wall posts from Maple Leaf graffiti.

This did not go over well with my homelie.

“NaUGhtaa WoE?” said the homelie, which I could only assume meant, ‘Not a one,’ which I assumed was in reference to me not having read a Superman comic or even Batman.

“No, sir,” I said with a false sense of humility.

“IcEe,” he said, although this is still indecipherable as I could not tell if he was actually proclaiming to understand, if he had just seen the light, or if he wanted an Icee from the 7/11 several blocks away.

I was prepared to depart when he said, “Oob, BeSs-bee-C-ing ot Ion-then SalWatheE.”

Which I could only assume meant, “You best be seeing that Iron Man then,” which I assumed meant “Captain America 3” because that would be the movie approaching the same release date as Batman V. Superman.

(SalWatheE was either “Iron Man 3” or “Wintery” but I’m fairly certain it was gibberish altogether.)

It was then that I thought about this a moment longer and said, “Yes… Yes, I will be seeing Captain America 3 instead.”

And about the only part of the conversation that didn’t require a patient translator was his following remark, “Why?” and it got me thinking, ‘Why did I seek to see Iro– Captain America 3 over Batman V. Superman (BvS, if you will.)?”

He queried if it had anything to do with Ben Affaggeck — note that the syllables were very similar, but it seems that the one vocabulary term that’s universal for homelies is “f*****” and another racial term, that would be in poor taste to include here — since this is about super heroes and everyone knows there are no black superheroes.

I kindly said no, that I thought Ben Affleck was a smart choice, but truthfully I’d rather see him in his own film. I like Batman, but I’ve only ever seen him fight enemies that were human. The mere concept of Batman fighting an alien that can punch tanks through skyscrapers is outside my realm of imagination — as a non-comic-book-reading-movie-goer. I don’t blame my imagination for being unable to picture this, I blame the cinema of Batman since, for all their accomplishments, they never went into Batman fighting aliens, but oddly, Batman fighting Aliens™ is actually something I would pay to see… not Batman V. Superman.

The movie marketing appears to be aiming to sell a title with two iconic names rather than a story (Update: this information is based off of web comments from 2 years prior to the release and 1 year prior to filming). Batman is “aged and weary” they say, but he’d have to be if he had had any preparation for this nimble tank.

batman-vs-superman

I have no interest in Superman, even after watching the first, Christopher Reeves film in 2009 — bear in mind, that the film I speak of did not release in 2009, but rather, that’s when I saw the original 1978 version. I said it was a delightful little film, but a product of the times.

Perhaps, I am in the minority, but when I was pulled — rather than dragged, as there was a bit of curiosity — to see Superman Returns (2006) in 2006, I was actually impressed. I saw a hero perform otherworldly tasks effortlessly although — admittedly — did not understand the properties of kryptonite as it seemed abundantly clear he was (literally) powerless against it, but apparently could lift an island of it (with some of the MacGuffin splintered in his side, no less) and hurl it into space. But alas, I’m a viewer and not a kryptonian scientist.

I was interested however in a concept my colleagues spoke highly of — which, by the by, I used the word “colleagues” whereas he used a term that would only propagate homophobia. He told me of a tale that started with “What if… Superman landed in Russia?” and the story went from there. It seemed that the Man of Steel (2013) reboot? Resuit? ought to have taken that road if there were going to be two aliens landing at the same time.

That was not to be.

So, for a reimagining that was heavily divided among movie-goers, but simultaneously a cash-cow in today’s market, to suddenly shoot from the logical sequential picture “Man of Iron and Sickle” to “Batman V. Superman” seems unnecessarily manipulative. It’s a lack of confidence in the remake and a desperate grab for a life boat.

They say an entrepreneur is a person who jumps off a cliff and builds an airplane on the way down, but this is literally the case in Hollywood as a marketable title is all it takes to get the funding off the ground.

It’s all in a title. After all, Man of Steel was named to bank off Iron Man 3 as the ticket-takers will know audiences will want to see Metal Man — and probably whatever has most recently come out.

Of course at this, my homelie man understood why I would not be driven to the theaters in 2016 to see two iconic characters clash. He understood that I was not the nerd I ought to be, especially given that nerds have recently made a boom in pop culture — which is fitting since rap (in the 90s, early 00s) kinda made people back off a bit and think, ‘Huh, maybe what we really need more of is non-threatening, educated white men?’ which, historically rhymes with where we are today.

However, he asked me (me, being a non-fan-boy of comics, but fan of comic book movies) if I enjoyed Iron Man 3 and I said, “Yes, didn’t you read my review?” but I realize that was asking to much of a man whose concept of a computer was Skynet, but before Skynet when Y2K was set to prove paranoid persons right.

He said I must love Iron Man 3 because I like dicks, but he backed this up with evidence — though, not pertaining to dicks, however sumptuous I’m certain RDJ’s schlong may be.

He said The Mandarin is Iron Man’s greatest foe, but he was made into a mockery in the feature film. I was shocked that he had even seen the movie as it had been shot in digital, but I realized then that he thought the cinema was a theatrical play performed by giants, so I understood where he was coming from.

At first, I scoffed at his plight, “Why would you care if they did not do the comics justice?” but then I thought about this more deeply.

I am an English graduate who graduated post-Troy (2004). As I had no knowledge of the Iliad, I thought it was a fine film and, quite frankly, even after laboriously reading through Alexander Pope’s translation and the even more tiresome Book 2 — which features an epic list that will bore you further than the Bible’s series of begets and begats — I ended up appreciating Troy as an artistic creation… not so with others.

Other movies, I damned before ever viewing because I had read them first. However, it took several novel-to-film films to make me realize the error of my ways. I have a vision for the novel because it is text on paper and the directors/writers have a different vision — whether or not I appreciate that is entirely on me…

However, while I had made my resolve and my homelie stared absentmindedly in my general direction, or the Walgreens, as one pupil continued to dilate and droop, I realized how much worse comic book fans have it.

First of all, they suffer from the term, “Fan-Boy” which “Boy” on its own is derogatory and I can safely say there’d be less outrage if someone called me a “Fan-Man” as that sounds like a superhero all its own.

No, comic-book readers are already chided in the media and in public because it’s a colorful adventure of homo-eroticism with tight spandex, makeup and masks, that — to offset those homo-erotic overtones — depicts women as damsels with impossible bodies, shoe-string clothing and boobs. Give Ken a cape and you could market Barbie™ to men.

However, there is also a great deal of darkness to comic books that goes overlooked since the colors are so bright.

For example, rape, drug deals, self-mutilation, castration, drunkenness, abusive parents, overdose, miscarriages, and murder; murder of men, innocent victims, women, and children — yes, children.

robin-killed

Children that were murdered due to a massive vote from the public I might add.

Yes, comic books fans may still carry the stigma, but the self-awareness is palpable. So where does the fan-boy outrage come in?

When I read a book, I create a vision, but just because mine differs from a portrayal onscreen doesn’t make it bad. What makes the fan-boy outrage so much more devastating is the fact that comics provide the vision (see Paul Bettany). Comics are drawn and therefore characters need to look a certain way.

Where comic book fans are annoyed to the point of rage is when they have been following characters for decades, reading their new adventures, seeing the vision the comic company wants them to see, and then markets a movie to them (their loyal audience) and provides a different vision. The appeal for fanboys is not seeing a different interpretation — they get that — it’s that they’re seeing stories they’ve already read about and waited to see in motion… only to have them spun on their heads.

The homelie looked at me, but I realized by the wheezing going in and out of his nostril that he must have fallen asleep.

I jaywalked across the street and worried over the homelie, if he would ever get over his fan-boy rage. Then, I thought about how, if the raging fan-boy comments were in print (like newspapers), homelies would have an endless blanket of shelter.

I thought about this as I crossed the street where girl scouts were selling their cookies. I had told another homeless person I had no cash, but I was far enough away to embrace the lie and buy a box of the thin mints.

thin-mints

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2 comments

  1. J.K. Post authorReply

    They’ve actually done a comic about superman landing in Russia. It’s called Red Son (play on the red sun of krypton), I think I’ve got the book somewhere if you ever want to borrow it. One of the best portrayals of Lex Luthor I’ve seen.

    • Derek Hobson Post authorReply

      I must not have conveyed this well. Rereading this entry, it’s pretty chaotic. My point was that Man of Steel should’ve followed that storyline — I think people would’ve been less pissed off.

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