Longtime readers will, of course, remember my dog:
Oh, wait; wrong picture.
There we go.
Anyway, I was walking the dog the other day, and pondering the fact that he's less interested in other dogs than in the smells (or other things) that they produce. I've seen him examine intently an area of recent bedewment by another dog, while ignoring the dog itself.
How odd, I thought. It's like reading someone's calling card, but not talking to them. I, a sensible human with appropriate priorities, would never do something as silly as that.
Yet, of course, I do that all the time.... with my comic books.
Writers? Writers are mere details, just credits on the splash page; I ignore them all the time, and focus instead on their product, on what they've left behind. And, no, I am not metaphorically calling most comic book stories doggy doo; my dog and I simply have differing interests. And I'm well aware intellectually that writers (oh, and artists, too) are important because they produce the product I enjoy. I'm just saying writers interest me only to the degree I can smell what characters they recently ingested and what literary product came out the other end of the process.
Is that strange?
Then again, on another level, even the stories themselves aren't my point of interest. Not really. Yes, I like to read good stories. But quality of the stories is, in the final analysis, less important to me (and, I think, posterity) than the contribution they make to the myth of the characters within them. So something stupid or unlikely things happened in a story you read; so what? Most of the stories that enamored us of comic books and their characters had/have stupid or unlikely things in them.
I -- and, I think, many people -- are more interested in the result of the story, than in the story itself. Did the characters involved become more interesting? Did their relationships with one another deepen or become richer? Did the universe of which they are part become richer or more interesting as a result of the story? Or perhaps, was a social or moral point made?
I think this may be why I am more satisified by my comic books than some other fans. I am reminded of a recent post in which I praised Paul Dini and his recent work on Batman. The post received many comments criticizing one of his stories as slapdash, lascivious, sloppy; that may very well all be true.
But all I saw was a story that made Poison Ivy more interesting to me, added an ironic twist to her work with plants, and deepened my understanding of the relationship between Batman & Robin. That's the only kind of thing I'm ever going to be able to remember longterm, not whether the ending was rushed or whether the art was too cheesecakish.
Is that strange?
Maybe I'm just as weird as my dog is.