Up until yesterday night, I always considered myself to be a fairly placid sort of geek. I don’t get upset about Star Trek continuity or UNIT dating, I can’t bring myself to worry about whether the TARDIS windows are the right size or not. Sure, my friends know I have certain flashpoints – The Matrix and Terminator 3 mostly – but for the most part I try not to succumb to the nerd rage.
I regret to inform you that I have succumbed. And it’s annoyed me.
Some background: every twenty-plus years, DC Comics tends to pull a reboot. Characters get reset and reinvented, their fictional histories change, some die, some disappear. Well now it’s time for that reboot.
Thing is, this is the first reboot that has affected me.
I started reading comics roughly halfway through the present era. I’ve grown as a fan with the current version of the characters, and while they sometimes need a rethink, I’ve been happy with them. But now… Now there are rumours…
(The remainder of this post may or may not contain spoilers, depending on the accuracy of those rumours and how far the marketing is being truthful or deliberately misleading. More official news is expected soon, but this post isn’t about the announcements, it’s about the Rage!)
So they’re relaunching, but with what appears to be something of a halfway house, with some stuff changing and some remaining the same. Rumours include Superman getting together with Wonder Woman (Superman belongs with Lois. End of, even though that makes me intractable), and Grant Morrison on a Superman book (admittedly this one is awesome).
Other announcements have included the renumbering of all books (including Action Comics, which just hit #901 and was about eight years away from #1000, and therefore the news is a crime against comic history) and same-day release of digital editions (embracing new technology is essential for publishers, so this is good news for the industry; not sure how retaillers will feel though).
Oh, and the line will be more diverse, although the initial artwork released features one woman, one black guy and six white dudes.
Reading all that back, I can sense the annoyance. I am experiencing Nerd Rage, and the only explanation I can come up with is that I’m taking this personally. This is ridiculous. DC executives don’t wake up in the morning and think “Hey, it’s Wednesday, how can we piddle in Matt’s kettle today?” They’re doing what’s best for their company, and while I might not agree with all their decisions, they’re not malicious, not incompetent and not untalented. There’s a lot of experience, talent and company loyalty among DC’s key players and I hate that I’m experiencing nerd rage because while I have the right to express my views through the internet, I don’t have the right or inclination to be a troll.
(When Christopher Eccleston abruptly left Doctor Who, one message boarder said that he felt like stabbing him, leading to the board temporarily shutting down. Nerd Rage can be a very ugly thing.)
So I guess that’s the key thing – we’re talking about human beings here, not comic producing robots, and while I think reasoned criticism is fine, there are ways and means of expressing that. My inner geek doesn’t seem to be in this place yet, but that’s my problem, not Jim Lee’s. Whether I decide to see how the new DC plays out, or whether I use this as a jumping off point, I shouldn’t give in to the Rage. That’s not the way to go…
…As the Incredible Hulk taught us.