I’ve hated hard in my day. Hated hard and long and hot. Hated all day long in the burning sun and come back to hate some more. Most of all, when they’ve deserved it, I’ve hated comics. I once wrote a sitcom pilot based on my life and entitled it “Hating Comics.” (This is 100% true.) But a while back, hating comics lost its luster. I stopped reading comics blogs and message boards, cut back my comics reading to the stuff I actually liked, and renounced comics hate in all its forms. My chakras are now clear and my heart is simple as a child’s as I meditate upon the eventual ascent of my soul unto the Fourth World.
That’s why, when the Hooded Utilitarian invited me to this roundtable, I responded SHAME! Shame on you, Hooded Utilitarian, for promoting negativity! For promoting divisiveness within Team Comics! Comics blogs lead to anger, anger leads to hate, and so on. Personally, I have evolved beyond such base sniping. I no longer hate comics. I have certainly not ranked various comics by level and quality of the hate produced therein, from those which inspire white-hot sputtering rage to those which merely stir intense allergic dislike, nor have I organized my most hated comics into various little categories. Categories like:
Most Hated Comic Strip. You see, this is how damaging hate can be. There was a time, in my youth, when I was consumed by hatred of Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows. It reached the point that my future husband, when about to introduce me to one of his childhood friends, added, “And please, please don’t mention Frank Cho.” Was this healthy for our relationship? Surely not.
Yes, Liberty Meadows was unfunny, predictable, tidily but lazily drawn, burdened with one of those self-pitying-nice-guy-nerd protagonists I just want to punch until they cry and then stomp on their glasses, and popular only because it featured huge-breasted women drawn in profile, but was that any reason to hate it the way I did? At the time, I didn’t even know about Cho’s “censored” strips wherein his cute-animal characters describe how to perform a donkey punch. My anger was completely out of proportion.
In fact, it was Milo George’s epic takedown of Liberty Meadows in the pages of The Comics Journal, on the occasion of the strip’s reception of an Ignatz Award, that first warned me off the dark path of hate. As an ardent Liberty Meadows hater, I should have basked in sweet schadenfreude, but it didn’t feel meaningful because Milo George hated everything. He’d probably be just as bitchy to Bone. That was my first inkling that hate, when it becomes all-consuming, ultimately loses its power and its meaning.
Most Hated Superhero Comic. Hardcore superhero fans are much better at hating superheroes than I could ever have been, even at my most hate-filled. That said, I confess to being one of the many nerdgirls outraged by DC’s ungentlemanly treatment of Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. Girl Robin. And it all started so well! I’m officially meh on Batman (grim superheroes are just not my thing), but I did always dig the girl Robin in Dark Knight Returns. When, in the mid-2000s, Stephanie “Spoiler” Brown put on the Robin costume and started spunkily kicking ass, I found myself interested in Batman comics for the first time.
So of course Girl Robin got kidnapped and tortured to death.
Then, in an even more hateable and much more bizarre plot development, longtime heroic doctor character Leslie Thompkins took a break from being awesome in the Batman TV cartoons to reveal that she deliberately let Stephanie Brown die in order to teach Batman a lesson. So not only is Girl Robin a textbook Woman in Refrigerator—that is, a female character who is tortured and/or killed strictly to provide the male characters with motivation—the refrigeration was actually engineered in-story. By another female character.
But I don’t hate those comics. Not anymore. I am…irked, perhaps. But hate? Never. Remember how hate can spiral out of control. Keep it down. Keep it way low down.
Most Hated Graphic Novel. OH MY GOD RICH KOSLOWSKI’S THREE FINGERS.
Down. Calm. Down. We don’t hate anymore, remember? We’re past that. Visualize soothing images. Reed Richards entering the Negative Zone. Roger Langridge’s Muppets riding a bus with the Electric Mayhem playing on the roof. Lynda Barry monkeys.
I shouldn’t hate this comic, anyway. Koslowski seems like a nice guy, and he inks a mean Archie comic, and he probably meant well. It’s just that I was suckered into paying hard-earned money for what turned out to be a queasy remake of Who Censored Roger Rabbit with none of the cleverness and deeply inappropriate appropriation of mid-century national tragedies. And having Mowgli from Disney’s Jungle Book as the Toon equivalent of MLK was just a weird choice, and why do I even remember that detail? And then it won an Ignatz Award, which seems to be a recurring theme in comics I hate…
I mean used to hate. Used to. Because I don’t hate anymore. I love. My heart is open and I love comics without judgment or reservation, I welcome all iterations of sequential art into my arms…
Most Hated Webcomic. Okay, I give up. The hate is back. Also? Ctrl-Alt-Del.
Click here for the Anniversary Index of Hate.