Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers (Studies in Popular Culture)

Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers (Studies in Popular Culture)As you may guess from the title, this is an academic look at the culture of comic book fandom As such, it s a touch on the dry side in places But Pustz has a genuine affection and enthusiasm for his subject matter, which helps carry it through the rough spots One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was that I was hoping for some sort of history of comics fandom It s a topic I ve been curious about There s some history in this book, but it s of a cultural study than anything Thanks to some of the books Pustz quotes, though, I have some ideas for further reading To some extent, this book is a product of its time Very early in my reading, puzzled by the dated description of a typical comics shop i.e anime on VHS for sale , I checked the copyright and saw that it was published in 1999 So this appeared before the DVD era, before Facebook and online streaming and bit torrent, before the rise of nerd culture, before the manga and graphic novel boom, before superhero movies and TV shows became popular and even mainstream at the time this book was written, the biggest recent superhero movie was the wretched Batman and Robin the first X Men movie wasn t even a rumor So it s largely a snapshot of comics fan culture at a particular point in the past The book may be dated, yes, but I don t think I d say that it s outdated Fans will always be fans, no matter how mainstream the object of their fandom may be And in cases where Pustz s observations no longer apply, we can see what new data have arisen how societal attitudes and or technology have changed to bring this about.In all, an interesting book If the subject of comcs fandom interests you, and you don t mind wading through a bit of academic prose, you might want to check this out. The University of Mississippi Press published this nice little dissertation examining the world of comic book fans in all their varieties, ranging all the way from superhero fanboys Ewww to alt comics snobs like me The author argues that despite all the rather annoying nerdball behavior that often runs rampant throughout this specialized and rather isolated community, comic book fans can and do actively engage in and help create and evolve their culture rather than just passively consuming it I ve attended enough small press expos and read enough minicomics to attest to the veracity of this thesis Pustz isn t the liveliest writer but he made his case convincingly, and chose the illustrations to back his text wisely 3 out of 5. I m using this book in my college writing course text vision this semester, and it is exactly what I wanted from a cultural overview of comic book fandom Pustz does a great job of explaining how fandom came about, how it compares to other cultures with a consistent reference to baseball fans, for example , and some of its peculiarities In particular, he is able to partly explain the incestual nature of consumer and producers in comics, where each is a responsible party to the worst excesses of the medium, yet Pustz is careful to not make a judgment statement about this unlike me.This book is not a history of comics, of who published what first and which creator sued which publisher For that, you should check out Bradford Wright s Comic Book Nation It s not even a history of comics fandom, although it does gather quite a bit of that together in its pages Bill Schelly covers the history of fandom in detail What Pustz tries to cover is the area inbetween where fans and publishers met This is the culture of comic books, the place where the two groups make something together, and at first it may seem strange to think of consumers as producers, or producers as consumers But, through his analysis of comics letters pages and fanzines, Pustz shows how the two groups affected each other.Comic Book Culture is copyright 1999, but feels like it was written in 1996 or 1997, mainly for the lack of focus on the incredible growth of manga in America and how Pokemon, DragonBall Z, and Sailor Moon are revitalizing comic book culture by bringing children back to comics The last three years have also increased the importance of the Internet on the culture, which Pustz talks about briefly in the chapter 5 Finally, he really doesn t get much chance to focus on the rise of the graphic novel as an option for reading the medium compared to the ephemeral magazine.As a textbook in a cultural study hybrid course, this book is perfect For the average comic reader, it might be interesting to discover aspects of the hobby that you didn t know about And it might just be the thing to share with parents or friends who don t understand why you keep reading Spider Man, even though you re over 30. This was an interesting book and not what I had expected Pustz talks about comic book fandom, and while I think he over reaches when he mentions that comic book fandom could be a model for other American fan communities, he brings to light how fans of comic books are constructed by the materials they read and how this, in turn, creates the fan community or communities I thought he made some really good points about how comic book fans are active participants in their reading practices, and he even breaks down some of the divisions between fans of superhero comics and fans of alternative comics but neglects comic strip readers outright , but I would have liked to see about the gender issues that are part of the comics community he brings this up by saying that there are few women who read these comics, but manages to find a number of quotes and responders who, through what they say, call into question the paucity of female readers I also respect his inclusion of manga as part of the American comics landscape and that he will leave it others to explore that culture further Not all comics readers like manga, but it is nice to see someone acknowledge it as something that exists for American comics readers I hope that there will be books that build on this work and continue the conversation in light of the new interpretation of fanboys and other issues currently in the comics conversation. What Are Super Devoted Fans Of Comic Books Really Like What Draws Them Together And Energizes Their Zeal What Do The Denizens Of This Pop Culture World Have In Common This Book Provides Good Answers As It Scrutinizes The Fans Whose Profiles Can Be Traced At Their Conventions, In Pages Of Fanzines, On Websites, In Chat Rooms, On Electronic Bulletin Boards, And Before The Racks In Comic Book Stores They Are A Singular Breed, And An Absorbing Interest In Comic Books Sometimes Life Consuming Unites ThemStudies Have Shows That The Clustering, Die Hard Disciples Of Star Trek Have Produced A Unique Culture The Same Can Be Said Of American Enthusiasts Of Comic Books These Aficionados Range From The Stereotypical Fanboy Who Revels In The Minute Details Of Mainstream Superhero Titles Like X Men To The Discriminating And Downright Snobbish Reader Of Idiosyncratic Alternative Comics Like Eightball Literate Comics Like Watchman, Radioactiv Very straight forward and clearly written It gets a bit repetitive at times as fan culture tends to do perhaps in an attempt to be thorough.

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  • Paperback
  • 260 pages
  • Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers (Studies in Popular Culture)
  • Matthew J. Pustz
  • English
  • 07 June 2017
  • 9781578062010

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