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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 1  

I'm going to start a new thread for this old subject, so that my comments for today won't get scattered across the half dozen threads that have inspired them.

A short while ago, made curious by a couple of comments elsewhere in the Forum today, I went poking around on a few other message boards, looking for the latest diatribes against the monster that is John Byrne. (I use the word diatribes deliberately -- more in a moment.)

I didn't find much that was new, either in content or chronology, but I did find a lot of stuff that underlined for me something I have spent much of my career desperately trying to convince myself was not true: some fans are really stupid. Now -- I still cling like a drowining man to the thought that these stupid fans represent the minority, but they are a minority with a very loud voice, courtesy of the InterNet. Several loud voices, courtesy of fake screen names.

One of the recurrent themes in the Byrne Bashing is that I am a "racist". This would seem to be a term very popular with people who have been lucky enough in their lives never to have actually met a real racist. Figuring out where this charge comes from, tho, is kind of tricky. If we stick to the facts, at least. But sticking to the facts is optional on the InterNet. Thus we are treated to posts from people who claim to have stopped buying my work because of my "racist diatribes". (Told you there was a reason I used that word.)

Now, when I see the phrase "racist diatribes" connected to myself and/or my work, I can come to only one conclusion: the person using the phrase does not understand the definition of either word. At this point, I suppose, I could whip out my resumé as a demonstration of how I am anything but a "racist", but that resumé is already out there for anyone to see. Anyone, that is, who actually wants to look at the body of work I have produced in the last 30 years or so. But that's too much like homework, and in situations like this it is far easier (and more fun!) to quote the previous poster(s) and not bother to cloud the issues with facts. Especially since those previous posters have not been so inclined, either.

A recurrent motif: "Byrne said thus-and-such" is offered by Poster A, who gives us something I didn't say, or something that someone else said, or something that is taken out of context. The last is the favorite. As with "Byrne uses the word 'nigger'." Yes, I do -- to say it's a bad word. As with, for instance, when I used it in the Hate Monger story I did in FANTASTIC FOUR. Had to get special permission to use it, it fact. Curiously, at that time, nobody called me a "racist" for using it. Nobody, for instance, deduced that I was cleverly placing this word into the mouth of the villain so that I could reveal my own thoughts on the subject. (That kind of skewed thinking would need a few years, as when I gave Phoebe Marrs a line of anti-abortion dialog in NAMOR, and was immediately excoriated for putting "Pro-Life garbage" into my stories, thus revealing my own stand on the subject. Since my own stand is very loudly Pro-Choice, and since, once again, the words came from the mouth of one of the villains, one would not think such "deductions" would be made. But that was an early warning sign of a distinct sea change in fandom.)

The InterNet has accelerated this change, until now it perhaps outweighs every other kind of post combined. Basically, people love to be offended. For themselves, or on behalf of someone else. What I have dubbed "red sweater syndrome".*

This brings us back to those stupid fans. Stupid, because they will follow the herd, refusing to think for themselves (assuming they are able) and repeating like good little parrots what they read online or heard at their local comicbook shop. Truth is not required, only something that will allow them to wear their red sweaters. Or, stupid because, apparently, I have been a racist all along, and they have not noticed. They did not notice when I was drawing Power Man. They did not notice when Danny and Misty were romantically connected. They did not notice when Storm became leader of the X-Men. They did not notice when I drew Rhodey as a black guy. Etc, etc. right down to the present day. They are really, really, stupid, because, hey! I'm a racist, and they never noticed. BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

Or --- I'm not a racist. Nah --- that can't be! It's on the InterNet, so it must be true.



*"Anybody who wears a read sweater is an idiot"

"I have never worn a red sweater and I resent being
called an idiot!"

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Juan Jose Colin Arciniega
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:42pm | IP Logged | 2  

Well said Mr. Byrne....now all the fanboys are gonna say "Mr.Byrne called us stupids"!

Now, i think...they have the "Drama Queen" sindrome!



Edited by Juan Jose Colin Arciniega on 30 June 2006 at 2:43pm
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:46pm | IP Logged | 3  

"This brings us back to those stupid fans."

Adult comic book fans don't seem to be the most intelligent, well-rounded of lads and lassies. I include myself in that group.
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Matthew Hansel
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:53pm | IP Logged | 4  

I am convinced that in some sad, stupid way, all of the BYRNE detractors are, in their hearts of hearts, JEALOUS of JB and his position in the industry and, most importantly, of his TALENT.

When you are extraordinarily good at what you do, people get jealous...way jealous...especially when you remain consistent and constant in your work.

It is a shame, though, that these people are destroying the hobby and industry they so profess to love by supporting books that are constantly produced late (because the creators are "growing roses); are totally into the "gimmicks" offered up as "new and exciting" ideas proposed by many companies; support talent that in NO WAY are professional in either their behavior or work ethic; and set out to destroy the careers and reputations of those people whose work they do not like.

What upsets me, probably even more, is that the public perception of a "comic book fan" is EXACTLY what these basement dwellers and microphalics demonstrate each and every time they post to an InterNet message board, and this is done at the expense of all of us who read comics and THINK and have LIVES and so forth and so on.  I mean, I have civilian friends who, to this day, still believe that ALL comic book fans, and even professionals, are EXACTLY like "Comic Book Guy" on the SIMPSONS.  (One friend, when I brought her to the Chicago Comicon a few years back, even remarked how "normal" many of the creators looked/acted...especially considering their "fans"...).

But, at the end of the day, if these idiots destory what remains of the comic book industry and while they are pissing on the graves of what was once a fun, vibrant, creative outlet/industry/hobby, while they do that with GLEE, I hope that the emptiness that is their lives consumes them and their ilk and that a great hell is thrust upon them and they spend what remains of their lives in pain, suffering and agony.

May a SPECTRE like wrath haunt them all the days of their shallow, empty, hallow lives!

MPH

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Matthew Hansel
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:54pm | IP Logged | 5  

Speak for yourself, Joe.

MPH

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Mikael Bergkvist
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:55pm | IP Logged | 6  

You and Chris kick-started X-men, which has become a symbol for stuff not so much related with racism.. so it's kinda wierd..
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Mike O'Brien
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 2:57pm | IP Logged | 7  

All this because of: 

1) A drawing that Byrne probably didn't do - (he penciled the cover, yet the drawing is in ink, it's not his style, etc and so on...)

2) A remark that is in line with what Malcolm X said - that it's a sad commentary when people destroy thier natural beauty to look like their oppressors.

You're right, though - the people making these outrageous claims should try learning a thing or two about racism before tossing that word around. 

Not that they really believe it, I'm sure, it's just a word they use in their sad little campaigns....

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Brian Hunt
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:08pm | IP Logged | 8  

As a black fan of JBs for more than 20+ years, I hearby denounce any claims that John Byrne is a racist.  I make this statement with full knowledge of real racism having been born and raised in the deep, deep, South (where one year the big controversy was an integrated prom In the 1990s).  Now move along, nothing to see here. 

Brian

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Darren Taylor
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 9  

I actually think that they resent the fact that -their- chosen favourite [creator*] isn't able to maintain the work rate or even a regular rate as JB can.

They want to dipute that JB as worthy of his title -and- that he has had his day, hence the "old stuff is better" bleating. As these arguements breakdown (and surely they must as JB continues to work it simply proves that the New stuff is still in demand) they need to fire their shells at less tangible aspects, like the fact that "JB ate the hamster of a friend of a friend" or that "at one Con JB burned a kids comics" et al.

There is a reason that "HOT" artists are "COOL" [shruggs at the hep words we devise] and JB is not marketed as a "HOT" artist. ("HOT" is used like "They're going like 'Hot' Crossed Buns". Like they are here one minute and not the next, adding to the whole sporadic (I want to say nomadic here for some reason) nature or as they like to market it "EVENTS". So terms like "Growing Roses" emerge to put a positive spin on what is really unprofessionalism.) JB is -everything- these fanatics wish their guy/gal was!

* I'd have said artist but as "HOT" artist these days are so unreliable it would appear that Writers are more likely to have regular work out there.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:12pm | IP Logged | 10  

JB, your problem with stupid "fans" and accusations of racism reminds me of the attempts to ban HUCKLEBERRY FINN because of the use of the word "nigger."

Russell Baker in the NYTimes back in 1982 wrote:
 QUOTE:
The people they [Huck and Jim] encounter are drunkards, murderers, bullies, swindlers, lynchers, thieves, liars, frauds, child abusers, numbskulls, hypocrites, windbags and traders in human flesh. All are white. The one man of honor in this phantasmagoria is black Jim, the runaway slave. ''Nigger Jim,'' as Twain called him to emphasize the irony of a society in which the only true gentleman was held beneath contempt.

The people who want to label Mark Twain a racist obviously are too stupid to understand what they (seem to) read. It's apparent that the people out to get you, JB, are just as stupid in the same way.

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:14pm | IP Logged | 11  

The current charges of racism at JB from his detractors stem from, basically, two things: The comments he made on Latinas dying their hair blonde, and a silly drawing in the UPC box on the original art for an "Uncanny X-Men" cover from nearly 30 years ago.

These pathetic people that constantly seek to demonize and rag on about JB all the friggin time were just looking for anything they could find to tar and feather him, and took those two things above out of context and ran with them.

One board on the net is practically the Anti-Byrne Forum, they post so much about JB, and always negatively. Sad, really.

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Jonathan Watkins
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:22pm | IP Logged | 12  

I don't have anything to add to the subject of trolls and the nonsense that has been going on in different forums.  No matter what is written to try and diffuse it, it will not be deterred.  However, I'd like to go on record as saying that absolutely no comicbook professional contributes to his fanbase on the internet as much as JB.  There is nobody out there who offers the sheer volume of pencil scans, daily doodles, commissions and ideas as the man who owns this site-- and all for FREE.  Ask JB any question about his process, about tips for how he does a certain thing, about the history of the industry or any other topic and he gives you the straight dope.  If that isn't the definition of a man who cares about his profession and the people who have been his fans, then I don't know what is.

I for one appreciate the hell out of it.

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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:27pm | IP Logged | 13  

"nd a silly drawing in the UPC box on the original art for an "Uncanny X-Men" cover from nearly 30 years ago."

And no one knows if JB even drew it !
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Bill Dowling
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 14  

Huh. I missed the whole UPC box brou-ha-ha the first time around.
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 3:58pm | IP Logged | 15  

Dont worry. A tempest in a teapot stirred up a "journalist" too lazy to actually do any research.

Edited by Mike Norris on 30 June 2006 at 4:06pm
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Brandon Pennison
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 4:04pm | IP Logged | 16  

Well spoken Jonathan.  I have read this board since I first discovered it probably around 2003 or so and I have never posted anything before, but I do feel the need to post now and say that I truly appreciate John Byrne taking time out of his schedule to talk to his fans also.  I love his work and have loved his work since I was 9 years old in 1983.  I have never thought he was a racist, mean spirited or a jerk.  What I belive John Byrne to be is a consumate professional in an industry that no longer values professionalism and work ethic.  They value talent, but most of those so called professionals with talent are hardly professional.  Trying to change people's opinion on the internet is like my struggle to contain the pesky ants in and around my house.  Raid works well, but others always rise to replace the ones you took care of the day before.  Screw them.  And thanks again to JB for caring about his fans and those who support him.
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Juan Jose Colin Arciniega
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 4:15pm | IP Logged | 17  

Well...i'm waiting for the fanboys to come prowl here i their defense of the "red sweater syndrome...

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George Peter Gatsis
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 4:25pm | IP Logged | 18  

Jb...

I'm not sure if your post is a statement of you not being a racist or an observation of stupid people?

either way...

I have been a Byrne Robotics Member since 03 September 2004 and lurked before that...
I have an observation regarding negative attitudes towards you...

The fans are not stupid... they are not mature.
They are not mature enuff to have their real names stand by their words or
They are not mature to research thru this massive worldwide database before they come to any conclusion
They are not mature enuff to lead... they just follow.

Being stupid is a special accomplishment that only a small number of people on this planet can NOT stand up and say "I am stupid." If they said this, this would mean they have some sense of logic and therefore cannot be titled as stupid.

The negative attitudes towards you fall into 1 of 2 categories as I see it...
1) need to show somekind of hardship so they get the notice of others
2) need a target to vent their frustrations

Reading your responses over the years, I can only conclude that your attitude sometimes is short with people, but with reason...

I've had such responses from you, but I see past it. Others it would seem lack the maturity to do so.

Can you change? Can you hire a PR person to change the perception of the NOT mature people? Can you learn a new trick that would change them?

Why do I say you instead of them? Because you can't control them, they will always be there, if it's not you as their target, it is someone else... their attitude will always be there until LIFE hits them head on and -change for the better, will be the only thing that they have left.

30 years of great work is quite an accomplishment, that alone should speak for itself... just quietly point to it and walk away...

If they still think you are a racist, a jerk, or anything else... well show them a donation stub to the UNCF or whatever works against their preceptions...

I remember EMINEM was accused of being a homophobe or some such anti-gay crap... the NOT mature people yelled loud and clear, they were EVERYWHERE... next thing you see Eminem and Elton John singing together and hugging... that shut the NOT mature people hard and fast....

Can you do something about the NOT mature people other than write about it?

Only you can prevent forest fires.

Am I off on this line of thinking?

Edited by George Peter Gatsis on 30 June 2006 at 4:29pm
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Robert White
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 4:29pm | IP Logged | 19  

Well come on guys. It's not like there is anything interesting happening in the Marvel and DC comics anymore. There is nothing left for fandom to do but to turn inward on itself and gnaw at its very soul in-between six months waits for a fix of their favorite creators latest behind schedule “masterpiece.” When you take fun and adventure out of comics, and replace it with quasi-celebrities and pretentious herd mentality political correctness and post-post modernistic nihilism, this is the sort of fan-base that you get. Great job comics industry.
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 4:58pm | IP Logged | 20  

I'm often reminded that knowing that a word exists doesn't mean the user has any idea what the word means or how to use it correctly. Many truly stupid people try to sound smart by using words they've heard (or read) with barely any concept of their definition.

Which is why, JB, it doesn't surprise me that some idiot (and I use that word knowing what it means) accuses you of making "racist diatribes" in your work. They don't know what the words mean. Devoid of intent, they're also devoid of power; it's the verbal equivalent of chimpanzees flinging dung. Take heart that those of us who are fans pretty much get what you intend (and ask you directly if we don't).

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Robert Last
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 5:11pm | IP Logged | 21  


How to destroy all Byrne Bashing:

1.  Don't make a single, derogatory remark about another creator, fan or retailer.  Restrict your comments to work, and positive stories within the industry.  Name artists and writers who are professional.

2. Keep producing excellent artwork, keep evolving.  Praise those you work with who do a good job. Don't knock those who don't. See rule 1

3. Phrasing and tact.
I could go off on one here, but I'm guessing you've been told enough times in your life that you could be a bit more thoughtful and diplomatic about what you say and how you say it. Which is really ironic for a writer!

4. The hardest part (except for rule 1)
Go to a prominent board like Newsarama, Millarworld, hell, even the Bendis! board, and introduce yourself.  Speak to fans,  calmly and reasonably.  Do some positive PR work.  You've said yourself, it's a minority of fans that cause the trouble.  Go to the majority and talk to them.  They can't come here, because this is your territory.  You are the big bad in his castle here, so they are free to imagine all sorts of terrors about you. And yes, this can be a pretty scary intense board.  I go to Millarworld and Newsarama to relax sometimes!

Even Dr Doom goes to New York now and again...

Sorry if all the above is too much, but it kind of felt like the spirit of this thread was to address the heart of Byrne bashing once and for all.

And for the record, if I can be honest, I don't think you are racist -I think you get a touch bigfoot with black characters faces sometimes, but that hardly makes you a racist.

As an aside, I once read of a couple who were delighted and proud that their childs' first word was nigger...  I read that almost 20 years ago, and the thought still sickens me today.

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 5:13pm | IP Logged | 22  

I'll take John Byrne's decades long respectful treatment of characters of Color over baseless accusations of his racism any day.

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Stéphane Garrelie
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 5:17pm | IP Logged | 23  

Lot of fans today have an imaginary John Byrne in their mind.

There are the anti-Byrnes (called too the Byrne bashers) and there's the people who believe them.

Racism is certainly one of the most ridiculous amongst the defaults they atribute to you.

Maybe you're sometime not very careful in the way you say some things, but to call it racism, one have to:

1) Ignore the comics you co-plot, draw or wrote all along the years (yes Iron Fist and Misty come to mind, so does Wyatt Wingfoot/She Hulk and many other characters)

2) want to find racism in what you say, no matter what was your intention when you said or wrote on-line a sentence maybe not very politicly correct, but not racist either.

OUT OF TOPIC: By the way I was wondering: Have the first name of Misty Knight a link with Erroll Garner's Jazz Standard "Misty"? Or maybe Clint Eastwood's movie "Play Misty For Me" in wich a woman ask every night to a DJ this music?

    

Just curious.

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 5:28pm | IP Logged | 24  

Robert, why should any comic creator have to do all of those things just to get a fair shake?  And even if he did, I seriously doubt it would put an end to all of the bad Byrne stories.

Oh, and I've always thought that JB and Alan Davis were among the few artists who draw Black comic book characters well.  Many are "hit or miss" with their depictions, and some (like Eduardo Rizzo) make them look downright demonic.

 

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Ron Chevrier
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Posted: 30 June 2006 at 5:31pm | IP Logged | 25  

    Threat, menace, I don't give a fig. For all I care, JB can weld kittens to old ladies'  heads as long as it doesn't negatively affect the quality or frequency of his art or writing. I respect JB for his standing in the comics industry as a reliable and talented creator, not for whether I think he'd be my bestus' pal if we were neighbors, or if we could pal around after a comics convention (although I'm certain that some people here have done that).

    This is his board, and I count myself lucky to be able to glean what wisdom I can from a veteran in the industry. If I happen to disagree with his opinion, I try to use the better part of valor, and keep it to myself. As should many other internet "fans" of comics.
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