Thursday, March 29, 2007

Warning: This post contains snobbery, social ranking and unrepentant judgment.

I was going to post a pretty cover, but I ended up getting into a fight in the comments of Kalinara's blog instead. I was a real asshat too (especially at the end there), but that's not what I'm going to discuss here.

Instead, I'm going to be even more of an asshat. I want to pick on this little paragraph of this little comment:
Oh, and I deleted the other post because I had a much better argument to make. You might want to follow example once your a Cass fan.
Let's repeat that last part.
You might want to follow example once your a Cass fan.
Again, so it sinks in.
You might want to follow example once your a Cass fan.
Now, dreadful grammar/spelling (on both our parts) aside, this made me cackle with derision. The statement implies that being a fan of Cassandra-Batgirl carries a higher standard than not being a fan of Cassandra-Batgirl. This of course goes against everything I've learned in all my years of superhero fandom.

Cass-fans are a minor subclass of Batfans. Now what I'm about to explain in no way says that Batfans are the losers of superhero fandom or anything like that. I know Batfans with wonderful taste. But being a Batfan is so common that it is practically a pre-requisite to being a superhero fan at all. Within the Batfan class are subclasses of Robinfans, Babsfans, Cassfans, CommisionerGordonfans, SilverAgeBatfans, GoldenAgeBatfans, MillerBatfans, Catfans, Jokerfans, Villainfans, Alfredfans but all are part of the general Gotham experience. All are members of the Batfamily and all fall under the umbrella of Batfans.

I always pictured superhero fandom as a pyramid. At the base are your wide-appeal franchises like Batman and X-Men. Nearly everyone enters the fandom through one of those classes. (There's a Marvel side and a DC side) Some people remain at the base and divide into little subclasses and have little sub-class wars, while others move on to other wide-appeal (but not quite so large) franchises such as Superman and Spiderman, up to the lesser known but still popular franchises like Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League, Avengers, Captain America, Hulk. Lesser known solo characters like Daredevil, Thor, Firestorm are a step above that. As they move up, they still remain Batfans and keep their cherished memories of brooding lonely RotDK Bruce or a car battery being thrown at a villain, but they expand to be fans of other settings as well.

Above the current character followers you have writer-followers, and art followers, and historians. Those fans of comics that were published before they first started reading comics, Bronze and Silver Age fans who had Modern Age childhoods are a bit higher than those fans who insist that everything be as they first started reading, but both are lower on the hierarchy than the people who go out of their way to track down the Golden Age stories that started it all. A cut above the current writer/artist followers are the ones who follow classic creators like Gil Kane, and Carmen Infantino and Gardner Fox, and at the very top of the pyramid you find your Kirby fans.

Because a fan of Jack Kirby obviously has impeccable taste.

While there's no reason to roll your eyes because someone is a fan of Batman or one of his many spinoffs, there's no reason to be impressed. Everyone has been to Gotham in one way or another. I'm probably going to laugh when someone tells me about the exacting social standards of CassandraCain-fandom. I'm probably also very likely to make fun of them. But when someone who owns Hunger Dogs and has read all of the necessary Adventures of Jimmy Olsen issues talks about what's necessary to be a Kirby fan, that's another situation entirely.

(What? Its not like I'm the only one to ever put cliche dialogue to a Kirby panel. Besides, I needed something for Jake's meme.)


  1. "Once your [sic] a Cass fan"? I picture someone tied to a chair while another person in a scary real-world equivalent of her Batgirl costume tortures them until they confess that they, too, love Cass Cain.

    People wonder why I have a hard time respecting Cassfans, and this attitude of "you will join us" should be Exhibit A. They'd set a new benchmark for comic fan crazy if it weren't for HEAT.

  2. You're free to talk about whatever you want, but I don't appreciate you bitching about me on your own blog, especially when I have said absolutely nothing about you on mine.

    Also, picking holes in my grammar? I'm at work here, trying to work, so I have to type fast because I keep having to reply to your messages. Actually, I'm not going to reply any more. I'm sick of this bull.

  3. Em: The downside about expressing an opinion in a semi-public forum, like a blog, is that people will see and react to what you say and how you say it. And these people are not going to always react in ways that you like.

    It's also not a pre-requisite that you have posted about someone else on your blog for them to react on theirs.

    Ragnell acknowledged that both of you made typos (typoes? I can NOT spell at 6 in the morning), and more importantly she gave an acknowledgement as to the inspiration of the post. Which is pretty much the extent that blog etiquette requires of her.

    If it makes you feel better, we've all been poked fun at on other blogs before in much more embarrassing ways.. It's just a part of life.

    As my middle school algebra teacher used to quote: "If you can't run with the big dogs, you should stay on the porch."

    Feel free to return the favor on your blog. Or not. It's up to you. :-)

  4. Like I said, she's free to say whatever she wants. However, when an argument has happening in one place I don't think you should then spread it to somewhere else, especially without going "Oh well, I've bitched about you here, so here's the link" so that person can defend themselves.

    As for bitching on my own blog, no I wouldn't. At the end of the day, the opinion of someone on the Internet does not bother me. I really couldn't care less. I just don't want it to move over to my blog at all, which is about something worthwhile (better treatment for women who play video games and don't need to get their boobs out for it). I don't want a stupid flame war associated with it. Sure, people don't really comment at my blog, but people (and this isn't just self-flatter) do read it. The only reason the argument is here is because Ragnell put it in her own blog.

    As far as I'm concerned, the argument is ridiculous and it's over. As long as I don't get people showing up at my blog thinking they can continue it, to me the whole thing is forgotten.

  5. I'd say us Cass fans are pretty low on the totem pole. But us Azrael fans... Well, we're buried in the much.

    And for the record, those Jimmy Olsen issues are *awesome.*

  6. Once you're a Cass fan? Like it's inevitable that everyone will become one?

    Forgive me if I'm reading this wrong, but it reminds me of those people who say things like, "Oh, you're a liberal? That's OK, you'll learn better when you're older...".

  7. "Once you're a real Cass fan, 'Love Her Madly'll be the only song you don't like!"

    (About five percent of the people who read this are laughing their heads off. Everyone else is shrugging and moving on with their lives.)

  8. Cass, Schmass. Stick with Green Lanterns.

  9. I know I will be publicly chastised and mocked for saying this...

    In my mind, Barbara Gordon will always be Batgirl.

    Yes, I am an overly nostalgic git, why do you ask?

  10. Wildcat never seems to prompt these kinds of arguements.


  11. i hate to belabor the obvious (oh, who am i kidding? i love it), but kvetching about whatever the hell you want on your blog is exactly what makes it your blog in the first place.

  12. *raises hand* Question, do you qualify as a Batfan if you like the other characters, but intensely dislike Batman himself?

    'Cause I got sucked into the Batfamily through Robin (and to an extent Spoiler), but never really cared much for Batman the character?

  13. Hee hee. That's my feeling too Calvin. I love Alfred, I like Barbara and Tim, but I really don't like ol' Bats himself too much. He's SOOOO cranky.

  14. You do realize that with this post you have created new bases for nerd superiority, right? \0/

    Also, I call bullshit on who's on top of your pyramid; they guy that created Vindar Vundabar can't be at the top of anything EVER

  15. diamondrock wrote:

    I'd say us Cass fans are pretty low on the totem pole. But us Azrael fans... Well, we're buried in the much.

    Seriously? There are Azrael fans?

  16. they guy that created Vindar Vundabar can't be at the top of anything EVER

    For the name alone, Virman Vundabar is AWESOME.

    (I'm not sure whether to pleased or worried that the comics I'm fondest of place me quite high up the pyramid of geekery. It wasn't intentional, I swear!)

  17. I've been a Kirby fan since I was six, when those issues of Jimmy Olsen, The Forever People, and Mister Miracle were just coming out.

    I wholly agree with your pyramid. Less discriminating sorts may think they've climbed to the summit by settling for the Vertigo crowd (Moore, Gaiman, Ellis), but that's still "wide appeal" next to the rarified glory of The King.

  18. Hey, there's at least one Cassfan here who says don't judge all Cassfans by this pompous ass. (Although more than a few Cassfans have a tendency to be closer to HEAT-style than not) I mean snidely saying "Wow. You have a new appreciation. Well done." after someone tells you they found a way to like a character you like and are arguing for? Shouldn't one be happy? I know I broke into a huge happy grin when I read Kalinara's Guy/Cass post.

  19. Looks like I'm a few months late to the party...

    While I agree that the "once you become a Batgirl fan" line sounds rather arrogant, from the context of kalinara's blog it looks to me like he meant that since kalinara mentioned to have changed her mind about Cassandra she might be on the road to becoming a fan. And if she changed her mind she might want to edit her previous blog posts accordingly.

    For the record, I wouldn't approve of doing that, the blog entries have become part of a public discussion (which I also took part then ;) ) and that would equal censorship.
    However, adding a disclaimer with a link to the newer blog entry wouldn't hurt, just for the sake of not being quoted with an opinion one doesn't support anymore.
    (However I don't want to decide how much Kalinara's opinion has changed and how she should deal with it.)

    Anyway, as I said, while that line is rather arrogant, it seems to me you are putting words in the person's mouth and attacking him for things he didn't mean.

    To the topic itself: I am a proud Batgirl fan but wouldn't claim to be something better because of that - actually I feel rather defensive since Cass has such a hard time becoming iconic part of the Batman mythos.