By djotaku 13 Comments
A recent rolling stone interview had Grant Morrison saying the following:
"Kids understand that real crabs don't sing like the ones in The Little Mermaid. But you give an adult fiction, and the adult starts asking really f-ing dumb questions like 'How does Superman fly? How do those eyebeams work? Who pumps the Batmobile's tires?' It's a f-ing made-up story, you idiot! Nobody pumps the tires!"
On the one hand, I think this is accurate. Many, if not most, of us have gotten hung up on a detail within the fiction at some point in our comic reading lifetimes. Some of us do it with every issue. Some of us only do it when it's egregious. Others of us do it for fun - picking apart tropes like wondering who pays for all the collateral damage that heroes cause. And sometimes that ends up in the comics (Marvel's Civil War explains what happens when you look at Super Heroes through realistic eyes if you're the government)
But is it fair for Morrison to be so disparaging? (Ignoring that fact that he was probably just flaming) While I think we need to remember that it's just a work of fiction when we get too worked up about these issues, I think the fact that we want consistency in our works of fiction show our investment in the world. It's a compliment that we care enough about the characters and the world that the writers have created that we want to know how things work. While we're imagining the concept of a billionaire who runs around fighting crime in a bat costume we'd also like to stretch out minds to fill in the rest of the details in how a world like this would work. For example, where would Batman stop to put gas in his car? And how would he pay for it? How does he always have what he needs in his utility belt and so on.
I think it's fair to say that we wouldn't have the highly profitable expanded universe of official and fan-made stories that surround our fictional franchises if we didn't care about the characters. I think it's human to want to know more and more details of the story. Maybe it's the same thing in our head that makes us want to share gossip/news stories? Who knows, but I don't think it's as bad a thing as Morrison makes it out to be. I can see how, when you get the stereotypical comic nerd (does he even exist or is he just an exaggeration) who needs an explanation for every retcon or other inconsistency or detail of the universe criticizing you that it could sour you as a writer on the way some fans experience the books. But it's all in the numbers. While comic reading is at a low, I think the numbers are relatively consistent month to month. And that shows that we will just go on the Internet and gripe feel like we've been heard and then go back to reading the series. And if they jump the shark too much or too often, then we stop reading and they get the message and either fix things or can the book temporarily.
So, I see his point, but I still think it's pretty harsh. (And, as I said above, maybe he was just being controversial and trying to start flame wars to get his name out there in everyone's consciousness ahead of the new Action Comics)