I decided it was time to roll back the clock and tackle a hot topic. Spoilers and the culture of spoilers have been in comic book related news a lot recently. Obviously I could come to a rather abrupt conclusion and say anyone dumb enough to read an article with even the slightest hint of it detailing an upcoming story deserves to have that story ruined for them. So I also want to talk about the bigger issue of spoilers dumbing down comic book media outlets.
Lets start with the big one. Batman #50. The wedding of the century, the culmination of Tom King’s forty nine previous issues. On the Sunday before the release of the issue The New York Times ran an article by George Gene Gustines which spoiled the outcome of the issue. Well the wedding portion at least. The final page cliff hanger was readily available to read about online after the issue was released. Gustines states he was planning to cover the wedding anyway but then found out about the twist and changed his angle. The Times did not contact DC to tell them the change would spoil the outcome for readers. The article of course was met unfavourably by fans, comic retailers and comic creators. Tom King himself took to twitter to say he was disappointed spoilers were out there so early. Gustines has since said he wishes the whole affair was handled differently. Obviously the first concern is where did his early leak come from? I wouldn’t go as far to say someone was out to ruin King’s big moment, that is something closer to fiction than I would like to believe. When you step back and take a look however aren’t any number of comic book news based websites to blame more? I mean how many of the readers of Batman and comics in general are reading The New York Times? Someone from these sites saw the story and ran it thus spoiling the ending for a wider comic book audience. Just a week previous Marvel had their big wedding issue spoilt before the issues release in totally different circumstances. I really didn’t see Marvel’s angle on the ending being released early. To me it is just disrespectful to all the creators who worked on the book, building to this moment just to have it splashed across the internet before its release. Then there is the knock on effect for retailers. I wonder how many X-Men fans thought ‘I won’t bother picking it up now the ending is ruined’? The comics industry seems pretty good at repeatedly kicking itself in the balls. They barely survived the market crash of the 90’s. Will this new era of spoiler culture lead to a downfall in readership? It would be a really stupid way for the industry to implode! Maybe the publishers need to take a harder stance on leaks and comic book media outlets as a whole. Of course they are powerless to stop the power of social media. Anyone can do a review of an issue via a blog or a YouTube channel. I myself am one of those idiots. Of course the one plus point of people from the comic reading populace doing reviews is they actually have to wait for the book to be released first. I do a monthly review of all things Wolverine and because I receive my comics via post at the end of each month most issues have been out for a number of weeks. I still feel obligated not to spoil anything. The few times I have spoilt anything I have used the popular sites as my yard stick. If its on their I know I’m not the only irresponsible source. That brings it back to people being more selective about what sites and reviews they read. A form of survival of the fittest if you will. When Infinity War was released I went absolute cold turkey from all my usual daily website visits. It seems you can not visit a comic book news website or follow them on Twitter without some kind of story about a big issue or a movie. I’ve had countless episodes of Arrow spoilt by a certain website as I am in the UK so a few weeks behind. One day they will run a story the headline is redacted so I don’t read it. But then the following day they will do a follow up piece but with an unredacted headline thus spoiling the episode. If its not a major episode or issue I will click it because its my choice. But series finales and things like Batman #50 is not cool. Going back to Batman #50 where is the responsibility of these comic book news websites? I mean when the story of the The New York Times piece came out they essentially threw Gustines under a bus. Fast forward a few days and the same websites are running headlines like ‘Batman #50 Last Page Explained!” WTF! That is just lazy journalism. It doesn’t constitute news in the slightest. Wizard Magazine took their knocks back in the day but to my recollection I can never remember having the events of a current issue explained to me in the magazine or on the website. Another website and I don’t need to name them has really dumbed down since a recent rebranding. I mean how many stories a day can they have about one movie? It drives me insane. We don’t need a whole article on a post credits scene one day! We don’t need an article on all the Easter eggs the next day! We don’t need a how this movie sets up this movie the day after that! Nine times out of ten they are wrong anyway, we all know how secretive Feige and the Marvel guys are.
In conclusion the worst case scenario is if people push this spoiler culture to far it will blow up. But it isn’t going to blow up in the face of the person that writes the article it will explode all over and the outcome could be very negative for the industry. It doesn’t matter if its comics or movies a harder line has to be taken. Like I said the bloggers and the vloggers are untouchable but the people at the top should set a standard. When you consider how much is actually going on in the industry there is real and intereting news to report! Stop spoiling shit cause it may just end up spoiling the thing we all love the most.
PS Tweet @IanWells87 me if you know how the title to this fits into the theme of Spoilers?