Over the last dozen or so years I’ve gone from being disinterested in ComicCon to being somewhat intrigued to being an occasionally pleased and amused observer and a Hall H marathon seat-holder to being disdainful and then really disdainful and finally to where and what I am today — an outright hater. The tastes and appetites of the ComicCon faithful have always been valid in and of themselves, and I love guys like Ed Douglas, Devin Faraci and Peter Sciretta, etc. Plus I’ve repeatedly recognized and stated that when any kind of mythical-fantasy film works, it pays off in ways that reality-driven films can’t spiritually touch. But as a voting bloc or commercial force Comicconers have encouraged if not directly brought about the inane “ooh wow cool!” dumbing-down of mainstream megaplex cinema and turned a once-majestic art form into a form of low-rent amusement park jizz-whiz.
Their tastes and enthusiasms have encouraged the proliferation of mythical and superhero comic-book storylines and plotlines to the point of nausea, and in so doing have almost completely devalued and erased real-world plausibility and authenticity in adventure and action thrillers by celebrating Joseph Campbell myths, empowerment fables and CG-fantastique dreams above all.
ComicCon-ers are the aesthetic locusts of our time. They are the dustbowl drought of the early 1930s visited upon cinema. And they’re all in San Diego right now.
If I was a wrathful Zeus I would bring a 750-foot-tall tidal wave to San Diego in the pre-dawn hours, the likes of which not even Jim Cameron or Roland Emmerich have imagined. Not as some quick-fix solution to the disease of CG-driven comic-book megaplexa, but as a judgment upon civilization in the same way that the Great Ancient Flood that Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah protected himself and his flock against was a judgment. If God was “God” and he gave a shit about movies and art and earthly transcendence and if He could “speak” He would surely smite them all — not to erase or eradicate but as a kind of critique. In so doing God would say “your low-rent mongrel taste buds have degraded and polluted mainstream cinema culture and all but ruined a commonly-celebrated art form in terms of its mainstream, all-four-quadrants potential, and for this Great Sin you shall suffer and lament and wander the wilderness for a generation, as Moses’ Hebrew flock did after abandoning God at the urging of Edward G. Robinson and becoming worshippers of the Golden Calf.”
“Scratch a ComicCon geek and nine times out of ten you won’t find a shrewd analyzer of popular art or culture or aesthetic expertise,” I wrote on 7.7.12. “Not necessarily, I mean. What you’ll almost certainly find, I suspect, is someone who’s thisclose to weeping when something gets to him/her emotionally. You’ll find, in short, a girly girl who’s looking to wet her panties and then cry about it.
“Remember all that fluttery geek ecstasy that greeted The Avengers? All those falsetto hossannahs? Remember how Harry Knowles wept when he saw Armageddon?
“In their heart of hearts geeks are fair young maidens singing ‘some day my prince will come,’ except their ‘prince’ is that one super-special, unbelievably cool CG comic-book superflick that will make them really damp and squishy.
“Agreed — Chris Nolan is an exceptionally brilliant, high-pedigree, world-class filmmaker, and his three Batman films represent some kind of eternal high water mark, etc. But I think I’ve really tapped into something here. The not-so-secret heart of geekdom is basically feminine in nature. If I was a geek I would make a point of channeling Lee Marvin when I take to Twitter, just to counteract this impression. This is one of the reasons I could never be one. My traditional XY tendencies are too pronounced. On top of which I’m reasonably slim, I don’t wear toenail-fungus-exposing flip-flops, I’m not one for squiggly facial hair, and I never wear thick, low-threadcount Hanes T-shirts.”