COMICS: Sean Collins recently posted a message to the Comics Journal message board and to his weblog that apparently stirred up some, um, feelings, in some people. I thought his request, to help him find out why he wasn't enjoying the comic Love & Rockets as much as his friends did, was pretty easy to understand and somewhat brave, especially since he posted in on the CJ message board, not exactly a bastion of politeness a lot of the time. People began responding with the usual hostility exhbited toward someone who is trying to get into something that others "discovered" a long time ago, as well as mocking him to asking people to help him like something. This is crap. I have read a lot of things in comics and elsewhere that other people seemed to love and that I didn't. Sometimes, I understand the work and understand why I don't like it and I move on. Sometimes though, I feel like I might be missing something and would like people to help point out why they like it and I didn't. Trying to understand a piece of art, whether it's a painting by Jackson Pollack that is hard to "get" right off the bat or a long-running comic book series like Love & Rockets, is a worthy endevour and should never, ever be greeted with anything less than enthusiasm by people who already love that artist/writer/etc. If someone asks that kind of question and you don't have anything constructive to say about it, hit the back button, shut up, whatever it takes to get you away from that conversation. Message boards seem to foster the idea that you must respond to everything, even if you have nothing to say. I don't know why that is, besides the usual reason for the crapiness of message boards, anonymity, but it's not a good habit to get into. Most rational people don't feel the need to call up Britney Spears and tell her they hate her music but they feel they have some duty to respond to message board threads even if it's just to say something sucks. It's too bad it really kills the signal-to-noise ratio of a board that could be very useful like TCJ's.

On the subject of Love & Rockets, the new collection Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories is getting insanely great reviews from everywhere I look so I have a strong feeling it will end up on my To Be Read shelf before too long. Palomar will be my first exposure to L&R (I know, for shame) so if you've read it and it's your first as well, let me know what you thought.