#1 Edited by akbogert (3150 posts) - - Show Bio

So @delphic and I were having a discussion about one of my lists last night which went on for a little while before @lykopis suggested I make a thread about it...et voilà.

The conversation started over a discussion of X-Women #1 - One-Shot and Emma Frost: Ultimate Collection #1 - Emma Frost: Ultimate Collection, when Delphic noted that the former had been acquired shortly after getting over the "fear of people judging me because of what books I decide to pick up." It reminded me of how hesitant I had been to buy the Emma Frost book -- its Greg Horn cover a seeming magnet for judgmental glares -- and how I had actually delayed my reading of it because I didn't feel comfortable holding the book itself in public places.

While these may be more of a rarity for Marvel, companies like Zenescope and Aspen almost seem to run their business off the titillating covers to their stories. Obviously plenty of folks are ambivalent to that kind of thing, and others may, after having been convinced that the content within the pages justifies the purchase, be willing (albeit begrudgingly) to have the conversation should anyone give them a look or make a comment which suggests they're consuming smut. I noted that the ease of reading such comics on an iPad, without anyone around me seeing a lascivious cover, has led me to bypass the confrontation entirely, but to some extent this means I'm still allowing potential judgmental attitudes dictate my buying behavior.

So what about you? Are there certain books, companies, characters, etc. which you abstain from reading (or try to hide) because you're concerned about what others will say? Maybe it's not even anything specifically lewd or goofy...maybe it's the comics themselves that still generate a degree of shame (I'd imagine we all know at least one person close to us who harbors an outdated conception of comics as childish and brainless). Or are you just brimming with confidence?

Discuss.

EDIT: While I don't want to discourage people speaking their minds, I was hoping more for a discussion of whether people judge you for certain comics or content, and whether that affects you. As most people seem to be focusing more on whether they care about being judged for reading comics generally, I thought I'd clarify.

#2 Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose (5550 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't have a problem being seen with comic books in public, but if something had a sexual looking cover on it, I'd probably want to keep it covered up. Despite the saying, 'never judge a book by it's cover', people do. I'm fine with being viewed as a nerd/geek, but not as someone who may be reading porn on the bus.

#3 Posted by AweSam (7084 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope, I'm one of the cool people. If I do something, it becomes a trend.

#4 Edited by Dernman (13992 posts) - - Show Bio

If someone has a problem with something you like then %&^% em. It's their problem not yours. Don't hide yourself for people who are not worth it.

#5 Posted by Aiden Cross (15513 posts) - - Show Bio

No problem whatsoever. I dont care about peoples opinion of me. If they want to judge me, they're going to regardless.

#6 Edited by SupremeHyperion (1390 posts) - - Show Bio

No if it did I'd be reading batman

#7 Edited by Veshark (8521 posts) - - Show Bio

To quote Charles X, it's a society that hates and fears us out there. OK, 'hates and fears' might be a bit melodramatic, perhaps 'misunderstands and condescends' would be more to the point.

Short of a few friends and cousins, I genuinely don't know anyone else who reads comics. The Viners on this site are literally the most comic-related tete-a-tete I get in my daily existence. Sure, my other friends and family watch superhero movies, but they still have the notion that the source comics are for children, and nothing but mindless entertainment. The truth of the matter is that I feel more comfortable reading something in front of others that I can intellectually justify - like Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth for instance. Because it's something that non comic-readers can 'digest', and something that they can comprehend. I might say that it's an alternate take on Batman and his world, and take note of the various art styles that McKean uses, and see how the various thematic elements tie in to one another. It's a comic that defies public expectations, and yet one that conforms more closely to society's ideal of 'mature' or 'grown-up reading'. So I'd feel more comfortable reading that in public - say among friends or in a train.

But take something else like All-Star Superman - my favorite comic-book of all-time. Written by the same writer, and displaying the same degree of thematic complexity, and yet I'd probably get some sneers if I were to read it in public. Because it doesn't fit with the general conception of 'intellectual' or 'maturity', or whatever the hell it is post-adolescents are supposed to read. All people see are the bright Silver-Age colors, and the pop culture icon of Superman, and they immediately label it as being childlike. Just because Arkham Asylum deals with gritty material and has a dark tone, they immediately consider it 'adult' in the sense that its merits are justified, but for something like All-Star Superman, they just can't comprehend its value. Most non comic-book readers just can't look beyond the intentional goofy sci-fi elements, the revisitation of SA concepts and all that fluff, to see the real comic-book underneath. An exploration on the mythos of Superman - of what the character means symbolically, and of the legend he inspires. Of seeing his journey from the first to the last issue - the myth of a hero's life and ultimate sacrifice.

Even with all of these critically-acclaimed comics aside, even general superhero comics fall victim. I was at a bookstore with a friend, and when he saw me perusing a copy of Matt Fraction's Iron Man, he immediately gave me a 'You serious?' look coupled with a rude noise. I'm not saying he was intentionally trying to be a d*ck, but it's just the general public conception of superheroes and the comic medium as a whole. I'm not saying that I want all superhero comics to be avant-garde masterpieces in the vein of All-Star or Watchmen, and to be frank, the bulk of superhero comics are just what they are - action comics with heroes taking names and being heroic. I don't want that to change. But there's still this lingering association that one can't read comic-books for fun. It's as though anything that uses imagination or goes for the fantastical is automatically put-down as being childlike. Nobody reads Batman or Spider-Man for a complex metaphorical analogy about the modern state of geopolitics or because they're a symbolic reiteration of Belarussian mysticism. We read them because they're fun, because they're entertainment. That's the key word here: entertainment.

And it's not just non comic-readers, even some comic-readers, the self-professed intelligentsia-types with their copies of Maus or underground indie books, have a tendency to condescend readers of superhero comics. They label superhero comics as putting down the medium, as being responsible for the public's negative perceptions, all the while missing that superheroes and villains are a big part of comics and that there are great stories to be found and mined here. That not everything has to be 'museum art', and that sometimes it's fine to read something just for fun. Sure, I enjoy Tinker, Tailor and its evocative use of mood and the Cold War setting, but I also enjoy Bay's Transformers trilogy for the giant robots and the oscillating female anatomy. In the same manner, I can appreciate the innovative style of Watchmen, but I can also adore the kickass punching and hell-yeah moments of Blackest Night.

So to cap off this long-winded and possibly off-topic rant, here's a quote from Ed Brubaker - the man who used to only read 'arty comics and nonfiction' but embraced superheroes, "They're unwilling to see the craft or just read something for enjoyment. [Not] everything has to be something that should be hung up on a museum wall."

#8 Edited by krunkeela (188 posts) - - Show Bio

No, I wish people could talk me out of a couple titles

#9 Posted by akbogert (3150 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't have a problem being seen with comic books in public, but if something had a sexual looking cover on it, I'd probably want to keep it covered up. Despite the saying, 'never judge a book by it's cover', people do. I'm fine with being viewed as a nerd/geek, but not as someone who may be reading porn on the bus.

This is my mentality, I think. What led me to really embrace digital for what some would (even I would) consider sketchy-looking books.

In retrospect, my mentioning comics in general probably opened this up to become a very different kind of discussion than I'd originally foreseen. Which is cool, some great thoughts coming out, but at the same time...I did want to discuss something else.

I think the majority of us are agreed that in general we do not care about people who are judging us for the act of reading the comic itself (I mentioned that simply as a door for anyone who might feel so strongly impacted that it gets to that point). What I'm more interested in is the sorts of books which don't even need to be comics for them to raise brows -- a similar cover on a video game or a novel or a movie would be equally brow-raising.

I used the sex thing as an example because it's what started the conversation. I agree that I don't care what people think if the reason they are judging me is that I'm reading a comic book; but if it's the cover of the comic, the suggested interior material that they're judging, then perhaps I'm more likely to give pause.

I'll use an entirely different example: My Little Pony. I follow Agnes Garbowska on social media and she frequently posts covers she has done for those books. Part of me wants to support her by trying a copy or two; but the stigma attached to being a "brony" is strong enough that I sort of feel like I wouldn't want to be caught dead with an issue in my hands, even among comic fans. In many ways I feel like being a 23-year-old "serious"-minded male precludes me even acknowledging the existence of such a thing. In a way I think this same line of thinking is what has kept me away from most cartoons; the sense that while animation or comics are not inherently childish, material which is designed for children is beyond the scope of what I really ought to be spending time on.

@dernman mentioned not letting people's opinions keep you from something you like (and I got that sentiment from some other replies). I guess I'm more wondering have you ever tried to avoid getting into something -- avoided letting yourself like something -- because of opinions. I don't feel like I'm stifling the "real me" quite so much as preventing that "real me" from resembling certain things I and others may consider questionable.

#10 Posted by Pyrogram (32234 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope. And who gives a damn what others think when judging you. However, I have NEARLY stopped reading super girl in public once for obvious reason, the graphics of it are clear and people can see. However, I just thought whatever, I am never going to see these people again so I read it anyways.

However, I would never be seen reading what @akbogert: describes as a brony comic, as that in my view would be worse 0_o No idea why. So in some ways I let the pressure get to me, but I would not enjoy that comic regardless.

#11 Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf (6083 posts) - - Show Bio

The only thing I despise about reading books in public is that some people judge you from what you are reading. Sorry guys, I'm not a hipster because I read comic books. Hipsters don't even read comic books ffs. They just wear Marvel and DC stuff because they're tools :P

#12 Edited by Chronus (1115 posts) - - Show Bio

No.

#13 Posted by time (4576 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think there is peer pressure when it comics. You can read what you want. None of my friends read comics, which is why I go on comic vine to chat with my comics fans.

#14 Posted by SupremeHyperion (1390 posts) - - Show Bio

seriously, if you are only reading what others tell you to and not what interests you what's the point of reading comics to begin with.

#15 Posted by i_like_swords (7651 posts) - - Show Bio

The perception of a lot of people, particularly my friends (I'm 15) is that comic books are just straight up nerdy. I was in my local CBS with two of my friends and I basically got the "Are you serious?" treatment. Then there's the perception of comics you get from people who can be considered a little nerdy, or are a bit more open minded to things that can be considered nerdy, but are not comic book fans. They'll label comics as childish right away. They see the bright colours and the capes and the "Kapow" in some panels and instantly pass it off as a childish hobbie. So basically, no matter what, there will be people that find our hobbie either nerdy, or childish. However, even though we can't really win in this respect, it doesn't mean we should let it affect our reading habits. If you like comics, just go ahead and buy them. It doesn't matter what people think. JUST DON'T LET YOUR MUM SELL YOUR COMICS. HIDE THEM, LOCK THEM AWAY, THROW OUT THE KEY.

#16 Posted by Xwraith (10882 posts) - - Show Bio

Not really, but I've learned from others on here which writers are good and which ones should be avoided.

#17 Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose (5550 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: I don't think I'd ever let other peoples opinions stop me from actually buying something, but I'd maybe feel a little odd about reading a childrens(or childrens related) comic in public. I wouldn't consider reading My Little Pony, but I thought to myself recently that if they made Powerpuff Girls comics, I'd definitely give them a go, partly for nostalgia, research for my thread(new pictures this weekend I promise), the fact that I'd probably still enjoy the ideas, and just to see a different take on superheroes than the ones I usually see. But reading them in front of strangers might be odd. It seems there's quite a difference between reading something that can be viewed as childish, and reading something that definitely is childish.

As for the Brony thing. I don't know exactly what makes a Brony, but if you just bought the comics and showed sensible appreciation for them, you maybe wouldn't get labelled. I think it's people that really obsess over it that get the label rather than people who just happen to like it as adults, though I can't really be sure. With a comic like that, if you're seen buying it along with you're grown up comics, people might just think you're picking it up for a little sister/daughter/other young girl in the family, but if you're actually reading it, that's probably where the judging would happen.

#18 Posted by Deranged Midget (17598 posts) - - Show Bio

No, peer pressure has never affected me before in any regard of my life, especially not my pull list with comics.

Moderator
#19 Edited by SC (11959 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, back when Greg Land and Matt Fraction were on Uncanny X-men title I was flustered with a deep sense of shame and embarrassment that many of my international friends would discover I was reading substandard X-Books. I am particularly photogenic so its not uncommon for paparazzi to take my photo as I leave any store including my comic store, and so its feasible that people as far as Norway, Ireland, Canada, Asgard and Europe may see my visage on a blog and I would be colored deep red at the thought of being seen accompanied with a non X-Factor X-Book in my possession. However it was easy to think of a cunning solution, and after purchasing each Greg Land traced and Matt Fraction fraptioned Uncanny issue I would subtly slide the brought issue between the pages of my also recently acquired biweekly copy of Big Brazilian Booty Babes before exiting the store. Now rather than be seen with that disgusting and offensive comic issue onlookers would merely see that I harbored a healthy appreciation for buxom Brazilian woman with tanned derrières.

The best thing about BBBB aside from being all about the callipygian, was that it was sturdy enough to also disguise and hide my issues of New Scientist (don't want people think I am a nerd) and also a small hand held mirror - don't like people knowing I like to stare at myself to remind myself how really really pretty and good looking I am.

Moderator
#20 Edited by akbogert (3150 posts) - - Show Bio

@sc: Thank you for making me almost choke on my lunch while laughing.

#21 Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope

#22 Edited by ssejllenrad (12780 posts) - - Show Bio

Not really. People who don't agree with me are stupid in my eyes anyway. :D

#23 Posted by ssejllenrad (12780 posts) - - Show Bio

@sc said:

Yes, back when Greg Land and Matt Fraction were on Uncanny X-men title I was flustered with a deep sense of shame and embarrassment that many of my international friends would discover I was reading substandard X-Books. I am particularly photogenic so its not uncommon for paparazzi to take my photo as I leave any store including my comic store, and so its feasible that people as far as Norway, Ireland, Canada, Asgard and Europe may see my visage on a blog and I would be colored deep red at the thought of being seen accompanied with a non X-Factor X-Book in my possession. However it was easy to think of a cunning solution, and after purchasing each Greg Land traced and Matt Fraction fraptioned Uncanny issue I would subtly slide the brought issue between the pages of my also recently acquired biweekly copy of Big Brazilian Booty Babes before exiting the store. Now rather than be seen with that disgusting and offensive comic issue onlookers would merely see that I harbored a healthy appreciation for buxom Brazilian woman with tanned derrières.

The best thing about BBBB aside from being all about the callipygian, was that it was sturdy enough to also disguise and hide my issues of New Scientist (don't want people think I am a nerd) and also a small hand held mirror - don't like people knowing I like to stare at myself to remind myself how really really pretty and good looking I am.

One of the funniest posts of probably the funniest viner. This just won the thread.

#24 Edited by lykopis (10756 posts) - - Show Bio

You did make the thread, lol!

My experience with LCSs where I am presently has been varied -- outright rudeness (apparently females are invisible in one store) and in another, treated as though I couldn't possibly know anything about comics. This comes into play because in the first one -- I got what I wanted, I could care less what they thought since they were going to sneer at whatever I purchased anyway -- and as for the other (my present one) I have a lot recommended to me. As for the racier ones (at least cover wise) -- the eyebrow goes up but that doesn't make a difference to me. I suspect it would have if I were younger? Maybe?

There are some books I wouldn't feel comfortable reading in public (Some Grimm and oh yes, Emma's series), but as for the "kiddy" ones, I feel opposite. I have no problem reading any old-style comic in public -- Archie comics, Adventure Time -- they are awesome. Could be because I am female - I never had that feeling of being judged for my hobby by friends and acquaintances but I like to keep this hobby to myself as it's like an indulgence I don't want to share with anyone. I don't hide it, but I don't discuss it either.

So back on topic -- I did feel a twinge when I plunked down some Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars books on the counter for purchase. I would be more likely to not read it in public (unless the front cover could be hidden) just for the sake of maybe some kids on the bus taking a gander at those covers (and yes, maybe a disapproving frown might cause me some discomfort). It's not that I wouldn't -- I could and have, but I have to admit, the awareness is there in terms of highly sexualized covers.

#25 Edited by JulieDC (787 posts) - - Show Bio

I read what interests me whether its new or old stuff. I do tend to get apprehensive when people notice what I am reading but this honestly goes for anything I read whether its comics, harry potter, chick lit, or Calvin and Hobbes. I am a very private person and I just don't like people watching me or asking me questions.This is partly why I read my stuff on my Kindle or iPad, that and I am not home all that often so I don't really care to carry a bunch of books with me so digital is just easier.

#26 Posted by joshmightbe (24101 posts) - - Show Bio

My mom keeps sending me bibles, does that count as peer pressure? In a related question, would anyone like a stack of bibles? They're kind of dusty.

#27 Edited by Extremis (2959 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: haha wow spot-on post! I sometimes think I'm the only one who feels this way!

It happened to me today actually. I was reading Agent Orange of GL series at work today and the Star Sapphires part I was trying to hide (as people know the Zamarons aren't the most conservatively dressed). It took me a while to even allow myself to read my comics in public. I'm pretty self conscious at times so I'm actually afraid people assume the worst and ignorant position that you can have about comics and will have that position and bring it up to me when they see me reading it. And by this I mean how those ignorant to comics can assume they are for children or that they're a simple read that rots your brain or something. I'm afraid ill have to justify what I read lol. People tend to judge a book by its cover (pun intended). And because of it I'm hesitant to let my nerd flag fly sometimes. But I've been embracing it a lot more.

The only time I really get self conscious about people possibly seeing what I'm reading in my comic is like today with the Star Sapphires. I think that someone, most likely a woman (and understandably so), might be offended by what Im looking at. I'm a guy, but I am also a feminist. So sometimes reading comics has me at odds with myself. There's definitely a cognitive dissonance there sometimes. But those aren't the things I read comics for. It's for the characters I like, their characterizations, the worlds they inhabit and superhero mythologies. I just worry if someone caught me looking at that page today they'd think less of me and wouldn't plainly see why I actually read comics is NOT for women in skimpy clothes. Seriously, artists, yeah Im talking to you, we gotta stop doing that at every corner in superhero comics.

#28 Posted by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope. Not even a little.

#29 Posted by Mucklefluga (2431 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes and no.

#30 Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio
@bumpyboo said:

Nope. Not even a little.

Hey bumpy, you should by ____________________ everyone is doing it ! pokes with stick

#31 Edited by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio

@bumpyboo said:

Nope. Not even a little.

Hey bumpy, you should by ____________________ everyone is doing it ! pokes with stick

*starts poking people with a stick because you are*

;P

#32 Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio

@bumpyboo: Stick poking is cool ! I mean famous person does it, random hipsters do it, heck even lil grandma

#33 Posted by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio

@bumpyboo: Stick poking is cool ! I mean famous person does it, random hipsters do it, heck even lil grandma

Finally I'm in!! I'M DOWN WITH THE KIDS OR SOMETHING! 8D *puts on shades*

#34 Edited by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio
#35 Edited by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio
#36 Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio

@bumpyboo: talk about a snake eating it's own tail, cause I'm trying to be like you

#37 Posted by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio
#38 Edited by Fuchsia_Nightingale (10180 posts) - - Show Bio
#39 Edited by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio
#40 Posted by comicace3 (1888 posts) - - Show Bio

Do I have a problem being seen with a comic? Hell no. If anyone has a problem they deal with me.

#41 Posted by thejman251 (435 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert said:

So @delphic and I were having a discussion about one of my lists last night which went on for a little while before @lykopis suggested I make a thread about it...et voilà.

The conversation started over a discussion of X-Women #1 - One-Shot and Emma Frost: Ultimate Collection #1 - Emma Frost: Ultimate Collection, when Delphic noted that the former had been acquired shortly after getting over the "fear of people judging me because of what books I decide to pick up." It reminded me of how hesitant I had been to buy the Emma Frost book -- its Greg Horn cover a seeming magnet for judgmental glares -- and how I had actually delayed my reading of it because I didn't feel comfortable holding the book itself in public places.

While these may be more of a rarity for Marvel, companies like Zenescope and Aspen almost seem to run their business off the titillating covers to their stories. Obviously plenty of folks are ambivalent to that kind of thing, and others may, after having been convinced that the content within the pages justifies the purchase, be willing (albeit begrudgingly) to have the conversation should anyone give them a look or make a comment which suggests they're consuming smut. I noted that the ease of reading such comics on an iPad, without anyone around me seeing a lascivious cover, has led me to bypass the confrontation entirely, but to some extent this means I'm still allowing potential judgmental attitudes dictate my buying behavior.

So what about you? Are there certain books, companies, characters, etc. which you abstain from reading (or try to hide) because you're concerned about what others will say? Maybe it's not even anything specifically lewd or goofy...maybe it's the comics themselves that still generate a degree of shame (I'd imagine we all know at least one person close to us who harbors an outdated conception of comics as childish and brainless). Or are you just brimming with confidence?

Discuss.

EDIT: While I don't want to discourage people speaking their minds, I was hoping more for a discussion of whether people judge you for certain comics or content, and whether that affects you. As most people seem to be focusing more on whether they care about being judged for reading comics generally, I thought I'd clarify.

- No, it doesn't.

- I do and read what i want, when i want and none of my peers have any say or authority over it. Additionally, they know that full well regardless.

#42 Posted by Delphic (1339 posts) - - Show Bio

These days I don't really care, but a lot of my "shame" back in the day had to do with how I was brought up. You see I wasn't just ashamed of having comics with a woman on the cover, I was afraid of having a comic in general. I wasn't allowed to go comic stores as a child because my mother didn't like the kind of people hanging out there. She called them a bunch of weirdos, and I didn't want to be a weirdo, because weirdos were bad people. One day though at a books a million I picked up a trade of the most recent Titans series, and my interest in the medium exploded.

I found a comic store I could go to, and I remember in those early days of constantly looking over my shoulder to see if someone was watching me, or laughing at me, because I was a weirdo behaving like and adolescent child. The feeling was at it's peak when I picked up my first female led comic, and that was Power Girl. I loved the book because it was about an very attractive woman who was funny and did these really amazing things, and had actual concerns and problems that she dealt with. I liked Power Girl so much that I even bought a figurine of her, that came with a magazine about the character. I was very afraid that day, and my mother made it worse when she saw the magazine and teased me about it saying: "You just bought that because she has big tits." So yeah I was very embarrassed and ashamed for quite some time.

What got me over my fear though was that I just kept on buying comics. I figured out a lot of the judgemental glances I thought were there, were not actually there. I found like minded people, who enjoyed comics like I do, and those people's opinions started to matter more than those who did have something negative to say. Every once in awhile I'll get a judgemental glance, but now I just shrug. Though of course some of my friends might not like what I'm reading, because they don't like it themselves (i.e. the Zenescope comics). Sometimes I can change their minds, and other times I'm not so lucky. In those cases I just shrug and walk away, because at the end of the day I know that comics are something I enjoy, and it's something that is enjoyed by a lot of people, and those people who try to make me feel bad for enjoying it, their opinions don't really matter.

#43 Posted by Crom-Cruach (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

never.

#44 Edited by DH69 (4258 posts) - - Show Bio

No im not one of those sad individuals afflicted by such a pathetic disorder.

#45 Posted by ThatGuyWithHeadPhones (7792 posts) - - Show Bio

Peer pressure doesn't effect a thing in my life. If it did I really wouldn't be reading comic,I damn sure wouldn't be watching anime,I wouldn't read anything really,or even act the way I act, so no it doesn't effect what I read