"Don’t focus too much on the negative in someone else’s work... Make your work the counterargument to the work you don’t like." -Ron Wimberly

The image above is a 1 out of 50 variant cover for Mighty Avengers #3, a comic that I'm probably not gonna buy, but I'll be damned if it isn't the illest thing ever. It was created by the mighty D-Pi (the ladies call him Ron Wimberly, author of Prince of Cats, Gratuitous Ninja, and artist on the MF GRIMM autobio gn Sentences), who successfully channeled the spirits of the hallowed 70's blaxpo gods that gave birth to half these characters in the first place.
When this image hit the internet, most of the chatter about it was just fans taking shots at the series artist, whose style and vision is not on the same level as the honorable Brother Wimberly's (I was fortunate to read a really great post about it on Comics Alliance, though. Click here for that). For his part (largely I'm sure, because he had better things to do), Ron stayed out of it. Eventually, one of his fans (himself an artist, I guess) brought the whole business to Ron's art blog, mostly seeking to compliment Ron's work by bashing the comic artist drawing the book in question. Ron eventually responded the way he tends to: like a gentlemen scholar.

"Artist to artist,
 I’m gonna do you a solid, and let you in on a secret that will take you very far in life. Don’t focus too much on the negative in someone else’s work too much. Don’t make it your crusade. Spend that effort making your own work better. Make your work the counterargument to the work you don’t like. 

Also, even though I do this sometimes myself, try not to spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t make you happy; work that doesn’t make you excited. Spend that time looking at the stuff that gets you amped then use that energy to make more work.
And if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Corporations understand commerce. 
Lastly. Andy Warhol said something like, ‘I don’t care what the papers say about me. I measure it in inches’. So, dig it, since you and others mentioned it, I know who Greg Land is, now I know his name and have seen his work where before I didn’t know much. You’ve promoted his work. You’ve done him a favor… and I still don’t know what your work looks like. 
Something to meditate on..."

-Ron Motherfucking Wimberly, Esq.

"Don't make it your crusade..."
If everyone took this advise, the internet would shrink by 70%. I'm sure porn would expand to fill the vacuum, but that's not the point. For some reason, people love showing up in droves to bash the living hell out of things they don't like. They like to belittle and attack and shame "the enemy." But who are they really mad at?

The Shadow knows...

Psychologist Carl Jung's theories suggest that all people have a shadow, a part of their personality that embodies everything about themselves that they fear, loathe and/or hate. When we encounter a person we immediately hate, it's because they remind us of our own shadow. By attacking this person, we are in a sense rejecting the part of ourselves that we don't want to acknowledge. In artists, this can be seen by being very judgmental of those whose art exhibits issues we have tried to eliminate in our own work, but who are nevertheless more successful than we. In the hood, we call it 'hating'.  But if you create stuff, you have another option that will ultimately bring more satisfaction than hating:

"Let your work be the counterargument." 
That is genius, because it reveals the sometimes hidden blessing of wack shit. Wack stuff is the fertilizer that helps dope stuff grow. Wack stuff can be as inspiring in its own way as good stuff is. In the internet/bandcamp/webcomic/photoshop/smartphone/serato era, where almost anyone could conceivably comment on existing art, films and music by making their own, it would be nice to see people do a little more creating and a little less trolling.
For fans it's a little bit different, because you may feel you have no other recourse but to complain. Ron would remind you that your most powerful vote is not to blog about it or troll message boards, but to refuse to buy.
"If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Corporations [only] understand commerce..." 
Many fans find this difficult, because they are so attached to the characters that they buy work they don't like to follow their favorite character's exploits. This is a mistake. As long as a comic performs financially, the creators involved will be seen as successful, allowed to continue, or even rewarded with higher profile jobs, no matter how much you complain. Only when sales lag will publishers make changes. Corporate publishers want your money, and if they don't get it, they will change strategies (and art teams) to get it back. This being the case, you should only buy comics you really like. Take some of the money you waste on mainstream books you don't like and try out some indie stuff. Even then, only support the ones that you enjoy. Will every crappy book you stop buying get canceled? Will bad artists all get fired? Will justice reign in corporate publishing? Probably not, but trust me when I say that it will not bother you if you move on to better things.
Can't figure out what you should read/watch/listen to instead?
Just ask. That's what I'm here for.



Trey Jackson said...

Let your work be the counterargument.

that's the truth.

Takin' that one with me.

samax amen said...

Word. That's Wisdom right there.

Christoph Clay said...

As a creator and longtime fan of Ron Wimberly, I'm inspired by this... but I can't help but feel choosing an artist this infamously polarizing was part of a plan to "sabotage" this book. I read recently that Marvel expected the new Miss Marvel book to be cancelled and were pleasantly surprised at the success.

This Post Brought to you by

Zero Killer TPB

This post brought to you by

This post brought to you by
Support GhettoManga + Save on Books = WIN

was that it? find it here