Comic Book Snobbery

RECEIVED Tue., July 24, 2012

Dear Chronicle,
    I normally avoid verbal tête-à-têtes in the media as it boils down to the analogy of negotiating with a daughter to see Ted over Twilight. There's no point. But since this reader seems to make generalizations about me [“Postmarks,” July 20], I feel inclined to respond in turn.
    I'm not a religious person, but dear God, deliver me from hipsters. Reading this guy's letter reminded me of the people I used to socialize with back in school. You know, the type who smokes clove cigarettes, has Bright Eyes albums, and thinks after reading Chaim Potok they know the secret to life. Did I mention dropping quotes from Nietzsche and Oswald Spengler to show you how "deep" they are?
    OK, maybe I'm a little guilty of that last part. I was a snob as well. I used to know every Beck, Wilco, and Radiohead song by heart. I read all the works of Henry Miller, Arthur Rimbaud, William Faulkner, Steinbeck, etc. Then one day I watched High Fidelity. One scene in particular, where Jack Black's character chides a customer on buying Stevie Wonder's '80s hit over his early work like Talking Book, had a sobering effect on me.
    I opened myself up to enjoying life instead of thinking everything should have some artistic resonance to it. Naturally, this did not go over well in the crowd I hung with, and I lost some friends. But I eventually gained some new ones, too. From then on I started noticing how obnoxious, judgmental, arrogant, and humorless hipsters really are.
    As far as comic books being for under-18 audiences, this guy apparently just awoke from cryogenic hibernation, considering he missed out on the '80s and '90s with that uninformed comment. Comic books have matured as an art form. They now tackle social commentary and satire, which books like Ghost World, Watchmen, V for Vendetta exemplify. Now do those sound like they are for an under-18 audience?
    I do agree that there should be a balance of high- and low-brow stimulation, given the current Kraptashian obsessed culture.
    Judging from the reader's letter, it sounds like he partakes a little too much on the high end of things. I humbly suggest to both Savlov and this reader to embrace their closeted Reo Speedwagon, Choose Your Own Adventure, A-Team-loving selves. Trust me, nobody is going to care. It's only entertainment after all.
Michael Thomas
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