Judging a Comic by its Creator: An Open Apology to Judd Winick

October 17, 2016

 

Welcome back to the blog everyone. I know it’s been a while so let’s jump right in. Comics are a medium which makes judgment very easy to do. We judge the art, the writing, the characters, the companies that publish the books, and sometime even the creators themselves. In many cases it affects how we decide to spend our money. And that tends to make perfect sense. If we like the art or the writer’s writing, we want that book. If we’ve bought Spider-Man or Batman because they have always been our favorite characters, or we love their movies, we don’t question it. But what happens if we judge the comic not by the art or the writing, but by the writer or artist?

 

There are some famous examples such as the boycott of Orson Scott Card’s digital first Superman story due to his public views on gay marriage. Or in the case of Rob Liefeld, where for decades people have been very divided in their opinions of his artwork. But then a couple of “fans” took it to a more personal level when they decided to hand Rob a copy of “How to Draw the Marvel Way.” I have always thought of myself as someone who judges the comics by their content. Unfortunately, I too have at least at one time fallen victim to judging a comic by its creator. Not because I was taking a stand for a greater issue. I simply didn’t like who I thought the person was, so I didn’t buy what I might have really enjoyed otherwise. And I have come to realize that I was wrong and wish to openly apologize to comic writer and artist Judd Winick. I really hope he reads this one day, because I think he might get a kick out of it.

 

Back in the 90s I was a fan (for better or worse) of MTV’s reality show The Real World. Season 3 in 1994 took place in San Francisco. For those that watched back then you might remember it as the season with Puck, the rebellious roommate that was kicked out of the house by his roommates. I can’t really remember why, but I kinda remember feeling sorry for Puck or maybe feeling like he was a bit misunderstood. And one of those roommates and fellow cast member on the show was someone named Judd. This was years before he became Judd Winick, writer of DC titles such as Batman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Catwoman.  He was someone who seemed to be at odds with Puck the most, and I remember thinking “who is the sanctimonious jerk?” Yes, I clearly had strong feelings about the show back then. I was young and stupid.

 

Flash forward a few years later and Judd had made a name for himself with his creator owned The Adventures of Barry Ween Boy Genius and his work on Green Lantern and Green Arrow. When a coworker told me it was the same Judd, I was like “that guy writes comics now?” And I thought to myself well at least he’s not writing any of the comics I currently get. Then he started writing Batman. Well my love for Batman runs very deep. When I’ve stopped buying comics because I couldn’t afford them, I always stayed with Batman. And even my feelings on Judd didn’t interrupt this. I do believe however, it affected the lens on which I read them, because I didn’t like them. And I have a feeling I didn’t let myself like them. All because of my feelings based on seeing someone through the lens of an MTV reality show.

 

Flash forward again to now, and Judd has gone back to creator owned comics with his all ages Hilo graphic novels. I know about them because I listen to the great podcast Word Balloon with host John Siuntres. And he happened to be interviewing Judd Winick on an episode. And after listening to him over the two hour interview, he actually seemed like maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Even John remarked what a nice guy Judd is. And then within a few weeks of other Word Balloon episodes,  both Brian Michael Bendis and Brad Meltzer both happened to mention that Judd Winick is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet in comics. And that was when I came to realize that I have been completely wrong about this person. Not only was I wrong, I let it affect my enjoyment of comics. So now that I’m older and hopefully a little less stupid, I will hopefully do a better job of not judging the work by who I might think the creator is as a person. Seems simple enough, but thoughts can get away from you very quickly. So if you’ll excuse me, I have some Batman comics to re-read. And probably pick up some Hilo books for my son.

 

Rudy Hernandez has been a former comic book retailer, podcaster, a comic book fan since the age of 13, and Star Wars fan since the age of 2. He can be found every month attending the Titan Moon Comics Adult Graphic Novel Book club.

 

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