When I was a kid, it was the norm to rush home after school for the daily helping of Battle Of The Planets, G.I. Joe and Transformers.  (Jem was a guilty pleasure to which you never admitted.). Even in the 80s, there were dozens of characters in play, and I have sadly come to the realization that many of my most treasured cartoon memories (including Hot Rod’s ascension, Clutch and Steeler’s sacrifice in the alternate dimension and Prime’s final battle with Megatron) were designed to either move toys or move aside the OLD ones so the new toys had more shelf space.  Oddly, this doesn’t bother me, though I am sometimes sad to find my enjoyment of favorite tales muted or outright spoiled by the author’s agendas and peccadilloes, as has happened with works by Dave Sim and Frank Miller, among others.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “ah-ra-shee-kah-gay’) fights for freedom, wherever there’s trouble, asking: Does it matter WHY a creator chose to include a particular scene or story beat if the finished product is enjoyable?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Vorpal
    January 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm — Reply

    No, I believe it doesn’t matter. Remember everyone, your mileage will vary. If you liked it, you liked it.

  2. Chris
    January 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    Absolutely not. You still got those stories and you liked them. It should not matter in the least, especially if they’re good stories.

  3. Ryan 'Halite' King
    January 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm — Reply

    Apparently George Lucas thinks it does matter and constantly re-tweaks his stories to fit. Stan Lee might fall for this as well, or just generally be in a haze.

    I don’t think it matters. A beautiful accident is still beautiful. How many people flock to see the Tower of Pisa now?

  4. Oldcomicfan
    January 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    There have been several comic books where I quit buying them because the story took a swerve I didn’t like (Spiderman Clone Saga) or because the artist/author themselves took a swerve (Ceberus – Dave Sims), and I quit buying The Savage Dragon because Larsen kept cutting back on the pages of story and art and increasing the ads and letter page rants to the point, in the late 80s, where the junk took up more of the book than the comic art, but for an example where I found an artist’s beliefs, politics or behavior so objectionable that I gave up on them entirely, you’d have to look to movies.

    When John Wayne made the Green Berets and publicly announced that anybody who didn’t support the war was unAmerican, I quit watching John Wayne movies for nearly a decade – the first case where an artist or actor’s politics were so annoying that I dismissed the body of their works out of hand.

    The worst case, though, was O.J. Simpson. I used to own a movie he had made, called Capricorn One, an alternate history movie where the moon landings were faked and the astronauts escaped from the movie set in fear of their lives and were hunted down by the army. I always liked the movie. But after Simpson’s trial, I didn’t just stop watching the movie, I erased the VHS tape and broke the laserdisc of Capricorn One in half. I just could no bear to watch that movie any more. Not because OJ was a person of color, but because, after trying so hard to fit into society and rise above racism, he resorted to hiring fancy lawyers and playing the race card in order to get away with a major crime.

  5. B.V.K.
    January 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm — Reply

    When I was younger it didn’t bother me at all, but as I get older and I am more politically aware of my entertainment it has become difficult to do so. If its something I really enjoy then I try to ignore the ideological subtleties of the author if I disagree with them and try to enjoy the stories as a whole. It does get frustrating when you just want to enjoy a simple comic and instead you get propaganda (I’m looking at you Marvel!).

    On the brighter side, if I agree with the authors view points, then it can cement the book as a favorite. This is human nature I suppose, to like the people who agree with you a bit more (Frank Miller and Bill Willingham you are awesome). However a positive conservative perspective is far and few between in comics.

  6. Matt
    January 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm — Reply

    Some of favorite stories comes from the writes giving the proverbial middle finger to their producers and going out of the way. It worked for Marvel with Fantastic Four, and my favorite example. The last season of Reboot with Enzo going completely hardcore.

    To answer the original concern: No, as a kid who didn’t know better, I didn’t care one bit. Maybe I do now, but our selection of entertainment is so much more varied that I can find enjoyment through other forms of media.

  7. January 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm — Reply

    It always depends for me.

    Sometimes a adding/removing/changing something can make me more interested, such as the changes between the movie “Stargate” and the various TV series that spun out of it, or similarly the difference between “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” TV and movie-verses. The TV series of those franchises changed things quite a bit from what the movies had established, yet I tended to enjoy those changes more than I did the original material. I’m sure a lot of those changes had to do with money and the costs of making a TV series compared to a movie, but I still found them enjoyable (and some of the explanations more plausible).

    As has been said, mileage may vary.

  8. AllenBT
    January 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm — Reply

    No, it doesn’t. Not to sound like a complete ass hat, but that author, actor, artist or singer is there to provide content, for which he/she is being compensated, sometimes quite handsomely. That should be the only thing that matters. Trying to follow a persons politics or person life is maddening. To borrow someone else’s phrase “shut up and sing.” That person has a platform only because they are talented. I’m really not interested in anything outside that talent.

  9. Sean
    January 19, 2013 at 5:47 am — Reply

    I can still enjoy Mission Impossible or Apocalypto, even if I don’t enjoy the personal decisions or philosophies of their actors and creators. I suppose one way to approach this is that I like to be surprised by my entertainment, and who is more likely to surprise me than someone with a completely different set of assumptions, someone with whom, in person, I would probably clip conversation angrily short?

    The way I most practically see this, however, is that, once made aware of the creator’s bias, I am never again unaware of it while appreciating his or her work: however, that lens becomes part of the conversation rather than a barrier to entry. I read The Fountainhead before I knew anything about Ayn Rand, and while I was later dismayed by the coldness of her philosophy, I still appreciate my time with the novel, and Howard Roark is still an important part of my lexicon of allusions: Rand is just part of the conversation.

    Of course, sometimes a creator with whom I’ve become reluctantly invested produces something bizarre and, perhaps, more overtly reflective of their philosophy, which I can comfortably deride and say, “I knew it all along.” I’m the goddamn Batman, for instance.

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