30th May 2016
Certain things have really been rubbing me the wrong way lately. One is false advertising from DC Comics that relates to John Stewart, which I have written about in this article, and another is certain fans trying to convince John Stewart fans that we should settle for less, and ultimately buy crap we’re not interested in. This is usually suggested to us under the belief that it is all for the betterment of the Green Lantern franchise, or, weirdly, diversity in comics.
See, the idea works like this: if you buy a bunch of Hal Jordan or whoever comics, maybe… maybe… there is a chance you may eventually see a John Stewart spin off. And if you buy enough comics that feature black characters like John Stewart as worthless token wallpaper, then maybe… maybe… there is the chance that DC might actually do something worthwhile with the characters.
First, I’m going to admit an unfortunate truth. Many of us have already played those games with DC before. We never should have in the first place, because they are based on incredibly flawed, warped, backwards principles. But we did. And guess what we discovered? None of it leads anywhere, except for the thinning of our wallets and the fattening of DC’s coffers, all toward products we don’t really support. DC winds up doing the exact same things they have always been doing; sucking at black characters in general and pushing John as far in the background as they reasonably can.
When you ask me to support that, or suggest that I should, what I have to say to you is “kiss my butt.” I will buy products that I am interested in. Those are the only products I will buy. At this stage, I am not interested in Green Lantern products that feature Green Lanterns other than John Stewart, because I ultimately don’t care about those characters enough. There is nothing wrong with that and I have no shame about it, nor should I. I never signed a contract saying that just because I am a fan of John Stewart, I must also support all these other completely different characters that are not John Stewart.
A counter argument seems to be “if you think John Stewart was ever meant to be a big deal, you’re delusional. He was never set up to be that.” If that’s the case, then I’m definitely not going to spend my money on those products.
Many fans of John Stewart are interested in him because he was a big deal on a television program that went out to way more people than any of those comic books. On Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, John was treated as an important, complex hero of high standing, who was integral to the show, and who didn’t really take a backseat to anyone, least of all a bunch of characters that aren’t recognized as much as he is.
If DC wants to ignore all the people who grew up watching John Stewart presented that way, and who still watch him, well, that’s their decision. They tried that before when the 2011 Green Lantern film arrived, and we saw the response it got. Some of these fans who make these suggestions don’t seem to fully realize that DC isn’t who has the power here. I don’t even think DC fully realizes that. We are the ones with the power. We have what DC wants, which is money.
Either DC offers what we want, or we won’t give them our money. That only makes sense. That’s how I operate with everything else, so I’m not sure why John Stewart should be any different. When I go to the deli, I buy pepper turkey instead of roast beef, because I like pepper turkey. I don’t ever buy roast beef on the fragile hope of some weird round about benefit that likely won’t even happen.
If the whole thing somehow doesn’t work out, and the Green Lantern franchise gets shot to hell, what do I care? It wasn’t giving me what I wanted to see anyway, and DC seems determined to keep things that way, so it’s not like I’ll have any sad feelings about that. There are innumerable other things I can spend my money and time on that I actually like and that don’t frustrate me.
Therefore, no one should think for a second that John Stewart fans in general are somehow at the mercy of DC Comics and need to capitulate to them. If push comes to shove, we’ll be perfectly fine packing our bags, going where the weather is nicer, and enjoying ourselves with products that give us what we want. Indeed, many of us have already done just that.
In the end, the divided state of the Green Lantern fanbase is a situation DC has put themselves in that either they will work out or they won’t. The fans are not at all accountable for the sorry state of the Green Lantern franchise, nor are they the ones responsible for fixing DC’s problems.