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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ruining the surprise

Peter David has an interesting installment of his “But I Digress” column in the latest Comics Buyer’s Guide. It’s a bit of a rant, actually, about the Internet age and spoilers and fans too quick to judge.

Like me, David can remember the days when each month’s comics were a surprise, when you had no idea which villain Superman would be battling in the next issue or what the cover would look like. These days, readers know what’s coming up months ahead through Previews, sort of the TV Guide of the comics world, and though advance solicitations posted online. DC and Marvel this week, for example, posted information on what’s coming in the dog days of August. Publishers also send select advance copies to retailers that inevitably land up in the hands of fans.

And those fans, David laments, are all too eager to post reviews and spoilers — he calls them “ruiners” — online. “Advance information,” he writes, “particularly revelations of key plot points and major surprises, ruin the story — knock it down to a level where it cannot be enjoyed the way the author intended it to be.”

Those spoiler-happy fans aren’t likely to stop. So the only hope is that they mark their advance reviews as spoilers — and that we resist the temptation to read further. I’m no role model, I’m sorry to say. By the time “Superman Returns” is in theaters, for example, I’ll probably have read all the reviews and spoilers I can in my thirst for knowledge — and then will be kicking myself when I feel like I’ve already seen it before I sit down in the theater.


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