So I participated in a twitter discussion that this article on the Beat is about. I never know when some random exchange is going to be Storifyed and presented as something official, but this one was, and so everyone’s comments.
Heidi at The Beat did her usual thing and summed up my comments in a sloppy way, which in this case was: “Wood felt it was part of a fratty, juvenile culture”. Which is sort of true but a deliberate simplification of my comments. I do agree the sort of drinking being discussed is juvenile, but there’s a reason for that.
The specific sort of convention drinking that I find personally problematic is the reckless kind, the sort that interferes with the drinkers being able to actually function at the convention. When a buncha dudes smuggle a suitcase of cheap beer through the hotel bar and out back so they can keep the party going until dawn, and show up at the show a few hours later behind dark glasses, still drunk and reeking? Sure, I’ll call that juvenile. And unprofessional and dangerous and disrespectful to fans. Who wouldn’t agree with that.
I’m not a killjoy and don’t object to Barcon in general. But I object to that sort of excess. Its so pervasive, its so alienating to a lot of fans, and its behavior that I feel belongs to one’s teenage years more than their 40’s and 50’s.
As Heidi summed up: ”Being the sloppy drunk guy at Barcon can also stop a career dead in its track.” Which is not true because some of the most influential people in comics are sloppy drunk guys at shows. And they’re celebrated for it, patted on the back, and are the subject of legendary stories. Which is not something unique to comics, but what is unique to comics is the close interaction of professional and fan, and the last thing we need as an industry is the visual of a fan having to hold a favorite creator’s hair back as she/he vomits all over the floor.
I invite everyone to read that Storify.
I myself am an erstwhile member of a group that regularly drank to excess, and I’m better off to have separated from them. But at the time it was suggested to me by a person in authority that I should come out and play in order to cement my status, to be one of the crew. Which is fucked up, because one’s comic career should be about the work and the work only, not about how many hotel room afterparties you get invited to.