Social media – it’s a bit of a marmite: you either love it, or you hate it.
I for one can fully embrace that I have a bit of an addiction. Realistically, think back to the last time you went 24 hours without checking your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat… I can’t relate.
But really, without my social media I wouldn’t have a platform to share my unwanted opinions, dog-filter selfies, or most importantly: my cosplays.
It led me to wonder what impact these platforms have had on comic books and our fandoms – I came to the quick realisation that it wasn’t all positive.
Since its 2006 launch, Twitter has become a hugely political and opinionated platform. It’s hard to tweet anything without offending somebody, and this definitely applies to comic books.
In 2018, anyone can have access to their favourite comic book artists, actors, or writers – and they lack the nerves they would normally have when talking to them face to face.
Twitter VS. Nick Spencer
Anyone remember back in 2016 when Nick Spencer opened himself to a huge stampede of angry fans when he turned our beloved patriot Captain America into a HYDRA agent?
Well, if you don’t remember it, you can read a condensed version of the storyline at IGN here.
All you really need to know is that the cover-boy of all things righteous and good about the world got turned into the new face of HYDRA – y’know, that evil Nazi organisation?
It was… controversial, to say the least.
The backlash that Spencer received caused him to ditch his Twitter account altogether, and he can’t really be blamed, because some of messages from his once-adoring fans were brutal.
— Jenni ❄ (@Jennifer_Dercal) May 25, 2016
What started as a movement to prevent a beloved icon from becoming a Nazi supporter, became a rather personal attack against Nick Spencer – a man who was simply doing his job.
#SayNoToHYDRACap trended for days, and eventually was buried, just as many online fads are. But do you think the man behind it all has been able to bury it?
I’m not saying I agree with making Captain America a HYDRA agent – that was never going to go down well, but in my humble opinion there’s a difference between attacking a comic book storyline, and attacking the man who wrote it.
Since this onslaught of hatred for the new and not-so-improved Captain America, Marvel have since backtracked and reinstated him as the symbol of patriotism in Secret Empire #10
It’s not all bad!
Whilst crazy fans like this may make social seem as though it isn’t worth the hassle, it can also be a platform for fans to express their opinion in a more positive way.
Save Young Justice
When DC cancelled their popular cartoon Young Justice, fans went on a rampage. But rather than being an attack, this uprising was considered as more of a movement.
The show was initially axed due to DC’s contract with toy brand Mattel. The lack of merchandise sales left the studio with little choice.
However, fans who appreciated the series for its more mature and in-depth genre campaigned for its return. A series like this had filled the gap that the original Teen Titans left behind.
#RenewYoungJustice spread across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr in no time at all, and eventually, DC had to take notice.
— GOAT Movie Podcast (@GOATfilmpodcast) November 8, 2016
— Caleb Rivera (@caleb267) October 30, 2016
Prayers and campaigns were answered in 2016 when it was announced that due to popular demand, Young Justice would be returning for a third season!
It will be released in January 2019 on DC’s streaming service . For those of us in the UK, that means waiting for another network, or online streaming service, to pick it up… Lucky us.
But, Netflix has already picked up Titans, so there are high expectations that they will also snap up Young Justice.
All in all, we have #RenewYoungJustice to thank for the return of the show.
This just proves that there are always different ways of bringing about change – and they don’t always require death threats and insults. Positivity is key!
That hashtag managed to resurrect a TV show that has been off our screens for nearly six years. To me, this is the epitome of the power that social media has.
I will definitely be tuning into Young Justice when it’s released! I feel as though I owe it to my thirteen year old self.
Where does this leave us?
I’m not saying that this post will revolutionise your life, and you’ll delete all of your social media. But, it would be beneficial for every fandom – from Marvel to My Little Pony, if people learnt to think before they post.
Sure, your favourite hero may have been turned into a Nazi-sympathiser, but does that mean you need to send the writer death threats? Probably not.
Why not take a leaf out of the Young Justice fandom’s book and channel that anger into a movement to bring about positive change?
Food for thought…