Last week over on Comics Should Be Good, Brian's buddy Lorendiac posted a Comic Book Fan's Bill of Rights, and boy did I hate it. Nothing against Lorendiac, I've quite enjoyed some of his lists, but one is just terrible. It's clogged with meaningless crap about retcons, movie adaptations, format bias, and other fan entitlement nonsense. It's not a list of rights, it's a list of pet peeves. It's also artificially inflated to ten, and as George Carlin tells us, we can't be having with any of that. (Fun Freedom Fighters Fact: The original US Bill of Rights, as submitted by Congress, consisted of twelve amendments; one of the two not immediately ratified was eventually ratified as the 27th Amendment in 1992.)
But it's a good idea; I think enumerating a list of minimum expectations for comics readers to have and for comic book professionals to abide by, encoded as a Bill of Rights, is a good thing. I just don't think the expectations should be quite so minimal. And I don't like the term "fans," either. It implies some sort of exclusionary standard, especially when (as it often is on the Internet) extended into the phrase "real fans." Bugger that; one Bill of Rights should be good enough for everybody.
So here, without commentary, is Tales To Mildly Astonish's Comic Book Readers' Bill of Rights:
1. You have the right to comics that meet the basic standards of artistic and literary quality.
2. You have the right to a healthily diverse range of genres and formats of comics to choose from.
3. You have the right to have any and all comics available for sale from a healthily diverse range of venues.
4. You have a right to hospitable, accessible and professional venues of sale.
5. You have a right to honest, clear advertising from comics publishers, and to expect any and all promises made in such advertisements to be met.
6. You have a right to broad-ranging, unbiased and professional comics journalism and criticism from a healthily diverse range of sources.
7. You have a right to discuss, intelligently and politely, any and all aspects of comics you have read in the venue of your choice, and to expect intelligent and polite discussion from others.
8. You have a right to read those comics you enjoy, and to refrain from reading those you do not enjoy.