Origin Story: Who Is Do You Even Comic Book ?”

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Greetings Do You Even Comic Book? true believers! As we enter the second week of our site—which had such a successful launch y’all crashed it and we had to up our hosting package—I’d like to address a question that some of you newer members of the community may have had: Where did this whole thing come from?

It may seem to many of you that one day it was just here, seemingly out of nowhere. Before you knew it you were posting in the hashtag, being welcomed by a GIF of Fran Drescher (shoutout to community member Tony Demarco for providing that GIF and all of the art he has done in the group), and thinking to yourself “well I guess this is just my life now.” But there is an origin story to this wonderful thing we’ve built. I’m Dexter Buschetelli, councilman and founding member of Do You Even Comic Book?, and this is our story.

In the winter of 2015 I started a podcast with my friend Mike. The idea was simple: we get drunk and talk comics. I decided Twitter would be a good way to advertise it and get listeners, so I waded into the waters of comic book Twitter. I was pretty directionless for a time as I got used to the platform and community. The hashtag community #PodernFamily helped us grow and gain followers, but I always felt it was too big and unfocused. I knew one day I would need to find something better.

I never expected to become an integral part of building a community of our own.

In early 2016 I began interacting with the account for ComicNoobsShow, which Kevin runs. Soon after we encountered another user who, at the time, went by the name of Task1ne, his former rap handle. This was the beginning of Do You Even Comic Book?, though we didn’t know it then. The three of us formed a bond over the next few months due to our mutual hated of BvS, that atrocious Fall Out Boy song on the Ghostbusters reboot, and Frank Miller’s current-day art, among other things. We also spent a lot of time butting heads with stans with extreme views on either side of the aisle.

As time went on we networked without even intending to network. We made friends with folks who would eventually become councilmen and community members. We also began to realize that, while we had made tons of friends, there really wasn’t any particular community that we truly fit in with. Task has stated on multiple occasions that he has not only never been on board with the “blerd” community as a concept but has also actively felt ostracized and even targeted by it at times. And, with the three of us all having pretty middle-of-the-road views, we’ve always been something in between the hard right folks who now refer to themselves as “comicsgate” and the hard left folks they refer to as “SJWs.” We found ourselves accused of being liberals and gatekeepers, cucks and nazi sympathizers—somehow simultaneously. At times it was amusing, but at others it was incredibly frustrating.

All we wanted to do was talk comics. That didn’t mean we were apolitical or didn’t want to speak on matters of social justice, diversity, representation, etc. But it felt like we were often caught dead in the middle of two groups furiously berating each other, both of whom would frequently label us as their antagonistic counterparts. These were two groups we agreed or disagreed with at times on principle, not party. But we were ever going to be—or even wished to be—in either camp.

“Do you even comic book?” as a phrase was not in and of itself original. Obviously it stems from phrases like “do you even lift, bro?” and has been parodied and bandied about across the internet for years. I don’t remember if it was a joke we made between ourselves in a DM thread where we’d started to gripe about comics Twitter, or if it started when Task said it one day in a tweet last February. Something about it just stuck. It became this little inside thing between us, a dig at stans who were so fervent in some of their statements despite oftentimes being factually incorrect. We just kept saying it, to the point where it became something of a mantra.

One day, during the height of tensions that had boiled over in comics fandom due to Marvel’s Secret Empire event, an editor for a comic news site tweeted out a panel of Captain America with his dialogue replaced by a quote from writer Nick Spencer, who had become a polarizing figure at the time due to the disparate receptions of his story.

This rubbed Task all of the wrong ways it could rub a man’s rhubarb. For him, it felt so wildly irresponsible for someone in a position of influence within comic book fandom to perpetuate a fake panel that would almost certainly be mistaken for being real and was also such a gross misrepresentation of a controversial arc that had split the broader fandom down the middle as much as the real-world events it was attempting to reflect. Task had, I think in this moment, had enough; and as he is often wont to do, he took to Twitter to vent about the matter.

(BTW I love that Task screwed up the hashtag on the first try.)

This was the moment: a short rant born of frustration over the behaviors of comics news outlets in recent years was the point of conception for Do You Even Comic Book?. Frustration over sites focusing too much on “hot takes,” industry drama, extremist views, bad layouts to force more clicks from readers for ad revenue, and over-saturation of the ads themselves—all of which most comic fans have been feeling, whether consciously or subconsciously, had coalesced into the right rant at the right time. It was in that moment Task finally said it, “Maybe this IS a sign. Maybe I should start my own comic page.” People responded, many of whom are the very people who make the site and its content.

It’s amazing to me to go back and look at these tweets now. It feels like we all spent the last few years aimlessly wandering through comics Twitter, looking for a place to fit in, never really finding one; so we finally made our own. It took nearly a year, in fact. We weren’t sure how to make this thing but we flew by the seat of our pants and hashtagged the crap out of Do You Even Comic Book? until it began to gain traction.

I would be remiss if I were to not take, at the very least, a paragraph to note the work of Sceritz, , or Ivy as I affectionately refer to him. I refer to him as such because of his twitter handle and website domain IVWall; and if you don’t get the joke there I’m not going to walk you by the hand through it because that is not how humor works. To be absolutely frank, we had become stagnant for a short time, and he reignited our Yoga Flame. For all the talk Task, Kevin, and I did, we needed someone to help us walk that walk; and Ivy was that person. A longtime friend in his own right, Ivy was the one who finally organized us in a DM to start mapping out the process of making this thing real. He designed the site and made sure we stayed vigilant with the building of the community. Each of us have our roles; and though this whole thing spawned from me, Task, and Kevin; Ivy made it happen. He is the glue that holds this movement and website together. He’s put in that work, and he deserves your appreciation.

Now here we are; and it’s not just us anymore. It’s all of you. Everyone who posts in the hashtag, participates in the discussions, and writes content for the site now makes Do You Even Comic Book?. It’s no longer about Task, Kevin, and me. Sceritz came on board and had the focus and technical skills we needed to make our shared dream real. Toast took a more active role as well. The site launched and crashed its first day due to the massive outpouring of support and users visiting the domain. We added Becky to the council in this first week because we value having women’s voices, and we are going to keep adding the right voices to our diverse community leadership.

More importantly, though, all of YOU showed up, and you’ve done so in droves. I can’t even keep up with who’s in this movement anymore. There are many of you who are forming bonds and finding this safe haven for fans who are passionate but respectful, and it warms my heart. I feel a great swelling of pride, and I’m not too proud to say a few tears are gathering at my eyelids as I write this. This week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my entire life, and it wasn’t an easy one. It wasn’t without bumps in the road; but here we are.

We are Legion now. We are many. We’re not going anywhere, either. We will only continue to grow in numbers, and we will show the greater fandom a better way. From the ashes of their world and whatnot. This community matters, and all of you matter.

From the absolute bottom of the sea of cheap whiskey that has replaced the blood in my heart, thank you. Thank you Task and Kevin, you are two of the greatest friends one could make building a community for comics fans. Thank you Sceritz and Toast for helping us to make this a reality; we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you Becky, for joining us and in a very short time beginning to help us have better and more varied perspectives as we lead this community. Above all, though, thank you to each and every person who has participated in this and continues to do so. I’m Dexter Buschetelli, and this is no longer our story. Its YOURS. YOU are Do You Even Comic Book?, and the six of us will do our best to lead this community through passion, positivity, protectiveness, and persistence.

#JoinUs

Dexter Buschetelli thinks he is really clever, but you know better; don’t you? Do you? I dunno, I’m not your mom. Dexter can be found here on DYECB writing reviews and opinion pieces as well as on the website for his podcast, Let’s Get Drunk and Talk Comics.

Dexter Buschetelli thinks he is really clever, but you know better; don’t you? Do you? I dunno, I’m not your mom. Dexter can be found here on DYECB writing reviews and opinion pieces as well as on the website for his podcast, Let's Get Drunk and Talk Comics.

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Shaun Martineau
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Shaun Martineau

This is really well written. I flew through it and chuckled more than once. I came in late to the game, so the history is pretty amusing and true to the character y’all have shown.

So a big thanks to you guys and here’s to future growth. Y”all made something dope.

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Cool