I realize I’m nearly three months late to the game on this one, but I just noticed today that DC got rid of their message boards. Huh. On the one hand, the frustration of arguing with (or being completely ignored by) other comics fans on the boards is what prompted me to start this blog. On the other hand, it was an extremely useful tool for people who wouldn’t be able to strike up a comics-related discussion otherwise. I remember the years-long debate over when/how/if Conner Kent would come back – cloning? secretly not dead? Blackest Night zombie? – and the question of who, exactly, was in that lightning rod Braniac 5 wielded in The Lightning Saga; people insisted it was Bart Allen, but I swore up and down that he was dead, dead, dead, and never coming back.
I haven’t been on the boards in a while, but I was going to check it out today to see how others felt the New 52 was progressing (jury’s still out for me). The one thing I could depend on with the boards was that, regardless of how muddled a timeline or continuity became, some other poster was certain to have it all figured out, or at least be able to explain in a way that made sense. I’m also pretty sure I was alerted to the Sweet Tooth #1 autographed copy/free sketch deal via the boards, by Jeff Lemire himself no less.
DC’s site is now more like a blog and commenting is now done on each specific item via Facebook login, which … yikes. The comfort of message board flame wars was that nobody knew who you really were, thus you could be as brutally honest (or gently diplomatic) as you wanted. Now there’s this weird Orwellian accountability element to it. Also, the extreme pain in the ass of not being able to have comments organized by theme/character/thread – they’re now at the bottom of each specific item, which gives commenting a frustratingly scattered, why-bother feel, and also sort of a creepy vibe, since you’re responding to someone through a social networking site that’s already pretty iffy when it comes to sharing/selling/saving your personal info.
Not sure if this is some sort of deal with Facebook or DC anticipated a tremendous amount of fanboy backlash for New 52 and would rather sweep that under the rug in favor of putting on a happy face to new readers, or are honestly just trying to clean up the site. If it’s the latter, why not a new message board system?