Tuesday 06th October 2015,
Comic Booked

Comics Greats Defeated By Ustream

T Campbell 02/09/2012 ZDONOTUSE

“Brigadiers! I apologize, we’re running into some technical difficulties!” (Stan Lee)

“I don’t know what Ustream is… oh, this is Ustream?” (Alan Moore)

Stan Lee did his best to reassure the assembled crowds who’d come to ask him questions, on what should have been a day of unalloyed triumph.

It was the launch of his new, revamped website. Earlier, he’d received a lifetime achievement award from the Visual Effects Society, and accepted with the generous compliments and mostly-faked egomania that are his hallmark. “I for one am totally in your debt because the kind of stories I seem to specialize in would never have the cinema success they have if not for you… [but] my cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man is going to bring in the audience.”

Fans hoping to hear more such bon mots were instead treated to staticky squawks, system crashes, and a perplexing 45-second clip of someone else entirely, who didn’t seem to realize he was being filmed. “It’s about fun,” Stan managed to get out, just before the video faded to black. An 11-minute interview eventually went up, with promises for more the day after.

Earlier that week, in another Ustreamed fan interview, Alan Moore also had troubles with his interface. For his listeners, patience proved to be a virtue: the glitches gradually smoothed out, and he spoke out on both familiar and unfamiliar themes with a warm, endearing wit. “I’ve learned to live with the Simpsons episode… [at least it was honest in that] those are what my muscles look like under my shirt, and I can fly.” However, he seemed unaware that anyone who would see the video later would not see the questions that accompanied it. For those of us who caught up with the interview after the fact, it could sometimes be an elaborate guessing game just what question Moore was responding to.

Neither Moore nor Lee are likely to lose much cachet with fans over these matters. Reportage on Moore’s interview was far more interested in his views than any problems he had with sharing them. And Lee’s apology was graceful, and seemingly quickly accepted. Indeed, watching older creators struggle with modern tech might make their fan bases identify with them all the more. Human connections are more abstract, and more firmly built, than a Ustream call.

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About The Author

T Campbell is a prolific writer, co-scriptwriter of Guilded Age, and writer of QUILTBAG, Fans, Penny and Aggie, Rip and Teri, and more. He's also the creator of the world's largest New York Times-standard crossword puzzle.

  1. Robb Orr 02/09/2012 at 7:44 pm

    At least they didn't try speaking into the mouse.

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