A major comics company recently released information on an upcoming storyline to the media in the hopes of drumming up attention and sales. People got to talking, and some got mad because the element of surprise has been lost for them. It’s something we’ve seen happen repeatedly in the last few years as technology has given fans the ability to discover and share spoilers faster than a speeding bullet, while publishers have increasingly relied on major news outlets to create hype for their books by purposefully spoiling comics before they actually come out. This is the new reality for people who live online and actively follow the franchises they love. Spoilers are everywhere, and its not just fans who are throwing them around anymore. So is this a good or bad thing? Do spoilers ruin the fun and excitement of following a story, or do they help it? If you know the end of a story, can you still enjoy reading the lead-up to it?
I think spoilers can be good, despite the connotation of the word. When I know something specific is going to happen in a comic, for example, that knowledge can create anticipation where there previously was none. I remember when DC Comics released Infinite Crisis about eight years ago, and I found out about the big death towards the end of the series before I read it in the comic. Reading the book, there was definitely a greater sense of dread that probably wouldn’t have existed if I didn’t know how things would end. I was a little mad that I spoiled myself at the time, but it didn’t kill my enjoyment of the book. That’s because I think spoilers are generally pretty superficial. So what if you know a couple of plot points before hand? To me its more important to see how a story develops, and how characters grow and relate to each other. Spoilers are all about surprises and twists, and that type of stuff is overrated.
Overall I like spoilers in moderation. I don’t seek them out for every single thing I enjoy. For example, I like to be surprised with movies, because they are singular events. If a surprise is ruined it’s not like there will be another chapter coming out next week or the following month. Typically though I go for the spoilers for stuff I’m not invested in. I’ll be the first to look at advanced info for a comic like Green Lantern, but keep your Saga or Action Comics news to yourself.
It all depends on your perspective. You like spoilers? Great. You don’t? That’s cool too. But know this: they aren’t going anywhere. Especially when companies like DC Comics try to get ahead of the game by posting their own spoilers to pump up the hype and (hopefully) sales. So, you know, watch out. And don’t go blurting them out around people you know are touchy about that stuff like a douche.