I won’t bury the lede: the variant edition of the Stan Lee / Jack Kirby classic X-Men Omnibus, Vol. 1 is the Kirby cover.
By the way, that was the answer to life, the universe, and everything. It’s turns out it’s not 42 – it’s that the X-Men Omnibus, Vol. 1 direct market variant is the Kirby cover.
How and why I’m making a blog post to answer that question is more interesting than the question or the answer.
When it comes to fandom on the internet, it’s assumed that everyone is working from the same primary source – the material they’re all fanning over.
Since everyone is consuming the same thing, deliberate misinformation would be obvious. Thus, information doesn’t tend to be questioned as it spreads across hundreds of blogs, wikis, lyric sites, comic databases, etc – and, none of those sites ever state their sources, because the source is assumed to be the actual material.
There is a problem with that assumption. Sometimes the source is the material, but sometimes it’s just the whisper down the lane from other secondary sources. Sometimes the source is the material, but it’s being interpreted incorrectly.
There is a lot of room for error without any malicious intent to spread disinformation, and without even the tacit citations of Wikipedia you’ll ever know the providence of the information you’re consuming. Due to ouroboros-like nature of the internet, one slight discrepancy introduced into the system will make the rounds, continuing a feedback loop until a little piece of misinformation swells to prohibitive truth – determining the outcome of arguments and dictating the sale price for rare memorabilia.
Fans like to pretend they’re experts, but a lot of times they’re just another parroting back the feedback. I’ve encountered three examples in the past week, and even with my pseudo-scholarly approach to being a fan I managed to be the parrot one time.
What happens when one of these pieces of information actually matters and the echo chamber is the only possible source? You don’t have to look far to find out – it happens every day. News networks pick up parody articles as truth! People cite statistics that aren’t real! The AP makes up tons of stuff and people take it at face value because, you know, AP. And those are journalists.
It makes me worry that as we put more of our consciousnesses and knowledge into the vast matrix of the internet, the concept of “truth” is becoming increasingly subjective.
Fair warning: the first section of below uses a sometimes derogatory word for vagina twice in the context of quotes about the lyrics to a song. We should not be afraid of words, only what people mean by them. Say it sometime. [Read more…] about Fandom, sources, subjective truth, and the Lee/Kirby X-Men Omnibus variant cover