We have met the enemy, and they are us.
It may have originally been Walt Kelly in "Pogo" that said that, but that was the message Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada was pushing in his keynote address Sunday morning at ProCon in San Diego.
Comics have gotten better, the problems with content and distribution are being reduced, but nothing's going to change with public perception until the industry's self-perception changes, according to the artist-turned-editor.
"Realistically, no one's going to listen to you, no one's going to listen to us, as long as we wear our low self-esteem like a shroud," Quesada said. "I mean, we call ourselves 'fanboy' and 'fangirl.' We don't even have the self-respect to call ourselves men and women. What's wrong with being a fan?
"We're the world's storytellers, don't fool yourselves. When we're on our game, we beat television, the movies, hands down. We are the mythmakers," Quesada said, noting that the entertainment media regularly come to comics to raid for ideas.
"We've lived under the old rules for so long, it's time to declare them dead and buried," he said. "With enough imagination, you can beat the hell out of reality, and that's no myth."