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CSBG Archive

Help a Study About Comic Books and Fan Culture

Kimberly Groff, a a clinical psychology master’s student at Loyola University Maryland is doing her thesis on “Family Relationships and Men’s Participation in Comic Book Fan Culture.”

As part of her research study, she needs male comic book fans over 18 years of age to take an anonymous survey (she says it will take less than 25 minutes to answer). If you partcipate, you will get a chance to win $100 in a raffle.

Click here for more information and details on how to help.


…hmm. The randomizer doesn’t seem to work too well if there are questions referring to other questions (the first question about “my father” referred to a previous question, which was apparently the one which came couple of pages later) and I don’t know if the order would affect the questions (e.g. the question if my mother and father were currently together or not did not have an option that one or both were deceased…)

The first question was really weird, asking about a social group and my relationship with it, without bothering to explain in any way what it meant with a social group. Human beings? Readers of CSBG? People who work in the same place as I do? People who go to the same church as I do? I belong to multiple vaguely defined social groups.

Many of the comics questions were a tad off for me too on account of me not being American…yet there was no mention in the beginning about location affecting the participation nor was there any question about it in the questionnaire, even if it should affect things strongly.

So anyway, I decided not to answer the questionnaire.

Yeah, I was also going to do this, but that whole first page about “social groups” seemed so odd that I bailed.

I concur with the other commentors. ‘Comic book social group’ was really poorly defined, and I was definitely not the target subject. Maybe she should refine the subject criteria. I’m over 18 and read comics, but I couldn’t answer many of the questions because I don’t read any ongoing stuff and I’m engaged in a lot of non-superhero comics. It did remind me how much I love my dad, though, and I might get 100 bucks, so hooray! Net gain!

I hope I was of some help, but I’m not positive that I was. Some of those questions sure are bizarre. “My favorite comic book character keeps me company while I am reading his or her comic book issue.” Given who my favorite characters are (and neither are superheroes), I’m rather concerned about what answering anything but “Strongly Disagree” would say about my mental health.

Crap, I need to get going. Snake Eyes needs to use the computer to look up something for Bigby, because he hasn’t figured out how to use the Google yet.

Totally not getting the point here. What’s a “comic book social group”? That seems like it would be a group of my peers who read comics, but…I’m really the only one of my friends who reads comics. I can’t say I’ve ever belonged to a “comic book social group,” unless you count the one other guy I knew in college who read comics, but two people is hardly a “social group.”

Yeah, ditto.

“We would now like you to consider your membership in comic book social groups. By social groups we mean collections of people that know each other and interact frequently. Please choose a comic book social group that is MOST IMPORTANT to you and write the name of that group below. ”

Really wanted to help out but I have no idea what she wants to survey.

I agree the part about the social groups was kind of weird. I just thought about my friends in college… 25 years ago.
The part about the relationship with my father and mother was kind of awkward since my dad is a widower. I hope they ask for feedback.

I agree with most people about the definition of “social groups.” Honestly, I saw “Loyola University in Maryland” and was all, “Hey! I went there!” and decided to help out my alma mater in a way.

But I will say that some of the questions seemed like they were a bit too leading.

Filled it out just now. The concerns expressed above certainly apply for me (an antisocial old reprobate on even the best of days), & when you throw in the fact that my main interest is in so-called Classic Comics, that my favorite character (Sgt. Fury) hasn’t had a series since Nixon was president, & that it’s hard gauging just how close my relationship is with my parents, who’ve been dead since I was young (7 for my father, 24 for my mother) … who knows?

I agree. The questions were strange. I tried to answer them the best I could, but I felt like most of it didn’t really apply.

Travis Pelkie

June 27, 2011 at 3:02 am

I was amused right off the bat with the “There are no risks or benefits associated with your participation in the research study.” So why should I do it?

But yeah, the definition of “comic book social group” isn’t clear. But I picked CSBG.

You…uh…you guys won’t abandon me, right?

It probably doesn’t help if I give conflicting answers to the very similar questions, right?

Some of it reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg line about a weirdly worded survey. “Have you ever tried sugar…or PCP?”

This survey is bringing up all sorts of emotional hoohah. Oy. I better win 100 bucks for this!

Should I disagree that it is “pleasent” to be a comic fan?

Oh, and since no one else said it, do your own homework, lady! :)

I do believe that Dan Bailey and I work for the same mega corporation, from other posts of his I’ve read. Just sayin’.

I typed “regular participants on comicbookresources.com” as my main comic book-oriented social group and moved on. In the typical week, I scarcely mention my comic book collection to anyone in the real world in face-to-face conversations. It’s no secret that I collect the silly things, but hardly anyone around me is very interested.

On the other hand! Those questions about citizens “taking the law into their own hands” — I would have liked to see that defined.

I don’t advocate lynch mobs running around and killing anyone whom they, in the heat of the moment, believe “has it coming.” I never saw Frank Castle, The Punisher, as a superhero.

On the other hand, I do feel that there are plenty of times when a civilian may feel it necessary to use violence or the threat of violence against a criminal whom he has caught in the act. Does that latter example fall into the category of “taking the law into his own hands” as Kimberly Groff interprets that phrase, or would she say that it simply falls into the tamer category of “a public-spirited citizen exerting himself with forceful measures meant to help enforce the existing law of the land?”

Once, on another comic book discussion site, I said something about superheroes usually performing “citizen’s arrests,” and another fan “informed me” that there is no such thing as a legally valid citizen’s arrest!

ALL you are allowed to do (he said), is to run for a phone and call the police and tell them that you just witnessed a crime being committed, and then you can wait for them to get around to showing up and arrest the perpetrator, if the perp is still lingering in the area.

As you might guess, at first glance I assumed he was JOKING . . . but apparently not!

@Travis —

Sort of doubt it, if only because the corporation I work for is in no way “mega.”

LOL fanboy whining has been turned into something to determine if comic fans are fringe lunatics


Mike Loughlin

June 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I was a bit bothered by how the questions made it obvious what the researchers’ assumptions were. People who read comics have self-esteem problems, difficulty separating reality from fantasy, and issues with their fathers? Wow, what a startlingly original hypothesis! Gold star!


June 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I bailed on the social group question.
I could have gone with the CBR forums, but that didn’t seem to fit the questions, and with my every day real-world friends… well, we don’t have a ‘comic group’.
Some of my friends are into comics, and we’ll chat about them, but it’s not the backbone, or even a main part of the friendship.

When I was in Uni just coming up with such ill defined survey questions would have resulted in an instant fail for me.

Incidentally, it looks as if a lot more could be learned just reading through this comment thread than whatever dubious outcomes the survey may come up with.

Travis Pelkie

June 28, 2011 at 6:14 am


Well, it is a large media corp that has been laying people off the last few years, so maybe you’re not there anymore. Uh, if you ever were. ok, whatever.

@Travis —

Once I thought about it, I figured you were talking about … you-know-who.

I was at their, uh, local outlet from 11/01-11/02 — in fact, a middle-management position is why I moved there — but that ended a week short of 12 months. Can’t say I didn’t know better, in that I was told the position had been occupied by 7 different people in as many years, but I needed the job.

I still do vaguely the same work, but let’s just say no newsprint is involved.

Travis Pelkie

June 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm

@Dan — well, there’s a Dan Bailey on the internal email list, but I guess that’s not you then. I thought from comments on Comics Critics, I think, that you were with “cough cough cough” within the last few years. Good thing I didn’t email this IT Dan Bailey then, I suppose…

Definitely not me. Not only that, but the very idea of my working in IT would be frightening to all concerned; I’m about as qualified to work on spaceships. My job was, & still is, screwing with other people’s words.

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