As much as it once was a utopian concept, a place of limitless potential and previously unimaginable access to information, the Internet has become something that’s often depressing and, even worse, personally destructive to its denizens. That’s at least in part due to the state of the world today, but the discourse on sites like Twitter and Facebook can often be toxic for all involved. It’s made something that was once magical exhausting, and that feeling is only exacerbated if you’re a woman or person of color, in which case it can become something far grimmer.
That’s not to say that negativity isn’t understandable at times. The world isn’t all roses and puppies, and believing otherwise is to deliberately bury your head in the sand. But sometimes it can get oppressive, especially when the conversation is about something that people presumably enjoy, like comics. When you can’t have a conversation about superheroes or related media online without someone ripping on your taste, subtweeting you or screaming “#ReleaseTheSnyderCut” in your mentions for some unknown reason, it can subtract from your own desire to engage with your passions in such a way.
And that’s a tough place to be. Whenever there’s something you love, you naturally want to talk about it. Anything that works against that could drive a person away from a medium that can hardly afford to lose any fans, whether they’re long-time readers or newfound ones. I once hoped that the Internet would act as an extension of the positive conversations I’ve had in comic shops that have fueled my love of the medium. Instead, it often manifests as the worst attributes from that world: the elitism, the gatekeeping, the unwelcoming feel.
But, thankfully, that’s not everyone. As much as the tenor of the conversation can glom onto the bad instead of the good, there are some comic fans that don’t just like the medium, but do what they can to spread their love for it to whomever will listen. That’s not to say that they’re willfully ignorant of the troubles the medium and its industry face, but they don’t forget to tout the good despite that. I always appreciate those people and their efforts do make a difference.
And this week, I wanted to highlight one of my favorites, even though, ironically, I didn’t even follow this person on Twitter until recently. I became familiar with his presence in a singularly bizarre way, but since then, I’ve come to enjoy seeing his tweets about Space Cabbie, father figures, and whatever his latest comic infatuation happens to be pop up into my feed at random. They’re a unique treat from an atypical person from an unexpected place.
His name is Hagai Palevsky, and today, we’re going to be looking at how a teenager from a city you’ve probably never heard of in Israel became one of the true voices of good on the comics Internet.