A lot of the things I read, in comics and literature, I read because I like the author. They’ve done something I liked, and therefore, I want to read more by them. That, and the classics. I like to have a wide variety to choose from, and reading things that have been branded literary elite canon for some genre makes sense to me.
H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein for sci-fi, Tolkien for fantasy, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe for horror, among many, many others. For pure lit, there’s Hemingway and Updike and Jack London. George Eliot and Eudora Welty. Lots of masters, past and present, including Michael Chabon, Ursula Le Guin and Cormac McCarthy, all populate my “to read” list.
When the things I like overlap with recognized masters, that’s even better.
It is disappointing to find that someone you liked wrote something that’s essentially nonsensical prattle. Like, bullshit so poorly done that you can’t believe it came from the same person.
And you go and check and think, maybe it was super early in their career, their first poor steps, or late in career when they’d lost their edge…
But no. It’s right smack dab in the middle, right after the peak, and you think, what happened?
I get we all have bad ideas at times, but did they just choke under the pressure? Were their earlier attempts all they had in them? Did they develop a severe drug or alcohol problem that hindered their creativity?
Did they experience some trauma or some epic bout of depression or numbness, like a spouse leaving or a child dying, and weren’t able to focus?
Were they too happy and focused on their home life, so they just churned out some shit for cash, so they could get back to building Legos with their kids?
Or did they just have a bad period?
In any case, it’s disappointing, and you hope it doesn’t happen again.
Or worse, happen to you before you even get started.