In any event, I think this illustrates the difference between hating and not liking something. Clearly a lot of people like Meltzer on some level, or else his books wouldn't be bestsellers.* Popularity is obviously not a zero sum game. In fact, it sometimes seems that intensity of hatred is directly proportionate to intensity of popularity. If we were to plot it on a graph, it would resemble a parabola: the peaks are on the extremes, with a deep trough in the middle of the spectrum (which represents the feeling of indifference towards Meltzer's work). It's probably safe to say Meltzer would prefer this scenario to the inverse, where indifference dominates.
Of course, the parabola isn't the only possible representation. Let's assume that the x-axis runs from intense like to intense dislike. Chuck Austen's popularity would clearly be represented by a slowly rising line with a massive spike at the end (not the best illustration, but it's close). Grant Morrison would probably be more like a sine wave--rising towards mild like, peaking at indifference, bottoming out at mild dislike, and reaching another peak at strong dislike (this is the best representation I could find).
I'm sure there's some sort of pseudo-mathematical formula that I could derive to make some case about the relation between sales and apparent favoribility based on internet discussion (assuming that the latter could be quantified). Unfortunately, my background is in the humanities, so any mathematical formula I produce would be the equivalent of a four year old child's attempt to make a balloon animal. But still, I think I've got a couple of preliminary conclusions to make:
1. Popular writers spur a lot of heated discussion on the internet. This might seem like a "duh" sort of point, until we start considering those writers whose internet favoribility clearly trends high. Take Gail Simone, for example. Discussion of her on the internet is generally favorable; she seems to lack the vocal critics who hound Bendis, Meltzer, et. al. Yet sales figures indicate that her name is not a selling point for most fans. Peter David, Sean McKeever, Jeff Parker, and countless others seem to follow this same trend.
I think the conclusion we can draw here is less about writers' popularity and more about how internet fans respond to popular writers. I suspect that popular writers get extra flack because their detractors see them as taking sales away from their favorites--in other words, "Why are you buying Superman/Batman when Manhunter is on the verge of cancellation?" This might seem like another "duh" type of moment, but I bet most message board types are not as self-conscious of this phenomenon as you might think.
2. I don't think this formula will apply to artists. I don't read Wizard, so I have no idea who comprises their current 10 Hottest Artists. But I'll pick a few artists who I think are pretty popular: Jim Lee, Alex Ross, Bryan Hitch, and John Romita Jr. None of these artists have the same parabola graph as Meltzer or Bendis, with the possible exception of Ross (and even then, I think the "hate" end would be considerably lower than the "love" end). Lee would probably have a flat line, dipping down somewhat on the "hate" end (like this, but with a milder decline at the end). Hitch would be more like a gradually rising line. Romita would peak at indifference, then decline towards "hate".
So there isn't really as well-defined a pattern, but I think most most artists would peak in the area of indifference then trail off considerably towards "hate." This reflects the general lack of interest in art on the internet, coupled with a fairly widespread fear of critiquing art. I've bemoaned these tendencies at considerable length, so I won't do so again here. In general, it seems that those who do comment on art tend to like it, or else claim a neutral reaction to it. One exception to this rule is for artists who are often late, such as Hitch; my impression is that they receive special criticism (along the lines of "I've been waiting five months for this?"). Lee, however, seems immune to this criticism for whatever reason; there's more of a sentiment of "let him take his time but don't solicit until he's finished." On the other end, artists with a reputation for timeliness (like Romita) seem to get an extra bonus, often expressed as "he's just as good as _______, but his books are never late."
If anyone can think of any useful application for this
*Of course, the relaunch of Justice League and the Big Fucking Mystery You Can't Afford To Miss of Identity Crisis probably have a lot to do with Meltzer's impressive sales figures.
-I can't tell if the first item is funny, or just reflect my own prejudices. Actually, the last two items are pretty good too. Maybe I'm just in sync with Kevin Church today.
This is apparently due to the use of the words dick (can't be helped), porn, shit, zombie (?), death (??), and hell (???). Seems like there should be a "fuck" in there as well. (Via Comics Comics, who got a G--ahahahahaha.)
-Pro wrestling sure is fucked up, isn't it?