Every now and then I come across people who really resist the sort of work I'm doing. They dislike the idea of academic investigation of "comics," as if it somehow degrades the value of the works that are produced.
I'm also confused at the general meme that claims academics are so enveloped in their work that they have "lost touch with the real world." I've often found that people in academia are more in touch with the issues going on in the world (or at least try to be), and often are committed to making it a better place, not holing up and ignoring everyone in their study in their non-existant "Ivory Tower."
What I find even more amazing is the vitriol that some people enamoured with McCloud's work sometimes have against mine. I've heard that I'm "overanalyzing" or "missing the obvious" etc. The funny thing is that McCloud's work was accused of exactly the same thing when it came out. Many people did (and still do) hate it for trying to open a dialogue about this stuff. Now McCloud's work has such a dogmatic following that people have once again closed off their minds to that "debate" that he so willingly opened to everyone.
At this point, I've spent as many years out of academia doing this work as I have in it. And, I'll say that doing it within academia sure beats out, because of the availability of resources to use, people to discuss with, time you can allot to the work, etc. It's great to be on the outside changing the system, but sometimes being on the inside is a good thing. (and sometimes you'll always be on the outside, no matter how inside you are).
It baffles me, what sort of rational thinker would believe that any type of scientific or scholarly investigation is a bad thing?
It is the nature of discovery and exploration that help define being human... Even exploration into the cognition of the "comic" medium.