Here We Go Again: Comicsgate

superman

A public service announcement published in a DC comic book in the early 1960s

I’ve heard of this thing called Comicsgate, and after doing a bit of reading, discovered it’s pretty much the same sort of critter that launched the efforts of the Sad Puppies a few years back.

Allegation: The mainstream comic book industry (DC, Marvel) is overrun by Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) forcing their very narrow agenda down the throats of all comic book readers, no matter how totally unrealistic it is, so we independent comic book creators will fight back by creating more classic heroes of our own.

You can find out more about this perspective by following Jon Del Arroz’s twitter feed, particularly THIS and THAT.

Counter-allegation: Conservative, white, racist trolls want to destroy all participation of strong women heroes, people of color, LGBTQ+ writers, artists, and characters, and all other marginalized and vulnerable populations in comic books so comics are totally owned by white people, and we have to stop them.

You can read about Bill Sienkiewicz rebuttal at “The Mary Sue” (a fairly biased publication) as well as on his twitter feed HERE.

Well, at least The Mary Sue didn’t use the word “Nazi,” so they have that going for them.

This is exactly the same dynamic as the one I chronicled in The Sad Puppies vs. the Hugo Awards OR Being in the Crossfire in the Fight for Significance.

The assumption from the “mainstream” comic book industry creators is that the comicsgate folks want to eliminate all minority voices in said-industry and keep all of the authors, artists, and characters lily white.

I don’t know if some of the alternative authors and artists are like that, but like the whole Sad Puppies/Hugos thing, I strongly suspect that many of those crying #comicsgate simply want to make sure that everyone is involved, and that comic books don’t become the sole property of those calling out for “social justice.”

Again, both sides of the aisle are feeling the threat of insignificance in a certain market, so both sides go into competition against each other, complete with name calling and virtue signaling.

I started with Jon del Arroz’s critic @ladybugwarror, but discovered she’d deleted her tweet critical of Jon. I was too late to take a screenshot of her original F-word laden comments.

comicsgate

Screenshot from twitter

I clicked on the link for @ladybugwarrior, and at first it looked like she’d deleted her account. On a hunch, I searched for her twitter handle and found her twitter page (in one of her tweets, she mentioned an upcoming 20th birthday, which makes her 10 years younger than my youngest child).

comicsgate

Screenshot from twitter

Okay, that seems pretty much benign, but scrolling down, I found this. Here’s the link.

comicsgate

Screenshot from twitter

As you can see, Miranda had retweeted someone named Jeff Lemire, who is a Canadian artist and still using Blogger. Oh, click the link to find out more about his thoughts on comicsgate.

I took a look at Jeff’s twitter conversation on the topic and found this:

comicsgate

Screenshot on twitter

As you can see, there is quite the lively debate going on, and I’d be willing to bet money that one side doesn’t have a clue about the other side. The SJWs think their opponents are bigots, and the Comicsgate folks think (and in the case of Magdalene Visaggio, perhaps rightly so) that the SJWs are a bunch of foul-mouthed leftist fanatics who want to program the next generation to think only like them, as if conservatives don’t raise their children and grandchildren with their values.

Jeff Lemire believes that non-white comic book creators have been traditionally harassed and what’s  happening now is fighting back. I have no idea if that’s true or not. I do know that the tactics being employed to stop their opponents are identical to what Jeff says have been used against them.

I also know that based on something I wrote not long ago, that maybe the Comicsgate people have something important to say (click the link to find out why I think modern comic books and their creators have gone crazy – really, impalement and sodomy of a gay superhero in a mainstream Marvel comic book – really?).

I gave up on comic books in the 1990s and haven’t looked back. However, I still recall the whole (original) Death of Superman story line (which is what brought me back to comics), and how I read all of those comic books to my (then) young children. It was great fun (though, as an aside, I did have to try and explain to my kids why a nude, green skinned girl named “Jade” ended up in Kyle “Green Lantern” Rayner’s shower – I emailed the writer who blew my concerns off by saying they were trying to be realistic and topicial – what, to three elementary school age kids?). And while I am still quite fond of my Silver Age comics, I have no use for what’s going on now. My grandchildren aren’t into them, so I don’t even have that motivation.

But it’s disturbing that a form of entertainment I recall fondly from my youth, as I do science fiction and fantasy, has been turned into a social justice war zone with posturing artists and writers using language and wielding sword-like opinions in a manner I’d never want around my grandkids anyway.

If this is what comic books and the kids who create them have turned into, keep that junk to yourself.

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16 thoughts on “Here We Go Again: Comicsgate

  1. I really hope you get over it. You’ve seemed to have such an attachment to comics that you keep hanging onto a guy as a symbol of your side who calls a pervert normal. If both “sides” are pervs, who needs it? I don’t know enough about sci-fi and so forth to know if there is something to be fanatical about (I doubt it), but I do know I chose to give up things I was raised with because they weren’t what I wanted to teach.

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  2. I gave up on comic books as well, back in the nineties. Then two decades later, I started buying again. I don’t buy any certain ones, but a hodge podge of “books” – cause you never know…

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    • I think there was a tipping point relative to comic books back in the 1990s where they completely stopped being for children, or even for a general population and started talking only to people like the writers and artists, who mainly live in more liberal, urban areas.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Somehow I find all this tiring; and I keep hearing in my head a refrain which is a bit of advice offered by a first-century CE rabbi to the gentile disciples under his tutelage: “Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

    I have to say, I don’t see a whole lot of that going on in these “literary” events that James has been describing for us; and it may be true of the social media in general. I’d prefer not to litter the attic of my mental dwelling with this sort of junk, and I much prefer the mental scenario envisioned in the rabbi’s advice.

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    • It seems surreal that we’re supposed to add — to the already difficult assortment of views that get (unhelpfully) shuffled into “left and right” — the obscure wrangling and plotlines from a genre of fiction writers. {Yet, there is a potential for productive outcome as a lot of people think in terms of things they want rather than things true… and walking through, “talking” them out may clarify and assist in letting various matters go (away from our [or the individual’s] focus of energy, not go in the sense of being acceptable and worthy of ravenous pursuit).}

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  4. I just read a blog post by Jon del Arroz (yes, I know I’ll take heck for mentioning him against called The Anti-ComicsGate Industry Surge Is About Harassing And Scaring People where he states that:

    Yesterday, editor Jennifer de Guzman from DC Comics came after a SMALL PRESS INDIE PUBLISHER (emphasis intentional because this is mind-boggling), attacking him on twitter for NOT DENOUNCING READERS.

    Apparently, all Alterna Comics is guilty of is being a small, apolitical comic book publisher. Unfortunately, Jon didn’t include any links or screenshots of this alleged attack, so short of searching de Guzman’s twitter feed, I have no way of verifying it.
    What I don’t understand is that there have always been comic book publishers besides DC and Marvel and so what if they exist?
    By the way, I posted a comment on Jon’s blog asking for links and/or screenshots.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay, I got the answer about the harassment of Alterna Comics by Jennifer de Guzman and others, but as near as I can figure it, she’s upset because she asked Alterna’s publisher and founder Peter Simeti if he was okay with Comicsgate and I guess he said “yes”.

    Here are the URLs to a few of the many twitter threads on the topic, the first being Peter’s and the second being Ms. de Guzman’s (I didn’t realize the actual content would be rendered rather than just the links themselves:

    Next, because I didn’t feel like editing a bunch of screenshots into one big image, here’s the series (just in case tweets are made to disappear on twitter and some of the above links stop working). This represents only a fraction of material available, mostly attacks against Simeti and Alterna, but there was one person who did admit that Alterna is actually apolitical.

    Okay, here’s the deal (again): The Comicsgate supporters believe that the “social justice warriors” or “SJWs,” which is thought of as a pejorative for progressives, are taking over comic books and publishing only their own highly specific agenda to the exclusion of everyone and everything else (like middle-America and so forth), and so they are calling for the boycott of mainstream comic books in favor of indie publishers who are presumably creating content with a wider appeal (and let’s face it, not all comic book readers are progressive, though I suspect if the Comicsgate people are right, then the so-called SJWs are attempting to sway the younger generation to their viewpoint by using comic books as a indoctrination educational tool).

    The mainstream, progressive comic book creators, on the other hand, see the Comicsgate people as (again) Nazis who are racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, and a bunch of other prefix-phobic people who want to shove all women, people of color, gays, and other vulnerable populations back in their respective closets and to take over the comic book industry, similar to allegations made of conservatives (specifically the now defunct Sad Puppies) relative to WorldCon, the Hugo Awards, and SF/F in general.

    Each side says the other side attacked them and each side says they are the injured and innocent party and that the other side are the vicious attackers. I wonder what would happen if they all just ignored one another? After all, if de Guzman had never tweeted at Simeti, then what would have happened? Nothing.

    Picture time:






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  6. Okay. I give up. Based on the endless commentary on this debate, plus a ridiculous conversation I got in on in a closed Science Fiction group on Facebook stating if the Bible proves the existence of God, then Spider-Man comic books prove the existence of Spider-Man. It’s human nature to “hate the other,” and ALL groups potentially participate in this behavior. There’s no way to win, especially when you are a conservative and religious, and everyone who isn’t equates that with Trump = Nazi = hate. It becomes a popular cause to hate Christians and conservatives (I know I will again be criticized for equating the two…like I said, it’s about “the other”). I’m tired of the schoolyard whining, at least for now.

    Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
    -Ephesians 4:29-32 (NASB)

    It’s what I’ve been trying to do lately with my Rabbi Zelig Pliskin quotes. Or consider this:

    Anger is never about the infractions of another, but rather the perceived injustice to oneself.” -Anonymous

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your report of a conversation in which the Bible was compared with Spiderman comic books would seem to indicate that at least one scifi fan has a problem distinguishing between fantasy literature and the ontology of real history, and probably suffers also an ignorance of philosophic cosmological teleology or the consequences that arise ultimately from various theories of being. But perhaps that fan was merely representing the immaturity of adolescence, and may yet learn that there are more actual things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in his or her philosophy.

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      • For some, the quick conclusion is that the Bible cannot be true because I don’t believe in God, so it equals fiction. Not a lot of depth of exploration, and thus a person who holds his beliefs for unexamined reasons.

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  7. I had to recently step away from DC and Marvel comics. I loved them, but after reading so many of the writers and artists tweets i had to drop them. They were just treating anyone that disagreed with them like garbage. I got called a transphobe because I didn’t like a comic. I didn’t even know the writer was transgender.

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    • I’m kind of coming at it from a different angle since I haven’t regularly bought comic books since the late 1990s when my kids were still young, but from what I read on twitter and other sources, the current people in charge of DC and Marvel seem to have lost touch with the majority of people.

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      • Yeah. They’re calling everyone that supports comicsgate racist sexist and insert every other kind of ist and phobic you can come up with. Meanwhile some of the people they’re calling those things are often the very thing they accuse them of hating. It’s just weird.

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