Tsk tsk tsk. Artist Hamner sure isn't making a good impression of himself towards the ladies. He says:
Well now. This is definitely not something to which I take kindly. And it's something I intend to address, here and now.
Mr. Hamner, seeing you posting this, I'm wondering, are you aware Mr. Meltzer penned a story in 2004 called Identity Crisis, told from a resolutely male viewpoint, that trivialized rape? Seeing how enthusiastically you tweeted that, I think you are, and it leads me to ask: have you ever wondered what victims of rape and child abuse
might think if they know what the book is like?
Mr. Hamner, sexual abuse is a very serious issue
. You may be familiar with two recent cases involving notable actors/entertainers who've been exposed as major embarrassments lately, Stephen Collins
and Bill Cosby
, both of whom are now experiencing serious repercussions for their past sins. How do you think their victims would feel if they found out a number of artists and writers in comicdom - or any
medium, for that matter - were doing almost the same thing as the media reps who covered for Cosby all these years? Just because comicdom is such an incredibly overlooked medium doesn't mean nobody will sit up and take notice. Someday, it is quite a possibility.
In fact, while we're on the subject, are you parchance familiar with Valerie D'Orazio? Come on, Hamner, I think you know who she is. You probably even met her when she was working as an assistant editor for DC. She later wrote a number of posts on her Occasional Superheroine blog
- some direct, others not - where she admitted that she had a job as a minor editor on Identity Crisis, much to her regret, and she said she felt very uncomfortable working on it. And I don't think she'd be very happy if she knew you were gleefully writing tweets upholding a man who penned what she considers an awful screed. I admire her for having the courage to admit it was embarrassing to be associated with such a sick book. But do you have what it takes to congratulate her too?
While we're on the issue, maybe this is where I should tell you, Mr. Hamner, about something I'd wondered if I should bring up: a conversation my family had several years ago with a neighbor who used to work in a civilian neighborhood patrol unit. He wasn't a policeman per se, but he did know some of their local staff in Jerusalem, and was familiar with some of the cases they worked on. One evening, we were riding in his car, and he told us about a terrible case they had to deal with involving a man who was arrested for raping his sister. It was as disgusting as it sounds. I'm assuming of course, that you feel the same revulsion more sensible people do too.
Thinking back on that, I later wondered what even a victim of incest rape might think if she learned there was a comic book out there in modern times making light of the terrible experience she suffered through?
And, what will other women with more common sense than you're displaying think if they suspect you
uphold Meltzer's screed, Mr. Hamner? Well, let me offer you the view of one lady who's into comics
, Johanna Carlson, and her thoughts on the case involving Identity Crisis, and what goes on:
This would be why I don’t bother reading most corporate superhero comics any more. Not because the property owners are so cynical that they think of strategies like that … but because the fans eat it up, and I don’t particularly want to be associated with them. [...]
You put a bunch of immature men, many of whom were very sick as children or had absent fathers or both, and all of whom escaped into over-muscled power fantasies as a result, in charge of a publishing subgroup with no prestige and little money. Several of them have never worked anywhere else, or if they have, it was at one of the few similar companies in the same industry that behave the same way. They’re still geeks, mentally, with low self-esteem and no success with women, few of whom they actually know in person, but they’re power brokers within their little world, and there are thousands like them who desperately want to be them… and you wonder why it all ends up so twisted?
Did it ever occur to you she could be alluding to people like you, Mr. Hamner? Whether you're a contributor or an audience member, you too, in a manner of speaking, are devouring these horrors with noticeable glee, all the while showing very little concern what survivors of sexual/child/spousal abuse
might think of the industry's dwellers as a whole for turning their backs on their plight, or how it might influence less rational people. That's not what I call responsible public image building.
Oh, and in case it matters, Hamner, yes, I was very angry when I found Glenn Beck hosting Meltzer on his program about 5 years back, never asking him any deep questions about his comic book work. I remember being in my parents' living room when the interview was broadcast; they asked if I wanted to watch, but I had no interest in doing so, and when I told them about what Meltzer had on his list of past products, they felt embarrassed. And Beck has since fallen out of favor with most conservatives after he a]insulted their intellect by suggesting
the only reason they'd want Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate was because he's white, b]manipulated some tapes
in the Shirley Sherrod topic to make the late Andrew Breitbart look stupid, and c]said he saw nothing wrong with voting for Ron Paul
, because he apparently thought his money was more important than innocent people's lives. If that's how he's going to conduct his pseudo-conservatism, then it's no wonder he's lost any audience. And he's not the only "right-winger" I've ever been let down by. There's even Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard, who took a position very much the same as yours
. It finally got to the point where I was so fed up, I wrote the editors a letter to complain, and you know something? Since I've had that letter sitting around and nearly forgot about it for a year, I think I'll post it right here for you to see, Hamner:
Almost every time Jonathan Last brings up a subject like the history of Batman, or any other DC Comics stories for that matter, he seems to have a bizarre obsession with bringing up a very repellent miniseries called Identity Crisis, as seen in his July 24 article ("How to make nerds Rejoice"). And whenever he does, it destroys whatever point he's trying to make. Not everyone may be aware of this, but back in 2004, Identity Crisis was notorious in comics-related circles for bearing a misogynist slant that trivialized rape and had an almost resolutely male chauvinist viewpoint. The most disturbing thing besides the dehumanizing take on women in the book, however, was that the story structure concealed a metaphor for blame-America propaganda of the kind seen following 9-11.
Given how crudely structured Identity Crisis was, almost like a bad fanfiction tale, it's hard to understand why Last has long chosen to embrace the miniseries, even as he's claimed he detests anti-American conspiracy theories (additionally puzzling: I've never seen him actually describing the story in-depth either), and why he's sided with some of the same left-wing journalists who also supported the comic. Speaking as a right-wing "nerd", I've found Last an embarrassment to my belief system. He might want to consider that sooner or later, there are leftists out there who'll exploit his support of the miniseries for claiming there's a right-wing "war on women" the same way Obama waged propaganda on Mitt Romney in the last election.
[July 24, 2013]
I emailed this letter the very day - and certainly the very week - Last's article was published. And I didn't just merely tell them the book's misogynistic. I cut straight to the bone, making at least a few notes with far more depth. I don't know if it was ever printed, nor do I know if it had any impact. But since then, I have not seen Last writing any comics-related articles for major papers and magazines for over a year. In fact, the last one he wrote for a website other than his own was a movie-based item for a site called Acculturated. Anything he's written about comics since, has been largely confined to his own personal site. If my letter did have effect, my guess is the editors did some research and/or asked Last millions of questions about the book, causing him considerable embarrassment, and this finally got him to shut up. If he got into hot water with the editors over this, and they decided to stop printing comics-based articles by him, I'll shed no tears. If I were the EIC, I'd feel he betrayed me with an approach that's intellectually dishonest, and lied by omission.
So you see, Hamner, you can't say I'm "willfully blind" if I had the guts to fight back against a "conservative" who made himself look as bad as any leftists who gushed
over Identity Crisis, which presumably includes you. If Ronald Reagan did something so dishonest, I'd speak against him too. And if I have the chance, yes, I'll write to some liberal papers too when I find them misrepresenting the medium. It's not partisan politics that's driving me. It's altruism.
What's that, Mr. Hamner, you're disappointed
I took Last to task over this topic? Aww, gee, what a shame. So you're sad I went against somebody for promoting a book by your favorite author, his cowardly omissions of precise details notwithstanding? Oh well, I don't endeavor to please people who turn their backs on victims of sex abuse
, so in contrast to you, I'm not let down by your sad feelings. What a shame you have to be this way, Hamner, because I thought your debut art on Green Lantern: Mosaic was pretty good, though since then, there's little else in your portfolio I care about.
And think about this: I'm sure even you know there's women out there who'd feel serious distaste if they thought you were going out of your way to excuse an author who pens a crude fanfiction, ditto an editor who answers no hard questions, mainly because no leading press sources - specialty or mainstream - will challenge them with any. What if one day, you were sitting at a desk at a convention like the SDCC, and a fangirl or lady reporter came up and asked you, "Mr. Hamner, why do you support Brad Meltzer? His Identity Crisis miniseries was perverted. Doesn't it bother you he and Dan DiDio published something potentially offensive to women?"
I think even you have to admit such a scenario could one day be plausible, because Bill Willingham, an occasional artist himself (on the Elementals) and another conservative with a questionable reputation, had an encounter almost like that a few years back (based on his treatment of Spoiler), and if you had a meeting like that with a lady, it could make for a very depressing, embarrassing day. It may not have happened today, but that doesn't mean it couldn't tomorrow. Would you honestly want a meeting based on such frustrating issues to happen?
Now if you really don't condone the vision of Identity Crisis, Mr. Hamner, maybe that's why it's time for you to do some soul-searching an ask people you know if you're doing the right thing to uphold a novelist who wrote such crude, nasty balderdash under the confidence no mainstream press outlets would ever offer a challenging query about its structure, and distance yourself from Meltzer. But, I've got a sad feeling you won't. Too bad, because as a representative of the medium, you do have a chance to mend fences and prove insiders can learn from their mistakes. But who knows? Maybe you'll be willing to show an ability to learn from your errors after all. So far, the signs are anything but.
Labels: dc comics, dreadful artists, misogyny and racism, moonbat writers, politics, violence