CBR's Corey Blake thinks he knows what's best for our children and families
I’m generally not a big fan of boycotts or petitions calling for the removal of the work of a creator who’s failed to live up to my ideals. For many creators — particularly comic book creators — the profit margin is very slim. Rallying people to try to curtail or outright eliminate their source of income as well as that of others who work with them seems harsh. I may choose not to buy a comic or book, but actively conspiring to either prevent its release or to seriously damage its success is very aggressive.Keep going, keep going. It's always the "let's smear those dumb conservatives as fascists" route, and claiming they only care about money, isn't it? But the only dumb move made here is Blake's claiming that Card resigned his position on NOM, and linking to a NYT article that says nothing of the sort. Blake might not know it, but despite what some people might think, Card has actually been a Democrat for many years, not much different from most other writers in showbiz. But, times have changed, and many liberals who support the kind of ludicrous causes Blake does have since taken to ostracizing those who don't toe their line.
Having said that, every rule (or in this case, preference) has its exception: I signed the petition asking DC Comics to reconsider its hiring of Orson Scott Card for the debut story of the Adventures of Superman digital comic. That wasn’t something I did lightly: Card is on record for staunchly opposing marriage equality, and has been a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, whose sole purpose is to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. He can have those opinions, but for me the breaking point was Card’s money trail leading back to an organization dedicated to eliminating the rights of my friends.
Blake doesn't stop at Card, though. He even goes on to drag Chuck Dixon into this, somebody who is a conservative:
The closest instance I’ve had with a comparable situation was Chuck Dixon publicly stating more than a decade ago that he didn’t want gay characters appearing in superhero comics. That was a big disappointment, as I had enjoyed a number of his comics, but I wholeheartedly disagree with his opinion. In that instance, though, it was merely a stated opinion. As a creator he obviously has some say over whether a gay character will be in his stories, but that doesn’t prohibit them from appearing in comics by other writers and artists. In the end, it’s his belief, and he has every right to express it.What a pity he's delegitimizing any valid concerns Dixon could have, without even at least acknowledging in his own words why Dixon didn't think it was suitable: he doesn't think it's something children should have forced down their throats. I will say that Dixon's argument may have a flaw, and that maybe a better argument would have been that homosexuality shouldn't be presented in comics or movies as a positive example for children. Not that Blake would've been convinced, and he'd probably turn even nastier against Dixon for daring to utter such an argument.
But I admit, my enthusiasm for buying and reading his work has diminished. And I’m torn about that. I believe the work should stand on its own, and that enjoying it doesn’t mean I’m tacitly endorsing opinions I don’t agree with that don’t even appear in the story. It’s as silly as thinking that by reading an Eric Shanower story, I’m tacitly endorsing wearing fancy suits at comic conventions. My brain knows it’s silly, but my heart won’t let it go.
That told, since he's bringing the issue of enthusiasm, it got me thinking: I obviously don't know the personal opinions of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, among other famous figures long deceased, but, what if they held similar opinions to Dixon's and Card's, whether out of religious convictions and regardless of whether they were liberal or conservative? Would Blake's enthusiasm for reading the Man of Steel be diminished? I'm pretty sure even he realizes it's possible for Siegel and Shuster to have held similar views in their time, and just because they're long gone doesn't mean it no longer matters. My guess is he'd remain silent because unlike Card, Siegel and Shuster's reputation is much more well established and Superman long a famous creation, and Blake represents a much different medium than novels, so presumably, he'd make an odd exception simply because his fandom for Superman just can't be soured by these kind of subjects. So it's probably not ideology that's driving his hostility to Card, but rather, the fact that Blake writes about comics and not novels, and considers novelists less important. But if Superman were created today, and Siegel and Shuster held opinions he didn't agree with, it's pretty apparent that they'd never even be allowed to pitch their ideas to publishers, and even Blake would surely have turned against them openly.
The worst thing about Blake's attack on Dixon is that he's not willing to acknowledge the latter has a point somewhere; homosexuality isn't something a sane person wants children to be taught as a role model, regardless of whether they're reading comics today or not. This is just why comics, like various other pop culture products, have lost a lot of audience, because they've been increasingly forcing these subjects down everyone's throats, children and adults alike, and it's telling when you're not allowed to depict homosexuality negatively, yet at the same time not allowed to depict Judeo-Christian values positively, as is becoming the norm in showbiz today, with Islam being one religion that gets a free pass. That seems to be the telling problem with leftists like Blake; they flatly refuse to address parental concerns about what's suitable for their children or how it should all be depicted. It only compounds the perception they're not sorry they lost so much of the children and family audience.