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Tuesday, April 03, 2018 

One scribe goes overboard slandering Ethan van Sciver, and one "journalist" bores the senses with more anti-Comicsgate rhetoric

Comics writer Alex deCampi, along with a co-writer in the Hollywood Reporter, viciously attacked artist van Sciver while discussing Steve Spielberg's newest movie, Ready Player One:
In a time where the online environment for so many people is one of harassment and viciousness — where Parkland kids are being victim-blamed by gun supporters, and artists on DC comic books, like Ethan van Sciver, pursue racist harassment campaigns on Twitter against black critics — the online world of Ready Player One with its golly-gee, lend-a-hand attitude seems outdated, like Second Life. Plus, as anyone who’s spent time in them discovers, nerd subcultures can be some of the most toxic places in existence. Ready Player One is the sort of book beloved by the mainstays of these toxic subcultures, the self-appointed gatekeepers who thrill to punish people unable to keep up with the book’s diarrhea of nerd-culture name-drops. Yet the only bad person in all of the OASIS is Nolan Sorrento.
Sigh. She's parroting the whole frame-up Darryl Ayo pulled, and I'm sure she knows 10 years ago it was all a phony twist-around smear. It goes without saying she's run the gauntlet of defamation, and there could be room for a lawsuit here. More grevious errors include her distortion about Parkland. The gun supporters were criticizing anybody who was exploiting a horrible tragedy as an excuse to promote gun control, without an iota of consideration for how it's people who kill other people, not just merely guns. Why doesn't deCampi just be honest and open for a change and admit the real reasons why leftists like her want gun control legislation? And before calling nerd cultures toxic, she should take a look at her own defamatory tactics. Besides, according to this review, the film is a perfectly dreadful exercise in toxic metrosexuality. Spielberg's been going downhill since the early 2000s as he became more politically motivated in his work.

At least articles like these could confirm what I'd guessed - Ready Player One must be a metaphor for the Gamergate campaign. If deCampi's going to be so cheap and not take issue with figures like Dan DiDio and Joe Quesada - from which many more valid arguments could be made - then she's not solving any of the problems she hasn't even addressed clearly to start with.

Next we have J. Jonah Jameson wannabe Asher Elbein, who once wrote a few articles for the Atlantic (but may not be doing it any longer, after he went overboard with his anti-van Sciver routines) now writing yet another dreary hit piece about Comicsgate for none other than the Daily Beast, not exactly known for being a reputable source for news themselves, even tied it all into Trump's election:
As with Gamergate, says Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Arts Museum in San Francisco, much of the discussion around comics takes place in the tangled online ecosystems of social media, message boards, and blogs, where trolls increasingly ran rampant. Some of these spaces flared up during Gamergate, but never quite evolved into their own movement. But with Trump’s election and the resulting surge in alt-right and conservative boldness, Farago says, things changed. “More and more, my impression is that [Comicsgate] is made up of people who were into the Gamergate thing,” Farago said, “and when that ran out of steam they noticed that they hadn’t made comics miserable for enough people yet.”
So we're the ones making comics miserable, and not the SJWs, which include none other than Joe Quesada and Dan DiDio? It's just like these propagandists to absolve them of all the harm they were causing. Why, what was the whole point of abandoning the Comics Code Authority if Quesada had no intention of abandoning censorship? Recalling he had depictions of smoking banned altogether (and one of the few writers allowed freedom for this was Brian Bendis. Why does he get privileges most others don't?)
One of the faces of that change is Richard C. Meyer, the owner of a YouTube channel (ironically) titled Diversity & Comics. Meyer has spent much of his past outside the comics industry: He served in the U.S Army from 2000 to 2012 in Iraq and Afghanistan, and subsequently worked in IT, including at PayPal. His published work tends to have a military focus: In 2009 he published a black and white comic from overseas: No Enemy, But Peace, inspired by a fellow soldier in Iraq. In 2013 he wrote a comic commemorating the Korean War. He maintained a childhood interest in superheroes as well.

While working in the Bay Area, Meyer told The Daily Beast, he began noticing posters of Captain Marvel in the windows of comics retailers. He was annoyed by what he considered the “masculinization” of the character, and by the way he felt Marvel was pushing what he considered an unsuccessful book. “I started noticing a lot more weird stuff,” he said. “Feminization of men, masculinization of women, basically, all the classic heterosexual pairings being destroyed... you realize this is a trend, and you start wondering why they’re doing it. Why is Luke Cage, the quintessential blaxploitation tough guy, why is he pushing a baby carriage and he’s the wimpiest, most soft-spoken—this is not done on accident.”
Personally, I'm wondering why today's comicdom - and moviedom - thinks Luke has to be drawn bald with a beard and even wearing a hoodie; IMO, that's one of the worst modern stereotypes they could conceive, no thanks to Brian Bendis, who, IIRC, started it all. Even his creation of Riri Williams had a stereotypical feature - an Afro haircut that not every black woman you meet sports, past or present. Luke's original character design was decidedly better, and didn't degrade him for the sake of trendiness.

So I guess the DB and Elbein sees nothing wrong with turning men and women inside out? Then that's very sad, and...disrespectful of women.
In April of 2017, David Gabriel, Marvel’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, told an interviewer at a retailer summit that part of the reason for the company’s sales slump was “people were turning their nose up against” female or non-core Marvel characters. Gabriel rapidly walked the quote back, and subsequent reporting by industry outlet CBR showed that minority-led books weren’t doing significantly worse than those starring white male characters. But reactionary elements in fandom reacted with glee.
No, we feel sad. Sad that black and white characters alike were subject to terrible political correctness to please an audience that wasn't there. That Carol Danvers was forced out of her role as Ms. Marvel, and not just so a Muslim character could be put there in her stead, and to take over the role of Mar-Vell of the Kree, but also so succeeding artists could start destroying her even more, making her look masculine (even Kitty Pryde was subject to that of recent in X-Men). Sad that Jane Foster was forced into the role of Thor for the sake of publicity stunts, and now she's been killed off, thrown under the bus by the SJWs who were championing this whole notion in the first place. And did Sam Wilson really have to be taken out of his role as Falcon to be turned into Captain America, in stories with venomous anti-conservative bents? Obviously, none of this matters to young master Elbein, whose article seems to be a lot more about Meyer than anybody else. So I'll take a look next at what he says of the Aubrey Sitterson scandal:
More organized campaigns occasionally rise out of this amorphous stew of trolling. In September 2017, Meyer targeted Aubrey Sitterson, an openly leftist writer on IDW’s licensed G.I. JOE comics. Sitterson had previously drawn ire from fans for his cartoon-influenced approach to the franchise. The announcement that the character of Salvo—previously depicted as a white man with a big gun—would be reimagined as a Samoan woman added fuel to the anger of vocal right-wing fans.

But what really got Sitterson in trouble was a tweet on Sept. 11 that took aim at what he perceived as performative grief.

Meyer had his opening; he and other right-wing fans went on the offensive, complaining to IDW and Hasbro that Sitterson was disrespecting an American tragedy and demanding that he be taken off the book. Relatively well-known figures like journalist Kurt Eichenwald got involved as well, tweeting at Sitterson that he was a “scummy excuse 4 a human.”

The blowup came at an awkward time for IDW, which had recently relaunched G.I. Joe as a new series, Scarlett’s Strike Force, also written by Sitterson. Initially, the company stood by him. On Sept. 13, however, they released a statement distancing themselves from Sitterson, whom they left unnamed. The publisher essentially buried the book and canceled it, citing low sales‍. (Sitterson declined to comment to The Daily Beast, citing a desire to put the whole thing behind him. IDW did not respond to requests for comment.)
Predictably, he'd rather dumb it all down to a case of "right-wingers" taking offense, and not acknowledge that the primary offense was taken by fans of the GI Joe franchise. And, he's deliberately obscuring that a lot of the fans served in the military to boot (as I may have mentioned at least once before, I'd also once done army service in the IDF when I was 19). And I take it he sees nothing wrong with Sitterson offending many Americans shocked at the murder of innocent people by jihadist infiltrators by claiming they weren't allowed to grieve because they weren't at the site that day? Sick. It should be noted many members of 9-11 Families for a Safe & Strong America weren't all in New York either when their relatives were murdered, so where do Sitterson and Elbein get off with their repugnant blabbering?
What looks like a shrinking readership for superheroes is partially an illusion created by the breakup of a monoculture. As comics creator Scott McCloud commented on Twitter, “Saying ‘comics are bad now’ when all you’ve ever read is superheroes is like saying ‘movies are bad now’ while standing in a demolished Blockbuster Video.”
It's not just superhero comics. Even adaptations of licensed merchandise like Jem & the Holograms have been corrupted for the sake of homosexual agendas and other social justice mentality. Maybe the argument should be that corporate-owned adventure comics have been corrupted, but if it really matters, how about we say superhero comics have become very bad, and could get worse now that Brian Bendis is mainly in charge of the Superman titles? If McCloud thinks the audience should be more specific, he should say so.
Beyond its role in helping Meyer occasionally produce a comic book, the broader question of Comicsgate’s impact on the industry itself is more difficult to parse. It’s certainly true that IDW set a bad precedent by distancing itself from Sitterson, an event that went largely unaddressed outside of the comics press and Twittersphere. What followed suggested that corporate attempts to appease a harassment campaign at a freelancer’s expense usually have the opposite effect: It only gives them further ammunition and encouragement, and makes them hungrier for new targets.
Well, I guess this sums up where Elbein stands; he apparently believes Sitterson's comments weren't offensive, let alone a PR disaster. Of course, if a right-leaning writer made offensive statements, Elbein would say a dismissal was entirely justified, if he even commented at all. In any case, what if the reason Sitterson's case wasn't addressed much outside the comics press was because the wider public would figure it out, and apologia would backfire? It's a reasonable guess.
Meyer’s main achievement seems to be making life miserable for the trans creators and other marginalized figures who bear the brunt of the harrassment. “During the worst times, it was some of the nastiest sexist and/or transphobic remarks you could think of, harassment sent to my editors and publishers in an attempt to get me fired or blacklisted, trying to dig up personal info about me,” said Sophie Campbell, artist of Glory and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
We're also concerned about leftist ideologues like Dan Slott and Nick Spencer, who don't identify as what Ross Campbell now does, but sure do enjoy pushing all sorts of tasteless agendas into their work. But hey, if transsexual creators like him, Brian/Mags Visaggio and Michelle Perez are serving any kind of problem, it would be that they tend to lean towards a victim culture status. In their twisted viewpoint, if it's written or illustrated by somebody identifying as transgender, it's above all criticism, and dissenters are automatically homophobes. That was Sitterson's reasoning when he argued with GI Joe fans last year, and look where it got him, shunned by the audience for acting like there's no such thing as poor artwork to boot. It's tiring how there's this bunch anywhere in showbiz who're demanding privileges based on being of a certain status considered acceptable by modern leftism. As if that's not enough, Elbein even tries to separate the success of smaller publishers from the Comicsgate movement by giving no credit, and acting like the forced replacements of established white characters never happened:
Ironically, all of this is happening as comics culture is flowering. While Marvel’s sales have been shaky, DC has been on the upswing, garnering fan excitement and mainstream attention with curated comics labels, including two aimed at children and young adults. But superheroes are only one part of a much larger industry. Raina Telgemeier’s YA graphic novels are perennials on bestseller lists; the small press and webcomics scene is a hotbed of experimentation and diverse, bold storytelling voices, in genres from romance to action adventure, much of it without a cape in sight.

Comics creators (including Meyer himself) are figuring out new forms of marketing and crowdfunding to produce books that the direct market wouldn’t be able to support. The digital revolution has made comics accessible to a wider audience than ever. Then there’s the ongoing juggernaut of Marvel Studios, whose Black Panther is now the highest-grossing superhero film in U.S. history. Appealing to wider audiences and diverse demographics sells, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Yawn. T'Challa is his own agency. So are Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Black Lightning and Vixen. The reason independent products are accepted as they are is because those are the creators' own properties, and nobody's forcing them to change into something they weren't originally intended as. When you deliberately take established corporate superheroes like Firestorm, Atom and Blue Beetle and replace them in their costumes with a black/Asian/Latino protagonist as happened in the mid-2000s (even Manhunter and the Question were replaced by a female lead at the time), and worse, kill the prior characters and/or make them look terrible, that's an especially bad way to pander to an agenda. So too was taking Alan Scott and turning him homosexual during the New 52 debacle. DC began the whole approach, and Marvel began imitating it several years after, so it's not entirely new, but it certainly is degrading, and resulted in turn with an Asian Hulk, a homosexual Iceman, and replacing Steve Rogers with Sam Wilson/Falcon as Captain America. You could even say it was part of a mindset that cares more about the costume than the character, and nobody wanted that. Yet there's many signs Marvel/DC have no intention of learning their lessons - if Mary Jane Watson's not restored to being Spider-Man's wife, that's just another example of what went wrong.
“It’s them seeing types of people they don’t like being successful, seeing superhero comics catering to other demographics and types of readers that aren’t them, and they’re throwing a tantrum,” Campbell said. “We just need to stick together and keep doing comics.”
So says somebody who claims victim status, and obviously ignores Perez's own tantrums. Keep doing comics, by all means, but stick together on the independent scene, and don't force your ideologies on famous superhero comics. Though I will say if they'd thought of developing co-stars to their liking in superhero books, at least then they wouldn't be accused of abusing the superheroes proper for the sake of their oh-so precious agendas. Instead, they went miles out of their way to transform as many superheroes as possible out a notion that all POC and LGBT characters introduced to a superhero series must take the roles of superheroes themselves, and it's not enough for them to be co-stars. Such a trick never works.

In the end, this is another incredibly boring smear piece (and the author had to make amendments/clarifications), just the latest of its sort in a leftist agenda that's been going on for over 4 years. But the possible difference is that, because it's coming more after Gamergate, so it hasn't given rise to the same kind of biased media coverage the prior campaign did, and one can figure the wider media has such a low opinion of comicdom anyway, it's one more reason why so far, there's been so little. And who knows? Maybe it's for the best, because they'll only make themselves look foolish in the end.

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It is interesting to see how Willow Wilson expressed some of the same views much earlier, and good to know that you can agree on some things with her. As she wrote on her blog, at

http://gwillowwilson.com/page/2

"1. This is a personal opinion, but IMO launching a legacy character by killing off or humiliating the original character sets the legacy character up for failure. Who wants a legacy if the legacy is shitty?"

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. People with guns kill people faster, more efficiently and in greater numbers. Guns make mass killings feasible.

What to do about it?

The Israeli solution is to heavily regulate gun ownership, restricting them to military use as much as possible.

if not that, what?

Scott Mcloud is a moron.
He dismisses the proposition that comics, as a product is doing poorly and insists that it is ONLY superhero comics that aren't do well.
The reality of the situation is that ALL comics aren't doing well. Why else would there be indie/artsy minded people and social justice advocates at Marvel and DC if non-corporate-superhero comics were doing so well that they could offer decent wages to creators?

Some comics are doing really well - Art Spiegleman's Maus, Miriam Satrapi's Persepolis, anything by Joann Sfar, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, have been best sellers that go way beyond the world of American comics shops. There are a number of lesser known creators, like Spike Trotman, who are doing well as small press publishers. Books like Saga, by Vaughn and Staples, are regular sellers in trade book form each month. Comics as a medium are getting a larger audience; superheros are having problems.

The question should be, why would a writer like Margaret Atwood be writing comics for Dark Horse unless there was a lot of money to be made in it? Yes, she is a conscientious writer who cares about her work for its own sake, but she is also a professional novelist, and the fact that she is willing to write comics when there is so much demand for her writing in other media suggests that the indie comic market is doing well.

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