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Monday, December 01, 2014 

Gerry Conway and the Cosby scandal

Conway is one of the very few comics writers I've seen address the Bill Cosby rape scandal:

Interesting that he cares, since few others like him seem to have an interest in this, or even the Stephen Collins scandal that cropped up a few months ago. Since we're on the issue, I may as well add my thoughts. Finding out that a man once seen as an inspiration to many committed some terrible deeds against more than a dozen women over the span of nearly 5 decades was devastating, because I'd once been a Cosby fan, and have faint memories of watching his performances in TV programs like the Electric Company, where he was a leading contributor for 2 of its 6 years on PBS, on the Fat Albert cartoon, and on the Cosby Show. Now, after many years, we make the unpleasant discovery he may have done something that effectively tarnishes hundreds of episodes from past TV series he appeared in. If even half the allegations made against him are correct, he not only destroyed the lives of several women, he also embarrassed the performers he worked with in the past. Several years ago, I once saw a small restaurant using a Fat Albert picture on its banner. Today, even that creation's been dealt some damage, mainly because Cosby didn't just do the voice for the hero: he also appeared in live action cutscenes in the same series during its 1972-85 run.

Even before Hannibal Buress brought this up and led to major attention for the topic, Cosby was already giving alarming signs something was wrong: over a year ago, he acted as an apologist for Islam, and even for Obama. That sure doesn't inspire confidence he's in the right frame of mind, or that he knew the trade he was plying years before.

Yet Conway's a lone voice among left-wing comics creators who had anything to say about this. If any others said something, it was very muted, if they had anything to say at all. I think there's 2 possible reasons why. One, Cosby may be a Democrat, despite his past would-be opinions suggesting the contrary, and two, any comics contributors who signaled support for Brad Meltzer despite having Identity Crisis in his portfolio (plus Brian Bendis with Avengers: Disassembled in his) clearly aren't qualified to comment, and they probably know it. Those could be possible reasons why, until now, they haven't said anything significant about Cosby's case, nor about Collins, who ruined at least a couple lives and sent 242 episodes of everyone else's hard work on 7th Heaven down the drain. But if those two actors were Republicans, there's a much higher chance the Marzs, Zirchers, Hamners, Waids, VanLentes, Paks and Busieks would be willing to blast them, even as they continue to let writers who trivialize serious issues in comics off the hook.

Maybe the saddest thought of all in this whole Collins & Cosby affair is the realization that one day, we'll be hearing of similar scandals in the comics medium, (and just two years ago, there was at least one case vaguely similar). When that happens, it'll be a dark day indeed.

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I can just imagine the turmoil Conway must be going through. Who to believe -- a woman, or a black guy? Whatever side he comes down on, he loses. At least with his fellow "progressives."

There ought to be a handbook on how to navigate the PC hierarchy ...

Admittedly whenever I see scandals like this popup, its one of three outcomes: a tabloid/manager/reporter trying to drum up interest in its current subject, somebody out to make a quick buck against a famous or somewhat famous person's health/reputation/financial status/etc., or it's real, to a degree of truth.

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