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Sunday, April 05, 2015 

More on the Chris Sims scandal

Coming late, but, I'm going to add more about Comics Alliance's embarrassment of a columnist, Chris Sims. He's taken leave of absence from writing for his own site and theirs. Unfortunately, Valerie D'Orazio's quitting official Twitter presence because the trolls Sims influenced have been antagonizing her again.

I think the best I can say about this is: well Mr. Sims, I hope you're proud of yourself, spending nearly a decade building a whole army of cyber-golems, and dumbing down commentary on history by railing at fictional characters like Terry Long, yet never making a convincing critique of anybody's writing skills. And if you keep that up, it'll only explain further why I'm skeptical you're sorry for all the trouble you caused.

And there are other people besides me who aren't convinced Sims is repentant, whose tweets I will decidedly add here:

And the following tweet gives an important reminder why:

The guy's got a point. Sims' colleagues only made things worse by scapegoating Gamergaters(!), and trying to pass this all off as just some "conspiracy" when Sims himself stirred up the very thing with his own agitation back in 2006. D'Orazio herself said poetic justice finally came around, effectively refuting CA's lethargic defenses, which do nothing to improve their otherwise dishonest image. Here's more:

Exactly. If Sims was really filled with regret, he would've apologized long ago. He could've thought for himself to apologize long ago if he wanted to.

A job he doesn't deserve, and neither does Dan Slott, who hasn't taken the same amount of criticism by contrast, because he's already too well established. That's why we're unlikely to see his press apologists turning on him soon.

I fully agree. Now, everything's come back to bite this dumbing-down specialist in the butt.

We must also ask why DC would hire any of the same, because if you know where to look, there are harassers working for DC out there too. And nobody should have to put money in their pockets either.

The biggest irony in this whole affair can be summed up by a statement posted at Hooded Utilitarian:
I find it disturbing that even in this moment of reckoning, the full backstory of why Sims targeted D’Orazio has gone unmentioned.

In 2006 D’Orazio caused a stir with a 12 part rant titled Goodbye to Comics: a blistering critique of misogyny by an industry insider. It includes a takedown of DC’s Identity Crisis, which many consider peak Women In Refrigerators, which is significant as she was the assistant editor on the book.

For the unfamiliar, Identity Crisis centers on the murder of Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated Man. The bronze age couple were known for being depicted as consistently loving, supportive and lighthearted. In issue 1 Sue Dibny was graphically burned alive. In issue 2 she was explicitly, brutally raped. Her murderer turned out to be the Atom’s ex-wife, literally a crazy bitch. The whole series was full of overwrought pain and suffering and a weird takes on female characters. It was inspired by Watchmen and the Killing Joke (even Moore admits Joke had flaws) but either missed the deconstruction of Moore’s work or discarded it for pure shock value.

Many hated it when it came out, but in 2004 it was easier for fans to handwave or rationalize the content. Some praise is disturbing in hindsight
(including Joss Whedon who later hired [Brad Meltzer] to write the Buffy comic with equally creepy results). [...]

What’s ironic that that Sims has more recently said Identity Crisis is the comic that ruined comics – and his critique sounds a hell of a lot like D’Orazio. To echo the words of the person you tormented yet not apologize until called out is a bit more troubling than I think he realizes.
An argument could be made that, if he joins up with a company that's had its own share of sexism abound, he never really disliked IC to start with. And there's always a chance Sims could've been hired by DC too, and fully accepted the offer without reservations, which would only confirm why his negative take on IC is unconvincing.

His career in writing may have sputtered before it even began, which'll prove he's not so "invincible" as he liked to call his own enterprise. It's a shame, however, that there's more writers and artists out there with more established careers who'll never face the same justice simply because they're in good company with editors and publishers whose taste is equally bad (Noah Berlatsky, who published the above item, is also unlikely to turn against people like Slott). Sims should decidedly not bother to resume, not just because of his poor etiquette, but also because his writing's not intelligent enough to cover history or even newer products logically. And if D'Orazio cancelled her Twitter page, maybe he should consider doing the same to show he's sorry for what happened to her.

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Twitter and similar sites are like harmful drugs: you know its bad on some level, but you can't help but wanting more of it.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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