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Thursday, September 06, 2018 

It's utterly offensive leftist industry "pros" are attacking the Breitweisers and Alterna

As the industry's morale continues to collapse, there's even potential harm being done to independent creators in the process. For example, Elizabeth and Mitch Breitweiser pulled out of the Lakes Intl. Art Festival because of safety concerns:

So the convention themselves won't guarantee their safety? Now that's very bad. What makes this particularly chilling is that Richard Pace, the lefty artist now working on the Vertigo line for DC, is justifying this:

I think there's grounds here for the Breitweisers to lodge a complaint with DC about this creep, and if anybody was threatening them, they should by all means contact the police/FBI. It's stunning how hoodlums are aggressing against members of a plummeting medium, all because suddenly, independent creators who dare align with Comicsgate are somehow a "threat". Let's be clear: they are not.

This isn't the only troubling subject that's turned up. Indie publisher Alterna, who've been around about a decade, came under attack by former Comics Alliance writers like Jennifer deGuzman, all because some of their customers support the Comicsgate movement:

With that kind of attitude, no wonder her hostility's backfired already, because Alterna's now gotten plenty more orders and purchases. But the troubles didn't stop there. Now, it seems they've come under attack for issuing social media guidelines, this despite the fact DC already issued some of their own. I guess the reason DC wasn't lambasted for theirs was because they had no intention of enforcing them, as they've proven with several of their contributors already. After all, it's not like the creeps and screwballs doing all this antagonism against smaller publishers have any respect for what DC/Marvel have in their stables either.

To make matters worse, CBR fanned the flames with their own one-sided drivel where they allege a letterer was booted because he violated their policy. They did at least post the following update:
UPDATE: Alterna Comics founder and publisher Peter Simeti has issued a response via Twitter in which he denounced Micah Myers’ allegation that he was removed from one of the publisher’s books for failure to adhere to the company’s social media policy.
If this Myers pulled his own publicity stunt just to virtue-signal, that was wrong, and nobody should hire him anymore for being an irritant. Some of the commentors seem to realize something's gone wrong. For example:
Why didn’t you get comment from Simeti? He just responded on Twitter that this is a lie. The likes and retweets are rising as I write so more and more people are seeing your bad reporting. CBR has truly become garbage tier.
I don't know whether Micah Myers or Peter Simeti are telling the truth about what happened, but I don't trust CBR as a source of accurate information these days. There have been errors in other articles written by Renaldo Matadeen that CBR hasn't corrected even though readers have pointed them out. Most of the mistakes by CBR's contributors have been trivial, but in situations like this that can affect a person's reputation and livelihood it's important that CBR do proper fact-checking.
And then, there's this fascinating note:
I don't recall ever seeing reviews for any of Alterna's titles or even mention of them on here, why all the interest in them all of a sudden? Surely it can't just be over some controversial filter application....
Indeed, there's quite a few smaller publishing houses they've doubtless shunned over peanuts, because only superheroes from the Big Two really matter to them, and any attention they give to smaller publications is selective at most. They also haven't exactly paid attention to the scandals Robbi Rodriguez and Mike McKone caused on Twitter. Here's another article they posted, and in the comments section, I discovered Mark Waid, who's reactivated his Facebook account, playing the role of know-it-all while responding to somebody with a valid argument:
"Block chains fly in the face of all these so called pros saying comics are for everyone. Bc what they apparently mean, is comics are for eveyone unless you part of the wrong think."

Comics ARE for everyone, even "fans" who always refer to transgenders as "men in wigs," accuse professionals in comics of "sucking their way into the industry," and harass women for the crime of toasting a milkshake in honor of a late friend.

Unbridled, unfettered, 24/7 ACCESS to the people BEHIND the comics, however, is *not* the absolute, God-given right that a few fanatics are making it out to sound like. It is not included in the purchase price of a comic book.

Whether or not some fans want to accept it, it's still true and obvious to anyone who cares to look: *all* comics professionals (hell, ALL entertainment figures) on social media these days face a constant, unending string of univited personal attacks every single day. On occasion, these attacks are based on some often context-free interpretation of their online conduct, and that sometimes escalates to uncivil behavior on both sides...but the vast, VAST majority of the time, it comes from a small but VERY loud cesspool of "fans" who are so offended by stories they read that they think their outrage gives them the absolute right to seek out creators on social media and attack directly with insults and invective rather than civil criticism. It is constant, it is loud, it is petty and vicious and indefensible. Myself, I get it 24/7, and I don't care--I have big shoulders--but women, creators of color, LGBTQ+ creators...they get harassed way more than us white guys do, not for what they do but for who they are.

I would invite you to consider that most (if not all) pros resort to block chains not to "punish" anyone but because it's literally the only way for them to enjoy a personal social media account without getting shit-talked and personally attacked by trolls and harassers every single time they go online. And that's not just *our* problem, it's your problem, too, because *their behavior* is what's led us to the point of block chains, not some sinister conspiracy between "SJW professionals" who "hate their fans." No one hates their fans.

And that's because vast majority of those fans are capable of compassion and empathy. They're capable of imagining or understanding that this harassment is widespread and that sometimes, if the harassment is loud enough, the creator's only choice is to (a) read vicious, ugly personal comments all day long, every day, and then block accounts one by one, (b) resort to the imperfect solution of a block chain, or (c) (my own choice) largely remove themselves from social media (forbidden by Alterna Comics, btw).

*No one* thinks choice (b) is a great solution, but under certain circumstances and for certain creators, it beats the hell out of the other two. Yes, chains/bots sometimes result in unfair situations where a genuinely civil fan can no longer follow a creator on social media, but that was a privilege to begin with, not a God-given right, and getting blocked is *not a personal attack.*

I'm sure it sucks to feel excluded from a privilege, I'm sure it sucks to get swept up for "doing nothing wrong." But I would invite you to consider that it also sucks to make an effort to entertain people and in turn get told over and over again that you're subhuman because of your race or nationality or who you love.

Online trolling and harassment is rampant. Most fans understand this. Most fans further understand that they're not entitled to our personal attention or our personal time, and when it's given, it's as a courtesy and with the understanding that once someone in the crowd starts throwing bricks, the pro has the absolute right to set limits or to step away for his or her own personal well-being.

If you feel like you would handle online harassment better or differently, if you think you could put up with it where others throw in the towel, that's your call. But I would invite you to consider that if someone's resorted to a block chain, they're doing it because they feel legitimately harassed and often legitimately threatened, not just to piss you off. And I would think--I would hope--that most of our fans would be compassionate enough to accept that the well-being of the female/POC/LGBTQ+ creators in this community--and thus their willingness and ability to keep creating--is more important than who gets to follow who on Twitter right now.
I don't see the point of a guy who sabotaged somebody else's project telling us what to think/believe, and neither did the man he's speaking to:
Mark Waid I thought I was clear previously, that I wasnt interested in you or your opinion. You are one creator who I have no interest in any interaction with. Bit since you felt the need to reply to me, well you asked for it. You also are a part of this lie that all ppl associated with comicsgate are guilty of any harassment done by a few. By that notion, you are just as guilty as the disgusting creator who decided EVS needed to see his anus. See how that works. At the very least a comic creators job is to create. Not drive potential customers away. No one is saying they should have 24-7 access to you. But by using these bots you cut off ppl from ever having any chance to see you promote any future work. All bc you dont like some ppl. Also, you dont speak for the company you work for. Im sure others that have worked on the book would liek to see it succed and be promoted. No one is forcing you to do business with Alterna. Thye are simply saying that if you do, this is what they expect. I guess if it worries you so much you can make a call to the owner and not intimidate him just let him know who hes doign business with. Oh wait, that was something else altogether wasnt it. Back to my point. You and these other creators are free to keep using the blockchains. For my part I will continue to not support any creator who feel the need and right to tell me how evl I am for my thoughts and views on life. Bc really, its not their fucking business. Your job is to make comics and to an extent promote them so that they sell and you get hired to do more of the same. Its a business not a club. Fans dont want or need your virute tests.
Absolutely not, and with the way things are going now, it's clear a lot of people aren't going to buy Waid's future items anymore, no matter the merit. Sometimes I wonder if, beyond the Flash, he had much else to offer. He made at least one more drawn out comment that states:
Alterna Comics can make whatever rules they like. It's their company. But this clause stuck out to me: “You are *required* and encouraged to actively promote your title on social media." (Emphasis mine.)

Something important that I would like young freelancers to be aware of is that while most publishers will certainly encourage you to promote your work on your personal social media accounts, and some will certainly politely ask that you do so, this is the first time I've heard of a publisher *requiring* it.

I would like very much to believe that this is simply poor phrasing on the publisher's part, because this strikes me as an unreasonable demand. You're not an employee; you're a freelancer. And here's how that works:

Comics is a transactional business. You are commissioned to produce work-for-hire for which you are compensated, and that is the extent of the services you should be *required* to perform: anything related to the production of the work itself. Anything beyond that is a bonus. However it may benefit you both mutually to participate in promotion, the bottom line is that the company for whom you freelance is not entitled to demand that you use your platform to sell their comics. That is a separate service. Most of us do it for free because we see the up side, but we do so voluntarily.

In a perfect world, you'll be so proud of your work that nothing can stop you from promoting it on Social Media, and this doesn't become an issue. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you will. Everyone wins. There's nothing wrong with publishers encouraging freelancers to promote their work.

Unless you're an actual employee, however--*unless the publisher is paying for your insurance or vacation days or sick days or affording you any of the benefits that normally come with being a paid employee in this country*--it seems wrong and counterproductive to me that you be "required," gratis, to make efforts above and beyond the work itself rather than respectfully asked, encouraged, and facilitated. (So far as I know, most companies don't even ask this of their employees. Certainly, you can be asked not to use social media to harass or antagonize people, but after putting in your shift at the grocery store, you're not required to go home and use your own personal social media accounts to broadcast tomorrow's sale prices. I mean, you can if you like, but it seems like a weird intrusion of personal space.)

A publisher can make whatever rules it wants when it enter into a contract with you. That's their right. And no one's forcing you to freelance for them if you feel mistreated for (not just this but) any reason. But please be aware that being "required" to promote your work on social media--much less in a manner that is of their choosing, not yours--is not the norm, nor should it be.
So freelancer or creator, only the publisher should promote your work, and you have no responsibility of your own? Hmm, I wonder if that's one of the reasons why didn't promote his work on a recent Ant-Man book? There's novelists who promote their own stories and even the publishers expect them to take some responsibility, so it sounds like Waid's just looking for more excuses to attack a company he doesn't even work for. What's more, these are mainly creator-owned titles Alterna's producing, so of course the authors should do something to promote their own work if they're proud of it, as another person pointed out:
From what I gather though, Alterna *isn't* work-for-hire: Creators send Alterna a submission, Alterna decides to publish it or not, and **the creator maintains ownership of the IP either way**.

That's not working for hire -- that's working for yourself.

Why should Alterna take the financial risk in publishing a creator, if the creator himself doesn't give a damn about promoting his own creative property?
Recalling Waid's worked on indie products himself, what's his sudden beef with this one? And why wouldn't he want to do promos himself? Obviously, a man who doesn't believe in personal responsibility; not anymore anyways. Which could explain why he's one of quite a few has-beens who've ignored the real problems that turned up in the past week.

Those nutcases who're attacking Alterna and the Breitweisers had better stop what they're doing immediately, because it's clear they're already backfiring and everyone can see if the SJWs are stooping to crudeness. Pretty much any "pro" who's turned a deaf ear and blind eye to the horrific behavior on display lately is somebody whose current work will have to be avoided, if that's what it takes to make clear we cannot put up with this.

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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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