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Thursday, March 28, 2024 

Pittsburgh cartoonist accused of sexual misconduct

While the following cartoonist in focus may have a questionable personality, this case could still be an attempt to gain media attention for woke brownie points. The Pittsburgh City Paper reports that Ed Piskor, who worked on products like X-Men and even drew a horror comic published by Fantagraphics, has been accused by a woman cartoonist of sexual harassment:
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has indefinitely postponed a planned exhibit featuring art from Pittsburgh cartoonist Ed Piskor following accusations of sexual misconduct shared on social media this past weekend and Monday morning. [...]

A Philadelphia-based cartoonist used her Instagram story last weekend to post screenshots from May 2020, when she was 17, showing Piskor sending inappropriate messages and asking her to stay at his home in Pittsburgh. While the story itself can no longer be accessed on her account, screenshots of her story have been widely shared and commented upon on social media. Then, on Monday morning, another woman shared her accusation against Piskor.

Piskor deleted his account on X
, formerly known as Twitter, disabled comments on his Instagram, and has not commented publicly. Piskor did not respond to City Paper's requests for comment.

The leaked images of Instagram DMs from over the weekend show Piskor, after complimenting her artwork, writing, “Are you 17 or 18? Imma be so mad if you say 17 because this crushes me at that age.” He also appears to offer to let her stay with him, writing, “you can crash there if you ever wander into my side of the state for a few days” during a conversation about his home.

He refers to her as “good girl” and “naughty girl” in the leaked messages and wrote, “I feel like you’d be a good partner in crime. You’re not a snitch are you? If we robbed some banks you wouldn’t rat me out would you?”

In text provided in addition to the screenshots, the artist said she felt he attempted to “groom” her and called him a “creep.”

“This is not a ‘cancellation’ of Ed Piskor,” she wrote. “I’m just telling you the truth about this person. The truth that a lot of other cartoonists are AWARE OF! Who I know for a fact are aware of: That Ed Piskor likes YOUNG GIRLS.”

On Monday morning, another woman came forward, alleging in an X thread that Piskor asked for oral sex in exchange for his agent’s phone number. She also alleged, “I have recently learned that he was attempting to line up some of those ‘girls’ at that time and guess what? Today I learned some of them were minors.”
Now, it should be noted that in Pennsylvania, the legal consenting age is 16, so it's not like he'd be guilty of a felony if he had relations with a girl that age provided it was consensual. And, it's not unnatural for some older men to be attracted to younger women, and vice versa. But, the language he used, if these reports are correct, is vulgar, inappropriate, and a poor way of courting a lady. So on that, he sure crash-landed badly in manners, and when an artist acts lewd, that can certainly be condemned.
Hip Hop Family Tree, a retelling of hip-hop history that integrates superhero comics imagery, and began serialization in 2012, gave Piskor prominence in the comics industry. The postponed art exhibit features artwork from this series.

Piskor has since produced the Marvel Comics series X-Men Grand Design, a Fantagraphics-published exploitation horror comic called Red Room, and the ongoing comic strip Switchblade Shorties, which he self-publishes online. For years, he and fellow Pittsburgh cartoonist Jim Rugg have run the popular YouTube channel Cartoonist Kayfabe, in which the two analyze comics and interview creators.

This YouTube channel has made the two well-known not just for their work but also as comic book industry pundits and gurus. The duo has courted controversy in the past. For issues of Piskor’s Red Room, Rugg created variant covers paying homage to classic indie comics, one, in 2022, referencing the beloved memoir Maus from Art Spielman about his father’s holocaust experience. The graphic violence featured in the image and the context of Red Room as a non-serious, shocking horror comic made many view it as being in poor taste. Rugg and Fantagraphics issued an apology, and Piskor didn’t comment.
From this, it sounds like neither's much to write home about. He was once involved with Rob Liefeld and IDW a decade back when the former was hired to draw covers for GI Joe and Transformers. Presumably, Liefeld will distance himself from Piskor following this scandal.

One news source that's not qualified to say anything about this man, however, is the insufferable Comics Beat, who told the following about his past conduct:
The misconduct allegations are not the first time that Piskor has been the center of controversy. In 2022, a variant cover that referenced Maus for his series Red Room: Trigger Warnings was criticized for mocking the Holocaust (the cover was drawn by Rugg). Piskor has also been criticized for using racial slurs including the N-word in the past.
How fascinating that a website notorious for siding with "palestine" against Israel - and Hamas/PLO - more recently is acting morally superior. Based on that, what business do they even have referencing the Holocaust? This is absolutely shameful they take the side that's enabled evil, and let's not forget the time Heidi MacDonald acted as Charles Brownstein's apologist in the mid-2000s.

Piskor may not be guilty of "grooming", but he sure didn't present a good example with his crude interaction with a woman. At least this ought to serve as a lesson for anybody who wishes to get into the business that they shouldn't be relying on "popular" artists as mentors and liasons for getting through to business contacts.

Update: Mr. Piskor has sadly committed suicide.

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