I had no idea any of this was going on, but my old Violence and Sex article was certainly a prologue.
There’s been excellently well-researched mainstream and even international coverage spotlighting the comicsgate controversy, with outlets such as BuzzFeed News, the Daily Beast, Inverse and the Telegraph all detailing how the worst stereotype of comic book fans doesn’t even come close to the reality. All the theses through the ages about comix as morality fables were bupkiss. Insisting that they want no politics in their comics, comicsgaters evidently just want the fight scenes, like movies consisting of nothing more literate than endless car chases. They only want destruction.
But some points spring to mind now, because this comicsgate article was bullshit. So, a history lesson for those in dire need of perspective.
Comics were founded by con-artists who all happened to be Caucasian, CIS and male, who exploited the cheapest talent they could find, the homosexuals, Jews, women and whatever other minority groups who were otherwise denied opportunities in “proper” creative fields strictly on the basis of their not being Caucasian, CIS and male. This is historic fact. And the product itself was focused towards youths and immigrants, under the presumption that they were all too illiterate to be too picky about what was so cheaply being produced.
Except that the creatives involved did the unexpected and made some really imaginative stuff, and within a couple of decades were arting tales that sold millions of copies apiece and at least for a few years were literally out-grossing Hollywood in shear profit.
Then the Wertham shit struck, blaming juvenile delinquency on their most popular culture rather than the broken homes created by WW2. Various religious groups and political groups latched on, seeing an opportunity to oust said minorities into hermitage or outright jail or even suicide (as was the case with Jack Cole), leaving vacancies to be filled by creatives who were as Caucasian, CIS and male as their publishers. To claim that net profit like good colonialists.
For the next 50 years or so comics were primarily created by and focused on and targeted towards Caucasian, CIS males, with creatives and readers not fitting that mold being notifiable rarities. Minorities even. Sales gradually decreased faaaaaar below what those originals were putting together, the ultimate end for any creative industry reliant on any variety of homogeneity. Empowered by changing politics in the real world, minority groups, rightfully so, became more vocal about why they didn’t want to buy these comics, that the comics were not made by them, did not represent them and were not targeted to them.
Outside of the industry in the grownup world, right-leaning Neoliberalism made it cool for special interest groups to demand special privileges instead of just equal rights. They want to wield the whip instead of abolishing it. It trickles down to creative mediums where all parties ride the wave of progressiveness, well-intentioned or not, and are now dumb-founded that the Caucasian, CIS males do not want to buy these progressive comics because they are not made by them, do not represent them and are not targeted to them. There is admittedly a little hypocrisy there, in a reverse discrimination sort of way. When the comics industry imploded in the 90s, and in the 70s before that albeit on a smaller scale, nobody was accusing minorities of their prejudice affecting those sales. Until 10 minutes ago the biggest spenders on comics were the Caucasian CIS males because they were faaaaar more prone to disposable incomes. There’s exceptions of course, Caucasian CIS males who buy the progressive books just as there were gay black women buying comics in the 1950s, etc. But the largest paying audience has been dicked, shamed for wanting comics they can relate to the same as the other side purports to want, which for the industry side of the creative-industry doublespeak is actually a very bad thing, realistically. But the issue is in either side dictating what everyone else should and should not read.
However, most of these comicsgaters could give a rat’s ass about any of that, as it’s pretty clear they are just using coded language to skirt the edge of full-on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, with their own fringes happily jumping over altogether. One of the progressive creators heavily weighing in on these concerns is one of the smartest people I have ever met, in terms of street-smart wisdom and book-read intelligence. I know him well enough to know he faced some very very very real attacks in his personal life for a family member coming out of the closet years back. If he catches a whiff of negative about comicsgaters, that is more than enough for me. But I also happen to know the history of this medium, and I know that everywhere else in life, when any group or sub-group is being disenfranchised then there is no equality, not from the comicsgaters and not from the progressives, dueling to out-right-wing one another in selfishness instead of either side considering the needs of others.
Which is what genuine leftism is all about, as opposed to right-wing views which assert one’s own desires and enrichment before the needs of others.
And there is an easy solution to this, one which neither side would ever approve of, because both sides insist on shitting on outsiders. Anonymize the creatives. Progressives wouldn’t take that because Equal Opportunity Employment absolutely does fill quotas in every industry, above and beyond equal chances and too often at the price of skill-sets, because the skill-sets are not what’s getting people hired, not by the old school bigots and not by the progressives today. Comicsgaters would never take it either, because they want to know that the gays, the blacks, the women, etc, are not diversifying their inbred ethos. Why should any of them be so hesitant to allow their own work to speak for itself? Because, in my opinion, they are neither storytellers or artists. They are makers of listicles (of demands).
Comicsgaters, like the far-right/alt-right of the grownup world believe that being barred from infringing on the rights of others means that somehow their own rights are being infringed upon. Progressives believe that revenge makes everything equal. They are both wrong. Nobody needs to infringe on anybody. Capitalism does not give a flying fuck about hurt feelings, and lashing out because your favorite trend is not trending widely is what being a pussy-whipped consumerist is all about. Brand loyalty at the expense of any shred of humanity.
The progressives are not seeing the forest for the trees, trying to solve adult problems with ill-conceived crayons, and the comicsgaters are probably torturing neighborhood pets over the guilt they put themselves through for being attracted to women of the Levant and thus denying the spirit of their grandpop’s Nazi memorabilia collection. Anonymizing the creatives will never happen because they all want to be centerpieces in cults of personality or they would get the fuck off social media and just make good fucking comix.
The ‘gaters franchising from the soiled gamergate is the same idiocy as the skinheads of today pretending that the holocaust never resulted in the deaths of millions, instead insisting that Hitler was actually heroically saving the world from a zionist conspiracy that controlled global finance. I’d also compare it to the response here in the states to the Black Lives Matter movement of ‘Blue Lives Matter’, with people choosing to be oblivious to the inordinate amount of unarmed minorities murdered by police in favor of trolling the survivors. Van Sciver selling himself as a righteous hero is bullshit when he and his cronies have enlisted every racist, sexist, homophobic tactic known to the webs in attacking anybody they elect to look down on. For YEARS. The charges he is quoted with making in this other trash article he himself has orchestrated against many others, repeatedly, over the past decade. He is slime, happily employed with regular work from one of the largest publishers of comics in the English-speaking world irregardless, because his personal politics are emblematic of the systemic attitudes across the comic book industry towards diversity or inclusiveness. Replacing those controls fixes nothing though.
Regarding the core talking point of LGBT representation…this reminds me of something that happened to the veteran writer and genuinely nice guy Gerry Conway about 2 or 3 years ago. He had been sorting out stats out of curiosity and tweeted how LGBT representation in Marvel and DC comics was actually of a greater percentage than their real percentage among the US population. He very obviously announced this in a “hey how cool is this?” way, but was immediately attacked by a cluster of SJWs insisting that every story of every issue of every comic should have a pivotal character representing their kind in a positive light. Our own respective supporting casts IRL are not that cookie cutter, so shoe-horning it into fiction makes the fiction even less believable. Alternatively, the ‘gaters who don’t want politics or character development in their comics but still want comics written for adults…how does that work exactly? The Avengers could easily work with only a single Caucasian CIS male in its ranks, but should the Punisher as an example need a token homosexual, token Cuban, and token Trump voter? Fuck no because he is a loner who doesn’t need a supporting cast, period. Universal rules are childlike no matter the intent. One of Meyer the instigator’s theories goes on about the Fantastic Four going so long without publication not necessarily because of FOX licensing, but because it’s a team book consisting entirely of Caucasian CIS characters. I could halfway believe that, considering the extremity of certain players. The line can provide representations for anyone willing to buy comics with representations of themselves, but to push a conformity of meeting all the right quotas in every title will result in inconsistency, because the characters themselves are not uniform. Paint-jobbing isn’t a fix to be proud of either, which is clear to anyone who could imagine it if races were reversed. It’s not equalizing anything, only taking from one to enrich the experiences of another, when everyone could have their own seat at the table just fine, sales and actual public interest and editors who even remotely have a clue about what they’re doing in life permitting. As with Capitalism across the US, is this a matter of supply manufactured to meet an existing demand, or a demand fabricated by telling consumers what they should want or need regardless of supply or their actual wants or needs?
The polarities insisting that “the existence of comics that don’t appeal/aren’t marketed to you isn’t a personal attack or inherently political” would never accept that same line of defense from the opposing side. Because half the time they are correct about the opposition’s true designs, and the other half of the time they are projecting their own. Meanwhile, Capitalism cannot and does not exist without marketing, meaning that such a line is ignorant. By all means, tell your personal stories, or infuse them into the lives of fictional characters to give them more depth, but if you play the game you have to realize at some point that Capitalism will never reward what you perceive as nice intentions. You are never more independent than your demographic.
Both sides in this are only looking skin-deep. That is blatant. Spidey is friendly enough to get along with anybody, but the rest of that universe is not Spidey. My old email-pal Liam Moorhart may not have any gay friends, but that doesn’t mean he’s homophobic, just that too many of the homosexuals of south Texas are scared back into the 1950s by all the gun-stroking right-wingers in their neighborhoods. If you want to portray convincing characters, you have to treat them like real people in a real world. Even with the layers of fantasy this is absolutely possible. Different settings are not just a matter of a beach vs an inner city. THAT is diversity. Of experience.
But neither the ‘gaters or progressives will allow an inch from the other side. Both want to whip the other instead of either side working towards actual diversity or actual inclusiveness. The ‘gators have the institutionalized upper hand, but the progressives have very quickly gained a tremendous voice through signal boosting from bleeding hearts who never read past any headlines. Each and every disposition or creed deserves a fair shot, but it being an industry means that sales have final say. And as close to death as the industry is, there are plenty of more rational arenas for experimentation outside of identity politics specifically, which is amounting to a mere moment of attention in the mainstream informing non-comics readers just how self-centered and juvenile all its players really are. Good work, comics, in finding an all-new, all-different way of fucking yourself up the ass.
I have no qualms with using harsh language to get a point across, especially against someone clearly in the ethical or moral wrong. The same ideologies maintained by Trump, the majority of his supporters and their alt-right comic book counterparts, left unperturbed, lead invariably to travel bans, border walls, and eventually more direct forms of ethnic cleansing. I can and will use foul language against idiot supporters and I can and will use violence against alt-right in person, but I draw the line at lethal force, because the proponents of lethal force are the ones I condemn. Forcing one’s own prejudices by threat of deadly force, like a gun, and there are so many guns in the US what with there being so many prejudices, is evil. This isn’t about matters of opinion, it’s about good and evil.
SJWs seek to raise disenfranchised voices to places of authority, whereas I oppose all authority, because all authority maintains itself by using and abusing others. Actual equality, that crap in our foundation about basic human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is not a frivolous thing, regardless of the SJWs just trying to change the seating patterns and take control of the proverbial whip. Any effort at diminishing those basic rights for others, is monstrous. It is unethical and immoral, and it is evil. Where SJWs are misguided, proponents of comicsgate are evil.