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Life Skills for Fanboys: In Defense of Comicsgate

written by Tony DiGerolamo, Copyright 2018

To further my goal of helping fellow fanboys, I have included an index of links of previous columns with their topics.  Don’t take it personal, I’m just trying to help.  Previous columns are indexed at the end.

WTF is Comicsgate?

It’s a group of guys that make comics, basically.  Some of them have rallied against the recent spate of PC culture and identity politics that has ruined Star Wars, Marvel Comics and a host of other things.  As the polarization of politics have driven ideologies so far left that Fidel Castro finally let the CIA finish him off, Comicsgate has been the response in the comics world, just as Donald Trump was the response in the world of politics.

Richard Meyer, who does comics reviews on a channel called Diversity & Comics, is the defacto leader of the Comicsgate crew.  I started watching his videos on Minds last year, mostly because Minds is just starting out.  There’s not a lot of comics material on there yet.  I wanted to get in on the ground floor and I generally upvote other comics people.  His videos were okay, if not particularly visually interesting.  I’ve been in the comics industry for over 20 years, so a video review of a comic isn’t exactly new to me.

But what was new was that Richard sometimes got into the politics of the comic book.  This was something I had been thinking for doing for years, but I just didn’t see a lot of strong political statements in the comics that made much sense.  (And, quite frankly, I got out of print comics because they were too expensive.)  Richard’s take on the SJW (social justice warriors) only work because, well, they’re embarrassingly true.

I’m old enough to remember the 70’s back when every hippie do-gooder was jamming childhood television with messages of love, peace and hope.  There’s nothing wrong with that per se, unless that’s the entirety of your message.  It’s also important to temper those lessons about getting along with everyone with some warnings about not getting into a car with strangers or eating candy you find on the ground.  The world is still a dangerous place.

Conversely, while certain groups of people have in the past experienced racism and discrimination to different degrees, it doesn’t do anyone any good to repeat those mistakes just to try and balance scales you can’t possibly hope to balance.  People deserve equal opportunity, but jobs should be filled based on the competence and skill of the applicant, not their race, gender, religion, etc.

Old Man Moments

By my calculations, my old man moment should be due in 10 years.  (Go easy on me!  I’ll be an old man!)  A few years ago, Jim Steranko had his old man moment about the Pro, a most awesome comic book about a super powered prostitute.  I believe his rant tied it into 9/11.  Then, a few years after, it was Frank Miller’s turn when he did a rant about Occupy Wall Street.  I made a comic critical of it.  (Thanks for the hits, Frank.)  Yesterday, it was Bill Seinkiewicz’s turn on Facebook.

I’m not trying to pick on old man, Bill.  He’s perfectly within his rights to shake his fist and rant at the comicsgate guys on his lawn, but his criticism really is just unfair.  It smacks of the emotional response the Twitter mobs have to almost anything that doesn’t align with their politics and ignores everyone’s fundamental right to have a different opinion.  Sorry, Bill, I’m going to pick through your post line by line now.

The Post

“To Comicsgaters – but also: to general friends and colleagues in arms . Profuse profanity to follow. Be advised.”

Already we’re in old man territory.  The Internet has so many curse words on it, they’ve created whole websites dedicated to them.  But I’ll brace myself.

“To begin.  I’m convinced Comics chose ME as a practitioner, emissary, evangelist, what-have-you—rather than the other way around.”

Wow, that is just an arrogant way to start any statement, let alone a screed like this.  I get it, I’m a creator too, but—  Holy shit man.  I’m pretty sure you were hired and the fans liked your work.  Inanimate objects or your romanticized notion of “the Comics” did not.  The comic gods do not speak to you, Bill.  Please come down off that ivory tower drawn by Frazetta and have a real conversation if this is important to you.

“Perhaps that’s why I tend to view most other creators through a similar lens. Whatever the actual reason people create comics, tell stories, live in this world, it’s still a wonderful calling. “

You mean we’re all comic gods?  Yes, I agree with you, it’s a great gig.  Calling sounds more like a crusade or that the angels visited you or a bright light shone down like on John Belushi in the Blues Brothers and you say, “Yes!  Yes!  Jesus Christ!  Yes!”

“Creators are family; every voice is unique and necessary.”

Totally agree.  Then why are we fighting Bill?

“That said, Comics sure as hell didn’t choose the so-called Comicsgate contingent to promote hateful, misogynistic and plain-old-ugly dogma.”

Whoa!  Lots to unpack here.  First, weren’t you outside the thing you referred to as “the Comics”?  Wouldn’t you have to be since it chose you?  Now you’re in it?  And not only are you in it, you seem to speak for it.  You don’t.  You have an opinion and that’s fine.  I assume you have some evidence to cite regarding all this “hateful, misogynistic and plain-old-ugly dogma”?

I mean, hateful to me is like someone dropping the N-bomb and not in a rap song.  Or someone refers to a group of people by a stereotype.  Again, I remember the 70’s and there were a lot of people leftover from bygone eras still alive.  They said some shit, Bill.  No doubt.  But there’s very few of those people around and I haven’t heard the hateful speech you’re referring to at that level.  I’m sure these guys have said some shit and Meyers himself acknowledges at least one incident in a more recent video—  But who is without sin here, Bill?  You?  Hmmm.  Let’s Google.


Well, I suppose just like beauty, hate is in the eye of the beholder isn’t it?  Could that be considered misogynist too?  How about Electra’s unrealistic body image?  How about her long hair and stylish costume, which are both not very suitable for fighting.  I don’t think Rhonda Rousey would wear that outfit in the ring.  The sword cuts both way, bro.

I don’t know what “plain-old-ugly dogma” is, so I’ll have to continue.

“No, these ‘Gaters- you guys- you brought that ugliness all by yourselves.”

Did they?  Seems to me they have a following that’s pretty upset about the changes in the Marvel Universe.  You’re a writer sometimes.  Ever have someone walk into your office and decide that all your characters should just be different races and religions and genders?  Seems like that would be an arbitrary change that would hurt an established comic.  I’ve been in the industry, fans get pissed if you change the costumes or the art team.  Did you really think they would swallow the sidelining of all the major characters for new ones?  ANY new ones?  Remember Marvel’s New Universe?  Of course you don’t.

I don’t see any reason why new characters couldn’t have been introduced along side the old ones.  Comic Books (particularly Marvel) has a rich tradition of doing just that and a rich tradition of pissing off the fans when arbitrary changes suddenly happen.

Ugliness?  Where’s that coming from?  These guys built a company and everyone’s attacking them.  The characters certainly aren’t hateful, misogynist, etc. to my knowledge.  In fact, Meyers states in his videos that he’d like to get politics OUT of comics.  It only serves to divide and polarize us.  Do you check the politics of every creator you read and work with?  I kind of find it hard to believe you would share a lot of political views with Frank Miller.  I assume you kicked him in the balls after discussing Trump and haven’t talked to him since.

“To be honest, I just don’t get your deal.”

THAT sounds like an honest statement, judging by the rest of this.  Shouldn’t you do more research before you judge then Judgey McJudge-alot?

“Are you so insecure, so afraid, so fearful of the prospect of bearing the ‘incel’ moniker, or by sharing creative space with someone with more estrogen than you- that you’re all somehow threatened to your very manhood or your livelihood? How super-heroic of you.”

Ah, so you’re the Defender the Oppressed Women of the Comics Industry?  I assume then, you’ll be turning down your latest offers and passing them off to female artists?  These guys don’t work for Marvel.  They’re trying to make comics just like the rest of us.  No one said you had to buy them, but Jesus Christ, you’re not the person to speak for “the Comics”.  And I think women can speak for themselves.  Meyers has had plenty of legitimate criticisms in his videos.  Can these women you speak for not address them?  How about the declining sales?  The bad fan reactions?  You think it’s wise to blame the fans for “toxic masculinity” in an industry where DC reported 93% of their buyers were male in 2012 and now sales are way down and ICv2 reports its more like 63% male?  That just sounds like your driving male fans away for what exactly?

And these guys sure don’t act threatened.  They’re making good bank raising money and have fans.  Why you gotta hate, Bill?

“I’d ask you to explain it to me, but frankly what I’ve heard from your quarter already bores me; as well as just plain pisses me off. I fucking despise bullies. Cowards.”

Ow.  I thought all creators family.  That their voices were unique and necessary.  You don’t get it, but you’re bored and angry.  Why don’t you say what you really mean?  “Bullies” and “Cowards”?  How is it cowardly to say what you mean?  How can a group of guys making comics out of their basements “bully” Marvel Comi—  Excuse me, the comics owned by the FUCKING DISNEY CORPORATION.  I hope you stand up to the corporate offices with angry posts and boycotts of any work from them should they have to fire anyone.  I mean, you wouldn’t accept work from a company that bullies people, right?

“What you’re each promoting individually is not some divine creative dispensation; it’s just you being an asshole.”

“Creators are family; every voice is unique and necessary.” Bill Seinkiewicz earlier in this post.

“Collectively, you’re a gaggle, a clan,(-potentially with a k unsubtle as that shot may be)- a veritable bag’s worth of douches. Whatever the name you give for your assembly, you’re not the Avengers. You’re still just a bunch of assholes.”

Look, Bill, if you call someone a racist, have some shit to back it up.  Meyers was an ex-military guy.  They don’t exactly talk in the kind of enlightened language that only someone who had “the calling” does.  He’s just making comics.  You’re the one acting like an embarrassing douchebag.

“Comics isn’t a boys club.”

So what is this?  Did you have a blindfold and a nose plug on for your entire comics career?  You’ve actually been in a few comic book stores, I assume.  Please stop pretending that women are suddenly going to come to these places and buy comics.  Yes, there are a few fangirls, but they are in the minority.  Just like men are in the minority at a shoe store or a bra store or the Turning Point during brunch or brunch.  Men have interests, women have interests.  They’re usually not the same.  I don’t see a big push to get male fans into Yaoi Manga here.

How about to each his or her own?

“It’s not “NO (insert ethnic group, gender, religion, sexual preference here) ALLOWED.””

I don’t see these guys saying that.  I’m pretty sure Meyer will accept anyone’s money.

“It’s a club , a meeting place a forum for creators. Of all stripes.”

Unless you say differently apparently.  No, it’s not a club and it’s not a forum.  It’s a medium like prose or radio or memes.  And you don’t get to decide who is in or out of it, big guy.

“Like a real life Legion of Super Heroes, or a Justice League. Only with pen and ink paper and Cintiqs and laptops and…”

Okay, that’s just embarrassing.  You call them assholes and not Avengers and then you say this.  Man, you need an editor worse than me.

“Stop being the creepy racist misogynist uncles showing up at reunions and pissing in the punchbowl to disprove your beta standing.”

Wouldn’t it be “alpha”?  This analogy doesn’t work at all.  You’re all over the map here.  Who does this?  WTF are you even talking about at this point?  Is it creepy to critique people now?

“Stop being the weird cousins the entire world points to as the definition of every “comic book nerd” stereotype.”

Where are you getting your stereotypes from?  Are you stereotyping fanboys as racists?  Weird cousins, weird uncles—  If you got some family shit going on, please keep us out of it.  You can’t kick these guys out of comics and call them family.  You can’t say all voices matter and these don’t.  You’re making weird and contradictory statements.

“Or do it far away from us.”

How much further could they possibly be away from you?!  They don’t work with you.  They’re on the Internet.  Stop being so obsessed with them and move on.  Jesus Christ, don’t you have anything better to do than virtue signal to your fans?  Is this you trying to prove how much better you are than them?  You’re just making yourself look weak and insecure.  No one asked you for this.  You already have a big career.  Why even go on Facebook?  I would delete almost all my social media the second I had a career as big as yours.  And what I would have, I would run through someone.  That way I can blame my old man moment on my intern or whatever.

Get a grip, Bill.  And get over yourself.  You don’t run “the Comics”!

“Stop being whiny misunderstood victims bitching bout favoritism, intolerance, and sexism.”

This is where your old man moment is.  First off, if you’re misunderstood that implies you agree that the Comicsgaters are the ones being wronged.  So that’s probably not what you mean to say.  Plus, you’re basically admitting that there is favoritism, intolerance and sexism from their vantage point.  That’s probably not what you mean, but I see it as a Freudian slip.

And FYI old man, this is the discussion on the Internet right now.  The PC police have gone too far. Perhaps the words of a comics creator you know, talking about that very topic would resonate with you:

If Art upsets, or consoles, or outrages, or comforts, or excites, or raises question—then it’s doing its job. And once an artist- of any gender, ethnicity, religion,or any relative persuasion– does the work, and releases it into the vast collective universe, it belongs to the public at large- and is no longer in the control of the artist –often regardless of His/Her/( or LGBT/Androsexual/Trans/Intergender’s/Atheistic/ Devout/Agnostic’s etc) original intent.

We’re in a cross-cultural species-wide crossroads (and I include the four-legged and oceanic denizens of the planet as well, if I’m being inclusive)—where everyone -in this case, every single person who has felt voiceless and silenced and afraid and objectified for so long now feels the heady liberating siren call to express -often explosively- long-repressed needs angers and passions— not only to be seen and heard and respected—but to simply matter.”  Bill Seinkiewicz of 2015

I assume Richard Meyers and the Comicsgate Crew are included.  It’s not just the art you respect and admire.  Do they not have anger and passions that must be expressed?

“You’re slinging inky-black aspersions, obliviously crying racism in your Wite-Out™.”

It IS racist to hire someone based on ANY color of their skin.  Full stop.  End of sentence.

“You’re damned right some corrections need to be made; starting with the guys in the mirror first.”

You don’t get to make that call, old man.  You haven’t won over anyone with this rant.  You’re just entrenching people further.  Why not talk to Richard and the Comicsgate guys?  Sounds to me like you’re writing this based on what you’ve seen other people say about them.  You’ve been in the media over the years.  How well do you think they get across who you are and what you believe?  I’ll bet like the rest of us, you have some stories about reporters filling their own agendas and making you sound NOT like you intended.

And if you’re not going to talk to them, you don’t get to pontificate from “the Comics” mountain without being called out.  I’m calling you out.  You.  Don’t.  Know.  These.  Guys.

I don’t know them either, but I’m not trying to “fight” them.

“So stop being awful ambassadors for the worst of our natures. Stop being brownshirts.”

Oh!  You went to Hitler!  You lose.

“Stop being goddamned ugly dicks. And to re-jigger an ugly phrase you sling at women, I’m instead going to channel it here in the spirit of my Aussie friends: Stop being such insufferable clueless cunts.”

I did a sacrifice to the comic gods and “the Comics” don’t want you to be so self-righteous and preachy.  Either do you research or don’t pretend like you think everyone’s “family”.  You don’t call family names.

“The medium didn’t call on you to be the best version of assholes you could be. Neither did we.  Knock it off.  Either step up. Or step off.”

Step up to what?  You’re the one that’s on ideological crusade, not them.  They just wanna sell comics and have a nice Wikipedia entry.

“We, Comics, and The Audience- will be absolutley fine without you. And you won’t be missed one damned bit.”

Well, old man, I hate to break it to you, but Comicsgate will be here as long as people like yourself keep reacting in hilarious ways.  This is really more sad than hilarious, not that you would give a flying fuck what I would say.  Meyers is filling a BIG need in the marketplace.  And as the smug SJW’s at Marvel continue to get high off their own farts and crank out the Diversity Rainbow Comics written by whomever most closely resembles today’s biggest victims—  Comicsgate is going to keep winning.

And for the record, I had just stopped watching Richard’s videos when his graphic novel broke.  You know the one.  The one everyone’s trying to stop, but can’t.  I wasn’t gonna buy it, but now I feel I have to.  I cannot let a member of my family be silenced by the self-anointed Speaker for “The Comics”.

Previous Columns

Obesity at Cons
The Art of Conversation
The Line Between Fans and Pros
Geek Elitism
Convention Panels
Convention Volunteers
Food Gifts
Women and Cons
Get Your Room Party Together
Stop Bringing Your Kids to Cons
The Face of Geek Needs Work
Fixing the Face of Geek
Franchise Worship
Presenting Your Project
The New Image?
Stop Trying to Make Geek Cool
 Rethinking the Comic Book Con
Zombie Stories Should Still Be About People
Geek Stereotypes and the Big Bang Theory
Con Locations
Traveling to Cons on the Cheap
Con Economics
Comics, Sexism and Trolling
Searching for the Words
How to Fix Comics?  Stop Reading Them
Shopping at the Con
The Hollywood Double Edged Sword
Beware the Geek Scams
Success Kills
In Response to Chuck Dixon, Paul Rivoche and Janelle Asselin
Fanboy Reporters
Dealing with Critics and Haters in the Internet Age
Who Are the Creepers?
The Cosplayer Treaty of 2014: A Proposal
Female Thor
Comics’ Non-News
Geek Feminists and DC’s T-Shirts
Cosplay Blowback
Charlie Hebdo and the Other Stuff You Should Know
Customer Service
The Intolerant Internet
Superhero Movie Moral Compass
Why Hillary Lost
Creators and Politics

Political Nerd Rage

Gender Wars

The Hardwick Situation