Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Gate to Comics

I wanted to and at the same time didn't want to write a post about comicsgate. As it might already be known I'm a big fan of comic books. Read them since I was in elementary school. I didn't want to write about it, because it's really toxic. I also wanted to write about it to show just how toxic it is. Then I realized that last week, after I wrote about the people who were successful in getting Arellano fired, and compared them to comicsgate, that I made it seem like I was in support of comicsgate, not only that, but I compared Latinxs who are socially conscious about the LGBTQ to comicsgaters, but they are really nothing like any of them, other than they both used boycotting a company as a tool to get a person fired. Below is what I wrote last time, which made me make the decision to write about comicsgate:
But here's the thing, I don't know what it is about creative types that makes them feel they need to respond to every shitty comment and attack. I've seen this in comicsgate. Creators are criticized for their writing or artwork, and then they attack the person. It's a fine line to tread. Because the creators begin to look bad, and not only do they alienate their customers/fans, that mob of critics then becomes a mob of trolls that get a joy out of trash talking creative professionals that they know will respond. Then those critics organize a campaign to get the creator fired from his/her job by @ing the company they work for. Comicsgate has been successful in getting at least one or two creators fired. 
From what I understand comicsgate was something that was started by comic book readers who felt that diversity was being shoved down their throat, which in turn led to subpar storytelling and artwork. I can't remember the name/twitter handle of the person who claims to have started comicsgate, but she basically says that it was to criticize the quality of comic books coming out mostly from Marvel. However, it didn't take long for other comic book fans to voice their own prejudices about diversity in the content of the comic books, and the diversity of creators, some of whom are trans. They also publicly criticized any creators they deemed SJW's (Social Justice Warriors). Some of the comic book creators have a history of taking offense to any public criticism and will, in turn, have public exchanges with their critics, usually on Twitter. So part of the comicsgate rallying cry, is that creators should stay in their lane, because comic book readers that criticize their work are customers that can easily stop buying their work. They insist that comic book creators work for them and should basically shut up when critics are criticizing/attacking them.

But, comicsgaters don't only criticize the quality of the work, they will also reem a storyline they don't care for. Last year, Captain America was exposed as an agent of Hydra, and many fans were pissed, arguing that Marvel had turned the character into a Nazi. The outcry seemed to come from a lot of fans who considered themselves patriotic Americans. But not all fanboys are patriotic white nationalists, some of them are just stubborn and don't want to see the status quo changed. They also argue that Marvel does a lot of things to appease their "SJW fanbase", which makes it difficult to not assume they're white nationalists or conservative jerks.

At one point, there were some female Marvel editors that tweeted a picture of themselves going to get a milkshake in honor of another long-time female editor, Flo Steinberg. These women were criticized/attacked for that tweet. I still don't understand why comicsgaters attacked them for this. Smh. But there is a lot of misogyny and anti-feminist attitudes in the comicsgate community.

Marvel Remembers Flo Steinberg

There are some Youtubers who made their channels specifically about criticizing comic books, usually the work of minority creators. They have continuously argued about the downfall of Marvel due to their SJW creators and characters. They get pissed when an artist gets called out for oversexualizing female characters, or when female characters are drawn with masculine features.

They also become very vocal when creators who identify as Republican/Conservative are attacked by (what they believe to be liberal-minded) fans. There have been Republican creators who were criticized for voting for Drumpf or for supporting the GOP. A few months ago, Jon Malin, an artist that worked at Marvel, talked about how he feels ostracized in the comic book industry because he identifies as a conservative. He later went as far as calling SJW's, Nazis. There was plenty of backlash over this comment. Ethan Van Sciver an artist that voted for Drumpf, would later have Malin on his Youtube channel, and then received his own healthy amount of backlash after he tried to get Darryl Ayo to engage them in a debate. Ayo had referred to Van Sciver as a Nazi plenty of times. Van Sciver is also considered a homophobe. He would later make a statement in support of the LGBTQ community. Van Sciver worked for DC comics, but according to him, he has chosen to walk away to focus on an independent comic book. Depending on who you talk to, he chose to walk away, but other people online have been saying "insiders" have said that DC wasn't planning on not letting him renew his contract. Oh yeah, currently Van Sciver is going out of his way to criticize the Star Wars franchise because he believes it went full on SJW. He refers to liberal men as "soy boys" and has begun referring to Star Wars as "Soy Wars." All of those attacks on Rose Tico, he's a part of that corner of Star Wars fans. Not that he went directly to the actress's Instagram to critique her, but he does his criticism through his Twitter account and Youtube channel.

It's messy I know. But what really captures my attention is how comicsgaters refer to themselves as "normies" or normal. They usually say something along the lines of "Us normal comic book fans . . ."
And this is usually in reference to any trans comic book creators or fans. Well, not only people from the trans community but they seem to not consider liberals normal.

If you know about the tactics of gamergate then you know the tactics of comicsgate. Anyone who disagrees with them is swarmed by fans of the conservative comic book creators and Youtube personalities. Sometimes the creators will screen cap an image and share it or do a retweet with a mention, which is of course seen by there many followers, who then go out of their way to attack that person on Twitter, and even in person. A couple of comic book stores that have decided not to support the comic book of one of the Youtube personalities have had incidents with comicsgaters.

You also get a lot of anger from the white comic book fans who feel they are facing prejudice and racism for being white. If someone makes a claim about white privilege, some of the comicsgate community will claim it's a racist statement, and it's just another signal for them to gang up and attack the person that made the statement.

They even started a campaign called #movetheneedle, wherein comic book fans purchase comic books and take pictures of their comic books and their receipt to show that they are indeed comic book readers who read & purchase quality comic books. They did this to show that they were moving the comic book industry needle in the right financial direction.

Like I said it's messy and exhausting. When I clicked on #comicsgate I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I didn't follow the gamergate drama, but I caught some things here and there. I knew that if it had the word "gate" at the end of it, chances were that it was going to be toxic. And it turns out it was. Whatever comicsgate was intended to be, even if it was supposed to be a valid criticism about the quality of comic books, it's spiraled into a toxic place rife with homophobia and misogyny.

I might write on this some more next time, but this is plenty long already. So fuck it, if you don't want to read through my dribble, here are some articles on the topic:

You can also jump into the abyss by following the hashtag on Twitter: #comicsgate.

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