Since the whole Chelsea Cain and Mockingbird controversy, I’ve been doing a pretty good job at ignoring the comic book drama. So what made me think otherwise? Well, where to start? To do that I would have to explain to you each player at hand and my experience with each of these guys. What makes so many journalists bias these days is how they put out highly opinionated articles and call themselves objective without mentioning what inspired them to write it.
Player 1 – Diversity and Comics
Early in last year, a YouTube channel blew up under the name of Diversity and Comics. To be completely honest with you guys, I used to be a regular viewer and subscriber. The YouTuber would critique the SJW era of comics that we were (and still might be?) in. In a way the set-up was fairly simple, the production value was cheap, however, it was DnC’s personality that spoke to so many of us. He had a casual way of putting things and did so comedically. He would talk about how publishers and Marvel specifically have been going downhill. I agreed with a lot of the things he said. Then the comic book creators actually started paying attention to this guy and that included of calling out all his fanbase as racist and sexist. When someone is getting unfairly accused they sure feel threatened so that gave even more reasons for the fans to stick to the channel.
He talked about the important things like when the more conservative creators were getting shut down or when Marvel used to keep track of conservative creators by keeping a list. It was crazy! So I was watching DnC, enjoying it until that one day happened.
You see, what I liked about this channel was how normal he approached things. Compared to other YouTubers who shared his opinion he was the mature one and never seemed to talk down to you. This is why I never watched CapnCummings and I quit watching Douglas Ernst (sorry guys ). You knew what you were getting yourself into while watching Diversity & Comics. Until one day he broke his one rule: he swore.
“OH NO! He swore! What a snowflake you are, Dark-Monitor.”
Hey! I watch many YouTubers who swear (Brofist!). It was more about him breaking the rule than the swearing itself. You see, once a man unabashedly breaks his code he loses a piece of himself. Imagine if Batman or Superman killed a person and then went on to do it more in the future. They would no longer be Batman or Superman. That’s where I stopped watching him. I unsubbed, not because I hated him, but because it no longer felt to my appeal. You could even say, “The power was getting to his head”.
Player 2 – Mark Waid
Mark Waid is the creator who wrote his run on the Flash and Kingdom Come. He quickly established himself as a big name who introduced in a new wave of comic fans who were brought in by good stories. Not by silly gimmicks, flashy covers, new #1‘s. Simply great stories. Skip to the modern day, he moved to Marvel Comics where he is now writing Captain America, Doctor Strange, had his run on Champions or Avengers and earlier even Daredevil or Black Widow. You ask me? His newest stories are not good. A lot of his newest comic book works are a major drop in quality. Some of my feelings came from his highly politicized insertion of forced left-wing views, but disliking a book is one thing. Another is reading a lot of the angry comments on Twitter.
He was one of those creators who couldn’t stay silent about being rude to a good half of the consumers. He probably knew that and didn’t care. He didn’t give me any good vibes, but just like many things, you learn to ignore them.
Player 3 & Player 4 – Retailers & Antarctic Press
Comic book retailers are the comic book shop owners who order the books themselves and sell them to you. Antarctic Press is an indie comic book publisher founded in 1984. They are key players to this as well. Don’t let their short descriptions fool you.
Richard Mayer (Diversity & Comics) created his own graphic novel! He had a very successful Indie GoGo campaign of raising over 250K despite only needing 5K. To put it into perspective that’s how much an Avengers/Justice League or a #1 issue of an event would ship it. This meant a lot of new comic book readers were probably coming along the way. Now, I didn’t know of its existence until the controversy happened. So later we found out an indie publisher known as Antarctic Press picked the series up for publishing. They were going to publish it and all. And then the number of comic book retailers created a Facebook group chat saying this:
Wait! You are going to cut your ties with an indie company?! That’s honestly messed up. And then another person writes, “Respect” for wanting to bring a comic book company down? All this for one book you have never read nor know anything about other than it is written by a guy you don’t agree with? That’s like if you’d cut ties with Marvel because you didn’t like one of its writers, but that you wouldn’t be able to afford given Marvel is one of the two companies to keep your store alive. Going back to the chat, they even prepared what to say in case a customer came up and asked about it.
Things only got worse. A lot worse. Here comes in Player Two, Mark Waid.
In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, you’d think people would react more critically of a person who uses their position of power to influence others. Both men of high regard, use their power and influence to pressure others to someone’s downfall. I stopped caring about Diversity & Comics a long time, but this move crossed a line. Antarctic Press later released this message.
I would love to see the reasons as to why The line has been blurred between ART and ARTIST.
THE STORM THAT FOLLOWED
This obviously blew up into an entire mess. The amount creators I’ve seen rejoice over this, people saying “Respect” was honestly sad. Maybe partly because they thought they just stopped Nazis from coming over to comics, but the sad thing is the whole thing is a controversy is because they all aren’t. If only Nazis watched him the would be no debate.
But when I say everyone is at fault I do mean it. A lot of DnC’s fans have been literally calling this a “war” wanting to fight this like some sort of Holy Crusade. All over social media, I have seen mocking others. But here is what hit me the most. I follow a lot comic book professionals online. And a huge number of them have gotten into the hate. One, in particular, is an artist I admired and liked has posted nothing on social media past 24-48 hours but angry comments about politics. I don’t know whether to censor him will do anything, but I’ll do it anyways.
She/he started to call others racist and used a Muslim holiday to rub it in their faces. And then he went on to block people who were fans of her/his work seeking out friendly conversations between sides.
Today is New Comic Book Day. I open my feed and this is what I see all that. I decided to ask her/him what the point of this whole inner-fighting is. I did so in the most respectful manner as well.
Alright, I do sound like a weak baby who just wants everyone to stop fighting, but this is getting ridiculous! Also, the smug and passive agressive responses come off as pretentious and entitled.
I gained a few replies after this from other people. Friendly ones. One guy pointed out that at least this creator is coming from a place of good intentions, but that’s the problem. Everyone thinks they have good intentions. The reality though, is this inner fighting will never end. The second comment from another guy was equally as entitled, said I was choosing to stand for nothing by keep my mouth shut. However, many of my readers know I am the opposite of keeping my mouth shut. Only recently did I realize that ‘choosing a side’ means we stand for something, but by the end of the day it leads no where.
The actual creator never wanted to continue the discussion. Instead, I got blocked. A question remains: is this what being in comic fandom is?
Marvel was not happy with what happened. They took away Waid’s access to social media, but will that do anything? I doubt it. He rage quit social media just to come back to it before. This isn’t anything new. Mark Waid isn’t in the right. The number of retailers aren’t. Would they have acted differently if Marvel or DC had published Jawbreakers? I doubt it. It sucks to be Diveristy & Comics, but his actions have made this community and industry a mess. Drama became a priority for his channel. He covered as much of the ComicsPro as they did him. If he had acted more maturely if he hadn’t gone too far by constantly belittling creators and namecalling like some 10 year old this wouldn’t have happened. He is in the wrong. But what about Antarctic Press?
They were in their right to cancel Jawbreakers after being threatened their company was at a huge risk of losing money. But let’s not lie to ourselves. They’re as sneaky as others.
Hmmmmmm! Coming to Mark Waid’s defense while mentioning his boss and the company he works for in the same tweet. I’m sure he appreciated that. 🤔
The worst part about it all is that everyone believes they have the moral high ground of telling people what to do, how to act, how to think, what to support, what to hate, how to protest. We reached a point where the people who write and our heroes are becoming the last thing we’d every associate with one. Not just the industry pros. This applies to DnC as well. And that’s where I wanna end it. In a way, I have been a major critic of the quality of these books, which is why I want to start focusing on the comics I like. Don’t worry, I’ll always share the negative opinions, but not to the same extreme extent.
Anyway! Piece out. Tell me what you think about the whole situation in the comments below. Did I miss any vital details? Sound off!