I really picked an absolute peach of a week to start writing this column. The idea behind it was to take a look at the comic book industry news highlights and lowlights as well as the latest scuttlebutt coming from places like Twitter through a humorous and acerbic lens. Then this week happened…
The comic industry like most entertainment industries is never short of drama or scandal but this week has ripped a band-aid off what appeared to be a small cut and exposed a horrific nine-inch deep gangrenous wound. Even that comparison is not accurate because the truth is it’s very clearly, from the revelations this week, been this way for a long long time; it’s just that most of us only see the surface or choose not to listen. Another hard truth is that a lot of very brave women who have come forward and spoken about it have known how deep this rot is and have suffered in silence until a courageous voice said no more. She stood up and brought her story out into the light which in turn, brought forth a deluge of revelations exposing the ugly truth about how women have been treated and abused in an industry that for the most part tells tales about characters that champion doing the right thing. Turns out that is all they are– tales– because as an industry Comics has shown it has an exceptionally large amount of work to do.
Hey. That post about being groomed as a teenager? I’m talking about Cameron Stewart. The comic book artist. We met when I was 16 and he was in his 30s. Maybe 32? It was 2009.
— Aviva Maï ? (@AvivaMaiArtzy) June 16, 2020
I am not an industry insider. Getting review copies, interviews and press releases doesn’t make you an insider. All it makes you is an amplifier for the industry to help spread information and if I have learned anything this week, it’s that just doing that is not good enough. I am a fan that likes to write and share news about an industry I love, but after this week, I don’t recognize in its ugliness. Quite frankly my discomfort as a privileged white male is trivial in the face of what women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ people face on a daily basis in the industry and in life. But this column is hopefully a step in the right direction. It’s time to stop being just a mouthpiece and start being a voice for change. Time to hold people in this industry accountable and to amplify the voices who have for far too long been cajoled and bullied into silence.
Part of the idea for the column was to have a win of the week and a fail of the week. Well, this week we dedicate the win to every single woman who came forward and spoke up about abuse in the industry. Changing what’s wrong in any industry starts with dragging the ugly truth kicking and screaming into the light of day for everybody to look at it and saying we will not let this happen anymore. Listen to women, listen to people of color, listen to LGBTQIA+ people, raise those voices until the people in charge are made to hear.
As for the failures of the week…there are several but let’s start with the obvious one: men. Men failed this week. Men in the industry who had power and seniority over women failed to lift those women unselfishly but rather chose to use their power and influence to abuse women for their own self-interest, and no, your half-assed apology doesn’t begin to cut it. Men failed this week to choose to believe women but instead, this comic artist decided to defend their really bad centrist position in the face of overwhelming evidence that dire wrong has been done– what a hill to die in on!
Lastly to DC Comics: who in their right minds decides with all that’s going on in the world, that a cover like the one below which directly makes a connection to an absolutely horrific and traumatic event like the Aurora Shooting where people died is acceptable to publish??? At best it is a tone-deaf mistake. At worst it exposes an absolute lack of editorial insight bordering on the absurd at one of comics largest publishers. We are complicit in that we published. The early look which did not have the final wording which we should not have done, and for that, we can only apologize for our own lack of sensitivity to this issue. WTF does not begin to cover it…
I look forward to the day when this column can be dedicated to taking a humorous look at the comics industry but that time isn’t now.
OPINION: WTF Happened In Comics This Week?!
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