Comics Alliance and I have had a longstanding grudge. As in they print politically correct BS, and I ignore them without playing my preferred Deadly Sin card: Wrath.
However, when someone directly asks me to have a crack at them, well, who am I to say no? 😀
This was suggested by the great and powerful Matthew Bowman, otherwise, I’m sure I would have blissfully coasted through life without ever having heard of this. But hey, we can’t let Lori have all the fisking fun.
The following comes from Comics Alliance author JA Micheline. I refuse to indulge her / him / them with the clicks, but if you must go there, it’s not hard to find — JA has written two articles. Go party. But I’ll be fisking all of it here, so why bother?
The title? “Why I’m Boycotting Marvel Comics.”
Marvel, you and I are taking a break.
And I am certain that Marvel cares about you … whoever you are. Seriously, are you somebody Marvel would care about? You don’t have an easily-found bio at Comics Alliance, so I presume that you’re supposed to be so well known that anyone should just know who you are. Well, you’re not. Sorry.
It’s not me; it’s you — and you made the decision really easy.
Yes, I know. I felt that way after One More Day myself.
In the past two to three weeks, I have watched you disrespect and disregard marginalized voices and I’ve had enough.
“Marginalized voices”? Red alert! Red alert! Buzzword warning! Buzzword warning! Danger Will Robinson!
And “two to three weeks”? Have you been scrupulously tracking the race of authors to character ratio? And if so, don’t you have anything better to do? And if not, why is it these three weeks have come to cause you such distress?
First, came your quiet decision to hand the new Blade book over to two white creators.
Um … Blade is about vampires. Not race relations, vampires. You do understand that vampires are less a #BlackLivesMatter problem and more an #AllLivesMatter problem, don’t you? Or are you one of those people who would storm the stage with outrage at such a hashtag? Yes, you strike me as a very hashtag person. Heavy on the hash — and I mean hashish, not corned beef hash. I’m saying you’re high, not fat.
To be clear, I have no reason to think either creator will do a bad job on this book,
Oh, I think you just did. You’ve quite implied already that because they’re white, this is a problem. Either their race is a problem, or it’s not — and since you went out of your way to say they’re white, this tells me quite clearly that this is a problem.
but I was disappointed that one of Marvel’s most prominent black heroes would be handed to white people yet again.
Blade is a prominent hero? The last time I heard of Blade, at all, was the last film with Wesley Snipes. And last time I checked, Blade’s race is not a factor in the comics. Why? Because, again, VAMPIRES. No, seriously JA, what part of vampires do you not understand? It’s not like Blade will have to deal with race relations. He carries at least one katana, and enough toys to make James Bond go “Ooh, shiny!” I would pity the poor racist who actually tries to make race an issue with Blade. Why? Because he deals with VAMPIRES.
I feel like I have to say this five or six times.
For every time you mention race with Blade, I will say: VAMPIRES.
Whenever this comes up, I get a tsunami of white people wondering what my problem is and suggesting I’m racist for saying white people can’t write about people of color.
A tsunami of white people? Really?
That’s probably far more people who give a damn about your opinion. And “whenever this comes up?” No, seriously, who are you? And why should I give a darn? And while we’re at it, do us a solid and link to even one occasion where you have brought this up. I would also like to see this tsunami of white people, because I think that would be a very amusing sight, something for my Facebook wall.
And frankly, if you’ve got a problem with white people writing black characters, please, take it up with James Patterson — because last I checked, Patterson is white (well, a leathery tan, really) and his most famous creation, Alex Cross, is black. Come to think of it, Cross might be the most popular black action hero in print since Shaft or Virgil Tibbs.
It’s not that white people can’t;
I’m sure James Patterson, and the Marvel writers you just maligned, are so grateful for your opinion.
it’s not even that they shouldn’t (except in some circumstances that I have written about almost ad nauseam recently) —
“I’m not say X … except in Y case, in which case I am saying X.” Uh huh. And you voted for it before you voted against it.
And you’ve written about it ad nauseam? Really? In the one other article you’ve written for Comics Alliance? Granted, you’re making me nauseous with your insistence that you’re not racist, but I don’t think that counts as ad nauseam. Here’s a hint: try looking up the definitions of unfamiliar words.
it’s that white people are the ones who, historically and systemically, are consistently offered the opportunity.
Uh huh. Let’s ignore for the moment that he was created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan — who appear to be two white guys, if their wiki photos are to be believed.
And in 2015, perhaps the right thing to do is to let people of color have a turn.
I’m sorry, were I writing this article, the thing I would do is “here is my list of all the black comic writers I’d want on Blade.” Did you forget to do five minutes of research and compile your list of suggestions? Were I saying “we need more female writers on X project” I’d immediately say “Gail Simone!” But I’m not the one saying we need writers who match the race of a character in order to write them.
Why bother judging them on the content of their writing when you can base them on the color of their skin?
Also, what does Blade’s race have to do with anything? Is he really going to have identity issues while avoiding being EATEN BY VAMPIRES?
But fine, you gave Blade to white guys — this isn’t new. It’s the same disappointment that is part and parcel of being a non-white fan.
Oh, I’m so, so grateful to hear that, you bloody little Social Justice Whiner. But wait, you already said that you’re boycotting Marvel — it’s in your headline. You really do base it on the color of their skin instead of the content of their writing. Because you haven’t said one single solitary word about how this would change anything about Blade, were it written by people of the “proper” race.
And let’s ignore that Blade IS FIGHTING VAMPIRES, NOT THE KLAN!
It is my reality to expect this from Marvel, from DC, from everyone. Black people writing about black people becomes a ‘black thing’.
Um … since when? Have any example? Links? Footnotes? Is this a thing in the comic book industry? Because if so, I must be out of the loop. Or is that what happens when you “read between the lines”?
Also, are we still on Blade? Because I’d really, really, really like you to tell me what his race has to do with fighting vampires. Any time now….
White people talking about black issues is somehow viewed as more neutral or honorable because they are unbiased — okay, sure, just another day.
Wait, what? What? Huh? How? Under what rationale? Who says this? Has anyone said it? Or is this just one more of your delusional, “I say it therefore it’s true” garbage? And aren’t you changing the topic? Tell me what racist identity politics have to do with VAMPIRES. Why are VAMPIRES a specifically black issue?
Even your announcement about the hip-hop variants wasn’t massively shocking.
It’s called pandering. It’s common. Just look up Northstar, who was an attempt to pander to the gay lobby.
I’m used to your executive editors just not getting it.
I love that, since the article cites a Tumblr account as proof. Yes. Tumblr, for when Wikipedia is just too credible for you.
I am used to tone-deafness,
I can believe that as I read your article. Did you have to break your arm to pat yourself on the back this hard?
and I am used to cultural appropriation.
Appropriation? I’m sorry, what’s being appropriated? The hip-hop pandering? In which case, by all means, protest, lodge a complaint. I’m not a fan of rap music myself, but this is appropriation? I didn’t think that Marvel was stealing hip-hop. That would be petty larceny, wouldn’t it?
Or are we back on Blade? In which case, really, you better start suing James Patterson. Right now.
Besides, Blade uses a katana, as I’ve already mentioned. Isn’t that the appropriation of Japanese culture? Is it only cultural appropriation when whites do it?
Also: is cultural appropriation just about hip-hop, or does it also apply for the vampire thing? Because no one wants to steal Blackula, from the 70s. Trust me on that.
I am used to companies using black culture for profit while refusing to put actual black people on their payroll — and before you say you have, show me the receipts.
Wait, I’m sorry. You didn’t just do something as simple as going to one Marvel staff page before you started tossing around accusations of bias? You realize you just said that Marvel won’t hire black people, right? Not that they haven’t, or that they don’t have the opportunity, you just said that Marvel refused to put blacks on their payroll. You have clearly and plainly called them racist. They refuse to hire blacks — ie: they have refused to hire people on the grounds of race.
JA, I really hope you’re as irrelevant as I hope you are, because otherwise, Marvel may be obliged to sue you. That would be like settling a bar fight with a tank.
And by what right do you have to insist on Marvel proving their hiring policies to you, you weaselly, mealy-mouthed little twit?
Oh, and for the record, you pompous ass, if you looked in your own comment section, you’d find this link: which is all about Black comic book writers and artists. You’d find that a Reginald Hudlin wrote for Black Panther and Spider Man (both Marvel characters) — he’s black. Or Christopher Priest also wrote Black Panther — black. How about a fellow named ChrisCross, who wrote for Captain Marvel (of Marvel) — also black.
And this is a casual skimming of the link. Sorry I don’t have pay stubs.
Also: you were ranting and raving about Blade not two paragraphs before going into black culture. You have yet to explain to me the part of black culture that includes hunting vampires. And if you say A Vampire in Brooklyn, I will laugh at you even more than I am already.
Really, show me your current black writers. I am practically begging for someone to prove me wrong on this score.
Again, do your own research. This fisk is eating up too much of my brain just dealing with your stupidity.
I’ve been loudly trotting out the fact that Marvel has never hired a black woman to write an ongoing in 75 years
Where have you been loudly trotting? You’ve written two articles on Comics Alliance — this is one — and haven’t provided links anywhere else. If all this trotting happened in your second article, one article isn’t that loud. Also, you should be trotting on the horse path, not online.
because I am waiting for the blessed day for when some fanboy can “well, actually” me with a single example. I won’t stop complaining, but at least there’ll have been one.
This presumes fanboys want to write to you. Again, who the hell are you that anyone should justify themselves to you? I don’t even know if you’re a man, a woman, or Bruce Jenner. You’re a set of initials! But you can’t do something as simple as walking up to Marvel’s staff page and saying “They don’t have anyone here as of X date. Here’s a screen cap.” Because that’s what real people do, they provide evidence. Not demand that evidence be shown them.
But oh, by the way, I like how the rubric has changed. We’ve gone from “blacks should write blacks,” to now they’re racist and sexist. Nicely done, article, nicely done. By the way, if you happen to be a black female, I’m going to lay money that they’ve told you your message fiction sucked, and you can’t write comics, or anything else.
Also, article, if you won’t stop complaining if we send you examples, then why should we send you examples? Any? At all? You’re still going to whine.
Also: Vampires? Still waiting.
And don’t “well, we have black artists/colorists” me either in a climate where you have clearly (and wrongly) demonstrated that you value writers over artists.
Wait — wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Comic book writers are valued over artists? Since when? No, really, since when? Go through Peter David’s backlog of articles on But I Digress and you’ll see more articles about how artists are valued over writers than I know what to do with. Image comics was created solely by artists, because they didn’t need no stinking writers.
And wait, stop, hold up: it’s wrong to value writers over artists? Because quality writing isn’t needed for comics, but shiny pictures for the poor dumb illiterate nerds are?
Wow, you are a special kind of stupid.
And, wait, you are insisting that Marvel hire black writers, yes, JA? You’re insisting that. But you just said that Marvel shouldn’t value writers more than artists. So, you want Marvel to hire black writers, and also not care about the writers, black or not?
By your own standards and priorities, you’ve made it implicitly clear that black people can’t have the reins to their stories or anyone else’s.
Wow. If I were Marvel, I’d consider suing JA for that alone.
And, wait: Blade is black, therefore it is a black story? Uh huh. So, the mutant Banshee is Irish, therefore every story he’s in is an Irish story, and can only be written by an Irishman? Wolverine can only be written by Canadians? The Mandarin can only be written by Greg Pak, because he’s Asian and thus it’s an Asian story? How far down this rabbit hole would you like to go? I’m game if you are.
But I digress.
Yes, Peter David is a better writer than you.
The moment you and I really started having a problem, Marvel,
Wait, what? You haven’t had a problem for the previous dozen paragraphs? Have you been asleep this whole time?
was when your editor-in-chief all but laughed off the numerous critiques of the variants. Axel Alonso’s interview with CBR was unspeakably condescending and horrendously dismissive.
Axel Alonso is your problem? JA, buddy, pal, dear friend, Marvel’s editorial decisions from above have dismissed, out of hand, every fan who has ever paid five minutes of attention to the comic franchise — with Civil War, with One More Day, with almost every event for the past ten years — what gives you special credit in the outrage department? Take a number and get in line.
From using scare quotes to frame the discussion to referring, to outcry from David Brothers and other readers/critics as a “small but very loud contingent,” to — and this is the part that I pretty much can’t forgive — indicating that we had suddenly learned the phrase ‘cultural appropriation’ and were eager to use it in an essay.
Considering your above use of it, yes, I think you are eager to use it in an essay. This essay for one.
I could actually write an entire piece on why it was beyond A Bad Idea to parade the assumption that black critics have just learned the word ‘cultural appropriation’ and have no idea what they were talking about. I could definitely write an entire piece on why it was Well Past The Point Of Bad Choices for Alonso to only directly address the critique that came from white writer Noah Berlatsky, and use it as an excuse to ignore all other critiques.
But I won’t, because there are only so many hours in the day and we’re still on the topic of why I’m boycotting you.
Yes. Because God forbid you ever get to the point.
Oh, did I not say that? Yes, this is a boycott. I’m boycotting you, Marvel Comics.
And I’m sure Marvel cares so much. I think I may have cared, back when you did say that, in the headline.
Because here’s what happened in the week that followed:
Beyond the general hand-waving and promises with minimal substance about black writers, Alonso — editor-in-chief, let’s remember, the person who is running the show in your editorial department — made it clear that your upcoming Hercules book would depict him, categorically, as straight. This, at a time when you are putting out z-e-r-o books with a queer lead character. Not a single one. Hercules, a character who is canonically — and I mean going back to the Greeks, canonically — bisexual, and a character who has been depicted as/alluded to as bisexual throughout your comics, and your editor-in-chief says, “No.”
Um … what? Excuse me, if we were to be canonical about mythological characters, Marvel would have bestiality on parade (Google “Loki” and “Horse” and you will never look at Tom Hiddleston the same way again). Also incest and pederasty. But hey, I’m sure you back NAMBLA, too.
Or did you just skim Wikipedia on Greek mythology until you got to the one part you cared about?
And, wait, you want to take the Marvel Hercules — who, by the way, has been kicking around the Marvel universe for awhile now — and rewrite him gay, because … Why?
That is, in no uncertain terms, a slap in the face to every queer reader who picks up your comic books. You had an opportunity to represent them, an opportunity that already has precedent, an opportunity that would require next to no effort from you — and your top representative went out of his way to make sure queer people weren’t included.
Yes, because gays, who may top out at 3% of the population, are such a big market base that Marvel must pander to them. Except that they already have, a few times. And it’s getting kinda tiresome (see Northstar above).
And why should Hercules being straight be a slap in the face to anyone? Because he’s rippling with muscles, and therefore a potential gay pinup? Because there’s a potential for him to be bi, and because it wasn’t taken, it’s a slap in the face?
Oh, and “queer”? Really? Because that’s not in any way offensive to anyone. I grew up with it as a slur. I guess you’re more “enlightened,” so you can get away with it?
And then, as if that weren’t enough, he took to Twitter — alongside Chris D’Lando, your #2 PR person — and retweeted a photoshop from a Gamergater effectively mocking anyone who viewed Hercules as queer — using images from an issue that some had already found questionable with regards to queer representation.
Yes, the tweets were deleted (with no apology). No, that does not matter in the slightest.
I think we’re back to “Marvel doesn’t acknowledge base readers, but somehow, you’re special … why?”
In the past two weeks, your editor-in-chief has not just denied criticism by, denied representation of, and ultimately denied opportunities to marginalized people; he then used social media to make fun of us right next to the person who is responsible for your public relations.
This goes right to the core of your company and I will not accept it.
Oh, I don’t think Alonso is making fun of you, JA. He’s just ignoring you. I’m making fun of you. And your little dog, too.
But, of course, after JA’s done bitching about how Hercules isn’t gay enough for her / him / it, s/he/it then posts a photo of Hercules declaring his love for a guy named Howlett. Because welcome to Marvel, if you don’t like the regular comic book universe, don’t worry, we’ve got enough alternate dimensions and versions of characters to float a battleship. If you want the character to be gay, heck, wait five minutes.
No, seriously, nicely done, article. Posting a pic that undercuts everything you’ve been bitching about.
Also, look up “Miles Morales.” Trust me, he’s much bigger than Hercules, and he’s got a title. He might have three titles. Last time I checked, he was gay. Or bi. I haven’t read it, so this one is kinda second hand.
So, we’re on a break until two things happen: (1) you hire three different black writers for your ongoing books and (2) you put forth three ongoing books with different queer leads.
Both of those conditions must be met to get me to buy any of the rest of your books for the foreseeable future.
Wait. Something just occurred to me. JA … what comics have you been reading up to this point? No, seriously, I’d love to know. What money is Marvel losing on you? What is your nerd cred? Because I think they can live without your $5 a month.
I know what you’re thinking: Wow, JAM, isn’t that a lot to ask for? Why not just come back to them when they’ve done one of each, you know? Give them a chance?
Actually, that isn’t what I’m thinking. I’m thinking “why should they listen to you at all. Seriously, are you anyone important? At all?”
Well, I’m thinking of black comics creator Dwayne McDuffie’s “Rule of Three.” McDuffie posits that, as soon as you have three members of a marginalized community represented, they stop being token members and start — strangely — being perceived as “taking over.” He relates that, when he began writing Justice League and included three black members on the team — as an editorial directive — fans, primarily white and male, suddenly felt that he was pushing some kind of agenda. In fact, what McDuffie had done was represent marginalized characters not as tokens, but instead as people who have their own community and are equally valued.
Um … 1) He was pushing an agenda, wasn’t he? To make sure these characters had what he deemed to be sufficient respect? Oh look, that’s an agenda. Maybe good, maybe bad, but it’s a goal. 2) So, you’re trying to apply a narrative agenda tool for a real life agenda tool. Because you’re a tool.
And that’s what I’m demanding of you, Marvel.
When you have hostages, then you can make demands, buddy / lady / whatever the bleep you are.
I’m sure you’ll say that I am only hurting my cause by not giving money to books that are representing the diverse ideal, or to other creators of color, or female creators, or what have you.
No. I don’t care what you do with your $5 a month, and I’m sure Marvel won’t notice you, or any of your five readers who join in, but that’s a good point.
But I would remind you that this is what happens whenever anyone boycotts anything.
Actually, a boycott is just stamping your feet a lot and giving people free PR. Boycotts worked so well against Chik-Fil-A.
Any boycott will inevitably have collateral damage to people who don’t espouse the same views as their employers, but the fact of matter is, you — the corporation you — will only start listening when the money stops rolling in.
Event comics sell over a hundred thousand issues. Imagine if any standard Marvel title sells, well, only ten thousand an issue. I think it will take more than the two dozen people who comment on your article to have Marvel take you seriously. Even if every one of the 90 comments were by different people (instead of five people declaring a war on everyone who disagrees with you), and every one agreed with you, Marvel wouldn’t notice.
You’ve crossed the line and it’s time to take a stand.
A line? Really? You didn’t seem to have a problem until Alonso mouthed off and apparently disrespect you. Hell, he didn’t give you what you thought you deserve … because somehow, he’s supposed to read your mind, because you’re so important, and why am I even putting effort into this anymore?
Oh, right. That’s why. Carry on.
Readers make this choice all the time. They elect not to buy certain comics for personal or political reasons. And it is their right and prerogative to do so. It just so happens that my boycott has gone company-wide because, among other things, Axel Alonso’s name is printed and credited on every single one of your books. And as far as I know, what he stands for is what you stand for.
But, I also want to say here: let’s not get it twisted. This is not just about Alonso’s recent conduct as an individual. This is about how his actions fit into the overall pattern of your publishing and hiring patterns. I’m not boycotting your editor-in-chief; I am boycotting you. This is about a constellation of choices made by your establishment, not a single data point.
Yeah, yeah, whatever. Marvel is racist / bigoted / homophobic, and look, let’s just steal a page out of the anti-Sad Puppy crowd and sum it up as “Vox Day,” all right? Because you didn’t get the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun you wanted, you’re going to hold your breath and stamp your feet, because you didn’t get exactly what you want. Marvel can pander to gays all you want, but you’re not going to be happy until they rewrite main characters, or create title characters just to pander to a specific subsection of the populace, instead of the mainstream. Marvel can have a Luke Cage Netflix show, but I’m sure you won’t be happy with that until you see “enough” blacks on the script-writing and production staff — whatever you deem to be enough, that is.
I’m past the point of giving you the chance and have landed straight in the territory of demanding something more than one-and-done, something more than one writer and one queer character, something more than your excuses or your breadcrumbs.
I’m demanding that you start listening.
Hey, I’ve demanded that Joe Quesada be made to walk the plank off the roof of 666 Fifth avenue for years now, and I think that it would do more to improve the overall quality of the writing than your suggestion. I won’t hold my breath. You, by all means, hold your breath.
Put a black writer on a book, I’ll give it a try.
Oh, how gracious of you. It doesn’t have to be a good writer, just any one will do, right? Do you care more about the person, or the color of their skin?
Announce a book with a queer lead, I will gladly read that first issue.
What if a gay he or she writes about a straight character? Would you be offended?
Also, you want to play Rule of three? Look up “Miles Morales,” the Ultimate Universe Spider Man, coming to the regular Marvel universe. He’s half-Hispanic and half-black, and he’s got his own title. I’ve lost count of how many titles Spider-Man has. It was announced months ago. Seriously, where the hell have you been? Hibernation?
Oh, wait, I now understand what JA made such a point about three different leads. JA does know about Miles Morales as Spider-Man, and Spider-Man has God-knows how many titles. Light dawns.
But until you can break that Rule of Three — and really, until you get your house in order — you will have no business from me.
Aww, how cute, you can rhyme. And you added another, undefined condition (“until you get your house in order”) as well. I’m sure that, if you have a next post, you’ll shift the goalposts by using that “house in order” line.
Call me a small but very loud contingent if you want, but I promise you I’m not the only one.
We know you’re not the only one. SJWs seem to be everywhere, though I’ve noticed they don’t really spawn. They’re like viruses, they grab onto someone else’s kid and try to inject enough indoctrination and hope it sticks.
At the end of the day, this boils down to identity politics 101. And is a great heaping load of pure garbage.
And I still have no idea what being black has to do with hunting vampires.
Declan Finn is a Catholic New York nerd, and author of the Pius Trilogy, which features an idiotic American President who deliberately targets churches because they are inconvenient to his political power. Any similarities to Obama are purely coincidental. There are also terrorists who want to blow up the Vatican — written before ISIS existed. The series ends with taking the concept of “the war on God” to its most literal interpretation. Finn is hard at work on the sequel to Codename: Winterborn, which was about Americans being left to die in a Muslim country by vile American politicians. Of course, none of these politicians look at all like Obama either. Honest.
Declan Finn is also in charge of http://apiusman.blogspot.com/p/yup.html dedicated to Catholicism, Geekery, and news that effects both.