Debarkle Chapter 66: The Rise and Self Destruction of Comicsgate

[Content warning for bullying and misogyny]

GamerGate (see chapter 28) and the Puppy campaigns had each chosen their own mode of popular culture to stage a revolt against the perceived incursion of more modern ideas. The offending ideas were not just social/political but also aesthetic or a combination of both — particularly regarding how women were represented. While both GamerGate and the Puppy campaigns included women supporters, both campaigns highlighted feminism as one of the social movements they were pushing back on and also portrayed the respective domains as places naturally suited for the enjoyment of young men.

Among the alt-right (see chapter 57) both of these campaigns were part of a broader pushback against the inclusion of women, a greater range of ethnic groups and LGBTQI people in popular culture both as characters and as creators. This pushback was tied to a politically paranoid belief that sinister forces were attempting to wipe out white people as a group and hence the increased representation in popular culture (from movies to TV adverts) of people other than manly looking cis-het English-speaking Christian white men was regarded as confirmation of a genocidal plot. This overarching idea allowed the alt-right to connect in their rhetoric everything from their opposition to immigration and movements like Black Lives Matter with their support for Donald Trump, and of course to the ongoing struggle over popular culture.

GamerGate had framed itself as a consumer uprising, the Puppy campaigns would adopt similar rhetoric but were predominantly campaigns by content creators (i.e. authors). Even the more GamerGate aspects of the Puppy campaigns (eg the Tor Boycott – see chapter 43) was still led primarily by aspiring authors. However, a more general reactionary consumer revolt tactic was adopted on the right across a broader range of popular culture. In the aftermath of GamerGate, this had included a coordinated campaign against the women-led reboot of the Ghostbuster’s franchise. The targeted harassment of actor Leslie Jones led to Milo Yiannopoulos being permanently banned from Twitter[1].

Other alt-right backlashes in popular culture included campaigns against Rian Johnson’s Star War’s sequel The Last Jedi[2] in 2017. In 2018 former GamerGate and Puppy supporter Brian Niemeier was one of many on the right who was outraged by Netflix commissioning a re-boot of 1980’s kid’s cartoon She-Ra but with more body-positive character designs. Niemeier saw the move as a sadistic mental game by the media company.

“What follows is crucial. In fact, it’s the whole point. The converged corporation fans initial murmurs of normie dissatisfaction into a full-fledged backlash. Conveniently, the company will have hired a race hustler masquerading as a writer or a LOOK AT ME!!! LGBTQ+ mascot to headline the project. Those who complained have unwittingly stepped into a kafkatrap wherein the production’s SJW fellow travelers in the media can snipe at normal people with their victims caught in a crossfire.”

https://brianniemeier.com/2018/07/the-sjw-turkey-shoot/

Even cute Disney musicals got dragged into the culture war with, belatedly, the song “Let It Go” from the 2013 film Frozen being identified as subversively feminist in 2017 by popular right-wing self-help guru of the time Jordan Peterson calling the film “propagandistic”[3] while Vox Day saw Satan and the collapse of civilisation in the song.

“Disney is run by literal satanists preaching Alastair Crowley’s “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” to children. They are one of the primary engine’s of the West’s degeneracy and decline. It is not an accident that everything they touch, in every industry, turns into morally radioactive slime.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20171027230425/http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/10/the-devil-that-is-disney.html

However, histrionics about catchy show tunes lacked the same mobilising influence as GamerGate and the Puppy campaigns had. Attempts to derail huge franchises backed by marketing might of the increasingly dominant Disney corporation proved to be largely fruitless.

Among the many areas in this sporadic cultural campaign was superhero comic books. This front in the culture war was initially just part of the same unfocused complaints about the improved representation of women and other groups in modern comics. Most notable of these incidents was the far-right online harassment campaign that sprung up in 2016 objecting to the cover of a Marvel comic featuring the character Mockingbird in a t-shirt that read “Ask me about my feminist agenda”[4]. The writer of the comic, Chelsea Cain, was subject to a wave of harassment on social media[5]. In 2017 an otherwise unremarkable photograph of women staff at Marvel drinking milkshakes became the focus of another social media harassment campaign.

“According to a vocal contingent online, Antos and the Marvel Milkshake Crew were “fake geek girls,” “social justice warriors,” and “tumblr-virtue signalers,” the sort of people who were ruining the comics industry by their very presence. “The creepiest collection of stereotypical SJWs [“social justice warriors”] anyone could possibly imagine,” one user tweeted. Musings on Antos’ sexual availability led another to write, “Better have her sign a consent form, she looks like the ‘false rape charge’ type.””

https://www.thedailybeast.com/comicsgate-how-an-anti-diversity-harassment-campaign-in-comics-got-uglyand-profitable

Central to that campaign was a YouTuber and comic book writer/reviewer Richard C. Meyer, who had been using his channel (entitled “Diversity & Comics”) to promulgate the idea that feminism and diversity were undermining comics. Not all of Meyer’s anti-diversity rhetoric was public and his more extreme comments were contained in a private channel for more dedicated fans of his videos.

“In a private YouTube video called “The Dark Roast,” originally posted in November 2017 and obtained by The Daily Beast, Meyer called one Marvel editor a “cum-dumpster,” accused various female writers of “sucking their way into the industry,” and mused which famous creators were pedophiles or had psychological problems. “The Dark Roast is where I get to say stuff like ‘Dan Slott looks like a pedophile,’” he says in the recording. “I don’t have to dance around, I don’t have to say ‘parody’ or wink-wink.””

ibid

Meyer was one of the two central figures in Comicsgate but before we get to the second figure, we need to look at the other dimension of Comicsgate and encounter some more familiar faces.

Comics, as an industry, had many features in common with both the book publishing world of the Puppy campaigns and the quite different world of video games. Technological change and shifts in consumer habits had meant that the dominant publishers of superhero comic books (Marvel and DC) were dealing with a changing market. Fewer people were buying individual comics from speciality comic book stores and instead of buying comics digitally or in collections/graphic novel formats. In addition, Japanese manga had become increasingly available to Western audiences since the 1990s. As with book publishing, people hadn’t stopped reading but the market had become less predictable and consumer choice had increased significantly[6].

Not unlike video games, the comic book industry had also had a long history of difficult and often exploitative relationships not just with fans but also with the key people producing the creative work. In the new century, the value of the intellectual property of many classic superheroes had come to far exceed that of the sales of comic books — especially for Marvel (now owned by Disney) whose superhero movies were becoming must-see blockbuster films.

Digital tools and digital publishing also had reduced some of the barriers to the creation of independent comics. However, comics remained more complex and expensive to produce than written word books and required more collaboration between individuals. As with independently produced novels, aspiring comic book creators taking an independent path faced the issue of how to stand out in a busy market.

The twenty-first century had brought many internet-based innovations but one of particular pertinence to this chapter was the rise of crowdfunding sites. Some of these sites, like GoFundMe[7], were focused on personal causes or charitable giving, others such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo were intended to help people fund specific projects[8]. The Kickstarter model was well suited to projects such as comics and graphic novels. The time and cost of writing and illustrating a comic involves significant risk for the people involved and being paid in advance of the work had obvious advantages by demonstrating that there was a paying audience for the proposed work.

Inevitably tying the culture war to crowdfunding comic books was a step that somebody was going to take.

Although it was not obvious in March 2017, the shine was coming off Vox Day’s Castalia House publishing project. When the Rabid Puppies campaigns finally ran out of steam, Day’s enthusiasm for publishing new science fiction novels would also wane sharply. Provoked by an article in The Federalist by Jon Del Arroz jumping on the trend of attacking diversity in comics, Day asked his followers if they’d be interested in crowdfunding a line of comics from Castalia.

“Is this something where a Kickstarter would make sense? I don’t like the idea of relying solely upon the Dread Ilk for this, as you are already supporting more vital projects such as Gab, Infogalactic, and Castalia House. Those are strategic projects of general interest, whereas something like this is more specific to a single converged market. My thought is that it would be interesting to subvert the current superhero genre with a group of nationalist superheroes who are totally opposed to the evil would-be rulers of the world; they’d be seen as villains, of course, by those who romanticized saving the UN every Saturday morning in the 1970s and 80s.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170401023420/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/03/diversity-in-comics.html

Day had already had some work done illustrating his Quantum Mortis science fiction novel and while Castalia House’s back catalogue wasn’t huge, there was a variety of works he could adapt. Day was already using his many followers for more direct crowdfunding of his various projects (such as his alternate version of Wikipedia).

After considering the mainstream crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Day was faced with a dilemma. He wanted the campaign to be overtly controversial with some of the initial artwork featuring a vigilante hunting down an illegal immigrant who was a child rapist. By 2017, large tech companies had belatedly begun to become far warier of providing material support for the far-right and Day believed that Kickstarter would cave to the inevitable backlash to his campaign. Not that Day didn’t want a backlash (he hoped to provoke one) but he did not want a backlash of sufficient strength that it would derail the funding of the campaign.

In the end, Day used a new (and short-lived) crowdfunding site called Freestartr, the creation of a right-wing activist/entrepreneur Charles C. Johnson[9]. Freestartr was also used by Richard Spencer to crowdfund some of his legal fees in the wake of the disastrous Unite the Right rally[10]. The lowest level pledge for the project was at $10 and was named “Pull the Trigger”:

“This is for those who could not care less about comics, but enjoy tormenting SJWs and would enjoy the privilege of triggering them by being able to say “yeah, I did that.” We will send you a special digital portrait of Rebel, in her Alt★Hero outfit, blowing a kiss and saying “You’re welcome!” that you can send to people crying about it on social media.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170929184914/https://freestartr.com/project/althero/

Your ten dollars would earn you a picture of “Rebel”, one of Day’s superhero characters — a young woman from the US South whose costume incorporated the design of a Confederate flag.

Day’s campaign was a success raising $34,735, although nearly a third of that amount was from just three donors[11]. Freestartr as an overall project would be less successful due to being cut off by payment processing companies PayPal and Stripe in 2018[12].

The campaign resulted in Castalia gaining a new imprint called Arkhaven Comics and Day had a new channel to bring his combination of the culture war and commercial venture to the world.

This takes us to the fourth figure in the world of Comicsgate: Ethan Van Sciver[13]. A comic book artist who had had some success with DC and Marvel. Van Sciver had also notably provided the illustrations in 2017 for the highly popular right-wing self-help book 12 Rules for Life by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. Van Sciver’s YouTube channel Comic increasingly became the centre of Comicsgate activity, with his focus shifting from advice on illustrating comics to culture-war rhetoric and promoting figures such as Vox Day and Richard C. Meyer, and like Meyer adopted the anti-SJW rhetoric of Vox Day[14].

Both Meyer and Van Sciver took the culture war boost into crowdfunding their own comics projects in 2018. Meyer’s Jawbreakers—Lost Souls comic was announced as a Kickstarter project near the start of the year but his connection with the ongoing social media harassment of other figures in comics led to some comic book stores announcing that they would not stock the comic once it was released. These announcements led to new rounds of harassment:

“On the early morning of Friday, May 11th Meyer agreed with a fan’s joke about breaking the legs of those at the stores who refused to carry Jawbreakers, rallying his “army” around his cause. Shortly thereafter that morning, Variant Edition Culture & Comics was broken into, the glass was smashed through in the front of the store, and money was stolen from the register. There are strong suspicions from the shop’s owner and the local community that this was no coincidence. That afternoon despite the problematic violence, Meyer’s “army” continued to threaten Big Bang with unknown “consequences”.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20180930081423/https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2018/05/previously-on-comics-comicsgate-gets-aggressive-and-other-news/

The subsequent storm led the publisher Antarctic Press to withdraw their plans to publish Jawbreakers with Meyer. In retaliation, Meyer started legal action against Antarctic Press and announced his own publishing company to produce the comic. Antarctic’s action was then characterised by Comicsgate supporters as further evidence of leftwing censorship.

Jon Del Arroz used his column in the prominent far-right web magazine The Federalist to frame the conflict over Jawbreakers as a battle for freedom of expression.

“Their backtracking had big implications for Meyer and his team, as the book would no longer be distributed to comic book stores. But there was little they could do about it. Antarctic Press was hit by a storm of industry professionals colluding to try to force conservative-authored competition out of the business, which was followed by several retailers threatening to drop all Antarctic Press books from their shelves if the publisher produced Meyer’s book. The precedent set is disturbing, but this kind of anti-conservative discrimination has been festering in the comics world for a long time.”

https://thefederalist.com/2018/05/15/mob-attempts-strangle-youtubers-breakout-success-upon-ditching-sjw-infested-comics/

According to Del Arroz, Comicsgate was an anti-harassment campaign, pushing back against leftwing hate directed at conservatives within the comics industry.

With figures like Meyer and Van Sciver publishing their own comics using crowdfunding but also facing issues with potential boycotts from publishers, distributors and comic shops, Vox Day saw an opportunity. Day had already established a second comics imprint Dark Legion, intended for more creator-owned projects to complement his Arkhaven comics. Day himself regarded the broader Comicsgate campaign less like GamerGate and more like the Sad Puppy campaign to the extent of overtly stating that “Comicsgate is Sad Puppies”[15] and prior to that describing Meyer and Van Sciver as “moderates”. This was both dismissive and also a way for Day to support Van Sciver’s claims that the Comicsgate campaign was somehow an apolitical consumer backlash against forced diversity. However, Day also recognised that “Comicsgate” as a brand name was attracting the attention of a large potential market for Arkhaven and Castalia House.

In September 2018 Vox Day staged a very small comic book coup d’etat.

Day announced the third imprint for his line of comics and registered the name in systems for the distribution of comics[16]. The name chosen was Comicsgate Comics.

“Theodore “Vox Day” Beale, the Nazi-quoting nationalist most famous for gaming the Hugo Awards with bloc voting campaigns, has appropriated the “ComicsGate” name for a new comics publishing company. But adherents of the ComicsGate movement, though sharing his distate for diversity, are far from pleased.”

https://boingboing.net/2018/09/04/alt-right-publisher-founds-com.html

Day’s move to apparently control the term “Comicsgate” led to a furious backlash from Ethan Van Sciver. Day attempted to explain that he was not seeking to control the term but rather help creative people who wanted to support Comicsgate.

“Arkhaven is for the original material that we create. Dark Legion is what other creators bring to us for publishing. ComicsGate is similar to Dark Legion, but it is specifically for creators and fans who wish to make public their support for ComicsGate. We don’t claim to define ComicsGate, we don’t claim to be the official publisher of ComicsGate, and there will certainly be ComicsGaters who will utilize other publishers and distribution channels, this is merely our way of offering our structural support for the people and philosophy of ComicsGate.”

https://boundingintocomics.com/2018/09/03/exclusive-vox-day-announces-new-comicsgate-imprint/

Day, Meyer and Van Sciver had already established social media followings of people involved in notable anti-SJW campaigns. The subsequent fight over the name “Comicsgate” was exactly as toxic as you would imagine setting warring armies of trolls against each other would be.

Caught in the middle was Jon Del Arroz. Arroz had used his social media presence and his platform on The Federalist to boost Van Sciver, Meyer and the Comicsgate hashtag. He also had allied himself with Vox Day and had books published via Castalia and comics distributed by Arkhaven including a forthcoming adaptation of MilSF writer Richard Fox’s Ember War series.

For the first time, Day found himself facing substantial opposition from people marginally to the left of him in anti-SJW right. Portrayed as a grifter and a carpet-bagger, new-found critics of Day discovered (as if they were new) some of Day’s more extreme views, including Day’s endorsement of the political mass murderer and child-killer Anders Brevik.

Right-wing anti-SJW comic review site Bounding Into Comics made a call for peace.

“On September 3rd, 2018, Alt-Hero publisher Vox Day announced his prospective Comicsgate imprint right here on Bounding Into Comics, and it would be an insult to diarrhea to say that the Comicsgate community understandably lost their crap in response. Whether Vox Day was trying to do something he deemed to be positive for the movement, or he was just trying to co-opt it a la Sad Puppies…or both, is mostly irrelevant; the fallout from his move was quite real, particularly when it came to author and occasional BIC contributor Jon Del Arroz.”

https://boundingintocomics.com/2018/09/22/lets-not-turn-comicsgate-into-dramagate/

Under pressure, Day had abandoned the idea of a Comicsgate imprint and also wanted an end to the infighting but also did not want to concede defeat. He even took issue with how Bounding Into Comics described his relationship with the Sad Puppies.

“I would, however, like to correct one common misapprehension: I never co-opted Sad Puppies. To the contrary, I was the architect of the Sad Puppies most notorious success and at no point in time was there ever any conflict between the Sad Puppies and me. If you look more closely, you’ll notice that none of the four leaders of the Sad Puppies, from Larry to Kate, have ever made a single accusation on that score. I don’t intend to say any more than that, except to reiterate an absolute fact: I did not co-opt Sad Puppies and anyone who claims I did in any way, shape, or form is wrong.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20210808092457/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/09/dramagate.html

Day did not give up on his plans for Arkhaven but his attempt to involve himself more directly in Comicsgate had seriously backfired. More generally, Day had narrowed the field of support that he had in the online right. His feuds with figures such as Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin (people willing to adopt the more overt trappings of Nazism) had earned him enemies to his marginal right and now the Comicsgate infighting had earned him enemies to his marginal-left (i.e. people who had embraced his anti-SJW rhetoric but were warier of being seen as white nationalist extremists).

Jon Del Arroz had also found himself on the less fun side of a right-wing social media harassment campaign. By November 2018 he was declaring that Comicsgate was dead and that it was a failed movement[17]. Del Arroz also now conceded a point that many critics of Comicsgate had already observed: a lot of what was being produced by Comicsgate crowdfunded campaigns were either low quality or late or both.

“It divided the audience, made everyone angry. There was no more to it than that. It didn’t help people sell books. A lot of small time creators who were not seeing the indiegogo returns as the bigger names got angry. They were promised a new day in comics, it didn’t come. Books started to fail in their goal, and all because the youtube crowd moved from trying to help everyone and lift all boats… to trying to protect their increasingly shrinking corner of fandom”

https://web.archive.org/web/20190125170831/http://delarroz.com/2018/11/16/a-failed-movement-in-three-acts/

When Del Arroz was more openly criticised by Ethan Van Sciver, Del Arroz struck back making another point that critics of Day, Van Sciver and Del Arroz would find familiar.

“Many of these guys do not, however. They’re stuck. This youtube money was never going to last forever. The whole premise was based on outrage, not actual products, and so these guys have to perpetually stoke outrage — at Vox Day, at me, at Miss Sashi, at smaller creators (Ethan dedicated several shows to attacking a guy who had an indiegogo with less than 20 backers because he spoke ill of EVS), at fans even — who I won’t name to protect them. They’re using the same tactics as the pros at Marvel/DC that they were originally mocking to get big.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20200808145306/https://delarroz.com/2018/11/13/two-face-finally-came-for-me/

Outrage marketing had found its limits.

Despite this, Comicsgate would continue to rumble on in subsequent years. Del Arroz still continued to crowdfund comics and Vox Day continued to push his Arkhaven line. Culture wars do not have neat or definitive ends.


Footnotes

85 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 66: The Rise and Self Destruction of Comicsgate

    1. They pay money, which is all these assholes care about.

      “Insanely sexist and quite badly written” also sums up the Puppy poo on the Hugo ballots. And most of their output.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It offends my sense of aesthetics that they’re so substandard. I want intelligent adversaries, dammit!
        But instead we get a woman arguing that ectopic pregnancies really aren’t that bad (she took it back later) or someone saying that women used to be in charge of relationships “but facing a royal flush, they folded.” Umm, that’s all you can do faced with a royal flush.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Tyops!

    a lot of what was being produced by Comicsgate aligend crow-funded campaigns was either low quality or late or both.

    I didn’t realize crows were rich, or that they read comics 😉

    This entire sentence is kind of scrambled (however, you’re nowhere near as scrambled as that batshit Brian Niemeier quote), but perhaps you meant “aligned crowd-funded”?

    The time and cost of writing and illustrating a comic involves significant risk for the people involved and being payed in advance of the work

    should be “paid”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’ve got a couple of “fueds” in there.

    Also “The subsequent storm led the publicher Atalantic Press to draw their plans”

    publisher and maybe withdraw instead of draw?

    Like

    1. Also, the name of the press in question varies wildly. Is it ‘Atalantic’, ‘Atlantic’ or Antarctic’?

      And I’m too lazy to look it up on Duck/Google.

      Like

        1. I’m pretty sure it’s Antarctic Press — they’re a real (if small) company that’s been around decades, and I think I recall seeing their name in this a few years back and being mildly surprised they were dumb enough to get involved. (And a check now shows that this stuff with Richard Meyer is on their Wikipedia page.)

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Yes, it was Antarctic, as others have noted.

          And the Comicsgate folks trying to paint Antarctic as some sort of ‘caving to SJWs’ is amusing in that, within the field, Antarctic was often considered pretty much the ‘apolitical’ version of ‘a mind so open the brain is in danger of falling out’. These people did Sarah Palin comic books. Plural.

          They were (and still are to some extent) a common company for a lot of smaller creator-owned comics, in part because they were one of the few smaller companies to survive the collapse of the indie comics market following Diamond Distribution’s decision to stop distributing any book that wasn’t selling well enough for them. These days Antarctic Press seems to survive mostly on ‘Gold Digger’, collections of their older stuff, and a stream of small creator-owned things like ‘Steam Wars’ which don’t individually run for long enough for Diamond to decide to pull the plug.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Typos:
    “Meyer was one of the two central figures in Comicsgate but before we get two the second,”
    Should be “to the second”

    “like GoFund Me”
    There shouldn’t be a space in GoFundMe.

    There’s an [18] at the end of the footnotes without anything after it.

    Like

    1. Thanks. 18 was going to be a quote from Vox Day saying (in Jan 2018) that he would be a more influential figure in comics than Ethan Van Sciver within a year. I’d misremembered it as being a bigger boast (i.e. that he’d be one of the most influential figures in comics altogether). As it was, I mean its hard to say whether he was or wasn’t.

      Like

  4. You presumably are taking your cue from the order in which JDA’s Federalist article and Vox Day’s post(s) appeared, but I think you realize from subsequent public comments by JDA that he is Day’s stalking horse in anything where there’s a connection between the two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did consider making that more obvious, although given JDA’s genuine background in comics I do wonder if JDA prompted Vox to go into comics prior. I don’t think Vox showed any interest in comics prior to JDA getting involved with Castalia

      Like

  5. Ah, the crappiest gate.

    Random thoughts:

    The comic book market had already contracted a lot by this time, in that you had to go to comics stores to buy monthly issues even from the Big 2. I used to buy Superman in 7-11 along with my Slurpee and candy. Grocery stores had them too. But not until well before 2017.

    Wasn’t Voxopedia already dead by the time he called it “valuable”? Only to him; ISTR there weren’t new articles going up by then, but am too lazy to check. Maybe Bibhorr and the Humperdink guy were still posting.

    He must have a sad that Anonymous hasn’t bothered to hack any of his stuff, like they have with the big fascist projects. No one cares.

    Footnote 15: Teddy always lies. And doubles down. And projects. Hmm…

    Footnote 18: the sum total of goodness the RWNJ have brought to the world, namely zero.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The Crowley/Frozen stuff still gets me. Remember when a major talking point within the ‘gates involved presenting “SJWs” as the ideological heirs to pro-censorship moralists like Mary Whitehouse? Didn’t take long for one of their key figures to start talking like a Chick tract.

    On a related note, a short while ago I blogged about an (entirely serious) debate as to whether looking at sexy anime ladies can cause demonic attacks:

    Does Looking at Manga Boobies Give You Demons?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG – yes I remember reading that whole guy-had-a-bad-dream post at BN’s blog. I’m glad you found a way to write about it because honestly I don’t know where to start. Also anime is Neimeier’s main source of comfort, second only to a pre-VaticanII latin mass. How’s he going to watch any anime and avoid provocative boobs?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. maybe he has to read a very select few good ones?

        (Not to say that all manga with excess cleavage is bad, some is really good but also likes to play sexy hijinks. But there is sometimes a visible correlation between time spent on fanservice, especially the kind where the breasts defy the laws of physics, and actual storyline.)

        Like

        1. Hardly limited to manga, of course.

          My observation on this was that it’s not so much that erotica of any form is of inherently lesser quality, but that people often use erotica/fanservice to distract from the fact that the rest of the work doesn’t have anything else to offer, and the bad stuff doesn’t get filtered out as strictly.

          Like

          1. I just got a 24 hour FB jail sentence because I posted an erotica cover (Invasion of the Booby Snatchers) without checking the image closely.
            “Folsom Prison Blues” has never felt so viscerally real to me.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s the same logic by which feminists are supposedly cock-blocking prudes who hate healthy male/female relationships and hedonists who want high schoolers attending orgies as soon as they get their HPV vaccinations.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. The world must be a scary place for Niemeier. Nearly everyone is posed by a demon even some fellow travelers. And why not. The demons seem to have it so easy, it is a wonder anyone is still unposessed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think if a demon were to possess Brian Niemeier, it might actually be an improvement. Though I suspect any self-respecting demon would take one look around, think “Nope, sorry, I have standards” and leave to find a nice intersectional feminist lesbian to possess.

        Liked by 8 people

  7. And Comicsgate the most manifacture gate. The others did at last try to give themselve a reason that sounded like somethink even if it didn’t survive a closer look(aka doing some research that takes less than 5 minutes) beeing angry about women sharing milkshakes is an interesting reason to start a hatecampaign (btw. Mockingbird was a fun comic).
    Also besides the people who worked in comics before most gaters did know nothink about comics before. Highlights include for me, the guy who thaught that Stan Lee would be angry about a TVshow for She-Hulk, a character he himselve created or the other guy who was trying to convince Neil Gaiman that the start of his writing for DC was diferent than Neil himselve remembered.
    I find it also ironic that they discovered now, that there were some comicbookcharacters from DC and Marvel that weren’t completly right-wing and shock even standing for tolerance or puncing fasciests, somethink completly new at the time. (do I need the warning that I don’t mean the new seriously?)
    While I do get the fealing that some of the puppies have consumed some genere I don’t think the comicgaters have any idea of American comics.

    Re Days comiccompany: Since he is so reliable that was a completly smart move. It wasn’t like any creator was burned before when Beale got borred.
    I have read some comics by one of the people who joined Beales company and like them (when he worked for DC), but I don’t think that working for the Alt-Rightcomics is a smart move.
    There aren’t much talked about, I am not even sure how many comics Beale has released.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah, Beale’s an interesting case in these matters–he does produce something, if it’s invariably crap and is left incomplete when he gets bored. Which by Right-Wing Culture Warrior standards makes him the font of reliability.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. For culture warriors perhaps but for writers or artist to make their living there? He eventually will loose interest and than what? His follow travelers have no longer a publishing home and are not very much liked in the rest of the relevant fandom. It is (as Cora said in a other coment I think on File 770) is carrier suicide to work for Beale.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I do think that’s giving them a way out of their hypocrisy to say they didn’t read comics.

      Following Gail Simone on twitter — or in the past reading stuff like the Fanboy Rampage blog — makes it clear that a section of the readers and even creators of cape comics have very limited peripheral vision even about their own genre. Especially when it comes to women characters.¹ So there’s no surprise that CG would act like gatekeepers in this kind of way.

      1) Hell, you even have the David S. Goyer and Craig Mazin talking crap about She-Hulk in the scriptnotes podcast a few years earlier than this.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, the very same.Think both of them apologized and have hopefully matured a bit the eight years but he’s a very good example of people reading lots of comics and still being ignorant about them.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. A couple of points on this:

    James Delingpole, probably the most alt-right-adjacent columnist in the UK media, made a complete idiot of himself with a column lauding Comicsgate as a principled consumer revolt against left-wing propaganda, that claimed that the Punisher was now a trans woman in mainstream Marvel continuity. No idea where he got that from.

    And there’s a broad answer to the whole “why did these people never notice that Trek/Who/Marvel has a long history of soft-left anti-bigotry allegory?” question, which is that for these people mutants/aliens/vampires/etc being victims of bigotry can be viewed as equivalent to wish-fulfillment fantasies of being an unjustly-hated but actually incredibly powerful superbeing, or to sexual fantasies of being able to bang women who aren’t entirely human but are human-compatible and incredibly exotically hot. Once franchises start depicting actual real-world minorities as significant characters, though, that’s *really* threatening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem with the treatening now is that minorities as significant characters is nothing new. Comicvise We have books headlining PoCs as early as the seventys, two major superheroteams were lead by Women of Colour in the 80s. Lesbian or gay characters are newer but were also old news in the time Comicgate started.
      Re Trek: We had a Poc and a Woman is the maincharacters of shows in the 90s, so nothing new there.
      And Who has been diverse since the begining of the new era (I don’t know enough of old Who exspecially the later years to make a coment there, women in significant roles seemed to be never a problem for any era as far as I know)
      Re trans woman as Punisher I don’t know where the idea came from. There was a mangaverse where the Punisher was a woman, and he was an angel and undead once in the maincontinuity but a trans woman is new for me. (But I am not a fan of the character, you will find it hard for me to find a marvelcharacter I like less)

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  9. Not exactly tyops but some things you might look at:

    “This pushback…hence the increased representation in popular culture (from movies to TV adverts) of people other than manly looking cis-het English-speaking Christian white men were regarded as confirmation of a genocidal plot.” S/b “was regarded” — subject is “representation,” singular.

    VD sez: “They are one of the primary engine’s…” S/b “engines” — if this was VD’s error you should probably add [sic]. [Trying very hard here not to make the obvious comment about adding “sic” to all of VD’s writing.]. [Not trying hard enough, I guess. Oh, well.]

    “Not unlike video-games, the comic book industry had also had a long history of difficult and often exploitative relationship…” Seems to me this should be “relationships”, plural.

    “As with independently produced novels, aspiring comic book creators taking an independent path faced the same issue of how to stand out in a busy market.” Delete “same”? You already say they’re alike.

    “…a young woman from the US South whose costume incorporated the design of a confederate flag” — Confederate s/b capitalized. Also around that part, you sometimes italicize “Jawbreakers” and sometimes don’t.

    “…intended for more creator-owned projects to compliment his Arkhaven comics” — s/b “complement”. (The creator-owned projects *could* compliment the Arkhaven comics, I guess — “What a great comic you are! So colorful!” — but it doesn’t seem likely.)

    “Right-wing anti-SJW comic review site, Bounding Into Comics …” Delete comma, or add a second comma after “Bounding Into Comics”.

    “Day, feeling the pressure had abandoned the idea of Comicsgate imprint…” Add second comma after “feeling the pressure”.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I may have said this before in a similar context, but I can’t stress enough that Ethan van Sciver’s brother Noah is an extremely talented, hilarious, and humane cartoonist who should never ever be confused with Ethan, and who deserves to be more famous than he currently is. I highly recommend pretty much everything Noah van Sciver has ever done. He understandably avoids commenting on his relatives except in the context of his autobiographical comic ONE DIRTY TREE, a book that will make you impressed that anyone could grow up in that family and be halfway sane.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. …I didn’t know that.
      I just went to the Wikipedia page and learnt that he (and Ethan) were brought up as Mormons. Which I’m glad I didn’t know before hand because I keep worrying that this whole project starts looking like I’m paranoid about Mormons.

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  11. I would feel sorry for Neimeier for not being able to enjoy the new She-Ra as an entertaining kids’s cartoon, or even be pleasantly indifferent to it. But then again I don’t feel sorry for Neimeier because he is a horrible bigot. That cartoon’s sin in his eyes is simply that it takes for granted that non-straight people and non-macho men can sometimes exist.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. For Brian Niemeier, the chief sin of the world is that there are people other than ultra-conservative Catholics living in it and that it is no longer 1995 or whenever he was last happy in this world.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I always find it weird when people are so overwhelmingly nostalgic for something they never experienced. He was born long after Vatican II and Mass in the vernacular.

        Maybe he just longs to have his knuckles rapped by a woman in the full nun outfit scolding him in Latin. But back then anime was foreign and evil, so he’d get smacked more… oh… uh-huh.

        Liked by 2 people

            1. I still get a huge laugh every time I see that post by Neimeier where he pretends that a book which is #136 in the Free Kindle list is much more popular than a book which is #371 on the Paid Kindle list. But then, he’s charging exactly what that book is worth, and some people will go for anything as long as it’s free. 😀

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Back in the day, we used to call non-British people who dressed like they imagine the British landed gentry to dress (lots of tweed, cardigans, tartans and Burberry) Anglophiliacs. Mostly harmless, though don’t ever find yourself in the position of escorting one of them through London, unless you want to visit every shop for overpriced and boring clothing on Regent and Bond Street

              Like

        1. Also, nostalgia for the Latin Mass, though IMO harmless in itself (if you want to hear a priest speaking bad Latin, more power to you), is a huge red flag for “This person is problematic.”

          Liked by 4 people

          1. I mean, I’ve been to a diocese-approved Latin Mass, and sung them in choir. They’re really nice (although my brain and voice had to change quick between Church Latin and Classical Latin a couple hours apart in high school. Oh, the c’s).

            But if you think it’s the only valid form — yep, problematic.

            (Me and Cora: still cape-ing for Hiddleston’s correct Latin.)

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Especially if they insist that the Novus Ordo is illegitimate and the Tridentine is the only form (um, I may have them reversed, this is just what I remember pre-the Rat becoming pope, when I walked away).

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      2. I feel like if he would just get therapy for whatever trauma he suffered in the mid-to-late 90’s everyone would be a lot happier.

        His unhealthy fixation on the “Cultural Ground Zero” of 1997 can’t be as easy to explain as “I became an adult, adulthood sucks, the culture changed, and I am grumpy,” can it?

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, that’s a bizarre take. He sneers at Roddenberry’s “secular utopia”… but the whole point of Star Trek is that it’s a secular utopia.

            Somebody entirely missed the point of Star Trek. 😀

            Liked by 2 people

        1. You might be right that there is more to it than the grumpiness of growing up and no longer finding everything fresh and new, especially since the changes between 1997 and 1998/99 or even the early 2000s weren’t even that notable. Plenty of original movies and TV shows came out in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The flurry of reboots, remakes and sequels came later. Pop music (one area where I am a grumpy old person) was actually better in the late 1990s, at least in Europe (the US had grunge, but we just had shitty techno), than in the early 1990s.There was a bunch of very good cartoons.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I AM a grumpy old person, and didn’t like grunge or techno, so I didn’t listen to a lot of pop music in that era, unless it was reminiscent of some other, older genre.

            Even my old grumpiness likes a lot of the pop music of today; it’s a vast improvement over a number of periods I remember. Sure, some of it’s formulaic pap, but that’s what disposable pop music has always been. But I like Lizzo, Lil Nas X, The Weeknd, and much of what comes on MTV videos. Taylor Swift’s video for “The Man” is a toe-tapping attack on toxic masculinity. And even certain K-pop is good (but not BTS, they’re too complacent and formulaic). I have tickets to a different K-pop boy band and have watched several online concerts during Covid. Special effects galore.

            You want sci-fi music, go K-pop. Lots of groups and singers have a really strong SF aesthetic/theme, with alternate SF personalities/universes and videos full of rockets and/or dystopia. I mostly pay attention to the boys, but one girl group even has AR doubles they sing with.

            With TikTok, YouTube etc. there’s so much new music that you can find in any and every genre nowadays. There’s something perfect for everyone, we’re not at the mercy of big labels or the radio. Heck, even MTV is currently playing Cole Porter thanks to Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I have no doubt that there is plenty of good new pop music out there and there’s some I like. I’m just too lazy to spend a lot of time seeking it out, when there’s plenty of old favourites waiting.

              Though considering he likes anime (as long as it doesn’t give him demons), Brian Niemeier might enjoy K-Pop.

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            2. It’s a pretty close aesthetic to anime, but the fact that all the singers, both male and female, are preternaturally gorgeous might make Brian worry about demons.

              That and they have the temerity to not sing in English, except occasionally.

              Like

  12. It’s tough to overstate just how far Ethan Van Sciver has fallen, and how that is entirely his own fault and choice. He spent years on high-profile relaunches of Green Lantern and Flash, written by Geoff Johns, one of DC’s superstar writers, following his work on Grant Morrison’s X-Men run. He should have been able to write his own ticket after that; instead he decided to go full culture warrior to the point that he’s burned all of his bridges with major publishers. And of course there’s his online behavior, which was always caustic but became full-on abusive in recent years, with many cases where he sicced an online mob after someone for minor-to-nonexistent slights or criticisms.

    On Day’s comics line, it seems worth noting that this is where Chuck Dixon, a longtime right-wing comics writer, has landed after alienating DC and Marvel after things like public tantrums over a gay Western comic and accusing Marvel’s editor-in-chief of lying to the artist who drew it to get him to draw it. Dixon has loudly insisted he’s been blacklisted by the majors – DC hates him SO MUCH they keep reprinting his comics — and went full Trumpist well before the 2016 election. His FB page is full of antivax whinging, political martyrdom, election conspiracy theories, and, of course, links to his terrible-looking comics.

    Like

    1. It was really weird to read Dixon’s work on Airboy for Eclipse and see letters blasting him as a left-wing American hater — like making it clear one Latin American dictator the heroes are fighting is U.S. backed. A lot of that was his editor being very left-wing, but he was comfortable writing it and then defending his work in letter columns.
      While some of that may be topical (it’s possible to hate gays and still be anti-dictatorship) it sounds like he’s just slid down the rabbit hole like some of my friends.

      Like

  13. Belated footnote patrol!

    You’re missing [3] and [12] in the text for those footnotes.

    The url in footnote [9] is missing the underscores before and after Johnson#Websites (WordPress unhelpfully changed it to italics). The closing tag of the link needs to be fixed as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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