Comics love nothing more than a crossover event! In a rambling post about the schmozzle that was (comicsgatecomics^comicsgate^gate)! Vox Day is very keen to set the record straight about previous culture-wars hijackings:
“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.” http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/09/dramagate.html [link for reference, I don’t recommend following it]
Hmmm, no I think it is safe to say that Vox Day really did co-opt the Sad Puppy campaign. Let me count the ways:
- He used Brad Torgersen’s cobbled together slate to form his own slate.
- He used the name “Rabid Puppies” to sow confusion between the two campaigns
- He commissioned a logo for his campaign from the same artist as the logo for the Sad Puppies campaign
- He manipulated the Sad Puppies into the spectacular own goal of the Tor boycott
- He mounted a vote stacking campaigns to help ensure that the Sad Puppy nominees swept whole categories…
- …and then left the Sad Puppies to defend the outcome
To be honest, I’m a little surprised Vox isn’t boasting about it. He very much wants people to believe that he is a master strategist of Batman like proportions and their are very few actual examples of him actually doing anything particularly clever. Yet the manipulation of the Sad Puppies is the one obvious and genuine example – he played them like a fiddle. Yes, they were easy and very gullible targets but still, Vox has no reason for false modesty in this one (and very limited) regard.
Well sad news one and all who hoped that the combined forces of assholery on the internet would consume each other in an internecine apocalypse of name calling, Vox Day has “released” the “ComicsGate Comics” imprint. Yes, I sat and watched another turgid video. Let me once again despair at how awful the medium of talking head YouTube video is. I appreciate that there are many examples of people being entertaining in off-the-cuff videos but in general, this is an awful medium. Aside from anything else, it’s like twenty minutes of video conveys the same amount of information as about a minute of text.
Enough ranting by me. In a recent “Darkstream” video Vox Day (well-known supporter of far-right terrorists) entitled “ComicsGate and Cyberfrog are now free” announced that he had “released” the ComicsGate Comics imprint from the “system”. Of course, this was presented by him as a kind of vengeful masterstroke of the ‘Ha, ha, now look what you made me do!’* kind.
I have to say I’m a bit unclear as to what exactly he did here. He appears to be talking about the distribution system for graphic novels. Now, I’m aware that your standard monthly comic distribution is pretty much controlled by a monopolisitic distributor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Comic_Distributors ) but that collections, graphic novels etc (which get distributed to bookshops as well comic shops) has a bigger variety of distributors (including groups like RandomHousePenguin) [People who understand this better, please wade in]. I don’t know how Vox Day’s comic imprints (Akrhaven and Dark Legion) are distributed in print form but he seems to be claiming that in some “system” he had claimed the term “ComicsGate Comics” and has now ‘released it’.
The dastardly twist is that supposedly now the dread SJWs can grab the term themselves! Oh no! Although it is not obvious why anybody would want to or why that would be disruptive to supporters of ComicsGate. Having a line of comics called “ComicsGate” doesn’t seem to be an objective of the ComicsGate crowd and controlling the name of an imprint nobody (aside from Vox) seems to want wouldn’t help the left or critics of ComicsGate any.
In short, it’s just Vox claiming victory in the face of defeat again. I’m suprised he caved so soon. Hopefully they’ll all start fighting about something else soon and leave everybody else alone again.
For those interested in the underlying resentment fuelling this dispute, Vox reveals the fragile spot of his ego in a follow up post:
“But I became suspicious of his [Ethan Van Sciver’s] two-faced nature when, after praising how well written the bestselling Alt-Hero #1 was, and asking me if I might be interested in writing with him in the future, he went out and publicly slagged the story in the YouTube review he did with his father the very next day, even pretending that he couldn’t figure out what was going on from page to page. He didn’t say one single positive word about my writing despite having praised it effusively the day before.”
Vox really wants people to think his fiction writing is good. Unfortunately it isn’t – it’s pretty bad, much worse than his non-fiction writing.
*[Not his literal words]
Unfortunately a lot of the toddler tantrums are playing out on duelling YouTube videos. I have carefully honed skills of quickly acquiring key details from written texts but video requires you to trawl through the whole boring boring thing and what’s worse, is that I’ve then got to rely on my shaky memory to remember specifically what was said. Anyway, I sat through a video by Vox Day (I shan’t link to it but it was entitled “Two-Face Van Soyer”) and a response by Ethan Van Sciver (again not bothering with links but if you have spare brain cells you want to kill it’s called “CYBERFROG $600K, LAST DAY LIVE STREAM!!” -no, seriously). For ease of typing Vox Day will be VD for the rest of this post and Ethan Van Sciver will be EVS. I used the modifier “odious” for various people who crop up but it became too repetitive.
- Nomenclature: As it’s a kerfuffle about who owns the words “ComicsGate Comics” the appropriate name is “ComicsGateComics-Gate”. However, as the modifier “Gate” now also means “a campaign by a group of shouty right wing trolls”, that makes it “ComicsGateComicsGateGate”. However, however there are TWO groups of shouty right wing trolls, so I’ll use ComicsGateComicsGateGate for VD’s partisans and for EVS’s partisans ComicsGateComicsGateComicsGate because they call themselves ComicsGate. On second thoughts…maybe not.
- VD has the advantage that he’s set himself up so that all publicity is good publicity for his business model. His main comic book line (the semi-tautological ‘Arkhaven’) is on Kindle Unlimited, making any degree of fuss more likely for KU users to check out the comics (even if it is just to rubbish them). That’s all revenue for him.
- EVS appears to have broader support but that doesn’t get him anywhere. Like a lot of these right wing shouty campaigns there’s no clear achievable goal. There’s no obvious way of winning here. Unlike VD, EVS doesn’t gain sales of anything from the surrounding publicity and may lose out in future crowd-funding due to ill-feeling.
- However, its not all good news for VD. The political attacks on him are quite pointed and various social-media right wingers are now pointing out things about his views that they conveniently ignored for years.
- Both EVS and VD are claiming that the other one is in some ways double-crossing, back-stabbing con-artists trying to fleece money from hapless right wing dupes. Luckily this is bad for both of them and should contribute to general demoralisation and disaffection on the right.
- Timothy’s only public relations management client, Jon Del Arroz is in a sticky situation. He’s characterised himself as being ‘there’ from the start and for once he has a point – he genuinely was doing weird harassment of Marvel ages ago before it became a hobby for others. JDA has a gig with VD’s comic line but he’s also been a big booster for EVS and he is also in the midst of his own crowd funding campaign. He was speaking on the EVS video I watched and characterised as a ‘friend’ of VDs – he was placed in the position of trying to defend VD without alienating EVS.
- Somebody asked me about VD’s previous feud with social media platform Gab. Sorry, I don’t know what happened with the threatened legal action in the end but Gab still advertises on Voxopedia. I suspect they found a way of mutually backing down without losing face. I suspect the same will happen here.
- The main winners are everybody who is getting a break from being harassed by right wing trolls because said trolls are too busy shouting at each other.
- Can you safely ignore all this? Probably.
Some loose ends from yesterday’s post on the gazumping of ComicsGate:
- I said that Vox Day had trademarked the term — I was incorrect. Actually, he is saying the term isn’t trademarkable (which isn’t exactly true either as he is using it as a brand for a set of products).
- Ethan Van Sciver is threatening legal action against Vox Day as Van Sciver claims the term is his because he uses it as a name for some of his YouTube stuff. That doesn’t sound like he’d get very far with any legal action.
- Various rightwing social media “personalities” who have for years conveniently forgotten to mention that Vox Day supports violent extremism magically discovered this yesterday.
- Yup, it’s remarkable how another movement that’s happy to have Vox Day and his supporters involved only suddenly spot his support for mass murderer once Day screws them over commercially.
- And while we are indulging in the schadenfreude lets note that GamerGate, Sad Puppies, and now ComicsGate have each in turn had to distance themselves from Vox Day because of his action — yet the right of SF still thinks it was a terrible injustice that the SFWA expelled him. Every year that specific move by the SFWA looks smarter and smarter 🙂
You get a hunch, form a hypothesis and gather a bunch of data to test it. Graph or otherwise interrogate the data and…your hunch isn’t right and there’s nothing remarkable about what you found. At that point you have two choices:
- Throw what you did in the trash because there’s nothing worth saying.
- Write it up anyway because non-results are important.
In proper scientific research, there is a inherent publication bias because of the first choice. Unremarkable results don’t get published as often because of multiple filters of humans discarding what is essentially dull. Those filters mean that what may be statistical quirks or the results of error stand a greater chance of being published than they otherwise should.
Of course there is another reason for reporting non-results: when you spent part of your day gathering data on a hunch about a publisher’s output only to find your hunch was wrong and now you have nothing to write about.
My hunch was that everybody’s least favourite Finnish publishing house had reduced their output of books. I collated data from Amazon and graphed it using a running total and…no, it’s pretty much the same rate of rubbish being published. Indeed, a bit more as I only counted books rather than their dire comics.
So, sorry but both research ethics and not otherwise having blogpost content means I have to.
[News reader] Good evening. We break into our normal progamming with this important news update. Things continue to not happen. A rapidly not-developing series of non-events continue to happen. We cross live to our roving reporter, Timothy the Talking Cat.
[Timothy] Good evening. I’m standing here live in front of the Castalia House blog where non-events continue to not happen.
[News reader] You mean ‘non-events continue to happen’. If non-events not happen that’s a double negative and that means something is happening?
[Timothy] Really? Don’t non-events not happen? If they happen then they are events?
[News reader] So you are saying the fundamental nature of an event is that it happens and therefore a non-event is a thing that does not happen?
[Timothy] I’m really confused now.
[News reader] Can you just describe the scene there?
[Timothy] Well it has been five days since the Castalia House blog announced it was returning to its normal posting schedule.
[News reader] And what has happened in those five days?
[Timothy] Nothing, huge swathes of nothing.
[News reader] And that nothing continues to happen?
[Timothy] Please lets not start that again, my tiny cat brain can’t cope.
The website of SF publishers “Castalia House” (aka vanity publishing for the far right) has been oddly inactive since July 31. The site is accesible (unlike Voxopedia that went off line the other day) but the blog which usually updates at least daily, has had no posts since July 30 and no comments since July 31. Probably too much to hope that it has just given up for good.
More news on this topic as things continue to not happen.