I’m writing this opinion piece in response to a recently published article on our website. This piece in no way reflects Outright Geekery’s views and reflects only my own opinions.
Recently another author published an article about being a conservative comic book collector entitled “Conservative Comic Collector: Milkshakes, Trolls, and Unpopular Opinions“.
.As an editor, my job was to assist in development of the article as best I could and edit. With the help of a fantastic staff and working with the author, this was achieved, allowing the author to have their say. I firmly believe in Freedom of Speech, however do not always agree with another’s opinions. That is the nature of the human experience, very rarely do people see completely eye to eye. We can see this in politics on a regular basis and in our day to day lives. Luckily, I have the same right to express my own thoughts and can now address the flaws I see in the opposing article below, as a peer.
I will not argue any of the politics aspect in comics and with regards to the authors experience. That is their own and I have not lived their life so that perception is theirs. There is not arguing it, no debating, it’s simply life experience. That sits completely fine with me. Artists alienating a fan base by being outspoken about their belief systems and that being an issue- that is a problem for me.
If an artist alienates their fan base by expressing themselves, that is on the person who reacts that way. An artist creates out of a desire to create, a need, a drive. Suggesting they alter what they are producing or how they present their opinions so they don’t alienate fans is offensive. Why should they change what they are making? If one does not want to read it, don’t pick it up. If their opinion or creation of characters does not suit another, there is the freedom to walk away. It’s every person’s right to have their own belief system and express it, within the confines of the law of course. This is more in reference to hate speech, that I say that as even as a belief system, still has limits as it causes harm to another.
The second point I want to address is market share reports as per the Diamond Comic Distributors archives with regards to measuring Marvel’s diversity impacting their shares in a negative way. While these numbers are a useful tool in determining how a company is doing, there are several holes with the argument that a 10 % drop in Marvel’s shares is because of this. Firstly, because the numbers do not take into account the returned product (meaning when a publisher creates x number of units and sends them out, what is returned does not factor into the number you are looking at) and secondly because there was no demonstrated causality. As an example, Image Comics has been producing very diverse comics for years and is experiencing growth. They’ve over doubled their share in the past 7 years as a matter of fact. If diversity led to drops, wouldn’t they be going downhill based on this argument.
One could argue two things in this situation, 1. That the drop in Marvel’s shares has less to do with pushing diversity and more to do with inaccurate numbers reflective or true statuses or 2. That their decrease is a result of the many smaller publishers climbing in ranks due to the heightened accessibility of variety that the internet has been lovely enough to offer. In fact there are so many different possibilities separate from these two that it could be an entire article on speculation without even getting into further research that would be required to demonstrate.
Next up on my lengthy list of grievances (thank you for staying with me this far!) is the story of Heather Antos, the Marvel assistant editor shamed for…posting a picture of her and the ladies at work with a milkshake? Surely this is not a thing- oh wait- it was. Heather’s qualifications were called into question and harassment ensued for some unbeknownst reason to me. Let’s set the record straight here, there is not one iota of proof offered that she was unqualified to be an editor. Her multiple years experience which was cited in the article and questioned as being enough to be an assistant editor at one of the top two comic book publishers is in fact enough. More than enough as a matter of fact. There was no evidence of the spelling errors referred to, which if there were so many one would think would be available in abundance.
Furthermore the tweet that shows Heather did not know when Gwenpool was coming out is not related to her functions as an editor. That would be the publicist and higher ups that handle that, not an assistant editor. This makes that point invalid.
Liberal white knights are awesome. They jump in to defend not because one is unable to handle something but because they believe it is right. We don’t all require them but I will tell you, at the end of the day, it’s good when people have each others backs. Comic book heroes protect those around them and a liberal white knight does exactly that. Whether it is online or IRL, they stand up for what they believe in and whether one calls them in or not, they see something wrong, they stand up and call it out. I will admit some are less gentle than others but the thought is in the right place.
I will not justify anyone threatening another for ANY reason so in response to the males not reporting harassment and females over reporting, I ask this: Is there ever such thing as over reporting if one is being harassed? Technically the issue are the harassers, not those who either report it or don’t. How one chooses to deal with that is completely up to them and does not reflect weakness because they don’t want to deal with it.
Perhaps the takeaway of that is that women have had enough. Maybe we’re tired of being told we’re fake because we don’t fit a preconceived notion of a “real geek” and maybe we’re tired of being threatened with rape. The threats may be taken worse since as per the Centre for Disease Control’s 2014 studies show 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime. In a study conducted with over 6000 people 19.3 % of women will be raped in their lifetime. So when those threats are being made, we’re not just looking at that moment, those are people who have real triggers for real reasons. Report away ladies- I got your back!
Next up, Orson Scott Card was not “blackballed for unpopular political and religious beliefs”, Orson Scott Card was ostracized due to multiple homophobic remarks, it was never his politics. Homophobia and sexism are not politics to be clear. Examples of these remarks I pulled from the article I am debating here.
My final comment is a follow up to “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” as something that has real meaning. It has never been real. It was a line used to try and counter bullying in children. It stopped being used multiple years ago when suicide rates in teenagers exposed to verbal bullying started climbing.
These are all my thoughts on the matter and I bid you adieu. Feel free to reach out with your own opinions if you wish and we can discuss further.
Originally published on Outright Geekery