by Spike Valentine
The clickbait tabloid site Buzzfeed recently published an uneducated opinion piece by blogger Rachael Krishna where she describes a comics consumer hashtag as an “online harassment campaign against people advocating for diversity.” This claim alone contains two fundamental lies which put in evidence the ignorance and lack of journalistic legwork the author put into her fallacious, one-sided article:
1.- #Comicsgate started by wallet-voting & supporting local comic book stores worldwide (literally).
This is currently done through #MoveTheNeedle, where readers show off their latest purchases, and detractors are welcome to use the hashtag by using their own capital to support the comics they champion (but have the lowest sales) and uploading their comics & receipts.
— Nicholas Tayoro (@Zenoduxx2099) February 12, 2018
2.- The American comics medium–which is not the only one–has widely portrayed all kinds of ethnic/sexual backgrounds for around 30 years or more. Detractors of these hashtags advocate for severely racist/sexist tokenism which usually ignores pre-existing characters of the same background, like Muslim teenagers Monet & Dust from the X-Men canon, and greatly damages the inclusion of these better developed characters. Gender/race swapping is also pushed constantly, implying diverse–colloquially speaking–characters are charity cases without the power to exist by own merits.
Regressive activists who constantly attack #Comicsgate supporters are the ones who constantly use fascist tactics to dogpile against creators, consumers, critics, journalists and companies. Something described by themselves as “targeted harassment.”
#Comicsgate’s Strength Through Diversity
Contrary to popular belief, the American direct market of comics distributed by Diamond is an international system which caters to collectors in places like Mexico City, Paris, San Juan, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, São Paolo, Tel Aviv, Manila, Beirut, Cape Town, Sydney, and so on…
The Diamond sales numbers, usually divulged by the Comichron site, represents a small global economy which works in a similar way to the movie industry’s box office.
Excluding digital, this market is a good indicator of books which will run through multiple prints, get collected and sold through book distributor markets like Hatchette, be collected in very expensive editions, and be licensed in other countries to be published in the regional languages (in floppy, collected and digital form).
Needless to say, but always good to keep in mind, the most successful titles & runs are used for licensed merchandise, videogames, and are even used as basis for movies & TV shows constantly.
There is no Such Thing as Representation in Arts & Entertainment
Characters don’t live in a vacuum. It’s useless, in literary terms, to make token avatars which solely exist to have an identity, not to tell a story.
Readers of any ethnicity & sexual orientation quickly pick-up when a character serves no purpose other than to meet a racial/sexual quota, something with the tendency to bring down the narrative qualities of comics. For example, superhero comics are mostly adventure comics and being straight or gay, atheist or Muslim adds next to nothing to the action-packed tale of how a hero defeats a villain.
To date, no international license holder has paid to translate & reprint token characters like America in her comic book series; a character who can’t even be Latin because of her inter-dimensional origin, in spite of how (non-comics) novel writer & identity politics activist, Gabby Rivera and her very poorly put-together modern Marvel Entertainment editorial staff want it to be true.
Detractors of #Comicsgate Ignore Diversity in/of Comics
Comics & readers also come in all shapes, colors and sizes, so to speak. There have been titles for decades accommodating characters with many different identities and story types better suited for diverse types of narratives.
Love & Rockets by the Hernández brothers, Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore, Maus by Art Spiegelman, Black Hole by Charles Burns, Eightball by Daniel Clowes, and Hepcats by Martin Wagner are some of the decades-old examples of ignored comic books catering to the themes & type of protagonists the #Comicsgate opposition usually demands.
In the same fashion, the voice of diverse readers, creators & journalists supporting the hashtag are ignored–and sometimes insulted & ridiculed–by the detractors in shameless displays of public bigotry constantly.
I’m an atheist, liberal-technocrat Mexican writer & journalist with work published as a writer internationally through Marvel, Heavy Metal Magazine, collaborations with Bleeding Cool, contributor to the 4 time national journalism grant winning Comikaze magazine produced in Mexico City (www.comikaze.net), who has translated / edited / written for license holders Panini, Kamite & Marvel/Televisa books such as Witchblade, Star Wars: Rebel Heist, Trees, Revival, and overlooking my own work from Spider-Verse.
Not even with this experience & using an actual picture of me on Twitter, which is even linked to my own site & portfolio have detractors of the hashtag given me the opportunity to have a professional opinion, speak for myself and not put words/ideologies in my mouth, but, at the end of the day, wallet-voting does all the talking for me and the companies are definitely starting to listen.
Wallet-Voting: The Great Equalizer
Comic book reading whites, blacks, republicans, atheists, Asian, Latinos, Muslims, LGBT, disabled, liberals…have spoken world-wide loud & clear through the invisible hand of capitalism, this is also a business, after all.
Just like the close #Gamergate consumer movement to keep companies & pundits clean in the videogame medium, it doesn’t make any difference how loud a fringe minority of fringe ideologues want to highjack comics for their political interest, comics are not a right but a capital commodity existing solely because of the input of currency by the consumers.
Libelous attacks and hit-pieces haven’t made a dent in careers like Ethan Van Sciver’s; if anything, he has become more popular and has become an example of the benefits of having a close relationship with his audience, both tightening his position as a DC fan-favorite & now having a growing channel on YouTube where he even shares professional advice for aspiring creators.
The few years of a very loud ideologue minority highjacking entertainment in general through outrage sites like Buzzfeed is coming to an end thanks to the unification of everyone else in the world, basically, from comics readers of all backgrounds worldwide rejecting regressive Social Justice input in products to even the entire movie industry in countries like China rejecting poorly made ideological films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Reality & nature are a meritocracy, physics doesn’t ask for anyone’s opinions, and in capital systems like the entertainment industries, capital flow is the physics.
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