by Chris Braly
If you haven’t been paying attention, political correctness has almost completely taken over the comic book culture. I’m going to demonstrate it and tell you how to deal with it.
Where Did Political Correctness Start?
The origins of political correctness began the 1930’s when the communist leadership in Russia joked about how what they wanted people to believe in order to control them didn’t naturally correspond with reality. They were concerned that some things that were to the Communist Party’s liking weren’t factually correct, but could be considered “politically correct”. In order to try and achieve this, the Communist Party started policing the language. Citizens eventually couldn’t criticize the Soviet state, or question the system. Political correctness was spawned. In fact, political correctness itself was never about “saying something nice”. It was always about controlling discourse in order to shape culture from day one. So essentially, political correctness began at the Frankfurt School, which in turn took most of its cues from Karl Marx, the creator of Marxism.
Returning now to comics, last month, Comic Book Resources (CBR), a website dedicated to the coverage of comic book-related news, showed their political correctness (again). They claimed that the recent Jawbreakers & Antarctic Press publishing deal was in fact NOT interfered with by Marvel writer Mark Waid. The forum moderators shut down any discussion about the topic, even though they had just posted an article about it on their website. The message? Diversity of opinions was not going to be suffered at CBR any longer. If you supported this crowdfunding campaign that these mods didn’t like, well, then your opinions were no longer allowed in their forums. Political correctness is the solution! The CBR writer who posted the story even selected old artwork from the original comic from several years ago instead of the much better work Jon Malin had been doing on the crowdfunded comic. Seems strange since no other media outlet had dug up that art. Nor was that sub-par, older artwork provided at the crowdfunding page, but I digress.
These moderators are referring to the crowdfunding juggernaut by Richard Meyer, Jon Malin, and Brett R. Smith as a “particular brand of nonsense” and decided that since they find the viewpoints and behavior of the creative team and the book’s fans “abhorrent,” “sickening,” and a “detriment to civil discourse” that they will not allow ANY discussion on the story CBR had recently published. Nor would any of the other sources of information about Mark Waid’s interference be allowed in their forums because Jawbreakers fans “give comic book fandom a bad name.” This is happening on other comic book discussion forums as well. I will mention another one below.
However, it’s those same “abhorrent” and “sickening” fans that gave the Jawbreakers creative team over a third of a million dollars in crowdfunding dollars. How “deplorable” of them. Don’t they know the industry is dying? But I digress.
In another political-correctness gambit, the very inspiration for the Bleeding Fool website recently made the fallacious claim that far more liberal comic creators were blacklisted by Marvel and DC than conservative ones. Well, I suppose that’s an easy quotient to calculate since most comic publishers only hire liberal comic creators. I’m guessing most creative types identify as liberal, so any handful that happened to get fired would naturally be the ‘majority’ of any so-called blacklist. But talk about gaslighting the comic book fans! What point were they trying to make? That the blacklisting of conservative voices in the comics industry wasn’t happening? This sort of manipulation of the fandom has become expected in an age where most of these websites are engaged in open nepotism with the comic publishing industry. They have to protect their revenue streams at any cost.
Comic book customers are even dealing with these phenomena in their local comic shops, some are even being banned from the shops for “wrongthink“. Here’s a video of one comic book fan who supported the Jawbreakers crowdfund comic and was kicked out of the shop and told he was permanently banned. Most people wouldn’t have believed this could happen had he not recorded the exchange on his smart phone. This is a weekly customer with an active pull-list at the store that never caused any problems within the store by discussing politics or Diversity & Comics. However, because the store owner discovered that the customer said something on his personal Youtube channel that the store owners didn’t agree with, he had to be banished. They no longer wanted his money.
Do other businesses act this way? Do toothpaste and toilet paper companies care about their customers’ politics? Does McDonald’s care about their customers’ personal opinions? Does Home Depot ban people from the store for wearing a MAGA hat? Do other business try to punish customers for similar “wrongthink”? Not exactly a way to grow a business, especially in an era when comic shops are closing at a rapid pace.
Not to be outdone, comic book creators themselves have recently felt emboldened to demonstrate outright vitriol and bigotry against their own comic fans, insulting anyone with whom they disagree with politically or who are simply vocal in their criticism for how the creator is treating beloved characters. Some creators have sunk to using sophomoric name calling tactics towards the fans, going so far as telling fans that they don’t want them to buy their books!? Do shareholders of DC and Marvel know about this practice?
Please note: Not ALL comic creators behave this way. In fact, most of them do not behave this way at all, but PLENTY of them do. Here are some examples.
Here’s Max Bemis, also a Marvel Comics writer. Unfortunately he’s still on Twitter insulting anyone who disagrees with him.
Even relative unknown comic creators have gotten in on the act. This guy felt it was important to announce this publicly. Why?
And speaking of Gail, she certainly seems like the non-partisan friendly type. This sort of hate-post is typical.
Another Marvel Comics creator who’s social media got too toxic to keep active. Does CB Cebulski have a social media policy for freelancers?
I could go on and on ad nauseum because there is plenty of this material out there and these kinds of shenanigans are regularly covered by Douglas Ernst, Jeremy Hamby, Avi Green, Richard Meyer, Capn Cummings, That Umbrella Guy, Yellow Flash, Just Some Guy, Captain Frugal, and many more. In fact, Douglas Ernst has been covering this for several years, along with Avi Green, who has been doing yeoman’s work on the subject for many years as well, much to the chagrin of creators like Mark Waid and Dan Slott. Not to mention the use of block-bots that several creators have used in order to simply block every single follower of an account the creator finds disagreeable. The unforeseen consequence is the high-probability that the creator will wind up blocking many people that are also fans of their work. Comic fans who have discovered they’ve been blocked by a creator on social media without cause are usually gobsmacked and hurt. They also tend to boycott that creator from then on.
Long-time customers are leaving #Marvel Comics like this due to unprofessional behavior by creators, the use of block-bots on social media, and partisan politics shoehorned into books.
— Douglas Ernst (@douglasernst) June 8, 2018
I’ve personally experienced this first hand. A former host of the Comic Geek Speak podcast didn’t like my opinions on the forums, so he blocked my Twitter account from being able to view the podcast’s tweets. After blocking me (even though I had never engaged the account), this SJW began to repeatedly subtweet screen caps of mine to insult me for my libertarian politics and constantly insinuated that I was racist, bigoted, and so on, attacking me safely behind his Twitter block. He was never willing to respond to any direct messages from me asking for peace, and he was always protected by a handful of sycophants that would faithfully rush in to applaud his childish ad hominem attacks on any critics. The lad was curiously unable to respond to substantive criticism other than to name-call and insult from within his Twitter-block safe-space.
In spite of my years of regular participation on the CGS forums, I hardly discussed anything demonstrably controversial. I even regularly donated money to the podcast. But once he discovered that I was involved with Bleeding Fool, my CGS forum account was immediately deactivated without warning or cause. Afterwards, any forum discussions about my absence or of Bleeding Fool in general were deleted by the moderators and the poster was warned not to engage in any discussion of BF or share links to this website. Comic Book Resources would be proud!
And it’s not just comic fandom that’s being attacked, blacklisted, or banned for “wrongthink.” Even popular comic creators themselves are being attacked or forced out. Most of our readers are familiar with the attacks on Chuck Dixon, Ethan Van Sciver, Jon Malin, or Wil Caligan. It’s easy to find the few conservative creators who are attacked by SJWs. But the truth is that SJW’s actually don’t care what your politics are. Their main goal is to virtue-signal, which is why they attack in public. They even eat their own if they can get some victimhood points in public. Popular comic book artists like Frank Cho and J. Scott Campbell have dealt with these SJWs first-hand. Neo-puritan PC police have attacked many creators over their art because the characters are drawn too idealized for their sensitivities. The creator’s politics don’t actually matter. Only the perceived infraction or wrongthink. And the attack on the creators must always be a public one so the Twitter mob of SJW “white-knights” can swarm in for their precious victimhood points.
I’m someone who considers myself to be be a lifelong progressive, but my god, do liberals love to attack their own! As an artist I get regularly attacked for not being “woke” enough to every micro-aggression & identity politics. No wonder the Right gets annoyed by us, geeze
— J. Scott Campbell (@JScottCampbell) June 14, 2018
This isn’t just relegated to comic book culture. This same sort of culture rot has been going on in the RPG and MTG community for a while too. Even sci-fi conventions across the country are not immune.
I cannot emphasize enough that this is not about left vs right politics. I can have friendly discussions with standard liberals or republicans and even socialists and disagree while still remaining amiable. Classic Liberalism advocates that we should give a floor to all ideas, no matter what we personally believe about them. The best ideas rise to the top. But SJWs have thrown away key concepts that are fundamental to Liberalism, which they claim to support, such as free speech and allowing all diverse voices a chance to air their grievances, communicate their solutions, and share their views, research, and experiences. We’re not seeing that from comic creators cited above, and several others.
So clearly SJWs are not synonymous with Democrats, liberals or progressives, civil rights activists, minorities including women, blacks, LGBT, immigrants (or whoever else is offended because I didn’t acknowledge their humanity by including them in that list). These are not political animals. They are attention-seeking, professional victims set on silencing differing opinions. These are people who think it is okay to do immoral things (lie, cheat, gatekeep, collude, etc), because to them “the ends justify the means”.
They are convinced they will be on “the right side of history” and that they are fighting for the rights of someone that they believe to be oppressed, or maybe they believe that they themselves are oppressed, so any actions they take are justified. Marvel Comics writer Mark Waid is a classic example of this. In the SJW’s mind, victimhood exists, and victimhood therefore demands justice, so ANY action taken in the process of gaining justice is therefore justified.
As demonstrated above, whether it’s comic book forums, comic creators, or comic shops, any opposing viewpoints are being silenced. And when you combine this sort of virtue-signalling and the similar decline in the comic industry, this is obviously not a positive development for the future of comics, despite claims that the industry is doing “just fine”. Many understand that this decline is fueled by the trendy obsession with more and more diversity. And yet now that the CTRL-Left (SJWS) all but controls most of our society via gatekeeping, many still proclaim that they’d rather see the comic industry destroyed than relinquish control, and this is exactly what’s going to happen if things continue.
Engaging an SJW
If you must engage these people, whether it’s your store owner, forum mods, or creators, then I recommend that you start nothing. However, if you do have to engage, finish everything. Do not back down from the engagement until it is over. In my experience, SJWs tend to be highly emotional, cowardly, and prone to depression, so demoralizing them tends to be considerably easier than you might imagine. You’d be surprised how many of them delete their Twitter accounts, only to later return. They will still hate you, but after repeatedly being met with staunch and confident opposition, they will usually decide to shut up and leave you alone and go in search of less difficult fans to abuse. But be prepared to walk away. I suggest rewarding SJWs who leave you alone by leaving them in peace. Leave the forum. Leave the store. Never return.
Now of course, not every creator or pop culture icon is an SJW. In fact, many of them are quite the opposite. You’re not alone.
When I debate Christians, Jews, Creationists, climate deniers etc. they are unfailingly polite, respectful, thoughtful, discerning, & listen to my arguments. Far Left SJWs do not. They simply look for fault & pounce. @EricRWeinstein @BretWeinstein @benshapiro @RubinReport
— Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer) January 21, 2018
Remember, there is only one true diversity in human affairs: Intellectual Diversity. Eventually the market will shift. In the meantime, more and more open-minded creators are starting to make their own indie comics and even crowdfunding their comics. The model is changing and comic fans are slowly winnowing down their pull-lists. Those elusive digital and at-cost Scholastic sales are not going to prop up a dying industry that refuses to serve its core audience by giving that audience what it wants.
Remember, ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win’. We are currently in stage 3. It won’t be long now.
Here’s a humorous take on SJWs and PC Culture