Peddling Drug Abuse & Smutty Comics Just to “Own the Censors”


The Syracuse Post Standard reported on the local comicon, and say the organizers are raising discussions about censorship of comics in the modern era, along with the subject of banned books. Although there’s also some very questionable material cited here to boot:


C. Spike Trotman knows that not everyone is going to like the comic books that her company, Iron Circus Comics, publishes. She’s cool with that.

That probably includes titles like “How Do You Smoke a Weed?” a how-to guide for rookie pot smokers, “The Harrowing of Hell,” a reinvention of the biblical tale of Christ’s descent into hell, or Trotman’s own erotic series, “Smut Peddler.”

“We’re not interested in smoothing everything out and making everything as — forgive me — palatable and bland and universal as possible,” she said.

“We put out what we want to see in the world,” she said — comic books like “Patience & Esther,” an Edwardian interracial queer romance by SW Searle.



Good grief, what is this? Seems like, whenever these topics come up, people promoting smut like drug consumption take advantage of it, and the newspaper goes along with it. Suggesting nobody appreciates Stan Lee first spotlighting the issue in modern times with Amazing Spider-Man #97 in 1971. The other titles are bound to be pretty dismaying too. What the woman says isn’t all that different from the NY Times slogan “all the news that’s fit to print”.


Diversity in the comic book industry is more common and sought after than ever, according to publishers. Not just in Trotman’s homebase of Chicago but in Syracuse, where on Sunday she will speak virtually at the Geek/Art CONfluence at Syracuse University next to a lineup of other speakers like Alexandre Tefenkgi, author of “The Good Asian” and “Outpost Zero,” and Jeff Trexler, interim director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.


And I guess the CBLDF is okay with graphic novels glorifying drug abuse and LGBT ideology too, huh? It may be fine to defend freedom of expression, but it shouldn’t come without right to dissent, something that’s becoming outlawed within the left nowadays. That aside, is artistic quality sought after? Not at the majors, that’s for sure. And then, what’s this here:


At one point, comic book illustrators were majority white men, said Cammuso, and many of them flocked to New York City to build their careers.



And if many white men, as they so eloquently put it, were seeking careers in the art form, is that itself wrong? Besides, there were Black/Asian/Hispanic artists decades before too, including George Perez, lest we forget. And then:


Since the invention of the world wide web, the industry has de-centralized. Readers from anywhere can access whatever comics they want, and illustrators from anywhere can access publishers.

The type of publisher matters, though. Big houses like DC and Marvel aren’t likely to kickstart a series of consent- and kink-positive erotica novels like Trotman’s “Smut Peddler” anytime soon. They’ve also been slow to break their characters out of stereotypical depictions of race and gender, although recent blockbusters like “Black Panther” mark a turning point.


Really? And what’s so un-stereotypical about depicting Luke Cage as a bald guy with a beard? And why do they make it sound as though the live action BP movie adaptation counts more than various other movies in terms of turning points? There have been a gazillion movies in the past century dealing with race relations, including the late Sidney Poitier’s resume, and only the comics adaptations count in their view? Please. Ironically, for companies that won’t take up on a story about erotica, DC/Marvel have been perfectly willing to take up LGBT pandering. Talk about smut, indeed.


The virtue of indie houses, said Trotman, is “the only hurdle you have to get over … if you want to get published by us, is me.”



In some ways, this is correct. If there’s an indie publisher run by leftists, as in the case of Image or Dark Horse, they ultimately decide everything, and chances outspoken conservatives will get their work published there are slim. Something any right-winger who wants to take up a career in the art form will have to consider going forward. Let’s not forget Mike Baron’s Thin Blue Line was rejected by much of these outfits for publication.


They also discuss how one of the contributors at the convention came up with one in school:


Thus, the origin story for “‘Crippin’ the Comic Con,” aka “‘Crip’Con,” the first diversity-related comic-con at the school, which was held almost every year from 2013 to 2019.

A lot of people like comics, and what they see between the pages affects the way they see the world, said Zubal-Ruggieri.

Children can’t imagine a diverse world if they aren’t exposed to representations, whether it’s a book, a comic book, a T.V. show, or other kids in the same classroom,” she said. “I think it’s as simple as that.”

She allows for mistakes, though. There are plenty of badly crafted characters, but even those offer “teachable moments,” she said.


But does she believe political correctness is inherently acceptable? These stories won’t work if they build upon the kind of leftist mindset now dominant in mainstream publishing. And what makes her think kids can’t envision a diverse world without “representation” in specific entertainment products? Or, what kind of representation is she discussing?


Now here’s where they get around to the issue of censorship, and it’s revealed Art Spiegelman’s Maus wasn’t the only victim:



The comic book industry in all its forms, from high art to rag, has been the target of censorship for decades. Famously, the U.S. government created the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to regulate comics, and today school boards around the nation are pulling comic books like “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi and “Maus” by Art Spiegelman from library shelves.

Ironically, the debate over “Maus” put the book back on the best-seller list, said Wiener, the founding partner of “‘Crip’Con,” who is now a research professor and associate director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach. People sent unsolicited copies to libraries in McMinn County, Tennessee, where Spiegelman’s book was first banned, and kids handed copies to each other in the hallways there, according to the New York Times.

While there are concerns with Spiegelman’s representation of people with disabilities in “Maus,” said Wiener, “what he did in ‘Maus’ was to create something which was in some respects the beginning of a genre that’s now much more commonly known about throughout schools,” she said.

People falsely deny that the Nazi Holocaust happened, said Wiener. The censorship of “Maus” — “This is having really important impact on people’s lives.”


On this they’re correct, and it’s also vital to cite the issue of the Armenian Holocaust during World War One: what if that’s also been banned from discussion in a sizable number of schools? Similarly, on Persepolis, if that’s also been banned in schools, it’s not hard to guess even the most remote discussion of Islam could’ve played a part in its removal, yet the MSM won’t say a word whether it’s the case. And what about Will Eisner’s last graphic novel, The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which involves similar themes? Why don’t those specific examples come up? It’s vital to consider the likelihood they’ve been preemptively banned at schools because they come within even miles of discussing the Religion of Peace, but the Post-Standard makes no effort to give any room for them.


And of course, one must wonder why it’s such a big deal to cite graphic novels with such an emphasis on drug abuse in the same article as this, no matter how concerning censorship is. If no dissent is allowed on drug abuse any more than LGBT ideology today, that’s cause for concern. The comicon deserves some credit if they’re raising the issue of Persepolis falling victim to school bannings along with Maus. But there’s much more they could do, and if Eisner’s work isn’t getting a spotlight at the convention, nor the Armenian Holocaust during WW1, they haven’t done enough to prove they’re dedicated to a wide variety of issues.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1