Gabe Eltaeb Finds Comics Success after Leaving DC on His Own Terms


 

Gabe Eltaeb had worked for DC Comics since the 2000s. But in October of last year, while the colorist worked on the Superman: Son of Kal-El comic book series, all that ended. He had had enough of certain changes that had happened over the years to the company and the characters. One change in particular was the final straw. 

 

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Paul Hair: Back in October, you made news when you announced you were departing from DC Comics. What happened and why did it happen?

 

Gabe Eltaeb: I have been working at DC Comics for the better part of two decades. Over the last ten years or so I have noticed that the books and the storylines have gotten more and more leftist. The storylines seem to sometimes attack traditional American and Western culture and values, and they became a little subversive, and a little more, and a little more until they became crazy. I was in denial for a few years. I told myself, “Well it’s only a small portion of the books and it isn’t my book that is woke.”

 

But as time went by more and more of the books became Marxist propaganda. It all came to a head when after working my way to the top of DC Comics, and being assigned a job as an artist on the Superman comic, DC announced they were taking Superman in a new, far-left direction. When I opened the script for the first issue of the new Superman series my fears were confirmed: they had taken away his iconic slogan of “Truth, Justice and the American Way” and replaced it with “Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow.”

 

Why I left DC comics

 

I knew what this meant. I knew what the writer intended to do. So I worked on a few issues of the book and I didn’t like where the story was going. I didn’t like the anti-patriotic stance in the book and it was a crisis of conscience for me.

 

I was visiting my father in September. I stayed with him for a few weeks at his home and I asked him what to do about the situation. My father told me that I shouldn’t just quit abruptly. He said that would be unprofessional and I had a signed contract. He told me what I should do is inform them that I will finish my current contract and then we’ll go our separate ways.

 

 

So that is exactly what I did. I emailed DC Comics—the editors, the writers, the artist, all the people I was currently collaborating with—and I informed them of my decision, but I didn’t tell them why. I just told them that I had new opportunities and it was a pleasure and a privilege working with them all those years. They all heaped praise and thanks upon me and wished me luck in whatever my new endeavors were.

 

The next night, or a few days later, I was on my friend Ethan Van Sciver’s YouTube channel. Ethan had been run out of the mainstream comic book industry for being a conservative.

 

When Donald Trump won the election in 2016 Ethan posted a picture of himself wearing a red MAGA hat. This enraged some of the Hollywood liberal writers that worked for DC Comics. It got really messy for him. He was slandered and labeled by people who claimed he was a white supremacist all because he voted Republican and said so publicly. Hollywood does not tolerate anything to the right of Pol Pot.

 

 

[On Ethan’s channel], which is probably the most popular comic book YouTube channel, we were discussing the new direction for Superman and I just interrupted everyone and I said, “I’m tired of this shit!” I went on to say how I thought it was wrong what Marvel and DC were doing to these characters in our culture, and I told the audience and my colleagues on the show that I had told them I would finish my contract but after that I’d be done with them.

 

The next day DC Comics informed me that they didn’t want me to finish my contract and that they would buy me out. This story got picked up by a small comic book news website and then somehow exploded into international news in the next 48 to 72 hours.

 

It was a surreal experience to see my face and name go around the globe for nearly three days. My YouTube channel went from 500 followers to nearly 5,000 followers in the span of three or four days. All sorts of media members contacted me asking me if I would do an interview. It’s a very, very strange thing to go viral in the modern news cycle.

 

PH: Would you make the same decision today that you made then? Have you found work since then?

 

GE: I would absolutely make the same decision today. I am a man who tries to live with integrity. I’m not perfect, of course, but there’s no way I wanted to help a company tell people that the thing that mattered about the most was the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. I didn’t wanna tell kids that they were stupid, or evil, or bad because they happen to be white, or that they were “toxic “because they were male.

 

As far as finding work, yes, I immediately found great work that paid a lot more money and I had a way more tolerable work schedule. [The thing] about working for Marvel and DC is the working conditions are not good, the deadlines are constantly blown, and you’re always working in this panicked mode that is very unpleasant. The projects I do now are from the heart, I make a ton more money, I work a lot less, and I’m free to be a true artist and express myself.

 

I feel humbled and blessed by God that when I trusted him and walked away from a childhood dream of working for Marvel and DC comics he didn’t let me fall. In fact, he pick me up higher than I’ve ever been.

 

 

PH: How have others in the comic book industry treated you since your departure? Have they supported you or attacked you?

 

GE: I got a tiny few rude comments from maybe three or four people online that I knew from the industry. I did notice that maybe a dozen or more friends on social media unfollowed or unfriended me, and a few blocked me. I don’t like social media if I’m being honest. I really think it’s a weird waste of time and a pathetic substitute for actually socializing with other human beings.

 

I do recognize that social media is here to stay and it’s also what you make of it. I’m choosing to try and be positive on social media and be grateful that I have it as an avenue to publicize my work and build an audience of my very own.

 

PH: Why have legacy comic book publishers gone full woke and is there any way to undo the damage they have done to their iconic characters?

 

GE: Anything is possible, but I don’t think it’s likely or probable in any way that Marvel and DC will change what they’re doing. Sometimes a system gets overrun with rot and it can’t be salvaged or the cure is worse than the disease.

 

In my estimation, as a multi-decade veteran of the comic book industry, I would say the only way to salvage Marvel and DC is to remove all of the editorial and managerial positions and replace them with people who are not political demagogues.

 

But you would agree the likelihood of that happening is not zero, but it’s a number approaching zero.

 

 

PH: Have independent creators become a formidable force in the comic book industry by way of crowdfunding and otherwise working on their own? Are the legacy comic book publishers in trouble and in danger of going extinct?

 

GE: We absolutely have. Since we are not narrow-minded with political ideology like the left-wing lunatics that run the main part of the entertainment industry, we have a much healthier, honest, and reliable relationship with the fans.

 

I’ve never been in a situation before where the relationship with the fans was paramount to the business. Marvel and DC did not want us, as creators working for them, to go out and reach too far with the fans. Marvel and DC wanted us to keep it very surface level, very superficial with the fence; they were afraid that we might say something to offend someone and hurt business.

 

I think—I know—that that is a stupid and cowardly position to take. You have to be real with your fans. They can sense it when you’re being a phony. When you’re being too safe, too politically correct, too chicken to tell the truth, fans don’t like it.

 

 

PH: Tell me about the project you’re working on now and how can readers support you.

 

GE: I have an amazing project I put together with my friends David Williams and Gary Martin, both multi-decade industry veterans. Combined, David, Gary, and I have nearly 90 years of professional, comic book-creating experience.

 

We call our project Truth Justice American Way. It is a return to heroes you can believe in, with inspiring, thrilling, and uplifting action and adventure. Everything that made you fall in love with superhero comics is celebrated here. This is our love letter to the countless hours we spent as children reading [these] books.

 

TRUTH JUSTICE AMERICAN WAY TEASER 4

 

Dave, Gary, and I want to tell the best stories possible. We want to entertain people like they haven’t been entertained before. Truth Justice American Way is the culmination of everything Dave, Gary, and I have been working towards for decades. This book will bring so much joy and excitement to everyone that reads it.

 

Being an artist is really a gift from God. You get to touch people right in the heart, you get to lift them up, you get to inspire them, you get to let them know they matter and that they are alive, and they can do and be anything if they believe and work hard. I want my book to be that lighthouse on the rocks that guides people in, letting them know they’re not alone when life throws the storms in, the dark clouds in, and the crashing waves all around them.

 

PH: Where can people follow you online?

 

GE: Since I have such a unique name, Gabe Eltaeb, that is what I use all over social media. My last name is “beatle” spelled backwards—but beatle like the band, not the insect. So check me out on InstagramYouTubeTwitter, and Facebook.

 

Check out Truth Justice American Way here. There are 3 days left in the campaign and they expect to begin shipping in October.


Paul Hair

Paul Hair is an author who writes fiction and nonfiction under his own name and as a ghostwriter. Follow him on Gab. His fascinating books are available at his Amazon Author Page. Help support him by purchasing one or more of his titles.

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON