For the past few years, Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been more than just competing platforms for crowdfunding comic book projects. The division of choice between the two has ranged from preference of user interfaces to the different ways they collect funds from backers. For some, the choice is one of almost a religious fervor, with creators recalling how Kickstarter removed certain projects in the past with perceived capriciousness. It’s a sentiment that lingers to such a degree that independent comics professional Jon Malin ruffled many feathers recently by announcing he would not be very open to hosting creators on his podcast if the creators were using Kickstarter as their platform.
Almost as if to underscore Malin’s point, the announcement was made today that Kickstarter had a new comics consultant, Jamila Rowser, who announced the following on Twitter:
Good luck to the other creators in reaching Rowser. As many comics creators and comics journalists — including Critical Blast — discovered, Rowser comes to Kickstarter with a Twitter account already pre-blocking innumerable independent creators.
The blocking occurs on such a widespread scale that it would be unlikely that many of them were done personally. Rather, it appears Rowser implemented a “block list” type of procedure, wherein a Twitter user can choose to block a person and, subsequently, anyone who follows that person or is followed by that person. The impact is a cascade of implemented blocks, potentially impacting thousands of Twitter contacts.
The impact on a company is overwhelmingly negative, both in terms of having a reachable customer base and in public perception. Indie comics publisher, Alterna Comics, recognized the potential damage of such policies early on, with (Alterna Comics) publisher Peter Simeti issuing a corporate edict prohibiting creators from implementing such “block chains” while still allowing to block individuals on an as-needed basis.
Read the whole thing here. Meanwhile, Rowser also supports blacklisting comic creators from conventions as well. This was posted to her Twitter when legendary comics creator Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) was cancelled by the Thought Bubble Comic Con in the UK because a graphic novel he wrote over a decade ago was considered “bigoted”.
Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns was the basis of Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman film and apologized long ago to those who were offended by his 9/11 comic Holy Terror. Doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that this person is going to treat comic creators fairly. Here’s hoping Kickstarter is made aware that this person may be “problematic” when it comes to working with comic creators in an unbiased way. She also just ran her own Kickstarter for an autobiographical book called “the Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town”.
Maybe Kickstarter has spoken to Ms. Rowser by now. As of this writing, ALL her tweets are protected and she has locked down her social media. Perhaps she’ll rethink her approach.
Not all indie creators seemed concerned though.
Question: What do you think of this new Kickstarter lady blocking people?
Answer: I don’t care about her. She’s irrelevant as it pertains to my long-term success. I don’t care what any of these goofs do in the grand scheme of things. Leave them in the dust. Adapt and overcome. pic.twitter.com/kkBIRhQ76J
— Douglas Ernst (@douglasernst) August 19, 2021
Az from HeelVsBabyface also weighs in