Last week in comics started off plenty loud with an internet outcry over harassment suffered by Marvel Comics editor Heather Antos after she posted a picture online of herself and several coworkers sharing milkshakes in honour of the late Flo Steinberg. Comics creators, fans, and journalists all rallied under the hashtag #MakeMineMilkshake to show solidarity and support, with even Marvel’s Distinguished Competition getting in on the action. As expected, the hashtag solved sexism and harassment forever…until a couple of days later, when another prominent comics twitter troll decided to put comics creators and trans women Tamra Bonvillain, Sophie Campbell, and Magdalene Visaggio in his sights. While there was definitely some show of support, the widespread activism shown for Ms. Antos seemed strangely absent–there were certainly no publisher-wide announcements of support, and as of this writing, only one article to mention that second incident. Draw what conclusions you will on the nature of White Feminism and the internet’s collective interaction with it.
In other news involving harassment, an email went out from the official Geek Girl Con address, announcing the resignation of the entire Convention Operations Team due to “bullying, gender discrimination, racism, misuse of charitable funds, and many instances of unethical behavior.” The email, shared on Twitter by Andrea Ayres of Comicsbeat, goes on to list a series of issues that that led to the resignation of this entire team:
— ✨Andrea Ayres✨ (@missafayres) August 6, 2017
An hour later, an official statement was released via the website, announcing that the matter had been looked into, but that no proof had been provided. The announcement went on to assure readers that Geek Girl Con was still on, that the prior email had been unauthorized, and that the appropriate steps to resolve the matter internally had been taken. The statement itself was vague, and didn’t do much to allay the concerns of the public. The issue received another dramatic twist when Audrey Redpath spoke up on Twitter, announcing she’d been in contact with one of the staffers behind the email, and that she had more information to share:
— Audrey Redpath (@audreyredpath) August 7, 2017
Her thread highlights the way that the five outgoing staff members hijacked email access in order to reach Geek Girl Con’s email subscriber base, and also raises allegations that the supposed racism and other discrimination mentioned in the original email are misrepresentations using deliberately charged language in order to turn the public against the convention staff, who are headed by Executive Director Michele Domingo, a woman of color. Ms. Redpath will also be speaking at length with Heidi MacDonald of comicsbeat.com later today.
In better news, here’s a great piece about the rise of self-published comics in Kenya. It’s a bit disconcerting, although unsurprising, to read that traditional African book publishers won’t give comics a fair shake. But just like everywhere else, that lack of support isn’t slowing down the indie comics scene in the slightest. In addition, capital city Nairobi held its own Comic Con recently, drumming up more support for the scene, and giving the internet some wonderful examples of the local fandom.
On the subject of the DIY spirit in comics, scholar Francesca Lyn is currently raising money to finish her dissertation, “Graphic Intimacies: Identity, Humor, and Trauma in Autobiographical Comics by Women of Color.” Lyn will also be teaching a course on comics, race, and gender in the fall, appropriately titled “English (ENGL) 291: Comics, Race, and Gender.” It goes without saying that we here at WWAC take a certain level of interest in all three of those topics, as well as the intersections between them.
Some quicker points: