This week in comics there were some very good things. There was also a lot of disturbing behavior that began online and then got physical, including aggressive threats, smashed windows, transphobia, and militant messages. We’re going to do our best to cover the situation, so please hang in there. This is a content warning for the following news story; if it may upset you in a dangerous way, please do not continue reading.
For those who may not know, there is a known racist and bigot named Richard Meyer who has a long history of posting angry videos to YouTube that detail his hatred for LGBTQ, POC, and female characters in the modern comic book industry. This targeted anti-diversity campaign is called Comicsgate, and it is not new. Meyer tends to encourage violent verbiage amongst his fan base. His theories posit (at great lengths) that diversity is ruining comics, and thus he goes by the ironic name “Diversity & Comics” on Twitter. But in the last week, the situation has become unruly. Recently Meyer spurred many of his militant fans to make online threats, and some even went so far as to rob a comic book store in Edmonton, Canada.
When Meyer launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a comic book he worked on with several other creators, many comic book shops made it clear that they would not sell his comic, titled Jawbreakers. Two in particular, a store called Variant Edition Comics & Culture and a store called Big Bang in Dublin, Ireland were targeted by the serial harassers including Meyer. Meyer lashed out on May 10th, Thursday at 7am and tweeted out about a list of shops who refuse to stock his comic: “I did the research on about four or five of them but yeah if someone could go through those screenshots from that retailer Facebook group and make a list of the people the stores they work out and the cities that would be great.”
This resulted in the creation of another Twitter user with the handle @cookie_baron and the name “Official Comicsgate Boycott”, an account that proceeded to tweet out lists of comic book shops exactly as Meyer had asked during the whole morning of Thursday the 10th. It is unclear if that account was Meyer himself or one of his many cronies.
Multiple LGBTQ and trans comics creators and publishers got online to stop the illegal violation of employee privacy as the @cookie_baron continued to tweet the name of comic book shop employees and their locations. The account was reported by users in droves, attempting to protect the safety of the shop employees.
By 1pm that same day, the person had changed their username to @lover_sjw and their name to “SJW Comic Lover” in another attempt at ill-disguised sarcasm. Their old username is easily searchable on Google, however.
On the early morning of Friday, May 11th Meyer agreed with a fan’s joke about breaking the legs of those at the stores who refused to carry Jawbreakers, rallying his “army” around his cause. Shortly thereafter that morning, Variant Edition Culture & Comics was broken into, the glass was smashed through in the front of the store, and money was stolen from the register. There are strong suspicions from the shop’s owner and the local community that this was no coincidence. That afternoon despite the problematic violence, Meyer’s “army” continued to threaten Big Bang with unknown “consequences”.
By Saturday evening on May 12th, the troublesome events led the publisher for Jawbreakers, Antarctic Press, to take a step back and cancel the 112-page comic book. They officially announced it on Facebook. As a result, Richard Meyer returned to his Twitter “army” to launch his own publisher titled “Splatto”. Evidence of the new publisher can be found via its Twitter hashtag. Please be aware that it contains militant language, threats, and representations of violence. No doubt the situation will continue to develop; Meyer has threatened legal action this coming Monday against Antarctic Press and Marvel writer Mark Waid, whom Meyer has accused of influencing Antarctic against him.
Still with us? That was the rough stuff, so take a break if you need to, you can always come back and read the rest later. We’re not going anywhere! We have those very good things to get to, remember?
Speaking of, publisher First Second’s 13-year veteran Gina Gagliano has been chosen to direct the new graphic novel imprint at the publisher. Gagliano has plans to make Random House Graphic for “all genres and all age categories. Kids need to grow up with graphic novels and publishers need to provide a complete reading experience. We need to add to the breadth of the comics medium in order to transform the U.S graphic novel market,” as she said in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly. Though books like the DC Superhero Girls line will not be handled by the new imprint, there will be other unique titles to look forward to.
Speaking of the comics industry and its growth, the numbers are in for April 2018’s comics sales estimates, and they are solid. The top five comics of the month included Action Comics #1000, two Spider-Man titles, Dark Nights, and Doomsday Clock. And the industry is up 300,000 issues from last year, according to Comichron. Go check out the numbers for yourself! Comics is still here, and it’s not going anywhere despite the assertions of certain parties who are uninterested in 2018’s inclusive comics.
Drawn and Quarterly’s Spring catalog has finally been released, for those eager to jump into the latest graphic novel offerings from the phenomenal company. From Craig Thompson, Aisha Franz, Tove Jansson, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and several more artists come the weird, interesting, gripping stories that D&Q is so well known for. The catalog is rife with previews and short comics, so go check it out and enjoy.
As for some Women Write About Comics news, we just want to say that we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has contributed to our “WWAC Is Moving” Indiegogo campaign so far. When we say moving, we mean moving our website to a better host, with a higher server capacity and no more downtime. Thank you so much for helping us and being part of our community. Read all about our fundraiser or just visit the Indiegogo page.
Last but certainly not least! The Justice League comics are getting a new logo, one that is brighter, broader, and full of stars. Take a peek for yourself over at IGN, or grab the first issue of the relaunch on June 6th at your local comic book store.