Previously on Comics: Comicsgate Gets Aggressive (And Other News)

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.”

A screenshot of Meyer’s original tweet, asking for someone to look through the Facebook group of comic shop retailers and target the shops and specifically, their employees, who chose not to sell his comic book, Jawbreakers

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.

A Slack linked Twitter post from the user @cookie_baron on May 11th, spurred by Meyer’s request for information, began to tweet the personal information of local comic book shop staff

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.

The Comicsgate Boycott account’s original name, which can be found when “@cookie_baron” is searched on Google.

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.

Richard Meyer, known on Twitter as “Diversity & Comics” is seen here encouraging violent behavior of his fans using militant language on May 11th

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.

The new Random House Graphic Imprint logo, from the official press release courtesy of Random House

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.

The new Justice League logo, courtesy of Clark Bull, Publisher at DC Comics and his announcement tweet

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.

Corissa Haury

Corissa Haury

I am an avid fiction, fantasy and science fiction nerd who loves visual media. I love to read books in any form, be it comics, graphic novels, zines, anthologies, or traditional print. Let's talk about fun comic stuff together!

15 thoughts on “Previously on Comics: Comicsgate Gets Aggressive (And Other News)

  1. The above article is a hit piece. Information has been left out, and a biased conclusion reached about the subject. Seeing as if the author researched the matter she would have seen a counter story, but never mentioned it. Omission by laziness or intention? Alternatively, it may possibly be that this is a “hit piece” article intentionally created to be left around for search engines to reference later when the subject’s name is searched. I hope this is not the author’s intention! For a more thorough look at this matter, with source screenshots included in the text so you can verify as you read, go to this link for a full but lengthy treatment of the same matter but with the conclusion that comic book pros involved here are colluding to besmirch the character of colleagues of right wing persuasion using the false accusations of “racist” “misogynist” and “hater of minority people”:

  2. As I understand it, there’s no evidence at all to support the Variant shop owners’ claim that the break-in was in any way connected to “ComicsGate”. Quite the opposite, in fact, since money was stolen from the register and there was no vandalism to speak of (besides the damage the thief did to break in).

    It appears to be a simple small time break-in/robbery.

    Considering the fact that the shop owner is *directly* connected to at least one individual who ran a more than year-long online harassment campaign of a conservative comic book artist, and has repeatedly been caught advancing purely false accusations against that person and his associates, the whole thing seems very fishy.

    Promoting that shop keeper’s completely unsupported accusations is irresponsible and extremely unprofessional.

  3. You just dont get it, no matter how many times you and yours get taken down. Lies, slander, defamation, quote mining, name calling, accusations of bigotry, all the usual tactics from the SJW playbook…..
    See further Streisand Effect.
    How about you write an article about the ugliness and hate that supposed comic book pros (writers and artists) have brought into the market and include all the tweets THEY send…. the ones that threatened ACTUAL violence on Meyer. B Clay Moore colluding with others to start a fight with Meyer at a conference. Michelle Perez threatening him with violence, and lying about his service record, aidied by other so called journos like Terror, Schiach and Doyle of CBR. The ugliness, racism and lunacy of Kwanza and Ayo? Visaggio and others playing gatekeeper and lying their heads off?
    No…. because that would bring your house of cards narrative tumbling down.
    You are a liar and a propogandist, blinded by your own ideology…. and we the fans can see right through you.

  4. I find your lack of evidence in this article disturbing. Not to mention a total unawareness of who or what you are talking about. Your article starts off with a heavy-handed Ron The Death Eater level of bias that makes it clear you have never checked out the source yourself, but taking it completely on faith that others are telling you God’s Truth. You also use Tweets that are very clearly taken out of context, treat what you yourself have described as a “joke” far too seriously, then promote a false narrative Variant Edition Comics and Culture has tried pushing about the break-in being related to D&C and their decision to not carry his graphic novel, despite the fact that they live in a high-crime area that has had several break-ins near the store recently, and the only thing stolen BY THE OWNERS THEMSELVES was a few rolls of coins.

    And to be frank, the more I look into this issue, the less I’m inclined to believe that they were legitly broken into at all. As of this time, I’m still unaware of a police report having been filed, and the moment someone asked about checking with police about a report, VE directly posted to that person “Please don’t do this. It’s incredibly invasive.” Yet, VE thought it proper to go to the media about the matter. Does that seem right to you? Because I’m finding it harder to imagine a comic book shop being broken into for a few rolls of coins and nothing else taken or damaged — no comics, no statues, not even food and drink items.

  5. We are still talking about children buying comics, yes? No word on Bruno and how he colluded with comic insiders moments before his comic shop “break-in” perfectly timed to obstruct Jawbreakers? You realize you are the hate group, yes?

    No, you won’t get my info. We all know you collect it to attack. You’ll probably remove this comment anyway as it doesn’t agree with your spin. Which makes you Fox News.

  6. Let me get this straight… for compiling a list of people who refused to do business with him and doing one humorous tweet about having an army, he is now a violence encouraging anti diversity, lgbtq hating, 10 other trigger words person….

    Well, okay, but what i am curious is why people like you cant make an objective article. You dug out his tweet about making a list and checking it twice, but you conveniently forgot the tweet where he states that nobody should contact or harass these people and stores.
    You accuse him of every triggerword in the book, but conveniently forget to mention that the people standing against him compile lists about other’s personal life, going through police reports and court documents, that your merry troupe of diversity positive children go around threatening others with baseball bats to the teeth and magic buttons of mass murder, like the detailed list of tweets in the “PR Disasters: Comic Book Pros Are Not Professional” article over on medium.

    What i am curious about is why it is hard to write an objective article instead of a defamatory, slandering headpiece infused with your own disgusting ideology that presents only a narrative which puts you in the status of either hero or victim.
    Oh right… you dont deal in objectivity… all you do is make up stories.

  7. You have purposefully ignored other facts that would not fit your story or you didn’t do the research to insure your article is telling a complete story. 1) The store owner jumped to the conclusion, It was comicsgater’s. As a report even with a quick google check on the crime in the are has shown to be in a wave of break in similar to the one that happen to that shop in resent months. 2) Richard C Meyers is father to a number of children none of whom are white. 3) what the shop owners/managers were doing was illegal and break anti-trust law. 4) He also told his followers to leave these shops alone and only use the information to not use them and find another store to by comicbooks. 5) All the information that was given to him. One of the people that was part of the chat group. That user felt what they were doing was in bad faith. 6) The numbers and address could be found in the yellow pages. 7) The twits that you used are out of context and were meant as jokes after the absurd accusation of comicsgate community was accused of violent. 8)greater majority of the comicgators believe in purchasing power and the threat or actual violent only allow the other side to cry victim hood.
    Meyers has criticized the comic book creators for writing bad character, huge plot holes and the lack of spell checking. On top of that they are preaching identity politics at 4 to 9 dollars a pop. at a time they comicbook industry is sick and need high quality hero stories. they hire of talent that is not ready to be writing for top tier publishers.The creators also threatening violence to customers and the general while flying the company name. would they garner those follower if they didn’t associate their name with a comic book company? Creator who get triggered for being misgendered that do the same to customers and label them as nazis bigots racist cis males.
    Just so you don’t fall back in those name calling I have vote for 1 Republican Pres. since 1990. I am left of center Hispanic Paraplegic I have a Master of fine arts and I have been a house husband. If everything is a social construct then postmodern identity politics has to be a lie

  8. Hi. Can you amend this article to include a source or evidence of Meyer’s racism? I’ve checked all the links you’ve included, and their references also, and I’m still coming up short. I’ve tried looking but it’s all seems to be a game of “Chinese whispers” (sorry I lack the vocabulary for a succinct replacement of that phrase).

    1. “a game of telephone” would work just as well, and avoid the racist connotations!

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