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  • Jawbreakers

    OK, someone explain this to me. The "reporting" on it has been horrible. As I get it, someone crowdfunded a comic, and now shops won't carry it because.... it's crowdfunded? That's the reason?

    The hell?

  • #2
    I think the issue is that the creator, or one of them at least, has a podcast that is pretty politically divisive, and they're refusing to carry it because they disagree with him. That's my understanding of it, at least, I've never listened to the show and I only heard about this myself yesterday.


    • #3
      That's a shame. I remember when it was a bad thing to blacklist because of politics. I guess McCarthyism is a thing again.

      I guess if the comic was advocating ethnic cleansing it would be one thing, but at some point you have to separate the creator from the creation.


      • #4
        I think the problem is that the creators (as i understand it the comic is from "team diversity and comics") have developed a reputation for actively trolling creators and retailers who don't fit their very narrow idea of proper comics. Female creators have been a major target as have minority and lgbtq creators retailers and bloggers. Basically they have a rep of being aggressive abusive and bullying. And now they want to complain when the people they have been actively attacking for years don't feel the need to support their "art" which is itself touted as correcting "what is wrong" with today's comic culture.

        It's one thing to say separate the art from the creator, for example I don't agree with the politics espoused by Bill Willingham but I love fables. However when the art is created and marketed expressly as an extension of the problematic behaviour that separation is less valid.


        • #5
          That's just the thing - I have scoured for news and postings about this issue, and I am just not seeing that happening. Just a few jokes that might be taken out of context (or overreacted to), and some criticisms of certain publishing practices. I don't view sarcastic tweets as really bullying, to be honest. That's just someone saying something shitty.

          I am not saying you are wrong Jephd - I just think that is a very one-sided presentation. Just as I am sure anyone supporting THEIR position would have a very one-sided perspective. I saw other people saying that they "targeted people for bullying," but all I saw as evidence was one response to someone complaining about suicide jokes, and a hostile tweet about some women working at Marvel. (You can be hostile to policies women put forward without being a misogynist!) Nothing that rises to the level of "Female creators have been a major target, as have minority and lgbtq creators," etc. Maybe others have done that, but no one has reported anything that actually came from them. At least, not that I've been able to find.

          I don't think there is a problem if someone chose not to buy one of their comics because they didn't like something they said. But to organize a boycott, and pressuring retailers not to carry their work because of a difference of opinion and a couple of tweets? That seems like bullying to me.

          I'll admit, I haven't followed this. But I spent a lot of time trying to see any kind of justification for it, and all I can find is that the creators didn't like Marvel's approach to diversity (I didn't either, but that isn't the same as saying you don't want minority and female characters in comics), and they said a couple of mean things on twitter. If they did something bad enough to really warrant the boycott, I think the people pushing for it have more of a responsibility to make that case. So far, from everything I can find, it seems like an overreaction.

          People really need to learn to disagree without dialing it all the way to hate. You can want Thor to remain a male and still not be a sexist.

          Plus, hell, if they really are guilty - the worst way to "fight" them was to organize a boycott. That only draws attention to them, and riles people up who might support them. People seem to have forgotten that sometimes the most powerful weapon you have is to ignore something and make it irrelevant.

          I checked out their funding page, and to be honest - the sample pages they put up didn't look all that impressive anyway - reminded me of something we might have seen 20 years ago. Probably would have been better to just ignore this thing and let it wither and die. The samples don't inspire me to want to check this one out...


          • #6
            I should be clear that my readinng of the situation is based not on whether I agree with either side, but on the fact that the only time ive heard mention of Diversity in Comics its in relation to claims of bullying and alt-right links. Hence "developed a rep for".


            • #7
              Oh, I hear you. And I read the exact same thing. the lack of context though... that threw some red flags for me.

              On the plus side, this could be a triumph for crowdfunded comics. That has done wonders for board games, why not creator owned comics?


              • #8
                I'm gonna try and stay true to my zen principles here but it's not easy.

                I personally do not like Mr. Meyer, what he stands for, or how he goes about his business. I will be straight up about that. I DO happen to think he's a harrasser and a bigot, beyond just having "a different opinion," which I could tolerate insomuch as it doesn't hurt anybody to quietly simmer about not being pandered to as much as you used to. I have watched enough of it unfold online directly. When friends of mine announce they will not stock his comic (but WILL accept prepaid orders in the event anyone wanted it!) and gets a broken window at their shop the next day, I can connect the dots. Did RCM personally break a window? No. But this is the toxic kind of movement he encourages, that is a bit beyond "a few mean tweets." I'd rather not downplay it.

                I don't like the guy. But he has a following and he got his comic funded. Good for him! That seems tough. And Antarctic Press agreed to publish it. That was a business they wanted to be in.

                Shops who may be curating a retail space to deliberately appeal to the types of people RCM doesn't think should be represented or catered to, it makes sense to say you won't spend your shop's limited budget on a book that essentially hates them. I don't want to pretend that Jawbreakers was somehow apolitical.

                Erik Larsen had a good point in here about how shops can't carry everything and entire states don't see Savage Dragon. It's competitive and you are not owed shelf space.

                And if you happen to be curating the kind of space that runs counter to RCM's writings, your clientele might appreciate the kind of statement by outwardly decrying a vocal harrasser and racist. At the very least it's the kind of words-backed-by-action people can appreciate.

                As far as having shops boycott him, that's the bed RCM made, quite proudly, and then he gets to make like he's being silenced.

                As far as Antarctic Press dropping the book, I think that's dumb. They might as well have published it since they must have already known the market they were going for - some RCM followers, some unaffiliated folks who just wanted an early-90s Image redux. My guess is it would have hit the market with a wet thud and closed the book on whether RCM was ever denied a career as a comic writer due to a conspiracy against white males, or because he is a mediocre creator. And I say this as someone who has been coming to terms with his own mediocrity for some time.


                Personally I believe everything in this article, particularly the bits supported by the man's own quotes. You can disagree with this or that and not be a misogynist but you can't really use phrases like "c** dumpster" in a public forum without revealing some serious issues.


                • #9
                  That's the thing that I think is silliest about the whole thing. It's Antarctic Press - judging by sales of any of their titles, I would bet that most comic shops don't carry everything they put out. It's easy not to carry it, all things being equal, I think they would count themselves lucky if half the comic shops bought one issue. Then the boycott came made it a controversy, and you could no longer just decide not to carry it because no one would buy it. You now have to "take sides."

                  I am not going to defend RCM, or even attack him. I am sure he probably tweeted some pretty nasty things. Once upon a time, people would see something like that, call it disgusting, and then stop paying attention to him. Sales would drop on their own (because people thought he was a sleezeball) and the problem would go away. Today, people make a movement about it, and every person who saw any truth in what he said or agreed with any part of it (no matter how crudely he framed it) suddenly feel attacked. Of course, since everyone likes to be a victim today, we now have two sides fighting over which is the bigger victim.

                  All this surrounding a book that is likely terrible. And here I thought geeks were supposed to be smarter than the average bear!


                  • #10
                    Anyway - I guess I should say thanks to Jeph and Scott for filling me in. Brandon's ongoing issue helped as well (though I am sure he would prefer that NOT happen). Things make a bit more sense now. Quite a shame.


                    • #11
                      I personally think RCM is a bad actor. He plays a good one, and knows all the right words, but has deliberately cultivated a culture that will do his bidding, and has put himself in a position to TECHNICALLY stand above it. The appearance of good does not make you a good person. And hell, I don't even think *I'm* a good person, but I have that healthy dose of self loathing.

                      Anyway, for those who don't know the shop I run with my partner Danica has received abuse for simply stating we would not put his comic on our shelves. We even stated we would honour any and all pre-orders with a pre-payment (which, store policy says we offer at 25% off). One person has come in and asked for a copy. A few people have phoned. Since the publisher dropped the book, we informed them that we can't properly order it for them now, but offered to let them know if it became available to us, and pointed them in the direction of the IndieGoGo to order the book. Everyone declined our offer, strangely.

                      And for context, retailers who NEVER said they would boycott the book - who merely stated they wanted to follow the conversation in a FB forum built for retailers to talk directly with representatives from publishers... hence it's privacy - have been attacked. And this behaviour was encouraged, not directly, but when you say "someone should make a list" for and don't state a reason... sure. You didn't SAY you should attack them. But the pattern has precedent. And you know what will happen. No one should abide this behaviour.


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