There was a flurry of activity around Diversity & Comics aka Richard Meyer, artist Jon Malin, and colorist Brett R. Smith’s Jawbreakers – Lost Souls graphic novel. The IndieGoGo for the book is currently sitting at over $257 thousand. Last Wednesday, Antarctic Press announced they would be publishing the book even in the face of comic book retailers promising to “drag and dunk” them. A number of them even promised to boycott the book, refusing to order it even if customers requested it.

By Friday, Antarctic Press had announced they were no longer going to publish Jawbreakers – Lost Souls. The announcement came after Marvel writer Mark Waid publicly announced he had called Antarctic Press to inform them about the people behind Jawbreakers – Lost Souls.

Did Antarctic Press make the right decision to drop Jawbreakers - Lost Souls?

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Antarctic Press would confirm that Mark Waid called their office, but they denied his phone call threatened them or he bullied Antarctic Press into making a decision.

While they claimed Waid did not bully or threaten them, they would write on Facebook, “Many forces, many of them should be viewed with great trepidation about how our society acts, have led us to this decision.”

This statement would be clarified in further comments on Facebook:

Antarctic Press would write to one of their fans:

“Earl – we do not care either way what any other company does. We are so far removed from their radar that we know our decisions are of no concern for them either. Some of our staff was uncomfortable once more light was shed on the creator. We had to make a choice we could live with. We have other creators whoa re right and left who have not made personal attacks. They are the creators we decide to work with.”

Antarctic Press

They would add, “Ultimately, some of our staff and freelancers were uncomfortable sharing a platform with anyone who makes disparaging remarks about anyone in this community. We had to cut ties. We wish Richard all the best.”

Antarctic Press

But then, here’s where their story gets interesting. They actually say that Mark Waid did influence their decision. They responded to a post from another fan who wrote:

“This does have a silver lining…Pinhead effeminate liberal Mark Waid got the smack laid down on him by Marvel. Ordered to remove all of his social media accounts for using Marvel’s name in his rantings and might be out of a job. Good riddance to garbage.”

Antarctic Press

This comment is based off an anonymous poster on the 4 Chan forums who wrote:

“I work at Marvel; some information for you guys

Waid was ordered to delete fucking everything social media-wise by Cebulski. Cebulski got some VERY angry emails from Antarctica Press. Lawsuit threatening letters in terms of Waid explicitly using Marvel’s name when he threatened them to dropping “Jawbreakers”. Along with threats of physical violence being committed against people at Antartica Press, if they did not do what Waid ordered.

Cebulski called Waid and basically demanded he kill all of his social media profiles and basically go off the grid. Basically, he’s in an internet time out which he has zero choice but to honor, lest he get blackballed from ever working at Marvel again.

As it stands, Waid’s career at Marvel is pretty much dead now. Not even Waid’s chief protector (Brevoort) can save him, since Cebulski is beyond the pale angry. Cebulski gave Waid one final chance when he took over. Don’t expect Waid to be writing any more comics from Marvel at least as long as Cebulski is in charge.”

Antarctic Press would address the fan’s claims about Mark Waid writing:

“This is a untrue story. Please do not spread it. Nobody at AP contacted Marvel. Mark Waid did not bully anyone at our company. Though he did call and express concern. No letters were written between us and Marvel. Mark shed more light on the situation, and other factors came into play that do not involve any staff or freelancers at any other company, that led us to our decision. We wish the Jawbreakers team success in their next phase. It’s now bigger than we could have handled. They have lined up another publisher who can get them into a bigger venue than we could have.”

Antarctic Press

They specifically write, “Mark shed more light on the situation, and other factors came into play that do not involve any staff or freelancers at any other that led us to our decision.” While this doesn’t directly contradict their previous statement where they state Mark Waid did not bully them, it does show that he did influence their final decision.

Diversity & Comics claimed these statements were in “direct contravention” to the conversation he had with the owner of Antarctic Press.

Diversity & Comics previously claimed Mark Waid used his position at Marvel and his connections in the industry to prevent him from getting his book published at Antarctic Press.

He also noted that Antarctic Press dropped the book because of the pressure from Mark Waid and others.

We asked Meyer if these Tweets were based on the conversation he had with Antarctic Press. He told us, “I believe so.”

Meyer had previously indicated he would call the FTC and report Mark Waid and it looks like he has done so.

He also recently had a discussion with Rekieta Law about pursuing legal options against Mark Waid.

At about 33:00, Nick Rekieta explains that Mark Waid’s actions and claims could qualify as defamation. He explains, “What that looks like to me from a legal perspective is defamation. He’s made a materially false statement, it’s provably false because you have said the exact opposite. He would have to defend that claim in court.” He goes on to explain how this in theory caused Diversity & Comics harms, “I see this defamation claim that has in theory caused you harm because you had a publisher lined up. The publisher seems to have acted at least in part on his statements which appear to be false. So that implicates Mark Waid on a personal level.”

What do you make of Antarctic Press’ explanation of why they dropped Jawbreakers – Lost Souls? Did they lie to Meyer? Did they make the right decision?

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About The Author

John F. Trent

John is the Editor here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.

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