The comic book community was a stir the past 48 hours. Grand Rapids Comic-Con kicked out prominent Comicsgate supporting artist Mike S. Miller. Their decision saw Marvel Artist Mike Deodato praise them after he declared he would not attend a convention where a Comicsgate member was attending.
But today, things took a turn. Grand Rapids Comic-Con reinvited Mike S. Miller following a public apology.
@AbacusMike Hi Mike, thank you for the apology, we greatly appreciate and accept it as genuine. As a company, we believe in positive social discourse and open dialog, and we are very happy to see this. Re-extending invitation to attend. We would be very game for that… 🙂
— GR Comic Con (@grcomiccon) September 20, 2018
I spoke with prominent Comicsgate voice Ethan Van Sciver about Grand Rapids Comic-Con’s decision to reinivite Mike S. Miller.
“I applaud the good people of Grand Rapids Comic Con for re-extending their invitation for comics legend Mike S. Miller to meet his numerous fans at their wonderfully staffed and well attended convention. In doing so, they put the interests of this industry and this hobby ahead of the ambitions of a handful of extremist culture warriors who hoped to make him, and other moderate and right leaning comics professionals and vendors unwelcome at comic book conventions.
While I find it sad that there are several “professionals” who organized to harass him, his family, and the promoters who sought to bring him out to meet his fans, I’m at least happy to see that true professionalism, class, dignity and virtue still exists by way of apologies given, accepted, and peace met.
I also respect the decision of some professionals to not attend conventions in which people who align with the consumer lead revolt known as ComicsGate might also appear. It’s my firm belief that comics are for everyone, no matter what your race, gender or politics, but for those who disagree, I respect your choice to stay home.”
I asked Ethan if he had any advice for other conventions who might be thinking of disinviting or banning Comicsgate artists and creators. Here’s his response:
“I’d hope that conventions kept their doors and their tables open to all creators regardless of threats and ultimatums and boycotts they receive from extremists who don’t respect free speech. These scowling Internet tantrums shouldn’t be rewarded. Activists, no matter what primary color their hair is, shouldn’t be able to deny a popular creator and his or her fans to meet up in a safe and fun environment. That’s not in the spirit of fellowship, creativity and good will. And it’s also not profitable.”
I asked Ethan about whether or not he had a conversation with Grand Rapids Comic-Con, he responded:
“Conversations bridge divides and misunderstandings. And that’s what I want to be. Like a bridge over total bulls**t, I will lay me down.”
On whether or not Ethan believes his conservation influenced Grand Rapids Comic-Con decision he told us, “I dearly hope my words helped everyone to make the right choice.”
Ethan also said he would be open to having conversations with other people who have been decrying Comicsgate like Mike Deodato Jr., Gail Simone, and Mags Visaggio stating, “And I’m always here for a cozy chat.”
Ethan had also hinted on his livestream that he might make an appearance at New York Comic Con next month. He definitely stated that he wouldn’t be there, “Nah, too busy. I hope everyone has a great time, even without me there.”
Ethan Van Sciver would give us a final statement:
“Finally, I’d like to wonder aloud why we’re nearly two years into the 45th President of the United States first term, and the politically neutral folks of Marvel Comics haven’t given Republican fans a SPIDER-MAN cover to honor him? I thought a respectful tribute, like the one Obama received, might become a tradition. Thank you.”