With coordinated attacks coming from all sides, it’s more critical than ever that #Comicsgate members keep their eye on the prize and don’t turn into #dramaqueens who favor sniping and infighting over solidarity. Sadly, for those supporting this consumer revolt in the name of good comic books, and for the high profile figures within it, recent history may not be on our side.
On September 3rd, 2018, Alt-Hero publisher Vox Day announced his prospective Comicsgate imprint right here on Bounding Into Comics, and it would be an insult to diarrhea to say that the Comicsgate community understandably lost their crap in response. Whether Vox Day was trying to do something he deemed to be positive for the movement, or he was just trying to co-opt it a la Sad Puppies…or both, is mostly irrelevant; the fallout from his move was quite real, particularly when it came to author and occasional BIC contributor Jon Del Arroz.
Over the course of 24 hours, Del Arroz, whose Sci-Fi and comic book work are both published by Day’s imprints, was not only taken to task for his friendship with Day, but he would see some of his sociopolitical positions erroneously conflated with Day’s. When the accused makes it crystal clear that they disagree with someone else’s specific politics and yet they are still being taken to the woodshed for them, it’s a pretty clear case of reactionary outrage. In this case, not only was Del Arroz guilty by association, but it appears his accuser admitted to lying after the fact.
To add to the drama, there’s now this apparent parody which, according to Van Sciver, Del Arroz brought to his attention after all of this unfolded. While we may never know the truth, the timing certainly makes it seem as if Psyberfrog might be some form of juvenile retribution.
Guilt by association? Juvenile stunts? Sounds a little SJW, doesn’t it? That’s because these are the brushes that crowd loves to paint with, and this is the same crowd who is smiling with glee at seeing Comicsgate infighting because they equate it with weakness.
With someone like Vox Day, it’s easy to understand this reaction. He has a history of co-opting movements, and he’s far more apt just to burn down the house rather than try to treat the infestation, which is what many longtime comic book fans don’t want to see. However, in this case Vox didn’t do that. He gave up on the Comics Gate imprint and is sticking to publishing popular stories through Arkhaven Comics and Dark Legion Comics. But what about a guy like Jon Del Arroz? What exactly did he do to earn the pile on?
Of course, this is just the most recent example of Comicsgate infighting; there’s plenty more where that came from. If these bouts were an ill-conceived DCEU movie, they would have titles like: ‘Diversity & Comics v. Capn Cummings: Dawn of the Cuckening, ‘Ethan Van Sciver v. Capn Cummings: WTF Just Happened?’, ‘Ethan Van Sciver v. Douglas Ernst: Deadlines & Hurt Feelings’, ‘Everyone v. Jon Del Arroz: Dawn of the Faux Racist.
Infighting is always going to happen within a cultural movement like this, and no one is arguing otherwise. The issue here is not the conflict, but the turning of it into public drama for clicks. Rather than trotting this stuff out on the tubes and the comment boards, disputes like these should be kept in-house. If you want to make the resolution public, fine…but maintain a united front. There is no advantage in showing weakness to your opponent, especially when they are increasing the intensity of their attacks.
The line has held up until now, but in the wake of these coordinated attacks from the media, and the Rolodex of virtue signaling from comic book creators denouncing Comicsgate (even those who may not know of what they speak), it’s only logical to wonder what will happen when the next bomb drops. Is the pressure going to reduce the movement and its de facto leaders to petty infighting and YouTube drama in lieu of promoting great comics and getting paid, or can we hope that the exact opposite will be true?
Only time will tell…the answer is up to you, #Comicsgate.