Image Comics Co-Creator Erik Larsen Responds to Michelle Perez Controversy
Image Comics Board of Director’s member, Image Comics co-founder, and the creator of Savage Dragon Erik Larsen is responding to the controversy surrounding Michelle Perez and her wish to see Marine veteran and comic book critic Richard Meyer be killed by an IED. Meyer runs the YouTube channel Diversity & Comics.
Larsen’s initial reaction was to explain Perez’s wish for Meyer to be killed is part of freedom of speech, “I can’t control what other people say or do anymore than they can control what I say or do. It’s just words, man. Nobody was hurt. That’s the freedom of speech in action. None of us have to like it.”
When pressured on the subject he elaborated, “What would you have me do? There are all sorts of creators saying all sorts of things I disagree with. And I’m sure you’ve said things I’ve disagreed with. Everybody does not walk in lockstep. We don’t all agree with each other.”
He then went on to compare Perez’s comments about wishing Meyer dead and celebrating the death of conservative and Christian icons like Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, and Anthony Scalia to people who shouted “Kill Obama” at Trump’s acceptance speech.
A number of people disagreed with Larsen’s assessment of Perez’s statements.
Never thought I'd hear u espouse https://t.co/TteFfTrPYT sure u've read all the comments, yet still need to ask what you should do about it?I'm not GOP leaning & value freedom of speech.But i am a veteran and if this hate speech rhetoric goes unchecked, im out #boycottimagecomics pic.twitter.com/gRJpuzVybd
— Philsbackpack (@Philsbackpack) February 24, 2018
Come on man..this isn't about individuals saying stupid shit…this is about somebody employed by image..who represents image..saying these things. You've been skating around that in every comment.
— Evan (@Elorts) February 23, 2018
Diversity & Comics would vociferously disagree.
Larsen would respond, “It’s ALL just words. People talk shit all the time! The left wants Trump dead and the right wants Obama and Hillary dead.”
Larsen would also explain he doesn’t perceive Michelle Perez’s wish for Meyer to be killed by an IED a threat.
He would later add, “If you don’t like what somebody said–don’t buy their book. If I don’t agree with Bill Clinton I don’t yell at the CFO at Knopf Publishing Group–I just don’t buy his book.”
He also pointed out there are a number of creators on all sides of the political spectrums at Image Comics.
“I can’t say that I’ve gone down that rabbit hole. But there are creators on all sides of the political spectrum at
@ImageComics. I probably don’t condone a lot of things people have said.”
However, Diversity & Comics wasn’t buying it and asked him to name the conservative or Republican creators at Image.
Larsen responded that it was not his place to “out” them.
“I don’t think it’s my place to “out” anybody. I know of several but it’s not my place to drag them into the spotlight. That’s on them if they want to step forward.”
He would add,
“No, no–not at all. It’s just that many creators don’t want to get dragged into political squabbles on Twitter. They’d rather talk about their work. And that goes for creators on both sides of the aisle. They just don’t want to engage in that way.”
Erik Larsen would be accused he was insinuating the conservative or Republican creators were hiding out of fear.
He would explain his use of the term “out.”
“Not at all. Most people DON’T talk politics in public forums. Most creators don’t either. This sort of thing has traditionally been considered a private matter.”
Larsen would continue the conversation and was even praised for being so candid.
Hat’s off to you, Erik. You’re handling this with more grace and patience than most of us would be capable of. BTW, it’s funny how people keep calling her your employee and telling you to fire her, like that’s his Image works.
— Greg Althoff (@gregalthoff) February 24, 2018
Larsen would eventually admit that Perez’s remark was messed up.
I would also like to commend Erik Larsen on handling this situation with patience. However, I do think Image Comics should make a public statement surrounding Michelle Perez. They should condemn the behavior as Larsen does, but also defend her right to say what she believes. I do not think wishing Meyer died in an IED attempt is an actual threat against him. It’s certainly disgusting and absolutely repulsive.
However, it appears Erik Larsen and Image Comics will not issue a statement regarding Perez’s sickening comments. This is unfortunate because Image Comics recently pulled Howard Chaykin’s cover to the Divided States of America last Summer because people found it offensive. In fact, that action has inspired at least one comic journalist to accuse Chaykin of being “transphobic” and a “racist.”
If Image Comics does not make a statement here about Perez’s actions, it can easily be seen as the company picking sides from a political perspective. They ceded to the people deeming Chaykin’s artwork to be offensive, but will not do the same when the writer of the book they are publishing wishes a horrific death upon a Marine veteran and comic book critic. Not to mention she celebrated the deaths of a number of other conservative cultural icons and even wished they could come back to life only to die again.
Unfortunately, at this point they appear to be in favor of certain speech over others.
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