Black Lightning Creator Tony Isabella Lambasts ComicsGate in Twitter Rant

Tony Isabella

The divide between comic book fans and creators grew wider this past weekend as another veteran comic creator declared their hardline stance against the ComicsGate movement.

In a series of tweets that began on Saturday and continued into Sunday, Tony Isabella, the Black Lightning creator who recently made his return to comics with Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, went on a mini-rant detailing his adamant stance against the ComicsGate movement:

Lashing out with accusations, Isabella speaks directly to an unknown ‘ComicsGater’, though it is known via Twitter’s functionality that the accused cannot see tweets from an account that blocks them.

Isabella truly believes the tired narrative that ComicsGate is a movement of bigotry.

His disdain for anyone associated with the movement is made apparent when, in response to a fan attempting to engage in a dialogue to detail and discuss the real concerns of the ComicsGate movement, Isabella responds with dismissal and mockery, rather than responding to any of the fan’s points.

Dismissal rather than engagement, a growing trend in interactions between comic book fans and authors.

There is a moment where Isabella seems to feel vindicated in his hatred. He alleges that he received a veiled threat regarding his personal home address (published publicly on craigslist, with links provided by Isabella, in an effort to promote an upcoming garage sale). Harassment and physical violence are decried by the rational members of each side of this ongoing debate, and this alleged assault raised eyebrows across the board.

Isabella never directly refers to a specific user or handle, referring to the alleged bully simply as “Jack.” This seems to refer to Twitter user @SJWsAreForKids, who lists his display name as “I am Jack’s Failed TURBO Signal…”. Upon investigation, the veiled threat that Isabella refers to appears to be:

However, at no point is mention of a direct threat made. Twitter user @SJWsAreForKids simply reaches out to Isabella to point out that Isabella has in fact ‘doxxed’ himself.

A self-admitted ComicsGate supporter, @SJWsAreForKids was not making a threat, but wished to help prevent Isabella, whom @SJWsAreForKids admits he has no current grievances concerning, from receiving harassment from the more unhinged and radical members of comicsgate (which is odd, as it seems to be taken from the playbook of the opponents rather than comicsgate supporters, as seen in the recent assault of Jeremy Hambly at GenCon) by advising that he may want to remove the posting from his associated Twitter page.

Other Twitter users began to respond to Isabella, pointing out that @SJWsAreForKids was reaching out in good faith. Isabella responded to these civil responses by doubling down on his belief that he was being directly threatened when, despite all evidence to the contrary, and responding with a combination of blocks and posturing.

This scene, of a veteran comic book creator meeting genuine discussion with falsely exaggerated threats of violence and intimidation from supporters of ComicsGate, is unfortunately one all too common in modern comic book discussions.

Though many work to open a constructive dialogue between various factions to address the concerns of a diverse audience of comic book fans, the clear majority of comic creators are far too quick to believe fearmongering and the vast amount of lies disseminated about the ComicsGate movement.

Until we can engage in civil discussions between creators and fans, Isabella’s ranting will merely be the latest in a long line of self-fabricated attacks set to divide comic book fans and avoid constructive dialogue.

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