Chelsea Cain recently threw Marvel Comics under the bus for dropping her planned The Vision series, which she claimed she had been working on for the past two years and only completed four issues. Now, Cain is getting bashed for her latest Image Comics’ series Man-Eaters with artist Kate Niemczyk.
Alex de Campi, who has most recently been working with 2000 AD on a Dredd movie tie-in movies in Dredd: Final Judgement criticized Cain and Niemczyk’s Man-Eaters stating, “This book would have been a LOT more rich and interesting if it had included trans teens in its concept.”
There’s a lot of chat about Maneaters and its trans exclusion / erasure, and as always it’s trans folk bearing the burden of educating the cis.
IMO: This book would have been a LOT more rich and interesting if it had included trans teens in its concept. https://t.co/TEDhAFPuMP
— Alex de Campi (@alexdecampi) September 27, 2018
Others would chimed in claiming the exclusion of trans characters in the story was a “gut punch.”
The way that answer completely erased trans masc, non-binary and trans men from the narrative (or world) is such a gut punch ?
— Thal (@thalestral) September 27, 2018
Marvel colorist Tamra Bonvillain would claim the story “erases us all.”
It erases us all. She mouths the words to the question, and then immediately contradicts herself. Maybe it was unintentional, poorly worded, whatever, but this quote gave me a lot of pause. pic.twitter.com/mtQYzMTAqn
— Tamra Bonvillain (@TBonvillain) September 27, 2018
De Campi would then Mock’s biggest comic book claim to fame, her Mockingbird #8 cover that had Mockingbird wear a shirt that read, “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda.”
Welp, we asked her about her feminist agenda
and now we know
— Alex de Campi (@alexdecampi) September 28, 2018
De Campi would then declare the book would have been “better” with the inclusion of a trans character.
Then tell the damn story BETTER. What about an AFAB trans male teen? Does he change? F’rex
Also there’s a pussy hat and oh, child, nonono
— Alex de Campi (@alexdecampi) September 27, 2018
De Campi and Bonvillain weren’t the only ones who criticized the book for its exclusion of transgenders.
So, yeah, with discussions today about how Heroes In Crisis has problematic elements to it, Maneaters unfortunately also does. There is some uncomfortable lingo in it that can be seen as SWERFish and TERFish. ?
— Ben Howard (@ScaryCleve) September 26, 2018
Important thread on some of the implications of Chelsea Cain’s new comic Maneaters and how it contributes to trans erasure, specifically of trans men https://t.co/opuk02CiqP
— Nick Hanover (@Nick_Hanover) September 26, 2018
Reading Maneaters made me super uncomfortable. When Chelsea posted a page from it I explained in a nice way why & how this harms trans people. The creative team tried to reassure me they heard me, & offered to discuss it over email. We exchanged emails. They haven’t replied
— ACAB For Cutie (@ForAcab) September 27, 2018
I don’t think maneaters is deliberately erasing trans people, but it’s falling into a common trope and manages to be blind to a lot of stuff that is being talked about, that is careless, and that falls on the writer and the editor tbh (5/x)
— Erika Price (@erikapriceart) September 27, 2018
important thread on not ignoring the experiences of minorities – especially trans men – in speculative fiction like Maneaters https://t.co/k138vkwu2k
— Justin Martin (@jmartinwrites) September 26, 2018
i said this in a reply to tamra but also want to tack it onto the main thread: if i had a “goal” in noodling all my thoughts out here, it would be for cain and the team to let trans and nonbinary folks pitch backup stories in this world to highlight those experiences too
— ck “cool guy” stewart (@ckayfabe) September 26, 2018
At least one person even began questioning if Cain is transphobic.
@ChelseaCain #maneaters reads like a TERF vomited on paper and added glitter. I am actually concerned that you might be an actual transphobe. Not all women menstruate and not all those who menstruate are woman.
— Erika’s comic account. (@comic_erika) September 28, 2018
In an interview with Women Write About Comics, Cain answered a question about how Man-Eaters would tackle hormone therapy for characters who aren’t cis:
“I think it’s really important to tell stories from a lot of different points of view. This is a story about what it’s like to be a cis gendered female coming of age in a culture that consistently reinforces the messaging that periods are shameful, that our bodies are shameful, and that womanhood—and the biology that goes along with it—is something gross and not for polite company. It’s about rejecting that narrative and making something powerful from it. You don’t have to have a uterus to be a woman. Anyone who thinks that hasn’t been paying attention. But let’s not get lost or distracted here—this is a specific story, about a specific experience—the way that all good stories are. And if I’m doing my job well, I think that anyone can relate to it. I think that someone who is trans knows full well what it feels like to struggle with being defined by biology and by the social messaging that makes us all, at one point or another, feel like monsters.”
What do you make of de Campi, Bonvillain, and others criticism of Cain?