IDW Publishing Senior Editor Heather Antos attacked ComicsGate on Memorial Day weekend, initiating an industry pile-on of the online resistance movement against woke mainstream comics.
In a passive-aggressive tweet, Antos stated, “Absolutely heartbreaking to witness someone you used to respect, admire, and call a friend actively choose to align themselves with extreme toxicity.”
One of her followers asked if the tweet was about ComicsGate, and Heather confirmed, “Yup.”
This tweet initiated speculation by several professionals as to why anyone would join ComicsGate. None who commented noticed that within hours of making the tweet Antos complained about having trouble affording rent with her editorial work at IDW.
She stated, “I tell you what, I definitely took for granted my previously [sic] landlords who didn’t increase my rent for the entire 7 years I rented from them. This $400 increase after 1 year at the new place is hitting every cell of my being.”
The comic book industry has been under fire for years for underpaying their talent, which Antos herself has made comments about. Many of the professionals who have joined ComicsGate have voiced how much better they’ve been paid since joining the movement and releasing their own independent comics via crowdfunding platforms.
These comics sell particularly well when creators appear on Ethan Van Sciver’s ComicsArtistPro Secrets channel to promote their products.
One such individual who has done so is former Marvel Comics inker and the creator of Fiendish, Irene Strychalski, who appeared on Van Sciver’s channel several times while promoting her book Fiendish, which eventually raised $53,390.
Antos’ tweet is rumored to be in regards to Strychalski as she prepares to launch her IndieGoGo campaign for Fiendish: Chapter 2: Origins. Her sign-up for the second book of Fiendish is live on IndieGoGo.
In fact, Strychalski made her own tweet thread responding to Antos’ complaint. She implied Antos referenced her, stating, “Let’s be clear about one thing. If you weren’t there to support me while I was in the trenches, for years, trying to get my dream project off the ground, then you have no right to tell me what to do or who I promote my book with.
“If you consider someone a friend, then you wouldn’t be silent for YEARS, only to message them with veiled threats just as their dream project is coming true. When you respect someone, you don’t try to ruin them over simply speaking to people you don’t like,” she added.
Strychalski did confirm to Bounding Into Comics she had recently been warned by another colleague aside from Antos that she would be backlisted for associating with Ethan Van Sciver. This colleague also warned her that ComicsGate had a bad reputation within the industry.
Several comic book industry professionals responded to Antos’ tweet. Jimmy Palmiotti, best known for his work on Harley Quinn, said, “I try to call out privately to that person and have an honest conversation-making my POV clear and at the same time try to understand what made them go that way. They deserve a chance to explain. The least I can do for someone I considered a friend.”
Michael Avon Oeming, who co-created Powers with Brian Michael Bendis, tweeted, “It’s the worst. So sorry, I’ve lost a hero and a friend to that kind of shit.”
Mahmud Asrar, having recently worked on Uncanny X-Men followed with, “Ugh! That Sucks. Such a let down.”
Several other comic book professionals consoled Antos for her tweet attacking her fellow creator. It appears as if the comic book industry appreciates political-related gossip and the abandoning of friends when it suits their causes.
Ironically, the behavior of Antos and her cohorts on the thread is the reason ComicsGate came into being. In 2017, an article was published in The Federalist, Forcing Political Correctness On Employees And Characters Is Killing Marvel Comics, which detailed how Marvel employees routinely placed politics ahead of their job, and how no diversity of political opinions could be found at the company after an extensive search.
In 2022, it appears the climate in mainstream comics has become so filled with extreme toxicity, to use Heather’s words, to where pros will gang up and attack their fellow creators for daring to sell their books independently.
What do you think of the comic industry reaction to a creator joining ComicsGate? Leave a comment down below and let us know!