Comic Creators Head to Substack Joining Transphobes and Alt-Right…
Numerous comic creators announced their shift to Substack today in what seems like a coordinated move to make a splash. Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ram V., Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Al Ewing, Molly Knox Ostertag, and more all had various splashes and approaches to the paid newsletter platform. Tynion is going so far to step away from his writing gig on DC Comics’ Batman. More creator announcements are coming.
Substack is similar to Patreon where subscribers pay for different tiers and in this case receive chapters of comics to consume. In Snyder’s case, he’ll be providing a Comic Writing 101 interactive class through the platform. Our understanding is creators will then publish the comics in print down the road though those details have not been released.
While new avenues for distribution and revenue for comic creators is great, each of these creators have a question they need to answer:
Why are they ok working on a platform that not only has allowed transphobia and alt-right indeology to flourish but also has possibly courted it?
In June, Substack’s move into comics was released where it was revealed that Nick Spencer would lead the project. Spencer himself has courted controversy in numerous ways with things blowing up when Spencer and Marvel turned Captain America into a Hydra fascist (aka Nazi allegory).
Substack has had a lot of issues being charged with enabling bigotry. It has become a haven for alt-right individuals and alt-right adjacent regressive attitudes. Any comic creator who takes part in this will should be pressed on the controversy. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.
To quote from one:
Substack denies that it plays an editorial role, maintaining that the writers are solely responsible for what they create — and declining to meaningfully moderate the content published by those writers — but it’s nonetheless begun to look very much like a publication, and that publication has a clear stance against trans rights.
The platform claims neutrality and that it doesn’t play an editorial role but it’s also clearly courting individuals for their editorial content and lets face it, controversy sells.
While the concept of “micro comics” through a newsletter is nothing new, Substack’s willingness to buy talent is. Creators will have to decide if they’re willing to accept money from a company that has so far built itself partially on hate.