Tag Archives: comic books

Comics Experience Spins out an Experience to Benefit Comic Shops

Comic retailers are hurting right now due to COVID-19 with some completely shuttered and others forced to limit their shopping experience. Many are figure out how to help shops with some publishers donating a portion of online sales to designated shops.

Comics Experience

Comics Experience is an online school for comic creators and they’ve announced their own “Retailer Relief” program. Comic shop customers will be able to purchase original content with 80% of the purchases directly benefiting comic shops.

Content includes videos, audio files, PDFs, and more from creators and educators. New content will be released weekly.

ComicsPRO is working with Comics Experience to get the word out to retailers and its members who can begin signing up. Retailers will receive a unique link that they will share with their customers who will then make purchases benefiting the store.

Participating in the developing the program are Comics Experience President/Founder and former Marvel and IDW Publisher editor Andy Schmidt in developing the program are Bon Alimagno Comics Experience’s Creators Workshop Director and former Marvel Comics Talent Manager, Anne Randulic Director of Marketing at Comics Experience and Atom! Freeman of Prana Direct Market Solutions.

Comics Experience is also asking comic creators to donate videos and other comics educational content to the program with proceeds going to retailers.

Retailers can sign up now.

Valiant Hero Of The Week: Bloodshot

Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices – this week, the poll featured Bloodshot, Ninjak, Punk Mambo, and Quantum & Woody. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways and more.

This week’s winner, perhaps unsurprisingly, was…

Bloodshot

Who is he? A dead man brought back to life with billions of tiny machines in his blood that grant him enhanced strength, stamina and an incredible ability to heal from anything. This dude makes Deadpool look frail. Bloodshot is also the only Valiant character to be featured in a major motion picture with Sony’s Bloodshot released just before North America began to shut down due to the pandemic. You can find it digitally now if you didn’t see it in theaters, and because of that, I won’t go too much into his background because the movie does a pretty solid job of capturing the essence of the character.

What should you read?

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado. Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Mico Suayan, this is the beginning of one of my favorite runs in comics that stretches through Reborn, USA and Salvation. Picking up just after Bloodshot has regained his humanity after being freed of his nanites, the former super-soldier finds himself a shadow of what he was. So why does he feel so guilty about a string of murders he has no connection to? You’ve really got to read this to appreciate how well Lemire toys with your emotional connection to the character – and Suayan’s art has to be seen to be believed. This is a great starting point for a different kind of superhero story that’s more horror noir than capes and cowls, and it doesn’t require you to learn an extensive history about the character if you don’t want to. But if you do, then this won’t ruin any of the previous stories the character has featured in other than part of The Valiant‘s climax.

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW

Bloodshot: Definitive Edition. This book contains the first baker’s dozen plus a zero issue of the 2012 Bloodshot series. With all but the zero issue being written by Duane Swierczynski (Matt Kindt handles the zero issue), this is the place to go if you want to learn more about the Bloodshot you’ve seen in the movies. The Definitive Edition takes Bloodshot from the character’s first appearance in the relaunched Valiant universe and fleshes out a lot more of the character, with much of the movie being inspired by what you’ll read here. There are other stories in the list I’ve enjoyed more, but none give you as clear a starting point to the character as this one.

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXology

The Valiant written by Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire isn’t strictly a Bloodshot story, but the character does feature prominently in the book. You’ll probably see this book featured in a couple different character’s reading lists over the coming weeks because the book does feature a lot of the major Valiant heroes.As an introduction to the Valiant universe as a whole, this is brilliant, but it’s also the bridge between Bloodshot and Bloodshot Reborn and is a pretty key moment in Bloodshot’s story as it transitions between series. The premise is centered around a loose group of allies headed by the Eternal Warrior trying to stop the Immortal Enemy from murdering the Geomancer, the person who speaks for the planet. For over ten thousand years, the Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth and her chosen voice from countless threats. He has failed only three times at the hands of the Immortal Enemy, with each failure ushering in a dark period in humanity. With the Immortal Enemy returning once again, the Eternal Warrior has gathered the heroes of the Valiant Universe to protect the Geomancer.

Buy Now: Amazon Hardcover/PaperbackKindlecomiXologyTFAW

Bloodshot: Book One Contrary to what you might be expecting, this is actually one of the newest books that Valiant have released as it collects the first three issues of the 2019 Bloodshot as well as the Bloodshot Free Comic Book Day Special from the same year. This book is a frantic, fast paced story that will give you barely half a second to breath throughout the duration. We find a fresh take on the character here courtesy of Tim Seeley that doesn’t wipe away the previous work other writers have done on the character, but it also doesn’t rely on said work. If you’re new to the character then this one of the best places to start that isn’t the beginning (which you can find in The Definitive Edition), and it’s especially ideal if you want an action comic that’s pure fun. There’s less substance here than in some of the above books, but this is the one to read if you want to turn your brain off and just enjoy the comics.

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXologyZeus Comics

It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better value, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts).

The above options are all good starting points for you if you’re wanting to learn more about Valiant’s unstoppable killing machine.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Around the Tubes

Sabrina: Something Wicked #1

It’s new comic book day! Yes, there are new comics… they’re just digital! What comics are you getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you contemplate that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Beat – Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is being adapted into a manga series – Nice!

The Inquisitr News – Netflix Cancels ‘V Wars’ & ‘October Faction,’ Renews ‘Locke & Key’ – Two IDW properties down and one continues.

Newsarama – Original Art for Flash Gordon’s First Appearance Sells for Record-Setting Price – Ooooo. Want.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Social Distancing is required – Free comics!

Review

Newsarama – Sabrina: Something Wicked #1

It’s Alive! Pledges to Give 50% of Sales to Your Local Comic Shop

It's Alive

It’s Alive! is following in the footsteps of numerous publishers and pledging to give your local shop half of the money from each sale.

In the announcement the publisher describes shops as “the lifeblood of our industry.”

Include the name of your local comic shop and It’s Alive! will send them half of the money.

Check out what they have and help your local shop today!

Rumor: Are Comic Shops Getting Digital Codes to Sell?

Rumor

One idea that has floated around to help comic shops while physical comic shipments are on hold is there getting the ability to sell digital codes for comics.

We’re hearing rumors that this may indeed be happening.

The plan is for stores to be able to sell digital codes for the physical comics they’re unable to get. There’s still a lot of details to be ironed out like how those codes will get in the hands of shops and how shops will be able to sell them to customers due their various operating abilities. But, it’s one direction that’s being explored and possibly moving forward but quite controversial within the community.

The selling of digital codes isn’t anything new and many customers help lower the cost of their physical purchases by selling the codes that come with some comics.

Will you buy digital codes from your local shop while physical shipping is on hold? Let us know below!

The Comics “Shutdown” Trickles Upward as Diamond Halts Vendor Payments

Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond Comic Distributors has sent out a letter to vendors notifying that they will be putting payments on hold for the foreseeable future. Diamond is the main comics distribution company and is currently in a waiting pattern not shipping out new comics to shops. They are still sending out back catalog items.

While the focus is on Diamond’s cashflow with rampant armchair quarterbacking and speculation by those in and out of the industry, it’s impossible to make conclusions beyond what is stated in the letter. Numerous companies are delaying paying bills to conserve cash in an unknown future.

It’s likely Diamond isn’t out of money. They are still paying staff as we haven’t gotten word of mass layoffs. Instead, they aren’t paying for whatever period of comics during this invoice period. The reason given is the interesting thing of it all.

You can read the full letter below but this part is key:

While we work to understand the current industry landscape, the unfortunate truth is that we are no longer receiving consistent payments from our customers.

Customers are comic shops. With shops closed and in limited selling positions, they aren’t paying their due bill which is trickling upwards to Diamond and then publishers.

If this is reality, this is the most concerning part of this announcement. Comic shipments haven’t even been stopped a week and shops are already having issues paying bills which shows the economic impact has been in effect for a while.

The likely reality is comic shops have seen a decrease in traffic and people buying which means they’re overextended for the month and thus can’t pay their invoice. Having run a shop in the past, it’s an easy scenario to believe and good chance it’s reality.

The fear in the sector is comic shops will close due to the current economic situation due to pandemic and this closing will roll-up. Orders will decrease and comics are ordered months ahead. Projections are shot at this point with any planning for the quarters ahead pointless at this point. Publishers have creators and printers to pay and many have investors who may not appreciate cashflow problems.

While some are pointing to this as a sign for the need of multiple comic distributors, if what Diamond writes is true, that wouldn’t matter. Comic shops wouldn’t be able to pay them either.

There are numerous economic programs launched to help shops and companies like Diamond through the situation. The CBLDF has put together some handy information. But, the thing to focus on isn’t Diamond, they’re the canary in the coal mine. It’s their customers, the comic shops.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Diamond Vendor:

As the world responds to the outbreak of COVID-19, our focus is on protecting employees, understanding the risks to our business, evaluating the risks to our industry and examining the Federal Government resources available. While the full impact of this epidemic is still unknown, one thing is certain: supply chain disruptions have cash flow implications across the extended industry that can’t be underestimated.

While we work to understand the current industry landscape, the unfortunate truth is that we are no longer receiving consistent payments from our customers. This requires that at this time, we hold payments to vendors previously scheduled to release this week. This is a difficult decision and not one we make lightly. As this situation continues to evolve, we are committed to building out a plan for payment and will have more information to share later this week.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times.

Stan Heidmann
President, Geppi Family Enterprises

Marvel Giveth and Marvel Taketh Digital Away

Marvel logo

The will they or won’t they drama of new comic releases has been something that I’m sure would make an interesting story of the behind the scenes drama. Some publishers quickly planted flags saying no digital releases without physical releases. Others are doing limited releases, while others are sticking with their plans.

Marvel finally has made a decision and won’t currently be releasing digital comics.

The publisher had earlier last week listed a full slate of releases on their website and comiXology’s new release page. Then, Marvel pulled back their releases to just two comics on their own website but the full list remained on comiXology. Then on Monday, Marvel returned their full release list to their website leaving us to speculate they may indeed release everything digitally. Now, almost everything is pulled from the comiXology website while the main website hasn’t been updated yet.

As we’ve made it clear from discussions with numerous individuals that plans at publishers have been fluid as they scramble to get back to some form of normal. While digital comics aren’t being released this week, it doesn’t mean they won’t be next week.

Marvel released a message as well from President Dan Buckley:

To all our partners in the retailer community,

Thank you for all your notes, discussions, and the absolute resolve we have heard and seen from you over the past weeks. This situation has been challenging for everyone, and the safety and well-being of you, your families, and your communities continue to be at the front of our minds.

As you know, unfortunately there will not be any new print titles available at your shops this week. Marvel will also not be releasing any new comic book titles digitally on April 1. This is a fluid situation with details changing every day, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we all navigate our way through this. As soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans and opportunities to support you and the industry.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please continue to reach out and share your feedback. Revised release dates for our April 1 titles will be shared in the coming weeks.

Please stay safe and well.

Dan Buckley

President, Marvel Entertainment

Our Favorite Modern Bloodshot Covers

With Valiant focusing on Bloodshot this week in their inaugural “Hero of the Week” spotlight after fans chose him over Ninjak, Punk Mambo and Quantum & Woody, we (well, me) thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite covers featuring the character. All of these covers will be post the 2012 relaunch of Valiant and are shown in no particular order.

The below covers are some of the most striking, iconic or just plain cool images across the various series published since Valiant relaunched.

As I look at the above images, I realize that a lot of my favorite covers are the first issue of some form or another…

Sound off on your favorite covers below!

Hold Fast: The Marauders and the Anti-Fascist Model

Pyro in the Marauders
Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

Resistance, Reclamation, and the Red-Queen of Anti-fascism

What does it mean for marginalized communities to resist oppression and protect themselves and their kin when the governments of the world leave them behind? [A totally theoretical question, in no way relevant to the world we live in] Marauders asks this question, consistently expanding on the complexities of Krakoa’s role on the world’s political stage.

Having spent years working in multiple above and below ground anti-fascist/anti-racist organizations and affinity-groups, I love X-Books like Marauders, that acknowledge the complexities of revolutionary struggle, telling a story of an autonomous cell of mutants, using tactical violence and property damage, to carry out direct-action operations to defend their community. For this reason, Marauders can help readers approach the stigmatized political ethos of anti-fascism. I don’t expect you to walk away with a full understanding of the history and strategies of anti-fascism. For a more holistic account of the history and political validity of anti-fascism, I suggest Mark Bray’s, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist and Robert Paxton’s Anatomy of Fascism.

Anti-fascism or autonomous anti-fascism [as it’s known outside the US, where political discourse can sustain a multifaceted definition of anti-fascism] is an illiberal politics of cultural self-defense, necessitated by the inaction of a corrupt state-apparatus, utilizing historic & emergent methods of protest and direct-action. It’s a single aspect of larger strategies of resistance to white supremacy, not a discrete political ideology. Anti-fascists organize in autonomous cells, collectives, or affinity groups without traceable ties to larger organizations of the left. They reject the liberal formula for opposing fascism; debating fascists in the “marketplace of ideas” or trusting the police to counteract fascist violence. History shows that parliamentary government is not a barrier to fascism, in fact, it’s historically a red carpet. Police, who historically began as slave-patrollers, often share membership with white-supremacist groups and have given birth to reactionary movements like “Blue Lives Matter”. Not to mention they are constantly emboldened by our president’s calls for increased levels of violence.

The series/team’s title is a reference to a group of mercenaries, who Sinister hired to wipe out the Morlocks. Kate chose this name to distance what they’re doing from the X-Men but It’s also an act of reclamation, as Callisto herself notes in Marauders #7. They take a name tied to their own pain and use it in the fight against their oppressors. There are numerous leftist organizations whose names are reclamations, like Trigger Warning, Philly’s Dyke March, the SHARPs, and Redneck Revolt come to mind. This is also seen in revolutionary aesthetics like the pink/purple triangle, used by Nazis to identify queer people, which was reclaimed in the 1980s & 90s by many organizations working in AIDS & HIV advocacy and is used by queer anti-fascist affinity groups to this day. It’s worth noting, that there is a meta-complexity in “reclamation” in comic books. Because these characters are not autonomous and self-aware, they themselves can’t reclaim certain things in the way we in the real world can [ which is still an intense and complex path to navigate]. What I think works here, is that everything is textual. Kate isn’t reclaiming a slur from our world, like naming a non-binary character Snowflake and their twin Safe-Space. Kate is a character, within a constructed world, reclaiming a term specifically located within the confines and context of that constructed world.

X-Men #4, January 01, 2020, by Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, & Sunny Gho

The Marauders play a vital role in the safety of mutants of the 616, providing an alternate model of resistance to anti-mutant oppression, a model of resistance that larger structures of mutant governance cannot engage in. In X-Men #4 we see what happens when the X-Men do participate in larger institutions of economic and political governance, specifically the Davos World Economic Forum; the theme, “Globalization for a New Age: How to Secure and Maintain a Cohesive & Sustainable World.” It’s important to remember that by this time, there’s already been one successful attempt on Xavier’s life. Although they toast to peace, yet another assassination attempt unfolds. It’s easily dealt with, but one of the first attempts Krakoa made to participate in global politics is still met with violence. It’s clear that Krakoa cannot trust human structures of governance to achieve justice and equity.

Marauders #1 establishes the team’s two objectives. The first, to bring Krakoan drugs to countries without “legitimate” trade agreements with Krakoa, prioritizing Nations who need it most. In Marauders #2 we see Kate liberating a shipment that Shaw diverted from a nation in Africa who can’t take Krakoa’s deal publicly as it may start a civil war. The second objective is to liberate mutants being held against their will.

To an extent, the Marauders travel by sea because Kate Pryde can’t use Krakoa’s gates, but as Emma Frost states in Marauders #1 this is “…an opportunity”. In House of X, it’s observed that Krakoa’s gates have a military capability to move forces any distance instantaneously. Humanity implicitly sees the gates as a threat. This is why in some places they’re policed, making it difficult to utilize them to support mutants refugees. That’s where the Marauders come in, operating within the gaps between larger Krakoa’s politics and the rest of the world, through which the most vulnerable of mutants will fall. Revolutionary struggle is complex; at times necessitating open conflict, such as the ongoing Hong Kong Protests, the Ferguson Riots, the J20 Protests, the Warsaw rebellion, the Battle of Cable Street. Revolutionary struggle can also be immensely complex though, requiring less overt forms of resistance. In the new paradigm, mutants have the upper hand, but only the mutants living there and on the world’s political stage, Krakoa can only do so much to help them.

Building Power in the Gaps

There’s certainly a complexity to the various political parallels to navigate on Krakoa. X-Force, a covert-ops/CIA analog, establishes its own surveillance state within Krakoa. We’re spoon-fed that reading by the text itself and marketing. In X-Force #7 we learn Beast is investigating methods of surveillance with Forge, using sound-absorbent stone and placing objects made of this substance around the globe. This is certainly one way to read their actions. Although it’s easy to pass judgment on some of Beast’s recent actions, I would politely challenge that interpretation along with anti-fascist framing. Sometimes resistance is ugly; sometimes when they go low and you go high, they take out your legs from beneath you. Beast’s actions throughout X-Force, have been in the grey, but that is much of what it feels like to be involved in anti-fascist organizing. Sometimes protecting your community isn’t squeaky clean. While this is not me condoning some of Beast’s more questionable choices, this is me saying it should take much more for us to condemn them.

onepeoplesproject.com

But surveillance doesn’t always just serve the state. Surveillance & data-collection can be used to protect marginalized communities. In my years of “organizing”, I’ve encountered and partnered with multiple organizations that did just that, dedicated to observation, surveillance, and consolidation of data regarding the personnel, operations, and whereabouts of known fascists, neo-nazis, and abusers. Sometimes organizations come along, like the One People’s Project, [ founded in 2000 ] by Daryl Lamont Jenkins, whose sole mission is to prove “ hate has consequences”. Through OPP’s “Community Watch” project, they’ve created regional databases of known fascist organizations and personalities, to ensure they cannot use anonymity or opacity as tools in their rampage against marginalized communities. Countless times the information provided by these groups is used to make split-second safety decisions regarding the presence of known instigators and agitators, violent abusers within the community, and to anticipate and intervene in potentially dangerous fascist actions.

Krakoa itself is a unique composite of various modes of social-governance. On the one hand, there’s a radicality of Krakoa that stretches beyond a socialist model, leaning into an almost anarcho-syndicalist model. I see this mostly in the way that Krakoa’s exports of various drugs become a foothold for further economic and political power. These drugs become economic leverage on the global scale, much in the way that anarcho-syndicalist models utilize the power of the worker. There are also parallels to the way that mutant identity itself, rooted in Krakoa, becomes surrogate for the role of the union as a sort of consolidation and point of focus for work-power. Krakoan also represents a semi-liberal state apparatus, though without even a symbolic democratic element given the nature of the Quiet Council’s structure and formation. Krakoa is best understood as a combination of Monarchy and Oligarchy. The Monarch [Charles] establishes a puppet Oligarchy [The Quiet Council], which he assumes a major role on. Charles often makes major choices unilaterally, without consulting the council. This council was not elected and contains members such as Sinister, responsible for the genocide of the Morlocks and Sebastian Shaw a serial abuser.

Marauders #1, October 23, 2020 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, & Federico Blee

The Marauders embody the anti-fascist slogan “outside and within”; both a part of these larger structures of power and yet operating entirely outside of them at times, both with and without the blessing of Krakoa’s elites. Anti-fascism isn’t all about bandanas and brick-throwing, so I’d like to return to the first mission of The Marauders, to distribute Krakoan drugs to vulnerable communities. This idea of “outside and within” is not just how The Marauders engage in acts of resistance, it also impacts how they provide radical forms of aid to others.

When it comes to providing much-needed material aid to vulnerable communities, there many examples of such work within anti-fascist organizing for us to turn to. And this aspect of anti-fascist organizing is very similar to the first objective of the Marauders that we’ve discussed, and that is to provide Krakoan medications to vulnerable communities. An example that many on the left may already be familiar with is the “Food not Bombs” movement, popularized by many anarchist and anti-fascist communities. The goal of which is to consistently host soup kitchens, food drives, and community potlucks within under-resourced communities. While not all members of FnB also do anti-fascist work, there is a significant overlap between the two. There are many other organizations dedicated to this type of work. Much like the Marauders, anti-fascists serve as both swords and shields to the communities they place themselves within.

Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

In issues #5, #6, & #7 it becomes clear that Sebastian Shaw has formed alliances with Verendi. Like many anti-fascist organizations, the Marauders deal with the never-ending struggle of sectarian in-fighting. While it never gets as heated as Democratic-Socialists drowning members of anarcho-communist affinity groups in the ocean, a sizeable amount of time and energy is spent vying for new footholds of power when the focus should be on fighting oppression. Shaw’s plot to kill Kate, his choices of who he appoints as Black Bishop and Black Knights, and his constant attempts to undermine Emma, are all very similar to how some organizations on the left squabble and feud over things like, membership, titles, and power.

From  Jackboots to Pinstripes

We’re introduced to a group named “Homines Verendi”. “Homines” translates from Latin into “ people/mankind”, in this context, it means human. “Verendi” is the masculine, vocative & nominative conjugation of the Latin, “verendum”, meaning “awe-inspiring”. The title alone paints Verendi as a human-supremacist organization, evocative of many “pinstripe fascist” white-supremacist groups, like the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys have over time made them the darlings of the established right, unlike many groups of the alt-right. In fact, the Proud Boys’ notable assault [2018] on counter-protestors in Manhattan, happened at all because of an invitation of members of the Metropolitan Republican Club, a mainstream Republican organization.

Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

Verendi and Proud Boys share aesthetics of class, building a “legitimate” image that contrasts the “messy” aesthetics of the left. Like famously punchable Nazi, Richard Spencer they present themselves as well-groomed, and well-dressed “intellectuals”, endearing themselves to far-right elites. As Emily Gorcenski states in her profile on the fascist group,Compared to the white supremacists they march alongside, Proud Boys enjoy comfortable proximity to the Conservative Mainstream”. Even at protests, they appear in collared shirts, cufflinks, and styled hair. They fit right in, rubbing shoulders with politicians and billionaires, masking their continued reactionary violence. According to their own official publications, two of four spokes of membership to the group require acts of violence. Their founder Gavin McInnes has openly referred to his group as “gang” on multiple occasions, defending members’ senseless violence. In March 2017, Proud Boy Kyle Chapman was photographed beating a counter-protester over the head with a 2×4, earning him a role in the alt-right mythology, “Based Stickman”. He went on to form the “Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights”, which McInnes refers to as the “military wing” of the Proud Boys on his twitter.

Gavin McInnes and members of the Proud Boys, Photo Credit: Stephanie Keith, Getty Images

More recently, fascists like the Proud Boys, Richard Spencer, Baked Alaska, Gavin McInnes, Jason Kessler, and their ilk have attempted to rebrand referring to themselves as the “alt-right“. It’s a clever bit of branding for sure, “violence fringe fascists” doesn’t quite seem too palatable. The alt-right, on the other hand, sounds like a contingent of principled youngsters who land a little further to the right of most party republicans. It’s a name that washes over their hate, their violence, and the overtly fascist goals they hold.

A common misunderstanding of fascism, as Robert Paxton points out, is the neo-liberal Western interpretation of fascism as a form of extreme “evil”, forced onto societies by a single evil individual. Fascist power comes from their ability to co-opt, manipulate, and navigate established institutions of power, while still assaulting marginalized communities at the street-level. Respectability politics allows them to systematically acquire and consolidate power, through entirely “legitimate” means. Mussolini’s march on Rome was a mere spectacle legitimizing his prior invitation to form a government. Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 failed miserably; it was only when President Hindenburg appointed him chancellor that he was able to seize and consolidate power, along with parliaments Enabling Act that granted him complete power. The US elected flavor-blasted garbage pile Donald Trump, and we may do it again.

“Wear a sheet get beat!”

Black Lives Matter Organizer in ” black bloc”, Photo Credit: It’s Going Down

The Marauders’ first mission is reactionary, much like a lot of anti-fascist organizing. This is not to say that anti-fascist politics are reactionary, but that they quite literally react to fascists. When a threat emerges, they rise to meet it, popularized in the Antifa slogan “ Anywhere they go, we go!”. In issue #1 Iceman discovers that on the other side of a less active gate, the Russian military has established a blockade around the gateway, which may be evocative of continued travel bans instated by the flavor-blasted bowl of bird shit, Donald Trump. Kate, Iceman, and Storm see vulnerable mutant refugees being policed and their rights denied, so they intervene. Their violence is never an escalation, but always proportionate. They fight to disarm and de-escalate. The Russian military is the one who escalates. The Marauders’ use of violence is tactical, measured, and defensive. We see a mission like this again in Marauders #4, when the team liberates a group of younger mutants trapped by their country’s naval forces. By issue #5, the Marauders have brought many dozens of mutants refugees home to Krakoa. Have real-world anti-fascists ever gone to bat for refugees?

The Syrian Civil War [2011] catalyzed the largest influx of refugees that Europe has seen since the displacement caused by WW II. In 2015, 1.3 million refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere fled to Europe, in 2016, another 350,000. At least 4,812 people died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2016 alone. With this influx came a rise in nationalism & xenophobia. Despite the fact that economic experts stated firmly that the refugees had not caused a notable increase in poverty or crime, nationalism fomented into violence. As Georg Pazderski of the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland himself admitted, “perception is reality,…our citizens feel unwell and insecure“. This is another way that fascism solidifies power, providing easy answers to the anxieties of the middle and lower classes, jettisoning their explicitly racist trappings for dog-whistles about “scarcity” and “security”. 

In the following October, nationalists attempted to burn down a refugee camp near Bostock. By July 2015, matters escalated further forcing anti-fascists mobilized to defend a refugee tent city from neo-nazi attacks in Dresden. One month later, the conflict reached a breaking point. On the evening of August 20, 2015, an attempt was made to burn down the refugee center. The next day, buses carrying 250 refugees into Heidenau (outside of Dresden ) were blocked by a thousand members of the neo-nazi National Democratic Party and anti-immigrant locals. Several hundred anti-fascists responded to a call to defend the refugees in what had quickly become a matter of life and death. Dressed in black and black bloc, they waited out in front of the tent city to defend the refugee populations from “nationalists” with bricks, bottles, firecrackers. A large number of refugees even join the black-bloc to defend the encampment.

In issues #5 & #6, a major clash plays out between Verendi and the Marauders, which reveals the synergy between various fascist organizations & mobilizations. Verendi has conspired to incite violence in the streets of Madripoor. Verendi has invaded “legitimate” political structures and demonstrated their flexibility to work outside of them. In issue #6, we learn that the Russian ambassador from House of X has a deal with Verendi, to exchange the intel gathered by the “yellowjacket” probe, for her supply of power-dampening technology, both in the suits that we saw in earlier issues and future generations of weapons. In issue #6, we also learn that they’ve made an arrangement made with the ambassador of Madripoor, Donald Pierce while simultaneously working outside of governmental structures, hiring fringe fascists like the Hate-Monger and the X-Cutioner to kill Kate and the Marauders, characters with long histories of ant-mutant violence. Their designs alone evoke explicitly fascist images like Klu Klux Klan hoods, which is even more vile when you consider the origin of Hate-Monger as a clone of Hitler himself. X-Cutioner, on the other hand, is a “former fed”, drawing on the familiar trend of ranking government officials having ties to the Klan and other white-supremacist organizations.

Marauders #6, January 22, 2020, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mario Del Pennino, & Erick Arciniega

For a bisexual, Jewish woman to face these two is an intense challenge, one many anti-fascists and activists from marginalized groups face; putting your body on the line, in direct opposition with those who wish you harm. In the context of the comic, they’ve been hired to kill Kate. In real life, it gets much blurrier, but at times members of marginalized groups have been injured and killed during protests or actions where they stand against their oppressors. This is why even though Donald Pierce and Chen Zhao claim diplomatic immunity, Kate doesn’t get hung up on bureaucratic international diplomacy. Kate recognizes them as oppressors, intending to harm her and her community. She doesn’t take this to the floor of the UN or try to beat Hate-Monger in the “marketplace of ideas”. She fights them where they can’t hide behind the shield of civility politics, and that’s exactly what anti-fascists do.

On the night of February 1, 2017, former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous, was set to speak at UC Berkeley. He’d become a major celebrity of the `alt-right, using his identity as a gay immigrant to mitigate his racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, transphobia, and promotion of rape culture. Students demanded the lecture be canceled when Berkeley officials announced that Yiannopoulos planned to “publicly name undocumented students,” much as he outed trans students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who were then harassed and assaulted. Shortly before Yiannopoulos’s speech, anti-fascists arrived at the demonstration and launched a quick but intense escalation effort. What weeks of advocacy, petitions, and “reasoned debate” couldn’t accomplish was achieved in 15 minutes. The event was canceled. Undocumented students stated that lives had been saved, as far-right students had made threats on social media regarding the students to be exposed.

Clashes like this catapulted Antifa into the spotlight. Despite a complete lack of historical or theoretical knowledge or awareness, pundits incorrectly concluded that anti-fascism was a greater threat to free speech than fascism itself because they refuse to provide an unchallenged platform for hate-speech. Pinstripe fascists leverage “free speech” to appeal to a mainstream sense of decorum—which they capitalize on to spread their hate. That position incorrectly asserts that anti-fascism is the only threat to an otherwise pristine state of free speech, safe-guarded by the government. The government already restricts speech. It restricts false advertisements, libel, and advertisements for tobacco products and alcohol. The government prosecutes incitement of violence, protects copyrights, and limits where pornographic images can be shown.

Journalists are regularly arrested and assault by police at protests. Trump’s White House restricts access to oppositional reporters. This is why the US only ranked #43 on the World Press Freedom Ranking in 2017 and fell to #48 in 2019. It’s why witnesses in critical trials against the police end up dead, an improbable distance from their home for some weed. It’s why the man who filmed police murder Eric Garner was the one who ended up in jail, while the killer cops remained free. In the 1960-70s J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI created COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) to shut down social movements through the spread of disinformation, bad-jacketing, infiltration, and even killing prominent members of the Black Panther Party, such as Fred Hampton. Which you can read about in the appropriately titled Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther. 

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