Tag Archives: controversy

Cartoonists Against Amazon Call for Comic Festivals to stop Accepting Sponsorships by comiXology

A group of artists, writers, publishers, volunteers, and others have posted an open letter to Medium calling on comic festivals to stop accepting sponsorship money from comiXology.

ComiXology is the digital comic platform owned by Amazon and the group is concerned over numerous issues regarding that parent company.

Listed as to reasons why sponsorships should be rejected include Amazon’s labor abuses and the company’s hosting of Palantir the company that provides ICE with information to use in the arrest of undocumented individuals as well as surveillance against unions.

The group is calling for the comic community to “consider alternate sources of funding” and for conventions to make a “public statement announcing their decision” regarding future commitments.

Further mentioned is the singling out of CXC and Thought Bubble to sever ties, a public pledge to not accept further partnerships and transparency regarding sponsorships and money allocation.

Signing the letter are Aaron Renier, ABO Comix, Aim Ren Beland, Alex Degen, Alex Hoffman, Alex Nall, Ann Xu, Becca Tobin, Birdcage Bottom Books, Cathy G. Johnson, Chris Kuzma, Cleopatria Peterson, Colleen Tighe, Conor Stechschulte, Courtney Menard, David Ziggy Greene, Dean Sudarsky, Dresden Douglas, Eleanor Davis, Eli Valley, Elisha Lim, Entropy Editions, Ethan Heitner, Evan Dahm, Festival Workers Association, Flynn Nicholls, Frankie Johnson, Garrett Young, Gianluca Costantini, Gina Wynbrandt, Gloria Rivera, Ilan Manouach, Io Ascarium, Jack Hayden, Jackie Roche, Jade Armstrong, Jen Wang, Jesse Jacobs, Jesse DeNobrega, Jessica Campbell, Jillian Tamaki, Jonathan Dyck, Jordan Crane, J.T. Yost, Jules Zuckerberg, Julian Glander, Katie Fricas, Kevin Budnik, Kevin Czap, Kimball Anderson, Kori, Michele Handwerker, Kris Mukai, Kurt Ankeny, Lala Albert, Laura Knetzger, Laura Lannes, Laurel Lynn Leake, Leela Corman, Liz Suburbia, M. Sabine Rear, Maria Photinakis, Marnie Galloway, Melanie Gillman, Meredith Smallwood, Michael DeForge, Mickey Zacchilli, O.K. Fox, Paloma Hernando, Patrick Kyle, Phil McAndrew, Priya Huq, Rebecca Mock, Reilly Hadden, Remus Jackson, RJ Casey, Roxanne Palmer, Ryan Sands, Sabrina Scott, Sage Persing, Simon Moreton, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Sophie Yanow, Sunmi, Tom Whalen, Victor Martins, Vinnie Neuberg, and Zach Hazard Vaupen.

You can read the full letter online.

Art Spiegelman’s Essay Too Political for Marvel

Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 was to feature Art Spiegelman's essay

Marvel has refused to publish Art Spiegelman‘s essay due to a dig within it at President Trump where he calls him “Orange Skull Trump.”

Spiegelman, the creator of the graphic novel Maus, says he was asked to remove a dig at President Trump from an upcoming book by Marvel and Folio Society. Spiegelman was asked to write the introduction to Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 which is out in September and was announced this past week.

Spiegelman’s essay touched upon how the young Jewish creators of the first superheroes created mythic, godlike, secular saviors to address the issues of the time such as the Great Depression and World War II. Spiegelman ended the essay with:

In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America.

That was too much for Marvel who said they were trying to stay “apolitical,” and “is not allowing its publications to take a political stance.”

Spiegelman says he was asked to remove the sentence about the Red Skull or the essay would not be published. He chose to pull the essay. Marvel editor Roy Thomas will instead be writing the introduction.

Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac (Ike) Perlmutter is a longtime friend of Donald Trump, one of the largest donors to his Presidential campaign, and an advisor to the President on Veteran’s affairs.

(via The Guardian)

A St. Louis Police Union Rallies Around the Punisher Logo to Show Support for Cops Under Investigation

An investigation is underway by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police department regarding officers who published “concerning” images and statements on social media. A police union has asked its members to post the “blue lives Punisher logo” to show support for those officers.

The Punisher logo has been embraced by law enforcement as a symbol of “the war against those who hate law enforcement” according to Ed Clark, the president of the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association.

Clark seems to ignore the fact the Punisher is a vigilante who works outside of law enforcement and unlike police officers tries not to kill innocent individuals. In the comics, the character is a vet whose family is killed by the mob for witnessing a crime. He then seeks revenge in a one man war against crime.

The St. Louis Police Police Chief John Hayden released a memo that indicates he has a better understanding of the character. In it, he states the logo “does not coincide” with the department’s “mission to protect life and property and achieve a peaceful society.”

A project cross-referenced police officers with their social media posts uncovering racist and anti-Muslim posts implicating 22 officers. The city’s chief prosecutor has added those officers to a list the officer won’t take cases from.

The Punisher’s creator Gerry Conway has spoken out on the subject:

Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw. Police should not be embracing a criminal as their symbol.

The Punisher himself addressed the issue in a recent comic:

Marvel has been silent over the use of their intellectual property.

Second Coming Looking for a Second Publisher as Vertigo Cancels Before Publication

DC Comics has reached out to retailers and has canceled the Vertigo series Second Coming before the release of the first issue in March.

Writer Mark Russell Tweeted:

He said there’s already other publishers interested.

Artist Richard Pace followed up to Russell’s Tweet agreeing with how the two were treated.

Though a reason wasn’t given, it may be due to pressure over complaints from religious circles including a petition signed by over 227,000 individuals. The series was called “inappropriate and blasphemous” due to its use of Jesus Christ.

Written by Russell with art by Pace, the series followed the return of Jesus Christ who becomes roommates with the super hero Sun-Man. Jesus is “shocked to discover what has become of his gospel—and now, he aims to set the record straight.”

The series was to debut March 6 and Russell has written numerous religious explorations and is a master at intellectual exploration and satire.

Thankfully it sounds like the series will be rising from cancellation.

This is the latest black eye for Vertigo which was rocked by a previous scandal over the series Border Town whose writer was accused of abuse which led to its cancellation and the returnability of previously released issues.

Second Coming

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and we’ve got so much to do to rap up the year while hopefully dodging bad weather. What do you all have on tap? While you think about that and wait for the work day to end, here’s some news from around the web in our morning roundup.

South China Morning Post – Marvel ‘insults China’ by making its first Asian superhero film about Shang-Chi, a son of Fu Manchu – This isn’t too surprising though it’s most likely the origin will change. Still, will the history be a problem for Marvel Studios? It’s a big deal as the studio relies heavily on the region for their films bottom line. The country is a powerhouse when it comes to the box office and any bumps could be devastating in the short and long run.

Reviews

Geek Dad – Martian Manhunter #1

New Rule: Bill Maher No Longer Gets to Talk About Topics He Knows Nothing About

stan spidey

Source: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

I’ve been thinking about this since I first read about that Bill Maher blog post within which he calls into question Stan Lee‘s legacy, the intelligence and maturity of comic book fans, and the continued relevance of comic books in today’s world. I’ve been thinking that I didn’t want to write about the comedian who makes a living pissing people off, who’s only relevant in controversy, and that I didn’t want to add another article pointing to his blog.

But then, in a quiet moment, I realized I was a little bit miffed at his words, and decided to try and find the blog post in question to see if he had been ever so slightly misrepresented. He hadn’t been. His words, which a vast majority of comicdom have taken umbrage at will be pasted at the end of this post should you want to read them without visiting his blog post.

Given that this was posted less than a week after Stan Lee’s passing, there have been numerous articles covering Maher’s November 16th blog post and the reaction to it. There has been a lot of vitriol and anger. People have called him callous, attention seeking and irrelevant, but that Maher made such tasteless comments shouldn’t really surprise anybody. In what I understand to be a standard case of saying dumb things to provoke people and get a reaction because he’s a “comedian,” Maher has stayed remarkably true to who he is.

He is, like all of us, entitled to his opinion. And if he thinks that the young adults of this world are basically over grown children because of comics, well, then fair enough. If he wants to casually dismiss the death of a man who many of us hold in extremely high regard (even if he had his faults), then that’s his right. To do so after cashing a paycheck for Iron Man 3 is a bit hypocritical. Possibly he’s still bitter over being fired by ABC, which is also owned by Marvel’s parent company Disney.

But to do so whilst getting some pretty key things wrong? That really makes me laugh. With anger. Within his first two sentences, he has some pretty large, but easily researched, errors – and this is what, I believe, is the source of the anger directed at him.

The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.

Firstly, Stan Lee didn’t create Hulk or Spider-Man alone, and never claimed he did (though there are valid arguments as to how much he contributed, this is neither the time nor place for that). Claiming he did invalidates the contributions of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, two men with legacies that should rival Lee’s, and who inspired just as many as Stan did. Stan Lee inspired millions of comics fans to do a lot more than just watch a movie. A half hour of research would have turned up so many examples of this – whether it be industry professionals or fans like you and I, Stan Lee (and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) touched the lives of millions across his decades in comics.

kirby ditko.jpg

Source: co2comics.com

But sure. Say he inspired us to, I don’t know, go see a movie. What has Bill Maher inspired anybody to do? His career high was DC Cab in 1983. That’s a genuine question by the way, because I’ve never really paid much attention to him before.

Which may also be part of the reason for his blog post. Maybe he’s angry at the outpouring of grief over of Lee’s death, or maybe he wanted to use Stan Lee’s death to further a political agenda against millennials making America dumber. That is, after all, what the majority of the blog post is about. Once he grabs our attention with his casual disregard of Stan Lee’s death, he hits us with a treatise about millennial stupidity, blaming it in part on comics. Because comics are the One Thing that millennials didn’t give up and consequently remained dumb.

And that, my friends, is also a little out of touch.

He also makes the leap that somehow a public that’s interested in comics and comic related entertainment is a factor in our current state of politics. This ignores the history of comics that have been regularly progressive and forward thinking, far ahead of society. From Superman’s fight against political corruption, to Captain America advocating for entry into World War II a year before the US did, to discussing issues like drug addiction, the AIDS crisis, advocacy for LGBTQ rights, and so much more. A society truly into comics wouldn’t result in the election of Donald Trump. Maher doesn’t seem to know that but that hasn’t stopped him from opening his mouth on the topic. But, that’s a regular thing for Maher, whether it’s vaccines, Islam, or his inability to challenge his alt-right guests who he provides a platform (when even tech platforms are deplatforming them). Again, Maher speaks on a topic he knows little about but seems to hold comics impact on a level they just aren’t.

Fewer people read comics than, say, watch sports. Or play videogames. The latter has also seen a surge in popularity over the past three decades, but isn’t mentioned in the blog post. Probably because nobody famous enough in videogames died the week Maher wrote his blog post. But Stan Lee did, and so comics became his target.

Fine. Whatever.

But I don’t need to tell you millennials aren’t dumb. Nor that comics are a form of literature. You know this. Maher doesn’t, or doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that he has the wrath of comicdom coming down on him because right now we’re all talking about him.

So screw you Bill Maher for using Stan Lee’s death as a launching pad for your inane tripe. Screw you for using the death of a legend to try to bring yourself to relevance.

Screw you.

stan lee middle finger.jpg

Source: reddit


The text below is directly from Maher’s blog post. A link to the original post, and the hundreds of angry comments is further down.

The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess. Someone on Reddit posted, “I’m so incredibly grateful I lived in a world that included Stan Lee.” Personally, I’m grateful I lived in a world that included oxygen and trees, but to each his own. Now, I have nothing against comic books – I read them now and then when I was a kid and I was all out of Hardy Boys. But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that comics were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures.

But then twenty years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn’t have to give up kid stuff. And so they pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature. And because America has over 4,500 colleges – which means we need more professors than we have smart people – some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like Otherness and Heterodoxy in the Silver Surfer. And now when adults are forced to do grown-up things like buy auto insurance, they call it “adulting,” and act like it’s some giant struggle.

I’m not saying we’ve necessarily gotten stupider. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the 1940s, when a big night out was a Three Stooges short and a Carmen Miranda musical. The problem is, we’re using our smarts on stupid stuff. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.

Source: Adulting

Action Lab Releases a Statement on Ivan the Pervy Ghost Controversy

Today Action Lab Entertainment fell in hot water over one of their New York Comic Con exclusives, Ivan the Pervy Ghost One-Shot which some saw as promoting harassment of cosplayers (and harassment in general). That comic was being released under the Action Lab: Danger Zone imprint. Danger Zone is an “adult” imprint focused on mature material.

The exclusive comic by Bryan Seaton and Dan Mendoza was not to be offered in print again. A digital release was to come out later this year. The comic was being in sets of 1 Regular and 1 Risqué cover with a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. Retailing for $100, $50 from each set sold at was to go to help Hurricane victims of Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

When issue over the release was raised online, Action Lab: Danger Zone tweeted less than professional responses in return to which “the hack” excuse was dropped. In fact the account was not hacked, a person who should not have had access had indeed had access.

In response, Action Lab’s publisher/CEO Bryan Seaton released the following statement:

As Publisher of Action Lab Comics, it was never my or Action Lab’s intention to promote or make light of cosplay consent issues. We recognize that sexual harassment of cosplayers is a very real issue and particularly that it is one some of our own creators have spoken out on in the past. In retrospect, we agree that the cover of Ivan is ill-considered, and we will be removing this cover as one of our NYCC exclusives.

As a publisher of creator-owned books, Action Lab doesn’t believe in censorship – but we do believe in respecting our readers, being sensitive to issues in our community, and owning up to our mistakes. In short, we made a mistake, we did something dumb, and we sincerely apologize. As part of the comics community, we appreciate your comments and feedback and we will continue to work to get it right.  When we do something wrong, please call us out. We want to be a publisher where every reader feels welcome.

In response to the Twitter controversy that spawned from the critique of the cover, Seaton went on to say:

I would like to apologize on behalf of Action Lab and Action Lab Danger Zone for any and all rude and inappropriate tweets. We do not believe these tweets where done by any Action Lab staff but by a malicious third party. Passwords have now been changed and tweets deleted but damage has already been done and again we apologize.

We’ve asked for clarification if the comic will be available with a different cover and plans are still to release it digitally in the future.

Cee Lo and Teen Titans Go!, a Musical Combination That Falls Flat

The Night Begins to Shine” by B.E.R. is some 80s-inspired electro-soul music that’s well know to Teen Titans Go!, the popular cartoon geared towards kids. The song, a favorite of Vic Stone aka Cyborg, is the heart of a four-part Teen Titans Go! special that kicked off on Cartoon Network this week.

To promote the episode, three new versions of the song along with two other B.E.R. songs heard in the special, are being released through WaterTower Music. One of those new recordings is by Cee Lo Green, a musical artist with a troubling past in actions and words, and one musician a show aimed at kids shouldn’t be embracing. The singer has had legal issues including drug charges, accusations of rape, and a defence of rape of which he had to walk back (and that was also to defend Bill Cosby).

In August 2014 the singer pleaded no contest to one felony count of “furnishing a controlled substance – a charge stemming from a July 2012 incident in which a woman accused the singer of slipping ecstasy into her drink.” He was ordered to complete 360 hours of community service.

But, that “controlled substance” charge was the tip of the iceberg as the woman he slipped the drug too also accused him of rape after waking up naked in the singer’s bed not remembering anything. The prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to file rape charges of an intoxicated person (some reports say the prosecutors found it to be consensual).

Then the singer defended the action Tweeting:

If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously, so WITH implies consent. People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!

The singer then apologized for the Tweet with:

I truly and deeply apologize for the comments attributed to me on Twitter. Those comments were idiotic, untrue and not what I believe.

and

I do realize in retrospect that it was highly sensitive, what I tweeted – highly irresponsible. It did stem from emotion causing some involuntary action, and I do believe that, maybe just possibly, we could all give each other a margin for human error.

The year of those charges Cee Lo quit the popular television show The Voice to avoid being fired, which rumors indicate all revolved around his legal troubles at the time. NBC called it a “mutual decision.” He was booted from at least two concerts and TBS cancelled his television show The Good Life over the charges.

Flash forward to 2017 and Green is on a rehabilitation tour attempting to deflect from past issues and rebuild his career and that apparently includes providing music for a kids show. There’s something chilling and nauseating about seeing an accused rapist rehabilitate his reputation and career and partially doing so through a venue aimed at kids is even more sickening. We shouldn’t be enabling this as consumers and shame on WaterTower Music for being complicit in it all and allowing a toxic personality to be involved in something that’s for kids.

Drawn & Quarterly Decides to Not Publish Berliac’s Sadbøi

A few days ago Drawn & Quarterly announced that it would be publishing Sadbøi by Berliac. After becoming aware of some troubling and offensive comments the graphic novel publisher has changed their mind and announced that they would indeed not publish the publication.

In 2015 Berliac published an essay that compared “cultural appropriation and transgender people.” Drawn & Quarterly was unaware of the article and the “consequent public discussion about.”

In an apology yesterday, the company said they “do not agree with the essay, its defense, nor the tone and aggression he displayed in this and subsequent debates,” and that they did not do due diligence when deciding to work with the creator. After learning of the statements, they can no longer fully support the release and will not be publishing it.

You can read Berliac’s comments here as well as his follow up commentary about it.

Sadbøi is “seen as a statement on the treatment of immigrants—the challenge of being expected to conform to a society’s ideals in a world that prematurely condemns outsiders.”

Lebanon’s Economic Ministry Calls for a Ban on Wonder Woman

Spats between nations looks like a hurdle even Wonder Woman can’t deflect. Lebanon‘s economy ministry has asked the country’s security agency to ban Warner Bros.‘ Wonder Women which opens this week. The reason? Lead actress Gal Gadot is Israeli. The former request hasn’t been received as of this post.

Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and a decades-old law boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contact with Israelis. The war has flared up on and off of the years with a devastating volley in 2006 that left hundreds dead and damaged Lebanon’s infrastructure.

Gadot is Israeli and like many of its citizens, served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). She has also spoken out against the group Hamas who is considered by many to be a terrorist organization.

The ban requires a recommendation from a six-member committee from the Ministry of Economy, but that process hasn’t begun. The film is slated to open Wednesday and would be shown in at least one theater in Beirut.

Some members of the BDS movement have also attempted to build a boycott of the film. The “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement condemns Israeli policy towards Palestinians calling it “apartheid” and “settler-colonialism.” Some see the BDS movement as anti-Semitic.

(via Al Jazeera)

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