A few comic creators are making it known they will not be planning on attending conventions in “red states,” those that voted for Donald Trump in the past election. Humberto Ramos wrote a very impassioned reason why, and George Perez has also indicated he will be doing the same after his 2017 commitments are through.
What I am about to write is not to slam these two creators in particular, but to throw this out there to the comic community as a whole and get everyone to think.
I aks this in all seriousness why now? Why declare this boycott now?
In 2010 Arizona passed SB 1070 which racially profiled individuals in a crack down on “illegal immigrants.” The legislation was racist then and is racist now. And even though the Supreme Court has overturned some of the legislation, some of the worst parts still remain. Where was the protest from the comic community then? Why did so many of you flock to the Amazing Arizona Comic Con which began in 2011 and return for years since? Where was the protests then? Where were people proclaiming they wouldn’t attend?
In 2015 then Indiana Governor, now Vice-President Elect, Mike Pence signed SB 101 the “Religious Freedom Bill” that made national news. It caused an outcry and Gen Con, on the of the largest gaming conventions in the world threatened to leave. They’re contractually there for a few more years. And while it’s not so much a comic convention as it is a game convention, there’s more comic related items there than ever before. The outcry was fierce from the Gen Con community, but again are you, or have you attended other actual comic shows in the state since it was passed?
In March 2016 North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, the bathroom bill that discrimantes against transgender individuals. The NCAA relocated championships over the law. The NBA moved it’s All-Star Game over it. How many of you pledged to not go to the conventions there?
Every day women and people of color who are comic fans, journalists, and your fellow creators are bullied and harassed online. Where are you when that happens? Did you call their concerns over stories or art censorship? Did you knee-jerk defend other creators? Or did you listen to the concerns some had to say?
For the publishers who claim to be “progressive” where are you during all of the above? Going to those conventions? Choosing to pass? Will these “progressive” publishers help their creators who may lose their health insurance when the Affordable Care Act is repealed? Do they offer these creators “fair” deals?
There’s a bit of hypocrisy and contradiction about suddenly not going to “Red State” conventions when you haven’t spoken out about the above. It’s now as if “Trump’s America” affects you and you suddenly give a shit. For many “Trump’s America” has been here for quite some time.
It’s great to suddenly “see the light” and come around but we also need to challenge and question individuals for their past actions or lack of them. Those same individuals need to think about it when they’re challenged too and own up to failures.