Tag Archives: harassment

Dark Horse Parts Ways with Writer Brian Wood After Third Harassment Accusation

Brian Wood

Earlier today, Laura Hudson became the latest individual to accuse comic writer Brian Wood of improper conduct and sexual harassment. She is the third individual to do so over the years. Wood is accused of forcibly kissing her and then pursuing for weeks after attempting to have sex with her.

In 2013, artist Tess Fowler alleged that Wood sexually harassed her at a convention years before. Wood admitted to having “made a pass” but denied harassment or abuse. Anne Scherbina accused Wood of “making a pass” as well and then threatening her career when she didn’t agree. Scherbina says Wood then retaliated by posting a blind item that she provided sexual favors in a DC stockroom.

Wood currently writes Alien comics, as well as some creator-owned series, for Dark Horse. The publisher has made a statement that they will be parting ways with the creator.

In a statement to The Beat, Dark Horse said:

Effective immediately, Dark Horse will not pursue any new projects with Brian Wood. Dark Horse has cancelled the upcoming series Aliens Colonial Marines: Rising Threat.

It’s unknown why this THIRD accusation has caused the parting of ways as opposed to the previous two preventing them to begin with. Since the Fowler accusation, Wood has worked with Dark Horse, BOOM!, Image, and Marvel.

Brian Wood Again Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Brian Wood

Inspired by women coming forward in the video game industry, Laura Hudson has Tweeted about her interactions with comic writer Brian Wood accusing him of sexual misconduct.

In her account, she met Wood at a bar where he grabbed her and forced her to kiss him. She then excused herself to head to the bathroom and looked him up on Wikipedia where she found out he was married. Wood then texted Hudson for weeks asking her to have sex which she refused.

This isn’t the first time Wood has been accused of such behavior. In 2013, artist Tess Fowler alleged that Wood sexually harassed her at a convention years before. Wood admitted to having “made a pass” but denied harassment or abuse. Anne Scherbina accused Wood of “making a pass” as well and then threatening her career when she didn’t agree. Scherbina says Wood then retaliated by posting a blind item that she provided sexual favors in a DC stockroom.

You can read Hudson’s full Twitter thread below.

After this latest round, Brooklyn comic shop Anyone Comics has announced they will no longer be ordering comics written by Wood.

Comic Creator Jai Nitz Accused of Predatory Behavior (Update x2)

Jai Nitz

You may not know the name but you most likely know Jai Nitz‘s creations like El Diablo, a character who appeared in the film Suicide Squad. Nitz is also now the latest comic creator to be accused of harassment.

On the site Her Campus, a University of Kansas student recounts her experience with Nitz who graduated from the school in 1998 and was a guest lecturer of the journalism class of the student.

The victim recounts how what she perceived as a mentorship turned into something more sinister. Drinks turned into sexual talk and then a forceful kiss after the victim made it clear she wasn’t interested.

Nitz attempted to use his position, a power structure inequality, to take advantage of a student. And she may not be the only one.

I’ve been told that I’m not the only one to experience this behavior from him.

A Title IX complaint was made over the behavior and the victim was informed that “the school of journalism wouldn’t be inviting Jai back.”

Nitz deleted his Twitter account earlier today as news broke (update 4/1 – he has reactivated his account but set it to private). We’ve reached out for comments from publishers. Nitz currently has a series Astro Hustle being published by Dark Horse and the series Suicide Squad: Black Files wraps up this week for DC Comics.

Update (4/1/2019): Dark Horse has responded with an updated comment to their original statement released Saturday:

Dark Horse takes all allegations seriously. We have cancelled future issues of Astro Hustle. While we were unable to prevent our distributor’s shipping of Astro Hustle #2, we are also suspending our professional ties with Jai Nitz.

Update 2: Nitz was to appear at Planet ComicCon this weekend and has left the convention and not returning. The below photo was taken 1:52pm today. The photo reads:

Sorry Folks! Jai had a family emergency & will not be back this weekend. Have a great con!

Photo used with permission from @Shoelais

Correction: The article has been updated to make clearer Nitz’s role in the journalism class. He was originally titled the co-professor of the class when he was a guest.

Eric Esquivel is Now Off Nightwing and Tweets a New Statement Addressing Accusations of Abuse

In early December, comic creator Eric M. Esquivel was accused of abuse, both physical and mental, by a former co-worker. Since then numerous other accusations have surfaced, his series Border Town was cancelled, and he was dropped by SBI Press. Now, he’s off DC ComicsNightwing.

DC Comics has informed retailers that Esquivel will no longer be co-writing Nightwing #58 which is to come out in March. He hadn’t yet been announced on the issue, as March’s solicitations are just being released. While his name will appear in the January DC Previews, he will no longer be involved. DC hasn’t update the credits though, so it’s unknown as to who will be taking over. The issue was thought to be a try-out for Esquivel on the series which he would then take over. That is likely not happening either.

While DC didn’t say why they made it’s change, it’s the latest fallout surrounding the accusations. Accusations that Esquivel addressed again December 19 after releasing an initial statement on December 14.

You can read his new statement from Twitter below:

Well-meaning entities in my life have discouraged me from saying anything in public. I’ve been told that the best strategy right now is to “hold tight, until this all blows over”…But I don’t want this to “blow over”. Either in my own life, or in Culture-at-large.

What I want, is to apologize. To serve as a cautionary tale to others. And to change.

Hearing my past behavior described to me this week has been the most surreal experience of my life. My perception of events, relationships, and personal dynamics are so far removed from the way they’ve been recounted, my knee-jerk reaction is to deny them outright…

…Both publicly, and to myself.

But the sources of these accusations are women who I not only respect, but who I genuinely love.

These are people whose presence in my life has changed me for the better, and who I am infinitely grateful to have known. People who I’ve kept in intimate contact with since the years we’ve been apart.

So it doesn’t make sense that they’d simply be making things up. They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

The odds suggest that I have a problem. Or, rather, that I AM a problem.

And, honestly, that’s something I’ve been at least peripherally aware of for some time. Everything I’ve ever written has been about a young man, operating at a deficit because he grew up without a father, trying his damndest to figure out what it means to be a “man”.

And that’s because I was pulling from my own experience. I grew up without any male role models. So I looked to Pop Culture for instructions. A lot of what I learned was useful: the sobriety I reverse-engineered from Batman, the compassion for animals that I aped from Aquaman,etc

But the stuff I learned about male sexuality– from James Bond, Arthur Fonzarelli, Gene Simmons, etc– were completely inappropriate.

(To be clear: I’m not blaming Pop Culture for my actions. If I didn’t grow up behind a library, I would’ve found other archetypes to emulate. Possibly even shittier ones)

I was, and continue to be, insecure in my masculinity.

In my twenties, I tried to combat that by doing everything I could to muster up external validation: getting into fistfights, pursuing the spotlight, and behaving extraordinarily promiscuously. Especially with other men’s wives and girlfriends.

It kills me that I have to say this, but: I never engaged with anyone who was unwilling. Not only is that downright evil, it wouldn’t have accomplished what I was trying to accomplish: which is to feel wanted and appreciated.

I became conscious of my own toxic behavior about two years ago, after a close female friend suggested that I examine myself from that perspective.

I’ve attempted to change the way I’ve lived since then. I’ve volunteered at various community-oriented charities, taught writing classes to formerly-incarcerated youth, used my platform in The Arts to amplify the voices of disadvantaged creators…

… but I never reached out to the women from my past, to make sure that I hadn’t unknowingly harmed them. Mostly because I am a coward, and feared hearing that the answer was “Yes, of course”.

I don’t know what to say about that. I don’t know how to make things okay. I don’t know how I can be of use to culture, going forward.

Is it by encouraging other men to examine themselves, and their behavior? Is it by documenting my recovery from sex addiction in public, to show that it’s possible? Is it by fucking off into the night forever, so nobody has to deal with me ever again?

Honestly, I hope it’s that last one. Because that’s the easy way out. &, as I’ve mentioned, I’m a coward.

…But I suspect that it’s not. I suspect that I’m not operating on a level of awareness that allows me to see the answer yet. But I’m going to try to get there. I promise.

Eric M. Esquivel Releases a Statement About Allegations

Border Town #1

Earlier this week comic creator Eric. M. Esquivel was accused of abuse, both physical and mental, by a former co-worker. Since then, the other creators working with him on his Vertigo series Border Town quit. SBI Press cut ties. And Border Town‘s next two issues have been cancelled and the four issues released have been made returnable.

But, we haven’t heard from Esquivel who deleted his social presence beyond a Twitter account which is now private and almost all Tweets deleted.

Late today, he released a statement to iO9:

I was recently accused of misconduct by a former romantic partner. Not recent misconduct. Misconduct which allegedly happened many years ago. Out of respect for her and our prior relationship, I will not publicly name names.

I’ve taken a few days to respond, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking over anyone. We’re in the midst of a very important cultural conversation right now. One I wholeheartedly believe in.

Never in my life did I expect that I would become one of the accused. I will not speculate as to her motivation for making these reckless allegations, but I want to make it clear that they are false. Though our relationship was unconventional, we always treated one another with dignity and respect.

I heavily encourage, and will fully cooperate in, any forthcoming independent investigation of these claims, which I am confident will show that I have been falsely accused.

I have been notified that DC Vertigo has canceled the book I was working on. My heart breaks for the book’s supporters, and my creative collaborators. They don’t deserve to be negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.

DC Cancels Border Town and Makes Previous Issues Returnable

Earlier this week comic creator Eric Esquivel was accused of physical and emotional abuse by a former co-worker. Esquivel was an up and coming writer with a recent hit series in Border Town, the lead launch title from the newly refocused Vertigo imprint from DC Comics.

While DC hasn’t had an official statement we now know that Border Town is officially cancelled. A cancellation notice was sent to retailers and fifth and sixth issue of the series will not be published. On top of that, all previous issues are being made returnable.

This isn’t too surprising as Esquivel’s two collaborators on the series quit after the accusations became public and they found out about them.

Esquivel has also been sacked from SBI Press with whom he was writing a series.

Esquivel has still not commented on the accusation and has deleted his social media presence except his Twitter account which he has made private and deleted all Tweets other than two.

SBI Press Part Ways with Eric Esquivel Over Accusations

This week, comic creator Eric Esquivel was accused of physical and emotional abuse by another creator. You can read about that here. At the time of the initial article, we reached out to publishers he currently works with to see if they had a statement. Tonight we heard from SBI Press for which Esquivel writes the series Fantasmagoria.

So sorry to not get back to you sooner. We’ve been understandably distraught over what has happened and what we have learned. In light of what we have learned we are halting publication on Fantasmagoria and are not working with Eric Esquivel on any publications or in any capacity going forward. 

– SBI Press official statement

While we had heard that the publisher would be parting ways with Esquivel and had just been awaiting an official word.

We’ve heard there will be a statement coming from DC Comics whose imprint Vertigo Esquivel publishes Border Town. Two of his collaborators on that comic have announced they would be parting ways from the project.

Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain Leave Border Town after Allegations Levied at Eric Esquivel

We brought you the story yesterday of the allegations made by Cynthia Naugle of the physical and emotional abuse she suffered while working with Eric M. Esquivel.

In the post, Naugle doesn’t name Esquivel and refers to him as “X.” Due to clues she leaves, it’s clear it’s Esquivel, one of the creators behind the recent Vertigo series hit Border Town.

Today, his collaborators on the project, Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain have both announced they would be leaving the project. Bonvillain makes clear there are more issues than this one. It’s unclear if any of them are in regards to other accusations that have come forward in the days that Naugle has gone public.

Bonvillain said that DC has wanted to keep the focus on Eric and have been waiting for him to speak up, but he remains silent. Villalobos and Bonvillain informed DC they’d like to speak up due to the silence and DC gave them permission.


DC Comics/Vertigo have not made a statement, and declined to make one at the time when when we reached out, but SBI Press is parting ways with Esquivel as well.

Without his collaborators, it’s still unknown as to the future of Border Town and Esquivel’s role at Vertigo.

When the Anti-Harassment Bodyguard is the Harasser

One of the most omnipresent images of this year’s San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) wasn’t a big comic book announcement or a still from a movie trailer. It was the fact that Eisner Award winning Batman writer Tom King needed a bodyguard because of death threats about his handling of the wedding between Batman and Catwoman in the recently published Batman #50. This bodyguard was David Wray, who has provided security for Stan Lee in the past. Wray became somewhat of an Internet darling during SDCC posing for pictures with King and other creators, and some fans even wanted his autograph or for him to have a cameo in Batman or another Tom King comic.

Wray has been a managing partner at the Cincinnati Comic Expo since 2013. According to Expo administrator, Matt Bredestege, he also has had the position of Comics Guest liaison and travels to conventions to personally invite guests to Cincinnati Comic Expo. This role gives him a good deal of authority in choosing guests for the Expo.

However, Wray has exhibited behavior towards women online that could be considered harassment and allegedly refused to invite a prominent female comic book creator to the Cincinnati Comic Expo because she was a “feminist.” He has also made a homophobic joke about Tom Hiddleston at an Expo executive committee meeting implying that he was gay because of the way he looked.

I spoke with Megan Goodier on the phone about David Wray’s actions and her interactions with him both online and offline. Goodier was a volunteer at Cincinnati Comic Expo from 2011-2015 and a member of its executive committee in 2015 until she stepped down because of health reasons. She has known Wray since 2013 and worked closely with him on the executive committee.

At an executive committee meeting, Goodier brought up the fact that the Expo had not invited many female comics creators as guests. Guests are paid an appearance fee and have their travel and lodging covered by the Expo whereas artist alley creators pay for their tables/exhibition space at the convention. She brought up writer Gail Simone (Batgirl, Wonder Woman) as a possible guest, but this was immediately shot down because she talked about being a feminist a lot. Goodier mentioned that she self-identified as a feminist, and Wray responded by saying, “I will never book her for my show.”

In response to the claim of not booking Gail Simone because she self-identifies as a feminist, Matt Bredestege stated that:

We have never disqualified any guest for their personal beliefs or ideals… No one’s thoughts and opinions on sexuality, religion, politics, science, or whatever has ever been a factor in having them appear or not appear at the Cincinnati Comic Expo.

He followed up by saying that Simone had been invited as a guest to the Expo on “several occasions” and that would he “would provide copies of the communications of the communications between (them).” However, when I asked for these emails, my request for comment was not returned. We followed up with Gail Simone’s agent, Ari Lubet, and asked if she had ever attended or been invited to Cincinnati Comic Expo, but did not get a response.

In 2016, the Cincinnati Comic Expo booked actor Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) as a media guest even after, in 2014, he helped popularize the phrase and Twitter hashtag “Gamergate” and participated in the harassment of female game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu and journalist Anita Sarkeesian. Baldwin’s actions and the mobilization of his large Twitter following to attack these women definitely went against the Cincinnati Comic Expo’s conduct policy of “providing a safe and harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion“.

According to Matt Bredestege, the Cincinnati Comic Expo organizers were “not aware” of Adam Baldwin’s connection to Gamergate and booked him in “late 2015/early 2016” because fans wanted actors from the popular 2002 science fiction show Firefly to attend the show. After the announcement, a fan did bring “the allegations to [the Expo organizers’] attention” online, but they “….already had a binding legal agreement with [Baldwin] and his agency” and kept him as a guest.

As well as booking a known enabler of online harassment towards women and saying he would not book a prominent comics creator because she was too feminist, David Wray has also made unwanted advances toward multiple women over Facebook Messenger. (See below image gallery.) In a 2015 Facebook conversation, Wray told Megan Goodier that he “would do everything I can” to get comics creators Matt Fraction (Hawkeye) and Chip Zdarsky (Jughead) to attend Cincinnati Comic Expo if she got him a date with a woman on her Facebook friends list that was much younger than him.

Goodier said that she had not contacted the woman in years and told Wray to back off, but he still messaged the woman even though he admitted that it made Goodier “uncomfortable.” He even mentioned Goodier to the woman although they hadn’t talked in a while. Along with admitting he messaged the woman after Goodier told him not to, Wray threw in some additional creepy comments about the “crazy/hot scale” and turning down strippers.

Following this up, Wray contacted another woman on Goodier’s friends list, who she had volunteered with at Free Comic Book Day and whose picture he had found on her Facebook profile. Again, Goodier told him to back off and even mentioned that “she is even more feminist than me”. This led to a rant a rant criticizing “radicals” and “shit stirrers”, including those who protested Rafael Albuquerque’s 2015 Batgirl variant cover, which was an homage to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke where Barbara Gordon was crippled and sexually assaulted by the Joker. Albuquerque later requested that the cover be cancelled because those protested it were getting “threats of violence and harassment”.

Even though Cincinnati Comic Expo has a strict anti-harassment policy, its own managing partner David Wray harasses women online. Megan Goodier also states:

There are other women in the area who have had bad experiences with him, who have chosen not to step forward or say anything. I don’t have receipts. These women don’t want to publicly step out  about what happened to them. I know of them, but I cannot prove it. You mention the name David Wray to women who have worked, especially in the convention industry or even in the comics shops in town, they know exactly who you mean. And he does not have a good reputation.

Matt Bredestege, an administrator at Cincinnati Comic Expo, responded to these accusations towards David Wray via email by saying:

We have no comment on these allegations at this time. The allegations are new to our attention. We have reached out to see the alleged messages and no copies have been provided to us.

However, Megan Goodier provided another Facebook Messenger conversation from July 26, 2018 where Cincinnati Comic Expo founder and director Andrew Satterfield and “marketing partner” Jackie Reau offered to talk with her either in person or over the phone about David Wray’s actions. Goodier said she was “not comfortable having any meeting that would create further my word against his situations…” and offered to send screenshots of her chats with Wray that are in this article. Both Satterfield and Reau read her message and didn’t respond.

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