Sunday, April 2, 2017

shaky red-faced men of marvel enjoy banner weekend out-worsting one another

Looks like some of the top personalities at Marvel Comics have shifted from unwittingly fanning the flames of their troll problem to inciting violence against a comics critic. As someone who occasionally writes about Marvel, I find this shift alarming. Probably everyone should? It seems to me the next logical step will be stirring up harassment against their own fans. 


I mean, golly. Why (apart from blatant emotional problems) does Mark Waid think that someone should put a fist through a comics journalist's smug-ass face? Well, you see, Jude Terror wrote several articles for Bleeding Cool about how it is absurd, yet in no way surprising, that Marvel decided to blame its lagging sales on “diverse characters” because their core audience “didn’t want female characters out there." I mean, really, will the Diverse ever stop asking Marvel for handouts??





Marvel isn't running a charity, y'all.

Worse than all that, if you can even believe it, Jude Terror had the gall to quote--at length--Marvel’s vice president of sales, David Gabriel, in one of these articles. Out of bounds, asshole!!! Thankfully, Marvel’s dimmest self-appointed spokesboy quickly pointed out that Terror had cherry-picked the five-paragraph quote for his fake news post:


Seriously, science should study this incredible man, who's out there out-worsting himself on twitter dot com seven days a week.

Anyway, I know what you’re thinking: how seriously should we take these veiled threats from Mark Waid and Tom Brevoort? They plainly don’t intend to punch Jude Terror or anyone else in the face, ever--and even if they tried, either one of em looks like he might have a heart attack if he so much as stands up too quickly.

No, I really doubt those guys pose much of a threat. But here's the thing: Waid and Brevoort have a combined Twitter following of 130,000 people—many of whom, according to Marvel’s VP of sales, are the kinds of fans who “didn’t want female characters out there” (i.e., disgruntled white men).

I don't think it's much of a leap to say that those are the kind of followers who might just go to a comics convention and punch someone in the face. Maybe worse.

You know who doesn’t tend to have violent, disgruntled followers? Comics critics who write about social justice. (Also, just as a point of comparison, Jude Terror has 549 followers on Twitter.) Yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Nick Spencer bang on about how criticism (against his consistently bad choices, as both a writer and a person in the world) incites violence...somehow? He's never been too clear on how that works.



Nick...the people who read Women Write About Comics aren't the ones you have to worry about, I assure you. I think all the time about how crazy it is that this guy has appropriated other comics people’s (legitimate) fears, but that’s another post for another day.

(Meanwhile, I can only hope that making fun of Nick Spencer for being a giant pussy isn't inciting violence against him. Let's all pray on it.)

Is there no one on Marvel’s public relations, human resources, or legal teams who’s savvy enough to grasp that Marvel’s employees should maybe not be out in the world representing them in this way? Are there not potential legal implications for your company when your senior vice president of publishing implies that, if he knew a fellow industry professional’s legal name, he would hunt him down and physically assault him? Is there no one in communications who understands that this type of stuff repulses the very demographics that Marvel should be aggressively going after, in terms of sales (...or grasps that the people they seem to consider their core audience don't seem to be buying enough comics)? Could someone in human resources maybe arrange for an anger-management course for the shaky red-faced men of Marvel? Something? Anything? 

My guess is that these are the kind of blind spots you have when you haven’t hired enough “diverse characters” and your company culture sucks. The dumb irony of it is that the absolute smartest thing that Marvel could do for itself is hire some of its most vocal critics as consultants. Do a focus group, at the very least, my god. But since they’re never going to do that, I'll give Marvel a free piece of advice: Poach whoever the social media nazi is at DC. Stat

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