Dare we dream of a response to the SJWs in the comics world?
CB: And how will you react if and when they tell you some of your art is “problematic?”
EL: I don’t need to do a thing. I’m in charge here. Readers can buy what I’m selling or not. Ideally that’s what it should be. A candy bar company makes a candy bar and you can buy it or not. Those are your two choices. The internet assumes there are two other options: that candy bars can be pulled off the shelves and returned to their manufacturers unsold or that those buying candy bars can stipulate the ingredients. You want to make a different comic book? Make one of your own. You can buy the one I produce or you can not buy it, but you can’t dictate what goes on inside those pages. One guy makes that call.
CB: Lastly Erik, what do you think the long term effects will be if the comic industry continues to acquiesce to these sort of demands?
EL: The slippery slope is a return to the Comics Code. That, or some other kind of censoring body who knows better than the rest of us. Movies have gone in a direction where everything is pre-screened to an audience who weighs in on them and decides what’s good or bad and changes are made accordingly. The danger of taking cues from the audience is pablum like Star Wars Episode I where fans weighed in on what they wanted, George Lucas gave them what he thought they wanted and then they hated what he gave them. The audience is not wiser than the creative people. If they were better writers and artists than those in the field, they would be employed in the field. They’re mouthy amateurs and their suggestions should largely be treated like the witless ramblings of an insane person.
Years ago, Stan Lee instituted a new policy because of a number of letters from readers. Some vocal fans had complained that continued stories were problematic. Since distribution was spotty at best, many readers often missed chapters of continued stories and so they asked that Marvel stop producing continued stories. And so they did. The policy went into effect and a few months later all of their books were self-contained. And then another batch of mail came in complaining about the simple, dull one-part stories throughout the line. And so that policy was tossed out the window.
The danger is in thinking that the vocal few represent the entirety of your audience. They don’t. And so what we’re getting is situations like Jim Lee giving Wonder Woman pants in the Justice League because readers demanded it, then getting rid of them because other readers demanded it, all before the pants version saw print! These publishers are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to please everybody and not knowing who to listen to, and I can’t help but feel that a lot of the people yelling and screaming aren’t buying the comics, pants or no pants.
#GamerGate has changed the rules. Blue SF is on the rise and the pinkshirts are reeling in dismay. All it takes is for one creator in an industry – just one – to stand up and say “I will create what I want to create” in order to inspire others to do the same.