The funny thing about Capitalism is that you can’t control what others do with their money.
If you ask, what is Comicsgate? You will get one of two answers.
1. Comicsgate is an alt-right hate movement filled with bigots that harass women and minorities because they want them out of comics.
2. Comicsgate is a group of individuals who are fed up that one of their favorite industries has been co-opted by progressive ideologues and it shows in their work.
Every time someone takes a stand against the default progressive position, whether is it video games, comic books, or general politics; they are immediately accused of supporting homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Comic book industry professionals are uniform in their denouncing of Comicsgate and the people synonymous with the movement. Eisner-winning artist Bill Sienkiewicz recently wrote a Facebook post viciously condemning those who support the movement. He Wrote:
Stop being the creepy racist misogynist uncles showing up at reunions and pissing in the punchbowl to disprove your beta standing. Stop being the weird cousins the entire world points to as the definition of every “comic book nerd” stereotype. Or do it far away from us. Stop being whiny misunderstood victims bitching bout favoritism, intolerance, and sexism. You’re slinging inky-black aspersions, obviously crying racism in your Wite-Out™. You’re damned right some corrections need to be made; starting with the guys in the mirror first.
Either step up. Or step off.
We, Comics, and The Audience- will be absolutely fine without you. And you won’t be missed one damned bit.
Now there are two takeaways from Sienkiewicz’s comments. First, who are these pillars of the Comicsgate movement that these people hate so much? And secondly, is Sienkiewicz correct by saying the industry will be fine without them? Well, Let’s start by getting to know the figures behind Comicsgate.
Arguably the most popular figure in the Comicsgate movement is comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver. Ethan has made his name in the comic book industry, drawing top-tier DC and Marvel characters such as Green Lantern and the Flash. He currently runs the YouTube channel ComicArtistPro Secrets in where he talks about pop culture stories and host weekly Livestreams talking about the current state of comics.
Probably the most controversial figure in the group is Richard Meyer also known as Diversity & Comics. It was over a year ago that Meyer started his Youtube channel that criticized and reviewed new comics from all the major publishers. His videos earned him a lot of enemies in the community who labeled them harassment.
Another well-known figure in the community is Author Timothy Lim, who is known for his Donald Trump parody series and persona Donald Thump. Lim has been involved in multiple successful publications and being an open supporter of President Trump has earned him the label of being Alt-right despite the fact he is Asian.
Bill Sienkiewicz has not been the only person pushing the prevailing narrative that the comic book industry doesn’t need people like Ethan, Richard, or Tim. But the market tells a different story…a much different story. Comicsgate may have started as a movement to criticize and exposed the bias and agenda of progressive creators, but now they have shifted their mission to beat these creators at their own game. Comicsgate has now gotten into the business of creating their own comic books and graphic novels to compete with their foes in the free market and as of now, Comicsgate is winning.
In the last few months, Comicsgate has proven to be a very profitable alternative to the mainstream comic industry. Ethan Van Sciver’s project Cyberfrog:Bloodhoney has drawn well over $500,000 from 8500 backers. Richard Meyer has also drawn over $500,000 and 13,000 backers between his two projects Jawbreakers Lost Souls and Iron Sights. Timothy Lim’s Space Force comic has drawn over $60,000 with 1300 backers. But this isn’t only a window of the success that Comicsgate and their community has created in such a short period. Mitch & Elizabeth Breitweiser’s Red Rooster has drawn $160,000, Mike Miller’s Lonestar has drawn $78,000, Jon Del Arroz’s Flying Sparks has drawn $27,000, Jon Malin’s Graveyard Shift has drawn $30,000, Doug TenNapel’s Bigfoot Bill has drawn $40,000, Cautionary Comics’s Ravage – Kill All Men! has drawn $43,000, Jeff Hicks’s Stealing Solo: A Captain’s Parodywith the group from WorldClassBullshitters has drawn $11,000.
When you look at this small group of comic book creators you have to ask, how can a small group of bigots can draw over 1.3 million dollars from thousands of backers in such of short amount of time? The answer is a simple one. For the last 5 years, Comic book fans and creators have been labeled sexist, racist, homophobic monsters for voicing their concerns about the quality of their industry and now they are fighting back with their wallets. Back in May, I wrote a piece titled Dear #Comicsgate…It’s Time To Move On in which I stated
The progressive left’s need to control the industry will lead to one of three things. First, fans will get so fed up, they will leave the industry and not come back until it is in someone else’s hands. Second, fans will get so desperate for alternative content, they will look elsewhere. This will lead to independent content creators getting more attention than ever before and instead of brand loyalty to Marvel and DC, it will be loyalty on an individual basis which is probably going to be the future of comics if more people follow Richard Meyer’s example. Third, if people get sick and tired of comics…there’s always Manga.
Well, I don’t know about Manga but it looks like 2/3rds of my statement have become true. Independent creators are seizing on the toxicity of the mainstream market because the truth is and has always been, Comicsgate is not a hate movement. It’s a movement of fans of all races, genders, and sexual orientations who just want to read a comic book and not have to undergo the writers internal meltdown because Trump won the election. They want to read a book and not have to wonder how 75% of the characters suddenly became lesbian. They want to support people who don’t take pictures of their butthole and post it on social media to the cheers of their progressive colleagues.
The free market is speaking and they have the mainstream comics industry very concerned and for good reason. Comic book sales continue to drop year by year and comic book retailers are going out of business as a result. While companies like Disney/Marvel Comics are enjoying the multi-billion machine called the Marvel Cinematic Universe to truly be concerned about the sales of their comic books, you wonder when executives are going to start asking how can a title like Cyberfrog be creating more industry buzz than a title such as Captain Marvel. As the financial difference is being made up on the independent scene and more people are taking notice. The louder the voices condemn people of Comicsgate, the more attention they will receive. You can call these people hateful all you want, but if people actually decide to listen to Meyer and Van Sciver’s videos, they could come to the conclusion that they aren’t as evil as certain voices have labeled them. Then those people could come to the same conclusion that the thousands of Comicsgate supporters have reached, the problem isn’t them…it’s you.