I'm a Fantasy writer, essayist, and overall nerd with big dreams.
It always begins with a "Butt."
(continued from part six: http://hub.me/amKNE)
As you might expect, a lot of these incidents that involve actual Comic Book professionals harassing Comicsgate supporters happens on social media and appear to be about unprofessional behavior or, as I said in part one, hostility to fans. Probably the most infamous (or hilarious, depending on how you look at it) of these was when for no adequately explained reason, creator Robbi Rodriguez thought it be a good idea to tweet a picture of someone’s naked anus to Ethan Van Scriver. The tweet, according to Bounding Into Comics, has since been deleted . This incident alone shows that yes, anti-Comicsgate harassment does happen, but there’s a wrinkle that I feel I’d be remiss in not pointing out. Some of the reported incidents here are not entirely honest.
Just as an example, let’s take a look at Tweet from Magdalene Visaggio that Comicsgaters often cite as prime examples professionals being hostile to fans. In this tweet, she proclaims her desires to beat cis people with a bat. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it does if you only look at the screen captures provided one article on The Medium (see below).
However, If you examine it more closely, you’ll notice that Ms. Visaggio appears to be angrily reacting to something, and once you realize that, the answer becomes clear. The tweet is actually part of a much longer thread and that’s been taken out of context, and as a result, Ms. Visaggio appears to be acting batshit insane for no reason. The original thread has long been deleted, but I was able to find a more complete screen capture that gives a bit more context (see below).
As you can see, Ms. Visaggio references fighting something and also references the 1969 New York Stonewall riots, which for those of you who know your civil rights history, will tell you that what she’s angry about has something to do with the LGBTQ community.
Later, I finally found why she was so angry. I discovered another series of Tweets in which she explained that she was venting her anger over President Trump’s first attempted transgender military ban. As Ms. Visaggio is transgender herself, it makes perfect sense that she would be angry about this, and the time stamp on her original tweets line up with the dates that Trump announced the ban on Twitter. The context here is clear. Ms. Visaggio wasn’t talking about Comicsgate, men, or even comic book fans at all. She was angry at Donald Trump. Whether or not she should have vented like that on Twitter is a whole other issue.
Michelle Perez hates Meyer. What else is new?
In addition to taking things out of context, some of the claims of comic pros harassing Comicsgaters have boiled down to “he said, she said” arguments that can’t be proven. Such was the case when writer Michelle Perez expressed how she wished Richard Meyer had died in the Iraq war, and then later allegedly tweeted her desire to paralyze him. Bounding Into Comics and the article on The Medium have tried to say that this was a death threat (even though it's not technically a threat but a boast of how strong she is).
I should point out, however, that Michelle Perez claims that a stalker of hers had hacked into her account and wrote the tweet about wishing to paralyze Meyer. Nonetheless, no one associated with Comicsgate believed her, and Bounding Into Comics accused her of outright lying and called her as a violent psychopath (because why not at this point). Meyer, of course, made a video ranting about it. I confess I have not watched this video, because it has since been deleted (gee I wonder why). Meyer and his followers also tried to pressure Image Comics into firing her for this affront. Image, Remembering what Meyer did to Sitterson, did not do so. I think this question of her account being hacked into is one that will never be proven one way or the other.
Just the same, the article on The Medium tried to corroborate Bounding Into Comics’ claim that Ms. Perez a violent psychopath by posting out-of-context comic panels from (presumably) one of her books, showing an anthropomorphic animal horrifically murdering someone. Because having violence of any kind in one's fictional work definitively proves...something (spoiler, no it doesn't).
No One Can Control Their Fans.
Those are just examples involving actual creators, but regrettably, the majority of the anti-Comicsgate harassment cases don’t come from creators. They come from the less mentally stable fans, with some of these fans taking it upon themselves to threaten pro-Comicsgate creators to the point of fearing for their lives, as was the case when Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser were forced to cancel their appearance at a convention due to concerns over their safety . On one occasion, anti-Comicsgate fans were caught vandalizing a comic book shop where Ethan Van Sciver was doing a book signing, and they also sent death and rape threats against his family. As I’ve said before, behavior such as this is inexcusable and is never ever justified. But probably the worst example that I’ve seen was when a Comicsgate supporter was physically assaulted….kind of. Maybe.
The Case Of Jeremy Hambly,
Let me explain. In August of 2018, Comicsgate supporter and tabletop gaming YouTuber Jeremy Hambly was allegedly assaulted by a College professor and game store owner Matt Lotter while attending a game convention in Indianapolis .
I say “allegedly” because, according to Rick Rottman who looked into the case for his blog “The Bent Corner,” it appears that Jeremy was severely inebriated when the assault took place, didn’t get a good look at the one who assaulted him, and had to rely on the patrons of a local bar to help identify his attacker. Jeremy has also changed his story multiple times, which revealed that he still didn’t really know who had attacked him, and he has deleted several of his YouTube videos in which he talked about the incident . Moreover, Lotter was never charged with anything despite repeated promises from Jeremy via YouTube and Twitter that he would be.
I later found out that Jeremy had decided to just sue Lotter instead , and that the two had recently settled out of court with Lotter issuing a half-assed apology . According to Rottman, Lotter explains that the reason he assaulted Jeremy was because Jeremy had accused him of being a pedophile in one of his videos.
Rottman also speculates that Jermey, despite his shady behavior and having zero evidence, had preformed this dog and pony show to try and set a legal precedent on the financial cost of political violence . Thank God he has failed.
As if heaven itself was trying to further shatter his credibility, I stumbled across another blog post from Rottman that stated that Jeremy has a history of harassing people he doesn't like, both in and out of Comcisgate. And that this behavior has gotten him permanently banned from all official tournaments of the Magic: The Gathering card game. So I guess he's just kind of a shit person.
The point I’m trying to illustrate here is that with this much bad blood on both sides, it's not hard to see why no side really trusts the other. And this is not helped by Ethan and Richard continually feeding that mistrust with their antics.
Based on all of that, can we safely assume that Comicsgate is a hate group? We’re done, right? Well…you can make that argument if you’re only talking about the most visible members. What about the rank and file, though? What about the moderates? What about the silent ones who are rarely (if at all) talked about? Are there any to speak of? Yes, of course, and one of them was kind enough to speak to me.
(Continued in Part Eight: http://hub.me/amKWA).
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Will English