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#thisiscomicsgate, Or; Gate Movements Are Stupid. Here's Some Proof. Part Two

I'm a Fantasy writer, essayist, and overall nerd with big dreams.

I would love to see Ethan Van Sciver try the whole "I and Comicsgate are the best thing evar" routine with Alan Moore.  Also this quote isn't wrong.

I would love to see Ethan Van Sciver try the whole "I and Comicsgate are the best thing evar" routine with Alan Moore. Also this quote isn't wrong.

No One Cares That You're a Republican.

(continued from part one: http://hub.me/amJlP)

In the interview, Ethan states that Comicsgates was a safe haven for creators who could create what they wanted and be free from “Social Justice Warrior Harassment.” [8] Ok, Ethan, now would you mind clarifying what that means exactly? What did they do that was so oppressive? Was there anything you or any of these creators might have said or done that got them blacklisted? What exactly happened here? So far as I could discover, Ethan never adequately answers these questions anywhere. So I first had to do a little digging into what could get a comic creator blacklisted. According to an article I found on Bleeding Cool News, almost all of writers and artist hired by the Big Two (DC and Marvel Comics) are all freelancers, and that a creator getting blacklisted is only one step below getting fired. But it’s not necessarily permanent and it can happen for any number of reasons. Getting into a fight with an editor for example, or making your employer look bad in public, or continually being late, or other things of that nature. The article also states that most blacklisted creators could be un-blacklisted if they just apologize for whatever they did [24].

Now, I admit I don’t know how accurate this is, but it makes a lot of sense to me, because in my opinion, losing your job for being an unprofessional jerk, is far more plausible than whether or not you voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

What's more, a separate article on Bleeding Cool from March 14, 2019, indicates that this alleged prosecution of conservatives is pure fantasy. According to this article, current Marvel Chairman, Ike Perlmutter, is a "Major Trump Supporter" [130]. It also states that major industry figures a such as Steve Geppi (founder of Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.) and Mike Richardson (The founder of Dark Horse Comics) are both Republicans and were "very vocal against voting Democrat at the last election" [130]. This article also reinforces the notion that the biggest reason for a creator being blacklisted or fired from the Big Two is unprofessional behavior and not politics. "[...] there does seem to be is a number of creators not getting work at the Big Two," the article explains. "because they have posted online in a fashion that has spurred too much controversy for the publisher [...] Moreover, they have often been openly critical of a publisher that they are working for. And others have been similarly pushed into the long grass for attacking or verbally abusing other creators or editors at a publisher, publicly or privately." [130]

Now, in the interest of fairness, I did try and find specific incidents of conservative creators being harassed and blacklisted as Ethan describes. Fortunately for me, he did name some names. Besides himself, he also named artist Mitch Breitweiser, writer Chuck Dixon, and artist Mike S. Miller. Now, here’s the hard part about trying to find information about this. Comic book companies don’t like talking about blacklisting creators, especially when it involves popular creators. The reason is obvious: it’s bad PR, and while a creator doesn’t have a reason to lie about something like this, it still makes the story very one-sided and hard to verify objectively. Sadly, that’s the case here. Aside from Ethan, Chuck Dixon was the one I could find the most information about, and as such, we’ll save him for last.

The Breitweisers

Promotional image for Mitch Breitweiser's comic Red Rooster.

Promotional image for Mitch Breitweiser's comic Red Rooster.

As for the other three, here’s what I found. First up are artists Mitch Breitweiser and his wife Elizabeth. Both are famous for their work for Marvel comics, and for their creator-owned titles The Futurist, and the upcoming crowdfunded graphic novel, Red Rooster. To tell you the truth, dear readers, aside from three articles, I couldn’t find much information on these two through official news sources. They don’t even have a Wikipedia page so far as I can tell. Oddest of all, all three articles strongly imply that the Breitweiser were not fired or blacklisted but rather voluntarily left the mainstream comic industry in solidarity with Ethan.

According to the first article from Bleeding Cool news, The Breitweiser’s trouble began on the night of November 9, 2016, Mitch posted a drawing of Donald Trump on Twitter and congratulating him on winning the 2016 election. And then him being shocked to learn that a lot of people, including many of his industry peers, were miffed about this and unfollowed him [48].

Comicsgaters would argue that this is proof of Ethan’s “SJW Harassment,” but in my opinion, it's actually not. Now, admittedly, many of the responses have long since been deleted, and I couldn’t find an archive of the thread with the missing comments intact. But judging from what remains, the so-called “harassment” is just misdirected frustration and petty kindergarten level nonsense. Unpleasant, yes, but not life-shattering [131]. The second article, also from Bleeding Cool, is a meaningless list of Tweets from comic book creators about the firing of former FBI director, James Comey. [124]

The third and final article comes Bounding into Comics. It tells of an incident that occurred on Twitter between Mitch and fellow creator Tim Doyle from June 2018. According to the article, Doyle responded to a tweet that Mitch had put out where he thanked his fans for supporting him since the posting the drawing of Trump and throwing his lot in with Comicsgate. Doyle, seemingly for no reason, jumped in and turned the discussion political by trying to convince Mitch to stop supporting Trump. Elizabeth took this as an attack on her husband and told Tim to piss off. [127] [125]

She also stated that was not the first time that Doyle had done this, alluding to other incidents on both Facebook and Twitter that had occurred over the course of two years [127]. Now, as incredible as that sounds, there's still a lot of room for doubt. I'm not saying that these other interactions did not happen, I just can't find them. And the Bounding into Comics article says nothing about these other alleged interactions and instead points to the previously mentioned Bleeding Cool articles as proof that Doyle had been harassing the couple and accused the articles of painting the Breitweisers as evil…despite the fact that they do no such thing and Doyle didn’t even write them. Yeah, just to get this out of the way right now, Bounding into Comics is disgustingly bias in favor of Comicsgate (and Conservatives in general), and is totally ok with pissing on journalistic integrated so long as they look right.

With that said, I am willing to give The Breitweiser’s the benefit of the doubt here because I honestly believe that they're good people at heart and don't deserve the crap that Comicsgate has brought them. So shame on you, Tim. Not cool.

If you think that this is the going to be the pattern going forward...you are very sorely mistaken. The Breitweiser’s story is closest it gets to Ethan's "SJW Harassment," and from what we've seen here, it was one guy doing the harassing, not a horde. And, based on available evidence, the couple left the mainstream comic industry of their own volition. So in the grand scheme of things, their story isn't all that interesting.

Mike S. Miller.

Mike S. Miller.

Mike S. Miller.

When I searched for artist Mike S. Miller, on the other hand, something a bit interesting came back. As it turns out, Mike is a Fundamentalist Christian who has a history of being blacklisted from many companies, most notable DC Comics in the early 2000’s [51]. Why is this? Well, its because he’s not shy about whipping up controversy by sharing his very racist, transphobic, Islamophobic and homophobic opinions with the public, and no self-respecting company wants anything to do with that [50]. Miller, however, has all the self-awareness of a goldfish and insists that he isn’t any of those things [55], despite evidence to the contrary [55] and that the only reason he is ostracised from the industry is because of his political beliefs. Because that makes far more sense than making your employer look bad, right? Also, in a shameless show of hypocrisy, Miller continues to champion the movement’s tenet of wanting to get politics out of comics...even though he has stuffed his books full of his own religious and political views to the point of absurdity [134].

Funny how Comicsgate is ok with having conservative creators put political messages in comics, but will fly into a berserker rage when Liberal creators do the same thing.  Free Speech? What's that?

Funny how Comicsgate is ok with having conservative creators put political messages in comics, but will fly into a berserker rage when Liberal creators do the same thing. Free Speech? What's that?

Mike also has something of a history of being hostile to fans, fellow creators and critics [51]. Such was the case when, on January 5, 2019, a fan of his took to Twitter and demanded that Miller finally issue the refund he’d requested back in November [135] [136]. The fan in question had donated to Miller’s crowdfunding campaign for his most recent project, Lonestar: Heart of a Hero 2. Keep in mind that, when this incident occurred, the book by then was way behind schedule, and to many, the campaign was starting to look more and more like a scam. To be fair, Miller did issue the refund, but only after the backer in question and several other Twitter Users pinned him down and look over his shoulder until he did it [135] [136].


Sidenote 2: This book was released in February of 2019 and, to the surprise of no one. It’s terrible. It would be more accurate to call it a right-wing propaganda pamphlet than a comic.

Nope, this isn't bad customer service at all. Am I right? Ugh.  oh, and in case you're wondering, No. No other Comicsgater has denounced this.

Nope, this isn't bad customer service at all. Am I right? Ugh. oh, and in case you're wondering, No. No other Comicsgater has denounced this.

Immediately afterward, an argument ensued with Miller playing the victim and making laughably weak excuses for his negligence and incompetence. When the fan suggested that Miller be a bit more professional and regularly check his messages to avoid this kind of situation in the future, Miller threatened to publicly reveal his personal information (a practice known colloquially as “Doxxing,”). When called out on the threat, Miller said: “I don’t want Douchebags as customers, Its where I draw the line.” [135] [136]

Yeah, the feeling is mutual, You hypocrite.

Ethan Van Sciver.

And Ethan? Ethan wasn’t fired from DC Comics, his contract with the company expired, and he opted not to renew it because he wanted to focus on his original creations [137]. This statement, while technically correct, is not be the whole story. During the course of my research, I stumbled upon a screenshot of a short document that explains that Ethan wasn’t “fired” in the traditional sense. According to said document, when the time came to renew his contract in early 2017, DC offered him a new contract that would have cut his pay by a substantial margin as if the contract was designed to be refused [138]. Why would DC do this? After all, Ethan had been considered one of DC’s best artist, providing artwork for some of their most popular books such as Green Lantern and The Flash. So why would they want to get rid of him?

Is it because he’s a Republican and a major Trump supporter?

Yeah, this might come as a surprise to most Comicsgaters, but nobody bloody cares that Ethan is a Republican. That was never the problem. The problem was that Ethan had become so insufferable that no one at DC wanted to work with him. “How was he being insufferable,” I hear you ask. Well, to put it simply…Ethan Van Sciver is a ginormous jerk.

The Document that (allegedly) explains why Ethan Van Sciver was fired from DC Comics.

The Document that (allegedly) explains why Ethan Van Sciver was fired from DC Comics.

The document (see above) says that he had always been a troll (both on and offline), but as the years went on, he just kept getting worse and worse until finally, it became so bad that other creators were afraid that associating with him—even in the most casual of ways—would damage their own reputations. Moreover, Ethan’s art didn’t come cheap. I was unable to discover what his pay was at that time, but he was referred to in the document as an “expensive artist” and that it was only thanks to the star power of a popular writer—such as Geoff Johns— that DC was able to offset Ethan's rate and make a profit. But soon even that wasn’t enough. Ethan had essentially backed DC into a corner, And the only feasible option was to get rid of him. And the rest, as they say, is history. [138]

So where did the idea that was being punished for his political beliefs come from? Did Politics play any role in this at all? Well, the first answer is that it came from his own ego and an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

The answer to the second question is “somewhat.” But not in the way you might think. Remember when I said that Ethan had always been a troll? Well, much of his trolling is tied to his political beliefs. Look, the sad truth is that Ethan’s political and cultural conservatism is so tightly fused to his identity is that it is literally impossible to separate them. Seeing anything from any other viewpoint is anathema to him. And when it comes to his politics and his time at DC comics. Dear lord, where do I start?

Well, how about the fact that he is very sympathetic to the Far/Alt-Right. So much so that fans and his industry peers have publicly accused him of being a card-carrying Neo-Nazi [83]. This accusation is not helped by the fact that he has proudly admitted to being a fan of far-right academic and Men’s rights activist, Jordan Peterson3, and, according to an article on Bleeding Cool, Ethan had often “joked” around with fascist imagery both online and off. Online this took the form of him posting internet memes featuring Pepe The Frog, which is harmless enough. Offline though…that’s when it gets a bit iffy. And this bled out into his work.

Sidenote 3: Ethan loves this travesty of a human being so much that he even did some illustration work for Peterson’s 2018 book, 12 Rules for Life.

EVS's 2007 Hitler inspired sketchbook.

EVS's 2007 Hitler inspired sketchbook.

The most infamous example of that is his 2007 sketchbook, entitled My Struggle. How is this a reference to Fascism, you ask? It's the title. “My Struggle” is the English title of Adolf Hitler’s Autobiography. As if that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, Green Lantern villain, Sinestro, is featured on the cover. At that time, the character had been redesigned to look a little bit more like a pink-skinned Hitler with a pencil thin mustache.

Now in all fairness, Ethan isn’t the one who came up with the sketchbooks title, that honor belongs to his former friend and colorist, Moose Baumann4 and he has regretted it ever since. Regardless, it's not the only time that Ethan has used Fascist imagery in his work. Sometime in the 2000s, Ethan began using this odd symbol as a signature that people have interpreted as his take on the Nazi Swastika. And, yeah, it's not hard to see why I mean. Just look at it.

Sidenote 4: Whom Ethan cheated by not paying the $1500 he owed him. For more information on that, click here: https://twitter.com/moosebaumann/status/1050909811003412481?s=12

Ethan claims this was inspired by a symbol used by the band Iron Maiden on their albums...I don't believe it either.

Ethan claims this was inspired by a symbol used by the band Iron Maiden on their albums...I don't believe it either.

To be honest, I was ready to dismiss this accusation as a stretch, as the evidence seemed circumstantial. But then I read a rebuttal that Ethan posted to Facebook in 2017 and that gave me pause. Naturally, Ethan denied the accusation, as anyone would. But what alarmed me about his rebuttal was the tone. To begin with, the rebuttal's tone was flippant and jokey, but then mid-way through it suddenly devolves into angry conspiracy theory fueled ranting. And it was at that moment that I realized that what we're dealing with here, in my opinion, is a delusional, egotistical man child who has no self-awareness whatsoever. Even in the face of all of this, Ethan showed no understanding of why people would think he’s a Nazi at all. He petulantly insisted that the ones making the accusations hate him, and want to see him fired because he’s a Republican in a sea of SJW liberals. He also dismissed the evidence, writing that it was “ridiculous out of context images from a decade ago.” [87]

This statement was curious because, aside from the sketchbook and his weird little not-Swastika symbol, a not inconsiderable chunk of the evidence was Internet Memes he’d shared that featured the character Pepe the Frog, who was not associated with the Alt-Right until 2016.

A sample of EVS's old Pepe The Frog posts...gross.

A sample of EVS's old Pepe The Frog posts...gross.

All of that would have been enough to raise more than a few eyebrows for any employer (and that's not even all of it). But in my opinion, What ultimately doomed Ethan's career in the mainstream comic industry, was the instances of him directing line crossing harassment and general hostility towards fans.

I should point out, though, that I was not able to verify the accuracy of the original document that explained all of this. As it doesn’t seem to have any indication of who wrote it or when it was written.
Furthermore, I haven’t seen any official news outlets cover it. With that said, however, I believe it completely. Why? Well, It makes perfect sense. And the harassment of fans I mentioned...yeah, that actually happened. The document only mentions one, but there are two others that stand out as well.

We'll go over those shenanigans in more detail later on. But for now, I think there is enough here for me to say this: Ethan Van Sciver, Comicsgate, your claims are on very thin ice.

(Click here for Part Three: http://hub.me/amJBf)

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