Sunday, January 15, 2006

Should we hold creators responsible for reprehensible behavior?

This may be largely incoherent. Please forgive me in advance.

Lots of things recently have bothered me about comics. In my reviews this past week I mentioned the brou-ha-ha over sexual harassment in the comics industry. I'll mention it again, if you want to read all about it, When Fangirls Attack has all the links. You can always head over to Lea Hernandez's LiveJournal and read her thoughts, and read Ronee Garcia Bourgeois's two columns on the subject. But I'm not going to talk about that issue specifically, because I doubt I have anything new to add to the subject. I read Laura's "incredibly long rant" (her words) on the subject and was struck by her desire to quit comics when she heard about it, or at least consider quitting comics. Then I mentioned my utter disappointment with Wanted #6 and how it led me to boycott Mark Millar's writing. One commenter said, and I quote:

"But please don't boycott Millar because of one story he did that you didn't like. It's cheating yourself out of reading good comics just because the author of those comics decided one day to mess with his audience's heads."

That's kind of the point.
Boycotts, like Lent, shouldn't be easy. I'm perfectly aware that Millar can write very good stuff. I want to buy Ultimates. Really I do. And as I've mentioned before (sorry for repeating myself), I don't boycott Millar because I simply didn't like Wanted #6. I boycott Millar because he insulted me. You don't have to agree with me, but that's the way I feel.

Does my boycott work? No. I don't care. Dan Jacobson, speaking about the sexual harassment issue, says that boycotts are pointless. I don't agree, if they're widespread enough, but mine is a lonely little boycott of one, so I know it's not doing any good. But whatever.

Reading Laura's rant, I began thinking about my boycott and her thoughts and whether we should hold creators responsible for their behavior outside of the books they write or draw. The question vexes me because it's unpleasant. We want to believe that art is something lofty, airy, above petty human concerns. It should be. But the people who create it are just that, people, subject to all the stupidity and meanness of spirit that we are. So the question remains: how responsible should we hold them?

Say, for instance, The God Of All Comics. Many people do not like Morrison's writing. That's perfectly fine. Many people do. What would happen if those who do like his work found out that he, I don't know, voted for Bush? Cheated on his SATs? Preferred Roger Moore (or, heaven forfend, Timothy Dalton) to Sean Connery? I don't mean to be facile with these examples, but I certainly don't want to say he did something awful and then, the nature of the Internet being what is it, people will take it as gospel. But what if Morrison did do something horrible? Should we boycott his work? How else can we make our opinions known?

This is an age-old question, I know. Ezra Pound liked him some Nazis, apparently. Do we ignore his poetry because of it? (And yes, I'm aware that the easy answer to that is, "Pound sucks anyway, so who cares?") It's still relevant, though. If we find out who these harassing people are, do we stop buying their books? I don't know.

As I linked to above, some people will argue that boycotts won't work. Dan makes an interesting point that if men want to help, they should testify on behalf of the women. Well, I won't be doing that. In the second of Ronee's articles on the subject, she interviews three women in comics. They make the point that they aren't speaking out for fear of a libel lawsuit and for fear of being blacklisted. Those are salient points, and they are essentially economic ones. People vote with their wallets and live by their paychecks. I don't want to support Millar, so I don't. I'm not terribly offended by All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder (well, I am by the length of the title), I just think it's awful. I won't be buying the rest of Daughters of the Dragon partly because I was offended by it, but mostly because I don't like it enough to keep going. That's not to say I'm not going to buy Jonah Hex (also by Palmiotti and Gray), because I like it. I would not say that Palmiotti and Gray are sexually harassing women with their comic or that they do it in real life. The way women are presented in comics is sometimes unfortunate, but I don't necessarily think it's completely wrong. I have pointed out many times to my scornful non-comics-reading friends that everyone in comics is portrayed ideally. Not many people in real life have the rock-hard pecs of most superheroes. Breasts, for better or for worse, are a major part of what we deem "attractive" in women, and they're more prominent than rock-hard pecs, so that's what we get. In this way, comics are amazingly simplistic, tacking along the lines of old morality and fairy tales - good-looking people tend to be good, while ugly people tend to be evil. Please don't shout out the exceptions, because I'm totally aware that they exist, but it generally holds true. That's why I'm not boycotting Jonah Hex because of Daughters of the Dragon. It becomes more of an issue when people do things in real life that we find reprehensible. A flap developed last year when Orson Scott Card was named the writer of Ultimate Iron Man, because Card holds some political opinions that many comics readers disagree with. I had no interest in reading Ultimate Iron Man, so it didn't matter to me, but I love Card's novels, and the fact that I disagreed with his stances on homosexuals and bombing the living shit out of Iraq didn't make much difference to me because he wasn't in any position to put that into practice. He can have his opinions, after all - this is America! If I read that he was doing things that were awful, I would have had to think about it a little more and decide if I still wanted to support him by giving him my money. I assume that the Mike Miller running Alias is the same Mike Miller who whined a few years ago about not getting any work in the industry because he doesn't like gay people. I disagree with his stance, but I wouldn't boycott his work just for that - if he went out and beat up gay people, that's a different story. So it remains a conundrum.

I have a few different levels of reading comics. On the one hand, I have books I enjoy. Fine. Then there are the books I don't like, for various reasons. I don't like DMZ all that much. There's nothing offensive about it, and if someone asked, I would tell them about it and suggest they pick up an issue themselves, but I just don't like it that much. It's not for me. Then there are books that offend me on some level. Daughters of the Dragon falls into the category, which is a shame, because I mentioned that it had a lot of good things going for it. Then there are books that offend me and are crap. All-Star Batman and Robin falls into that category. I don't care what anyone says, this is not satire, nor is it really comedy. It's laziness. Tear down Batman all you want, Frank, but when our heroes have been in the damned car long enough for Dick's face to appear on a freakin' milk carton, it's laziness. And offensive. I hated Identity Crisis because I thought it was a lousy story and it offended me. I can't wait to see what my opinion of Spider-Man and the Black Cat #5 is, if what I'm hearing is true.

Then, finally, there are the creators I refuse to buy because I find something wrong with them outside of the book itself. Millar, so far, falls into this category. I don't know Mark Millar. He could provide shelter for abandoned kittens and ride his bicycle everywhere because he's concerned about the environment, for all I know. But, as I said, it's my decision. I don't know if I should add John Byrne to that list, based on the famed racist cover flap. I don't know. Byrne may be a racist, or he may not be. Is that enough for us to stop buying him and for me to throw away my trade paperback of The Sensational She-Hulk?

I don't have answers, sorry. I know absolutely zero comic book professionals. I have met Denny O'Neil and Neil Gaiman, both at signings, which doesn't really count. I shook Orson Scott Card's hand once twenty years ago and told him I loved Ender's Game. So I am in no position to comment on how they live their lives. On-line journals like Ellis's or Gaiman's don't count, because if I went around dipping sparrows in gasoline and lighting them and flinging them at orphans selling Girl Scout cookies, do you think I would admit it on-line? So I only go by what I hear. I haven't yet been confronted by a choice: continuing reading comic books by Creator A because I love his work so much, or boycott him because he does horrible things like sexually harass women. I don't know what I would choose. But should I even have to? There's the rub.

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40 Comments:

Blogger Bill Reed said...

"Timothy Dalton should win an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the head with it!"

And now that I've taken care of the obligatory Buffy reference, onwards.

Clearly, your solution is to steal Ultimates. I know it's Millar's masterwork and everything, but I'm not buying it anyway, mostly out of laziness and because I missed the boat first time around and all that. I'll get the hardcover or something.

But I don't mind if you stand by your principles or whatever. I sure as hell know I won't buy anything by Byrne ever again. Well, unless he works with Grant Morrison, which is about as likely as something that's really unlikely. Byrne is a special case, because 1. he no longer makes good comics, and 2. he's evil.

In the end, comics are what they are and we read the ones we do 'cause we feel like it, and other reasons that don't necessarily match up for every case. We're all just human, after all.

1/15/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think the proper response here is some adaptation of "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's." Your feelings about a work of art and your feelings about the person who produced that work are two distinct things. It's not a Venn diagram; the circles do not intersect. "I like Next Men" and "John Byrne is an asshole" are not mutually exclusive statements. So my advice to anyone struggling with this dilemma is to accept that the percieved dichotomy is no dichotomy at all, just two things.

And if they call you a hypocrite, quote Walt Whitman: "Do I contradict myself? Then I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes."

Then punch them in the nuts.

1/15/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger MCF said...

Ultimates is REALLY good.I haven't read anything else by the man, know zero about his life, but I loved the Avengers as a kid and I love how they're modernized and treated like real characters. How would a man from the 40s behave today? Would people believe someone was a god or just think he was nuts? How much alcohol does it take to put on a flying suit of armor? And if someone kills a lot of people, would he be responsible if he was transformed into something else at the time?

I think enjoyment of someone's work is separate from who they are. I've glanced at Peter David's blog from time to time, and I think our politics differ quite a bit. But he's a good writer and his Hulk run was one of the best I'd read in my collecting days. Personal lives, religious and politcal beliefs, and Bond preferences shouldn't be a factor if you like what they do. If we ever find out OJ did it, should we never watch The Towering Inferno or the Naked Gun movies again? Nordberg was a damn funny character.

We are all human and make mistakes. We're also multifaceted. Appreciating one facet doesn't constitute acceptance or approval of others. Maybe if Hitler or Hussein wrote comics to support their tyranny, or something similarly extreme, then I'd have a moral obligation not to buy them, even if the rest of the world, curious about the buzz, did.

1/15/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Michael is my Comic Book Hero for today.

Seriously, people need to get past this strict identification of writers (why is it always writers? do the pictures in a comic just not count?) with their work. As I said before, I deliberately avoid any interviews with Alan Moore and Grant Morrison where they discuss their personal lives because I can't respect any grown man who believes he has magic powers. And yet they've both contributed to a lot of comics I like. So my disdain for crackpots can coexist with an appreciation for their work.

If a comic or work of art is itself offensive, that's a different story. Birth of a Nation would've been outrageous no matter who made it because it lionized the Ku Klux Klan; Orson Scott Card may be a homophobe, but there really isn't any hatred of gays to speak of in Ender's Game. Reasonable people can draw the distinction.

1/15/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous A.L. Baroza said...

Thanks to the internet, any comic reader can learn enough about any title well in advance of its release. I think anyone has the resources available to make decisions about whether a particular book is something they want to read without having to buy it first. I've heard enough about The Evil That Men Do #5 to know I don't want to go anywhere near it.

As for not supporting creators anyone may find objectionable, of course, that's a purely personal decision. All I know is, no one should feel obligated to buy a book out of some collector's mentality to have a complete run--especially if they're going to have a crisis of conscience about it. That way, frankly, lies madness.

The bottom line: if buying a comic book is going to be the source of that much hand-wringing, why buy it? There's enough variety out there. Buy stuff you're going to feel good about buying.

1/15/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Lea Hernandez said...

"They make the point that they aren't speaking out for fear of a libel lawsuit and for fear of being blacklisted."

Be clear: Beatrix Kyle said she wasn't naming names for fear of a lawsuit, not all of us (Beatrix, me, Colleen Doran).

1/15/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Nitz the Bloody said...

Greg,

It's interesting to me how, in this " largely incoherent " rant, you took the conclusion to my comment without any of the arguments I used to back it up. If readers will go back to my comment in the original post, they'd see that I argued about how you don't have to be insulted by Mark Millar's Wanted. You can choose to get the joke on the readers and appreciate how well Millar did what he set out to do ( write purposefully cynical shit ), or you can choose to not get the joke and be offended by it and boycott everything Millar does. Obviously you've chosen the latter.

Do you realize that you're giving up your own personal power by doing this? You've chosen to let yourself offended by what Millar said, and now you've chosen to keep yourself from buying his comics, which you yourself admit you would have liked. You could be laughing with Millar and still enjoy his work. Instead, you've chosen to have Millar laughing at you. The way I see it, the thesis of Mark Millar's Wanted is, " if you take this seriously, the joke's on you. " Emphasis is placed on the IF, implying a choice of whether or not to take it seriously.

The other stuff about creators' reprehensible behavior is totally irrelevant to Wanted, because Millar did NOT do something reprehensible. He did not personally write Wanted to say " I think Greg is stupid ". He wrote Wanted to say " I think cynics who overanalyze everything are stupid ", amongst other things. That's much different than being a homophobe or a racist or a misogynist or any other horrible trait or action. If we're into judging writers' work by their character as human beings, Wanted is nothing to go on.

In conclusion; Wanted= molehill, your rant= mountain. I'm sorry to be harsh, but if you're posting admittedly " incoherent " essays and standing by a principle that you have no logical reason to stand by, then others are free to judge you for it.

1/15/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Judge away, Nitz - that's perfectly fine. I happen to diagree with you about Wanted, but that's fine and dandy. If, as you say, Millar set out to write purposely cynical shit, well, sure he succeeded, but I can be insulted if I want to be. I don't think my life is less fulfilling because I don't read Ultimates. But judge away!

Sorry, Lea - it was late and I didn't go back and re-read the interview. You're right - it was only Beatrice.

And of course what Millar did isn't on a par with sexual harassment. I was just using him as an example, because I feel that his attitude warrants my teeny little boycott. If that means I'm giving up my own personal power by letting Millar dictate what I buy, fine. And again, I'm not arguing if the work happens to be offensive, you should not buy anything that particular creator does (and I thought I said "creator" in the original post, because I didn't want to get drawn into a writer/artist thing - but I could have been wrong). Mr. Lungfish brings up a good example - Birth of a Nation. I haven't seen it, but anyone who has says it's an astonishing work of art. But the subject matter is reprehensible. I HAVE seen Leni Riefenstahl's paeans to Hitler's Germany, and they definitely ARE breathtaking moviemaking. Should we boycott those movies because of the horrors associated with them? Obviously, nobody in comics is a Klan member or a Nazi (at least publicly), but I would say someone who blatantly harasses women is in the same ballpark. What then do we do? This isn't some hand-wringing over whether John Byrne is an asshole (he is) or whether Moore and Morrison are magicians. Sure, I think they're nuts too, but they're not doing anything personally abhorrent to me. But if one of them is a rapist, then it becomes more of a dilemma.

1/15/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous RAB said...

You didn't need to raise a hypothetical example involving "The God Of All Comics" when there's a very real and concrete example of exactly this dilemma: Julius Schwartz. When it comes to his career and his professional accomplishments, Schwartz was a kind of demiurge who shaped the direction of the comics artform in America, and was personally responsible for many things that are dear to me in comics. But his behavior towards Colleen Doran and others was just creepy and reprehensible and he deserved to be called out on it in public.

In that particular case, my feelings are much as they might be if a close relative, perhaps a beloved uncle, was doing something stupid and harmful: I couldn't bring myself to condemn him entirely -- even if he deserved it -- but I'd like to think our family could join together and tell him "We still love you...but this is stupid and harmful behavior, and it has to stop." I wish that had been the attitude displayed by fandom and the industry towards Julie, instead of people largely bashing Colleen and trying to sweep it all under the rug as somehow unimportant. The argument that "dirty laundry shouldn't be aired in public" is familiar to the families of alcoholics or child molesters; it's the constant refrain of enablers and codependents.

Also, there's a HUGE difference between someone holding opinions you may deplore, and someone actually doing harm to another person. In the case of a Dave Sim or a Steve Ditko, appreciating their creative work doesn't require endorsing or even tolerating their respective worldviews. Read his work, don't read his work, read it and complain that he's a nutter...it's all good. That's a far cry from someone who gropes another person or assaults her or forcibly tries to remove her clothes. Whether it's someone for whom I want to feel affection, such as Julie Schwartz, or a complete stranger for whom I feel nothing but contempt, the answer is the same in both cases: those people need to be called out on their behavior and told that it won't be tolerated any longer.

1/15/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Eli said...

Boycotts are usually engaged in when you object to ongoing behavior that can be stopped. I believe the technical term for boycotting just because you think someone insulted you is "Screw you guys, I'm going home."

1/15/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

Only two points that I feel need to be made:

1. There's a big difference between boycotting somebody who's alive and somebody who's dead. Namely, the fact that they can't profit from their work anymore.

2. Yes, we should hold creators responsible for reprehensible behavior. We should also be very clear about what is reprehensible behavior. Molestation? Yes. Giving a group of people the finger? Not so much.

1/15/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

Hi Greg.

This is the exact kind of subject that used to get me into so much trouble back in the old days.

First off, let me say that I do think that holding creators responsible for their words and deeds both on the page and in real life just makes perfect sense.

You need to make a stand or the badguys win, it’s as simple as that.

And you would think that as a bunch of people who have spent the majority of our lives reading morality tales, like us comicgeeks have, we would know that you need to choose right over wrong.

So boycotting a writers works because of something they wrote or did, makes perfect sense. Brubaker could be the greatest comic writer since Alan Moore, but I’ll never know, because I will never, ever, read, let alone buy, anything that he writes.

But at the same time, while I have plenty of respect for people who do come forward about being abused, sexually or otherwise, the “victim” in the current situation kind of bothers me.

I have not been able to find out enough about the situation to make a judgement one way or the other about if the situation occurred. Although several people who I respect, such as Lea say it did.

And I understand that there was a police report, so maybe the victim is waiting until after court to speak up.

But there is something that I just intrinsically distrust about anonymous accusations against unnamed people.

I’ll say to everyone out there what I said to my daughters as they went out into the world, and that’s that they will only be sexually harassed if they let themselves be.

Some guy harasses you, you go to his boss. If that doesn’t work go over his head and keep going until the situation id taken care of.

If you’re job tries to get retribution against you for standing up to the harassment, you sue them, you go to the papers, which I should point out always love that kind of story, and you call the local tv stations.

Be loud and name names.

Which is exactly why I am having real trouble working up sympathy about this case now.

If someone out there was harassed, then just say so and by who and stop all the drama.

1/15/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous XyphaP said...

but saying that them being sexually harassed is like saying it's your fault if someone else punches you. It can just happen by someone's force of will, and people who are molested are the people you should be least critical of, not shoot down their whining with what they could have done. Not everyone has that steadfast determination you claim they should. Some people are jsut naturally timid, and stuff like that happens, and it sucks, but one of the worst things you can do is say they could have not been molested

1/15/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Eli said...

Brubaker could be the greatest comic writer since Alan Moore, but I’ll never know, because I will never, ever, read, let alone buy, anything that he writes.

I am so poorly informed! What did Brubaker do?

1/16/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

"I am so poorly informed! What did Brubaker do?"

He stole large sums of money from my friend Jack Dickens while working at his store Comic Kingdom of San Diego. The amount in the end was large enough that Jack ended up going out of business because of it.

Ed went on to write an award winning story about it. Something I pointed out to him when he stared making noises about legal action at me for talking about it.

After all, how can you sue for libel if you've already written a story saying that you did it.

1/16/2006 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger markus said...

I don't think there's a distinction between "done in book" and "done in real life", as even for something "done in a book" the creator had to do something in the real world, namely write/draw the piece in question.
What does make a difference is the magnitude of the offence. Millar was being a jerk (and, by delivering 3+ endings instead of one, a negligent craftsman) and just like a plumber who wasn't polite and did a shoddy job, anything from spreading the word and boycotting him to giving him a second chance is perfectly normal behaviour. With something done to other people, for me the offense usually has to be of greater magnitude to make me care, but Schwartz fits that category easily. Millar being mean to a fan while drunk probably wouldn't register on your boycott-radar either.
Liklihood of repetition might also play a role, but a minor one IMO. Most stuff is either so much beyond the pale (Schwartz again) that once is more than enough or does bother me so little that repetition is no problem. Byrne might be an exception to the latter case though.

Concerning the "missing out" on good stuff by the creator in question, I can't quite relate. I only boycott people and organisations permanently that I detest so much that the mere thought of them getting money from me makes me angry. So missing out isn't an issue, simply because I couldn't enjoy the work in question anyway. (Because of this, worries about the effectiveness of the boycott are a non-issue.)
However, if it troubles you, consider a temporary boycott. Be warry in the future and be ready to repeat the boycott at the first sign of repetition of the offensive behaviour, but lift it cautiously. Remain vocal about your objection to the offending action, but consider your point made.
I wouldn't torture myself out of some sense of having to stick to past decisions or having to keep sending a message. If your heart is not/no longer in it, you're just allowing your former self or aquired notions of deceny/proper boycott behaviour to control your actions * and that strikes me as counter-productive.**


* doesn't apply of course if e.g. your heart is in upholding these conventions or continuity through time is an important part of your concept of self. In these cases the unhappiness with the boycott is the price for maintaining a larger and more important principle and thus worth the price. Or not, depending on the cost.
** By analogy, I'm a big fan of abstinence pledges for people who believe in that stuff and get something from making pledges in public. When someone is no longer happy with it and the notion of keeping one's promises is not of superior importance to the individual, I'd say screw (the pledge.)

1/16/2006 01:56:00 AM  
Blogger Marionette said...

Do you realize that you're giving up your own personal power by doing this? You've chosen to let yourself offended by what Millar said, and now you've chosen to keep yourself from buying his comics, which you yourself admit you would have liked. You could be laughing with Millar and still enjoy his work. Instead, you've chosen to have Millar laughing at you. The way I see it, the thesis of Mark Millar's Wanted is, " if you take this seriously, the joke's on you. " Emphasis is placed on the IF, implying a choice of whether or not to take it seriously.

Wow, this is such a clever argument - anyone who doesn't laugh at what a clever joke Millar has made becomes the butt of that joke. If only the world were so binary it might almost be valid.

1/16/2006 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Paul O'Brien said...

I don't think the concept of "boycotting" even really applies here. You're not buying these comics because you don't like the creators and you don't find them entertaining. That's not a principled stand, that's simply "not buying something you don't want anyway."

A boycott would be something like refusing to buy Mike Miller comics even though you like his art because you disapprove of his views. Or refusing to buy anything from Marvel because you thought they were screwing creators.

You can't boycott something you never wanted in the first place.

1/16/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Paul: Very true. Reminds me of during the Gaiman/McFarlane lawsuit, when people all over the Internet were shouting, "Boycot Spawn!" and I was thinking, "Is anyone who's not on McFarlane's side even *buying* Spawn anymore?"

1/16/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

"Wow, this is such a clever argument - anyone who doesn't laugh at what a clever joke Millar has made becomes the butt of that joke. If only the world were so binary it might almost be valid."

Wow. You've been getting really snippy lately.

1/16/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous The Cosh said...

On the bright side, I don't really think there's much danger of missing out on anything good. Admittedly, the only thing I've read by Mark Millar since he stopped writing for 2000AD was that JLA/Angel mini-series thing, but given that he hadn't advanced one iota by then, I doubt he'll have changed any since.

His dialogue is terrible, his plots are clunky and disjointed and the characterisation is almost non-existent. Frankly, without Grant Morrison's patronage he would, quite deservedly, be working in an insurance office. Maybe that's the really dark secret in Morrison's past you should be looking for?

Oh, and on a pedantic fanboy continuity issue, we don't have SATs in Scotland.

1/16/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iagor wrote:

...I’ll say to everyone out there what I said to my daughters as they went out into the world, and that’s that they will only be sexually harassed if they let themselves be...

I'll say to you that if your daughters have gotten this attitude from you, and if they ARE sexually harrassed, you are probably the last person who will ever know. No woman in her right mind would talk about harassment to a man who builds an automatic acusation into his statement. One that does not blame his fellow men, but his own daughters !!

It continues to astound me that the attitude of "Step forward and deal with the consequences" exists side to side with the attitude of "Do not expect us to turn against other men for one second in order to help you deal with the consequences."

Well, maybe it doesn't astound me that much.

Blecch. --alsis39

1/16/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Nitz the Bloody said...

" Wow, this is such a clever argument - anyone who doesn't laugh at what a clever joke Millar has made becomes the butt of that joke. If only the world were so binary it might almost be valid. "

Whether or not it's a funny joke is irrelevant. What I put forth is the idea that you can either get the joke or not get it, thus being the butt of it. Some things aren't so complicated. Greg has chosen not to get the joke and take personal offense to it. If he were arguing that it's not a funny joke, that'd be fine, but he's saying that the joke is directed at him, when he has total control of whether or not he's in the category of people that Wanted is making fun of.

It's not like Millar wrote Wanted to say " you, the reader, are an idiot ". It's more like " if you take this seriously, you are being idiotic ". There's a choice available to the readers.

1/16/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Anonymous thekamisama said...

I was going to yap on and on about loving Ultimates and Wanted both. But I caught myself and realized.

If it works for you to boycott a comic, so be it. That is the democracy of your dollar. If you dislike a creator , then it is your perogative to not buy those works they make.

What I cannot abide by is this unprofessional racial and sexual harrassment, no matter how much I love or hate anyone's particular work. This is not something we should abide by any workplace. If a creator makes a work of fiction protraying a racist or sexist character, that is the the realm of free speech. But when they bring that out in personal abuse to coworkers, others in the industry, and fans it should become a work related issue. Freelancers and company creators should be made to abide by uniform company policies as they are a reflection of that company. They make us "regular people" follow the rules in our workplace, why should this be any different?

1/16/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger AFKAP of Darkness said...

Iagorune:

this was the first time i had heard of the Brubaker theft allegations and i have to admit it's pretty shocking (i've yet to read Lowlife or any of the other autobiographical stuff)

i did a quick search and Brubaker seems to explain the situation here and express considerable remorse

http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-11644.html

1/16/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

this was the first time i had heard of the Brubaker theft allegations and i have to admit it's pretty shocking (i've yet to read Lowlife or any of the other autobiographical stuff)

i did a quick search and Brubaker seems to explain the situation here and express considerable remorse


While I am certainly glad to hear that Mr. Brubaker feels remorse for his actions, it doesn't change the fact that I will not be reading any of his comics any time soon.

Honestly I didn't really plan to go on about it, I was just agreeing with Greg about holding people responsible for their actions.

- rick

1/16/2006 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

I'll say to you that if your daughters have gotten this attitude from you, and if they ARE sexually harrassed, you are probably the last person who will ever know. No woman in her right mind would talk about harassment to a man who builds an automatic acusation into his statement. One that does not blame his fellow men, but his own daughters !!

It continues to astound me that the attitude of "Step forward and deal with the consequences" exists side to side with the attitude of "Do not expect us to turn against other men for one second in order to help you deal with the consequences."

Well, maybe it doesn't astound me that much.

Blecch. --alsis39


Wow.

You really don't know what you are talking about do you?

I never taught my daughters that it would be their fault if some asshole harassed them, and where you are getting that from is completely beyond me.

What I taught my daughters was to not put up with anyone treating them in a way that they are not comfortable with.

I taught them that they should never allow themselves to be abused by anyone, ever. And that the best way to keep that from happening is to stand up for themselves.

How you turned my telling them to aggressively stand up for themselves meaning that I think harassment is the woman’s fault is just plain odd of you.

So bleech to you too.

love & kisses

- rick

1/16/2006 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Marionette said...

Wow. You've been getting really snippy lately.

What do you mean, "lately"?

:p

1/17/2006 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kateness said...

have pointed out many times to my scornful non-comics-reading friends that everyone in comics is portrayed ideally. Not many people in real life have the rock-hard pecs of most superheroes. Breasts, for better or for worse, are a major part of what we deem "attractive" in women, and they're more prominent than rock-hard pecs, so that's what we get.

The thing is, it's all a very male-centric idealization, which can be very alienating to women. Female characters are sexualized (because that's what guys enjoy looking at), and guys - though idealized -- are almost *de*sexualized, because sexualized male bodies are something guys *don't* enjoy looking at.

So many male superheroes wear underwear on the outside of their tights so that male readers don't have to feel uncomfortable seeing a dude's package or ass (and so that the male artist doesn't feel uncomfortable having to draw it). Even the superheroes who wear tights but not underwear are drawn almost as if they are eunichs.

And in an effort to rationalize it, you might want to argue that it's "not the same"...it's not like female genitalia are accentuated either, right? But women have two core sexual characteristics, whereas guys only mainly have the one. Rock-hard pecs are not inherently sexual...they are not something that need to be covered up in public, like a woman's chest has to be.

And as I already said, even mildly sexual characteristics, such as people's posteriors, in comics are accentuated on women and deaccentuated (whenever possible) on men. If you regularly saw gratuitous ass-shots of the male heroes in all the books you read, would you not feel alienated? If all DC and Marvel's superheroes were stripped of their outer underwear, and had nicely accentuated bulges between their legs in every panel...often with shots drawn from angles that make sure it's in your face...would you not feel extremely alientated?

That's how a lot of us end up feeling.

1/17/2006 02:17:00 AM  
Anonymous XyphaP said...

On the Whole Ed Brubaker situation, the title of the book dealing with the theft is called "a COMPLETE LOWLIFE". That seems that he's denouncing himself and his actions, just by the title, although I haven't read it. And also,I'm a musician, and expressing how I felt when I committed something wrong, like stealing, free of metacommentary on if it's good or bad is one of the most cleansing excersises I can do. That sounds like what Brubaker's doing. It's not like all his characters are complete lowlifes. Holden Carver fought for something.

You holding a grudge is perfectly natural if he screwed over a friend. I would be pissed too, but becuase I can see the entirety of the situation and his emotional reparations, it seems like he's past it, but something like that does make me view his work differently, and one last thing, I've heard that Ed Brubaker isn't his real name. DId he change it so he wouldn't get charged for the crimes he did? Becaase not taking responsibility for your actions does kinda signify you not caring.

1/17/2006 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Good point, Kateness. Thanks.

1/17/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger AFKAP of Darkness said...

LOL i just realized that Iagorune is the same person as the "rick" who was carping about the Brubaker thing in the link i posted! (i kinda suspected that, though)

1/17/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

LOL i just realized that Iagorune is the same person as the "rick" who was carping about the Brubaker thing in the link i posted! (i kinda suspected that, though)

I freely admit that its my own personal dead horse.

Although rereading that long ago thread, some of my more blatent "internet toughguy" stuff is highly embaressing.

- rick

1/17/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Iagor/Rick, Thanks for the clarification. I doubt that I'm the only person who read your original comment and didn't get it. It was phrased vaguely, to say the least.

Oh, and writing "love and kisses" to a woman you don't know in the midst of a thread about sexual harassment, et al ? Real classy.

--alsis39

1/17/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

Oh, and writing "love and kisses" to a woman you don't know in the midst of a thread about sexual harassment, et al ? Real classy.

--alsis39


Actually I had no idea if you were a man or woman until just now, and I'm sure there's a Groucho Marx line built into that somewhere.

Regardless, the love & kisses was meant from the bottom of my heart, you mad impetuous fool, you.

Now stop trying to pick a fight, everybody’s watching, and you’re going to make me blush.

- rick

1/17/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

I will say, Rick/Iagorune, that I got the same general impression from your statement about your daughters. Just so you know how it's being perceived.

1/17/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

I will say, Rick/Iagorune, that I got the same general impression from your statement about your daughters. Just so you know how it's being perceived.


First off, please, call me rick.

Rick/Iagorune is just so formal.

I certainly didn’t intend for my comments to come across as some kind of excuse for men to harass women, what I was getting at was that the best way to combat this kind of bad behavior is to not put up with it in the first place.

Which is by the way, something that I would think that most people would consider an obvious idea.

How that comes across as blaming the woman for being harassed or making an excuse for men harassing is something I just don’t get, and honestly wouldn’t mind having someone try to explain.

Now I do have some problems with this current situation since the whole cloak & dagger thing just comes across as much more melodramatic then it needs to be. But I am not for a minute saying that a man should be allowed to get away with harassing, let alone touching women in the workplace.

At the same time though, I’m not going to get all whiney and apologetic because a poster, male or female tries to pick a fight with me, even after they know that the reason they initially attacked me was incorrect. I’m sorry that my statement came across wrong, but I am a lot happier being asked to clarify what I’m saying, such as you did just now, then having someone jump to conclusions and get all snarky at me like my new pal, alsis39 did.

I talked to my daughter Sarah today about all of this, just to get her opinion and I have to say that I am very relieved to announce that even if what I said came across wrong on the page, that my daughter clearly understood what I meant, and considered it good advice at the time and at 5 years out of the house she still considers it good advice today.

Anyway, I wasn’t looking to get all controversial here, all I’m saying and all that I have been saying is that holding people responsible for their actions is a good and worthwhile endeavor.

- rick

1/18/2006 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feelin' ya, Rick!

On boycotts and Millar and Miller and all the rest of it: seconding that Markus guy's very good points, I'd say my feelings about the art and its creator can be mixed up together pretty easily, and I don't even mind doing it. Though sometimes I admit I don't care as much as perhaps I should, or might, so I guess you'd say that I take no stands on principle alone, unless it's combined with the gut feelings upon which my principles are ultimately based. If I find someone poisonous, I usually recoil from them, and lose all interest in their work. But I have to feel that way first.

And as you can probably see, this isn't about holding anyone responsible so much as it's just about what I think is shitty. However author and work are never trivially connected: Millar lost me a long time ago with his godawful glib-asshole act, and yes, that includes the Ultimates, which IMO is a piece of crap. Millar has a bad, bad attitude, which he just can't seem to keep out of his work. So the hell with him. I did get the "joke" in Wanted, but it was pretty grade-school, and I just thought it made him look silly and petty, and like a geek. So who's the butt of it, then? Only Millar himself, I guess, 'cause I sure ain't...

As to Frank the Tank, he hasn't lost me yet, but he sure is getting there in a hurry. To the wimmins, I gotta say: I see your point, you betcha. I'm not there yet, but you won't catch me saying you're wrong, and...ahh, fuck it, you know what? Let's boycott. Let's just boycott it all anyway, it isn't like we'll be missing anything. Screw the bastards, we don't have to be nice about it, do we?

Well, do we?

1/18/2006 04:30:00 AM  
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