Another uninteresting nerd gets punctured


For a while, YouTube kept throwing these videos from someone called “Diversity & Comics” at me, until I managed to train it to realize that I despise this guy. He’s one of those white nerds — a regular snowflake — who gets irate at characters in comics who are not white men, or white women with large breasts. And now, of course, he’s outraged at the silly She-Ra controversy, where a reboot of a comic character is now drawn with less flamboyant boobs.

He got interviewed by Jim Jefferies at Comic Con. His views were treated with more respect than they deserved, but it’s still an effective skewering.

Comments

  1. emergence says

    It’s like this “Diversity and comics” guy can’t think of anyone but himself. It never occurs to him that black comic fans might want to see black people being heroic, or that women who read comics might want to have some female characters who aren’t just cheesecake. It’s even worse when he goes after women and people of color who make comics. It is, in fact, pretty damn racist and sexist to think that women and black people who make comics must not be as good as white men who make comics.

  2. rayceeya says

    So If the guy wants porn comics, why doesn’t he read porn comics, I know they exist. Japan has Hentai, and I’m sure there is an American equivalent. There’s tons of comic books out there for different people’s tastes.

    Hell, if this guy wants racist porn comics about man on wombat bestiality, I’m pretty sure someone has done that.

    I’m not saying he is into man on wombat bestiality. I’m just saying some person is into it and, he is a person, so he could be into it. Not too sure there’s a good way to prove he’s not either. So for now, I’m calling it 50/50.

    50% chance he is into hardcore man on wombat porn, 50%, he’s not. Can’t get more fair than that, right?

  3. chris says

    “So If the guy wants porn comics, why doesn’t he read porn comics, I know they exist.”

    No, the question is: why doesn’t he create the comic he wants?

    Here he is wandering about the store looking for comics he wants to read. He automatically rejects anything where the hero is neither beige nor green (can’t forget Hulk!). He also rejects anything where the female lead wears a bra less than a DDD-cup (by the way, they do exist).

    Since those types of comics are going away, he has “a sad.” Poor child.

    As a PTA veteran that if you asked a question that started with “Why don’t we…” you automatically became the head of the committee to that particular task… I will say to that: dude, if you want a certain type of comic: go do it yourself.

    But don’t cry to us if your audience is smaller than you anticipated.

  4. A. Noyd says

    rayceeya

    So If the guy wants porn comics, why doesn’t he read porn comics

    chris

    No, the question is: why doesn’t he create the comic he wants?

    sigh

    Guys like this don’t just want their own slice of the pie to taste a certain way. They want the whole pie to taste the way they like it, even other people’s slices. Why? Because they’re domineering assholes who have nothing going for them besides their privilege, so anything that indicates even a slight move toward equality is seen as a threat.

  5. cartomancer says

    I have often thought that this particular discussion is hampered somewhat by the fact that the comics industry tends to maintain a notion of canonicity about their stories. You hear an awful lot of people complain that this new stuff is not like the old stuff, which means they have “ruined it”, because this new stuff is supposed to be “canonical” as well. It’s not a new take, a new interpretation, a different slant, a variant reading – it’s part of the big grand tradition of what is good and right and real. Either that or it’s deliberately presented as non-canonical, in which case it can be safely ignored. The old-fashioned, non-diverse, traditional version is thus vaunted as the paradigm, over and above the more modern, more inclusive stuff. And then it all turns into factionalism and squabbling, like any group of people fall prey to when they venerate a holy text written a long time ago as their source of identity.

    This does not happen in literary forms where there is no notion of canonicity or the vaunting of authorial control. The rich traditions of myth and storytelling from our ancient and medieval past were much the better for this – you just didn’t get people in 13th Century English taverns complaining that the bard is doing Robin Hood wrong, or ancient Greek critics complaining that the tragic playwright has made Medea much too Greek when she should be a savage barbarian. The very refreshing and re-imagining of traditional stories was the creative heart of the medium. You did, of course, get critics. We can glimpse, for example, something of Classical Athenian responses to the plays of Euripides. But the kinds of criticism we see are revealing. Aristotle censures Euripides not for his iconoclastic reimaginings of traditional characters – making Hippolytus a self-righteous narcissist, Phaedra a sympathetic, philosophical victim, etc. – but for his plot structure and the way he deals with emotional revelations. Aristophanes sends up Euripides by writing plays where the comic conceit is that the women of Athens are annoyed at Euripides for slandering them (or, more likely, depicting their wicked ways accurately) in his plays – presenting shameful depictions of female characters that have turned the men of Athens against them. The criticism here is not that he’s diverging from the traditional source material, it’s that he’s presenting women in a bad light. There’s no getting caught up with artificial notions of what the characters should be like, we’re straight to the heart of the moral issue with his depictions.

  6. says

    cartomancer: maybe not your period, but the mediæval matière de Bretaigne is a wild example of failure to “maintain a notion of canonicity”, or indeed any apparent desire to want to maintain one.

  7. says

    cartomancer

    This does not happen in literary forms where there is no notion of canonicity or the vaunting of authorial control.

    I must somewhat disagree, because you get an onslaught of white people who think it’s so unfair that they cannot play a blackface Othello but Denzel Washington can be the Prince in Much ado about Nothing.

  8. gijoel says

    And another video I can’t watch cause I live on the wrong side of the pacific.

  9. says

    @Giliell, #9:

    I was talking about othello with someone just recently – fledanow, I believe – and mentioned that I think that there could be some good to a production that cast Othello as a white guy if every single other role was played by actors of color. I actually think in the age of entitled white grievance that Iago still does perfectly well as a white man trying to ruin the career of a man of color, but there’s just enough racial diversity in the theater nowadays (at least where I live) that casting the play that way might bring new attention to the racial dynamics at play. I fear that too often theater goers dismiss Iago’s evil plan as “an isolated incident”. Would a scheming Black man (or Black lesbian? Black queer/trans person?) trying to bring down the career and ruin the marriage of a good and decent (if a bit murderous) white man hit the racial hot buttons enough so that the same people that want to dismiss Iago as a one-off would go public generalizing from the pretend behavior of an imaginary Black Iago? I think he just might. I don’t think it would be comfortable, but i think the conversation might be worth it.

    Also, of course, there’s the ongoing conversation about the number of roles available for women and for people of color compared to the number of roles available to white men. Saving only one role for a white actor might also generate comment that could move that conversation forward.

    Anyway, art is complex. I’m sure you don’t disagree; I was just riffing on “cannot play a blackface Othello”. I’m also clear that’s the claim of the “onslaught of white people” and not your claim. But I thought this was the place to insert this particular ramble.

  10. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Emergence at 1:

    It is, in fact, pretty damn racist and sexist to think that women and black people who make comics must not be as good as white men who make comics.

    I wonder what the odds are that he also thinks we should get rid of affirmative action because, clearly, employers hire based only on ability these days. That seems to be the knot they twist themselves into now.

    Crip Dyke at 11:

    I was talking about othello with someone just recently… and mentioned that I think that there could be some good to a production that cast Othello as a white guy if every single other role was played by actors of color.

    They did just that in 1997 with Patrick Stewart performing as Othello.

  11. drst says

    cartomancer @7 – that would explain why these same dudes are so hysterical over Star Wars specifically. Since the original movies and the prequels each had essentially only one female character and IIRC only one non-white (non-villain) character with a name, now the new films are “ruining” their childhood, etc.

    I don’t agree with Jeffries giving this guy a platform, though. His ideas don’t deserve a debate, they deserve to be left out of the discourse entirely and every time some free speech dudebro insists that we have to “debate” he gives validity to the thoughts of guys like this loser, which is the only thing the loser wants.

  12. Jeremy Shaffer says

    For a while, YouTube kept throwing these videos from someone called “Diversity & Comics” at me, until I managed to train it to realize that I despise this guy.

    It’s still doing that to me with videos from The Quartering guy. I trained it for others but for some reason it just won’t take with him and Roaming Millennial. For some reason YouTube seems to think I really need to see their shit.

  13. cartomancer says

    I’m not sure we can say that productions of Shakespeare in the modern age are an art form without a concept of canonicity or authorial control. In Shakespeare’s own day, sure – the man himself took his plots and characters from everywhere, and audiences expected idiosyncratic takes on old favourites. But these days Shakespeare has become a revered cultural icon, and we absolutely project modern ideas about canonicity and authenticity back onto him that he himself would have been very puzzled by.

    Mind you, I don’t think the kind of people who whine about not being allowed to black up to play Othello are complaining because they feel it is a breach of canonical authenticity. They’re not seriously concerned that the production be as faithful to how a 16th Century company of actors would have done it as possible, and they don’t generally cite that as their reason for complaining.

  14. methuseus says

    I’ve never had any issues picking up a book or comic or even watching a show and getting into a character radically different from my reality. Hell, the Superman this guy wants, etc., is radically different from me, too. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to identify with an alien with super powers more than a woman of any shape or color.

    @emergence #1:

    or that women who read comics might want to have some female characters who aren’t just cheesecake.

    Or female characters and heroes that eat cheesecake. Or are just more than 1% body fat (not including the humongous boobs on some of the female characters).

    @drst #13:

    I don’t agree with Jeffries giving this guy a platform, though. His ideas don’t deserve a debate, they deserve to be left out of the discourse entirely and every time some free speech dudebro insists that we have to “debate” he gives validity to the thoughts of guys like this loser, which is the only thing the loser wants.

    It’s a really fine line. In a way Jeffries was trying to show the absurdity by having 6 people with the opposing viewpoint. But, yes, it gives the guy a platform.

  15. chris says

    A. Noyd: “Guys like this don’t just want their own slice of the pie to taste a certain way. They want the whole pie to taste the way they like it, even other people’s slices.”

    Yep, just like some folks I had to deal with while volunteering for the PTA. Not only was there the clueless parent who was upset that they did not get a school directory because they refused to pay for it (no, your taxes do not pay for the printing, it is a separate account), but my fave were the ones who wanted to get rid of the special ed. program. Like the one that my oldest was in. (sound familiar? obviously only a certain kind of “diversity” was wanted by some parents, I even got pushback by insisting the new playground should be ADA accessible)

    Tabby Lavalamp, thanks for that! Obviously his audience was much smaller than he wanted.

  16. andyo says

    He does ask the question that I think more people should ask people like Dawkins and Harris, which is basically, “even if you don’t consider yourself racist, doesn’t it give you pause that a whole lot of your most vocal supporters are?”

  17. emergence says

    andyo @19

    Jefferies also points out that a lot of the stuff that makes Meyer mad would also make a racist or a misogynist mad. Meyer shouldn’t have been so dismissive of that. I’d be asking myself if I was a racist or a misogynist if I agreed with racists or misogynists with regards to virtually anything related to race or gender.

  18. emergence says

    Jeremy Shaffer @12

    This guy would probably whine about how the Escher Girls site is ruining the comic industry or whatever, but what the site actually does is show just how shoddy the artwork actually is in a lot of these comics. The huge boobs and sexy poses Meyer angrily defends are bad artwork, and yet he insists that the comic book industry was somehow a meritocracy before women and people of color “ruined” everything.

  19. mcfrank0 says

    A. Noyd: “Guys like this don’t just want their own slice of the pie to taste a certain way. They want the whole pie to taste the way they like it, even other people’s slices.”

    The most silly, trivial example is someone who whines “Why should I have to press one for English?”

  20. Jeremy Shaffer says

    emergence at 21-

    The huge boobs and sexy poses Meyer angrily defends are bad artwork, and yet he insists that the comic book industry was somehow a meritocracy before women and people of color “ruined” everything.

    The simple fact Rob Liefeld- the man who not only is so lazy it was a factor in the near total collapse of the comics industry as a whole, but also the only person in the business whose art is so bad it potentially has a body count- is still regularly employed as an comic artist and not completely persona non grata is proof-positive it is anything but a meritocracy. That said, I might could give the idea of it being a meritocracy some credence having seen and read many of the people Meyers and his followers denigrate. They’re pretty good to be honest and show real skill and dedication to the stories and characters, and I’d still be buying their work if I had the money to spend every week on comics like I used to.

    Unfortunately, Liefeld is still around so it isn’t a meritocracy, but that trash only makes the gems stand out all the more. The thing people like Meyers don’t get is that the industry doesn’t belong to them and them alone; and there are plenty of titles that enough will cater to every individual’s tastes. If the only characters he wants are white guys in spandex beating down cardboard villains and women with physiques that’ll only work with the proper application of ankle weights, then he has an abundance of titles to choose from while I still get my Doom Patrol, Ms. Marvel, Harrow County, and Paper Girls.

  21. emergence says

    Jeremy Shaffer @23

    The mistake that people like Meyer make is thinking that companies are just looking to hire anyone who isn’t a white guy. These companies are looking for talented women, people of color, and LGBT people to make comics. It never seems to occur to Meyer that maybe the comic book industry up until recently has been an old boys’ club that overlooked these groups unfairly.

    Really, I don’t trust this guy’s ability to assess the quality of comics made by people he thinks were “diversity hires”. He’s already looking for reasons to criticize their work to prove his point. Also, looking at what he criticizes comics for, I’m pretty sure that he just has shit taste in art and writing. On top of that, he seems to have some political axes to grind himself.

    I skimmed through an issue of Harrow County at a comic shop recently. It looked pretty cool, but I wanted to wait to buy a trade paperback later. I may want to look at Paper Girls too.

  22. Jeremy Shaffer says

    emergence at 24

    Those two titles were among the ones I really looked forward to each month- give or take since Paper Girls wasn’t on a monthly schedule it seemed. I think both have several TPBs out now, which I’ve been thinking of picking up- even for the issues I already have so I can be sure I haven’t missed anything- along with the ones for Clean Room and Crosswind, both written by Gail Simone. Speaking of whom, I thought the Wonder Woman/ Conan crossover she recently wrote was very cool as well.

  23. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Almost forgot: another good title, if you’re looking for something a bit more in the superhero area, is Black Hammer and it’s spin-offs. Most of the characters are thinly-veiled takeoffs of those from other titles and has more of different take on the heroes of the Golden Age. All of the various Black Hammer books play around with the tropes seen in many superhero comics in interesting ways.

  24. qotsafan says

    So I agree Dick is a terrible person. I saw some of his videos on youtube too. However he has more nuanced views that came across in the interview. For example when he reviewed Saga and Calexit he said he disagreed with their politics but thought the artwork and storytelling were solid. The comics industry is sinking and hardly making any sales and he says his mission is to save it.

    To give you a bit of context there’s a lot of problem at Marvel currently.
    There are many talented minority creators out there. I like Jim Lee, Frank Cho ,Japanese duo Gurihiru.Christopher Priest, Ed Benes. However Marvel isn’t just hiring these talented creators. They’re hiring inexperienced artists and YA authors like Gabby Riviera and Mariko Tamaki who can’t write good comics. These comics always make bad sales and get cancelled and rebooted.
    @emergence/Jeremy Shaffer
    You may not like Rob Liefelds art, but at his heydey he was actually able to sell comics. His X-Force and Youngblood series sold millions of copies , which is more than you can say for a lot of talent employed at Marvel nowadays. Artists at Marvel now would kill to get those kinds of sales. I’m not a fan of his art, but it isn’t lazy , its stylized and he had a lot of fans . Its not supposed to be realistic. It is meritocratic.

  25. says

    No one has mentioned LumberJanes?

    If you want something from the Big2, Squirrel Girl is completely awesome awesomeness, wrapped in awesome, tied with an awesome bow.

    Of course, there’s also Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel. (I haven’t actually read Pretty Deadly – it’s probably of good quality, but I couldn’t tell you anything about it’s style or whether it fits my, or anyone’s, taste) Probably other books as well.

    The best comic book I’ve ever read has a short run – 6 issues, I think – but it’s completely amazing. It’s called I Kill Giants, and the protagonist is a white girl in elementary school who is inspired by norse myths. I really can’t imagine a better comic book.

  26. qotsafan says

    @Jeremy Shaffer
    I enjoy all types of stories , but look at the sales charts for the top selling comics for any given month. The top selling ongoing comics are the “white guys in spandex” comics that you don’t seem to like. They’re the titles keeping the industry afloat. A lot of the “diverse” titles don’t even break even and get cancelled. Diversity doesn’t sell and Marvel admitted as much recently when getting feedback from storeowners. Its great that you support the comics you love and maybe if more people bought those titles the industry would be in better shape.

  27. Jeremy Shaffer says

    qotsafan at 27-

    You may not like Rob Liefelds art, but at his heydey he was actually able to sell comics.

    Liefeld came along during a time when stories about people selling off their old comics for a fortune were making the general news. People were snatching up just about anything because they never stopped to ask why those old comics were worth so much. In return, the comics industry was happy to oblige with a ton of issue 1’s- and a few 0’s- and collector’s issues with variant covers or some other cover gimmick. He wasn’t really attracting readers as much as he was attracting collectors who didn’t give a single shit about the artwork or the stories, just the same as the rest of the industry.

    His X-Force and Youngblood series sold millions of copies , which is more than you can say for a lot of talent employed at Marvel nowadays.

    Again, collector frenzy driven by people looking to sell them off later and retire on. Sure, there were and are some people who liked that stuff- I knew a few, and more power to them- but most of those “millions of copies” were never even cracked open.

    Artists at Marvel now would kill to get those kinds of sales.

    Everyone in the comics industry would love to get those sales, though I doubt many would want to get them at the expense of the entire industry collapsing which is what those sales almost did.

    I’m not a fan of his art, but it isn’t lazy , its stylized and he had a lot of fans .

    My comment about his laziness wasn’t in regard to his art- it was in regard to the fact that his was among the worst studios under the Image banner in terms of getting their products out on time. Given that was a problem for the majority of Image at the time, that’s saying something. I’m also referring to the Deathmate crossover Image did with Valiant, in which the only reason Liefeld ever managed to get his promised part, Deathmate Red, out a year late was because Bob Layton of Valiant showed up at Liefeld’s house and refused to leave until the dipshit did the work.

    But now that you mention his art in reference to his laziness, it was fucking lazy. When he honestly puts forth some effort, Liefeld can do some decent work, but for the most part he didn’t because he’s lazy.

    qotsafan at 29-

    I enjoy all types of stories , but look at the sales charts for the top selling comics for any given month. The top selling ongoing comics are the “white guys in spandex” comics that you don’t seem to like.

    And how many of them are titles that have been around several decades with long-running fanbases? How many are characters that are known to people who aren’t even into comics? Certainly, characters like Batman or Spider-Man will sell better than something like Ms. Marvel or even an odder title like Paper Girls. This is even more so when the best economic climate isn’t exactly the best, which is kind of the case now, where comic buyers will naturally gravitate towards titles they know they like over taking a risk on new ones they know little to nothing about.

    A lot of the “diverse” titles don’t even break even and get cancelled. Diversity doesn’t sell and Marvel admitted as much recently when getting feedback from storeowners.

    Sure, if you only look at single issue sales and through comic shops, which is what Marvel did. It’s a different story if you look at trade paperbacks and sales through stores like Barnes & Noble. The “diversity” titles sell pretty well there.

    Its great that you support the comics you love and maybe if more people bought those titles the industry would be in better shape.

    The comics industry is in the shape it is because it’s a niche industry, and it probably always will. Sure, there was an explosion back in the 90’s, but again that was thanks to the collector frenzy of the time. But you know what isn’t going to help? Attitudes like the one the “Diversity & Comics” guy and his followers display. They may be a minority of comic fans, but they’re toxic and risk driving people away, which means comics will be less likely to attract newer and wider audiences that’s needed keep it going.

  28. wontbehere4long says

    I’m so sorry for the language, but…

    God. Damn it. To fuck.

    I’ve already talked to Great American Satan about this, but as an autistic asexual writer, I’m scared shitless. Ever since the Steven Universe incident, fandom policing and cringe culture have never been more popular. Are people of color, non-binaries, sexual and gender nonconformists, women, neurodivergents, and what-have-you legitimately not allowed to tell there own stories, especially if it’s grounded in their experiences as a human being?

    If not, then I have nothing to live for.

  29. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @30:

    You nailed it out of the park, but there’s yet another factor to consider, and it single-handedly destroys the “SJW comics hurt the industry” narrative.

    Namely, precisely because no one gives a shit any more about comics, the comics are testing grounds for eventual movie and TV plotlines.

    Kamala Khan and MIles Morales could have sold zero copies. If the stories worked, that was money well spent for Marvel.

    As Folding Ideas would point out, these people also hate capitalism. Specifically, they got told that they were the archetypal consumer, and now that other people are being served, well, capitalism is bad and everyone needs to cater to me, me, ME!

    The smash success of Wonder Woman and Black Panther proves one thing: If people love comics, they have to insure that the kind of people who showed up to those movies will consider buying comics.

    And as great of characters as Power Girl, or Harley Quinn, or Poison Ivy, or even Witchblade can be when written properly, they’re not going to attract a cross-section of women and ethnic minorities if they look like pinups.

    I won’t even get into the fact that a medium that purports to discuss heroism and cultural issues yet doesn’t capture a multicultural America, let alone a planet, in a representative way is also artistically and intellectually bankrupt. That’s not going to sway DiC and his ilk, but people who are objectively minded will go that direction.

    Which is, of course, yet another nail in the coffin: If the comics industry doesn’t make itself a place where women and all sorts of other minorities want to work (including with both the publishers and the fans actually pushing back against the toxicity in the community), they’ll be condemned to a cul-de-sac of limited talent. Again, that won’t happen with the movies, because the profit motive for hiring a Jenkins or a Coogler will eclipse everything else.

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