PR Disasters: Comic Book Pros Are Not Professional

By Charles Fulano Hidalgo y Rodríguez

Picture is a screenshot from this video: https://www.videoblocks.com/video/slow-motion-money-on-fire-copb91p

It is no secret that writers, artists, etc., are eccentric. When they write, draw, color, or film they can refine their eccentricity into art. However, with the advent of social media and mobile phones, it permits these creatives to communicate instantly. It also gives them a platform to react in real time to what others say and think. From a business standpoint this can be disastrous. This article will be going over the unprofessional behavior of comic book pros which include writers, artists, and even journalists. This article will focus in particular on their poor responses to fans and critics. Bad PR is one of a myriad of factors that is plagueing the industry, especially when it comes to how they react to one Richard Myer and Ethan Van Sciver.

Mark Waid and other comic book pros provide perfect exemplars of how access to the internet can easily lead to potential PR disasters. Walt Disney’s Mark Waid, a once beloved comic book artist, repeatedly called and harassed a smaller publisher, one Antarctic Press, to prevent them from printing an apolitical action graphic novel called Jawbreakers. It’s not the first time that Mark Waid has made himself and those he represent look bad because of social media drama.

[1]

What could cause a professional to stoop so low as to call the competition and demand they drop the book? Jealousy perhaps, Jawbreakers topped 200,000 dollars in an Indiegogo campaign and the Author has a YouTube audience close to 60k followers, more than triple what most comic books sell. Certainly, it was anger over Richards’ criticisms and his views. For this is not the first time that Mark Waid and other comic book writers have attempted to silence Mr. Meyer. Far from it: Over the past year, Richard Meyer has been the subject of libel, blackmail, and plotted violence. He is not the only one that has been attacked by comic book pros. All of this, of course, has occurred online and encapsulates one of the causes of the industry’s decline.

What caused this spat between insiders like Mark Waid and a relatively unknown person like Richard Meyer?

Well, Richard Meyer runs two YouTube channels based around comics. The most famous of his is Diversity & Comics which he named because comics were diverse in the 80s and “nobody cared.” In fact, he nostalgically recalls that comics reached new heights in the 80s because of two women[2] (6:40–7:00). Therefore, he calls his channel Diversity and Comics. He believes diersity is a good thing and that it allowed comics to reach its zenith in the 80s. On his channel, Richard reviews comics, praising some and roasting others. Contrary to what some may think, he doesn’t give friends a free pass and he’s even lauded those who hate him, including Mark Waid the man who sabotaged his book. This is the reason that Mr. Meyer has been able to draw an audience on YouTube.

[3]

So, are Marvel Comics declining in quality?

Not many would know the answer: They haven’t purchased a comic in a while. Overall, professionals have turned out worse products and this is a major reason for the industry’s recent decline. The writing and the drawing has been awful to say the least and less than professional.[4], [5] The following images are proof of that. What is the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, here then is an essay:

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Did you feel it? That unsettling feeling is called the “uncanny valley.” This occurs when one sees something that is close to being “real” but isn’t. You don’t have to be an expert to pick that up.

Richard Meyer has pointed out issues in the art and in the writing. Issues that are apparent, even in apolitical comics like Star Wars. For this sort of criticism, Richard has become a black sheep and enemy # 1. This is because many of the more political stripe see criticism of work made by minorities as hating minorities. Meyer argues that they are just hiring young inexperienced people for low pay and that the results are self-evident.

Many artists have taken what Richard has said personally. It’s hard to take criticism when making art. Rather than admit that they are writing or drawing poorly, they have convinced themselves that Richard is a Nazi even though he has mix raced children. Hence, many have come after Richard personally. Including Mark Waid. Before sabotaging Richard’s book, Mark Waid posted this when he believed that Richard was attending the same Comic Con:

An odd request

Recently, Marvel’s Mark Waid called up Antartic Press after they announced they would print Richard’s comic. He wanted to convince them to drop their deal with Richard Meyer because he can’t take criticism and believes Richard is a Nazi.

Fittingly, he choose the grumpy villainous rabbit from Hoodwinked! as his avatar.

Antartic Press later made this tweet after getting the call:

Whether or not it is true that Mark bullied them, if one is familiar with Mark’s online character, it would be enough to make them suspect Marvel’s Mark Waid. Mark Waid has a known mean streak. So, what he did to Richard Meyer, irregardless of its legality, is not surprising.

Take for example how Mark Waid reacted to someone who disagreed with him politically. Regardless of one’s position or views, this is not acceptable behavior as a spokeman for Disney, Marvel, and DC.

It’s true that the person who tweeted him did so in a negative, insulting tone. The problem, however, is that Mark Waid is a representative for the companies he works for and all companies rely on customers for revenue. Giving in to his anger to tell a random person online to “fuck off” is not good PR and can build consumer resentment overtime. The anonymous person who tweeted him has nothing to lose in this Twitter spat, unlike Mark Waid and his employers. Compounded overtime such bad PR can result in significant lost revenue for Mark, the companies he represents, and even the smaller comic book companies that depend on Marvel’s health.

Not only does Mark Waid get angry with fans with different worldviews, but with fellow pros such as Arthur Sudyam. He has tweeted this about a coworker:

Mark Waid believes he’s the moral police. He wants to silence him.
He is known for making a fuss over those he disagrees with.
He also wishes physical violence against Arthur.

Even if he is right that Arthur Sudyam is a jerk, tweeting this does not look good for Mark, Disney, Marvel, or DC. It creates issues inside the industry, obviously, but even if one shared Mark’s politics it will make them quesiton their character. This is bad for Disney as it can turn fans off of comics, even the fans who hold his worldview.

This is not a lone incidence. Mark made a similar tweet to one Jude:

What Mark Waid fails to realize is that being angry on the internet will attract naysayers and trolls. It’s not a surprise to anyone who is familiar with internet culture. Being mad, political, and offendable online is like bleeding in a shark tank. That is why he should avoid tweets like this, especially if he wants to maintain his ethos. Any twitter spats will reflect more poorly on him than anyone else.

Every Tweet costs Marvel, erego Disney, money in the long-run. Is it in their interests for Mark to tell customers to “fuck off” and to “never read” comics? Is it in their interests to be blind to poor products? Sure, it could be a troll, but if it’s a fan that’s a great way to alienate them. Same goes for every other company that Mark Waid works for. Not only that, but it may result in people never buying comics from other companies, thus hurting the whole industry.

Other comic book professionals have been just as aggressive. Stating that they wish they could punch Richard Meyer and those like him. How do you think fans would respond? How does this make Disney, DC, and Marvel look?

Richard Meyer is not the only one that many insiders wish to cause harm. One of the few conservatives in the industry, one Ethan Van Sciver, has been wrongly labeled as a Nazi along with Richard. In large part, it’s because he’s a Republican and is a religious minority. They’ve convinced others of this too which has consequences.

Take a look at other insiders’ responses to Ethan Van Sciver.

The violence of Mr. Kelly is not just aimed at those in the industry who wrong-think but anyone else who disagrees with him; be they strangers or public representatives.

Violent remarks weren’t just issued by Chunk Kelly but other “professionals” in the Comic Book industry. They may even be aimed at professionals they disagree with, but with fans and whole demographics. For example, Mags Visaggio, who wrote for both Disney’s Marvel and DC expressed her desire to hit fans with a bat.

People have not just threatened violence against Ethan, Richard, and their supporters, they’ve gone through with it. Ethan Van Sciver, one of the few public conservatives in the industry, received threats. Ethan Van Sciver was told that someone would damage the stores he signed at, as well as rape and murder his family if he did not stop. The shop was vandalized although Ethan Van Sciver has yet to be physically accosted. Yet, none of them have acknowledged that this has occurred nor have they condemned the threats against his life or his family.

One of the loudest voices against Richard Meyer and Ethan Van Sciver is one Tim Doyle who openly admits being a member of the Satanic Temple. He is not employed by Marvel or DC but owns a print shop.

This honestly sounds satirical, but it’s legit.

It’s ironic that a herald for social justice also openly worships a deity of deceit.

His harassment of EVS is done with the belief that he somehow is a Nazi, which if he was, Tim should probably be ok with considering his religion. Adding to this hypocrisy, is his frequent hyperbolic statements to dehumanize Ethan Van Sciver and his fans, much in the same way that actual Nazis did to their political rivals.[6]

Essentially, Tim Doyle and friends claims that Ethan Van Sciver is a Nazi because he made a tongue in cheek reference to Mein Kampf when drawing what is basically space Hitler, a character that Ethan changed to be more evil, and obviously does not support. According to Tim’s line of logic, George Lucas is a Nazi toobecause the Empire emulates the Third Reich. There’s a difference between making an evil character while basing it off the Nazis and believing what that character does is justified.

The claim that Richard Meyer is a Nazi is even more hilarious. Mr. Meyer is obviously pro-miscegenation (his kids are mix-raced) and has diverse characters in his book line-up. In fact, his daughter is a Muslim.

What Alex Jones is saying in an alternative timeline: “It’s obvious by this solid evidence that Ethan Van Sciver is an alien space Nazi who wants to turn the frogs gay!”

Here are the characters in Richard Meyer’s book Jawbreakers. If he was a Nazi, like Vox Day, would Richard Meyer have minorities as heroic characters?

The Jawbreakers.

Here is more “evidence” that Tim Doyle is actively sharing to slander Ethan Van Sciver.

Contrary to what many believe, Pepe is an older meme and is not just used by Nazis. Democrats, Republicans, and even Communists use Pepe in memes. Either Tim Doyle is ignorant of this fact or he is maliciously lying.

A Common Pepe

Tim’s repeating this big lie has convinced others in the industry that Ethan is a Nazi.

Tim Doyle also led a campaign against Richard Meyer. He, along with Michelle Perez of Image Comics and Kieran Shiach of Polygon, have made several claims that were quickly debunked: They stated that Richard was behind his child support and was evicted for crimes.

Richard Anthony Meyer is a different person, but his case was dismissed too.

Richard claims that he got in a fight with someone over a woman and the other man trumped up charges against him. The evidence shows that Richard is right, at least according to the law, in that he wasn’t convicted and that the charges were dismissed.

After being falsely accused, Richard received this email from a literal Satanist:

Due to their disagreements, Michelle Perez tweeted that she wished he had died in the war:

Furthermore, the suggestion that war veterans are “cryptofascists” would insult many. Obviously, her wishing death on a veteran does not look good for her or the company she contracts with, in this case Image Comics. Whilea representative of Image she has also gleefully gloated in public about the future deaths of Donald Trump and John McCain. Not very classy of her or of Image comics.

How she carries herself online also leaves much to be desired.

In Michelle’s own words.

Michelle Perez, a supposed warrior for social justice, doesn’t just attack Richard or malign those she disagrees with politically. She harasses transwomen (transphobic?) and tells people to die. She also tells a random man named Todd to die.

Michelle also actively evades Twitter bans so she can obsesivelly tell people to die.

She also makes lewd tweets. Obviously I’m not going to post her more mature content, but the text should suffice for the idea of what Michelle is into. Again, this does not bode well for the company or the industry she represents.

Her art is also often violent and disturbing.

Michelle Perez once claimed she wanted to make Richard Meyer a “quadriplegic.”

Now imagine someone like Michelle sending you this ominous Tweet:

This tweet was about Richard Meyer’s family.

They’ll also go after the fans of Richard Meyer and Ethan Van Sciver. Even if they’re minorities.

The professionalism doesn’t stop there. Kwanzer, another comic pro, being the responsible adult he is, can’t help but tell a man he disagrees with to STFU again and again. Is this a proper response to a disagreement even if he wasn’t trying to sell comics and promote the brand?

Kwanzer then went on to make banners to tell this guy to STFU. Even if you agree with Kwanzer politically, you have to admit that this is immature behavior. To fans that follow comic pros, this damages the ethos of the industry as a whole.

Considering how angry Kwanzer was about his online tussle with Ryan, it is interesting to think he would later tweet this:

He should take his own advice.

This isn’t adult or professional behavior and he isn’t the only comic pro that lacks maturity.

Daryl Ayo claimed to be harassed by Ethan Van Sciver after making false claims that he was a Nazi. What is harassment by Daryl Ayo’s standards?

Asking for evidence and telling someone to stop harassing them is apparently harassment.

Having seen the evidence that Ethan Van Sciver is a harassing Nazi, this man decides to mention this “fact” from August to January.

For a time, Ethan stopped using Twitter, but he came back eventually. Some would say this peeved Mr. Ayo, but he truly didn’t care, which is why he tweeted about it.

This of course is not harassment in Daryl’s mind. Who would be annoyed at someone pestering their social media while falsely claiming that they are a Nazi?

Being offended by being called a Nazi is not proof of being a Nazi. It’s offensive because Nazis are extreme, crazy, and promote genocide. Furthermore, a real Nazi wouldn’t be offended by being called a Nazi.

In fact, Ethan Van Sciver and Richard Meyer have denounced Nazism. They do not agree with Vox Day, a renown Neo-Nazi who had launched his own comic to “fight” the SJWs. Ethan in a stream with Richard stated that the Alt-Right (Neo-Nazis) liberating comics would be akin to the Soviet Union saving Poland.[7] Considering the evidence, one should readily conclude that they are not Nazis.

After going on his crusade, Darryl Ayo retweeted this, which I full heartedly agree with.

If artists cannot resist attacking and demeaning customers on their own terms, like an abusive parent or spouse, it would likely be in the interest of their bosses to reign them in. Even if its justified it’s not professional and it does not bode well for the community. How employees and contractors interact with customers online can make a big difference. Just as the internet can hype comic book fans about a project, Richard Meyer raised over 200,000 dollars for his book, it can also turn people off. Annoy fans and they will talk. In a niche market like comic books that can be fatal. For example, IDW Comics lost 91% of profits[8] the same year Sitterson, an artist on GI Joe Comics said this about 9/11:

The one tweet is not responsible for the entire loss of their profits, but its emblematic of the situation and it, along with the similar tweets, does not help his employer or the industry. What made Sitterson’s Tweet especially offensive was the fact that he worked on GI Joe Comics which has a very conservative base. They did not buy his book and as a result it was canceled. It’d be like putting a religious fundamentalist on a comic aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and expecting it to sell well. It won’t. The good behavior of professionals online is important for companies and their industries.

Although this article focused on the abuse caused by the comic book professionals, more will be written on the subject. It is also important to keep in mind that those who oppose ComicsGate (an online hashtag movement that Richard is a part of) have been subject to abuse as well. Someone is bound to reply viciously because it’s the internet. Recently, an anti-CG store had its window broken and cash stolen. They have yet to find the perp, so we do not know if it was done out of revenge, greed, or both. Hopefully, the thieving vandal is caught regardless of their reasoning.

The difference, however, is that more leaders of the anti-CG side have been slanderous, sneaky, and malevolent. In contrast, Richard Meyer, Ethan Van Sciver, and others have both attempted to minimize harassment. In their videos and on social media, they have decried harassment.

Unlike his many critics, Ethan is willing to sincerly apologize.

Companies cannot control internet users, but companies do have control over their contractors and employees. That being the case, they can stop their employees and contractors from throwing gasoline onto what is already a raging fire of nerd rage and from creating future needless drama. Had they not allowed their employees and contractors to continually belittle critics, fans, and peers, ComicsGate wouldn’t be an issue. More will be written on that subject in the weeks to come.


If social media and the internet existed earlier, this sort of overreaction to politics, trolling, and criticism would be seen amongst artists in the past. Drawing is hard and it’s difficult to take criticism, especially when it is done in the manner of Diversity & Comics; being roasted isn’t fun. Still, that does not warrant threats on property, life, or livelihoods. I don’t care which side of the ailse you claim to support. Hurting others is not ok.

The good news is that as Richard has stated in the past, both he and his fans are very forgiving. Even if the professionals hate the fans, if they stop bitterly blocking and insulting them, focus on their work, and turn out high quality work, all would be forgiven. In the end, improving the quality of the product would be a win-win for everyone: Disney, DC, Marvel, and the industry would get money, their contractors and employees would be paid, and fans would get good books. True, there will be some radicals that will not forgive nor forget, but they are not the majority of CG, anti-CG, or fans. This issue will be explored in the next article: Black Panther Illustrates ComicsGate’s Motives, Reasonings.


Disclaimer: I’ve purchased Richard Meyer’s Jawbreakers. I did so because it looked interesting and I wanted to show my support for quality comics. I wanted to speak out because not much has been written from a different perspective or narrative. I do not know Richard, Ethan, or anyone mentioned in this article personally besides buying some of their comics (Mark Waid’s and Ethan Van Sciver’s in particular). I also am not endorsing anyone’s views besides my own.


Corrections:

I found out a few days ago that Melissa Morgue is probably not Michelle Perez. Apparently, Melissa Morgue was a spurned D&C fan who was taking out their anger on D&C as well as EVS. This just goes to show that anyone can go too far. If Melissa Morgue behaves that way now, it is likely she acted the same way when she was on the ComicsGate side. Then, just as now, her behavior is not acceptable.

I had a few stats wrong. Thankfully, @ThatUmbrellaGuy was kind enough to point it out. The 91% loss of IDW was only in Q 3 in 2017. In reality, their situation is much more dire. IDW actually dropped by 264%. Currently, they’re 800,000 in the red.

I’ve also realized not everyone loves The Black Panther, so I changed the title of my next article to reflect that.


Sources:

[1] Richard Meyer, Jawbreakers, Indiegogo.

[2] Richard Meyer, “THIS Is Why The Channel Is Called DIVERSITY & COMICS,” Diversity & Comics.

[3] Ibid

[4] Brandon J. Griffin, “Enough With The Photo Realism In ‘Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel,’ (Monkeys Fighting Robots; 2017).

[5] Charlie Hall, “The new Star Wars comics make Luke, Leia and Han look … bad,” (Polygon; 2018).

[6] Michael Blaine, “Fighting Words: What We Can Learn from Hitler’s Hyperbole,” Symbolic Interaction (Wiley; 1988).

[7] Ethan Van Sciver & Richard Myers, EVS and DIVERSITY & COMICS LIVE!!, (ComicArtistProSecrets; 2018), 53:54.

[8] Jude Terror, “IDW Blames “Market Leaders” (I.E. Marvel) For Revenue Drop In Financial Report,” (Bleeding Cool; 2018).

Bibliography

“THIS Is Why The Channel Is Called DIVERSITY & COMICS,”. 25 March 2018. Diversity & Comics. <https://youtu.be/YNlkK48YpjA>.

Griffin, Brandon J. “Enough With The Photo Realism In ‘Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel’.” Monkeys Fighting Robots 16 June 2017. <https://www.monkeysfightingrobots.co/enough-with-the-photo-realism-in-star-wars-the-screaming-citadel/>.

Hall, Charlie. The new Star Wars comics make Luke, Leia and Han look … bad. 22 January 2018. <https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/1/22/16919504/marvel-star-wars-ashes-of-jedha-art>.

Meyer, Richard. Jawbreakers — Lost Souls graphic novel. 10 May 2018. <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jawbreakers-lost-souls-graphic-novel#/>.

Sciver, Ethan Van. EVS and DIVERSITY & COMICS LIVE!! 16 January 2018. ComicArtistProSecrets. <https://youtu.be/VyBmzrGfV8o?t=53m42s>.

Terror, Jude. IDW Blames “Market Leaders” (I.E. Marvel) For Revenue Drop In Financial Report. 18 September 2017. <https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/09/18/idw-blames-market-leaders-e-marvel-revenue-drop-financial-report/>.

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