Dear Gentlemen of Comics...Can We Talk?
Laying my sword down for a second. You’re safe here. I’m not going to hack you to pieces. For the moment, at least. (See? That’s a joke. I’m normal just like you. I make jokes too.) But I warn you, this is probably not something you want to hear. Don’t be scared though. It’s okay. Just stick around and read through to the end.
Guys, I’m tired.
Like bone tired.
Totally sick of having the “rape and harassment” in comics discussion. How about this: No more rape and harassment in comics. Deal? No, in all seriousness. Hear me out.
Talking with other women about the same men over and over again because they’re repeat offenders and no one will stand in their way…is TIRING. If you’re a man working in comics and you know about other men who harass and ASSAULT women, you HAVE to take a stand. You have to set an example gentlemen. Now. Please. Give us ladies a day off. Let us know you’re out there. The hardest part for me is watching intelligent creative women trying to come up with ways to repair a system they didn’t break. While the menfolk either stay completely silent or write us messages in private to show their “support”. SPEAK OUT.
Dude. Was that too harsh? Too fast for you? I’m sorry. Please don’t leave. I know there’s nothing you hate worse than a woman (ohgawdnotaFEMINISTplease!!) with a chip on her shoulder. And yes, I am indeed a feminist, too. But I’m so exhausted. Just stick around a bit longer. I really need you to listen.
You love comics, right? The actual artistic expression involved is what lights your fire. I know it. Or maybe it’s the capes that do it for you? The horror books? We all have our thing. And of course it’s far easier to sit in your cave and make the comics and ignore the industry until it’s time for it to give you some small sustenance by way of a paycheck or accolades or what have you. I get that.
But see, some of us ladies used to be little girls. Little girls who lived in houses and worlds ruled by men. Sometimes those men weren’t very nice. And when we were those little girls we found comics…comics made by YOU. Comics about superheroes and justice. Comics about rebels and rogues. And reading those comics helped us believe that not all men were bad. That sometimes there are some men who don’t just want to watch the world burn. Men who believe in a higher code. We wanted to be in comics so we could ride in Robin Hood’s band of merry men.
Imagine our horror when we got here and found out how many of you aren’t actually Robin. You’re the Sheriff and Prince John. You’re cutthroats and thieves and monsters. The good ones among you? Silent. Not heroes at all.
Fine. I’ll play Robin.
But who among you is going to stop being quiet and ride with me? Who is going to get the rapists and known harassers OFF the convention circuit? (I was seated right behind one at SDCC. Don’t tell me they’re not there) Who is going to put zero tolerance policies in place for men who act out at conventions or at signings or in your offices right under your noses? Who is going to actually make a difference instead of just slinking around in a whisper crusade to protect their comic book brethren from the big bad foe called “WOMAN”?
Let’s be cool. Let’s be buds. Let’s be a team. I don’t wanna be angry all the time. I just want to wake up in the morning, make my comics, and not have to trip over bullshit.
How about a Comic Book Gentleman’s Manifesto?
" I hereby do solemnly swear not to…" Aw c’mon. Who am I kidding? You probably want to write this yourself.
I still believe in you, Peter Pan. Don’t let me down.