Hey guys! So at Annie Erskine’s suggestion, I drew up a thing to show support for the #StandWithChelsea hashtag, which supports the artist Chelsea Cain, who (wrote/drew) Mockingbird, a Marvel series that was recently discontinued. Cain left Twitter recently due to a heinous amount of online harassment from a buncha people who disagreed with the cover of issue No. 8
The Mockingbird series ran short, and was loved by a small cult-following of fans, and I don’t think anyone at my comic store was surprised when it came to an end- Marvel and DC have been running more and more mini-series as they shop around for the next big title, and most of the smaller characters get a great volume or two in before they end. In celebration of its run, and as a final salute, Mockingbird rocks a t-shirt on the cover of it’s last issue that reads, “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda.”
I work at a small comic shop right by ASU- which means my clientele is comprised mostly of young, well-educated people. As such, the only reaction I heard anyone give over this cover was a positive one. However, when I got home that night I saw post after post on my Facebook feed about the reaction the cover had gotten web-wide; and because I’m me and I like to poke large fires, I made just a coupla “#StandWithChelsea” posts to show my support for a great artist and a well-written, format-challenging series.
And then the shitlords descended.
And of course this went on for a while, with several of this guy’s buds joining in. What really struck me about all this was just how THREATENED these guys felt because of this cover- I’m always one to play devil’s advocate, so I gave this mofo ample space to tell me what exactly, which part of which issue he wasn’t a fan of. And he made it so very, painfully clear that he’d read exactly none of it.
Which means he and his ilk got their gym shorts all in a twist because they saw something that didn’t appeal to them, which made it clear that it didn’t want or even NEED to appeal to them, and bristled. Now, I’m not even going to delve into Bleeding Cool’s point, which points out that the cover is mostly a joke and that the actual controversy in-book give us a LOT more to discuss about female-vs-male experience, but it was a bit maddening to see that these bullies didn’t just have terrible opinions, but that they were actually just reactionary pieces of crap.
That Twitter fight rioted along I don’t need to recap all the details- I get pretty awful at arguing when I’m that angry- but there’s one more point here. One thing I loved throughout this whole argument about Marvel “alienating their clientele” is that Mockingbird, in my shop, is more popular than main title X-men. And yeah, as Jackweed McChauvinist pointed out, my itty bitty shop is hardly an indicator of the market…. But as a shop that caters to the young, it shows us what the market will become.
And that’s important.
That right there explains why this guy was so angry at a cover that didn’t give a shit about his preferences. That’s why a thousand more of these guys had to cry about it online- they’re dying out. This way of thinking prefers stories about diverse people, that builds heroes not with a cardboard cutout cis-white-hetero-male “character,” but as a whole person, be they racially diverse, differently oriented or abled, or… God forbid, female. These mofos are afraid, because their hold over financial/societal advantages is slipping, because their power is being taken from them.
And, one more thing; there are great characters and cool people out there that happen to be cis-white-hetero-males. I’m friends with several of them. But these are guys who recognize that not every story needs to be about them, that this world is shared between all of us, and that they don’t need to freak out over a cartoon character labeling herself a feminist.