What constitutes harassment at a comic book convention?

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Don’t touch her butt

The Los Angeles Times blog Hero Complex published an article about the San Diego Comic-Con and its lack of a policy on harassment. Although the event is attended by 130,000 people from all over the world, organizers haven’t seen fit to define what harassment is. Not really. This is the only thing posted on the official San Diego Comic-Con website about harassment:

Code of Conduct

Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner. 

Not once do they define what harassment is. How do you have a policy on something that you fail to define what it is? If you are coming up with code of conduct, and you find yourself using the phrase, “common sense”, you need to stop and start over. There’s no such thing as common sense. What may make sense to one person, may not make sense to others.

In fact, the word “common” should be stricken from any credible code of conduct. The San Diego Comic-Con uses the word twice in the first sentence.

For what seems like my entire adult working life, at every job I’ve had, I’ve had to take a yearly class on harassment. I find it boring and completely unnecessary, but I invariably realize some people are stupid and actually need an annual reminder on how to treat others in the workplace. Every workplace harassment class I’ve ever had has always began with defining harassment.

Every single one.

I’ll admit that defining harassment in the workplace is much easier than defining harassment at a comic book convention. A comic book convention is a social event. What’s considered unacceptable in the workplace may not apply in a social gathering. It’s why San Diego Comic-Con and other similar events need to define what harassment is.

You can’t have a policy on something if you never bother to define what that something is.

Photo: Kotaku

 

Ben Affleck as Batman

BVS-00754-Edit_53d03e04c5f306.62433326DC Comics premiered this photo of Ben Affleck as Batman at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. I really don’t understand how anyone could have a problem with Ben Affleck playing the Dark Knight. I think he will go down as the second best Batman of all time, second only to Adam West.

Ben Affleck is Batman.

2014 San Diego Comic-Con

20130116-084416The 2014 San Diego Comic-Con kicks off today. It’s, among other things, the largest comic book convention in North America. With each passing year, the show becomes less about comic books, and more about general nerdom and pop-culture. That’s a good thing considering that comic books are becoming less and less popular with each passing year.

The San Diego Comic-Con generates millions of dollars of profit. According to the IRS, they’re a non-profit, educational charity exempt from paying taxes. They’re dedicated to creating an awareness and appreciation for comics and the related popular art forms. For that, they don’t have to pay taxes on the profit they generate.

According to their 2012 IRS Form 990, the San Diego Comic-Con had $13.7 million in assets, up $3 million from the year before.

Tickets, or badges, are already sold out. If you didn’t already get your badge for the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, you have no chance of going.

I’ve never been to the San Diego Comic-Con, and I doubt I’ll ever attend. I’m not sure it would be worth the money. Hotels in San Diego raise their prices during Comic-Con. Also, I don’t think I’d enjoy being around all the crowds.

Like past years, I’ll just have to experience San Diego Comic-Con online. I’m sure Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and comics centric blogs and websites will have a plethora of San Diego Comic-Con content this weekend.

San Diego police moving homeless people away from Comic-Con

hobo-with-a-shotgunThe San Diego Comic-Con kicks off this week and it seems the police are trying to clear the surrounding area of homeless people. Good for them.

From ABC 10 News:

“People on these streets are unsightly to the public, to the general public and certainly to visitors coming in from out of town,” said David Ross.

Ross, who is better known as “Waterman,” is a well-known outspoken advocate for the homeless. He is often seen downtown handing out water bottles and blankets to transients.

Ross says San Diego police are rounding up people to make way for the biggest city event in the city, Comic-Con.

Ross forgot to point out that the homeless are not only unsightly, they usually smell really bad too. He should know this if he spends time downtown handing out water bottles and blankets to homeless people, encouraging them to stay in the area, thus perpetuating the problem. Their putrid, rank smell wouldn’t be a problem if they kept to themselves, but too many of them engage in aggressive panhandling and other forms of intimidation in the attempt to get money they do not deserve, from people they do not know.

People should be able to walk down the street without fear that someone will aggressively ask for money. The reason they do it is because too many people give them money. If everyone stopped giving them money, they wouldn’t hang around and ask for more. They would move on somewhere else.

Loot Crate’s copy of ‘Rocket Raccoon’ #1 is a variant

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Loot Crate has revealed the cover of the Rocket Raccoon #1 in subscriber’s loot boxes and it turns out, it’s a special variant cover. It will not look like the issue that can be purchased in comic book shops, but will feature cover art exclusive to Loot Crate.

The cover has the Loot Crate name and logo at the top left and it shows Rocket Raccoon holding a Loot Crate box. It also looks as though it was done by a different artist. The standard cover was done by Skottie Young. This cover doesn’t look like Skottie’s work.

Remember when I said that because Loot Crate will be sending subscribers a copy of Rocket Raccoon #1, it would end up in the dollar bin? Yeah, you can forget about that. Since Loot Crate is sending a variant copy, it cancels out any possible glut on the market.

It’s not too late to get signed up with Loot Crate and get this comic. It’s fun to get a box in the mail with cool stuff inside and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Let’s face it, most of the stuff you get in the mail anymore is boring and stupid. How many Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons does a person really need? They’re a lot like Twinkies in that they never expire.

Loot Crate makes the mail fun again.

Adult fetish model ‘humiliated’ at comic convention

Adult fetish model humiliated at comic book convention for wearing fishnets and a black mini skirt
Adult fetish model MizCaramelVixen wrote a post over at Bleeding Cool in which she described her experience at Special Edition NYC, a new comic book convention held in New York City at the Javits Center.

From the post:

As I filled out the registration form, I heard “excuse me miss.” I paid no attention, as there were a large amount of famous writers and even women dressed in cosplay attending. Then again, I heard “excuse me miss” but louder. I looked up and it’s a man and a woman rocking Special Edition NYC gray shirts. (The only people wearing those shirts are VIP members and the staff.) I came out of line, where everyone in earshot distance stares, because they want to know what happened. That’s when the uneasiness wave started to overpower me.

The male SENYC Staff proceeded to tell me that this is “a family friendly show and kids are here.” He proceeded to remind me that it is Father’s Day and “there are kids attending with their families and my attire isn’t proper.” I was then asked if I had a change of clothes in my bag, to which I responded no. The whole time, the woman did not say one word to me. He then proceeded to tell me that “if they receive one more complaint that I would be asked to leave.” I mentioned that there were women who were dressed way worse than I was, that had thongs and pasties on, to which he replied that they were told the same thing. I found that so hard to believe since these same women were walking around the convention smiling and taking pictures. I informed him that I’d traveled from New Jersey for this convention and I didn’t feel this was right. He then responded (again) – “if we get one more complaint, we will escort you off the premises. Please try and keep your skirt down or we’re going to ask you to leave.”

Here’s a photo that MizCaramelVixen posted of herself in her cosplay outfit on her Tumblr account, Ramblings of a Fetish Adult Entertainer:

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Looking at the above photo, it’s easy to believe that her skirt, at times, was riding a little high. If someone complained about her outfit to event staff, what were they supposed to do, ignore it? I would have, but that’s one of the many reasons I would be really bad at running a comic book convention. I would have no tolerance for listening to people tattle on each other for how they’re dressed.

The point is, the rules posted at the Special Edition NYC website state:

5. Naked is not a costume. Please wear appropriate (or at least enough) clothing while attending Special Edition: NYC

The staff could have asked her to leave, if they believed the outfit was inappropriate. Instead of kicking her out, they just recommended that she keep her skirt down.

Sound advice.

After all, this wasn’t the film set of one of her not-safe-for-work adult fetish videos, it was a comic book convention. Not everything is cosplay, at least not at a family friendly comic book convention on a Sunday afternoon.