It finally looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and for once it’s not a freight train hauling a load of weapons-grade Ebola. Marvel Comics fired Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, the man responsible for every stupid move at Marvel Comics.
Turning Iron Man into a 15-year-old black girl with big hair, that was Alonso. Turning Thor into a woman, that was Alonso. Replacing Doctor Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego with some Asian guy, that was Alonso. Retconning Captain America into a sleeper agent for the Nazi-like Hydra? That was Axel Alonso too.
It’s not like any of the sweeping changes orchestrated under Alonso translated into sales. The opposite was true. Low selling books have been the norm the last couple of years under the leadership of Axel Alonso.
What’s even more remarkable than Axel Alonso getting shown the door is the person replacing him, C.B. Cebulski.
Who’s C.B. Cebulski?
C.B. Cebulski has been working with Disney in China the last few years. Before that, he was an editor popular with writers and artists. More importantly, he seems like a nice guy. Hopefully, he can return Marvel Comics to its once-dominant form. C.B. Cebulski is a comic book guy. He looks like a comic book fan. One look at C.B. Cebulski and you just want to ask him, long boxes or short boxes?
Maybe under C.B. Cebulski, pros will stop attacking fans. Maybe they will start treating fans like people and not just pixels on a screen.
I think if I was an unqualified, social justice warrior diversity hire taking up space at Marvel Comics now, I’d be punching up the old resume.
DC comics artist Ethan Van Sciver finally had his live show with Marvel comic book writer Dan Slott on his ComicArtistPro Secrets YouTube show. I didn’t watch it live. I wasn’t planning on watching it at all. Dan Slott blocked me on Twitter. It was not for anything I did, it was because I follow Diversity & Comics on Twitter. Dan Slott employs a Twitter block bot that automatically blocks any Twitter user who follows people he doesn’t like. In this specific case, Diversity & Comics.
The episode on YouTube lasted two hours and twenty-five minutes. The discussion didn’t turn to Dan Slott’s use of a block bot to ban fans until two hours and twelve minutes in.
Here’s a transcript I made of Ethan and Dan talking about Dan’s use of a block bot.
Ethan Van Sciver:What about people who are sad that you’ve blocked them because, I mean you know, there’s who the whole thing about, and this I think this is the number one thing people have been asking, about block bots and people who feel like, “Boy they’d really like to have access to the things you say and also the things say, Diversity and Comics and the people who follow that channel.
Dan Slott:I don’t care. I honestly don’t care. It’s social media. It’s one aspect of… it’s one facet and I’m gonna if you were following some site that and I’m not saying it’s that’s if you were following a site and that site aggressively went after one of my friends and I know the full story of that friend and the person who was running that other site didn’t and they were saying things I knew to be false and things I knew to be lies and things I knew to be hurtful I am perfectly fine shutting that site off and not having anything to do with it and if I see people promoting that site and helping that site and encouraging that site, I don’t need to talk to them either. My friendship with the other people are more important that’s real life.
Dan Slott: I don’t care about little pixels on a screen. At the end of the day, a lot of people are pixels on a screen. They choose a screen name. They choose an avatar. They’re not being who they are in real life. They’re being a persona and I don’t worry about hurting the feelings of a persona, you know? I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about my friend over there that terrible things have happened to because of things online. To me it’s such a distinction that it’s weird for me for people to have such strong feelings about this Internet persona and not about this real person. So it’s yeah don’t care, okay.
Pixels on a screen? My Twitter handle is my real name. The avatar I use with Twitter is a photo of me. I’m not a persona, I’m a person.
Dan Slott uses a Twitter account with a Spider-Man logo as an avatar. It also has a blue check mark next to his name indicating Twitter verified him to be the same Dan Slott who writes for Marvel Comics. He then uses this verified account to block Marvel Comics customers because of who they follow on Twitter.
Does he ever go through his block list to see how many of the blocked pixels are real people with real names?
I’ve never engaged with Dan Slott or his friends, yet I’m on his block list. My only crime is following Diversity & Comics on Twitter. Everyone not named Ethan Van Sciver who follows Diversity & Comics has been automatically blocked by Dan Slott.
I don’t understand why Marvel Comics allows Dan Slott to do things like this. If he wants to have a Twitter account where he can block Marvel Comics customers because of who they follow, he should have to do it from his own personal, non-verified account.
Dan Slott’s actions make me want to never buy Marvel Comics ever again. I wonder if the other 9,000 people blocked by Dan Slott because they fallow Diversity & Comics feel the same way?
When I discovered Dan Slott blocked me because I follow Diversity & Comics on Twitter, I went to the Diversity & Comics Patreon page and signed up for $5 a month. If I’m going to be put on a special list for supporting something, I might as well actually support it.
I don’t support people who put me on a list because of who I follow on Twitter.
Was Ethan Van Sciver interview of Dan Slott a success?
If I had it to do over with, I wouldn’t have listened to this interview. I had a feeling Dan Slott was an obnoxious jerk. This video only confirmed it. I found it depressing to see how one of Marvel Comics’ most prominent writers could be such an anti-consumer asshole.
Dan Slott blocked me on Twitter for following Diversity & Comics. At least that’s what I assume. A lot of people who follow D&C can’t follow Dan Slott or even read is tweets. We’ve all been blocked. If I want to read a Dan Slott tweet, I have to fire up Firefox, not log into Twitter, and go to his Twitter feed. Since I normally use Google Chrome, it automatically logs me into Twitter.
Quick Twitter trick
If you want someone to unfollow you, but don't wish to block them:
If Dan Slott were a plumber and not one of Marvel Comics’ top writers, he wouldn’t be able to tweet from a verified account. You see the fancy blue check mark next to his name? That means he’s been verified by Twitter. The Twitter blue check mark is a badge of privilege and honor. You only get a Twitter verified account check mark if you’re famous and deemed worthy by the folks who run Twitter.
Milo Yiannopoulos, the obnoxious conservative writer formerly from Breitbart, had a Twitter account. Twitter shut it down because he posted mean things about Saturday Night Live actress Leslie Jones. Before Twitter gave him the boot, he had a verified account and then he didn’t. Twitter removed the verified account check mark from Milo Yiannopoulos’ account to punish him. I think he was mean to someone else before being mean to Leslie Jones. I don’t remember what it was or who it was against. I’m feeling too lazy right now to look it up on Ask Jeeves.
If the Twitter blue check mark was, in fact, a tool for verification, why then would Twitter punish Milo Yiannopoulos by taking it away?
If Dan Slott were a plumber, he wouldn’t have a blue check mark next to his name. His Twitter account would have just as much clout and privilege as every other Twitter account. In other words, it would have no clout and no privilege. If he wanted a large follower count, he’d have to build it the old-fashioned way, by posting interesting content.
Because he’s a top writer for Marvel Comics, he automatically garners followers. People follow Dan Slott because they’re interested in the books he writes.
How does Dan Slott use this privilege given to him because of who he works for? By posting stuff you’d expect to see in the comment section over at Daily Kos. What’s even worse is all the retweeting he does. It’s bad enough to read his political opinions, it’s even worse to read the opinions of others.
Did you know Dan Slott doesn’t like Donald Trump?
Pregnant Gold Star widow two days after her husband was laid to rest, while Trump was on his 75th golf trip since becoming President. https://t.co/59vYDle8kX
We get it. Dan Slott doesn’t like Donald Trump. If we all agree to this as a stipulation of fact, can he then move on and use his verified Twitter account to talk about the comics he writes? The verified Twitter account with a Spider-Man logo as the avatar?
If you’re a comic book professional and you’re doing things correctly, I should have no idea what political ideals you hold. Comic books, when done right, are a form of escapism. Comic books allow the people to take a break from the real world and enjoy a few minutes of entertainment.
If Dan Slott wants a personal Twitter account, he should create one. He could use it to post his political opinions. People who are interested in his fresh takes on Trump could then follow that personal Twitter account. He then could use his verified Twitter account to post about his books and the books of other comic book professionals. He should also stop blocking people from his verified Twitter account.
How can you promote your work to someone you’ve blocked?
Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver has a YouTube channel, ComicArtistPro Secrets. One of the things he does on his channel is to show how to draw. He normally draws superheroes, but my favorite video is where he showed how to draw disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
Van Sciver’s videos are pretty awesome. Not only is he a phenomenal artist, he has a way of speaking that is very relaxing. Watching an Ethan Van Sciver video is like watching Bob Ross drawing the Flash after you take a couple Xanax.
Diversity & Comics
I found out about Van Sciver’s channel from another YouTube channel, Diversity & Comics. Richard C. Meyer, the host of Diversity & Comics, recommended people check out ComicArtistPro Secrets. I did and I liked it.
A lot of what Meyer does on Diversity & Comics is roasting bad Marvel Comics books. The comics he roasts are the books steeped heavily in social justice politics. Thor is now a woman. The Hulk’s human counterpart is Asian. Iron Man is now a 15-year-old African-American girl. Ms. Marvel is a teenage Muslim girl. Iceman is now gay.
The reason I like Diversity & Comics is the videos remind me I’m not alone in my opinions. Not everyone loves the far left turn taken by Marvel Comics. I say this as someone who voted for Hilary Clinton this past presidential election and voted for Barack Omaba twice.
I’m not against more diverse characters. I’m against turning existing characters into diverse characters.
Ethan Van Sciver posted the following tweet on Twitter:
Dan Slott has a verified Twitter account. There’s a blue check next to his name. He has a verified account because he’s a famous comic book writer for Marvel Comics. He uses his Twitter account not to promote his comic books, but to virtue signal and argue politics. His politics are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders, Ho Chi Minh, and a random anonymous Daily Kos commentator.
Since I’m blocked from reading Dan Slott’s tweets, I have no easy way of knowing what he’s been up to on Twitter. I’d have to log out of Twitter before going to his Twitter feed. I guess I could pull up his Twitter feed in Firefox or Microsoft Edge. That seems like too much work. If he doesn’t want me to see his tweets, I won’t look at his tweets.
I’m not an animal.
Did Dan Slott block me because of my post about signing that petition? I doubt it. The petition was a parody and was not at all serious. If Marvel Comics cared what Dan Slott tweeted about, they could find out for themselves. They wouldn’t need a petition to guide them. Plus, it’s not like Dan Slott reads my blog so he would have no way of knowing that I signed the petition.
I’m certain Slott blocked me because I follow the Diversity & Comics Twitter account. That’s what he does. According to some people, Dan Slott uses a Steve Shives-like bot. It blocks anyone who follows certain Twitter accounts.
How many of Van Sciver’s subscribers starting watching because of Richard C. Meyer’s recommendation? How many subscribers started watching because of Dan Slott recommendation?
Ethan Van Sciver is doing a disservice to his fans. If someone is blocking his subscribers, not because of anything they did, but because of who they follow, maybe that person shouldn’t be his first YouTube live guest.
To be clear, Ethan Van Sciver is free to invite anyone he chooses for a YouTube live feed. Also to be clear, I’m free to unsubscribe from his channel anytime I choose.
One of the problems with buying comic books these days is figuring out if the book is upholding the ideas and virtues of social justice. Does the book feature any characters from a marginalized group? Are any of the book’s creators from a marginalized group?
I realized the comic book industry needs a way of notifying the customer of a book’s social justice credentials when I noticed a stack of America comics at a local comic book shop.
At first glance, I assumed America was about a Donald Trump supporter.
I thought the book’s title was a nod to the Make America Great Again hat Donald Trump supporters love to wear. I thought there were three other books, Make, Great, and Again. Lay all four books next together and they would spell out Donald Trump’s moto.
The book’s title was one-fourth of a Donald Trump hat.
It turned out I could not have been wrong.
America is about America Chavez, a very awesome college student raised by two mothers from an alternate universe. She’s Latina and gay, quite a spicy combination!
Even though America Chavez is oozing legitimate social justice cred, it’s hard to get this point across to comic readers. It could be the reason sales of the book have been so low. Not only do comic readers today want social justice in their funny books, they want lots of it.
The Social Justice Comics Code of Approval
I’m proposing the Social Justice Comics Code of Approval. It would appear on comic books that meet the criteria of social justice. A comic would either feature characters in line with social justice principles or the creators of the book would need to represent social justice in the real world. Books that meet either one of these tests will get the seal.
This is what the Social Justice Comics Code of Approval seal would look like:
America would earn the right to display the seal of the Social Justice Comics Code of Approval. Not only does the book’s main character check off many social justice checkboxes, so does the book’s writer, Gabby Rivera. She is lesbian and a Puerto Rican from the Bronx.
Not only is the book’s writer a queer Puerto Rican, I think I read on Reddit one of the assistant inkers is bisexual. At least she was in college. Evidently, she and some friends got hammered on Jägermeister. Her friends dared her to open-mouth kiss another girl for ten seconds. She accepted the challenge. At least she thinks she did. That night is still a little fuzzy for her. This just goes to show you that it’s better to drink milkshakes, not Jägermeister. Not because of the girl-on-girl kissing, but because she can’t remember that night very well.
If America featured the Social Justice Comics Code of Approval, I’m almost certain it would not be hovering at the cancellation level of sales.
America monthly sales to comics shops
America #1 – 43,592
America #2 – 23,987
America #3 – 16,262
America #4 – 12,624
America #5 – 11,354
America #6 – 9,548
America #7 – 9,137
If Marvel doesn’t do something, by this time next year, sales of America will be lower than Cocktails & Mixology by Bill Cosby. Adding the Social Justice Comics Code of Approval to the America‘s cover will go a long way to increase sales.
What good is making a comic book steeped in social justice awesomeness if comic readers don’t know about it.
The former gray lady of comic book journalism, Bleeding Cool, published an article about a joint venture between Marvel Comics and Northrop Grumman. Bleeding Cool described Northrop Grumman as an arms manufacturer and a maker of weapons.
From the article:
Northrop Grumman is an aerospace company
Not once did the word “aerospace” appear in the article. That’s funny, because that’s what Northrop Grumman is, an aerospace company. They make airplanes.
Here’s a list of some of the aircraft produced by Northrop Grumman:
A-10 Thunderbolt II
B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber
F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet
F-35 Lightning II
The way the article reads, you’d think Northrop Grumman uses child slave labor to manufacturer AK-47s.
Also from the article:
The article was written by Jude Terror, one of Rich Johnston’s bosses over at Bleeding Cool.