Robot 6

DeConnick says ‘Pretty Deadly’/Comics Ink controversy ‘is not the story’


Photo provided by Hannibal Tabu.

Thursday’s installment of CBR’s long-running (and infamously blunt) review column “The Buy Pile” attracted more controversy than usual when writer Hannibal Tabu described the retailer at his local comic book store — Comics Ink in Culver City, just outside LA city limits — tearing up a copy of Image’s Pretty Deadly #1 in front of customers. Tabu made it know that he also had a negative take on the issue, calling it “remarkable in its rough hewn, unfinished looking art, drifting narrative and tedium.”

The incident as reported quickly took a life of its own, with sites like Bleeding Cool and Multiversity Comics weighing in on the situation, and industry professionals discussing and debating the topic; including Secret Avengers and Zero writer Ales Kot asking if the destruction was prompted by “anger about the product, or also by misogyny” given that three of the four main creative forces on the book — writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, penciler and inker Emma Rios and colorist Jordie Bellaire — are female (letter Claytown Cowles is male).

DeConnick remained silent on the issue until Friday, in a Tumblr post titled, “The Only Statement I Will Make On The Matter.” In it, the writer says she first found humor in getting a negative review in The Buy Pile, viewing it as something of a rite of passage: “I literally laughed out loud. Hey! I got jumped in!”

As far as her comic being torn in half, DeConnick takes it in stride, saying, “It’s his shop, his book, he can do whatever he wants. Doesn’t seem like good business to me, but what do I know? I don’t run a store. Maybe his customer eat that kind of thing up like pro wrestling. If it’s working for him, good on ‘im.” (She also writes that she doesn’t think her gender “had anything to do with anything.”)

What the post does target as a problem is the resulting distraction, which has changed the dialogue surrounding “Pretty Deadly” to focus on the actions of a single retailer. Yet there’s plenty worth noting about “Pretty Deadly” #1 itself: Buy Pile aside, the first issue has netted nearly universally positive reviews (CBR reviewer Doug Zawisza gave it 4.5 stars, among other high praise). Along with fellow Image newcomer “Velvet” (both debuted on Oct. 23), it’s sold out of a reported initial 57,000 print run at the distributor level, and is going into a second printing — which, according to DeConnick, far outpaced her expectations.

“You know what we thought this book would do? 9-12K,” her post reads. “A couple of our more experienced friends at Image said that they thought it might do as well as 20K — we guffawed.”

So recognition of significant achievements in the field of creator-owned comics was drowned out by one person ripping up a comic book, and DeConnick’s disappointment is clear. “My team got ONE WHOLE DAY to feel good about defying expectations before what should have been a non-event became the ubiquitous headline.”

Perhaps the most wisdom comes in the closing words of DeConnick’s post: “All we want to do is have fun, hang out and make comics. Can we pleeeeeeeaaase move on from this shit now?”




October 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I used to buy my comics from Comics Ink and recall Hannibal (I knew who he was but I wasn’t a friend). If I’m right about the guy who ripped up the comic, well, imo he’s not a misogynist. He’s just a bit theatrical.

I honestly wouldn’t take him ripping up the comic seriously at all. Of course, I wasn’t there, it’s just based on what I recall of these folks. I liked them all. They love comics.

Sounds like the waste of a good book and $3.50 to me. Pretty Deadly was my favorite book of the week though, so what do I know?

I’m glad the creator has a more mature and sensible view of all this. One guy rips up one comic book in one store somewhere and there’s virtual riots on Twitter etc. and accusations of misogyny getting thrown around? Lunacy!

The book did incredibly well and yet even those so appalled by the destruction didn’t bother to focus on that or even discuss the merits of the comic from a lot of the stuff I read.

There are times it seems like some people are just looking for something to be outraged by and it’s a shame that this really great comic’s achievements have been overshadowed by those who it wasn’t even their place to be outraged.

More female creators (yay!) making a great comic (yay!) that sells really well (yay!) and one issue gets ripped up (boo!) but that gets people talking about the book more (yay!) and maybe even buying it when they might not have done otherwise (yay!).

Let’s focus on all those yays rather than the one boo. :)


Does anyone genuinely take the Buy Pile’s “reviews” to heart and/or allow it to influence their purchasing or reading decisions?


@PK— Yeah, I actually do take some of the Buy Pile’s recommendations. Not so much the ‘NO” books.

I’m thinking specifically of Action Lab’s “Ghost Town” and ” Molly Danger.” I would never have had an inkling about those books. And, it turns out, they are both excellent

That said, I was buying “Pretty Deadly” regardless of Hannibal’s review.

I try not to use it as any gauge of quality. His praise is usually reserved for typically boring fanboy bait and anything that’s a bit out of the mainstream or “weird” is dismissed. A usually pointless column, but kind of entertaining in it’s inanity. Is CBR in some sort of financial debt to him or something?

I don’t understand how CBR can post that terrible column. I understand “different strokes for different folks” and all that. but how can you people seriously host something that says how it was one of the worst books ever made, and then have your own reviewers give the book a 4.5/5?

fucking hypocrisy.
and now you’re just getting more hits off of a controversy you’ve started.

A lot of sound and fury over a #1 issue: comic book business as usual. Critics always love to rave over a number one issue to try to prove they’re hip. That generates the buzz that the issue is “important” and causes people to spend ridiculous amounts to get a first print. Then we all usually slowly start to see the decline in content. Then the initial “whiz-bang” critics start to get all negative over the creators/content. Then the title is cancelled.

Here’s the meat: anyone shouting from the rooftops over a first issue is an ass. Six months to a year down the pike, okay. In my 50+ years of reading/collecting everyone has ALWAYS raved over a first issue — it has always been so. Image attempted to defend its creators but did so in a very negative way. Comic store owners deserve free speech. Critics should use some good judgment reporting issues that do not reflect directly on a book’s content.

Albert Ching must document his statement that the reviews were “almost universally positive”. Alex Kot is a fomenting c*nt.

Everyone should go back to doing what they were doing before this was reported.

Reviewers at the same publication don’t have to agree. There’s nothing hypocritical about that — different people have different opinions.

@DocSpin: is it possible that first issues may actually be…..better?

I know with plenty of books, particularly creator-owned books, more time is spent on the first issue. Also, everything still seems really “fresh” for both the creators and the readers.

At the very least, a lot of creators DO try to make a first issue that’ll have you come back for issue 2. Obviously, they should do that for every issue, but it seems particular focus is given to the first issue in that regard, which makes sense given the massive attrition between issues one and two for basically any ongoing series these days.

Remember the good ‘ol days when Grant Morrison requested that his readers destroy Invisibles #1 so it could exist purely in the shared imagination space of the global unconscious?

So if a lady rips up a comic written by a male team…what’s that? Okay I guess. Sheesh. Sometimes I wonder at the making a mountain out of a molehill. Least the writers sound more mature than the soap boxers on twitter crying misogyny for ever single thing.

@PK I’ll read the buy pile but I never take any of his advice. I can’t pinpoint an example (mostly because i’m lazy right now) but I feel like he will bash a comic one month and then give love to another comic that is more or less the same. But hey, it is a review column and it is his opinion so s’all good. We all have different taste. I always preferred “What I’d Bought”.

I think the real story out of all this how this store operates. I read Image Eric Stephenson’s stories about the store on Bleeding Cool about how the retailers would take books he had grab to buy and put them back on the rack despite the fact he wanted to buy them. Not only is that a terrible business practice, they are pretty much insulting the customer’s opinion. If my store ever acted like that, or any store for that matter, I would never even want to set foot in there again.

Never mess with my pull list.

Couldn’t agree more, PK, that first issues CAN be “fresher” — but the reviewers/critics choose to ignore the fact that it’s a journey, not a sprint. The truly fresh ideas cannot be judged as “one-issue-wonders” — but rather in the development. I guess what I’m advocating is a more considered review approach — but I realize that it’s vogue to scream “epic” at something you simply enjoy.

Let me get this straight. A couple people don’t like a comic (that most people liked), and one of them, in what was meant to be a theatrical move, tore the comic in half. Then that individual, who still stocked the comic for potential customers, is accused of misogyny, and the only reason for this accusation is that most of the creators are woman (even though the individual mentioned nothing about gender when he tore up said comic). Then the author of said comic book, in her statement, compares the individual to a compulsive masturbator who frequently called into the home shopping network.

Right, because seeking to ruin someone’s life because they disliked your, or simply a, comic book is a reasonable response.

Would Warner brothers ever single out a locally owned rental store for breaking a Green Lantern DVD in front of a customer? It is amazing to me how, without knowing any real context, people have taken little issue with the effects Image can have on a locally owned retailer with these very public hissy fits.

@Tyler B

“In her statement, compares the individual to a compulsive masturbator who frequently called into the home shopping network”

While I do think it’s a weird example to go by, she was more comparing the experience from that job to what is going on here. This isn’t the first time this store has done this (as she continues to explain her post) so she is just treating it like a rite of passage. She doesn’t care that it happen and wishes we can actually focus on the good news of this book, which is that it sold well and people do dig it. Because god forbid the internet could ever focus on the good in life instead of one person did and wrote.

@ Tyler B and Lando

She was comparing getting trashed in The Buy Pile to the compulsive masturbator.

because Tabu has the world’s weirdest tastes in books and trashes everything that he doesn’t think “works” regardless of actual quality. So its like hey, you’re gonna get insulted by him eventually.

Why do the small and simple minded amongst us always assume that something is misogynist, racist, homophobic or what have you if the person on the receiving end is different in any way from the one making the comments? Ales Kot should be the one getting torched for making such an assinine assumption, the operative word here is ass. The store owner paid for the issue, it’s his to do with as he pleases.

@Vizator: The word is “asinine” (only 1 “s”) so your little attempt at humor with “operative word is ass” fell completely flat.

As for the “the store owner paid for the issue” line, no, it’s NOT “his to do with as he pleases.” He would certainly have had that right a MONTH from now. But doing it within 24 hours of the book’s going on sale is effectively no different than his STEALING from one of his customers. If the book sat on the shelf for weeks, fine. Tear it in half then. At that point, yes, it’s his book to do whatever. But to deprive a potential customer from buying the book, that’s just shoddy (and shitty) retailership. It’s little different from something you’d half expect to see Comic Book Guy do on “The Simpsons.”

NOW. I will accept that IF THE BOOK HAD COME IN DAMAGED, and he didn’t care about getting credit or a replacement, fine, let him destroy the book. But if it were a perfectly fine copy, he went way beyond what would be acceptable behavior from anyone who considers himself a LEGITIMATE businessman.

Oh please. He’s the owner. All of the books are his until someone buys them so he does have the “right” to do what he wants. Where is this one month probation period “right” written? I’ve never heard of it before now.

And assinine was funny, as is the immediate response to negative criticism by the feminist brigade with an accusation of misogyny. Grow up. You’re becoming as laughable as the pro Israel lobby calling anyone who criticizes Israel anti-semitic.

Except for the claim of “unfinished art,” I don’t disagree with the criticism of Pretty Deadly 1. I am going to give it a few more issues. I really don’t see the KSD hype.

Ales Kot suggested misogyny. He has the integrity to do so. By the way, how’s that boycott of Marvel going?

About the ripping of the comic and the behavior of the store: My LCS owner knows his customer base and will tell you honestly if he likes or dislikes a book (because he reads every comic that comes into the store) but if you ask him if he thinks you would like it, he’s very honest. He’s turned me away from certain comics that have “internet buzz” because he knows my tastes. BUT he’s also open to letting you try the book and bringing it back if you don’t like it with a refund of your money. He’d never actually tear a book up to make his point though.

And while I see his point, I also see Eric Stephenson’s reaction as almost thin-skinned. If he cuts off that store, he loses the customers at that store who do indeed want the comic just to make a point against someone (the store) not liking an Image title.

The white knights are out in full force I see lol

Who in the retailer-tearing incident said anything about the creators’ genders having anything to do with it? People complain all the time when Fox news tries desperately to tie an unrelated event into a hot button subject, but I guess its okay when Ales Kot does it.

Once I found out that Hannibal was a huge fan of the comic The Untamed, all of his reviews became invalid to me. Personal taste is personal but, damn, that comic was a piece of s*** and nobody should have liked it. Y’know unless they were friends with the writer and wanted to get work out of it.

I’ll have to check out Pretty Deadly.


Ales Kot is just a comic book writer with nearly 2,700 twitter followers voicing his opinion, even if wrong. Fox News is a billion-dollar news network with millions of viewers who spin and at times flat-out lie on the topics they are supposed to provide to the public. So how can we prepare the two?

yeah, this guy is actually a pretty good dude and i don’t think he meant anything by it other than being a bit theatrical. I often ask my comic guy for his opinion and sometimes he outright says a book “sucked” sometimes that deters me from buying something, sometimes not, same if he says a book is really good but I’d rather have a comic store guy who I can trust to give an opinion then one who will just tell me everything is good.

well, this will make me sound old, but about the ‘ why would a retailer rip up a comic he can sell ‘ – i have an astounding story from the 1990s, of a comic shop in south philadelphia that shall remain nameless.

This was when mcfarlanes spiderman #1 was all the rage, and he had one of the Platinum edition spiderman #1s up on his wall, and i said ” oh wow, cool, i dont have that one, i have all the others ” blah blah blah ( this was 1990, it was a hot comic ) anyway, he says ” oh this? pulls the tack out, lets it drop, pulls it out of the mylar bag and throws it to me to look at. he took it OUT of the bag and threw it over to me to make it clear.

it wasnt for sale. he could have sold it for a couple hundred dollars at that time, but he was using it as an opportunity to be an eletist dick.

so yeah, retaliers will rip up a $3.50 comic they could sell just to make a point,

What’s most shocking to me is that anyone reads the Buy Pile.

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