Robot 6

After #FireRickRemender, can we have a real conversation?

Falcon and Jet Black, later in the controversial scene

Falcon and Jet Black, later in the controversial scene

Superhero comics deal in extremes: Characters overreact, the world is in constant jeopardy, and the solution almost always involves physical combat. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when the #FireRickRemender fiasco erupted. There was no conversation. Instead, people hurled accusations and argued over whether a writer should keep his job, while others mocked the whole thing. The rest of us silently watched from the sidelines, and that was pretty much it: That was how comics professionals, fans and industry observers handled a three-page scene from Captain America #22.

I guess I should be happy that people are so passionate about these stories and the creators behind them. If we were all so blasé and detached, sales would probably not just be flat so far this year, they’d be in the gutters. Yet I can’t help but feel disappointed, because I know we can do better than this.

Jackie, who created the #FireRickRemender hashtag, is a longtime Captain America fan. She knows the history of the character, his supporting cast, and the related comics way better than I ever will. She’s invested in the character and is willing to voice criticism if she doesn’t like something. Every fan has that right, but there are ways to express dissatisfaction that don’t include labeling someone as “a racist, sexist, ableist bastard” or calling for a writer to be fired (for which she apologized). She does have some legitimate points worth discussing, but they were completely drowned out by hyperbole. name-calling and a crusade for a pink slip. Now, we all rant in private and say things we might not elsewhere — and it’s her Tumblr, where she’s free to write whatever she wants for anyone to read. However, if the goal is to get a response from Marvel, fans should consider a reasonable tone for a reasonable reply. If the goal is simply to rattle cages and entrench “the other side,’ then by all means, don’t tone it down.

At the same time, comics professionals also have a responsibility. Remender had a questionable response to some reader complaints a year ago, flippantly advising unhappy fans to “drown yourself [in] hobo piss.” Although he apologized, those kinds of interactions are embarrassing and no doubt only serve help to further enrage unhappy fans. It makes it easier for them dig in and vilify the people creating the stories. Again, if creators want fans to approach them reasonably, they should communicate reasonably; it’s a two-way street. Unfortunately, more burden is on the creators and editors due to the sheer numbers of readers. It’s easy to group fans into buckets of haters, fans and so forth, but each interaction is unique to that person, even though it may feel like one protracted, frustrating conversation with a single, tireless entity. The crass and angry responses do nothing but make the creator feel better for about five seconds before the inevitable tidal wave of even angrier messages comes crashing in.

Another element complicating this is the anonymity of the Internet. Jackie uses her first name, but certainly on Tumblr and other social-media platforms, it’s not difficult to hide behind a fake handle, or, through Tumblr’s ask feature, to be completely anonymous (as Marvel’s Tom Brevoort discovers every day). This is nothing new, but it remains a challenge. Again, if fans want an open dialogue, they need to rethink their approach. Two real people talking to each other produces different results.

Of course, having a conversation doesn’t always mean we get what we want. Remender and Jackie could sit down together in a room, have a conversation that’s both spirited and respectful, yet still walk away changing nothing. At the end of the day, we have to realize we may change nobody, but that doesn’t give us permission to revert into obnoxious jerks.

I don’t expect us to start holding hands in unified bliss, but at least some of us have to do better than we did in the past couple of weeks. There are people on Twitter and Tumblr still debating this, insisting they acted reasonably or refusing to concede an inch to “the other side.” As long as there’s this creator vs. fan polarity that immediately jumps to extremes, we’ll never hear each other.



I fear we’re never going to be able to get rid of the trolls entirely. But we can stop feeding them.

When somebody posts something deliberately provocative — like, say, calling for someone to be fired for writing a comic book she doesn’t like — we don’t have to act as a megaphone.

Of course, pros (creators, editors, etc.) already have a megaphone, so when they say something provocative it’s going to make the rounds no matter what.

President of Common Sense

July 16, 2014 at 4:49 pm

I think you’ve touched on a problem that is not confined to comics but to the Internet and social media overall. It’s okay to be pissed off and offended and voice your opinion. However, when you call for someone to lose their job because you don’t like something they did/said, you take things to another level and one that is going to elicit anger.

I can understand Rick telling people to “drown themselves in hobo piss.” He was pissed off as anyone of us would be if someone was calling for you to lose your livelihood. What makes these situations even worse is often the people that call for firings don’t understand or get what’s going on wrong. (Like Jackie did) They talk loud and hope they can get the attention of the professional outrage groups (we know who they are) who will then call for the company to fire them, so they can feel like they accomplished something. Thank goodness Rick’s fellow creators and that one blogger came to his aid and turned this thing into a joke because it could’ve gotten a lot worse.

Jackie’s actions are part of a culture of outrage that has spawned on Twitter. A culture that believes the world revolves around them and if something challenges that belief it shouldn’t exist and the people making that challenge should suffer. It is the pinnacle of selfishness. And what makes it worse is when people in charge listen to these people and legitimize them.

To the Jackie’s of the world I say this. You’re offended by something in a comic book. BIG WHOOP! How does it affect your life? Have you thought about not buying the book? Ignoring the creator? Why can’t you do that? Why does the creator have to be fired? And don’t give the, “it fosters a hostile environment” excuse. I’ve heard that one before. It was that comics were responsible for juvenile delinquency because delinquents happened to read comics. It was BS then its BS now.

Or at least, give yourself five days to think things over before calling for a firing. I guarantee you’ll find there are much more important things then something a creator did a comic or wrote on Twitter.

No, no conversation. Because everyone thinks the other side is trolling.

For instance, regarding the new Batgirl, the attitude was ‘if you are a man and don’t like this, you’re wrong, and likely some terrible misogynist.’ Same with new Thor. However stupid you may find the idea, the opposition was immediately assailed with impunity, from pros and fans alike, as being simply wrong, and approaching the concept from a misguided point of view.

The degree to which pros and fans tolerate people insulting each other like crazy (so long as they’re on the ‘right’ side of the argument) is appalling. Everyone seems to think it’s just this minority anti-women people, but it’s pretty much everybody.

President of Common Sense

July 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

An amendment: Just because you don’t like something in a book doesn’t make you an “-ist” or “-phobe”

I found the “apology” you linked to fairly interesting, in that it was really a non-apology. “I’m sorry for making the hashtag and taking it personal. But I’m really not sorry for anything else afterward!”

Well, at least some people are beginning to come around to the fact that you can dislike something and not be an “ist” or “phob” and that knee – jerking on social media is not the way the loudmouthed minority should set the rule of moral law for the rest of us. I for one cannot stand the idea of a female Thor because I read Thor for Thor. Not Hercules, not Thunderstrike not even Odin, but Thor. Doesn’t mean I hate women leads. Some of my other fave books are Lazarus and Velvet and they both have strong female leads so the “ist” does not apply. Take a look at the context before screaming for someone’s head on social media.

No. We cant. When I first got on comic book sites I was very excited.I don’t know very many ppl that are into comics and most of the ones I know work at my LCS so I thought “Man heres a chance for me to talk to other ppl about comics!! This is going to be great!” WRONG! WRONG! I have to say I was shocked about how it was. All i wanted to do was talk about comics and the ppl that worked on them. Everybody was hating everything,everything was stupid,everybody was dumb,Comics were ruined for all time every week.
So i gave up.I now stick to reading the “news sites”,occasionally add a comment and read the comments and just SMH.

@President of Common Sense
Except that Remender didn’t say that horrible “hobo piss” line(which I would find it objectionable no matter what coming from a professional in any field) in response to the recent #firerickremender thing. He said it quite a while ago in response to people simply not liking the speech that Alex Summers made in an issue of Uncanny Avengers.

To be honest, when I read Jackie follow-up ( I found it to be a well articulated piece with solid reasoning. I did not agree with everything that Jackie wrote, to say the least, but I could certainly understand her position better.

I’m frustrated by this whole fiasco because it really just entrenched people’s positions further. Those who are unwilling to listen to the “Tumblr set” normally now dismiss them entirely. Those who are doing good work in the “Tumblr set” are not associated with this unfortunate and misguided campaign.

I’m frustrated that many comic book fans, especially ones that frequent this website, always dismiss other people’s legitimate affective reactions. Often people rely on this “offense can only be taken, not given” platitude which is utter bullshit (especially in light of very interesting work done recently in affect theory). People are allowed to feel the way they feel. Comic book fans, or at least the vocal ones on this website, react the same way to any issue as “this is a non-controversy and it’s people just looking for attention.” It’s poor rhetoric and it’s poor empathy,

Cultural objects are never produced in a vacuum. They reflect and in turn shape their political reality. Increased and better representation of marginalized people often leads to inspiration and social change. This concept is not really some sort of secret history; one only has to look at the depictions of queer folks in the media over the past twenty years and society’s acceptance of them as a correlative.

Obviously, this campaign was a misguided and misinformed. I won’t dispute that. But let’s not generalize all people as being “selfish” because they want better representation and they don’t want to read sexist/racist/homophobic shit in their cultural objects.

I want more and better representation in comic books. Every child, no matter their background, deserves a superhero they can look up to, one that reflects them, and allows them to hope and dream they can accomplish great things.

@Mike T
My sentiments exactely. I remeber the good old days of the Internet, when forums started and and it was fun to get in contact with others, post art and just have a good time talking about our love of comics. Sadly these times are long gone, eventually all topics have endless discusions and nobody moves an inch from her/his point of view.
Related to the topic, while it is nice to have the opportunity to have your voice heard, in 99% it is useless babble and even the smallest remark by person X is blown out of proportion. People cry wolf too often, I’ve decided to stop listening.

I’m not done yet, LET’S YELL SOME MORE!

C’mon folks. This is the generation of The Perpetual Outrage Machine. If we wait another two or three months for something else that gets people’s ankles rankled, this hullabaloo will be forgotten and we’ll be jumping and tripping and falling through this cycle all over again for something else. It will happen.

In these comic books, in dramatic fiction that “deals in extremes” as Blake accurately notes, the central narrative thrives on conflict. That we echo it’s intensity speaks less of the intricacy of the book’s writing and more of the sleepy-eyed disposition of the reader.

Personally, I get my comics in batches and haven’t read Cap #22 yet. So I’m still a slight outsider looking in. I’m interested in seeing it for myself, but the factual context stated thus far tells me there’s have little to fret over. But I’m cynical, and hell, now I kind of want there to be something in issue #22 that isn’t.

After all, if you can’t be a real hero (or villain) if you never face any significant moral conflicts, right? (Remember that issue where Crossbones beats the living crap out of Sin? Essentially torturing her? People jumped all over Brubaker for that one.) We perhaps learn the most about ourselves when we drop into a world that is so evidently corrupted by someone else that we flinch (“Well, I would never…”). On characters who do things we don’t agree with:

“The point is that these characters aren’t real […]. What is naive and blinkered is the insistence that fictional characters be held to the same moral and behavioral standards we expect of our friends. It seems to me that part of the point of literature is to enlighten and expand, and there are few pleasures in fiction that expand our consciousness further than getting to observe the world from the perspective of characters so different from us, so thoroughly flawed, that if we were to encounter them in real life we wouldn’t like them very much.” (Emily St. John Mandel)

People just need to contemplate more before they post. How much of this would have happened if, instead of a knee-jerk reaction and subsequent posting and hashtagging, everybody sat for a moment and considered what they were wanting to say and why they were wanting to say it?

At least in the “letters to the editor” days people had to sit, write a letter, re-read it, put it in an envelope, buy postage, and put it in the mailbox. There’s plenty of room for contemplation there. And if you were still an asshole after that contemplation, then at least you were a consistent asshole!

Thanks in no small part to how human brains work, if you fly off the handle and post something you wouldn’t necessarily back up if given time to think about it and people attack you for it, you’re more likely to dig in and defend your statement and let the conflict escalate. The same happens to a different extent if people praise you for that ill-conceived idea. It becomes harder and harder to let go of that idea and eventually you just look like an ass when the evidence mounts against you. At best you relent and give a non-apology. At worst you now have a shitty opinion and have helped make a new division in your sphere of influence. Welcome to politics!

In most cases I think people are legitimately concerned about the issues they bring up, regardless of the side they take. We all just need to start sitting back and thinking about the issues that resonate with us before we speak to them. Why do we feel the way we do when we see this comic or hear about gun control or foreign policy or who’s qualified to buy what comics based on their gender or whatever? Where is our reaction coming from? Is there a deeper issue behind our feelings? Is there a deeper meaning we’ve sensed behind the thing to which we’re reacting that we need to understand better?

I know these aren’t approaches people are going to just adopt because a guy wrote a wall of text on the internet about it but I think it’s an easy solution to the rhetoric problem our culture faces these days!

In this current age of the 24-hour news cycle, the sound-bite, and the “I’m special because I posted first” false sense of accomplishment, many people are not doing proper research before they respond to something they read or hear.

Take a breath, get your news from several (never just one) sources, and then make your mark with an INFORMED response.

I would rather be the 534th poster in a thread with all of my FACTS in a row, than be the loud-mouthed insecure ignoramus who crows incendiary nonsense, just to be “first”.

President of Common Sense

July 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

It’s gotten to the point where Twitter and Tumblr responses have become parody. #firerickremender when people started parodying them. I hope creators start parodying more to show the world how ridiculous this is.

What’s offensive to you is not offensive to me and your offense is not worth more then mine. Don’t like something, DON’T BUY IT, DON’T READ IT, DON’T FOLLOW THE CREATOR. But if I like it don’t try to take it from me and others. Trying to do that is selfish. It’s “I don’t like this, YOU can’t have it.”

As for the changes on Thor and Cap. Does anybody really see these lasting past the release of each character’s solo films? Lets be serious. (Hello Superior Spider-Man)

Remender lost all moral footing when he told that fan to drown in hobo piss when all the guy did was very respectfully say “Hey, I have a problem with this and this is why.”

His half-assed apology means nothing.

I’m always amused when people invoke “common sense” as if it had some sort of a priori objectivity.

The root of the problem wasn’t even that scene. It was the latest in a long string of offensive things that Remender’s written in Captain America and Uncanny Avengers, as well as the utter refusal of Remender, and Marvel as a whole, to listen to any criticisms.

When people who are members of real life minorities were offended by the M Word speech, they were brushed off and Remender told them to drown themselves in hobo piss. When people were offended by Sharon Carter being killed off because “Steve had to lose something” (Remender’s own words in an interview on this site), they were brushed off as hysterical women who were overreacting to something which could be the definition of fridging. When people were offended by Jet Black’s costume being strips of fabric, they were brushed off and told it was because of her powers. And take a guess at what happened when people were offended by the “you do this job because you get off on it” conversation between Jet and Fury, and the Yellow Peril villain?

The fans can’t have a conversation about criticisms when the creators refuse to admit that there’s any possibility of them having written anything that could be offensive to people, and placing blame on people for being offended.

The entire Remender problem could have easily been solved by people working for Marvel admitting that the scene came across badly, and that Jet’s age should have been established earlier, given the ambiguous nature of the art.

There is not conversation to be had.

One person lied and threw a temper tantrum, and comic industry reacted exactly as it should.

The #firerickremender people are no different than the guys who accused Dan Slott of ruining their childhood when he “killed” Peter Parker.

This is hilarious.

People take these stories way too seriously. Especially people who are looking for an axe to grind.

If you don’t like Remender’s work, then stop reading it. There are plenty of other places to find all of the characters he is writing for (save the ones he created).


Martin Redmond

July 20, 2014 at 11:25 am

It’s the writer and editor’s fault if so many readers are genuinely confused. We’re meant to be in a new era with modern writers making comics for a more demanding, mature audience. Yet every single time it is pointed out how poorly a story is constructed that its seams are falling apart, the fans are automatically labelled “crazy” and suddenly it’s just “silly comics”. If those writers are so meaningful, resourceful and sophisticated why can’t they even write a coherent Captain America?

Martin Redmond

July 20, 2014 at 11:29 am

What apology has he ever issued for telling his readers to commit suicide?

I ran a search for apolog and got this link:

There’s nothing there.

@Martin Redmond Jet was drawn to be 23. She stated she was 23 by the the man who created her and the only one who has written her. If anyone got something else from that it on them…

I’m probably going to sound like an old fart here (and according to my wife I am so I might as well own it), but what bugs me about this whole fiasco is the sense of entitlement. The Jackies of fandom (there are many … and what’s worse they’ve been around a lot longer than Twitterface, Pinbook, Flickrfest, or Tumblgram) feel that they’re owed something more than they really are. When you buy an issue of Captain America, or anything else for that matter, the publisher owes you whatever’s on or in the book. And that’s it. As much as we love (and sometimes hate) comics … they’re a product that no one is forcing us to buy.

But the fanpersons of Jackie’s stripe behave as though they have a stake in the publication. I just don’t understand that. If the product is not to your liking then be done with it. The really funny thing about all of this is how counter-productive things like #firerickremender really are. How many folks do you think are out there who had no interest in Cap went out and picked up the issue when they read about this? What’s more …. how much of her own hard-earned dough has Jackie herself plunked down to read Cap-as-envisioned-by-Mr. Remender, a guy she purportedly hates? If it’s any amount then it’s too much. Which is why I don’t even think that she’s entitled to her sense-of-offense and certainly not entitled to her outrage. Maybe I’m making some unwarranted assumptions but I doubt Joe Quesada showed up at her home with a gun in hand, marched her down to the local comic shop, and forced her to buy Cap #22. If that was, in fact, the case then why didn’t he make her buy every single thing that Marvel publishes while he was at it?

Like it or not, Marvel owns Captain America and they get to decide how to present their product. They hired Rick Remender to write the book because someone at Marvel believed he could help boost sales. Marvel is, and always has been, a business whose primary purpose is making money through comics and comics-related properties. So long as Remender helps them accomplish that goal by the quality of his writing or by simply having his name on the cover of the book, they’ll allow him to write pretty much whatever he wants. On the day that Rick’s work does something that Marvel actually believes doesn’t improve or hurts its “bottom line”, you can bet that they’ll replace him. Which is why I think comics, particularly comics published by large, multi-million-dollar subsidiaries of even larger mutli-national, muti-billion-dollar conglomerates, are particularly poor vehicles for the kind of social change Jackie (quite legitimately in my opinion) wants to see.

As fans we own our memories and feelings about the characters and stories we enjoy. No one can take away the sense of excitement and wonder I had as a kid reading about Steve Rogers reuniting with the Invaders to put a final end to Baron Blood. DC will never make me feel better about the craptacular train-wreck of Justice League Detroit. Those feelings and reactions belong to me.

The rest of it doesn’t and anyone who disagrees with me can go drink a nice tall glass of hobo-piss.

@MartinRedmond: Jackie didn’t even read the comic before she poured over to get Remender fired. It’s nobody’s fault but hers that she didn’t read the damn book before going into a frenzy over it. If we’re meant to be in an era for mature readers, then those readers need to be mature as well.

Demonizing a writer for something not even read and rallying for their termination is frighteningly scary. And certainly isn’t the mature thing to do.

What bothers me the most is that a lot of people have come to rally for Jackie after she got pictures sent to her of gentialia and threats. Clearly rape threats are not an apples-to-apples comparison to getting someone fired, but if you’re going to be the harbinger of stupidity then you need to expect stupidity back.

She falsely victimized Rick and she got victimized in retaliation. Again, not a 1:1 ratio on the morality scale, but she certainly isn’t as big of a victim as her supporters want to make her out to be. In fairness, neither is Rick since Marvel has some kind of common sense while other companies wouldn’t stand behind their talent and buckle to any perceived negative press.

But that’s the kind of power someone like Jackie has in this Social Media age. I love how her apology is a thinly-veiled segue into HER issues. No, don’t write a follow-up post to explain what bothers you in comics, use the attention you garnered by overreacting to draw people to your views and your cause. It’s gross. I’m glad Marvel stuck to their guns and their talent. The more companies give into these false threats the more power will be given to these individuals. Censoring things they don’t personally like without thinking about anyone but themselves and their agenda. Falcon didn’t rape a 14 year old girl, but hey, I’m mildly offended so I’m going to threaten your job over what I want. Disgusting.


July 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I just said this on the UA appreciation thread and i’ll say it again… This is a carbon copy of #cancelcolbert and the real winner here is Rick. And with the reveal of captain falcon people are “flock” to Cap. The sad thing is Jackie should be able talk about the treatment of women in comics (i don’t agree on her Issues with Remender) without getting rape threats

@thethanosseed — of course she should. But I don’t think she would have gotten the kind of backlash she did if she didn’t use Remender as a springboard…and try to get him fired over her mistake. I honestly think it’s that simple. I don’t even think the rape threats correlate to her expressing her views. I think it’s a direct response to her overreaction. Let this simmer down for a week or two, have her post her real issues and let’s see if she gets rape threats. Let’s use that as a litmus test and separate the concerns here before we judge if speaking about the treatment of women in comics is what elicits all the hate and threats.

The problem with this scenario is that both halves of it make sense unless you put them together. First, it’s clear enough that Jackie misread the scene that sparked her outrage against Rick Remender, which discredits many of the people who spread the hashtag without knowing the details. There are still plenty of reasons to dislike the scene in question, but that would be a different conversation. Second, the rape threats and sexist mud-slinging that followed, that blanket contempt for the very idea of social politics influencing comics, are an embarrassment to the comics community. Marvel was right to stick by Remender, whose work passed their editorial process, but they were wrong to stay aloof during the aftermath. They should be saying that even though Jackie overstated her case, they don’t want business from the sociopaths threatening her. She alleged sexism in the comics community, then these morons proved it.

We can’t have a reasonable conversation about anything if we need any kind of conversation at all to know what to think about rape threats. That should be anathema, without question, no matter what we think of the victim’s opinions or entitlement or whatever.

I totally understand outrage at something you find unacceptable, and fully back fans’ right to express this. Sucks that it happened to Remender as I really like him as a creator, but no one is above criticism. I learned quickly to discern valid criticism from blind rage on the internet, but sometimes the blind rage drowns out valid points and counterpoints. We probably could all benefit from a “how to communicate effectively on-line”, course.

As a DC fan I can say that I’ve been seeing stuff like that ever since I decided to look for sites like this and Newsarama, I can’t remember for how long people have been asking for DiDio’s head (God know I’ve at least 2 or 3 times) and well several others (some of those I’ve asked too), the thing is that “ignorance is bliss”, most of the time whenever you ask any of these people “have you been Reading?” the answer is “no” and is followed by “I don’t need to read those things to know they’re crap, I know crap when I see crap”.
If anyone here is a DC fan knows that DC has been getting this kind of treatment heavily ever since N52, right now DC just can’t put a book out without getting the “this is crap” treatment, I remember people bitching and moaning about Azzarello’s run on WW, which right now has been praised as the best WW run since Rucka.
Fanboys are going to be fanboys, whether is Rick getting fired, Affleck making a movie suck, Azzarello screwing up WW, DiDio ruining childhoods by rebooting the DCU, I work in advertising and we have to learn that the pissed minority is always more vocal, no one who’s happy complains about being happy, no one goes around talking like “damn, I hate being happy for this damn product that fill my needs” this will never change and maturity comes with experience not just with age.

God, where to begin…?

I think that – we’re in a strange time, culturally-speaking, and I think that we, as comics fans, will have to tread lightly over the next few years as we address, then adapt to the changes that are happening.

Diversity, both in the creators of comics, and in the stories that are told, are both a necessity, and a passive movement for both comic fans and comic companies. Diversity means a wider audience, it means a greater scale of the kinds of stories that can be told, and it proves something that I’ve personally believed – that comic books are a legitimate art form that are capable of real virtual relevancy.

I have a lot of issues with some the arguments on the both sides of these issues. In comments sections such as these, we quickly find evidence the backwards-ass mindsets of a LOT of comic fans. And yes – Remender has made a lot of choices, creative and personal, that are quite questionable.

My own arguments comic from the specifics of some of the critics, on this particular topic, and one giant concern about the undercurrent behind a lot of people’s stance.

1 – Based on the specific factors addressed by folks such as Gail Simone (who coined the term) – Sharon’s death is by no means a clear-cut case of Fridging. Yes, she is a female character who was killed (so far as we know), as to cause suffering to the male lead character. However, Fridging is a case of a female character receiving a gruesome, undignified death to represent their helplessness and lack of agency. Sharon’s death was heroic, and no different than Caps own self-sacrifice that lead to his subsequent cryogenic period.

2 – #firerickremender was a poorly-conceived, infantile method of addressing some valid criticisms. Just as the #cancel colbert debacle of months prior, it is a transparent means of using controversy to gain attention. The thing is, though – it works. This very article is proof of that. So, despite its faults, it’s hard to argue with the results.

3 – As potentially pointed out, the statutory thing is nonsense. Any more argument about it is a waste of time.

4 – The biggest issue I have, with all of this, is that there’s this subtle layer of Censorship that is being thrown around in many people’s arguments. The very idea that, because a character does our days things that have negative connotations, are immoral or injust, some people seem to believe that we should not allow creators to make these choices. If Havok something that could be used as reductive or even prejudiced, for example, I have to ask – So what? Why can’t a fictional character present a derisive opinion? Why do we expect that all fictional characters to all behave only in a way that reflects our own views, all the time? How is that reflective of the larger world that we actually live in?

And even when valid arguments exist in the creative choices made, we rarely wait to see how they play out, before we rush to judgement. If a writer were to suddenly make a beloved a character say, a self-hating meant apologist, then shouldn’t at least wait to see where the writer is going with that concept, before we make judgments?

I want my comic books to challenge the reader, to make difficult choices for the characters that pay off on in the end, because it was a good story. If it isn’t good, or if the end Magee is hateful, shortsighted, or promotes an ugly ideology, I will certainly the among the first to voice my complaints. But first, at the very least, can we wait to see the horizon before we start predicting where all end up…?


July 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm

@The D that problem with most people on tumblr they just see people as “the enemy” other than “the person with a different viewpoint than me.” A good example of this is Gloria Miller…

I did not know this even existed. But in the interest of fairness, I did read all sides.

For starters, it seems to me that this is personal. If she truly wanted to create a a dialogue about the state of the comic book medium, she could have done so in a reasonable and psychological driven way. I mean, psychologically speaking, todays comic books have some form of stereotypes and cultural and social norms. Take the titles: Wonder WOMAN, MS Marvel, BatWOMAN, BatGIRL, SHEhulk, and the list goes on and on. gender identification begins at a young age, and it is not a cultural problem. These title names are picked so that we, as consumers, can understand its social roles. Is no different why Barbies are marketed to girls and girls only. And as a matter of fact, the new Thor, which will be a new female, beats out all stereoypes that she allegedly accusses runs rampant in our culture.

She fails to understand the psychology behind these books. Culturally depicted societies are important because they give us an accurate representation of their communities. Stereotypes exist because is our way of understanding human relationships. Can stereoypes have negative impacts? Definitely. Black people can be missjudged as lazy, and that stereotype can have consequences. But do you really think in the real world we are not socially responsible? Of course we are. We have rules and laws. Free speech can protect you, bad conduct cannot. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The internet can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it can redefine our education system. On the other, it can be a haven for abuse. But that’s just how the internet. And with this new generation, collectivism has taken new meaning with hashtags and social groups. And that arguably outweighs the good than the ad: we want to talk to like-minded people. We want to share our interests to others in the hope of gaining social acceptance through a medium where there is no limit. And the interbet is exactly that. Anyone can make anyone look good. I don’t support using our real names, but guess what? There is psychology behind the drive to use our real names like in Youtube. These social media sites didn’t get popular overnight. Of course they know what they are doing.

I don’t think is a big deal. This is just another way for sites like CBR to get attention and views. It doesn’t make you any smarter because you think there is a problem or if there is a serious conversation going on. Because no matter how much you like to go on the internet and hate on Michael Bay, for example, it does not mean everyone will agree with you. Behaviors do not work the way you think they do. If they did, we’d all get everything we want.

Sadly, you can’t have a real conversation on these subjects because outrage isn’t about having a conversation. It’s about silencing things you don’t like, regardless of how far out of your way you have to go to be exposed to something.

If people wanted to have conversations about the things that offend them, their idle gear wouldn’t be “FIRE THIS PERSON!”

You can see it all over the internet. When someone is offended by someone’s words or their art, they don’t ask for the offending party to comment. They ask for the EMPLOYER to comment. Every single time. No one wants to talk to the source, they want to tattle and feel validated for their icky feelings.

Remender hasn’t done himself any favours with his responses over the years. In this day and age you have to be aware of how your personal “brand” (sorry, sorry… couldn’t think of a better term!) is reflected on the internet… not by the controversy stirred up by others, but in how you respond to it. And his responses don’t paint him in a flattering light and add fuel to the fire.

For example, I actually read the Havok speech with great interest and felt that it was an extremely interesting position for RR to have the character take… only apparently he had no right to have his character say these things.

Which is interesting, because really my interpretation of the speech was as something amazingly idealistic – if handled better perhaps Alex could even have been the new Xavier (and with Scott as the new Magneto… damn, that would have been interesting… and Scott is one of my all-time favourite charactters)…

Anyway, I digress – what I felt Remender was having Havok say was that he hoped for one day all prejudice to be reduced to a footnote in history, where it wouldn’t matter that he was a mutant… the colour of his skin… his sexuality… his gender… these would be of as little import (or as much) as the colour of your hair, the colour of your eyes… we’d all just be human. Different versions and varieties of the same wonderful, astounding species.

It wasn’t done to belittle anyone’s identity, or to suppress or oppress them, or force them to amalgamate or give up anything… it was a plea that when you look at him, you see a person… just like you.

And I DO get why some people were offended. I just don’t agree about it. I think it could have been a wonderful moment… and I’m not sure whether it was just handled badly, or whether the loud, barely coherent screeching of the internet drowned it out.

As for the M-Word debate, it makes perfect sense for Havok to be an assimilation-ist. He comes from a wealthy background, is quite handsome and has never been burdened by his mutation. Unlike other characters (like Nightcrawler, Rogue or Barnell Bohusk) Havok has never had any issue blending into normal human society. His mutation is practically non-existent, nothing about it isolates him or blatantly puts a target on his back. If he wanted to, he could act like a normal human for the rest of his life and no one would be the wiser. In his mind, he is a human who was given special powers and willing chooses to use them for the cause of good. From his point of view, there is zero difference between himself and Captain America.

Other mutants with more obvious or detrimental mutations have a radically different point of view. It is perfectly acceptable for people of different cultural backgrounds and life experiences to see an issue from diametrically opposed vantage points.

@ {1234}

“assimilationist” – damn, yeah, that was the word I was looking for.

And my assumption wasn’t that he was saying people should just “assimilate” into the status quo, more that he was calling on non-minority people to stop using words like “Mutant” to box up different groups as “the other”. He wasn’t saying “WE should stop being who we are”, he was saying “YOU need to accept that we’re just like you”.

Though, again, the fact that it was Havok saying it – and that he was chosen as the pretty, non-threatening face of the “unity” team – has its own implications. But then everything does really.

Good point, 1234.

The thing is, the outrage we all feel safe condemning gets attention. The “reasonable criticisms” won’t necessarily generate a real conversation because creators are just not going to notice them. The same criticisms of Rick Remender’s Captain America run, particularly the confusing character of Jet Black, existed for a long time in more measured tones, but it was outrage and that hashtag that got the wider comics world to notice and respond.

I think if we’re going to have a discussion about having a real discussion, we need to grapple with the fact that, on the internet, angry hit-seeking tactics actually work.

The apology isn’t an apology. Yes her stance was ridiculed, yes that’s what is appropriate for trolls of her ilk. Thta’s all the conversation that’s needed.

Captain America comics is not selling well. This prove that Rick Remender story is not interesting. Honestly Marvel should hire new writer for Captain America in order to makes it fresh and take Captain America into new direction


July 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm

@miles So based on sale numbers his story isn’t interesting. Okay let the numbers talk not the story. And if you haven’t heard recently he is taking it in a new direction.


July 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

And how is 30000 bad?

Dr. Cheesesteak

July 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Looks like Jet has noassatall syndrome, based on what Falcon is grabbing…

Also, anyone who truly believes work romance should be a no-no is an idiot and immature.


@Dr. Cheesesteak — Jet approached Falcon from the story. Apparently that’s another “issue” with the book. Because in real life no woman has ever been the seducer and not the seducee?

So, it went from art imitating life to a writing trope that is currently being used. I guess in that case, it was God (or your creator of choice) who let the first woman be the one to be the inspiration for this trope and we’re left at #FireGod?

I agree with President of Common Sense:

If you do not like a creator’s work, don’t buy it. I am not a fan of Rick’s work and i know why. So I do not buy. Simple as that. Repeat as necessary. I would never wish harm on any creator no matter how much they tick me off. Unfortunately in this increasingly mean-spirited world, both sides can come to blows. I wish it wouldn’t.

In the end, there is an audience for everything.

Not buying a creators’ books sends the most powerful message.

As long as Marvel continue to publish books I want to read, I’ll buy those chosen few.

I don’t think people wanted Rick Remender fired because they don’t like his writing even though that would be fine. I think people wanted Rick Remender fired because of a provocative scene that although was stated she was old enough aside from that one mention everything else implied she was underage. I also think that fans should not be held to the same standards as creators because it is not a dynamic built on equality, fairness or respect. For the most part writers don’t seem to even take in to consideration what fans have to say. If anything many writers now are making a name for themselves by shocking status quo changes, killing off characters or generally disturbing stories that seem to pride themselves on upsetting the readership. Wereas fans are powerless to do anything besides speakout online or send in letters. Furthermore the ideas that a fan should have to identify themselves in order to do this is completely unfair. A professional blogger or writer has to stake their credibility. Not a fan. In light of the way writers respond to critism they honestly should lose their jobs. Fans are often expressing genuine concern for characters that have been mishandled by a writer or an editor. This is not creator owned comics we’re talking about here. This Avengers, Captain America and X-Men. IMO, even though I liked his writing. He should have been fired for hobo piss. That was offensive and people hired by Marvel Comics or DC need to conduct themselves better. They should just not respond or have Marvel do it for them. Their writing is one thing. Their conduct another. And writers can and should be fired for either.

@ {1234}:

“There are plenty of other places to find all of the characters he is writing for (save the ones he created).”

Also save for Sharon, who was killed off for no other reason to give Steve even more man pain.

@ Sue:

“Not buying a creators’ books sends the most powerful message.”

Captain America sells like crap and his Uncanny Avengers, for all the hype it got and its uniting two franchises, sells only OK. The AXIS pre-orders were so low they had to cancel it and re-solicit it under a different title to make people interested. Pretty sure Venom sold like crap, too. But they’ll keep hiring him.

Asking for a writer to be replaced is not the same thing as wishing them harm. People who are bad at their jobs should be fired. Remender has proven he is bad at his job more times than I can count. You don’t even have to take my word for it. Take the word of his fans, who try to tell people all the time that we shouldn’t be bothered by this scene he wrote or that scene he wrote because he didn’t mean it the way it came across. Writers who can’t get their points across are bad ones.

Demanding a person to be ostracized from expressing himself artistically is inherently anti-democratic and anti-liberal. Demanding a company to be ostracized from seeking profit where is seems fit and not allowing the public to decide for themselves is inherently anti-democratic.

It is dangerous to humour these people who think they’ve figured the world out, thus having a right to dictate how not-as-intelligent masses should live they life.

Interesting comments. I certainly appreciate those from self-identified older readers, who have watched the relationship between publishers and fans evolve over the years.

The only point I don’t see addressed at large (I believe Joseph did) is whether the original critic’s anger would still have been justified if Jet indeed was still considered underage. Meaning, these are fictional characters, and as such, possess a more visibly ambiguous/situational morality. Actions have consequences, and I’d be much more interested in seeing Sam struggle with the gravity of his actions in the context of his new role as Cap than not. Captain America is part-hero and part-celebrity. Is Captain America allowed to be morally ambiguous? I’d like to see that debate.

@ cylon: No one’s trying to force a company to do anything. They were trying to make Marvel understand that Remender on Captain America and other titles keep potential readers away. No one is lobbying for a law that will force Marvel to do anything it doesn’t want to do. How is making your voice heard ANTI-democratic? Merely dropping the title in protest isn’t enough, as that could be for many different reasons. They spoke up, others spoke up louder, and Marvel was never going to listen to the one group to begin with so none of it matters.

One cannot be “ostracized from expressing himself artistically” and a company cannot be “ostracized from seeking profit,” by the way. Don’t just use the words on your Word-A-Day toilet paper if you do not know what they mean.

Incidentally, ostracism in its ancient form was based on popular vote, so it is actually one of the oldest forms of democracy in action.

Brian from Canada

July 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Call me old fashioned too. I look at the Internet and I know conversation is now dead.

Outrage isn’t just encouraged, it’s celebrated whenever it reaches enough climax to force change. Change means you were effective, and that brings a sense of righteousness to the campaigners — and, in turn, a sense of entitlement that their viewpoint is now valid on other issues too.

Columnists now write opinions as fact. Censorship of comments ensures that bias matches with the overall trend of what’s popular. And this isn’t just in comics, though CBR’s recent handling of DC Comics has certainly demonstrated a reason for DC to lessen the amount of promotion it does through the Internet.

We are now faced with an “us or them” environment that is extremely hostile to anyone who has an opposing view — or even a fact that contradicts the message being brought. Again, it’s not just comics too, though there are plenty of examples from this website and others we can use to show how “racism” and “anti-woman” are being bandied about on a far too regular basis.

This particular case is one of an opinion gone too far. It got groundswell and counter push before reason could step in and demonstrate that there are other factors worth recognizing as well and that calm needs to be applied.

Sadly, the rash of knee-jerk criticism (be it over a single comment, moment, or interpretation) in favour of the simpleton’s “good or bad” version of the world has led to an Internet where discussion for the love of a subject is vanishing, and where legitimate criticism is being overwhelmed by the shouting down of slights that are more imaginary than real.

Gilbert Godfried, a victim of Internet anger, said it best when he said (I’m paraphrasing here) that the Internet makes him long for the days of the lynch mob — because with the lynch mob you at least had to put pants on first; now, you can rush to your computer in your underwear and tear someone down with a few keys and a click.

“They” weren’t trying to make Marvel understand anything. It was trolling. Remender is a bestselling writer. His Venom is the longest running volume the title ever had. Making one’s voice heard is antidemocratic when it calls for witch-hunting and lynching. Ostracism is from the Greek city states who also practiced slavery so by your reasoning that would make slavery democratic since it was practiced in Athens. Marvel put their best-selling regular artist on Captain America. I wish for the trolls to keep being disappointed for some time.

That isn’t remotely what trolling is, but keep on with the stupidity. I suppose your use of quotation marks around the word “they” is appropriate considering no one who is guilty of doing what you claim transpired exists.

Remender was only on Venom for half of its run. LMAO @ “best-selling”? None of his ongoings have ever been the best-selling title, or even Marvel’s best-selling title, except for their #1 issues, in which case practically everyone working for Marvel and DC are “best-selling writers.”

Ostracism wasn’t democratic because it was practiced in Athens, it was democratic because it was based on a popular vote.

“Witch-hunting and lynching.” It is so strange how readers who have a problem with Remender’s writing are told to put things into perspective and are lambasted for “:trivializing” very serious matters, but at the same time their actions in trying to get a man fired from a specific job they believe he does so poorly as to be offensive, is being described as “lynching.” Go say that to someone


“Witch-hunting and lynching.” It is so strange how readers who have a problem with Remender’s writing are told to put things into perspective and are lambasted for “:trivializing” very serious matters, but at the same time their actions in trying to get a man fired from a specific job they believe he does so poorly as to be offensive, is being described as “lynching.” Go say that to someone who has had to live in fear of being lynched or has family members who have and see what kind of response that gets.

Zauri Severino Junior

July 21, 2014 at 10:35 pm

RE: “Jackie”

I usually avoid to confront fans about their views and opinions about comics or what have you, but all of this debacle is the most eye rolling piece of fan entitlement that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. You are proud for asking the firing of one of the greatest comic writers of this generation because of the “talk” it provoked? Seriously. You should be embarrassed of yourself, because for all your pseudo-feminist arguments, all that truly there is it’s a fan girl with an agenda, a personal bias and vendetta against a comic book writer, all because you think you are entitled to that. You give the obvious pseudo-feminist talk to justify your actions, you talk about women objectication and with the same breathe you endorse racist snarks against Falcon as the new Captain America. You are just a fan girl that got too much attention thinking you know better than professional comic book writers what should be happening to these fictional characters. News flash: you don’t. Maybe you should use all your rage and attention that you got to break into comics and actually do something creative, even if it’s something I’ll probably never want to read. Whatever you do, anything is better and more mature than crusading against a comic book writer that you don’t like.

I put “they” in quote marks because “they” is one blogger who claimed to represent a group, like Tasker does (who hijacked this thread), the so-called inexistent group of those who have a problem with Remender’s writing. A better name and better perspective would be “disgruntled fans”, which puts them in the stalking department where they belong. Originators of this type of hate propaganda only try to use the mob mentality that the internet can provide them against things they don’t like. It’s hypocritical and antidemocratic in the extreme in that they don’t voice it as their opinion but try to pass it as the opinion of a group when nobody elected them. They manipulate you with words such as “primary form of democracy” when their tactics are actually straight out of demonization manuals from less enlightened eras. It’s a pity that falling literacy levels mean that more well-meaning citizens fall for that tripe.

Martin Redmond

July 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

What quality of “literature” are you reading when it’s author writes about issues he has no experience with, refuses to listen to anyone who has any and insults the kind of people he is writing about?

Martin Redmond

July 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

“@Martin Redmond Jet was drawn to be 23. She stated she was 23 by the the man who created her and the only one who has written her. ”

If you read the page where Falcon takes a teenager to his bedroom for drinks out of context, yes she seems to be that. If you read previous issues of Captain America, written by the man who has created her and written her, her age adds up to a lot less. The whole of his run is confusing. Remender and his editor are to blame for being confusing, not Captain America readers.

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