If you didn’t know, DC Entertainment hired Orson Scott Card to write some upcoming Superman comics–and if you didn’t know, in addition to being a sci-fi author of some repute–Orson Scott Card is also on the board of directors of an organization whose mission is to combat the legalization of gay marriage.
A few things. First: Scott Card’s repugnant human rights views don’t really change how I view his art(I don’t really care about him as a writer anyways–but let’s say I did–I would still enjoy the work itself). So you’re not going to catch me running that game.
Second: The game you will catch me running though is that to put this guy out on one of your main company logos invites me to critique your practices as a company and as a representation of american comics to the rest of the world and to america itself. OSC is whatever. But a huge problem in mainstream big two comics is that it is a very white, very male, very straight industry on the creative talent and the type of stories that get told. So if you are going to hire yet another straight white male to write one of your stories–making him a bigot to boot is a crazy message to send out. In black history month no less. So I mean keep that in the back of your mind this month when anyone from DC talks about their diversity. That they when faced with the insane amount of choices of creative talent who they could bring in to write Superman–they went with the guy who is actively working against gay equality.
And third: DC’s response will be that they thought OSC would write the best story and that’s all they care about. Which whatever. There’s plenty of writers just as good or better who aren’t bigots.
I mean it’s whatever. I’m not calling for a boycott or anything. I think in general if you are spending money on the bulk of what DC is putting out right now–you’re a rube. There are much better comics in other places. They’ve been especially shit since the New 52. So I can’t even say this will make me stop buying DC comics–because I already stopped reading them.
I just think as someone who loves comics, and who herself makes comics–this kind of thing embarrasses all of us. DC and Marvel unfortunately do have roles in terms of how comics in America are perceived–and they both have done a shitty job in this role.
As Dan Didio said. They make a product. They don’t really make comics. They manage IP farms. They do not give a flying fuck about this medium. They’re just part of huge giant multi-national conglomerates who are structurally designed to destroy creators, and keep the populace satiated.
The sad thing is that there are people I absolutely love to death who work at these companies, or who want to work at these companies–for a variety of reasons. And I don’t really feel that excited for them. I feel worried for them. You see how these companies treat ex-creators once they are done with them. You’re lucky if you don’t end up like Gary Friederich and owing THEM money. They won’t really let you tell the stories you want with the characters you want. Your passion project will get cancelled if it’s bad, or double shipped if its good until you can’t draw it anymore. If you are a writer, you will write unimportant books into obscurity if you are bad. If you are good, you’ll write so many books per month, you’ll fall into being a bad parody of all of your worst habits until you are a shell of what you once were, and no one even wants to buy your creator owned material anymore.
Your retirement plan is being poor and then dead. And if you dare say anything about how unfair things might seem–a legion of angry fanboys will step up to slap you down–and you’ll get replaced by someone happy to do the same job you were doing for even less pay.
So I mean–OSC writing Superman is funny in that it’s a gross parody of how dumb and hateful the monoliths can be. But compared to the rest of the gross inequities these companies are creating every single day of their existence–and they insane amount of damage they’ve done to this medium as an industry through the direct market–it’s a pittance.
So I mean I say all of this just for posterity. I’d rather work a shitty day job and draw less than get a good page rate from either of those companies. And as for buying the things they produce–sure when it’s good and will inspire me to create books that are better than what they make. Otherwise–meh. I mean me even writing about this in the first place fits into the DC/Warner marketing plan. Darkseid runs that shit with an iron fist.
I think a lot about what I want to do with comics. Which I mean right now it probably doesn’t mean much coming from me, because my shit isn’t good enough yet. But someday it will be. And what I want out of comics is to make something so undeniable that it can be a part of a movement to shift the dichotomy from big-two, not big-two–and open comics up to tell any kind of story people want to tell–to be read by any kind of people who want to read it. I want to be a part of a community of dope artists/writers who aren’t just trying to get the “opportunity” to draw Spider-man–but who urgently want to tell their own stories. And I want those stories to be so good that that’s where the audience is and goes.
And I don’t want these books to only be available in specialty man-cave shops where you need the secret password just to not feel uncomfortable. I want these books to be available everywhere anything else is available.
I’m rambling and slightly delusional. Ha. But that’s the shit that I think about whenever DC or Marvel do their next offensive bullshit move. Seeing DC or Marvel put Orson Scott Card on just makes me hungrier to be good enough to be in the position to tell them no, and tell them why.
Plus everything that needed to be said about the bulk of these characters got said by their original creators. I want to tell my own stories–not someone else’s 60 year old shit.