Comic book writer Mark Waid — a long-time award-winning author who has worked on The Flash, Superman, Captain America and other famous titles — recently published a post blasting harassment in comics against young creators of gender, of color and LGBTQ+ creators.
After speaking with a well-known YouTube critic of comics diversity, he asked comics and fans to help counteract harassment of marginalized comics creators by fostering a more positive atmosphere of online commentary.
Waid’s engagement with harassment in comics first focused on a provocative YouTube channel
Earlier this month, Waid called out a comics creator named Richard C. Meyer who runs the YouTube channel Diversity & Comics, a channel known for blasting SJWs (so-called “social justice warriors”) who clamor for greater diversity and representation in comics. Diversity & Comics has focused on numerous female comics creators and, according to bleedingcool.com, treats transphobia as a running theme, calling any form of gender variance a “mental illness.”
In a Sept. 20, 2017 public Facebook post, Waid called Meyer a “serial harasser” and asked fans to alert him if they saw Meyer at the Baltimore Comic Con (even if Waid was in the middle of speaking on a panel).
Waid later clarified that he wanted to have “an urgently needed conversation” with Meyer, “one specific man who makes a number of non-straight-white-male creators uncomfortable and nervous and fearful of attending shows.”
He added, whether their “nervousness is unwarranted or overblown… that this discomfort exists is a reality and needs to be addressed for everyone’s sake. By talking and at least making an effort to engage.”
Waid later learned that Meyer wouldn’t attend the Baltimore Comic Con, a major Maryland comic book convention that took place this past weekend. He announced he would speak to Meyer via phone after the convention. He did, later commenting, “We mutually agreed that all that need be said is that it was unproductive.”
Waid’s worry over violent threats against female and LGBTQ comics creators
Nevertheless, Waid recently published another public Facebook post that clarified that his concerns lie not with a single YouTuber, but “also from the repeated misogynist/anti-LGBTQ comments—made in private as well as in public.”
He wrote, “The actual problem, the one that so many younger or career-vulnerable creators keep speaking to me about … is that … They are being harassed repeatedly, and it’s getting worse.”
He pointed out comments in which fans threatened to confront comics creators in-person at work or at conventions, threatening to burn them alive or put them down like dogs. (Waid called these “some of the less hateful attacks” and added that the threats had been reported to police.)
“This is becoming commonplace, and I have reached the end of my patience,” Waid wrote. “Criticism of the work itself is fine, but no reasonable person would fail to draw the line at direct personal threats and attacks on gender and race and orientation.”
Waid asked fans counteract such speech with two actions. First, he asked them to speak out publicly and continually in support of harassed comics creators, stating “If you reject bigotry, misogyny, and racism, remind others that comics is an inclusive medium made stronger by the voices it amplifies.”
Second, he asked comics fans and professionals to speak out more about what they love in comics rather than always sharing their disappointments and anger. “We have to do our part to change that signal-to-noise ratio,” he wrote.