The popular YouTube channel, Diversity & Comics, is in the process of releasing its new graphic novel Jawbreakers. As no good deed goes unpunished, industry figures have colluded to keep comic book retailers from stocking the new book.
“Why would they do such a thing?” you might ask. Diversity & Comics is a channel run by comic artist Richard Meyer, which made a name for itself critiquing the comic book industry for the trend of advancing social justice issues rather than focusing on delivering what fans wanted: good stories by seasoned and talented writers and artists. Through lighthearted mockery, Diversity & Comics reviews books and then destroys them. In a nutshell, it’s a funny comic book review channel.
Like Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, Diversity & Comics decided to put something new out into the world. Unfortunately, the criticism has acted as a double edged sword: it granted Diversity & Comics a huge platform from which to leverage an enormous amount of fundraising for the book, but it’s also garnered them more than a few enemies inside the industry.
These industry insiders consider Diversity & Comics to be their enemy, a man who is not just a comic fan, well within his rights to critique books, but an enemy combatant in some kind of mental war for the spirit of comic books. It’s all a little melodramatic, and one could definitely say there is a mental war for the spirit of comic books, but the difference is this: a customer critiquing work that he bought, and industry insiders setting up unfair barriers to entry are two completely different things.
As a personal with roughly libertarian views, it’s a pretty easy distinction to point out. The former is a person making informed decisions about how he spends his money and influencing the free market in a fair way; the latter is a person making decisions about how other people spend their money and preventing competition by changing the rules of the game. One is influence and the other is control.
One enraged industry character named Mark Waid, whose position was granted to him by the decision makers at Marvel, decided to phone C&D’s publisher in order to, he hoped, I suppose, bully them into cutting ties with Diversity & Comics.
Early reports indicated that this particular tactic may have backfired, but early this morning, Antarctic Press, the publisher of Jawbreakers, released a statement:
“After careful consideration, it is the decision of Antarctic Press to not release the comic series Jawbreakers.
Antarctic Press is a staunch believer in Creator’s Rights and giving creators a chance to showcase their creation and allowing that creation to be judged on its merits.
Many forces, many of them should be viewed with great trepidation about how our society acts, have led us to this decision. We do not take this decision lightly as we do believe that there should be separation between “ART” and the “ARTIST” and that separation has been blurred in our decision.
We appreciate all our supporters and detractors in this process.
Thank you for taking the time to read our statement.”
Diversity & Comics’ detractors in the industry have used their position of power to de-platform him for ideological views, similar to what has happened recently across multiple industries, from the firing of Kevin Williamson at The Atlantic to the banning of conservative science fiction writer Jon Del Arroz from Worldcon.
D&C’s Jawbreakers is available here, and can best be described, without having actually read it, as a well-drawn, testosterone fueled adventure where gritty ex-superheroes fight Godzilla style monsters in Africa: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jawbreakers-lost-souls-graphic-novel#/