Anyone that knows me even a little is aware that I have strong involvement in common affairs, activism and maintain strong political views. My comic also has a lot of social and political commentary woven into the story and I strive to make my case through my art, be it my webcomics or my narrative work.
So I have seen my share of militant behavior on and offline. It often isn't pretty, as to be militant is often confused with being fanaticised and aggressive, with intent to impose and overwhelm rather than teach or stimulate discourse. It is not something that should manifest in art or education.
And lately, I've been witnessing an ever growing militancy and intense polarisation in mainstream print comics that I never thought would be possible, especially since it concerns superhero comics and the titles owned by the “big two”, Marvel and DC.
At least over twitter, professional comic creators and comic-industry people engage with extremely abrasive language in verbal abuse against comic audiences and other comic creators and also, of course, receive similar verbal attacks. The atmosphere is very entrenched and polarized, with creators mass-blocking audiences from their accounts and demanding that they don't buy their art and products based on construed beliefs, ideology and even twitter follows.
I'm talking of course about the whole ComicsGate hashtag and Move The Needle movement. It seems to have stemmed from a general disengagement and frustration of traditional comic audiences with the efforts of the creators of the big two to make existing, staple superheroes more diverse and varied, possibly to appeal to a wider audience. They also claim that the plots for these characters have devolved into very loose and uninteresting yarns that are only excuses for pushing specific ideologies almost in the form of mandatory PSAs.
The reaction from creators of such comics and attempts to recast the traditional superheroes has been understandably negative (it's hard to receive critique or even roasting of your creations) but also very much straying into baseless ad hominems and readers have been tagged extreme things such as nazis, racists, homophobes, etc. The audiences (and any creators not following the recasting approach to the comics) push back with just as extreme pejorative namecalling, such as SJW, cuck, soyboy, etc.
Honestly it felt to me that the mutual decrying and attacks between Hillary and Trump supporters just transplanted itself to the superhero comics market.
And I do deeply feel that both sides have already lost. Because this extreme and toxic militancy helps neither cause. It only serves to fanatize those already committed to a side, and alienates everyone else. In the process, valid points from both sides are completely lost.
I haven't read current superhero comic titles but I wouldn't be surprised if the actual art and quality of the plots DO suffer on both sides, exactly because creators become more entrenched and thus might tend to enhance the very elements that have been criticised or rejected, thus creating not for the sake of the characters and the story, but for the sake of an agenda- which has high chances of not allowing the characters and the plot to properly develop.
Being committed to a cause is a good thing. Being militant CAN be a good thing- if you know how to control the militancy and when it is the proper time to let it manifest. But never in a medium and a context of wanting to share, educate, entertain or give experiences to others.
So these are my (very wordy) thoughts. What are yours?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, June 9, 2018
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