What I am about to talk about is a serious subject. This piece was in response to this weeks Talking Comics with Amy Dallen. I will to the best of my ability try to handle it in a serious manner. However, I know me, and I use humor as a shield so please forgive me if the occasional snide comment or witty remark slides through. These are not meant to lessen the importance of the subject matter or disregard or belittle those affected by it. And thus, we begin.
As far back as I can remember I have read comics. They were an escape for me, a place I could go to for solace and security in a world of bullies. I was picked on, made fun of, insulted, and physically attacked. My youth was marred by years of fear and pain. For many years, I hated people. As I grew, I found a place where I fit in; a place where I belong. And yet, I know that for as bad as my youth was, my pain and suffering is a drop in the bucket of some people out there.
For the purpose of full disclosure; I am a Caucasian male, I am large and physically imposing. Whether, I am threatening looking or scary, I could not say, I simply do not know. In my life I have had missteps and stumbles in my dealings with the opposite sex and in every case where I was found to be wrong I apologized and corrected my behavior. For any pain or suffering I have caused through my own inexperience. I will not go into any of the events where I have hurt someone, I will only say some have occurred and I am not proud of them.
With that said, the idea that someone has become so angered by another person having an opposing opinion to there’s that it makes rape threats a legitimate option hurts my soul. Comics are one of the most empowering hobbies in the world. They encourage nobility, inclusion, teamwork, decency, and sticking up for the little guy. How can someone be a fan of comic books and feel that this is the way you’re supposed to react to this?
How do you read Teen Titans and think, “I bet Tim Drake would threaten to rape them?” Superman and Batman disagree all the time and not once has one threatened to so much as injure the other. Yet for some reason, when I’m sitting back here in the real world and someone says something I disagree with about my favorite character I’m supposed to go there. How is this even an option?
I’ll give you an example of something that came up in my life recently. I just found a pod cast called Junk food Cinema hosted by Brian Salisbury and Robert Cargill. In one of the episodes they were talking about how amazing a movie called Rolling Thunder was. It is one of their favorite films. Because of hearing them I decided to watch the film. I didn’t like it. I posted on Twitter that I heard their pod cast and saw the movie but sadly was not a fan. That is where this story ends. Maybe if I’d been a woman it would have been different, but I don’t think so. The fact I don’t like the movie doesn’t affect their enjoyment of the film, and if you listen to the episode you‘ll know they fucking love this movie. The fact that they do like the movie doesn’t break my world at all.
Why is it then, that someone disagreeing about the cover of a comic book creates such a vicious response. I’ve been told it’s the anonymous internet fuckwad formula. Take equal parts: anger, anonymity, and juvenile sensibilities then stir in an equal amount of mob mentality and Ta-Dah. Maybe that’s true. I just can’t believe that we’ve not developed past this.
My hope is we’ll grow out of this rather quickly, however, I’ve just known people for too long to think they’ll change as quickly as I’d like. Though, what I think will help is things like We Are Comics. I love this showing of solidarity and decency. I am in love with this movement because my niece likes superheroes and I don’t want her to grow into a world where this is the sort behavior she’ll be exposed to. I love it because it’s a sane solution to an insane problem. I love it because it mends my soul, just a little bit.
I hope it works. I hope that this carries on and helps to turn the tide of the idea that women and girls and men and boys can’t love comics equally. It gives me hope because…
I’m Steve Mayne and I am comics, because heroes stand up for the little guy…
I'm sorry for venting on everyone but please let me know what you think. Post below or head over to my Facebook page and leave a message there. You can also follow me on Twitter @stevemayne2. Also feel free to look at my Youtube.