The Creator's Front for Diversity in Comics puts out a hilarious video


Just to send you off on your weekend, here’s Eric Powell of THE GOON with a hilarious and yet sobering video on what is really going on in the comics industry.

The whole comics system is poised on the edge of a knife, people, and you all know it. The revolution is happening. Be on the right side of it.

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Comments

  1. Great vid. The question is, can it be done?

  2. Best thing this week.

  3. Meredith says:

    Great message. Was the ass-rape scene really necessary? I can’t share this on Facebook now. If you want to get a message out, consider making it palatable to a wider audience.

  4. It wasn’t rape, just prostitution. So Facebook away!

    And Eric never has really been about making things palatable.

    As for the message. I’m creatin’! I’m creatin’!

  5. Rob Ribeiro says:

    Creator owened comics are great, and superheroes comics are great as well. No need to trash one to build audience for the other. Actually, it may probably create a lot of repulse from superheroes comics fans instead of creating a bridge to invite them to try creator owned comics. Hypocrite, over the top manifesto.

  6. Rob: and how are superhero fans insulted in this manifesto?
    Is Eric Powell saying that who reads and buys superhero comics are the scum of the earth?
    No.

  7. And can I just say that’s a hot mamma in that vid!

  8. If the music industry was like the comics industry, disco wouldn’t have gotten any shelf space. Not when Frank Sinatra and Buddy Holly were having that big crossover!

  9. Some good points. He glosses over some things, but most of what Powell says is factually accurate, if binary.
    A couple things he DOESN’T bring up:
    First, you don’t have to hit the top 500 whatever list to have the quality of your work be recognized. Ask Layman and Guillory. Or for that matter, Eric Powell. You can make a living without being part of that media empire. In fact, it might be easier in some ways, like lower overhead.
    Second, in order for self-published and creator-owned work to be viable on the level Powell suggests, it needs a place in the distribution chain. That hasn’t happened in any substantial way yet.
    Finally, I don’t care how “unpalatable” Powell makes his work, to use Ian’s term above. It’s disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst to use anal sex as a “joke” and then complain in the same video about mainstream comics’ use of “violence and profanity” in contemporary superhero comics.

  10. Noah Kuttler says:

    Wait, is this the same Eric Powell that drew some stuff in Action Comics? Because it can’t be the same Eric Powell that said in an interview with Newsarama about drawing Superman, “It’s pretty damn cool. He was the first character that I ever remember drawing when I was a little kid. It’s neat to think that in a very, very small way I’ll be contributing to the legacy of Superman.”

    Can’t be the same guy.

  11. That poor superhero-violated guy in the video should do a webcomic! There’s no $2,000+ printing bills, and his poor readers won’t have to fork over $2.99+ for every 20+ pages he draws.

  12. “Whorehouse of Old Ideas.” Bullseye.

  13. Dan DeLaet says:

    wow hot mamma allright :) but good vid anyway, got the right things to say.

  14. JAMES says:

    Awesome awesome video. On a side note. Noah Kuttler. What if it is the same guy. If he did the work in 2007 and it is now 2011 then a guy cannot form a new opinion over 3-4 years??

    Also. Manga often gets bashed for a universal art style (also untrue but that is another debate) but what it certainly cannot be said to have is a lack of diversity.

    From stories that run for years about the art of bar tending to stories about wine tasting, soccer, basketball, slice of life, sci fi , fantasy etc etc, the manga scene captures a diversity that the video above would dream about, maybe the west would do well to learn from those aspects of that scene model.

  15. “The revolution is happening. Be on the right side of it.”

    Yeah, Heidi, because what the industry really needs is something to divide us!

    It’s nice melodrama and I’m sure it feeds the journalist fantasy of being an insurrectionist, but invigorating the industry is likely to rely more on innovation in format and distribution than diversity of content.

    Hell, the industry’s *already* diverse. It may be that the sales aren’t there for non-superhero stuff – that comes down to deeply entrenched traditions in America – but a wide variety of books are out there right now.

    A YouTube scolding isn’t going to be what makes them more financially viable.

  16. Buttsex isn’t exactly my favorite metaphor for disrespecting people. In fact, it’s kind of a metatextual example of it.

    But it’s an amusing video. And I’m all for diversity in comics.

  17. I agree with Dave. I walk into a comic store like Big Brain in Minneapolis, and the diversity is there. All sorts of cool stuff.

    And you CAN make it big with creator owned material. “Scott Pilgrim”, anyone?

  18. As is pointed out in the video, “making it big” (or even “making a living”) with creator owned material is like winning the lottery. It’s awfully nice when it happens, but you can’t bank on it.

  19. Henrik J says:

    It was a funny video but he seems to be ranting all over the place.

    At first he seems angry that Marvel/DC wont just hire him to do whatever comic he wants, personally i hate it when companies wont just give me money to do what i want..

    Then he complains about sales, which is more a critisism of the retailers and the direct market.

    Lastly he mentions that Warner Brother and Disney dont care about comics… So what? The people at Marvel and DC care, and as long as they make a profit everyone is happy.

    Considering that there is a movie being made based on The Goon i dont exactly think he has a leg to stand on regarding Marvel and DC making movies.

    Personally i will never be able to understand why so many indie creators and fans think that they can get people to stop reading superhero comics by insulting them. As a Marvel zombie i would be much more likely to check out a book if someone explained to me why it was good, instead of berating me for my reading habits.

  20. Comic2read says:

    The actress who played the wife has talent.

    I thought the video was too harsh and violent.

    DC and Marvel make superhero comics because that’s what I want to buy. And I do check out creator owned but will only buy what I like. Moonstone’s Savage Beauty looks really good.

  21. I think the video is really funny, but I disagree that it’s an either/or thing with superheroes. Sure, they dominate the market. But a well-made and well-promoted indy book can make money, too. To continue the music analogy, the market supports the Rolling Stones and Arcade Fire — just in different ways.

    When I’m exhibiting at cons, I know most attendees are there because they’re superhero fans and read superhero comics. Heck, I’m a superhero comic fan, too. It’s my job to hand them my book and say, “Hey, if you like good comics, check this out, too.”

  22. The battle for creator rights and ownership has been going on in the comic industry since the late seventies.

    Dave is right to suggest that, “invigorating the industry is likely to rely more on innovation in format and distribution.”

    In the last year we’ve seen the reduction of minimums in the Direct Market have a tremendous effect on both creator owned and diverse product.

    The advent of digital may change the opportunity for creator owned properties but will the distribution method lead creators into an abyss through which new consumers will be funneled through the familiar gatekeepers.

    Eric’s message may get lost in the sensationalism and crude imagery of his video but the point that creator’s have to seize the opportunity to control thier role in the future of the industry and now is the time to do it is extremely valid.

  23. This is one of the worst possible days, given what’s going on in Congress right now, to post a video with a tasteless rape joke. I do empathize with your problems, but this is not hilarious. It’s crude and offensive and really puts me off.

    And Boothby, “It wasn’t rape, just prostitution” is so incredibly unfunny given the underlying issues of human trafficking you should be pretty ashamed of yourself for making the comment.

  24. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    “Don’t buy superheroes or you’re raping the creators!”

    I. What? Okay, I know that’s not exactly what he was going for here, but…

    (sigh) I am all in favor of creator-owned books. About half of my favorite comics are creator-owned books. This does not strike me as the world’s best marketing for them.

    GUILT! YES! THAT will make people spend their entertainment dollars!

    (Headdesk)

  25. I found the video funny and the majority of my comic book purchases are creator owned material, but similar to others who have posted, I’m not sure what the video hopes to accomplish. I don’t think saying that comic creators prostitute themselves out for superhero work, is going to stop any superhero fans from switching to creator owned content. As Kate mentions, I don’t think trying to guilt anyone to change their buying habits or a store to change what they stock.

    How about a video promoting a specific creator owned comic to try to get both retailers and consumers to pick it up?

  26. This was a humor video. To imply that it states all of Mr. Powell’s full belief about comics is similar to thinking a short SNL political skit is a complete analysis of an election campaign.
    I haven’t read “The Goon” but I think I’ll buy a couple of trades now.
    To Peter Krause: You’re right diversity is there. (And Big Brain is awesome.)
    It just concerns me sometimes that comic publishing is dominated corporate owned material. It seems to me that in mainstream book publishing, companies usally publish creator owned work. If you look at the NYT bestseller books, usually the copyright holder is the author–not the publishing company.
    I sometimes wish that a similar model worked better with this media.

  27. Abhay says:

    Comics: Superheros v. Gothic Science-Fiction Westerns…?

    I’m not sure who’s giving who a venereal disease in that video.

    “If the music industry was like the comics industry”

    … Does that analogy really jive with how anyone remembers the history of rap music, incidentally? Way I remember it, rado and the record companies didn’t exactly welcome hip hop with open arms, but I’m no expert.

  28. Indie comics are indie. Superhero comics sell well because superhero comics sell well. Welcome to the 1970s, Eric Powell. You’re about 40 years too late to the conversation.

  29. The idea that diversity is there in the market only holds true if you’re lucky enough to live in close proximity to a good comic shop. If I want to pick up RASL, ACME Novelty Library, Comic Book Comics, Big Questions, or any of the self published work by Boston creators that isn’t in an InBound anthology I don’t just have to budget in the books I have to budget in the price of commuting into the city and back to buy the books because no shops outside of Hub, Comicopia, or Million Year Picnic are interested in stocking them. Hell, it was impossible for me to find the Hellboy/Beasts of Burden crossover when it came out and it has Dark Horse’s flagship character attached to it. If I want something from PictureBox or Nobrow or Koyama press I usually have to set up a trip to New York or bite my lip and pay for shipping ordering it online. But if I walked into a store I’ve never been to before in just about any part of the country I could be reasonably assured of picking up the latest tie in miniseries to the current big event book that I’ve heard everybody on the internet say is absolutely god awful and is proof that Dan Didio or Joe Quesada “hate comics”. I like superhero books when they are good, but so much of what dominates the market is crap that even hardcore cape fans do nothing but deride. Would it really hurt to stop stocking that and give some shelf space over to other good books? As it is I’ve given up on trying to find creator owned books outside of specific conventions these days.

  30. Chris Hero says:

    @Abhay

    The rap music analogy is horrible. Maybe superficially you could make a point, but the rap music that eventually got acceptance sounds nothing like the music people were/are passionate about. The rap scene is the exact same as the comic scene in that there is an underground that’s nothing like the mainstream and both have fans with passionate opinions of why their side is better.

    The other point about the lack of diversity…most comic shops suck. If you want the latest Marvel or DC comic on Wednesday, you’re in luck, but if you want something like Acme Novelty or Tales to Thrizzle, good luck, because you won’t find them in 90% of the comic stores out there.

  31. @Chris Hero:
    “Maybe superficially you could make a point, but the rap music that eventually got acceptance sounds nothing like the music people were/are passionate about.”

    This is incredibly untrue.

  32. So voluntarily going to work for a large corporation is the equivalent of being the victim of forcible anal rape? Homosexual rape, in this particular case.

    So not only stupid and illogical, but homophobic to boot.

    Guess what, enraged indy comics creators who claim to do what they do out of a “love of the art” – Nobody is forcing you to do what you do. If you’re not making enough money, do something else.

    And there are some folks whose work is good enough and creative enough that they are noticed by Marvel and DC to get jobs creating comics for them, which they are then able to parlay into higher sales for their creator-owned work.

    This is not the greatest injustice in the world. Ask the folks in Egypt about that.

  33. For what it’s worth, the Sinatra/Buddy Holly crossover is what got me into Disco in the first place.

  34. Hey Todd,

    As much as I agree with the beginning of your message (the rape–and those dudes can’t tell me “it’s just PROSTITUTION”), your conclusion “This is not the greatest injustice in the world. Ask the folks in Egypt…” is a total nonstarter.

    This is a comic book discussion. It is not right…to the point of being COMPLETELY AMORAL…to deflect uncomfortable opinions with “well, this isn’t on par with [HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE OF THE DAY], so don’t worry about it.” We are all adults and have the ability to have thoughts on various issues at once. Attempting to deflate one argument by bringing up something that has NOTHING AT ALL to do with it is arguing in BAD FAITH.

    Also: This thing “If you’re not making enough money, do something else.”

    What kind of hateful argument is that? I mean, do you LIKE comics or not? People are making comics because they like to–they LOVE to. Everybody working in comics has the skill to make more money doing something other than comics; I don’t care if your name is Eric Powell or Brian Bendis. ALL professional comic creators from the top superhero writers to the critically acclaimed minicomic cartoonsts are working in comics because they deeply love the medium. And to also address this point of yours, while still finding it dismissive and mean-spirited: dude a LOT of comic creators ARE “doing something else.”

    Chris Yost writes for TV
    Sarah Oleksyk does illustration and animation
    Jessica Abel and Matt Madden teach
    Mike Mignola has outside work
    Matt Fraction has his consulting and design firm

    People are already “doing something else,” from the Direct Market’s top sellers to the minicomic people. They all keep coming back to comics and it’s a god-damned shame that the comic world sees fit to wag its collective finger at them the moment anybody so much as suggests that things could be a little bit better.

    Circling back around, I still think this particular video was distasteful. Just addressing the underlying issues.

  35. One thing that irks me about the counter-arguments:

    People making the claim that many creators are “doing both” corporate superheroes and creator-owned or indie work. And the argument that successful superhero work draws attention toward that creator’s indie work.

    By and large, those creators are WRITERS. The artists do not have the luxury of working on all of these projects simultaneously. Drawing comics is a time-consuming job. Yes it is wonderful that Fraction, Remender, Hickman and such are keeping up their creator-owned work, but SOMEbody’s got to draw those. Which means that somebody isn’t free to drink freely of the superhero money-well (if such a thing exists; it’s all relative and scaled to the comics industry) while working on these creator-owned projects.

    They survive, of course. But I have to point it out every time I see people bringing up these examples of creators whose contribution to projects allows them to take on more outside work.

  36. Chris Hero says:

    @david brothers

    No, it’s not. The hip-hop people were and are passionate about has never gained mainstream acceptance. Or has Atmosphere suddenly gone multi-platinum? Has 9th Wonder been getting lots of play on the radio? Did DJ Shadow get a grammy for Endtroducing?

    Diplo’s had some success, so in the sense he used to be RJD2′s protege, maybe you could make a point there. Kanye West obviously blew up, but his stuff now sounds *nothing* like the mixtapes people were loving back in the early part of the decade. The Roots of today are both an entirely different group than they were in the mid-90s and they owe a *lot* of their commercial success to Scott Storch. Common didn’t get any commercial love until he plugged into the Kanye West hit machine. And Mos Def…he didn’t get popular until he started to suck.

    I know you’re whole thing is to be the hip-hop head that loves comics, David, but you’re wrong.

    Forget this. I’m sure you’ll dedicate a blog post to comparing an issue of New Avengers to Lupe Fiasco or something and go on about how that makes you correct. Alright, whatever, you win.

  37. Adam Kirby says:

    @Chris Hero shut up and listen to Dipset.

  38. I’m not wild about the video (see previous), but Powell’s always had an anarchic, raunchy sense of humor. It’s maybe weird to see it combined with a serious message…maybe ill-advised…but this stuff is the staple of a lot of raunchy comedians. Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Louis C.K. – a lot of these guys made serious (or semi-serious points) with this kind of stuff.

    Ever see Hicks’s bit about Rush Limbaugh, scat muncher? Awesomely vulgar. YouTube it!

    Anyway, while butt-rape analogies feel out of left field if you don’t know Powell’s stuff, I can’t say I find it the least bit offensive. It’s what he does. He once did a book called Satan’s Sodomy Baby! I just think his message is muddled and guilt-tripping never made anyone excited for anything.

  39. Not impressed. This video will not make anyone take indie comics more seriously. The only thing that will achieve that is if people witness indie comics artists taking themselves more seriously. And that means, adopt a ‘live and let live’ attitude about other people’s tastes rather than making anal rape videos about how the man is keeping you down. More importantly, comics artists should make a point of being seen accepting adversarial journalism and criticism with a measure of *grace*, even if the target is one of the ‘cool kids’. Stating/implying on your blog that we should all snub and blackball some critic because he reported some negative gossip, is strictly high school. Filmmakers and novelists seem to understand this. Comics artists inexplicably, tend not to, and that’s the one thing that marks out the comics scene even today as still not ready for primetime as a medium. It isn’t the dominance of superheroes: it’s the dominance of a highly provincial, uneducated, and emotionally fragile response to criticism.

    In other words, suck it up. Start meeting your critics on common ground, and adopting a Comics is a Big Tent mentality, both to the Rich Johnstons and to the Marvels and DCs of this world. Only when comics artists stop behaving as if they all think they belong to a single clique, will the general public have the opportunity to change their minds about the medium. But the general public isn’t stupid, and when they witness creators behaving like teenagers, they think of the art itself as immature. Which is incorrect — but who can blame them?

    The way to get comics taken seriously is to get comics journalism and criticism taken seriously. That means greatly raising the estimation of the comics critic in the eyes of the artist, and ending all this self-destructive interdisciplinary prejudice.

  40. Hi Ragnell,

    In the video, the fellow isn’t being raped. He chooses to take it up the ass from a superhero in order to feed his family. He makes a choice. He accepts the job. He is a prostitute. That’s the joke. Tasteless, yes. But not a rape joke.

    Take your pointy shame finger and place it somewhere else.

  41. @ianboothby There have been several other people in the comments who called out the rape analogy so why don’t you point your “finger” at them as well? And the video is points more to rape than prostitution. A prostitute sets the terms of his/her exchange. I did not see that. I saw the masked guy firmly saying “let’s get to it” — I didn’t get Powell’s agency in the moment.

  42. Jay A. says:

    I would just love to try more indie comics, but with indies I’ve simply been burned by late issues more times than I can stand for. Maybe I’ve been unlucky with the titles I chose (most recently Stumptown and Turf), but it left such a bad taste that I find myself deciding not to pull the trigger even if an indie solicitation catches my interest.

  43. I can’t even make fun of the people getting offended by this video, because that could’ve been me 8-10 years ago. But seriously, complaining that this is not going to change the minds of mainstream comics readers is like getting upset that the approach of an SNL skit about don’t-ask-don’t-tell is not going to change the minds of opponents of gays in the military.

    it’s job is to be funny. And he does have a point. The comics industry is terribly unbalanced: Marvel 36%, DC 34% Dark Horse 5%? thats not normal. An entertainment medium centrally based of characters created 1938-1965? that’s weird.

  44. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I can’t tell if the weirdest part of this thread is that someone actually invoked events in Egypt, the back-and-forth analysis over the nature of the sex in the video, or that some fans of superhero comics are once again defensive and lashing out that their tastes have been questioned when their tastes haven’t been questioned except in the most oblique way.

    The comics industry is undeniably weird in a few areas, and this video calls attention to a few of them through funny voices and allusions to buttfucking — kind of like a classic Disney animated movie (I’m looking at you, Cinderella). It doesn’t do too much other than that, but I guess it’s a broad enough set of complaints that some folks have projected a world’s worth of agendas and personal takes onto it. I would suggest it doesn’t need to solve these problems in order for the people that made it to have found it worth making.

    I laughed at the parts that made fun of the South, even thought those were also unfair and rude according to the dictates of Nerd Court, and much more actually in the video than some vague, projected attack against reading superhero comics. This may make me a bad person. I didn’t laugh at much of the rest of it. This may also make me a bad person.

  45. Hi, folks. Speaking here as someone familiar with both prostitution and rape, I’d like to suggest that the difference is at least in part subjective. Prostitution can feel (emotionally) like rape. Or it can feel like a boring-as-hell job that doesn’t pay well enough. Or it can be so awesome you don’t believe you get paid to do it. It really depends on the circumstances and sometimes where your own head is at. So lumping it all together is simplistic at best.

    Now, I’ve never done WFH superhero comics, but I imagine the same is true there. Telling people how they should feel about the experience is probably equally out of line. So I don’t know… maybe receptive anal sex is a good metaphor for WarnerDisney WFH, since it means such different things to different people. It’s only a Bad Thing if you have to do it against your will, or it’s the only thing you get to do when you want to do something else. And to stretch the metaphor to its breaking point… if that’s the only thing going on everywhere, the species ain’t gonna last much longer.

  46. Sean Murphy says:

    Ignoring the tasteless bits, I find myself wondering what the creators of this video hope to accomplish. Sure, the viewer gets a sense of difficult choices that face a creator with out-of-the-mainstream interests, but this is the same in any artistic field. For every singer/painter/etc trendsetter who achieves commercial success, countless others pursue their visions in obscurity.

    As for increasing distribution, in my city there are two comic shops. One has a smattering of local created works, the other barely has space for the mainstream books. I’m sure both would like to purchase more books that are off the beaten track but they also have to stay in business in a niche market. The same way I often read about bold indie movies in EW, knowing that no theatre in this area is going to show them.

    And I do find myself wondering how diverse even the creator owned publishers are. Most of the previews I see from Dark Horse seem to be either Hellboy, Buffy or Star Wars related. I believe Image has a better range of titles, but the books being promoted always seem to be slightly off from the mainstream (Invincible, for example). But that is just my perception – the actual amount of promoting they do could be quite different.

    And to be clear, I’m not the Sean Murphy who is an artist, just a regular reader. So don’t worry about being respectful when you tell me how far off I am. : )

  47. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that comics is a wide enough field that there are people that think comics like Eric does are the exact same thing as the comics from Marvel or DC, and that there people out there that think comics like Eric does are just impossibly out there and exist far, far away from what comics does well

  48. Who exactly is this targetted at?

    People who already read creator-owned comics? Then it’s preaching to the converted. Whatever.

    People who don’t currently read creator-owned comics? But that’s basically just (a) superhero readers and (b) people with no interest in comics. I don’t really see the video converting many people from either camp.

  49. Laroquod,

    I couldn’t agree more with your characterization of the comics scene as being “strictly high school.” Everything is cliqued up from the mainstream to the underground, the fans, the press, the creators. Don’t say something wrong about a person or find your name written in a black book somewhere. It’s disgusting. And people have the nerve to sit and wonder why comics tend to be so inbred and why people are afraid to expand and experiment.

    “Emotionally fragile in response to criticism,” yes, yes, absolutely YES.

    To Chris Hero: you’re buggin’. I’m a huge backpack rap fan, an Atmosphere fan, but I never thought or pretended for a minute that it was coming from the cultural center of hip hop. People in the hood don’t even know who Atmosphere ARE. Let’s be reality.

    To Ian and several others: you can’t mince words with rape. “Oh, it isn’t rape, it’s PROSTITUTION.” Uh huh. You too, come join the rest of the world in reality. It’s strongly upsetting to look at videos of people being subjected to mean-violent and hateful sex in the name of “parody.” If that’s your conversational tool, you lose worse than comparing your opponents to the Nazis. It’s just offensive, vile, sexist, juvenile, homophobic, misogynist and god-damned STUPID.

    DO BETTER WORK, ERIC POWELL.

  50. Tom Spurgeon says:

    One interesting right-now litmus test for the industry’s obsession with superheroes: today Art Spiegelman won western comics’ biggest and coolest award: the Grand Prix at Angolueme. Today they also named the new movie Superman.

    One is a comics news story, while one is a superhero movie news story tangentially related to comics. Which will get more industry press and the bulk of fan attention? I think we’d all agree it’s probably going to be the Superman story, although Art will do better than he would have 12 years ago, when Crumb winning the same award was I’m guessing mentioned by 1 US magazine three months after the fact.

    You can work your tongue into knows lecturing *why* this is the case; it’s much, much harder to point out why it should be, at least in a way that’s not depressing. There is a bit of the reverse, in that people wrote me letters why I wasn’t covering Dan Clowes selling a movie version of his Wilson with more emphasis, and together both impulses represent the culture-wide obsession with the movies, but it’s certainly not as thoroughly conflated as movies and comics are with the superhero-centric stuff. Art Spiegelman just won comics for this year!

  51. Suzene says:

    “Who exactly is this targetted at?

    People who already read creator-owned comics? Then it’s preaching to the converted. Whatever.”

    Eh. My sub-list is 90% or better creator-owned work, and my reaction to that video is “Please don’t assume I’m with that guy.”

  52. Charles Martin says:

    @dcwomenkickingass: He consented, and even explained the reason (to support his family). If it’s only “prostitution” when there’s no economic pressure, then there’s remarkably little “prostitution” in our society, just a whole lot of “rape”. “I didn’t want to, and I didn’t enjoy it, but I let him do it anyway” is pretty radical redefinition of “rape”.

    I suspect the real reason this scene read as “rape” to some people was their gut reaction that a guy could/would/should never consent to it. I’ll let you figure out why they might think that.

    Bottom line: in the video, he consented to do it. Just like when a cartoonist agrees to draw someone’s characters instead of his own for the sake of supporting his family, he’s (metaphorically) prostituting himself, not being raped.

  53. Hi Darryl, Hi DCWomen,

    Sorry to hear I’m worse than people who compare people to Nazis because someone compared me to someone who doesn’t care about Egypt because Eric compared superhero comic work to accepting money for anal sex from a superhero.

  54. Suzene says:

    “I suspect the real reason this scene read as “rape” to some people was their gut reaction that a guy could/would/should never consent to it. I’ll let you figure out why they might think that.”

    Replace “guy” with “human being” and you might be a little closer to the mark.

  55. Suzene says:

    Also, “I didn’t want to, and I didn’t enjoy it, but I let him do it anyway” was pretty much my exact experience with being raped, so if you (and the GOP) could kindly step off of your idiotic idea of “redefining” the concept, I’d appreciate it.

  56. Would it be a radical idea to get across the point Powell was trying to make in the video WITHOUT resorting to sexually abusive imagery, to either men or women? If comic industry creators are such fountains of creativity, why do we continue present ourselves with junior high school humor standards? Because that’s what we’re used to? That doesn’t sound like an industry that wants to grow.

    I agree with 99% of the content and data in the video, but I gotta say, it loses me with the sex/rape/prostitution angle.

  57. Wow. Can we just say that Kurt Busiek won and be done with it?

  58. For what it’s worth: I don’t think the anal sex stuff is offensive, so much as crushingly obvious.

  59. This is the way that people with something to say should make their videos like. You are amazed at first, maybe shocked a bit, but after all the main theme comes out of it very convincingly. I enjoyed it very much. It however lost me for a moment with that unfortunate sexual idea, that was very inappropriate.

  60. Charles Martin says:

    @Suzene: A woman is not likely to be taken out and beaten by her supposed friends when one of them finds out she takes it up the ass. So no, it’s not really the same.

    While I accept that your experience was rape, that formulation has never been the accepted definition of it. Society additionally expects the victim to have actually said “no”.

  61. Charles you are driving your argument way out of your depth.

    Rape-word-mincing holds very weak clout.

    Sexual savagery “jokes” are in poor taste, can people at least understand that? And I’m supposedly “on” Eric Powell’s “side.” But no where near the side of this video itself.

  62. hikaru go says:

    Anyone that has read The Goon knows this kind of humor is nothing new or surprising from Mr. Powell. This video is a satirical commentary on the sad state of this industry, pure and simple. It is “targeted” at no single group or person in particular. That people took to such offense of any of its content is truly bizarre, whether it’s tactful or not.

    The Comics Journal has been publishing intelligent, intellectual reviews and commentary for decades. But almost everywhere I see it labeled as snobbish dickery. Smart, adult participation is out there. It just means no one gives a fuck anyways.

    Proof is. in. the. pudding.

  63. Actually the saying goes that the proof of a pudding is in the eating. And considering Eric’s love of scat humour I’m not eating anything he calls pudding.

    Eric’s joke is that if you work for Marvel or DC you’ll get screwed. Not raped. Marvel and DC are not forcing creators to work for them so that comparison would make no sense. But if you choose to work for them and you agree to get paid by them then they will screw you. It’s a visual metaphor. It’s a political cartoon. And if it meant rape then what I’m saying is the comparison doesn’t make sense. Eric isn’t saying you have to work for Marvel and DC, his whole point is there’s a choice. If there’s a choice then it’s consenting adults with one getting paid. If it is rape then every adult film is rape and every hotel that shows them and store that rents them is an accessory to the crime.

    Bringing the GOP and real life experiences into a broad cartoonish and intentionally offensive sketch is like saying Kenny on South Park is wrong because you know an actual child who died. Stewie beating up Brian on Family Guy is wrong because many dogs are actually tortured each day.

    I respect your strong feelings on this. I know I probably won’t convince you to change your mind but as someone who does comedy that does offend it’s important to me that people are offended for what’s actually being said.

    And again most importantly, don’t eat the pudding.

  64. Interesting….I have pages to go ink now. Carry on.

  65. Charles Martin says:

    I’m “way out of [my] depth”? Heavens … I appear to have wandered into an Aykroyd-Curtin “Weekend Update” skit! So if I’m an ignorant slut, Darryl, I guess that makes you the pompous ass. :P

  66. Wow. I and others can’t debate what is and what isn’t “pornography” in the Suicide Girls comics thread (ultimately, closing the thread), but people can come over here and debates the ins-and-outs of sodomy, rape and prostitution and directly insult creators and each other for twice the amount of comments?

    Sounds fair and balanced to me!

  67. hikaru go says:

    “Actually the saying goes that the proof of a pudding is in the eating. And considering Eric’s love of scat humour I’m not eating anything he calls pudding.”

    Haha, I know… but it’s my duty as an American to bastardize said English saying. Powell DID win an Eisner for his pudding though…just sayin’ ;)

  68. Michael P says:

    I’d be a bit more excited about the upcoming comics revolution if it hadn’t been upcoming for ten years now. At this point, it’s a toss-up as to which will happen first: the comics revolution, or Duke Nukem Forever.

  69. I think I can tell who’s read the Goon before in this thread and who hasn’t pretty easily.

    Read more Goon!

  70. “[I/you/he/she/they] got screwed by [the bank/employer/government/customer service]!”

    Does “got screwed” mean “had a delightful consensual sexual relationship with”? Have you used that phrase yourself? Did you assume that anyone listening could think that “screwed” would mean anything other than “sexually penetrated”? Do you get offended when you hear that phrase? Can you think of why your offense is different because you saw the phrase enacted?

    I can’t say it was my cup of tea either, but I can see where it’s coming from. Eric Powell has been working up his diversification theme in a series of tweets. One response from a fan was along the lines of “Being an indie creator is fine, but getting a job with DC or Marvel is like making it to the big leagues!”

    “Being a successful independent business woman or man is fine, but starring in a movie or winning American Idol or posing nude on SuicideGirls or getting your own reality TV show or being schtupped by Hugh Heffner is like making it to the big leagues!”

    We’ve come to confuse corporate stamps of approval and marketing with individual success. We think re-drawing corporate intellectual property is WAY better than drawing your own ideas. It’s George Carlin’s American Dream that you have to be asleep to believe in. Maybe Eric Powell thought something more outrageous than a tasteful Dickensian visual about menial toil (besides the urchin) was needed to wake some people up. Yeah, the outrage behind it and the outrage it has stirred have obscured the message a bit, but it does seem to have gotten people talking.

  71. Nabster says:

    Comic book fans are definitely responsible. Why in gods name do they keep on buying these horrible continuity based superhero stories. Is it any wonder comic books have zero credibility in the western world?
    Another problem is the small size of the market but this only possible because the current market is choke full of superhero nonsense. Overgrown children.

  72. Blaming the 50K middle-aged boys who compulsively buy Secret Crisis crossovers and nothing else is missing the point. They’re buying what satisfies their compulsions, and they’re mostly too old to change. The solution is to reach <beyond them, to people who are actually open to reading something else.

  73. LONG LIVE THE LONG TAIL!!!
    Don’t worry i’ll soon make my move!

  74. Derrick A. Richardson says:

    @ Jason A. Quest: You hit the nail right on it’s head.

    There are about 150 to 200,000 hardcore fans left in mainstream comics. For those creators that want genre diversification, and a readership large enough to buy their work, you’re going to have to build a base outside the direct sales shop. They can only support so many indie titles. Nothing personal, just cold, hard numbers.

    As creators, we would do well to look for solutions outside the comics field to build a new audience. You’re not going to find all the answers here.

    I, as I’m sure you all do, love comics, and would love to see them finally grow to their potential as a true mass medium

    And I’d like to thank Mr. Powell for achieving the objective of his politically incorrect video, and getting people to talk and debate about these very important issues. Good job.

  75. “Blaming the 50K middle-aged boys who compulsively buy Secret Crisis crossovers and nothing else is missing the point.”

    I’m 42, so I guess I fall into the “50k middle-aged boys” bracket. I don’t buy the Secret Crisis Crossovers … but I’ll reconsider buying any indie comic in the future, since we’re so evil.

  76. Paul Sizer said:

    “Would it be a radical idea to get across the point Powell was trying to make in the video WITHOUT resorting to sexually abusive imagery, to either men or women? If comic industry creators are such fountains of creativity, why do we continue present ourselves with junior high school humor standards? Because that’s what we’re used to? That doesn’t sound like an industry that wants to grow.”

    The new industry COULD always grow further downward.

    The video seems to be highly indicative of that that little-known phenomenon known as “indie decadence.” It has the same reasons for existing as “superhero decadence,” and the same attendant virtues and vices, though you’ll never get one of those “fountains of creativity” to admit that.

    Like Mr. Spiegleman, whose greatest acquaintance with capital-A “Art” is having it for a first name.

  77. Matthew Southworth says:

    Jay A:

    I know your comment is wayyyy back in this thread, but I understand your being gun-shy after delays on STUMPTOWN and TURF.

    Part of the point of all this is that it’s difficult to work exclusively in indie comics because they don’t sell well enough to pay. Which leads to delays, which SUCKS. I for one am waiting for the subsequent issues of TURF, too.

    If I can make it up to you re: STUMPTOWN, I’d like to. You can write me at

    matthewsouthworth at hotmail dot com

    And so can anyone else, if they want to.

  78. Matthew Southworth says:

    The above should read “don’t sell well enough to pay MUCH”. Indies do pay, just nowhere near as much as mainstream books.

  79. Rich: If you’re a middle-aged fanboy, but you don’t obsess about silly crossovers, then I wasn’t talking about you. :) And I didn’t say they were evil… just not worth worrying too much about. They might arguably be part of the Problem, but so what? The Solution lies with some of the other 7 billion people on the planet. And if some of those middle-aged fanboys want to join that party, the more the merrier!

  80. stealthwise says:

    Yay for Rich, biting off his nose to spite his face!

  81. The video seems pretty unfair, to me.

  82. This guy is so whiny that I’m actually rooting for the rap…er…the guy performing his particular brand of “lovemaking”.

    re; Mathews post to Jay

    I’ve never read your comic before, but I’m going to now, just based on that post.

    re: dcwomen, suzene and ragnells comments;

    It’s not about you.

  83. Different John says:

    The main flaw in Powell’s argument is 99% of indie comics suck. Big time. (Not that most Cape books don’t; it’s irrelevant to blame or compare them.)

    The lack of quality control and self-criticism among indies is especially epidemic though. Many of these creators seem to think they are entitled to make money off crap just because they put effort into it. They blame lack of sales on the readers and capes — and everyone but themselves — blinded by inexplicably high self-esteem.

    Indie comics are a noble goal. Those that thrive do so because they’re quality works WORTHY of support. If you create niche, marginal, uninteresting, cliche, and/or poorly illustrated material, don’t cry when no one wants to buy it. The more awesome you think you are, the more you’re probably not.

    If you just want to do your own thing regardless if anyone is interested, despite whether it’s objectively any good, that’s fine. Get a day job to pay the bills like the rest of us. Don’t demand that readers subsidize your ego. And when you look for someone to blame for low sales, start by looking in the mirror.

  84. Matthew Southworth says:

    Thanks, John–I hope you’ll like STUMPTOWN. I’m proud of it, and people seem to like it a lot. It’s sort of hard to find, but there is a collection coming out very soon (next month?).

    Different John–I think you might be who I just replied to on another thread, but I’d like to say that I don’t think anyone is arguing that their ego should be subsidized. I’m certainly not.

    I want you to read my material because it’s good and it means something to you, and if it doesn’t, I hope you won’t feel your time was wasted. I buy books all the time, then decide I don’t need to read further issues.

    But Eric Powell’s argument, which I think is sound despite the crassness of the delivery, is that the market is so dominated by Marvel and DC that readers don’t know or can’t afford new things. They’re afraid to waste their money.

    So to propose that because the Big Two dominate the market because the work is BETTER is incorrect (especially given that many, many creators bounce around from indie work to mainstream work). That’s like saying that we don’t need to eat anything besides McDonalds and Starbucks–because they’re everywhere, at every freeway exit. By that logic, carrots and crab legs aren’t worth eating.

  85. @matthew

    re: “Different John–I think you might be who I just replied to on another thread,”

    I think that might have been me. But I can understand the confusion as I agree with much of what Different John says.

    re: “the market is so dominated by Marvel and DC that readers don’t know or can’t afford new things. They’re afraid to waste their money.”

    I disagree with that conclusion. People talk about the “superhero glut” but conveniently forget the dreck we saw during the indie glut of the late 80s and early 90s. But in spite of that historical low point in the history of the indie which is still very vivid to me, I still actually spend 4 dollars on Terry Moores 17 page black and white “Echo” because it’s damn good. I am as cash strapped as the next guy and am more picky than ever in this economy. And I frequent a comic shop where the indie fare is overwhelmed by big two selections. Yet in spite of those “overwhelming obstacles”, I bought things like Echo and Morning Glories and Chew because they were good and had the much needed visual appeal that any comic needs to catch the attention of the potential buyer.

    When one takes into account the crap we saw during the indie glut, the analogy” we don’t need to eat anything besides McDonalds and Starbucks–because they’re everywhere, at every freeway exit” isn’t exactly accurate.

    It’s more like “remember those 50 different horrible burger places that popped up next door to McDonalds years ago that all went out of business? Well they’re bringing them back, but with different managment and better cooks and some people say they’re pretty good now”

    Well, they might be good, they might be awesome. I’ll try one. I probably won’t try all 50 and I’ll probably still eat at McDonalds more often because when I order a big mac, I know what I’m getting, even if it is a little cold sometimes.

  86. “Swordfishtrombone”?? Niiice; I guess “Lady Gaga” really doesn’t cut it as an Alt/Indy Comics creator name, does it?

    The skit/sketch comedy schtick is a bit off for such an artistic Call to Arms, imo, and such a snarky delivery system makes it easy to undercut the polemical Drawing of the Line in the Bristol Board of the second half. (Not to mention providing the detour of the discussion above into the semiotics of buttsex.)

    Here’s to the success of the CFDC— here’s hoping that Comics creators will heed the Indy
    “call” to provide that alternative to the Big Two’s latest SECRET HOUSE OF INFINITE CRISES…

  87. Hi,

    I’m a black gay comic reader who occasionally collects non-superhero comics not published by the big two.

    The only thing I find “hilarious” about this video is that:

    1. it reveals that a white heterosexual man’s idea of diversity has nothing to do with race, gender, or sexuality.

    2. That institutionalized homophobia is alive and well, and straight guys are as afraid of gay sex as ever. When all else fails to get your point across, use the gay panic aesthetic–because, apparently, anal sex is the same thing as selling out.

    It’s too bad that I couldn’t get the video’s message for all the privilege that blocked my path.

  88. Son of Baldwin (great name), Powell has made the video private so the discussion continues while the objectionable parts have been taken underground.

  89. K-Box says:

    Heidi,

    Nothing you’ve said actually addresses Son of Baldwin’s points. That’d be like if a comics creator made a racist or sexist video and then made it private in response to criticism. That actually makes it MORE offensive, but it’s not really a sign that Powell is SORRY at all – he’s just sorry that he got CALLED OUT.

    Not that you give a damn, because you’ll tolerate any behavior that you know is wrong, as long as it’s coming from one of your friends.

  90. Turkish says:

    I couldn’t care less what 89 comments have to say about it. I just want to watch the damn video.

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