Comicsgate is the ongoing battle between the social justice warriors running the comic book industry and the fans who want to stop them from destroying it. The conflict likely won’t end soon and when it does, it’s highly possible the fans will lose. But all may not yet be lost. I contacted a comic book fan who uses the pseudonym Captain Frugal. He gave me his thoughts on comicsgate along with potential solutions to fix the comic book industry.
As with everything else, the comic book industry has changed over time. One of the biggest changes for the industry as a whole is that it has settled on a strategy of putting social justice warriors in charge of everything it produces. And the SJWs have alienated and offended as many people as possible with their relentless advocacy for radically progressive politics.
This ill-advised move angered longtime fans and as they expressed their dissatisfaction and found strengths in numbers, the resulting confrontation between them and the comic book industry (and the media that defend it) became known as comicsgate.
“To me comicsgate is about truth in media about comics and comic-related things,” Captain Frugal, who runs a YouTube channel and his own website, said. “[And] for years many people have been silenced in comic book website forums,” he added, referring to how large sites cover for the industry and outright encourage SJW activism. “[N]ow they have found other outlets to share their views and come together with others that have views that run similar to theirs. I think it started with blogs, then Twitter and Facebook, and later was elevated with the use of YouTube.”
“Comicsgate also has taken on the abusive views of content creators in the comic industry,” Captain Frugal said. “Customers want to be heard and they are no longer being silenced. That is impacting the industry. Marvel seems to have been the most resistant to the customer views but sales have been proving that the comicsgate supporters need to be taken seriously.”
Yet the SJWs running the comic book industry, along with their media defenders, insist that they are doing nothing wrong. They insist that politics have always been a part of comic books, and that what they are doing now is on par with historical standards. Comicsgate supporters clearly disagree with this.
So if the mainstream comic book companies want to continue being progressive activists, then why don’t those objecting to what they’re doing start producing their own comic books with alternative political messages?
“In my personal view, unless handled with extreme care it is best to keep politics out of comics,” Captain Frugal said in response to this idea. “If handled well—[if writers] give information and allow the reader to come up with an informed opinion—I am fine with it. Comics have always had politics, but in most cases (not all) they were handled much better and with more skilled writers. If the political point is the main point of the story most people seem to be fine with it as long as it is not offensive to opposing views. When politics overshadow the story, or seem to greatly change the character to fit an agenda, customers tend to show a negative reaction,” he added.
“With that said, turning around and making books with a strong opposition view is fine but I do not think it will generate the outcome that people such as Vox [Day] desire,” he continued. “The market needs as many customers as possible and politics tend to do more to drive them away.”
The comic book industry has so damaged itself by driving away customers that it may be too late to save it, or at least too late to return it to its former glory. But not necessarily. Captain Frugal offered ideas on how it may be able to turn things around.
“Personally I would like to see balance,” he said. “If the industry wants to grow and prosper it needs to mend bridges. Write the characters in character rather than making them political-agenda-driven mouthpieces. Most people will be fine with a few books that they do not agree with, but when most of the books have changed so that they lecture and vilify the customer they have a problem.
“For example if one of [the] ten books on your pull list seems to go against your views, most are willing to take it. But when you find nine out of the ten books are insulting you on a personal level you tend to get tired of it. This is like being backed into a corner and you feel that you have to fight back,” he explained.
“Then the companies need to learn how to handle PR again. [They need to] respond to criticism in a professional manner such as, ‘sorry you did not like this book, you may find this book more to your liking,’ instead of, ‘if you don’t like it don’t buy it,’” he mentioned in reference to what the companies are currently doing. The customers accepted the don’t-like-it-don’t-buy-it retort and “clearly stopped buying it,” he said.
Some pretty good suggestions. But will the comic book industry take such reasonable advice and act on it?
Who knows? Maybe someone will eventually replace the social justice warriors who are ruining comic books. If that happens, it would save the industry and comicsgate would end.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.