Daily Beast Uses Chuck Wendig To Call For Unionization Of The Comic Book Industry

Asher Elbin writes a piece at The Daily Beast entitled, How Marvel and Corporate Comics Are Failing the ‘Vulnerable’ Creators Behind Their Superheroes.

In it he writes:

Behind the veil of billion-dollar movie franchises and rotating comics series, creators often struggle with low pay, no labor protections, and harassment. And no one seems to care.

So apparently we’re supposed to read this in a weepy voice.

Last month, novelist Chuck Wendig—the bestselling author of the licensed Star Wars novel Aftermath and its sequels—stood before a crowd at New York Comic Con and announced he’d be working on Shadow of Vader, a miniseries for Marvel Comics. A week later, on October 12, Wendig made another announcement: he’d been fired. The reason given, Wendig wrote on his personal website, was “the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said… It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.”

So if Wendig himself published the reason for this firing along with the name of his editor, what is the purpose of this article?  To rewrite history.

Wendig, an openly progressive and occasionally combative presence on social media, had been the target of a long-running harassment campaign* fueled by reactionaries in the Star Wars fan community.

What actually happened here is that Chuck Wendig has a big mouth, and prides himself on being as insulting to his critics publicly as his limited vocabulary allows him.  He’s upset that those critics responded to his insults, and indeed, even that the critics have a platform to do so in the first place.  He’d much prefer that critics just take whatever he dishes out publicly without response.  This is because Chuck does not live in the real world.

His books were review bombed;

His books received horrible reviews because they were poorly written.  Here’s a sample sentence from one of his books:

“The TIE wibbles and wobbles through the air, careening drunkenly across the Myrrann rooftops – it zigzags herkilyjerkily out of sight.”

Do the words wibbles and/or jerkily appear anywhere in Webster’s Dictionary?  If SJWs are now editing it, I suppose they might.  Multiple reviews can be found not only on Amazon, but also on YouTube including this one:

If there was indeed any review bombing, it was elicited by Chuck Wendig’s own loud mouth.

he dealt with SWATing attempts,

Let’s hope the FBI is thoroughly investigating those.

harassment from bots and sock-puppet accounts,

How did Chuck distinguish the difference between a Russian bot and a sock-puppet?

and creepy personal messages.

Would those messages be more or less creepy than telling people to throw themselves into a wood chipper?

“People have been trying to get me fired from Star Wars since Aftermath came out. Since before it came out, actually,” he told The Daily Beast in an email. “[Lucas Film Licensing] has always had my back, and with Marvel, my politics never came up. And I haven’t been shy about those politics—or about being vulgar, which has been part of my voice, so to speak, since my first novel, Blackbirds, which is a very vulgar book… I never received any warnings about my behavior.”

Since Marvel and Lucasfilm won’t comment, we have no idea if Chuck is telling the truth about receiving any warnings or not.  But it likely had more to do with Chuck’s politics thatn his vulgarity.  Sure, Marvel and today’s Lucasfilm share the same wacko politics as Chuck.  But when you’re a Marxist propagandist you have to tread carefully, so that the general public doesn’t know what you’re up to.  See Cass Sunstein’s Nudge.

While Marvel had no official comment, a source close to the company said that the decision to fire him was made by Marvel editorial, and that the decision to drop Wendig was made solely on the basis of his public comments. Nonetheless, the decision provoked an outcry on social media. Many drew comparisons to other public figures targeted by harassment campaigns, such as Disney’s firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and the ginned-up outrage around MSNBC commentator Sam Seder, who was fired then re-hired over an eight-year-old tweet.

I have no knowledge of the Sam Seder story, so I can’t comment on that.  But James Gunn wasn’t so much targeted for harassment, as much as he made jokes about pedophilia repeatedly and publicly on Twitter.  Furthermore, the man attended a pedophilia themed party.  Who celebrates pedophilia exactly?  And why on Earth would any company want to be associated with that?

But there was another facet to Wendig’s departure that got less immediate attention: the way it reinforced the deep precariousness of most comics freelancers, who make up the vast majority of the industry and often feel pressure to keep silent about their own vulnerability.

Which is quite the amusing spin given that Lucasfilm representatives like Chuck and GeekGirlDiva have used the freelancer title like a diplomatic immunity card, which excuses them talking to the fans and customers any way they liked.  Turns out, that freelancer immunity card is entirely worthless.


The freelancer immunity card.

Behind the veil of billion-dollar movie franchises and rotating comics series, creators often struggle with low pay, no labor protections, and harassment from fans and colleagues. They do this while maintaining social media profiles, where corporate expectations about behavior are vague at best. In such a landscape, it’s not surprising that Wendig got fired. What’s surprising, in some ways, is that we heard about it at all.

What’s also amusing is that no one in the legacy media seemed to have a problem with any of this when it was exclusively normal creators who were driven from their professions by SJW savages, which gave birth to the ComicsGate movement.  Only now when it affects one of the drones in the Collective are we supposed to be concerned.

The first comics came out of the fly-by-night pulps, where contracts were vague, dirty dealing was standard, and the notion of creator rights was nonexistent. The mistreatment and neglect of Superman creators Siegel and Schuster is an industry legend; as is the double-dealing of Batman “creator” Bob Kane; Jack Kirby’s struggle for his original artwork and equal credit for his work with Stan Lee; and Alan Moore being screwed out of the rights for Watchmen. Attempts at collective bargaining in the industry seldom got far. In 1968, a group of veteran DC writers pushed for pensions and insurance and were summarily purged, while a unionization attempt by artist Neal Adams ten years later failed to get off the ground.

In other words, we can expect a call for the unionization of comic book creators, which will be used to further drive out contrary and alternative voices and stifle creative endeavors outside of the unionized mafia.

In such an environment, the standards for what kind of public speech is acceptable are often either left unclear or inconsistently applied. Simply staying off social media isn’t really an option for freelancers, especially those still working to become established, Edidin points out: having an active profile somewhere like Twitter is vital for networking, getting the word out about projects, and talking shop with fellow freelancers and enthusiasts. But because freelancers aren’t official employees, these social media accounts are—by definition—personal. Lines between personal opinions and professional ones are blurry, and few companies offer solid social media guidelines for dealing with them.

Using the F word more than once in a single tweet would probably not be considered an acceptable standard of public speech to most publishing companies.  It doesn’t exactly scream “literate.”

“Expecting people to dedicate the amount of time we do to these books means we should be offering a fair exchange of compensation, benefits, and support when problems come up,” McCourt added. “We should be giving clear conduct guidelines and be willing to go to bat for people we hire that we know have strong opinions… If you don’t want creators to curse or respond to people online, OK, but make sure you say that before you hire them.” In Wendig’s case, she points out, a large part of his brand was his outspoken (and occasionally profane) progressivism—it seems odd to hire Wendig and then fire him for being Wendig.

But again, without a statement from Lucasfilm and Marvel, we don’t know if Chuck’s words can be taken at face value.  He’s been caught lying to his readership before.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the comics internet has a well-deserved reputation for being rough and tumble at the best of times, says CP Hoffman, a comics critic who writes for The Nerdist and Comic Book Resources: Marvel freelancers like Dan Slott, Mark Waid, Nick Spencer and former editor Steve Wacker have been publicly combative with fans and critics on message boards and social media alike. “Having a loose or non-existent social media policy tends to favor those who are well-connected within the system and hurt those who are seen as outsiders, whether they be writers coming in from another medium like Wendig… or individuals subject to racism and misogyny,” Hoffman says. “While established white men at Marvel can more or less say or do what they want on social media, others do not have that luxury.”

Chuck Wendig is…white.

“There’s no balance between the interests of comics publishing employees and freelancers with those of publishers. The power dynamic is just completely one-sided,” Edidin says. “There’s really no one to advocate for comics creators in situations like this.”

And who advocated for ComicsGate creators when they were driven from their professions by SJW animals?

Such an environment—where freelancers are disposable and uncertain about what might get them dropped from a book—is one that creators say fosters a pernicious culture of silence. When novelist Chelsea Cain talked to The Daily Beast in September about Marvel’s sudden cancellation of her upcoming miniseries The Vision (a much-anticipated sequel to an earlier installment) months before its scheduled debut, she noted that Marvel expected her to keep quiet about it, as she had done with the cancellation of her fan-favorite series Mockingbird two years prior. “I have so many friends who work in comics who this kind of stuff happens to in one form or another, not uncommonly, and nobody can speak up,” she said. “They’re always told what messages they can share and the things that they’re supposed to lie about. And you have to do it because otherwise, you won’t have the next job.”

What are you talking about?  Marvel and DC propagandists are still shooting off their collective mouths daily.

While you occasionally see people like Chelsea Cain or Chuck Wendig speaking up, they’re only in a position to do so because they largely make their living outside of comics, and thus don’t need to play by the industry’s rules if they don’t want to. Without job security or health benefits, freelancers are a single ill-judged tweet and a run of bad luck away from needing the help of the Hero Initiative. Under circumstances like that, a vague social media policy isn’t just a headache: it’s one more trap in a deeply financially insecure profession.

Mr. Wendig had more than just “a single ill-judged tweet.”  He was a repeat offender.  You can read about it hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, here, and here,

“I am just amazed that some lawyer or some union hasn’t come in, ’cause it’s crazy.” Caine told The Daily Beast in September. “And they’re all such adorable comic geeks and have all been doing this since they were 17 and they’ve never had any other kind of job. And I think they really don’t realize how insane it is.”

Get ready for an effort at unionization of the comic book industry.  I’m sure it’ll make the books much more fun and interesting.

10 thoughts on “Daily Beast Uses Chuck Wendig To Call For Unionization Of The Comic Book Industry

  1. “The TIE wibbles and wobbles through the air, careening drunkenly across the Myrrann rooftops – it zigzags herkily–jerkily out of sight.”

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think Ned Flanders wrote that.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Please, by all means, Marvel, do that. A comic book crash worthy of the 90’s when union talk was also making the rounds would be really fun to watch in today’s full of soy boys environment.
    The Twitter meltdowns would be epic!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You don’t need Marvel/DC to make it in comics. Get great artists and writers together and you can create a new successful comics company in no time. A union becomes necessary to protect the mediocre artists and writers – because there’s a vast army of middling creatives who would be happy to work for starvation wages. So the actual effect of a union is to protect the mediocre “politically correct” authors and artists and force the big companies to institutionalize their present stupid experiment in PC propaganda.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. «Trade unions are a school of communism.»
    If they didn’t band together before being kicked out, they are too much of hipsters to do their real job as Pinko Parrots.

    > harassment from bots and sock-puppet accounts,
    How did Chuck distinguish the difference between a Russian bot and a sock-puppet?

    It’s possible if he had inside knowledge about one of these.
    Since the “Russian bots” turned out to be Reid Hoffman’s, this leaves Wendigo the sockpuppets.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Will Marvel Shutting Down Affect Star Wars Comics? | Disney Star Wars is Dumb

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