Skip to main content

The "Problem" of How to Think About Problematic Creators

I've talked to many of my friends about my complicated relationship with the work of Warren Ellis. His work is primarily what got me into comics as an adult, and I think a lot of it is still brilliant, and people should read it.

Also, a little more than a year ago, a number of women came forward to recount their stories of sexual coercion and... misrepresentation? I don't want to make light of it, and my point is not to go in depth on what he did. Let's just say that he used his influence in the comics industry to solicit MANY women into sexual relationships, so much so that they created a website which now has over a hundred people that have logged their histories with him, often times backing up their stories with emails and chat histories.

Warren Ellis is a skeezy womanizer, and probably a pretty bad person. So how to view his works, and more specifically their influence on me? Some of my favorite go-tos for people that wanted something short and amazing to read in the comics space, that weren't superheroes, were Global Frequency and Supergod. Those aren't my initial picks anymore. Now I recommend something else, and if they come back for me, I might bring that up, but we have to have the "caveat discussion" about the creator.

Ellis' problematic views/behavior don't seem to come through in his works, at least not in ways that I pick up. But maybe there's some subtle allegories that I'm not keen enough to pick up on? Do those still affect me even if I don't consciously recognize them? I'm not saying that I'm afraid of being brainwashed by comics, but I am conscious that some of my thinking has been shaped by his writing, and it makes me uncomfortable to think about how problematic that influence might be.

Flash forward to a year and change later: For a good few years now, there has been maybe the most amazing Hulk story ever told, in the pages of "Immortal Hulk", this has been written by Al Ewing, with art by Joe Bennet. Now if you know these names, and are somehow hearing about this just now, leave me a comment because I want to know how you even found this blog, but also, breathe easy about Al Ewing. As far I know, the man's a saint. Joe Bennet, on the other hand, is at least an anti-Semite. 

My first exposure his nature was earlier this year, when someone called out a panel from Immortal Hulk, that takes place inside a jewelry store, and the shot is framed to look out through the store window to the street. The window features a prominent Star of David, and the shop name is revealed to be "Cronemberg Jewery", admittedly the "y" at the end was blocked by a character's head. When confronted about it, Bennet said he was "unaware" of the problematic stereotypical association between jewelers and Jewish people, and that the name of the business was just an accident, because he was doing it backwards he even misspelled "Cronenberg" because it was supposed to be an easter egg nod to the horror director.

Except, this isn't the first time Bennet's done this, he apparently did something similar in X-Men: Gold. it makes you wonder how much other racist hate speech he's snuck in as easter eggs in these books, and nobody caught it. The times he does get caught, he just says "Aww shucks, I'm sorry, I didn't realize/it wasn't intentional" and then apparently just goes right back to hiding things in there so that only people how "know" will find it?

He's particular bullshit came to a head this week, when a political cartoon he'd made in 2017 of Bolsonaro in armor, exterminating rats that were obvious racist caricatures, resurfaced. Al Ewing quickly made a statement this was the final straw for him, and that Immortal Hulk is done, but he won't be working with Bennett ever again. Marvel, always a day later and a dollar short, also came forward and said that they would not give him any work in the future, and that they were cancelling his involvement in books that were already in production.

I'm glad Bennett's gotten at least some of the repercussions he deserves for his shittiness, but it's interesting to me to contrast it against the situation with Ellis. In the case of Ellis' work, I wonder if there's some hidden message in the writing/theme/plot of his work that might be sinking in, but don't REALLY think there is. In the case of Bennett, he was CLEARLY trying to sneak in hidden messages into his books, like some sort of fascist cryptopropaganda. 


Popular posts from this blog

What It's Like To Get Pipebombed

Well, I'm going to break with my rule of not actually mentioning anything about having a pipe thrown at you, but in celebration of the 6 month anniversary, I really wanted to write it up. So, without further ado, here's what happened on my Fourth of July 2009, and the six months since: So, it's the Fourth of July, 2009, about ten-ish or so at night. Being that we live in a condo, and our homeowner's association has prohibited fireworks being let off in our complex, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood in order to better see the fireworks everyone else was letting off. We walked straight out the front gate, got about maybe 50 feet down the street, and a dark car with it's headlights on pulled out onto the street, about a block ahead of us a man with a white shirt was walking in the same direction as us, nothing noteworthy about either of those. However, upon passing us, something was tossed out of the passenger window and bounced off my chest, upon th

CM's Star Gaogaigar

So, this is Star Gaogaigar from the King of Braves Gaogaigar cartoon, one of the infamous Brave series of cartoons. Basically, the Brave series was a handful of cartoons with toylines supported by Takara after the original Transformers line had stopped being profitable. Each series was unrelated to the last, and was heavily aimed towards selling toys, featuring a lot of combining figures, especially centered around a central hero character, which would combine with just about everything else under the sun for various upgrades. A lot of Transformers fans consider the toys to these cartoons as the spiritual successors of the original Transformers line. I've never watched the cartoon, so instead, here's the opening: Now that that's out of the way, look at that box! It's huge! Height and width, it's about on par with the larger Soul of Chogokin boxes, but the thing that's really odd about it, is that it's just as deep as it is tall, if you look at it

Aquarion: The Blog's First Toy Review

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have a consistent place to save all of my toy reviews, so I guess it's about time I got to it. My first review is of the toy of Aquarion, unfortunately I know almost nothing about the cartoon. This particular version of the Aquarion toy, is supposed to be the "military" version, while the standard one comes with swords and and bow and arrow, the military version uses more conventional weaponry, namely guns, big ones. The only difference between the two toys, aside from the accessories, is the paint scheme, as far as I know. The original Aquarion is more brightly colored, with lots of red, and emerald green. Judging from the box it would seem that this is part of the Soul Of Chogokin line from Bandai, however despite having a lot of the same design aesthetics, Bandai chose not to actually brand it as part of the SOC line. Styrofoam's always nice to see in a toy box for some reason, but even more interest