Male Comic Creators Take The #ComicsPledge – A First Step
In recent weeks Bleeding Cool has been covering more accusations by many people in and around comic books of misconduct, grooming, and worse. Bleeding Cool EIC Kaitlyn Booth is holding the firm line that we don't repeat accusations on Bleeding Cool without the agreement of those making the claims. Sometimes that means we run stories that others do not, sometimes we don't run stories that others do, sometimes we run stories later. Comic book creators and graphic novelists Kami Garcia and Gwenda Bond and others created a #ComicsPledge, based on a similar approach in the Young Adults and Children's Literature world. This included the wording they invited men in the comic book industry to make, regarding misconduct in the industry, theirs and that of others.
MEN IN COMICS SAY NO
There are a lot of ideals we claim to honor in comics hope, justice, unity, innovation, creativity, freedom. None of them mean anything unless men in comics change our behavior and hold each other accountable for the safety of women and all people of marginalized genders and sexes.
- To never abuse, harass, groom, or manipulate women and all people of marginalized genders and sexes.
- To hold myself accountable for my own actions, be open to the comments and concerns of my peers, and educate myself.
- To actively intervene when we see or know of abuse, harassment, grooming, or manipulation.
- To ally for women and all people of marginalized genders and sexes experiencing abuse, harassment, grooming, or manipulation.
- To actively call out our friends and peers, even when no one else is watching.
- To commit to this pledge for the long haul and keep this conversation alive in the industry.
*We understand marginalized genders and sexes to include but not be limited to nonbinary and binary trans people, twoaspirit, agender, and genderfluid people, as well as intersex people of any gender.
The pledge has been tweeted out by many well-known and well-regarded comic book creators, but there has also been a word of warning by many who see this as, on its own, a potential empty gesture. Comic book creator, novelist, director, and former Bleeding Cool columnist Alex De Campi replied to Scott Snyder's pledge, saying "This is cute but 1) we don't believe you and 2) it goes way beyond this to things like speaking up & using your privilege to push change when you see that nobody of marginalized backgrounds are being hired as creators by a particular office, or they're only given "token" books."
Comic creator Tess Fowler made a similar point, "Gentlemen, it's great that you can post a graphic and a hashtag but what are you going to do to overhaul the rigged system that you're currently benefiting from? I am so fucking tired. What did y'all tell me in 2013? Deep in my DMs where nobody could see? That the man who harassed me had been doing it for years and everyone knew. That YOU knew. But u couldn't speak about it publicly because your publisher would tank your books and the backlash would end u. So what are you going to DO? I'm gonna need that in writing because I've personally been waiting, out here fighting for people with my own time and energy, ever since then. And you've been MIA. When I see you lay your head on the chopping block next to ours I'll start believing you. Step up." 2013 was not that long ago.
Kami Garcia followed up commentary from all, stating "Huge thanks to the men taking the #ComicsPledge. I hope everyone taking the #ComicsPledge understands that people have a right to be skeptical. You have to do the work and help change the industry to make it more inclusive for all. But as an abuse survivor, I'm hopeful. Let me say this about the #comicspledge… it's not supposed to be "the work." I'm a realist and a disabled abuse survivor. I'm not handing out lifetime merit badges. Words have to be followed by ACTION. IMPO the most important thing is for all of us to stop working with abusers. REFUSE to work on projects with them. REFUSE to hire them. Stop acting like comic "gods" & "money makers" get a pass. THERE IS NO PASS. The Pledge is just a starting point. An acknowledgment that someone is doing the work — and in many cases have already been doing it. But we can all do more."
Gwenda Bond wrote "the pledge — acknowledging the problem in the industry/community — is a first step. Now the real work begins. Real change will only happen through reflection and action. Women and people of all marginalized genders have done so much work already. This is NOT meant to be the end of anything–we did not just ask people to post the pledge, but to *mean* it. This is the beginning of greater accountability and standards and responsibility. Time to show up LOUDER, guys in comics." She also added "and tbqh if men are called out in future, they've now admitted they know these actions are wrong. But there ARE good men looking for a path to help; we believe that."