Comic book writer/artist Ethan Van Sciver, currently working on Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps, posted a long, passionate plea to Facebook stating that, no, he is not a Nazi nor a white nationalist. Not the kind of thing many people have to post, but this is the internet. He wrote:
"There are strange people on twitter who are pretending to believe that I am a 'white supremacist' or a 'Nazi' because I'm a rare thing in comics: a Republican. It's intolerable. It's ridiculous to have to even declare that I'm none of these things.
To me, white supremacists are villains from movies. They aren't me, they aren't my family, and I deeply resent these calculated efforts to make me feel unwelcome in the industry that I've given my life to, and by the way, which has profited greatly from my work. This industry isn't them or me. It's us.
Their evidence is some ridiculous out of context images from a decade ago, when we were all much more friendly. Being called a 'Nazi' by a fellow creator then was quite different, like me calling someone a commie. It was meant in fun. But occasionally, some truly weird people would make a claim that my little diamond logo was a swastika (oh?? HOW? It's based on the Iron Maiden logo). and a friend would satirize it by making it look like one. For laughs. Because it's absurd.
Around the same time, I decided that I'd make my sketch books look like extremist political tracts. One was called MANIFESTO and contained communist dogma, with backward letters to look like Russian language. The other one was called 'MY STRUGGLE' and contained my earliest work on Cyberfrog up to my recent work. The cover was SINESTRO, who we'd redesigned that year to resemble Hitler, and with the fact that most people knew I leaned right, this was a JOKE. Made self-effacingly to my peers who I considered my friends.
These people who spread these images and claim that I'm a 'Nazi' are liars. They are lying. Flat out. They are liars who wish this industry wasn't tolerant of people who do not share their partisan political views. That may include you. It may not. But I'll lay out my career and the work that I've done against theirs. This is MY industry too. And lying liars with a dishonest agenda cannot change that.
I've chosen to avoid Twitter. It is a toxic wasteland of negativity. I've chosen to avoid discussing politics, for this very reason. But I won't stand by and let these creeps continue to go unanswered.
And neither should you.
If you see this, please, as a fan, CORRECT IT.
It is evil.
A few of those tweets in question.
It is true that Ethan Van Sciver played around a lot with alt-right imagery and memes for jokes, and Pepe The Frog was a repeat offender. He also played around with Nazi imagery, often with the intent to mock criticism, embracing the worst insults and turning them around in an attempt to state how ridiculous they were. He has also exhibited casually homophobic behavior over the years in a very Are You Being Served/It Ain't Half Hot Mum fashion. Lyrics from a song he performed at a comic con or two stick out: "Wolverine is gay, I found out the hard way."
I also recall a specific incident when Van Sciver talked about how he pooh-poohed the idea that some people were against Barack Obama as President because he's black — until, in an airport, he caught people making racist remarks towards Obama on a news channel playing at one of the gateways. And he had to have a bit of a rethink on that.
As to calling one of his sketchbooks, My Struggle, that joke has been used — overused — by everyone from Karl Ove Knausgaard to Jordan Bone to David Erik Jones. But excusing a logo by saying it's from Iron Maiden isn't the best excuse, given the longstanding history heavy metal bands have had with their own fascination with Nazi imagery.
Blind to problems that were not his own, possibly. Often not seeing the bigger picture, yes. Needlessly cruel and prone to taking a response too far, definitely. A bully? Sometimes. But white nationalist, Nazi, or someone who actually believes in fascist imagery? Less likely.