Drawing Lines with Frank Tieri and Twitter

Last week, an argument over the interpretation of sight lines on a comic book cover broke out. The kind of things artistic scholars have debated for centuries saw the artist Dan Panosian, enter that discussion to defend his work from allegations of sexism.

But it was the intervention of his friend and colleague, popular comic book writer Frank Tieri of the likes of Ziggy Pig, Old Lady Harley, and plenty of Deadpool, Wolverine and Batman that ramped it up a couple of notches. He told Dan,

And then Marc-Oliver Frisch, who used to write occasionally snarky sales analysis columns for The Beat and riled a few people up the wrong way, as a result, started responding. And, with a seeming history between them, it got nasty, fast.

It continued but that tweet was the one that got more people worried. The 'parking lot' reference was interpreted one way.

And then I got brought in.

Well, yes. And, as a foreigner in the US, not knowing what I could do that wouldn't potentially affect my entry into America then or since, just took the beating, and legged it. Still feel shame about that – I blame toxic masculinity. It's not something I've talked about much but it got out, and of course I'm hardly in a position to criticise David for gossiping about me, am I?

But then Frank repeated his offer to David Brothers, current editor at VIZ Media and previously Branding Manager at Image Comics.

And it was suddenly a whole other thing. And critics and creators had statements to make.

Although there was a different take…

…not helping, Jude.

Since writing this up last night, Frank Tieri has deleted his tweets and has issued Bleeding Cool with the following statement, which will be posted on his social media. He says,

Sometimes combining personal stress and the negativity of the internet can cause even the best of us to overreact and to say things that are not normally in our nature or that represent how we behave in our daily lives. And unfortunately, that's what I got caught up in the other day. I overreacted in trying to defend myself and a friend against what I regarded as numerous personal attacks. I regret my choice of words and, in retrospect, I certainly see how they can be taken literally. Just to be clear, although my rhetoric was heated in the moment, I in no way meant a literal statement of violence or threat upon anyone, either online or in person. Regardless of my intent, though, the end result was unprofessional of me and wrong. Apologies to those involved, the fans and my friends in the industry who have always supported me… this won't be happening again.

Maybe it's worth, in future, taking care where the lines you draw are pointing to.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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