Mark Brooks is a fairly outspoken comic book creator, best known for his X-Men comic book covers, and who isn't a fan of Comicsgate. Gabe Eltaeb is the former comic colourist of Superman: Son Of Kal-El, and now of Comicsgate-supported Eric D July's Isom after quitting DC Comics.
Back in June this year, Eltaeb began posting a series of insulting tweets challenging Mark Brooks to a debate at San Diego Comic-Con. Then at the show, Eltaeb posted a now-deleted tweet, a photo of him pointing at Brooks' booth at the show commenting on Brooks' absence. Brooks posted a number of tweets in reply, before Gabe's tweet was deleted This week, back from the show Mark Brooks posted a longer statement on social media.
After many tweets, PMs, and phone calls regarding this past weekend at SDCC, I want to clear the air and specify what happened in hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else.
To begin with, I blocked the person I'm about to speak about across all my social media almost a year ago. I could tell then that I wanted nothing to do with him. This apparently wasn't a clear enough message. Over the last few months he's seemed to take great joy in posting about me, challenging me to debate him over his hard right beliefs along with a plethora of insults and veiled threats. He has a decent following so these posts caused a shower of insults, more veiled threats, and literal threats. It's the internet after all so I brushed it off, blocked their accounts, and moved on. After 20 yrs in the biz, my skin's gotten pretty thick. Finally he posted a challenge to debate me at SDCC along with a bunch of insults and pinned it to his page. I still had him blocked but that doesn't mean I can't reply. I challenged him to get a life and touch grass. I know, not my proudest moment but I just wanted him to stop so I thought a snarky reply might work. I should have known it wouldn't. My better angels were off that day apparently.
It appeared to me that this person was a bit obsessed. I wasn't then and still aren't sure exactly why he chose me as the focus of his ire. As far I know I've never met him or don't remember if I had. He's a complete stranger to me. Apparently he works or had worked in the industry as a colorist at some point but, as far as I know, our paths never crossed. But for some reason I was his new favorite enemy. A one sided war where I didn't even know I was participating. As I've often said, Twitter isn't real life. I can roll, laugh, mute, and block anyone and anything and not think much more about it. People talk and act big behind a keyboard but I take it at face value. But I also dislike bullies immensely.
Fast forward to this past weekend at SDCC. It was an amazing show that felt like a reunion after so many of us had missed the fun and commradre. Hugs, handshakes, and big smiles from nearly everyone I saw. It was a boost of enthusiasm we all needed. I knew "this guy" would be attended due to his SDCC challenge and had been monitoring his social media out of an abundance of caution. He seemed to have anger/aggression issues so it was better safe than sorry. Still though, I didn't expect anything to come of it. The first few days of the show went by without a hitch. If anything it felt like one big party and I was loving every minute of it. Things changed Saturday night. I got a message from a friend with a screencap from Twitter. This is where I got a little nervous.
See, I'm not scared exactly but recent events around the country put my guard up. I spent the next day scanning the crowd around my table every once in a while. I didn't think anything would happen but also didn't want to get caught off guard. By the afternoon my caution had turned to anger. How dare anyone try to ruin anyone else's good time. I wasn't going to be intimidated by someone looking to ruin my con high. In short, I was f-cking done.
I went to my booth manager and asked for security. Within 15 minutes I had 2 plain clothed police officers at my booth. I shared all the posts I had along with the photo he posted and asked that he be told to leave me and everyone else alone. My understanding it that "he" wasn't at his table any longer and had relinquished his spot to someone else so I have no idea if he found out police were looking for him. If he didn't, he does now. Since then he has scrubbed his Twitter of any mention of me so I can only assume he got the message. But it doesn't erase what he did. He took his harassment into real life. He recorded videos at SDCC mentioning me by name and that he was looking for me.
I'm hoping this is the end of it but I also worry about future convention appearances. This person doesn't seem stable. If he is attending a convention as an attendee or guest, I won't be there. I am alerting all my convention contacts that this will be the case from now on. If this person has harassed or sought to intimidate you, I advise you do the same. And document EVERYTHING. Conventions are for likeminded people to come together and celebrate a hobby we all love. It's supposed to be fun and carefree. No one should feel worried to attend and feel the joy comics bring to all of us.
Some may say I'm overreacting and that's cool. But I love going to places like SDCC so I'll be damned before someone like this guy takes that joy from me. Comics are awesome for everyone. I plan to do my part in keeping it that way
He followed up by saying "F-ck it. His name is Gabe Eltaeb. Avoid him if you can. He seems extremely angry and confused and doesn't seem to understand personal boundaries." But right now it looks like Gabe Eltaeb has decided it is wiser not to continue the Mark Brooks chat, and has deleted a number of his social media posts, for now.