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My Encounter With a Comicsgater
Posted Aug 27, 2019 - 9:45:10

(A version of this originally appeared on my tumblr)

A couple of weeks ago had a guy come up to my table at Coulee Con and told me how great he thought comicsgate was, and I honestly had to work so hard not to yell at him. And I mean, this guy had terrible opinions, and I pointed out that comics have always been political (like have these people never read Captain America or the X-men?) but a couple of things struck me.

Like this was a pretty sociable guy, but he showed no indication of seeing how uncomfortable I was. Like my whole body language changed. He just didn't give a shit. It never occurred to him that I might disagree with him.

(I mean, he saw me as another straight guy at a con - most people outside the LGBTQ+ community aren't going to recognize the genderqueer pride flag that was plastered across my shirt)

What was weird about the experience though was that he was telling me about some comics he liked. It wasn't like dealing with the trolls you usually end up with online. He wasn't trying to be a bad dude. He wasn't into this stuff because he knew it would piss off "SJWs." I don't think that thought ever even occurred to him.

He was just into some comics that happen to be made by some gross and awful people. But since he's not the target of those people's hate, he just dismisses it.

It's literally privilege in action.

He can sit out "politics" because his very existence isn't politicized.

And I told him that. I hoped he'd listen.

He did not.
- Traegorn

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Skimming through this guy's comment history in Disqus, he actually seems exactly like the trolls you see online. He's probably just better at hiding it in person, because if he didn't, no one would want to put up with him.
Actually, everyone's existence is politicized. Some just don't know it or try to avoid it.

The Left has done its level best to be inescapable and to exert control over every aspect of life, from plastic straws to energy generation. This manifests in comics choosing to transform into political cartoons.

Sure X-Men was always a plea for tolerance of what was different but it wasn't always about expressing blunt-force *partisan* opinion. That's new.

To change up examples, the weakest part of Alan Moore's Watchmen was the politics he put in the series. And it was weak by any standard. His comic was not improved by using Nixon as a stand-in for Reagan, attempting to equalize the two. There was no story need to ever show the President of the US.

The best of Watchmen was Moore's characters, and it was those that made Watchmen the turning point for comics that it was/is. Moore could have cut his rant on ABMs and given us more of his people. I'm sure there's good stuff on the cutting room floor that could have filled that page.

With your own comic, you just turned Terrence from an antagonist into a stereotype. What you do with him, if anything before you end your comic is up to you of course (you could turn the latest reveal into something interesting), but for me as a reader you undercut the tension you were building with Jim and Terrence vs. Lynn. But that could be me and being sick to death of politics injected into everything (or I wouldn't be writing this, right?)

I'm still on board with your comic till the music stops but that bit took a bit of life out of it.

YMMV and probably does.
Actually I'll back off on the "sgtory need" part. Moore probably did need to show the US president as tensions ramed for a possible nuclear war. But the "nixonomics" crack which attempted to tie him to Reagan. That wasn't needed at all.
Terrence is literally based on real people who have harassed me and my friends. From his first appearance in strip I was inserting deliberate red flags anyone who has dealt with this kind of guy would recognize, and that you didn't notice them until later in the crescendo says a lot more about what you don't notice in real life than anything else.

Like even his Nazi uniform moment was based off of a couple of REAL THINGS I've experienced.

And yes, that means it's happened more than once.

The "left" is not trying to exert control over every part of life, and I don't think it's an honest stance to argue from.

Trae Dorn
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