***ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT ANYONE ELSE’S AT COMICBOOKED***
There has been a very vocal and very public fight going on for a while now between left and right leaning mainstream comic creators and mostly YouTube reviewers. The fight has been pretty much contained to Twitter and YouTube, with comic pros and reviewers, but unfortunately now it’s bleeding into the indie community.
This stuff goes really deep and I’m going to do my best to stay professional and approach this with some journalistic integrity since this is one of the main complaints coming from the right leaning critics. Pros are being accused of virtue signaling and basically being on a politically tare that is exclusive to the “alt life freakazoids” as one of the main YouTube critics calls them. The narrative is based on a clear divide between mostly politically driven lines. The “alt life freakazoids” that are feminist, LGBT or LGBT friendly, and pretty much all around left leaning people in the industry have been the focus of the YouTube folks and certain narrative has been drawn in the sand. One of the main ideas is that people are not fans their customers and are always potentially ready to buy a comic. Although I agree with the idea of people being potential customers it’s been used as an excuse to silence the people that are vocal about what they view as harassment. There have been so many videos from these YouTube guys that I’ve actually been trying to write something about it for about a month and have been following it all since the #makeminemilkshake happened summer of 2016.
The paragraph before holds a lot of the key issues that I find pertinent to the discussion as it relates to Short Fuse. Let’s start with virtue signalling. The YouTube critics have video after video complaining about pros virtue signaling anytime they speak up about social issues. They complain time and time again about these pros ostracizing their customer base by expressing themselves on social media and being political, and telling people “not to buy their comic” if they don’t agree with their brand of politics. This theme stretches from social media to the comic writing and art and is very prevalent in a lot of the videos. So here is what I get from this idea and I think it’s fair. “Don’t become overly politicized on social media or public forums because it has the potential to turn off customers.” The problem with this idea is that apparently that door only swings one way. If the person expressing themselves happens to be trans they need to follow all of the rules laid out by YouTube talking heads and praise the good lord their identity got them hired while poor folks like Will Caligan are being targeted for the exact same behavior. The hypocrisy is so thick I need to sharpen a knife to get through this. I feel like there is a clear disconnect between a personal opinion in politics and comic work but sometimes the general ideology of politics shows through in the work but that disconnect doesn’t exist according to most YouTuber’s. These YouTube reviewers actively seek out left leaning people and literally rip apart their books based on reviews and at the same time doing other videos attacking their social media threads and political points of view. Now I have to ask a simple question; if YouTuber’s have based their entire existence around telling their fans who is an SJW and not to support them by buying the books then why all of a sudden is there outrage when someone else on the other side does the same thing? I think this is where the hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Do as I say not as I do and clearly it’s ok for the right leaning folks to organize and boycott resulting in folks like Aubrey Sitterson losing their job but when the left does it it’s outrageous and putting someone out of work.
The main disconnect between YouTuber’s and what happened to Caligan is Short Fuse Media handled this situation with class and based it around the premise promoted by the YouTuber’s. Short Fuse had an extensive conversation with Caligan about the events and in the first question asked by Short Fuse they express that A.) this has happened before, and B.) why would you do that again? I feel like it’s a fair question and that can be said about antagonistic behavior on both sides. There has been calls for firing people like Dan Slott for nothing more than doing things like what Caligan did and screams for C.B. Cebulski to clean house of all the people that talk politics. All of this is virtue signalling, just not the sort they rail against; it’s conservatives, christians, and all those that lean right signalling their own virtues in contrast to the liberal creator base they so adamantly fight against. If this situation was Dan Slott getting canned from Marvel they would throwing a fucking fiesta and be bashing pinatas in his likeness laughing all the while but since it’s a christian and a veteran it’s a huge conspiracy to make him “unemployed” and rip his life from him. I think the hypocrisy level has moved from butter knife to steak knife at this point.
Short Fuse is a small publisher, Caligan wasn’t on the payroll he works for himself at Alpha Dog Studios, Short Fuse didn’t nor will they ever hold his future in their hands. In fact, Short Fuse came to Caligan’s aid and helped him get his kickstarter rewards out after the first time he pulled something like this. Short Fuse gave him a second chance at professionalism and assisted him in making good on a kickstarter they had nothing to do with. I think that’s a pretty stand up move and I’m sure even some of the YouTube guys would think so as well. What Short Fuse did for Caligan was a seriously stand up move and it really helped Caligan get some of the stress off his chest. Short Fuse took over his account and fulfilled all the requests in vein of their hashtag #Wealwaysdeliver Here is a screenshot of the actual conversation that started that.
Another big point that’s being overlooked in favor of faux outrage is the fact that Caligan and Short Fuse had an amicable split and Caligan was actually somewhat upset that his actions were being used to blanket Short Fuse as transphobic from the left and ruining a disabled vets career from the right. I don’t think either Caligan or Short Fuse expected such a large call to arms from either side.
I actually really like Short Fuse and the hashtag #Wealwaysdeliver is no joke, they come through everytime, and in a timely manner. I have always been happy with their products and one of the things that makes me shake my head is the fact that Short Fuse is full of all sorts of other creators that run the gamut of diversity. One of the first books from Short Fuse I backed on kickstarter was Like Father, Like Daughter from Kathryn “Comic Uno” Calamia, a book with a strong female protagonist, written by a strong and super nice woman. Comic Uno also has a YouTube Channel. I’ve also done reviews of books like Stealth written by a black man and Spirit’s Destiny about a Haitian woman Superhero written by a Haitian woman who I happen to know is a very funny person that loves her son to the end of the Earth and back, not to mention Sean from Short Fuse who is a black man himself. There are white folks, black folks, and a lot of other creators besides Will Caligan that will be put out by boycotts from either side and at this point I think it’s sort of silly. All of this has me wanting to buy Short Fuse and being that I have reviewed a few and enjoyed them I think I will catch up on my floppies.
Well what about Caligan? Oh yes, I’m sure all of those YouTube folks really do have his best interest at heart. One of the YouTube guys alone has nearly ten thousand subscribers and arguably the largest personality of the YouTube guys has nearly fifty five thousand. If everyone of these subscribers pitched in a dollar a month I’m sure they could find a way for Caligan to create and he can produce their own comic through the kind folks on YouTube.