This story is a doozy, people, but it comes down to this: Richard Meyer, the writer and operator of a YouTube channel called “Diversity & Comics,” ran a successful Indiegogo campaign for his comic book “JAWBREAKER- LOST SOULS.” Then it was announced Antarctic Press, publisher of Ninja Warrior High, Gold Digger, and others, was to publish the book outside of Indiegogo. There was just one simple problem: Richard Meyer is a racist, homophobic, transphobic bully.
Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston actually has a well researched article about this.
You’d think for a YouTube channel called “Diversity & Comics,” it would be, I don’t know, pro-diversity. But, in fact, it isn’t. If you look at the actual YouTube channel (and if you do, beware: it is completely and utterly bonkers), it is filled with videos blaming “SJWs” for making the comic book industry “sick.” You can tell the common targets for Richard Meyer, too: Mark Waid, Gail Simone, any author who even attempts to inject people of color or women into their stories, any story that even attempts to be different from the standard.
And so we come to Richard Meyer’s own comic, “JAWBREAKERS- LOST SOULS.” When it was announced that Antarctic Press would be publishing the book, many comic book stores stated that they would not be stocking it. Which lead to a video on the aforementioned YouTube channel “roasting” the “SJWs” that apparently caused this. Except this was less “roasting” and more “using homophobic and transphic slurs,” which meant the video is now currently deleted. But Bleeding Cool managed to get the gist of it (warning: harsh homophobic and transphobic slurs used here):
It included discussion over which kind of paedophiles Mark Waid, Dan Slott and Brian Bendis were. That Devin Grayson ‘literally sucked her way into the comic industry’ and that Waid ‘left his wife so he can go frickin’ hit on cosplay girls’.
That Matt Santori-Griffith ‘is a fucking fag. He’s just this like flouncing-like super dramatic. Everything is rape, everything is harassment, everything bigotry. I’ve actually found that’s fairly common. One of the things is just like these people they don’t have lives they don’t have families.’
That Heather Antos ‘is a cum dumpster who got a job at Marvel because… Jordan White is a sad sack perv who jacked off to her… the story is that she went and saw him at a convention. It’s like, I’d like to be an editor and he’s like, oh this is going to be a hard sell for HR. Like Jordan White’s going to go to Marvel HR, ‘I really need you to hire her. My spank bank is getting incredibly low’.’ That female editors at Marvel, as seen in the Milkshake photo ‘are literally just work-girlfriends for these creepy middle-aged or approaching middle aged-white guys who can’t get any girl to talk.’
That B Clay Moore ‘is a fucking piece of shit. I’m pretty sure he lives off of his wife like she’s the breadwinner. He’s like in Kansas he never has any kind of real job. I think he intermittently like coaches a girl like high school girls like… baseball.’
And that Mags Visaggio ‘is a fucking crazy person, a criminal, who is definitely, definitely going to kill himself and it’s just where when and how… By the way, Mags did not transition, Mags is a trans trender…. It’s literally just a pervert. It’s a crossdresser it’s someone with a fetish. But they came along just at the right time that were all the trans issues and they’re like, oh we can we can weaponize this.’
‘Kind of floating around the periphery, literally slaps a wig. People seem sent me pictures of this Brian guy…. the picture I saw had a full head of hair, I do not know why he’s going on freakin’ Indiegogo… go give me money… Gofundme, asking for a wig, the wig looks like shit. I’ve seen you frickin’ before you transitioned. You had a full head of curly hair and you’re married to some fat chick and then you turn into a fake girl. Really just Mags is not a fake girl, he’s just a full-time pervert now.’
This was all in just one video. He has posted much more in a similar vein about Mags Visaggio, as well as the likes of Erica Henderson, Tamra Bonvillain, Gabby Rivera, Kelly Sue DeConnick and more.
Bleeding Cool then stated that Meyer posted on his private Facebook group the names of retailers that would not be ordering the book. Meyer posted the names of the retailers, their stores, and their contact information. With the implicit idea that his fans would use that information to call and harass those stores and give them one star ratings on Yelp. Which they did.
In fact, his fans might have been responsible for breaking and entering and theft as well:
“The creator (of Jawbreakers) has been sending targeted harassments to retailers and creators,” said Danica LeBlanc, who owns and runs the west-end comic book store with her partner Brandon Schatz. “If you say anything mildly against him, his followers just come after you.”
LeBlanc says her shop has since been broken into and that about $400 was stolen. She wonders if the smashed window and theft is connected to the decision not to stock Jawbreakers.
But then Antarctic Press decided not to publich “JAWBREAKERS- LOST SOULS.” And that’s where shit hit the fan. Because apparently Mark Waid put in a call to the head of Antarctic Press to inform them of Richard Meyer’s words and actions and Meyer, his friends, and fans all took this as “MARK WAID GOT MEYER’S BOOK CANCELLED, SJW COMIC BOOK CONSPIRACY, THE DEEP STATE OF COMICS,” etc. etc.
No, I’m not making this up. One of the most recent videos on “Diversity & Comics” is titled “Mark Waid & Other SJW Comic Book Pros Unite To INTIMIDATE Small Indy Publisher Into Dropping My Book” and “SJWs Like Mark Waid Turned Comics From An Industry Into A Club So They Can Decide Who Is ALLOWED In.”
Meanwhile, this was the word from Antarctic Press:
And, in fact, Mark Waid informed Rich Johnston of what happened with the phone call:
When I heard that fans and creators were coming down on the AP publisher for doing business with Meyer, I gave him a call. I’d met him before. He seemed like a good guy, and something didn’t jibe; I was surprised that he’d want to get in bed with someone whose idea of marketing was to ask his fans to put together a list of stores that chose not to carry his book and to then circulate that list along with the full names, first and last, of the stores’ employees and their phone numbers for ease of targeting and harassment. (No store “owes” it to customers to carry every comic. No store carries every comic. Stores pick and choose what they wish to sell based on what they think their customers will support and, to some degree, on their own personal feelings about the subject matter, the publisher’s track record, and other factors–including, sometimes, whether or not they want to put money into the pocket of a creator or creators who publicly refer to women in comics as “cumbuckets” or transgender creators as “men in wigs.”) Don’t be fooled, by the way–making that list wasn’t about selling comics or helping or healing the industry–for that, like Mark Millar does, you’d be supportive and circulate a list of stores that DO carry your books. This was flat-out about punishing and harassing and intimidating the stores who didn’t carry his book. “Nice store y’got here. Be a shame if there was allasudden a buncha one-star reviews on Yelp and Google…” C’mon. Why else would you make sure a list existed and was circulated that carried the personal information of not the owners but their employees? Would it be cool with you if, because I didn’t like the way your boss does business, I phoned you directly to complain rather than him? Of course not.
So. I called the publisher, who I knew to be a good guy, because I suspected there was more to this than “Yes, sign us up to make money for the transphobe,” and there was. He’s a busy man who has a full-time day job as well as a publishing house, and he’s not much for social media, so it never occurred to him to vet the creators. Why would it? That’s an honest mistake to make–as a publisher myself, if I see work I like and want to publish, it doesn’t automatically occur to me to just, by the way, make sure the creator is a decent human being (but apparently it ought to–lesson learned). I phoned him out of legitimate concern to warn him that there seemed to be a lot of anger directed at him by fans unhappy that he’d so openly embrace someone whose entire reputation was based on harassment and preaching intolerance and bigotry. Not “warn” him like “Hey, if you know what’s good for you, I’m just sayin’…” — warn him, as someone who has respect for him, that he may not realize who he’d gotten in bed with.
As it turns out, he was way ahead of me on this. It’s not my place to speak for him, but he was appalled that stores–the stores he makes his living selling to–were getting harassed. He’d learned an awful lot about his new partner in the previous 24 hours. He and I had a good, productive conversation, listening to one another, disagreeing on some philosophical points but agreeing on others. Again, by his request, I’m not really at liberty to go into detail about the conversation other than to make clear that (a) he’d pretty much come to his conclusions about what to do long before he and I talked, and (b) he’ll back me up when I report that at no time did I ask him not to publish the book or ask him not to affiliate with its creators. (I don’t have any more right to bully someone into not publishing a comic than they have the right to bully my publishers.) My purpose in calling was to discuss, as we did, the potential fallout and how to navigate it. I offered to, once the dust settles, conduct an interview with him for publication where we can talk about the choices he’s made here and the thinking behind them–they’re pretty interesting, particularly when it comes to the difficulty in separating the artist from the art, and I think it’d be terrifically informative.
From my point of view, I think the publisher clearly had no idea what kind of a man he was helping to enrich, and I’m genuinely impressed that, now knowing what he knows, he’s taken a stand even though he’s in a no-win situation where he can piss off either his longtime customers and creators or a small but loud lynch mob that embraces doxxing and harassment as a marketing strategy
So unless you think Antarctic Press is lying (which: why would they?), they made the decision on their own (based on Meyer’s own words and actions) to not publish the comic. Mark Waid simply added to their reasoning.
But if you really want to read “JAWBREAKERS- LOST SOULS” by Richard Meyer, racist, homophobic, transphobic bully, don’t worry! The Indiegogo campaign is still going and he’s just going to form his own publishing company to publish the book.