Allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct mired the comics industry in the summer of 2020.
We continue our series that looks back at the biggest comics industry news trends of 2020. Watch for more posts all this week.
In the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the countless protests in the United States following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota this past summer, a wave of allegations against comics creators and industry figures became public. These allegations ranged from abuse to harassment to other forms of sexual misconduct. Many brave people stepped forward to tell their stories and share what happened to them over the course of several weeks in June.
The comics industry isn’t unique in this regards; at the same time that the allegations against comics pros occurred, the professional wrestling industry was going through what was dubbed the Speaking Out movement. And both follow the bigger #MeToo movement that began to go viral back in 2017, which revealed the bad behavior by many entertainment industry figures (as well as politicians, captains of industry and, well, just about every other industry out there).
And in comics, harassment has, unfortunately, been part of the landscape for decades. In more recent years high-profile industry figures like Eddie Berganza and Brian Wood have been accused and subsequently lost work as a result, so to say that this is “new” would be inaccurate.
What seemed to set 2020 apart, however, was the number of allegations that occurred in such a short amount of time. Some were industry figures who had previously been accused, while others were newly revealed.
Continue reading “Looking Back | Speaking out”
Plus: News on Fantagraphics’ new logo, the CBLDF, Ignatz Awards and more.
Publishing: DC Comics’ long-delayed The Other History of the DC Universe finally has a release date: the first issue by 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley and artists Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrea Cucchi and José Villarrubia will arrive in November. That issue will focus on Black Lightning, and Ridley spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his history with the character:
When Black Lightning came out, I remember, as a younger person, how that felt to have a series that was led by a man of color, who in his regular identity was a teacher. Like I said, my mom was a teacher. It was a comic book that really, for me, for the first time, I felt like, “Oh, okay, this is for us as much as anybody else. The book, the universe, all of those things, you know, this is for us.” If I ever had at an age felt like, “Oh, I want to be a writer, I want to be a creator, I want to be a storyteller, I want to deal in the fantastic,” certainly when Black Lightning came out, it was a moment that galvanized that feeling.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown | ‘The Other History of the DC Universe’ gets a release date”
Plus: News on Diamond, Art Spiegelman, Dragon Con and more.
Writing for The Comics Journal, Michael Dean has a long article detailing additional allegations against Charles Brownstein, the former executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Dean spoke with many former CBLDF, employees, including former Development Manager Cheyenne (Shy) Allott, who had been under an NDA about her time at the CBLDF until recently.
“My trouble with Charles started three days into my employment, at ComicsPro in Memphis, Tennessee,” Allott said. “Upon arrival at the show, I went to check into my hotel room only to discover that Charles had booked us in the same room together. I was instantly uncomfortable with this arrangement and for the first time, I saw Charles drop his charming facade and switch into an accusatory tone. He stated that it wasn’t fiscally responsible for me to have my own room, as we were a non-profit. I felt like I was misusing funds simply by asking that question.” Brownstein did not respond to TCJ’s request for comment.
The Comics Journal also sent questions to the CBLDF board, which CBLDF President Christina Merkler responded to. You can read her responses here, but one thing she addressed was whether CBLDF was still viable — a question many have been asking over the last couple weeks:
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown | More allegations against CBLDF’s Brownstein brought to light”
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund loses three board members following the resignation of Executive Director Charles Brownstein.
In the wake of Charles Brownstein’s resignation from his position with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, two members of the CBLDF board have resigned, while another has announced his retirement from the board.
Both Katherine Keller and Jeff Abraham have resigned from the board, and Paul Levitz will “retire,” according to a post on the CBLDF site.
“We respect the decisions that Paul, Katherine and Jeff have made to leave the Board. We realize it will be a long path to earning back the trust of our members, supporters and the industry. We recognize that it’s been our inability to react, or act at all, that’s been the cause of pain in our community,” the CBLDF said in the post. “Even last week, when we took the necessary action in accepting Charles’s resignation, our communications were stilted and clumsy. To everyone who has come forward, we haven’t done justice to your bravery and we are truly sorry. We vow to be better.”
Continue reading “Two CBLDF board members resign; one retires”
The move follows several days of creators saying they would no longer support the CBLDF as long as he was their executive director.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board released a statement today saying that they have “accepted the resignation of Charles Brownstein as Executive Director.”
The move follows several days of creators calling for his removal on social media, which you can read about on The Beat. The push for his removal stems from a 2005 incident where Brownstein allegedly assaulted artist Taki Soma.
Here’s the statement in full:
Continue reading “Charles Brownstein resigns from the CBLDF”