Is ComicsGate the new GamerGate?
By Joe Harker
For those who are unaware, GamerGate is a harassment campaign that targets women in the video game industry with doxxing, rape threats and even death threats.
An army of internet trolls identified people they thought were messing with their games and made numerous threats against them, creating a generation that knew how to stir up hatred and were collectively willing to put lives at risk for the terrible crime of criticising something they liked.
GamerGate's main targets were women, though soon anyone who disagreed with the doxxing mob became branded as a social justice warrior, or SJW. These were people who held progressive views and backed causes such as feminism and multiculturalism. To the GamerGaters these SJWs were ill informed and ready to warp their beloved games with political correctness, a kind of thought police that was coming for them.
Now there's ComicsGate, described as the "next horrible evolution" of GamerGate by opponents and by themselves as an online movement that believes the comic book industry is ignoring their market and pandering to demographics that aren't interested.
They believe political messages have taken over their comics and are aimed at people who don't even read them. They argue the industry hires people based on their race and sexuality, going for people from "oppressed demographics" as part of an "elitist purge" against anything not seen as progressive enough.
Major figures in the comic book industry recently spoke out, sharing messages of opposition to ComicsGate. They championed comic books as the medium for "the outsider and the outcast", something where everyone should be able to find something that speaks to them.
Unfortunately, it will take more than some tweets from writers and artists to stop ComicsGate. Critics of the movement tend to get lumped in with SJWs as everything wrong with the industry, thus becoming targets for harassment and abuse. When they tried to claim a deceased artist would have supported ComicsGate and his widow told them otherwise she was abused, harassed and accused of lying about her identity.
Writing in The Guardian, J.A Micheline suggested that ComicsGate is the latest part of culture wars. Just as GamerGate was described as a proxy battle over who culture belongs to, now ComicsGate is the latest iteration of that war. They are another group claiming a medium belongs to them and deciding that what is different isn't acceptable.
If they are not spoken out against and stopped then in a few years time there will be another uproar with a Gate suffix that centers around abuse and harassment from people who think their status as fans grants them ownership and the right to deny others from participation.