We’re living in savage times, and resorting to physical violence is becoming more and more common, as is using metaphors for violence to make a point.

Mark Waid did that, unwisely the other day in a tweet now removed he wrote “It’s to David Gabriel’s enormous credit that he somehow chooses, every day, not to put his fist through Jude Terror’s smug ass face.”

This was in response to Bleeding Cool staff writer Jude Terror’s highly critical stance toward Marvel and the comics industry in general.

Given Waid’s reputation as a hothead, this tweet got a lot of criticism, as it was a n unfunny attempt at humor that made light of physical violence.

What happened next is what’s the most shocking. Terror’s boss at Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston, agreed with the threat.

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Bleeding Cool does not have an online masthead but he’s usually credited as editor, or editor-in-chief. While this does make it difficult to ascertain whether he’s above Terror  as a direct supervisor he does have a more senior position at the site.

While comics writers advocating physical violence against critics is unacceptable, this kind of workplace harassment is shocking. Johnston should be fired immediately for harassing an employee.

In a post today on the site, Johnston seemed to be oblivious to ever agreeing with Waid’s tweet.


Except that he did talk about punching him in the face.

After widespread criticism of his own tweet, Waid has removed his twitter account.

Johnston’s tweet – and his denial about ever making it – are both still on the web.

Asked for an on the record response to his threat, Johnston asked for more time to answer.

UPDATE: Here is his response:

“Heidi, you asked me for comment, I asked for five minutes but you told me “OK I’m running the story then”. When I asked if you could wait just five minutes you said “I’ll update it.  Anyway, Jude and I have an understanding in general about our social media rivalry, and that he understood I was kidding. It was posted to underline the ridiculousness of what Mark Waid had said.”

Perhaps all this is a joke…but who gets to choose what and when problemactic things are funny?



  1. You also said more that “I’ll update it” that I included in my comment. Feel free to mention the four other words you used, that you deleted, that might give your attitude to this more context for you readers.

  2. That was quite obviously and joke on Rich’s part and it sounds like you are in the wrong, since he asked you to wsit, but you ran the story anyway.

    You also don’t seem to realize that Jude and Rich tease each other constantly and we’re obviously not serious.

    You should learn to check your facts and do research, like a proper journalist.

  3. “but who gets to choose what and when problemactic things are funny?”

    It seems to me that in this instance the correct answer is Jude Terror. What does he have to say about it?

  4. Reads to me pretty clearly as a joke. If anything it seems like more of a sarcastic jab against Waid than anything else but hey that’s just my two cents/pence.Johnston should learn the power of the emoji.

    Maybe it’s the Brit/US humour-gap problem. Brits make stuff like Brass Eye and Fleabag, Americans make stuff like the Daily Show and Girls. Brits have been hilariously fucked up since their empire came down

  5. Certainly Heidi, when you first contacted me I didn’t know it was a request for an on the record comment. And when you told me that’s what it was, I asked for five minutes to at least craft it properly. Because I said something like, I was joking, I was clearly lying about any support for anyone punching Jude because it was a joke, and I’d cleared it with Jude. That’s what I wrote off the top of my head. Then when you asked if it was on the record, I wanted to get it down correctly so that it couldn’t be misinterpreted and I asked for five minutes to do that. You said you were going to publish now and would update. But you also gave me four words as to why you were publishing now and updating later. Feel free to share them with your readers.

  6. Very funny article, Heidi. Nicely done! BC can dish it out all they want, but when the tables are turned, they never can seem to take it can they? What a hypocritical, gross tabloid site.

  7. Levi, in what way can’t we take it? I don’t think I’ve objected to the article at all. I did think that maybe five minutes to comment was a reasonable request, and I do think Heidi should state those four words to you all, but we’re certainly fair game for any such piece, even if its intent seems to be to muddy the actions of an old friend of hers online…

  8. I’m more upset that she didn’t link to Bleeding Cool when cutting and pasting that comment from an article, so that people could see it in context….

  9. Except Waid never threatened to punch anyone in the face in that tweet and he also didn’t advocate punching anyone in the face.
    When you say it is to someone’s “credit” that they resist doing something, that’s not the same as saying they should be doing that, it’s an extreme (and childish) form of complimenting someone’s character.
    Clearly Waid was trying to speak in support of Gabriel and against “Jude Terror” (stupidity stays in quotation makes until I know whether it’s his REAL name or not).
    And honestly, Heidi, IMO this kind of thing is nothing more than clickbait bullshit and you are better than that.

  10. Posting intentionally misleading headlines, blowing a tiny thing out of proportion, twisting someone’s words in order to demonize that person, leaving out some context.

    It’s a BC parody article about BC, and now you’re getting the experience and you hate it!

  11. Fabian, it is not his real name, it is a pseudonym, just as many writers and reporters use and have used.

  12. “Perhaps all this is a joke…but who gets to choose what and when problemactic things are funny?”

    Perhaps the people involved, and not someone who seems to have an axe to grind against BC all the time (and often posting similar stories after they run at BC…hmmm).

    Whatever these four words are, Heidi, you should be a grownup and let your readers know what they were. Pretty sure they’re not flattering to yourself.

  13. Sorry Heidi…I love the site, but this article is a strikeout. “Clickbait bullshit” is harsh, but not far off the mark.

  14. Oh my God, did you reallly print this? Heidi, you really need introducing to something called “British humour” Pip pip!

  15. I don’t know who “Jude Terror” is, barely care about Bleeding Cool or Rich Johnston and used to enjoy Mark Waid, but they all still look better in this than Heidi.


  16. And y’all wonder why nobody takes any of you seriously? This isn’t journalism, it’s high-school detention-room bickering.

  17. I’m just writing something so I can be a part of this legendary comment thread before it gets closed. And hey, who knows, maybe I’ll end up in a screencap. Comics history!

  18. With all due respect — I know it’s fashionable among some comic professionals to outright denigrate or passive-aggressively bash Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston, and Jude Terror (the latter moreso since he left The Outhouse and began writing for BC), but from out here on the outskirts, watching things for the past decade or so, Rich, Jude, and BC have had the fortitude and courage to report on a WIDE range of things that impact those very same snarky creators – things that other comic journalism sites either avoided talking about or didn’t report on until after BC had beat them to it.

    That shit gets tiresome, and it is especially tiresome from The Beat. At a time when more and more comic journalism sites are falling to tone earned from years he wayside or resorting to press release churn, I come here for insight like Brian Hibbs;s column and the monthly sales chart analysis. Sadly, I find those are about the only thing I come here regularly for anymore.

    I’d much rather read an in-depth analysis weighted with Heidi’s unique perspective as a woman who has been covering this industry for 20+ years, than I would another passive aggressive complaint about Rich Johnston or Trump voters. We get it. You don’t care for either. You’ve established it, and it’s well known, just as Rich and Jude’s comedic rivalry is well known.

    I know mine is just one opinion, but it’s the opinion of a regular visitor who does, on occasion, click the sponsor ads over there on the sidebar.

  19. So a couple people now have suggested that the purpose of this article is that it’s a parody of Bleeding Cool’s reporting style. If that’s the goal then I definitely see the resemblance (and the point), but clearly you’re hitting Poe’s Law pretty hard here.

  20. And since I can’t edit the above (and the browser mangled it) that second paragraph should read:

    ‘That shit gets tiresome, and it is especially tiresome from The Beat. At a time when more and more comic journalism sites are falling to to the wayside or resorting to press release churn, I come here for insight like Brian Hibbs;s column and the monthly sales chart analysis. Sadly, I find those are about the only thing I come here regularly for anymore.’

    Apologies for the error.

  21. I was about to wonder if Heidi has truly gone through life without ever making a joke at a friend that she wouldn’t make to a stranger but I guess by the time she looks up the relevant page in the SJW Handbook on acceptable behaviour the moment has usually passed.

  22. Dean wrote: “You can’t punch a pseudonym.”

    And yet, comics history has several apocryphal legends of people who threatened to do just that to one Jacob Kurtzberg.

  23. I agree with Fabian on this, Heidi. This isn’t news, it’s “let’s you and him fight” gossip.

  24. I give Rich Johnston some credit, he broke some big news via rumors. But his site quickly became a joke. And whatever credibility that he had went out the window when Jude Terror joined the site. Rich used to name his column, “Lying in the Gutters” well now his site and his brand truly IS in the gutter. The worst example of comics journalism out there. Of course, Rich will say “I’m not a journalist”

  25. Heidi wrote: “So after an hour of comments, the takeaway here is that my joke and Mark’s joke were bad. But Rich’s joke was fine.”

    Perhaps the takeaway should be that neither you or Rich have a documented history of engaging in similar online harassment, bullying, and statements made from anger, and Mark Waid does, and thus, any “joke” he makes involving violence is going to be (rightly or wrongly) weighted against such.

  26. Usually I’d go to The Beat and specifically Heidi to get an in-depth and thoughtful analysis of this kind of petty interaction, but it seems I’m out of luck in this situation! I understand why BC’s tone isn’t to everybody’s liking, but I can’t quite get the sheer animosity directed at the site and Rich himself. Heidi, I’m an avid follower of both your site and BC, because they provide me with true insight into the industry and they don’t pull any punches. Maybe you’re offended to be put in the same category as Rich, but I see both of you as important voices. Jude Terror definitely grated on me at first, but I feel like he’s also grown as a contributor and now somewhat implausibly complements Rich’s approach.

    It seems pretty clear that Rich was joking, and your article reflects some sort of bone to pick on your end. I wish that as two of the few remaining voices in comics journalism (I understand that both you and Rich would have a problem with him being called that) there would be some mutual respect between the two of you. In the past I definitely got the sense that Rich respected you, and I didn’t see much evidence of you disliking him so much. Maybe you became a bit overzealous, and the article can be corrected as a result?

    Oh, and what were those four words?!

  27. Can we all go back to laughing at Davd Gabriel and Alex Alonso? They both said sooooooo many stupid things!

  28. Although Terror at least doesn’t plagiarise his work, I had the same basic reaction to it the first time I read a piece of his that I had to Carlos Mencia’s standup act the first time I saw it: namely, thinking ‘my, that’s a safe, boring comedian who’s in immense denial about both their actual level of skill and actual level of bravery.’

  29. Heidi wrote: “So after an hour of comments, the takeaway here is that my joke and Mark’s joke were bad. But Rich’s joke was fine.”

    I’m not really sure what your joke was – Declaring Rich’s tweet workplace harassment? Calling for him to be fired immediately? Even if you claim this article was a parody, you seemed pretty genuine in those proclamations. And placing it in the context of your other comment: “A lot of victims of violence would say that joking about it is never funny, Brian, no matter what the context.”

    I would think workplace harassment also constitutes a touchy subject for some. Furthermore, I would maintain that Mark Waid joked about violence, while Rich joked about Mark Waid. However, Waid apparently was only “unfunny”, while Rich is scum and needs to be fired? You’ve lost me a bit.

  30. Also, can we all be nicer to Heidi? She tried a joke and it didn’t connect like she hoped. I think we’ve all been there.

    Also, I’m sure the people who work at Marvel are fine people who mean well, but their comments about diversity do deserve some scrutiny. Some of us do that with humor.

  31. I’m SO torn on this.

    On the one hand, I love good satire, and this piece is a biting example. But good god, Ms. Macdonald, the thing is so inside-baseball that it’s practically made of cork!

    I mean, an uninitiated reader could be easily confused or misled by this sort of– oh, okay, good point.

  32. Please tell me this post is a joke. There’s a lot to be offended by in the comics world but expressing annoyance through a metaphor isn’t one of them. We’ve all known people that we thought could use a swift kick in the butt, and expressed as much. That doesn’t mean anybody is advocating real world physical violence. Freedom of speech is always touted until somebody hears something they don’t like.

  33. @Blakeney: What on earth does freedom of speech have to do with anything? Freedom of speech means freedom from government punishment, not private criticism.

  34. Yeah, Heidi’s overreaction is cringe-worthy. I suppose we should try to suppress any reference to violence in our communications with one another. Playful punch in the arm? Problematic! Using the phrase “Killed it.”? Savage! Not to mention just the pettiness of it all. Honestly, this one post has put me off so much, knowing that this is how the staff write and think here makes me not want to read Comics Beat (I know, an overreaction of my own, but that’s what I’m feeling).

  35. I guess I’m still trying to figure out if it was a joke, and what the joke was, while being incredibly respectful to Heidi, who I admire.

    @Roger Benningfield, It’s hard for me to buy this as biting satire when it seems the exchange between Heidi and Rich was very real and hostile. Also, based on Heidi’s later comments, she seems genuinely upset at Rich’s remarks…

    I’m all for further scrutinizing of Marvel’s comments – the actual story going on in the industry, which seems a bit under-reported at The Beat.

  36. By the way, Waid’s tweet is not a “metaphor for violence”. It’s a remark about violence, though a facetious one.

  37. Wow, I’m just losing all kind of respect for the comic industry this week. Rich was obviously joking. The fact you took this seriously and spent the time to make an article about it is ridiculous.

  38. Subtle jokes don’t work with comics readers…now you know :) The upside, when taken seriously they generate more comments that sales charts!

  39. I don’t think it clearly connected with a lot of readers that this was a biting parody of a Bleeding Cool article — Roger’s point about it being VERY inside baseball is spot on. That’s probably also true of a lot of the self-parody that goes on at Bleeding Cool as well, where every other article by Rich or Jude seems to come with a wink or a smirk attached. I like both sites, but I think readers tend to expect a bit more earnestness from the Beat’s reporting.
    However, if the comments on this article are indicative of the level of traffic it’s getting, we may have all learned something about why BC constantly runs articles like this one…

  40. I still have a hard time accepting it as mere parody, since there seems to be a genuine beef going on between the two players. I’m well informed of the style of each site and that Heidi was emulating BC – my problem is not with that, but that she was using the parody to air a grievance that she seems to take very seriously, and wondering why that is.

  41. Waid’s comment was in poor choice, but Heidi’s stereotypical “Super Politically Correct Social Justice Warrior” reaction to what was a pretty obvious joke post by Rich is eye rolling at the least.

  42. Heidi, keep doing what your doing. Watching the dumb people not get the joke is as funny as the article itself.

    Serious question though, has any comics journalist ever been physically attacked by a comics professional? I had a creator look at me like they wanted to murder me once over a scathing review, but that’s about it.

    Note: The above question does not apply to Rich Johnston because he’s not a comics journalist. ;)

  43. Heidi wrote: “A lot of victims of violence would say that joking about it is never funny, Brian, no matter what the context.”

    But others would say that laughing at something is the only way to rob it of its power (something I was told as a kid by a Holocaust survivor, who was referring to jokes about Nazis on Hogan’s Heroes).

    You asked who gets to decide what’s funny? The answer is that everyone gets to decide for themselves.

  44. Both of yours sites are garbage, and both of you are mouth breathing hacks with execrable taste and wretched records of personal behavior.

    Were there any sort of “justice” in this field, you’d both end up on traffic islands begging for money.

  45. I tend not to like the insular nature of some comic site jokes that mislead readers not in the know (e.g., Jess Lemon, which seemed designed to make fun of the readers not in on the joke), but this was pretty clearly treating Rich and Jude exactly the way they treated Gabriel and Alonso and others. So kudos to Heidi, especially for showing Rich how those sorts of articles and approach can really frustrate someone..

    This is “Inside Baseball” but in a way that may actually provoke self-reflection. Let’s hope.

  46. Levi, I don’t hate it at all, it’s absolutely fine.

    I do think Heidi should share with you those missing four words from my comment that she deleted, though.

  47. Jamie, its true, I wouldn’t count, because, yes, I have been beaten up by a comics professional, and received death threats from another. But that kind of thing has always been par for the course for reporters in all sorts of fields.

  48. I work in a masculine job environment and us men joke like this with each other all the time. It is kind of like a bonding of sorts. We call out each other and test one another. We build trust that way with one another. It is called breaking someone’s balls. All in jest. I guess Social Justice Warriors are offended by a male bonding that has been around for 1000s of years and they are going to show us cavemen the way. ☺

  49. What the…. I read or “browse” Bleeding Cool and even your cut and paste here I would instantly assume that Rich Johnston was joking. Why would you NOT think that was a joke? Maybe this BEAT article is supposed to be some high level humor we are all missing?

  50. “Maybe this BEAT article is supposed to be some high level humor we are all missing?”

    I don’t think it’s high level at all. It’s pretty clear that she’s mocking Bleeding Cool and its style of “journalism”.

    Sadly this bit of japery has more comments on it than most other stories on the site – which explains why Bleeding Cool does what it does and why it’s still standing while other comics “journalism” sites continue to die off or change their format into more general pop culture sites (and continue to die off anyway).

  51. Heidi wrote: “A lot of victims of violence would say that joking about it is never funny, Brian, no matter what the context.”

    A lot of people would say that about using the word “retarded” as an insult, but Heidi picks and chooses when offensive joking is funny and when it isn’t.

  52. Mark Waid has ALWAYS done this. He’s one of the most ridiculous “tough talkers” in comics, whether it’s Rob Granito or people on a message board- protected by his industry status and the internet, he always tries to come off as some kind of rugged fist-fighter- look at Mark Waid! There’s nothing tough about him! The fact that editors and contributors on BleedingCool are personalities now shows how diluted the laughable comics industry has become!

  53. As a concerned comic reader I try to read sites like The Beat to get insight into the industry. But isnt there more pressing issues than what some two guys talking in guy talk? For heaven sake its just bravado,

  54. This is so clearly meant as a direct satire of BC’s clickbait chasing, empty sensation stirring and deliberately misleading style of “reporting” that it’s hilarious that a) Rich Johnston is offended to be targeted by it and b) that anyone would take this as a serious news item and not recognize it as a biting – and apparently far too-close-to-home for Rich – send-up of BC.

    Well done, Heidi .

  55. Brian – NAILED IT.

    This post connected mostly with people who prefer to DM and email me.

    And I believe that, like Starship Troopers, it’s true intent will be properly interpreted only by future generations.

  56. Is this going to be the only statement on Marvel shifting the blame to “diverse” books for their poor sales?

    BleedingCool was quoting a published article and had linked to it. They didn’t take a joke out of context or anything.

    I find myself even more disappointed in the comics industry everyday. I wish the whole thing would burn to the ground somedays.

  57. Has anyone ever seen Rich Johnston and Jude Terror in the same room? Rich’s initial agreement with Waid suggests to me a wink and a nod tacit admission that they’re the same person, a sly admission that is perfectly in keeping with both Rich’s character and sense of humour.

  58. Max, haven’t I said that I’m not offended. Thought I had at least twice. If not, then this is twice.

    No one has yet guessed Heidi’s four words. Sorry, Brian.

  59. Just pointing out that the original posts from Mark Waid and Jude Terror appear to have been made on April 1.

  60. @Chris Hero:
    If you read the original report by ICv2 and not the clickbait version from other sources you will see that it was not Marvel “shifting blame” it was Marvel and retailers discussion potential reasons for the decline in sales.
    One of the things mentiones was the diversity of characters but it was just ONE thing, it was Gabriel quoting retailers and not someone blaming something.

  61. WTF? I read both sites all the time and this is still way too inside baseball for me. Like it reads like it’s meant to be a joke, but then neither Heidi or Rich seem to be laughing in the comments. But then maybe they’re just going super deep committing to it and bringing back website feuds for laffs and clicks? (The sort of thing that trying to decipher back in the day lead me to The Beat in the first place!)

    Surely the takeaway isn’t Bleeding Cool playing silly buggers with each other/click baiting* to anything comics related, but yet again Marvel staffers acting like man-child’s and lashing out at people/fans for criticism online (or in this case reposting quote from an exec at their company)?
    That was the takeaway for me from the article about the tweet – Marvel comics execs and pros will blame everything and anyone else to avoid responsibilities for their fuck ups.
    Y’know, if your circling the drain and struggling to get good will back, maybe stop the writers and editors from continuing to argue with / fantasise about violence towards journo’s and fans?

    *cept the article on Waid’s tweet wasn’t really click bait as I understand the term.

  62. Y’know the weirdest thing about all this? Bleeding Cool didn’t do an article about this article!

    I’m scared, the world doesn’t make any sense any more.

  63. I presume the the four words were along the lines “wait until I post” or “after I get clicks”

    Even if so, it doesn’t change what I see as the point of the article.

  64. @Fabian Nicieza
    when someone says its to someones credit its not just a bad compliment it implies that’s what i would do in a sense. he could have said any form of retribution from shorting his sheets to keying his car, he used those words to express his own outrage… the words smug ass face kinda sets the tone

  65. I just don’t understand why a website such as Comics Beat that otherwise has good, serious coverage of the comics industry gets so incensed by tabloid-like rival Bleeding Cool. Articles like this really hurt the Comics Beat brand. Leave the gossipy sniping to the site that already has gossip as its core brand identity.

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