If you were on Twitter over the weekend, you probably noticed that publisher Dynamite Comics found itself at the center of a pretty big controversy, prompting creators and retailers alike to drop working with them. What happened?

While rumblings of C*micsgate affiliations have been brewing for about a year now, the proverbial poo hit the fan when the company announced a special cover by known CGers Cecil and Donal Delay that would feature “Cecil’s Next Big Thing” alongside Dynamite flagship characters Vampirella and Red Sonja. The backlash to the Twitter announcement was almost immediate, with Kwanza Osajyefo calling them out and demanding that support for the company cease considering the association with a known hate group.

Dynamite’s list of creators on some of their top books had already started declaring they would no longer be taking on work with the company if they continued any sort of association with CG. Earlier this month, after Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci took part in a CG livestream and publicly bid on artwork from Cecil, Karla Pacheco, who just began work on a new Bettie Page series, announced her departure from the publisher until a leadership change takes place.

Creators speaking out against Dynamite intensified over the weekend. Mark Russell was another huge announcement since the writer’s ongoing Red Sonja book has been getting rave reviews and has prompted miniseries and side stories for the character’s canon universe. The list of creators who’ve previously done work for the company now denouncing them goes on.

The Beat received a statement from a longtime and prolific collaborator with Dynamite regarding the controversy, who has asked to remain anonymous.

“As a Dynamite freelancer, I’m disappointed with the recent actions of Nick [Barrucci] and his affiliation with CG. Being a creative who depends on income from this company to support my family, especially during this shaky time, it puts me and many others in the uncomfortable position of choosing between earning a living or becoming professionally associated with repugnant individuals. Equally alarming is the double standard of those demanding us to renounce Dynamite, as no one is asking for the same from Marvel freelancers, considering the fact that their CEO has a history of racism and serves as part of the Drumpf administration.”

As more creators spoke up, Dynamite issued a statement regarding the controversy. It didn’t help.

“In speaking with Cecil,” Barrucci’s statement reads, “neither one of us realized the cover would be so polarizing. We discussed and are not moving forward with the cover or the campaign.”

Barrucci’s statement seemed to miss the point. While the cover itself is a problem, the bigger issue is the consistent associations with known CGers. Some angry creators agreed it was a small step but not enough, while others said it was not even close to what was needed to save the company.

And then the other side chimed in…

As instantly as it was demanded that Dynamite reassess their moral compass, the ‘gaters attacked and started accusing the publisher of “kneeling” to “SJWs.”

So what exactly is happening? From an outsider’s perspective (a.k.a. my humble opinion), it looks like it comes down to appeasing both sides in favor of a sale. Choosing one side means alienating the other, and that turns into a smaller audience for your books and merchandise. Of course, your beliefs should be a factor when deciding to side with a group known to spout venom at women, LGBTQIA, creators of color, and more. Knowing many people on staff at Dynamite, the company as a whole is not hateful, and judging by their creator list, they have hired a diverse group of creators, which is why the decision to work with known CGers is so confusing and disturbing.

Next steps?

Well, it’s a mess, to say the least. Dynamite has two very opposing sides shouting at them. The question is, which side will the company listen to? You can’t play both in this CG game. One side’s politics is too ugly, demeaning, and, let’s be honest, dangerous.

Let’s see what Dynamite does next.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Dynamite ruined their brand reputation forever. The only thing that will save the company is to replace its leadership and make meaningful changes. This isn’t the kind of thing that blows over.

    That twitter story/meme about not letting the1 nazi punk sit at your bar because more will show up over time is appropriate here. Reject the infestation of hate groups like comicsgate and the creators that align with them.

  2. Both sides are pretty repugnant.

    On the one hand, you have a group that seems to bask in attacking marginalized groups while hiding behind free speech as though that excuses hate. Lot’s of the stuff that spews from their keyboards is disgusting and they should be called out for it.

    On the other hand, you have a group of people who openly support marxist groups and empower these groups to attack and burn down communities because they have grievances. They tweet and retweet horrible things about the police and anyone who disagrees with them for any reason. I can’t buy into that either – its just another brand of hatred that masquerades as tolerance and uses the justification that because they have been marginalized its ok to go out and destroy someone else’s life. They quickly demonize anyone who may disagree with anything they say because THEY are the righteous and the other side is a bunch of racist nazi pigs.

    The sad thing is that people on both sides put out fun stuff to read which is really what the comic industry is about. One side will win this skirmish in the culture war but the hatred from both will continue to infect the community and destroy it. I honestly am ready to find another hobby. These groups can both go pound sand.

  3. On the one hand, you have a group that seems to bask in attacking marginalized groups while hiding behind free speech as though that excuses hate. Lot’s of the stuff that spews from their keyboards is disgusting and they should be called out for it.

    On the other hand, you have people who don’t.

    Seems fine to me.

    I assume The Beat is going to stop running advertorials from Dynamite from now on.

    Also, any comment on Charles Brownstein?

    I assume this comment will be “awaiting moderation”.

  4. I was wondering if you’d even run this story given how much money you take off them for plugging their books.

  5. All this hysterical hubbub over a variant cover? Sheeze, get a grip. And the only “hate” I see is pretty much coming from the cadre of Left-wing “pros” (just read their tweets for proof).

  6. Considering EVS put Barrucci on blast today and revealed that Dynamite was a silent partner in the printing and distribution of his various crowdfunding campaigns, this isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I do love how it’s very clear that Barrucci needs to leave Dynamite, but no one will call Mike Richardson to do the same at Dark Horse (and his turning a blind eye to harassment of all kinds at his company arguably did as much damage as CG, it’s just less loud and obvious.)

  7. “Charles Brownstein?”

    Hell, the Beat still hasn’t done any stories about Gerard Jones pleading guilty and being sentenced, what makes you think they’ll cover Brownstein at all?

  8. They’re still plugging Tucci’s IGG, it’s their property but Tucci is CG Republican trash.

    I liked Whitley’s Vamparella run and was considering checking out Christopher Priests current one and that spin off book, but now not so much because they are laying down with fleas and I don’t want any.

  9. We’ve covered Brownstein and the CBLDF here:

    https://www.comicsbeat.com/cbldf-loses-support-charles-brownstein-allegations/

    here:

    https://www.comicsbeat.com/charles-brownstein-officially-out-at-the-cbldf/

    and here:

    https://www.comicsbeat.com/kibbles-n-bits-7-8-2020-carol-kalish-remembered/

    and will continue to cover the CBLDF, and have mentioned the Jones conviction many times in the two years since it occurred, but go ahead and continue mentioning it in comments on every other story if that’s your jam.

  10. What a shock: the company that thrives on T & A comics has affiliations with the woman-hating Comicsgate movement. Never would have seen that coming!

    Of course, the Dynamite fans excuse the T & A by saying that Bettie Page, Red Sonja and the rest are “strong female characters.” They just can’t help exposing as much flesh as they can get away with, without the comics being shelved with Playboy and Penthouse.

  11. Dynamite should have told all the flouncers to take a long walk off a short pier. I imagine some of them would have come crawling back eventually, and in any case it’s not as if there was a shortage of people wanting to be published.

  12. I dropped Vampirella, Sacred Six, and Red Sonja from my pull list this weekend as a result. I wasn’t interested in the characters, I was only buying them because Priest & Russell are two of my favorite writers.

    Likewise I try and separate the personal opinions of writers & artists from the work they produce. Still, ComicsGate is human scum and I can’t stand separate Dynamite from their trash actions in this scenario. Why are companies so stupid about this? The reality is the anti-Comics Gate is a hell of a lot bigger than the ComicsGate crowd. Why a company would actively risk alienating a much larger chunk of the audience to appease a small group of bigots is beyond me.

    Good riddance to Dynamite, they brought very little to the industry and look like they will be on life support moving forward.

  13. George: What good comics has the ComicsGate crowd put out? I’m seriously struggling to come up with anything, especially since the only guy anyone has ever heard of (EVS) is blacklisted forever from any reputable company and instead of actually drawing just goes on long rants on social media.

    You might hate the opinions of the crowd against ComicsGate, but at least some of those creators have actually written and drawn something that people have wanted to read in the last 5 years.

  14. Maybe now all the great characters for which they have the rights will get picked up by reputable companies and we can get better comics featuring them.

  15. Easy money on betting that the Dynamite freelancer who tried to allude to Marvel and Perlmutter is Christopher Priest.

  16. So we’re mad at comicsgaters for supposedly harassing creators and attacking people who work with them and so, in retaliation we’re going to… harass creators and attack people who work with them?
    Sure… that makes…sense?

    I mean, if you don’t agree with this company hiring someone in the ‘group’, then just don’t buy things from them. Why are we trying to intimidate retailers into dropping their comics And shaming other creators for working for them?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.