Comics-artist-turned-commentator Ethan Van Sciver recently posted a video on his YouTube channel leveling a series of attacks at writer Gail Simone, many of them related to a Firestorm comic the two worked on together in 2011.
That kind of rant (Van Sciver’s video spanned 90 minutes), sadly, has become unsurprising from the artist. Once a celebrated creator of marquee superhero projects, Van Sciver no longer works for Marvel nor DC and has now firmly established himself as a face of C*micsG*te (at best a misguided and poorly-informed consumer movement, at worst an organized right wing hate campaign that predominantly targets marginalized fans and creators).
It’s all nasty business, of which much has been said. This morning, however, Simone responded directly to Van Sciver with a post on her Facebook which described the past friendship between herself and the artist. She complimented his talent often and noted that there were problems on Firestorm, but refuted nature of those problems and almost every other claim in that video, painting a picture of bitter and distorted perception on his behalf.
Read her Facebook post in its entirety below:
I just watched some of Ethan Van Sciver’s long video rant about me, and it’s the oddest thing ever.
It’s the first of these I’ve watched of his videos, and I had to stop.
Ethan conveniently forgets a LOT here.
I am not mean enough to respond in kind about anything personal. We WERE friends for a long time.
Ethan would talk to me every day, sometimes for hours. We disagreed about politics, but we agreed about what made good comics. Ethan and I shared, I think, a similar problem, we took comics very personally, and were both extremely resentful of what we thought was unnecessary and damaging interference in the work.
Ethan began having some issues, I think he was suffering from depression. I say this completely without judgment, he was going through a hard time. Where our original discussions were fun and our debate lively, we both started struggling a lot during the New 52 and Firestorm in particular was an unending nightmare. Maybe he wasn’t experiencing full-blown depression, I’m not a doctor, but he went very dark for a long time. And I felt terrible for him. I was pretty dark myself for a good bit. If he WAS depressed, I wouldn’t blame him at all.
He was going through a lot. Here’s the kind of terrible friend I am, when things were at their worst for him, he made a deal with his ex-wife. He was allowed to talk to one friend about the problems he was experiencing. He could vent to that friend only. And he chose me to be that friend. And I listened and tried to help where I could. For a long, long time.
Because friends do that.
Most people who know him will say he changed a lot during this time, I thought so, too, but I also thought it was understandable. I don’t want to reveal personal stuff. But he had a lot in his plate and I felt terrible for him. Ethan, the fact that none of that counts as actual friendship to you now, and I am just some deceitful SJW, is both hurtful and nonsensical. I asked for nothing from you, ever. And I was there for you endlessly. I am sure you had pro friends leeching off you, but I never asked you for a blessed thing.
I know you’re going to read this. And you should know, those same people talking bad things about me to you were talking bad things about you to me, too. One pretty big name said I was ‘the last human being who could still talk to Ethan Van Sciver.” There’s a lot more. I don’t feel great about repeating that stuff, so I won’t.
There’s a bunch of stuff in the rant that, if I am being charitable, could just be how things were presented to you, rather than a deliberate spin.
But there are some facts you omitted.
First, all three of our projects together, you came to me. You might remember, if you think back, that I didn’t want to do Firestorm, and turned it down several times. I turned it down to you, I turned it down to the editor, and I turned it down to Bob multiple times. You talked me into it, by virtue of your cool ideas, which I still think were brilliant. If I was leeching on your wonderfulness, why did it take all of you pitching me repeatedly to get me to agree?
As for ‘did she quit or was she fired,’ I have no idea what ‘receipts’ you have but you know very well I quit. The stuff you left out is this…they wouldn’t let me do your cool stuff. I turned in a script that was much more like what you talked about, and they made me rewrite it three times. That book had constant editorial interference, worse than any other book I have ever worked on, they asked for constant rewrites, and it was always, always AWAY from what you had come up with.
I hated it, I felt dropping your cool ideas was a terrible direction, and it was very stressful. The entire New 52 was a weird era, and I am far from the only writer who struggled with what seemed like an incoherent editorial edict. By making Firestorm seem like an outlier, you are deliberately ignoring the context that dozens of books were having similar difficulties with the new edicts. My complaint was, I wanted what we had come up with, all DC wanted was dark, dark, dark.
So I tried to quit after issue four, which you plotted. I said, I want out. The group editor at the time refused to let me leave until issue six. I was annoyed and miserable, but I bit the bullet and happily quit the moment issue six came out, and then I left ten seconds after, as I promised. I am again going to attribute this to a faulty memory but I KNOW you know this is what happened, if you think about it. And I have receipts as well. And again, DC didn’t like the book any better with you fully in charge, so that’s worth remembering. Someday in private, I’ll tell you what they said to me about me leaving the book. It may change your view of events a bit.
After Firestorm, we were not as close, I think you know why, and it did affect my enthusiasm for Composites. It bothers me too that it’s unfinished. One thing I have said a million times and still say, I think you are a spectacular idea man.
As for the Lois scene, it’s been an age, I don’t remember how long it was (8 pages doesn’t seem right, but who knows), but I do remember we had a plan to make Lois a POV character. So she needed an introduction, and I remember you raving about that segment, you even sent a note saying how much Moose liked it and that that was rare. so it’s a bit odd to hear you say you hated it. It certainly wouldn’t have been a big deal to change it.
This thing that you made my career or saved my career, I have heard you say that about A LOT of pros, including some people that it clearly doesn’t apply to. I am not sure how a low-selling series that I quit, a two part anthology story, and a GN that never happened did anything even remotely like that, and I think it’s an odd thing to claim.
I have always been offered more work than I can handle since I started in the industry, since long before I met you, and believe it or not, being attached to your name is not always a benefit. I don’t remember any period where I wasn’t getting work from DC, certainly not during the New52, as they had me on two books and wanted me on a third for the super-office. Not sure what this is about. And currently I have absolutely never been busier, and a big chunk of my week is having to politely turn things down. And DC just offered me a cool project with a superstar artist last week.
In fact, this year alone, I have been asked to work for DC, Marvel, Image, Titan, Eagle, Boom, Dynamite, Dark Horse, Lion Forge and more, sometimes on multiple titles, often on whatever book I choose. I have had two tv series optioned in the past few months, one of which I will be executive producing, I am working on two film projects that will be announced soon, and I was recently hired to guide Lion Forge’s entire superhero imprint. In every single case, these people all came to me, not the other way around.
And you have deliberately misrepresented the exchange where you blocked me. You say I was mad because you voted for Trump, you know that’s not true and I find this one of the creepiest bits. What happened was, you were crowing about Trump winning, which is your right. But what annoyed me was that you had just days previously called Trump a clown, an insane idiot, and that he would be a disaster for the country. I could’ve ignored it and possibly should have, but I asked about that on Twitter, “Hey, Ethan, weren’t you saying THIS about Trump just a few days ago?”
I believe you got embarrassed. Maybe that’s not a cool thing for me to do. But it was frustrating to see you constantly say one thing to your friends, and the exact opposite to your followers. I have a bunch more examples, you know what some of them are, I am sure. I am also pretty sure this wasn’t when you blocked me at all, I think you are misremembering, but I haven’t double-checked yet.
So this is a long rant. It sucks to lose a friend, it sucks to have you attack me to your 70,000 or whatever viewers, all while claiming victimhood. It sucks to be misrepresented, either intentionally or accidentally.
I have no interest in some creepy YouTube feud, Ethan. I’m sorry our friendship ended the way it did. But I have barely even mentioned you in ages, I certainly am not doing attack videos for 70,000 people to rile them up.
That’s really all I have to say. I quit watching around the 26 minute mark. If there was more, I think it’s probably unlikely I’m missing much.
Good luck on your project, Ethan, and congratulations on your success. My best to your family, both two-legged and four-legged. This stuff all sucks, but at least we are still doing what we both love, which is making comics.