Quoted in Powers

My little rant on corporate comic sexism was the Quote of the Month in the letter column in Powers #22.

Powers #22 cover

I was disappointed that it’s presented without attribution or link, just my name, and also that Bendis didn’t comment or respond. It’s just plopped in there between a near-incoherent letter and an excerpt from Tina Fey talking to Howard Stern about how nasty Paris Hilton is. (Rather like the worst impressions of Usenet, that column is.)

Update: Jeff Lester at The Savage Critic wonders if Bendis is comparing me to Hilton. I hope not — I’m much closer to Tina Fey, although not nearly as funny.

Bendis did go on to post at his message board, “wow, what a wildly warped generalization of a medium and sub genre that hundreds of thousands of people love and enjoy.” I’m not surprised he missed that I was talking about not the medium but about a couple of corporations, one of which he works for. (He wasn’t the only one.) I don’t think a message board (especially his, with its freewheeling boys’ club atmosphere) is the right place to go into depth on the subject, but I would be curious to hear him address the problem of sexism in the industry in more depth.

As for fan response, it’s an interesting pathology that there will always be some people who try to turn any criticism of superhero comic publishers into “superhero comics suck” so they can justify to themselves their ignorance and avoidance of valid complaints. Bless Brian Defferding (School: A Ghost Story) for his kind comments, and thanks to Paul for the pointer.

9 Responses to “Quoted in Powers”

  1. Mike Says:

    Tough skin, Johanna! Keep on fighting the good fight.

    (I hope you leave some room for a response to Newsarama’s Chuck Dixon interview. Reading the comments threads, it’s depressing that a few rational people have such an uphill battle, but that’s the comics world/society in general for ya.)

  2. one diverse comic book nation » THE SHORT STACK: Diversity On The ‘Net - January 4, 2007 Says:

    […] Lost in Translation: Batman 660 and Lost in Translation: Redux from Paperghost and Quoted In Powers from Comics Worth Reading – In the Paperghost entries, Chris Boyd from Paperghost starts off with a missive about the use of pidgin English in Batman #660 and ends up with a dismissive comment by writer John Ostrander. In the Comics Worth Reading entry, Johanna gets a dismissive comment from Brian Michael Bendis. The reason I picked these entries as MUST READS and put them together like this is because, as bloggers post entries looking at diversity on their blogs, I’m finding more and more creators have become dismissive of these commentaries. Now, I realize that creators are probably barraged by reactions from fans out there in the blogosphere with not always nice things to say and just get exasperated. But, it seems like a dangerous trend to me because it shuts down the conversation about diversity, walls are built and there is no productive solutions raised. I do find this sad. But, at the same time, I think it’s important for we as fans to also look for the good that creators do around diversity. I hope that this blog tries to look at both sides and, while it certainly will talk about the bad, it will always look for the good. […]

  3. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I’m not upset or concerned, and I’m sorry if I gave the impression I was. As I said, I’m mostly disappointed that there wasn’t any discussion or substantive response.

    I heard about the Dixon Newsarama post, but I didn’t see much to interest me in it. It seems to be an example of the kind of logical loops people go through to build a career working on other people’s superheroes.

  4. Barry Says:

    Ah Bendis. I’m not surprised at all that the guy who called you the b-word a few years back due to your criticism of Fortune and Glory would have that response.

  5. Johanna Says:

    He didn’t do that because of that title — it was because I made fun of Warren Ellis guest-starring in Powers #8 (I think it was) in order to make a point about comic creators’ growing celebrity status. … Ah, here it is. From September 2000:

    POWERS is plugging Warren Ellis as a guest star. Not a guest writer, or even “plotmaster”; instead, he’s appearing as a character. The ad asks “What … is Warren Ellis doing in a book he has nothing to do with?” Why, plugging himself, of course! In the brave new millennium, to stay noticed, you have to promote yourself; the work is secondary to the creator’s reputation. (Shame it’s come to that; I’m all for giving creators their due, but there has to be a happier medium than what we’ve got.)

    I never understood why that upset Bendis so much, but it was more than half a decade ago now, so I guess I’ll never know.

  6. Barry Says:

    Maybe I’m confusing the two, but I thought he had an issue with your review of Fortune & Glory and threw a fit. Ah well. In any case, you do have a point, it’s ancient history by now.

  7. Ami Angelwings Says:

    I think he plopped it there to get his fans angry and support him.. or something… I rly hate when ppl take a nuanced argument and turn it into a generalization so that they can attack a generalization and act like the WHOLE argument is off base. :| Srsly.

    It’s like ” is wrong”

    “What, are you saying war is wrong? We should never go to war? Oh you’re saying we should surrender! What if we surrendered to Hitler? WHAT A HORRIBLE PERSON YOU ARE!”


  8. Michael Says:

    Speaking as someone who loves Marvel and DC and wants them to be good:

    You’ve got one hell of a point, Joanna, and I wish more people would pay attention to it.

  9. Hope for the Future » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] those of you with long memories will remember that Bendis and I had a rather notorious online run-in back in 2000 where he encouraged his contributors to insult me. And as early as the beginning of […]




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