What do Jonathan Ross and Steve Bissette have in common?

This isn’t some sort of bizarre Sphinx like puzzle, but for those in the know regarding SF and Comics this should be obvious for one at least as I’ve pointed out the start of the Jonathan Ross/Hugo Awards/Loncon stuff on Twitter and the reaction and fallout of it all. Sadly it trundles on with various people still trying to push the line it was all about creating a ‘safe space‘, which is only justifiable if you think he was a threat to women, or anyone at all, but when you’ve got something vaguely libelous like this Daily Dot article (taking a number of incidents out of context isn’t reporting, and also, it repeats the mantra that Ross is a racist which is a libel) which is still being held up as proof that harassing Ross was a great idea.

There were even fans having a sly pop at Ross’s daughter and accusing her of ‘picking a fight’ with author Seanan McGuire, which is utterly ludicrous.

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Conventions do need to be safe, and it wasn’t every single SF fan who were leaping online with their flaming torch and pitchfork to accuse Ross of all the evil in the world, but it was enough to damage SF fandom in a way that’s going to take a while to blow over.Thankfully it falls to Neil Gaiman to speak some sense about the whole thing as well as give a bit more context in a well-considered and somewhat regretful piece that all involved need to read as it again, highlights the human aspects of what’s happened.

Meanwhile in the world of comics fandom, people have taken the chance to point and laugh at a section of genre fandom acting more arseholeish that comics fans for a change, that is, until artist Steve Bissette posted on his Facebook about the proposed new TV series featuring John Constantine, the character he helped create.

Bissette’s comments were as follows:

Dear DC Comics:

How are you this morning? Nice to hear.

Look, I’m the ONLY original Constantine co-creator active online.

And with CONSTANTINE getting so much attention lately, and me being the only original co-creator online, I’m getting a lot of requests for this and that—interviews. Podcasts. Etc.

Daily.

So, in your corporate mind, what should I do?

Every time you ramp up the Constantine or Swamp Thing whatever, someone at DC apparently resents anything I might say—or so I’m occasionally told—but I have no idea what’s going on from your end.

I mean, if you want me “in the loop,” or to shut the hell up, or to behave, or to misbehave, or whatever-it-is-you-want, you really DO know how to reach me.

Well, anyhoot, I sincerely hope all is well with you, congrats on the spiffy new TV show upcoming, everyone really seems so excited about it, and since all I see out here is all everyone else sees out here, and it begs so many obvious questions, which people then ask me, directly, I just thought you should know what a conundrum all this is.

And it gets to be more of a quandary daily now.

PS: I appreciate you have “bigger fish to fry.” I mean, your NY offices are fighting winter, while you CA offices are in a major draught. It must be hell.

Thanks and take care—stay warm, or have a bottle of water (Hydrate! Hydrate!), and nice per usual to hear from you…

Yours,

“Steve” aka Stephen Bissette

It’s a nice, somewhat funny but reasonable request from someone who has been shafted by mainstream comics, including DC. The reaction to Bissette’s post saw some of the usual tired responses from some fans, with this page providing good examples of how some comics fans are also enormous arseholes as they leap to the defence of a multinational company rather than support creators like Bissette making a reasonable request.

Fandom is a funny old thing. SF fans needed to create a safe place at conventions led to a number of fans to panic to a ridiculous degree, and resulted in the bullying of someone who wouldn’t have done what many thought he would. Bissette is being dismissed because fans don’t want to face the uncomfortable truth that companies like DC Comics crush creators. That would involve living in the adult world which means realising that actions mean consequences.

It’s remarkable that fans of Sf and comics don’t realise their actions do have consequences. In the case of Ross it meant it was bullied online by people leaping to conclusions and in Bissette’s case it was to dismiss his points so fans could enjoy a TV programme without having to think about creators being stamped on.

I understand perfectly that conventions need to be a safe place and I’ve touched on the subject before, but when fans who have possibly grown up being bullied turn into bullies, the fallout results in people genuinely being hurt. There seems to be a disassociation that because someone says something about someone else online via social media or elsewhere, that it doesn’t matter to that person, plus of course the mainly anonymous nature of many of these comments makes things worse. It is after all, easier to hide online behind a user name.

All in all, some fans need to take a place on the naughty step, think about what they’ve done and actually use some serious fucking empathy, reason and logic before jumping to conclusions or defending the wrong side. It might make everyone’s lives a little bit nicer.

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