When The Shill Hits The Fan

Before I begin, I want you to understand that I have no reason to lie to you. I don’t care about alienating the companies I’ll be attacking in the following article because they have nothing to offer me.

The comic book industry I dreamed about being part of since I was a boy is dead. It’s never coming back. It will never recover.

In high school drama class, my friend Steve and I used to work on comedy sketches with the vain hope that someday, one or both of us would appear on Saturday Night Live. Well, guess what. Saturday Night Live is Saturday Night Dead. Both Steve and myself will go to our graves without that venerable, historic program ever becoming funny again. It will never “course correct”. It’s dead and buried. Worm food. This is a show that introduced me to George Carlin and Richard Pryor. John Belushi. For the past decade, you’d be more likely to laugh about the untimely deaths of those three legends than anything on SNL.

When I graduated high school, The Simpsons had just become a stratospheric hit. I sketched the famous yellow family as they appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show for the endpapers of our senior yearbook. I looked up to creator Matt Groening as a success story, a cartoonist to emulate and draw inspiration from. I was a fervent fan and quoter of The Simpsons for decades. I often bloviated about the vocal talents of the cast. There were periods of years where I watched it four times a day.

Well guess what.

The Simpsons is dead. There will never come a time when the show improves or becomes funny again. It will never happen. Just like Quentin Tarantino, Matt Groening used to jet around with rampant child-rapist Jeffery Epstein. You know, the guy you don’t hear about on the news, because he was tight with the Clintons and the British Royal Family. He built a mysterious temple on an island where he raped and trafficked children. By some magical serendipity, both security cameras were off where Jeffery was imprisoned just long enough for him to somehow hang himself with something. He can no longer be called to testify against anyone or be punished for his abhorrent crimes. As Homer Simpson says, “D’oh!”

If you are connected to Epstein or the Clintons, you do what you’re told. Otherwise information “suddenly emerges” that will completely destroy you, or you “commit suicide” in an obviously impossible fashion. I don’t even hate you if you ignore or disbelieve this. I pity you.

Just own up to it. If you support people like this, you’re the reason everything sucks. You. You blurred the line between politician and celebrity, and this is the outcome.

I don’t feel like rehashing my long-term connection to the Star Wars franchise. Let’s just say that the emotional divorce has been painful and leave it at that.

I accept that Star Wars is dead, and that it will never, ever be what it was again. What I can’t accept is the resentment I feel. It still burns. I told you it was all wrong in 2015, I’ve been telling you it’s all wrong ever since, and you still bought the lie. I can’t blame you; living a lie is much easier than facing the hard truth, in the short term. But eventually, that truth must be faced. And if you live by the lie, you die by it.

In every example I’ve described thus far, the same thing happened.

The people in charge of the business forsook the talented ones for trendy “diversity” hires, based upon their identity. And when the quality took a nosedive and the fans complained, the people in charge libeled them as “racist”, “misogynists”, “bigots” or “white supremacists”. Even the fans who aren’t white.

Marvel Comics makes a huge public deal about how many women they employ. They never thought for a second to hire women who care about the comics; all they needed was a vagina. Actually, scratch that- you don’t even need a vagina. You can just dress up in women’s clothing and act oppressed, and Marvel will clear out a corner office for you.

Star Wars, as a franchise, has been destroyed by this. It isn’t just that they put women in charge of things they, as individuals, cared nothing about or even hated. They systematically destroyed the enduring legacy of every single iconic male in the saga. And when that wasn’t enough, they destroyed the core concepts of the brand; the Force, and hyperspace travel.

Forget merit, or any man who could do the job. The Female must be Forced.

In case you are an alien to this planet, or just an unrepentant asshole, picture yourself as a young boy on the school playground in the late 1970s. Your desire to be “Luke Skywalker” is so overwhelming that you’re fighting with your buddies over who gets to pretend to be him. Whether any of you resemble Luke in the slightest is immaterial.

Imagine that as you grew up, you found yourself returning to Luke’s adventures over and over. You continue to talk about him and his galaxy with your good friends, even as you mature. You marry and have kids, and all you can think about is how soon you can introduce your offspring to Star Wars, and relive your own discoveries through them. Because no matter what anyone tells you, we all discovered Star Wars at age 5. It was a wonderful, connective, magical experience that resonated for our entire lives.

How do you think it felt when we saw Mark Hamill, the genuine original Luke Skywalker, returned to the screen after too many decades, sucking green piss from between the legs of some alien walrus monster?

How do you think it felt to see a fucking creatively bankrupt asshole like J.J. Abrams literally remake Star Wars ’77 and call it a sequel? How do you think it felt to see this joyless simulacrum celebrated by people compensated to do so?

How do you think it felt to be teased with a prequel about Han Solo and Chewbacca, with all the grand adventure that implies, only to witness screen time devoted to the two of them showering together? Is that honestly something that, in a million years, you’d think of to put in a Star Wars movie?

How do you think it felt to see legitimate critics and review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes praise these entries to the heavens, all for corporate clout and imaginary social fiat, while they acted like we were the problem?

Sincerely- what else needs to be said here???

How do you think it feels to see Disney open not one but two theme parks, based upon the once-mighty Star Wars universe, only to see them ritually avoid almost everything we loved about the experience, so as not to pay George Lucas royalties?

How do you think it felt to be threatened legally, censored socially, or called hateful for rightly criticizing Disney’s catastrophic handling of the matter? All while their anhedonic drones disemboweled the Expanded Universe- literally tens of thousands of pages of established material and dozens of expansive video games– while they made the decision to canonize Coca-Cola?

I’m not joking. The original drinks at the Star Wars “Galaxy’s Edge” theme parks were so overpriced and disliked, they conjured up a character named “Jat Kaa” who “created” Coca-Cola and Sprite. So they could be served in the park, as “native” beverages. “Coca-Cola” is every bit as “canon” as Luke Skywalker.

Savor that feeling. Ruminate on it. Think about all the hard work and love that was betrayed to make that happen. To sell drinks, because Disney can’t figure out how to sell toys, or comics, or tickets for a trumped-up strip mall based on the most popular intellectual property in history.

There’s more. “Galaxy’s Edge” has its own proprietary comic book. As of this writing, one of the recent issues sold just over 3,000 copies. When Jim Shooter was running Marvel Comics like a well-oiled machine, in its heyday when much of what we love today was birthed, he’d cancel a book if it sold 10,000.

Why print comics that no one wants to read? Simple. To make a media conglomerate look successful to investors. And if you can’t appear successful, then look “woke”.

If you take issue with my repetition of the phrase “get woke, go broke”, then by all means, point me to the great “woke” success story. Show me an issue of the latest “woke” comic book that readers are lining up to buy, and coming back for every month.

It doesn’t exist. “Woke” is a bullshit ethos and a buzzword. If you become part of an entertainment industry, and your primary impulse is to “wokify” that part of it, you deserve to be fired and never work again. Your life is a lie. No amount of pandering to any demographic will ever change the fact that you’re a bad person and a fraud.

How do you think it feels to practice a skill or discipline for nearly your entire life, and then see incompetent zealots of a trendy social movement step over you? And on top of that, they insult you, call you names, while their bosses applaud them?

I used to be an ardent defender of IDW Comics. After all, they rescued the Transformers license from limbo after Pat Lee spent Dreamwave’s profits on Porsches instead of paying his staff. IDW had a sterling, decade-plus run of some of the finest Transformers comics I’ve ever read. They were clearly written and drawn by people who’d loved the robots since childhood, and it showed. They wanted to share the world that had enraptured them, and the characters that inspired them, with future generations. And so, they did.

Until IDW editor Chris Ryall decided it was time to “get woke”.

Hasbro, Transformers’ parent company, wanted a huge crossover event in comics, involving legendary franchises like GI Joe, dormant ones like M.A.S.K. and Visionaries, and on Ryall’s insistence, Marvel’s ROM the Spaceknight. (And yes, My Little Pony.) It was a bloated and overly ambitious concept, but the time was ripe for nostalgia, and such far-fetched ideas have worked many times before in the comic medium.

I have defended Ryall before in print, years ago. He used to be the cause of Transformers’ renewed success in comics. In my opinion, he allowed himself to be manipulated by people who claimed to represent “social justice”, but who may as well have been deliberately trying to damage Hasbro.

Ryall employed a pathetic excuse of a man called “Aubrey Sitterson” to write GI Joe. Again, this is just my opinion, but someone whose parents dubbed him “Aubrey Sitterson” would be savagely beaten from ages 5 to 30. Anyone aware of Sitterson for more than five minutes will be informed that he is an avowed Socialist, which anyone able to see him would assume anyway. Also, he once tweeted that unless you were in Lower Manhattan on 9/11/01, you have no right to feel grief about it.

He tweeted this on 9/11.

Almost all the Joes in Sitterson’s comic are gay. We know this because we are reminded of it, repeatedly, in their dialogue. Beyond that, they are “drawn gay”, in swishy poses with elfin eyelashes. The female Joes are all rendered like weird angry men. All black male Joes are soft as couch cushions, and flinch in firefights. Oh, and a front-and-centered brand new GI Joe is a Pakistani Muslim.

What does this look like to you?

Growing up, I was never a huge GI Joe fan, but I appreciated the cartoon and toys for what they were. The show came on before Transformers, or early in the morning, before school. I wasn’t crazy about it because the weapons shot lasers instead of bullets, and the sound effect reminded me of intestinal gas, making me nauseous. But it had a good spirit, even if it didn’t have the military realism of Larry Hama’s Marvel series. He is, after all, a Vietnam veteran and once even appeared on M*A*S*H.

The cast and villains were lots of fun; the bad guys are suitably iconic. Everybody knows Cobra Commander, Destro with his shiny chrome head, and even weirdos like Serpentor and Golobulus, of Cobra-La. The good guys were dudes (and women) you’d want to pal around with, not to mention be protected by, even though they preached in the form of a PSA at the end of each show. The action figures came with a cut-out file card that told you the soldier’s real name (unless it was classified), their rank, and the weapons or vehicle they were issued, many of which had real-life counterparts.

See, there was a legacy, going back to the original foot-tall 1960s Joes, of tremendous attention to detail in the toys. But really, it was just a way that a lot of us bonded with our dads, some of whom fought in actual wars, or if they hadn’t, just appreciated good military miniatures. The vehicles came with decals that had to be applied, and some of us had to ask our dads to help, or to do it. Most of us were given GI Joe toys on birthdays or Christmas by our dads. Our moms tended on average to be not as into it.

I still talk about the one time I saw the aircraft carrier in person, in the ’80s.

If it’s impossible for you to believe that no part of the experiences I’ve just described to you involved sexuality of any kind; seek professional help.

There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but you must also accept that there’s nothing wrong with being straight. If my dad was gay, I wouldn’t be who I am; I might not even exist. Both my parents were heterosexual, as were their siblings, as were my grandparents and their siblings. There’s never gonna be a point where I have a problem with being heterosexual. I like it. A lot of people do. It’s typically how new humans are made. There is literally nothing you or I could say or do to change that in our combined lifetimes.

So just be advised that if you try to change that, you face impossible odds, and you’ll be fought until you change or stop. That’s not a threat. That’s the way of nature. If you aren’t heterosexual, or, if you pay for medical procedures to change your sex, some people will feel that it’s unnatural. The notion that the average person accepts the entire spectrum of alternative sexuality is a myth of the Internet.

So straight up, in my view, making Joes openly gay, or adhere to a religion that traditionally hates America (THE COUNTRY FROM WHENCE ALL THESE STORIES CAME, EVERY SINGLE ONE THEM, STAR WARS, 
THE SIMPSONS, MARVEL COMICS, TRANSFORMERS, AND OH YEAH GI JOE, aka A REAL AMERICAN HERO), was intentional sabotage. It was meant to harm the brand, under the guise of “diversity”, or “inclusion”. It was the poison otherwise known as identity politics.

It even wormed its way into Transformers comics; stories went out of their way to depict male robots in love, and one series ended with a lesbian kiss between two fembots. You know what happens if you’re a kid and you share these kind of comics with a parent? They take them away and/or tear them up. Transformers and GI Joes are kids’ toys. Putting any sexuality in material promoting kids’ toys is fucking creepy. It’s how pedophiles seduce their victims on-line.

Speaking of pedophiles; there are literally no advantages to introducing minors to sexuality. Not one. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong, and you were introduced to sexuality prematurely. Seek professional help, far away from the Internet.

After a 92% drop in revenue and tremendous outcry from veterans and Joe fans, Hasbro barred Aubrey Sitterson from working on any of their properties ever again, and ordered all copies of his GI Joe book pulped. The entire incident is baffling and angering to me. There are so many people who have drawn images and written stories about these toys for practically nothing, so great is their love for these franchises. There are a million more who’d kill just for the chance to do it.

Nostalgia is a very powerful thing, and it’s also very personal. I’m telling you, in plain English, that virtually every single intellectual property for which you feel affection is being destroyed, because the people who own them didn’t create them, don’t know how they work, and are terrified of looking weak. Media companies fear anything they can’t control that makes money. They won’t compete; they can’t. They can only slander and destroy. You are seeing this play out in real time, whether you like it or not.

Be wary of anyone who works for a major comic book company. They are vestigially attached to the billion-dollar blockbuster movie biz, and they can’t be trusted. They will do what they are told, even if it means turning on their friends and colleagues. Even if it means drawing up a blacklist, or starting a witch hunt. The chummy old Marvel Comics bullpen is as dead as Stan Lee. These are people who will destroy your life without a second thought, over your politics or beliefs, no matter if you’re legally protected by the Constitution. These people will lie under oath.

After all, what’s an oath to someone who doesn’t believe in God?

If you work on an intellectual property that has a long history, it’s your job to maintain or improve the quality of that property. If you don’t do your job competently, you should be fired. If you demean the enthusiasts of that property, thereby risking the future of that property, you should be fired and laughed out of town. I don’t give a fuck what your reasons are. If you act up and show your ass while employed in what millions consider to be a dream job, you deserve to be sucking dicks in a filthy alley somewhere.

Remember, not only do I have no reason to lie to you, but I wouldn’t, out of personal honor. I’ve been caught in a lie before, and I saw the destruction it wrought, and decided afterward to be brutally honest, for better or worse. I don’t want to lie to you because I know how much it hurts.

It hurts to be fooled, and everyone deals with it differently. But it hurts so that we learn not to be fooled again. When you arbitrarily change something that people are familiar with, some people come away feeling fooled, especially if it’s something they’ve known since childhood. It could be a cartoon character, a movie, a comic book, a TV show, a toy line, a person.

If you change things that people have loved their entire lives, you better have a god damn good reason to back it up. Because no matter what that reason is, some people won’t be open to accepting it. And you can bet that they have reasons too.

This is America. You can do or be pretty much whatever you want, within limits, and even those are debatable. What you don’t get to do is use things people love as a vehicle for your own agendas. You don’t get to disparage paying customers when they call you out on your fraud and hypocrisy. You don’t get to act like you’re right and we’re wrong.

As they say, govern yourself accordingly.

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