I was behind on comics from last week, I’ve been busy, and work has generally kept me away from the internet so when I finally got around to examining the #FireRickRemender story I got frustrated.
Rick Remender’s Captain America run introduced Jet Black, a Big Barda pastiche who is the daughter of Armin Zola. She was raised to be evil in Zola’s Dimension Z, she fought Cap there and eventually she got to our world and started working with Captain America and Co. Honestly, I missed the third volume of stories since Remender’s Cap isn’t my favorite run and I’d rather read stuff I want to but this controversy got big so I sat down and read the issue.
Captain America #22 has Jet Black and Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon, hooking up after sharing some wine together. While sharing their wine, Jet Black gives her age as being at least 23 (she had wine before, she lets him know that she likes how it relaxes her and she’s giving him very nonsubtle hints that she wants to hook up and they most likely started making out on the couch. In fact, let’s see how they end this page.
Yeah. I don’t see people in situations where they don’t really want to be in those panels but the next page is down a bit further.
After waking up, Sam freaks out because they are working together and honestly if you’ve slept with someone for the first time, it is always weird waking up next to them. Sam expresses his concern since they are coworkers (I guess she works for SHIELD now?), Jet confesses she is attracted to him, Sam makes the next move to kiss. And then Armin Zola appears – so it goes. Like from the art there, they are both attracted to one another and it is pretty plain to see that this is the intention.
And then a tumblr user wrote a post about how she saw this as “Sam Wilson has suddenly become a juvenile rapist.” He is no longer a person for kids to look up to. His reputation has been ruined (more than when he was a pimp or however the mind control stuff went.” To put it simply, the poster is a person who really does not like Rick Remender. she is a person who expects the worst from him. And so she started a campaign to get Rick Remender fired and it didn’t succeed because if you read the series without bias against Remender, it is pretty much impossible to see it as rape, unless rape victims can be completely willing before and after the event.
Marvel knows Remender can be controversial but they stuck with him. And Remender as far as I can tell, didn’t enter into the controversy, he didn’t post angry public tweets or jokes that were misconstrued like he had done before during the Havok controversy. And really he went through a lot of crap – being called a pedophile, a rape supporter and most likely worse stuff because of a campaign by someone who doesn’t like his book and people who didn’t look into the issue either.
And Captain America is not a perfect run and it isn’t my favorite comic or a title I regularly read, though I have friends who do. But that is irrelevant because it doesn’t deserve a false campaign that seeks to destroy the career of someone who has done nothing wrong in this case. Havok’s speech about not wanting to be called a mutant is still pretty shaky, Steve’s mom being a victim of abuse is something that is still weird and was never called again and while I actually don’t have a issue with Carter dying (she’ll probably be back since the explosion didn’t kill Zola) I know other people like to bring that up. But as I was saying, here Rick Remender is not at fault, and I believe the community that purported this campaign against Remender is and it owes him an actual apology.
It is one thing to complain about Remender and to write posts with your problems. I sure as hell have and so have other Nerdcenaries writers. This post by Jon Hex is a lot more troubling that the entire Captain America scandal. It is another thing altogether to launch a big campaign against a writer based on a biased on a false premise and then say that it is fine because it started a conversation, which it really did not do. #FireRickRemender did not start a conversation about the need for representation in comics. It started a lot of pointless internet yelling that makes people asking for the representation look crazy. I’ve been involved in this sort of wave, the feeling of righteousness where you feel that you are free to call the shots as you wish because you are right no matter what you do. I’ve ruined relationships with other people that way and I’ve recognized my fault and apologized after because I was wrong and I acted irresponsibly. I know personally that you can get caught up and become you and your causes’ own biggest enemy.
There are going to be people who look at #FireRickRemender and say “Women and internet people have no place in comics. They are just crazy and complain about anything,” and they’ll have this to back up their assumption. They’ll say “If women want a place in comics, they’ll just try to push out all the male creators” and they will have this to back it up. And they can say “Discussing feminism in comics just means that any man who has sex with a woman is a rapist to those feminists” and they’ll have this as evidence. All of these are wrong and this misrepresentation is the greatest problem with the fallout from this controversy, that and Remender having to go through all of this, along with Tom Breevoort who gets enough crazy messages sent to him already.
And the big problem is that the heart of this controversy isn’t about feminism, this isn’t ultimately about sex or gender or sexism in comics. This isn’t about the sexualization about Jet Black. This is about a person with a vendetta against Rick Remender who wanted to personally attack him because they expected for the worst from him and then found evidence to tell that story. That is wrong and it deserves an apology, one actually accepting that they are at fault. If we really want conversations on gender, sex and representation and so many other important things, we need to go into these conversations respectfully. If you don’t like a writer or an artist, then you need to leave that bias at the door when assessing their content. If you have an issue with a writer, don’t support them with money, ignore their titles, explain why you won’t read it if people ask you, but don’t make up lies to destroy their careers. And if for some reason you do, have the decency to apologize when you are legitimately called out for doing it.