Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 10, 2012

Chris Butcher Makes Plea For More Cordial Industry Dialogue

The retailer and industry blogger Chris Butcher has issued a lengthy post here about a recent article and transcript concerning a roundtable in which he participated with one of the more public faces of Marvel Comics (CB Cebulski) and the corresponding Internet brouhaha which apparently took place and which I pretty much missed in its entirety. Beyond agreeing with Butcher on the general principle that comics Internet sites don't really understand the difference between excerpting and re-publishing, I'm not sure that I can comment on the article itself -- or its transcript -- and/or any reaction to it. I look forward to catching up to it.

I wanted to post a link to it before I got to reading the pieces, though, because the sentiment plugs into yesterday's plea on this site for a willingness to engage industry issues in a direct, forthright, and hopefully fruitful way. I'm not sure how much I share in the degree of Butcher's sympathy for a lot of the folks that work for mainstream companies. I think most of them are honorable, good people, for sure, and that many of them operate under horrible circumstances dictated to them by outside forces -- an executive with dehumanizing goals, or the pressure to make profits that seems to animate most big business like that. At the same time, I think that if you work for a place like that the blowback you get for its policies and practices doesn't seem an unreasonable cost for all the things that serve as benefits from that kind of gig. I'm also uncertain whether someone should be able to wholly sidestep the moral culpability in which they share by lending their talents to an endeavor like that. Additionally, I suspect companies like that and many of the employees that work for them are very much participants in a cycle of casual abuse and strident dysfunction, company to supportive community and back again. For me, when you encounter some of the oily nastiness that takes place in certain comics circles it's like eavesdropping on a couple of people in a familial relationship dropping bombs and hissing horrible things that make you super-uncomfortable. You might wish a better dialogue for them, but at the same time, there's probably some longstanding, deep, screwedupness about that relationship to which you have no easy access to make an outside, summary judgment.

But yeah, more dialogue, better dialogue: that'd be good.
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

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