On -isms: Comics & Cola

By | Thursday, March 17, 2016 Leave a Comment
So it seems Zainab Akhtar is shuttering her Comics & Cola site at the end of the month. Well, she's leaving it up, I guess, but nixing updates and (probably) turning off comments. She cites "other people's racism and sexism and bigotry" and "the deeply harmful toxic culture" of comics.

Despite a reasonable amount of popularity within comics and having a solid writing voice, Akhtar's work never really resonated with me. I tried on multiple occasions but for whatever reason, I never got into it. She's definitely a great writer and critic. Maybe I just picked the wrong pieces to read; maybe I'm too far removed from her target audience. (Which is totally weird, because I should think I would be precisely her target audience.) Whatever the reason, she has never really been on my radar.

But I still feel a deep sense of loss that she's stepping away from things. Because, even though I didn't read her site, I knew that it was out there, speaking to her audience. And that she was writing about comics as A) a woman, B) a Muslim, and C) a British citizen means that she was providing a voice to tons of people who aren't well-represented in comics. Her leaving means the room is that much more filled with white guys from America going on about superheroes. Which we have MOOOOORE than enough of!

I feel bad, too, because I rarely see the crap she's gone through. I mean, obviously, I'm generally given something of a pass because I'm cis-hetero white guy who's given a pass on pretty much everything, but I rarely even see when women liked her are bullied and belittled and degraded. Try as I might to be hyper-aware of these types of things, they simply do not rise high enough to hit my radar. (If that's not an indication of my privilege, I don't know what is!) But regardless of how often I see the of behavior that causes good critics like Akhtar to leave comics, it's still there and still causing damage.

Any of you out there causing strife like this, whether it's intentional or not, whether you apologize or not, you're being assholes. You're depriving comics at large from being anything but a fucking echo chamber. That's what's going to kill the industry. You're what's going to kill the industry. If you launch personal attacks on anyone just for having another opinion than yours, you can go fuck yourself.
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