On Business: Dixon on Alt-Hero

By | Monday, October 16, 2017 14 comments
A couple of weeks back, Vox Day launched a crowd-funding campaign for his brand new comic called Alt-Hero which Day describes as "A new alternative comic series intended to challenge and eventually replace the SJW-converged comics of DC and Marvel." It garnered a bit of news because Day is a right-wing petty asshole who's an active racist. He led the 2015 and 2016 "rabid puppies" campaigns to deny any people of color from the Hugo Awards, mostly out of spite for not actually winning an award himself in 2014. He later described his actions as, "I wanted to leave a big smoking hole where the Hugo Awards were. All this has ever been is a giant Fuck You—one massive gesture of contempt."

Now first off, it's absolutely laughable that he thinks he can replace Marvel and DC. Politics aside, Marvel and DC have each been making superhero comics for the better part of a century; they do superhero comics very, very well. No one in the past fifty years has come close to even touching their sales on superhero comics. They're not invulnerable, certainly, but any and every problem they have had and will have is of their own making, not because of a competitor. If someone else is able to usurp their place as premier superhero comic publisher, it will be because they got out of publishing comics.

Second, "SJW-converged comics of DC and Marvel"? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Seriously, no definition of "converged" makes sense in this context. If that's the level of writing he's bringing to Alt-Hero, Marvel and DC have nothing to be worried about. Hell, anyone making mini-comics out of their parents' basement has nothing to be worried about. If I had to guess, I suppose he's trying to say that Marvel and DC have been taken over by social justice warriors and that they have been pushing a decidedly leftist agenda. Which clearly is not the case if you actually look at any of their books. But Day is doing what he does -- whipping up conspiracies to make it look like white men are being oppressed. Because his mediocre work isn't celebrated enough.

OK, all of that is old news. I only mention it to make sure you're up to speed on who this asswipe is. (And why I'm not linking to any of it!)

So he tried starting a Kickstarter project for this Alt-Hero comic, but Kickstarter said, "No, you're a racist touting actively racist messaging. We want nothing to do with you." He then went to a new openly alt-right version called FreeStartr. (It launched literally two weeks before Day's project. I'm not investigating this myself, but I strongly suspect it was built largely for Day's benefit.) It has so far raised over $100,000 from around 1200 backers for Alt-Hero to be published.

What seems to have come to light more recently is that he's hired veteran comic book writer Chuck Dixon to work on some of these stories with him. Dixon has written a ton of comics, and worked on very high-profile characters like Batman and the Punisher. So this is clearly a "win" for Day to get A) a person who actually knows how to write, and B) a name high-profile enough that it might attract others' attention.

Dixon, if you don't recall, caused a bit of a stir himself a few years ago when he claimed that he was being blackballed at DC for his conservative politics. (He was hired in early 2017 to write a new Bane series if you'd like confirmation on how blackballed he actually was.)

I don't know Dixon personally. He was never a favorite writer of mine, but I have enjoyed what I had read of his well enough. But his decision to work on this seems unconscionable. If he were a new, struggling writer, I could maybe forgive an anything-for-a-check mentality, but he's been in the business for decades; while he's perhaps not as in-demand as he once was, I don't think he's got so few offers coming in that he would have to pick up any job tossed his way.

So what Dixon is saying in agreeing to work on this is that he's okay promoting a white nationalist message. And let's be clear, this isn't a case of just not objecting to that ideology, but by writing these stories, Dixon is himself actively promoting a message of hate and exclusion. Even if he didn't know who Day was and his history with racism, there's no way Dixon could not know that's the message being promoted here. He's writing some of the damn books -- he would have to be briefed on the concept at the very least, and the concept itself is rooted in racism. Whether Dixon himself believes all the bullshit Day is spewing is irrelevant, he's taking active steps to promote that message.

I don't think anyone should be blackballed just because their politics are different; if they can write comics that sell more copies to a broad audience, that's great. But when you start actively working to spread hate and fuel racial divisions, then you're actively working against humanity and I don't think anyone should support or condone you in any way. You should be blackballed now, Dixon. By publishers, by conventions, by readers. That's a business decision you made, and you decided your hatred was more important than working in civil society.
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Convergence occurs when a faction hijacks an institution for the purpose of using it to perform functions it was never intended to do. SJW Marvel has been converged. Instead of being a medium of entertainment, it is being used to promote a set of political values, and the promotion of such has taken precedence over writing good stories. A great example of this is replacing Tony Stark with Riri Williams. That was a bonehead move because using Lila Rhodes (Rhodes' niece) would have made more sense.

Well, that definition makes sense in Day's context, I suppose, but where does it come from? I checked against some online dictionaries and didn't see any definitions remotely resembling that description.

I think but am not sure this concept comes from J.S. Mill. Regardless of the origin, it is a frequent occurrence, at least in my opinion. SJWs will observe a functioning institution and instead of respecting its success in fulfilling the purpose for which it was formed, say "they need to be more 'inclusive'. The convergence occurs when they enter said institution and acquire positions of influence. They then use that influence to further their own ideological objectives. The purpose of the institution they commandeered takes a backseat. Over time, that purpose vanishes and is completely supplanted. SJW Marvel is merely one example of this dynamic.

I disagree that Marvel's position as a licensed properties company has taken a backseat to any ideological notions of inclusivity. They've certainly become more inclusive in recent years, but I don't think at the expense of making money (which is, ultimately, what any company is in business to do).

But back to this definition of "convergence" -- does it apply ONLY to "social justice warriors"? Could you use the term, for example, relative to a group of white supremacists who take key positions in a t-shirt company, and steer the company away from generic art and slogans, and more towards targeted hate speech? I'm not finding any clear definitions like this online, and the only references I can find to this usage seems be almost exclusively from Day himself.

I think in these times it applies largely to SJWs for they possess a meaningful institutional power. It's seen in our media, education, and the tech giants. An SJW is a type of ideologue. T-shirt manufacture, on the other hand, is rife with competitors. There is no shortage of t-shirt manufacturers with messaging that differs from those of SJW ideologues. However, in education, for example, the SJWs have a monopoly. The only solution to this problem is to pursue the formation of "parallel institutions". People like Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, and Booker T. Washington argued for this in a Black context (independence).

Um... no. To all of that.

People who labeled as SJWs are only demanding that people be treated fairly, equitably, and with respect. The entire structure of the United States was built on repressing anyone who wasn't a white heterosexual male, and those legacies continue to this day. If we live in a country that ostensibly holds the idea of freedom and equality as ideals, then SJW's are only ideologues in the sense that they are consistently and systematically NOT treated fairly, equitably, or with respect and do not have access to those ideals expressly stated in the country's founding documents.

Given the number of textbooks that provide blatantly incorrect information white-washing Native American genocides, slavery, the Civil War, Japanese internment camps, and other aspects of history that center around race, I think your claim that SJWs have a monopoly on education is laughably indefensible.

And to the extent that Garvey, et. al. suggested any parallel institutions, they only did so because they were being actively oppressed by a white majority that refused equality of any kind. You're suggesting that Alt-Right proponents that demand some sort of superior status based on race are comparable? Garvey, et. al. were seeking a path to equality when equality was being denied them. You're talking about a exclusive path as a end run around equality for people who demand they're better than others based on the color of their skin.

So no. To all of that.

"The entire structure of the United States was built on repressing anyone who wasn't a white heterosexual male, and those legacies continue to this day."

I guess that's why slavery was made an illegal practice in America? I guess that's why the United States passed Civil Rights legislation? I guess that's why the United States made denying people the right to vote on the basis of gender illegal? I guess that's why the United States overturned segregation in Brown v. Board of Education? I go on for days with actual practices in the United States that undermine your claim.

The ball is in your court.

Yes, there are laws on the books that outlaw slavery, sexual discrimination, etc. But that hardly means they're put into practice regularly. Or that people who want to continue subjugation don't find ways to work around those laws. These laws are violated EVERY SINGLE DAY in many (probably most) cases without repercussions of the offenders. Cops that shoot/kill unarmed POC without consequence, even when their actions are captured on video. People get denied home loans because they're not "desirable." Women make 17 cents per dollar less than men even though it's flatly illegal.

Sure, just because it's a law doesn't mean someone won't break it, and you can't prevent someone who really wants to break the law from that. But the point is that those people don't face consequences for breaking those laws or that their penalties are inequally applied when they are is the systemic racism/sexism/ableism that I'm talking about.

But the laws have worked. I don't experience any of the things you are referring to. What I do experience are horrible occurrences endemic to my own community. What you say does not align with my reality in any way, shape, or form.

So everybody who does experience those things on a daily, if not hourly, basis is lying? The academic studies that show POC are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites are wrong? The investigative reports of pervasive sexual harassment in many businesses are "fake news"?

Just because you don't personally experience something doesn't mean it doesn't happen to millions of others.

You have to look at the backgrounds of those persons who are incarcerated. The statistics you are referencing does not do this. It's an ugly job but getting into the weeds is a requirement if you are going to cite these stats. Oft times, people who form these stats don't do this.

I have done that. And the vast majority of infractions POC are jailed for are ones that were either fabricated entirely by police, greatly exaggerated by police, and/or more heavily penalized by judges/juries than white counterparts committing the same crime. Which goes back to my earlier point about laws and penalties being applied inequally.

I'm saying the backgrounds of those incarcerated, not the background of the charges and the trials which led to their demise. The fundamental question is "Do these folks have an extensive criminal record?" If they do then that could be a factor as to why they we suffered from their fates. In my opinion, these incarcerated people are fundamentally different from the ditch digger who struggles to raise a family, loves his children, is devoted to his wife, and sins by purchasing a six pack each day after work (on weekends, his beer consumption substantially increases but that too is okay).

Why would they have a criminal record? Because they've been convicted of a crime, right? But if the charges most of them are convicted of are trumped up or fabricated entirely in the first place, then of course they're going to have an extensive record down the line. Again, this is precisely what I'm talking about! POC are convicted more often and more harshly, so obviously they're going to have a longer rap sheet than white people who are convicted less often and less harshly.