Comics to Avoid

By | Friday, May 01, 2020 8 comments
Allegiance Arts and Entertainment display
See the comics display in this picture? On Tuesday, May 5 those will be popping up in over 3,000 Walmart stores across the US. You probably last heard about comics and Walmart when DC struck a deal to get some of their titles into stores a couple years ago. These comics, however, are not published by DC, but independent publisher Allegiance Arts and Entertainment.

The name Allegiance Arts and Entertainment probably doesn't sound familiar. As a company, they're new. The creators behind the name, though, are not. The company was founded by Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser (also seen in the picture here).

Those names might sound familiar because they're connected with Comicsgate, the loose association of people who are opposed to diversity and inclusivity in comics. While not as central to Comicsgate as, say, Richard C. Meyer or Ethan Van Sciver, known Comicsgaters did heavily promote the Breitweiser's various crowd-funding campaigns (all of which are the books that will be available through Walmart, even the ones which Breitweiser has not yet sent out to his backers!) seeing a kindred spirit in the creators and the book. Certainly buoyed by Breitweiser's vocal support for Trump.

Heidi Macdonald points out that most Walmart shoppers don't give a shit about Comicsgate, but will still probably give a pass to the 24 page periodical format for characters no one has ever heard of. Especially at $5.00 a pop. In the comments, retailer Brian Hibbs does some quick math and has trouble picturing a scenario where these are even remotely profitable.

In an interview over on ICv2, Breitweiser explains his thinking for getting these comics into Walmart. It basically boils down to: this is how kids discovered comics 40-50 years ago. And while that was indeed how a number of kids did discover comics up through perhaps the 1970s, that model stopped being viable in the 1980s and has been completely untenable for over three decades now. The idea that it will somehow work like that again now is driven more by nostalgia seen through rose-colored lenses than economics or business sense.

Breitweiser, true to Comicsgate form, is using some mythical dream of decades-gone-by to inform a myopic view of today's realities. The reason you don't see spinner racks in drug stores or grocers any more is because it's not an economically viable model. You think Marvel and DC don't have a couple dozen MBAs who've looked at that idea over the years trying to figure out a way to make it work? It's not that they don't want to be in that space, it's that they can't. The finances simply do not work. Probably even less in Walmart's case since they tend to be hyper-aggressive in the deals they strike with producers who get goods into their stores.

My bet is that displays will quietly be removed from stores after a few months of dismal sales. But if you happen to find yourself in a Walmart and happen to see one of these displays, I'd recommend walking right about without even giving it a second glance. Given their connection to a hate group like Comicsgate, they are not worth that much of your attention, much less your money.
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Anonymous said...

This kind of bullshit identity politics propagandta is what's killing the comics industry. Comicsgate isn't a "hate group" and it's not "anti-diversity." It's simply a movement calling for respect for the customer and getting identity politics out of comics. The fact that one of the Alligience titles is a historic amount of a black hero and one is about a young girl proves you're full of shit. Advising people to walk by without giving them a look is itself anti diversity hate. Get bent, ya fake news hacks.

Anonymous said...

It's rare that someone pretending to be some sort of industry or media journalist torpedoes their credibility as completely and enthusiastically as you do. Are you being a shameless liar here or just woefully ignorant? Here you have a new comic book company trying to inject new life into the comics industry by placing itself in front of the young audience they're written for and all you can do is bitch and lie about comicsgate and urge people to ignore the displays because of Breitweiser's vocal support for Trump? What a douchebag you are. This display you're urging people to ignore has 4 titles. One is about a young girl who is swept into a big viking adventure. One takes place in 19th century India. One is about a western with a black sheriff as the main hero. The covers have men AND women of different races on them. But the producers are against diversity and inclusion? Put the bong down for awhile, asshat. Comicsgate isn't against diversity and inclusion, you vapid twatwaffle. It's about getting back to making good comics and serving the fans. You know, the opposite of what you're all about in this hack, dumbass op piece. You don't care about comics. You care about woke agendas and gatekeeping. YOU are part of what's killing the comics industry. YOU are the reason Ethan Van Sciver is a wealthy man now and your mainstream tools are pencils down and fading away. Fuck right off, Kleefield.

This comment has been removed by the author.

This makes no sense at all. If you're arguing that they're business model is flawed and destined to fail in today's market then why do we need to boycott their comics? Why advise potential consumers to not buy their comics if it's going disappear from Walmart in a month or so?

Look, I am neither pro or anti Comicsgate, because Comicsgate like Gamrgate before it, does NOT exist. The -gate suffix is meant to suggest the existence of a far reaching scandal, but with Comicsgate there is NO scandal. It's just a bunch of people mad at alleged identity politics and progressivism in comics. And regardless on how you feel about diversity in comics, that is NOT a scandal.

I have no idea how AA and Entertainment are connected to Comicsgate, but even if they "voted for Trump" doesn't automatically mean they are bad people who's work deserves to be avoided at all cost. Unless their producing content that is alt-right propaganda (which is what we've seen from several so-called Comicgaters), then I don't see how their books being in stores is inherently danger.

Anonymous said...

Lmao at these comments. Comicsgaters really are a bunch of peanuts. It's a weird cult. A bunch of weirdos giving their money to Ethan Van Sciver.

Unknown said...

Nice, I got curious when I saw them in the kids section. They looked off somehow and luckily I had my phone and Googled them.

Anonymous said...

The comics market is failing even for the big companies like Marvel and DC who seem to care more about the nonsense you're talking about here than they actually care about putting out quality books from good writers.

spitfire said...

I don't care one bit about comics but I saw these at Walmart and did a google search to find out what the deal was and I got this page. I wish the creators well and hope they're successful. I found Richard C Meyer's YouTube channel a few years ago by some fluke and listened to some episodes. The guy's hilarious. I became a fan - again not caring at all about the comics. Hopefully the people in favor of freedom like these folks the article is about and Meyer win out in the end.