A Modest Proposal, Part 2
Potshots & The Mysterious Guest
I didn’t originally intend to spill Monday‘s post further into the week, but I must.
Surprise, surprise, no apologies have been forthcoming.
There’s been no apology to Nancy.
We weren’t holding our breath.
In the meantime, Myrant has been hacked, my Facebook account was attacked, and the apologists have been out in force.
It’s been interesting to see this all play out in less than two days as it has.
As to DragonCon: I’ve not been to more than two US conventions as a guest since 1999; I honestly have a tough time stomaching the current environment, given the treatment of the Kirby heirs, the Siegel/Shuster heirs, and other creators, and the utter disdain and open contempt reflected in much online discussion of corporate ownership of IP. While I have great and infinite love for comics as an artform and medium, I have nothing but revulsion for the American comics industry, by and large, and its ongoing treatment of creators—particularly those whose creations annually earn billions for those entities and individuals who couldn’t hold a pencil to the likes of Jack Kirby. (FYI, If I could afford the time and expense to attend cons again, I would only be attending independent comics conventions supporting new creators, period. I can’t afford that time or expense, though. I have put my all into my teaching the next generation of cartoonists, as circumstances allow; but that’s neither here nor there.)
Let me be abundantly clear. If I could wield enough clout to protest all comic conventions as a way of reaching and opening the eyes of the public at large concerning the horrific legal, contractual, and business abuses Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner built their empires upon, and still do, I would do so, in a heartbeat. I’m sorry if that would impact livelihoods; dealing with all this, in my own humble career arc, certainly impacted mine in many negative ways, but I’d do more if I thought for a nanosecond it would sway affairs involving DC & the Siegel & Shuster heirs, Marvel/Disney and the Kirby heirs, etc. But I don’t have that clout, and never will.
And this—well, this is something else entirely.
No, I’m not conflating the exploitation of Golden and Silver Age creators, and these kinds of creator rights abuses, with what has been alleged to be sexual predation and abuse of minors, and the behavior of business partners of the individual accused of such ongoing predation; this, to my mind, is far, far worse, in terms of the central crimes and criminal charges, and the ongoing business practices of DragonCon in the wake and immediate contexts of all that.
To move this controversy into a more appropriate social sphere and context,
DragonCon, meet Penn State.
Now, let’s talk.
For its own well-being and that of the community at large, I’d say the necessary steps to redress this matter do not involve silencing folks like Nancy (or myself).
If anything, she should have been listened to long ago.
Instead, she was attacked, reviled, demonized, and that seems to be business as usual today.
13 years is a long time.
Nancy is not the problem.
As with the outcry I get any time I raise my own disgust/concerns with how, say, Marvel/Disney treat Jack Kirby and the Kirby heirs, and the bullshit following in which I’m accused of somehow pissing on everyone’s parade when all they want to do is enjoy, say, last year’s Avengers movie without feeling “bad” that rotten ol’ party-pooper me went and pointed out the obvious—how can anyone invest emotionally in Marvel/Disney corporate “heroic fantasies” dramatizing communal triumph over overwhelming odds when Jack Kirby and his heirs have always been and currently are being crushed into the dirt by overwhelming Marvel/Disney law teams over proprietorship of said “heroic fantasies”?—I can’t say that I’m in the least bit “sorry” Nancy pointing out such injustices makes someone “feel badly” about indulging whatever the media product/venue is under scrutiny…
…or, in this case, such a venue is the focus of a modest proposal from a fellow creator.
Clearly, we intend to make some folks will question their choices.
As Nancy reiterated on Facebook yesterday, “DragonCon is not some big fat doofy baby that has no say in its business dealings. The fact they have dodged answering questions on this matter for years should make anyone with a sense of right-and-wrong give them the side eye. And if people can boycott Chic-Fil-A or Wal-Mart as consumers, there shouldn’t be any question about boycotting this as a consumer. Then again, my initial boycott was directed at the professional creative people who have lent their good names to this show over the years—many of whom only did so after they were assured [Edward] Kramer was not involved in any way—including making money off of it.”
Jas M Stacy added, lucidly, to the same FB thread, Nancy is not proposing “…”to punish an organization based on accusations.” This goes much further than “accusations.” It is to hold DragonCon accountable for their own statements. DragonCon has stated over and over Kramer has nothing to do with the Con in order to protect the brand and their bottom line. He not only had something with the Con (directly, as was printed in DragonCon‘s program) as late as 2008, but he is still getting paid. That’s something else they’ve denied. They assured …Talent, Vendors and Attendees otherwise. That is the problem. You either see that his involvement and benefit continued after the multiple accusations, arrests, incarcerations and probations, after stating the opposite and lying about it to save revenue is wrong, or you don’t. Nancy‘s boycott actually has nothing to do with Kramer‘s guilt or innocence. It has to do with DragonCon lying about a potential predator’s involvement to save their wallet.”
You know, this isn’t my problem or Nancy A. Collins‘s problem to fix, however much so many folks are eager to make it “our” problem.
DragonCon, step up to the plate.
I’ve honestly no desire to impair or damage anyone’s livelihoods, but I’ve no stock in continuing to support, much less “invest in,” emotionally/materially/apathetically, in this kind of corrupt organization.
I also want to bring attention to cartoonist/SCAD alumnus/CCS alumnus Sean Knickerbocker‘s suggestion: “[Atlanta] friends, is there any way to start a counter-con to raise money for a local organization against sexual abuse? Anybody? Dragon-Con needs to change their ways, or disappear.”
Now, that’s the stuff.
Then again, DragonCon has reportedly zealously guarded their turf since their founding; I’ll leave that to others to suss out, document, discuss. That’s what businesses do, you know.
Finally, for now, the following:
A lot of folks have commented anonymously in the back-and-forth and banter over this over the years, and many anonymous comments and posts have been zipping about since Monday (including on the Myrant comments thread). Nancy shared this on Facebook yesterday at about 5:40 PM, and I’m posting it here, too, if only to bring it to wider attention and archive the material for future reference:
This was sent to me by an anonymous supporter of the DragonCon Boycott. I am reprinting a portion of their email below, as well as attaching the screen capture in question.
“Dear Ms. Collins,
I’m following the Kramer case from afar and am pleased to see that, thanks partly to your efforts, some headway is being made in finally ending the whole thing. Hopefully it will end with him being incarcerated for good.
I knew Kramer a long time ago… but distanced myself from him sometime after the second or third Dragon*Con (I haven’t attended since nor would I even if I could). My reasons for doing so were that I caught him in some lies of a very pedestrian nature. However, those lies, while not making sense at the time, made sense when I heard he’d been arrested. That is to say, they were cracks in a well-crafted facade. It’s probably why, in my gut, I knew he was guilty when I first heard about the case in 2000.
While I am far from the action and wish to remain anonymous for unrelated personal reasons, I thought I would pass something on to you that I hope contributes in some way. You see, in searching for everything I could on the case recently, I came upon a yahoo groups posting that proclaimed that Ed was a guest of honor at Dragon*Con in 2008.
Upon reading that, I checked out the Dragon*Con website from around the time mentioned using the Internet Wayback Machine. I downloaded and saved the entire relevant webpage on the date mentioned in posting. The Dragon*Con page clearly shows Kramer to be a special guest. That’s quite an honor for somebody who has had “nothing to do” with the convention since 2000. I’ve attached a zip file, which contains the archived pages, which they quickly changed.”
Interesting, to say the least.
I’ll leave this to the comments, below, and to Facebook and the internet venues engaged with this controversy—for the time being.
But again: this isn’t our problem.
It is DragonCon‘s problem.
Me? I’m still waiting to hear from Nancy about those overdue apologies.
With the new spring semester at the Center for Cartoon Studies well underway and my freelance workload especially heavy, they’ll be no more test markets or such for a while. Back to work!
Swamp Thing® and ©DC Comics Inc/DC Entertainment Inc.; sketch art ©2012 Stephen R. Bissette. All other artwork and photographs © respective years by their respective proprietors, posted for educational and archival purposes only.