So, recently, a bit of controversy reared it’s ugly head. It is not the first time. Not for the same person. It is a controversy born out of jealousy and more than a little sexism.
It should be noted that two very celebrated writers currently working in comics are Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction. If you are unaware, they happen to be married. To each other. With two adorable kids. The kids do not play any role in this rather stupid controversy though. I just thought I would mention they were adorable.
The core of the supposed controversy is just how DeConnick got her job. Most recently, some guy wrote to Tom Breevort of Marvel on his tumblr blog. He was basically whining about the supposed improbability of a married couple both working for Marvel. Clearly, one of them only got the work because the other got them the work.
Where is the sexism, you ask? Clearly this guy is criticizing nepotism! I will tell you where the sexism lies. He had the audacity to pretty much accuse Matt Fraction of getting work with Marvel because he shares a bed with Kelly Sue DeConnick.
Oh wait, that is not what he insinuated. Because nobody really accuses men of sleeping their way into a job. It is an automatic assumption Fraction got his work legit, while Kelly Sue needed his help getting through the door. Brevoort pointed out this is pretty silly, DeConnick got work with other publishers before her Marvel work. And Kelly Sue notes that at one point, Matt was her guest at Marvel Functions…
I find this endlessly annoying. There was another writer who was dogged by rumors about dating her way into the business. She left the business, which is unfortunate. but it seems like we guys do not want to accept or believe women want to write comics, or are incapable of getting noticed without the help of a boyfriend in the industry.
Why? Why is it so improbably that a married couple happen to be powerhouse writers in their own right? Why the assumption that one has to be riding the other’s coattails?
DeConnick has faced this before, and she always handles it with intellectual grace. She should not have to. Frankly, a simple “fuck you” should suffice.
I get that people want to work in comics. And I get that for writers, it looks especially hard to get attention. But the assumption that who they are dating or married to is the main reason they got work is insulting. And again, it pretty much only gets leveled at women entering into the industry. It is making me tired. Kelly and Matt seem like real swell folks, and I get tired of seeing a talented writer have to defend herself against stupid insinuations. And for women, “ignoring” trolls does not kill the problem. If they do not respond, it is seen as almost validating the trolls claims.
Kelly Sue already responded terrifically via Tumblr. But I think that we need to start standing against this crap in unison. When we see this garbage we need to no longer pretend it will just go away.
In regards to breaking in?
Certainly, Kelly herself notes that it really helps to have people in the business to support you. She did have writers like Neil Gaiman and Brian Michael Bendis as cheerleaders. This is not bad. Writers like to help people…that is good news! When they see potential talent, they want to tell people they know…instead of looking at how to tear down writers, by attempting to invalidate them and their achievements, treat them with respect. Value their information. Many writers are very active online. Don’t flood them with questions…but show an interest in what they can offer the aspiring writer in advice. Be interesting. Be thoughtful. Be friendly. Be sincere. It will get you much closer to the door than hateful accusations ever will.