So, on December 9th, a young comics creator named Cynthia Naugle made the following tweet:
In the thread, she did not name the individual. But what she detailed was an awful history of abuse and general mistreatment from a comics professional she thought she could trust. The response was largely sympathetic and supportive. People condemned what she had been through and expressed a sense of regret. I say largely. ComicsGate was like sharks closing in on chum.
They spent the following hours accusing their “enemies” of silence. They believed that the “SJW” comic fan and creator community had been caught covering up for another sleazy creator. Which is weird, because, Cynthia had not named her abuser. It is hard to denounce a person directly when we do not know who it is for sure. But about a day later, she confirmed that the guy in question was Eric Esquivel.
For most of us, Esquivel was known for being the writer Vertigo’s recent series Border Town. I liked this book a lot. It was the last comic book review I did on this blog…and it was easily on track to being a favorite of 2018.
But this reveal of Esquivel’s character destroyed that. And not just for me. The creative team all left the book and DC opted to cancel the book. Esquivel offered a weak defense based apology. But his behavior was terrible and cruel. Cynthia was brave to come forward, and she also made public something that was apparently a known secret in her comics community. It appears that Eric was the guy everyone was warned about.
Sadly, Cynthia’s horrifying experience here and the “known secret” thing were weaponized by ComicsGate in an attempt to shame the “SJW” community they despise. They saw a real opportunity to shame their critics by claiming everyone from cosplayer Renfamous to creator Gail Simone were well aware of Esquivel’s reputation and all of the lefties in fandom and the industry were complicit in his behavior and the cover up of it. This is pretty ridiculous, and all their “evidence” fell apart quickly. Three tweets in as many years to Esquivel from Gail Simone a close friendship between the two does not make.
I am just going to say…this attempt to make this terrible situation for Cynthia Naugle into some example of the true face of the SJW crowd (that somehow we harbor more predators in a unique fashion) is a cruel attack on Naugle. It does not help her. It does not support her. And she deserves the comic book community to stand with her and against Esquivel and his predatory ilk.
Because, in the end? Esquivel is the villain here. He is the bad guy. He can try and excuse his actions all he wants. His abuse of Naugle cannot be excused. There may come a day when he has truly searched himself and does not create excuses, but genuinely regrets his actions and seeks to make amends. But he is not there, and I refuse to support his work. Get out of here, Esquivel.