Controversy swept the blogosphere into a state of wild frenzy today when Newsarama mogul Lucas Siegel posted some loose-lipped statements on Twitter about a "major comics publisher" restricting coverage for a comic that doesn't come out until next month.
I am baffled by how a major publisher, when asked for interviews, can say “No, we’re not letting that be covered until April”. Ridiculous.— Lucas Siegel (@LucasSiegel) March 3, 2014
While Siegel refused to name names, we know it wasn't IDW or Action Lab, because both companies responded to Siegel with shameless ploys to get their own coverage up on the beleaguered comic book news site:
Siegel also eliminated Marvel from the running with the following tweet:
@RyanAJoseph Yes, well, you can probably guess by the fact that we’ve had a ton of marvel coverage lately and not so much… ahem— Lucas Siegel (@LucasSiegel) March 3, 2014
He also posted this inflammatory one, which has since been deleted:
“We’d really rather you not cover our products” seriously? I just.. insane. — Lucas Siegel (@LucasSiegel) March 3, 2014
We know that Image is currently tied up defending their utility closet from foreign invasion, and Dark Horse creators even give interviews to The Outhouse, so it can't be them. Of course, this leaves only one reasonable option: Oni Press.
Oni is a publisher of critically acclaimed comics like The Sixth Gun (the official comic of The Outhouse), Wasteland, The Bunker, and Letter 44. Of course, they were also responsible for Scott Pilgrim, a legitimate pop culture phenomenom. So it's no surprise that they would try to throw their weight around by bullying a journalist like Siegel.
Of course, the practice isn't anything new. Attempts to control coverage are a hallmark of pretty much every industry, and something we address a lot. Luckily, the independent comics journalism blogosphere is always willing to band together and stand up for freedom of the press against corporate bullying by... taking the side of the corporation:
@hermanos I'm not sure what he's so mad about. You ask for an interview, you are told no, you write what you can or just move on.— Andy Khouri (@andykhouri) March 3, 2014
Of course, there are sites you can count on to speak the truth regardless of consequences. Bleeding Cool is usually one of them, but they seem to have gotten this one wrong, since they're blaming this whole mess on poor, innocent DC Comics:
Yes, they are talking about DC Comics. Who recently ran Newsarama print ads and whom DC gave that lovely 3D cover scoop just last week.
Oh look, it’s Siegel Vs. DC Comics again.
My knowledge of DC’s history with Newsarama is sketchy, though the departure from DC’s press department of ex-Newsarama’s Alex Segura can’t have helped.
Bleeding Cool couldn't be more wrong though. DC is a company of integrity that would never blacklist a website for publishing stories they don't approve of.
Erm... well, they'd never do it to a major website...
Well, we're sticking with our story anyway!
Shame on you, Oni Press! Your authoritarian public relations make us almost want to not tell people to pick up the amazing Hellheim: The Witch War TPB when it hits stores later this month, or to check out The Auteur #1 when it hits comic shops this week, but we've got a review of that coming up later so the cat's already out of the bag on that one.
THE AUTEUR #1
Written by Rick Spears
Drawn by James Callahan
Colored by Luigi Anderson
Fresh off the biggest bomb in Hollywood history, disgraced and desperate producer Nathan T. Rex enters a downward spiral of drugs and depravity in a quest to resurrect his career and save his soul. Over budget and behind schedule on the latest installment of the horror franchise, PRESIDENTS DAY, T. Rex is backed into a corner by bad publicity, a crap project, and a jerk studio exec, but finds salvation at a strip club by huffing glue, and a chance encounter with cable news. Welcome to the most deranged, notorious, and hilarious comic of 2014! We apologize in advance.
In any case, you know what this means, folks... It's time to reset the Has Oni Done Something Stupid Today Counter!