Comic book writer Kurt Busiek found himself persona non grata with the GamerGate movement after posting a screenshot on twitter without comment, and ended up firing back with a Twitter takedown in one of the opening salvos of the brewing comic culture war. Bear with us here, as this gets a little confusing. We'll try to explain what happened.
The whole affair began earlier today, when the GamerGate affiliated group Honey Badger Radio was expelled from the Calgary Expo after allegations of harassment, which the group denies. In response, /r/KotakuInAction, the leading GamerGate subreddit, posted a thread to organize the culture war campaign response to the event.
Busiek made the following Tweet, pointing to the above screenshot of that thread, without comment:
And then with comment*:
In response, Kotaku In Action posted another thread, this time referencing Busiek's tweets referencing their thread, and then tweeted a link to the thread, which Busiek retweeted (...and breathe):
As a fan pointed out, they called the well-known comic book writer a comic book "artist."
A point which Busiek took some pleasure in:
Busiek issued a general takedown of the state of discourse on the internet:
And then he delivered his assessment of the rules of discourse with Gamergate:
So it looks like GamerGate has come to comics. What now? The culture wars aren't new to this fandom by any means. In fact, it was just last week that saw comic book artists, led by Rob Liefeld, take an "anti-censorship" stance against criticism they view as a moral panic in a movement that, if not directly associated with GamerGate, is certainly ideologically compatible. But today's skirmishes have been between comic book writers like Mark Waid and Busiek versus GamerGate proper, signaling the beginning of what could be a much larger conflict. The blockbuster comics event of the year may not be Convergence or Secret Wars, but the epic real life battle for control of the industry's soul.
What other creators will go forth and do culture battle in the coming weeks, and which side will they be on? How long can notable industry pros avoid directly clashing with each other over these issues? I've been monitoring this stuff for a long time, and I think we're reaching the point where things are about to get ugly around here.
When they do, we'll be here to cover it... unless we end up casualties ourselves. Stay tuned!
*A slight update: