ComicsGate (or #ComicsGate) is
a online movement promoting the idea that the comic book industry (especially as represented by publishers Marvel and DC) pushes a progressive political agenda through their products and through their hiring. It also claims that there exists a lack of professionalism, inclusivity, objectivity and accountability of the publishers and their employees (i.e. management, editors, writers, artists, etc.) when dealing directly with the customers.
ComicsGate focuses mainly on the superhero genre, especially those superhero books put out by industry giants Marvel and DC, but has less to say about the wider spectrum of comic book genres. While people participating in the campaign will occasionally issue complaints about smaller, independent comic books, they reserve the bulk of their discontent for larger, more high-profile targets, especially those comic books that they feel have disempowered whites or men.
Examples of the complaints that ComicsGaters have expressed against comic books as well as the broader culture of cartoon, sci-fi and fantasy entertainment:
1. Thor was briefly portrayed as a woman.
2. Ice-Man is now gay.
3. Iron Man was briefly replaced by Ironheart, an uppity black teenager.
4. Ms Marvel is a girl-centered and muslim-friendly superhero comic.
5. America Chavez is a comic about a Latina lesbian.
6. Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) is not sexually appealing.
7. Domino is not sexually appealing.
8. The new design of She-Ra is not sexually appealing.
9. Captain America was briefly a bad guy.
10. The Hulk was briefly Asian.
11. A girl out-fought Luke Skywalker.
12. There are too many women on Marvel's editorial staff.
13. There are too many transgenders in Marvels art department.
14. There are too many blacks, Muslims and Latina lesbians writing Marvel comic books.
ComicsGate participants (which includes some industry pros) focus on what they consider to be examples of writers and artists who they claim have been coerced to toe their company’s political line, or conversely, who they feel promote left-leaning politics in their comic storylines in a ham-fisted manner. GamerGaters frequently resist efforts (by Marvel especially) to expand the audience of super hero comic books to include more women.
The campaign is made up of customers and fans with various political beliefs across the spectrum of all races, colors, creeds, genders, identities, and backgrounds, ComicsGate participants assert that the movement itself is apolitical and meant for everyone who loves the industry of comics. Despite this, most ComicsGate supporters who profess their own politics tend to be at least nominally conservative.
Participants in ComicsGate sometimes portray their effort as a “consumer revolt”. However, there is little evidence that the response from the companies they wish to affect has been successful, or that ComicsGate has been able to persuade those companies to change their hiring or creative decisions in significant ways. ComicsGate has not, so far, organized any formal boycott against the companies they dislike.
Still, others believe that ComicsGate is nothing more than a long con, where comic creators who purport to dislike mixing politics and comics do exactly that to monetize the resulting outrage. On that interpretation, ComicsGate would have no real goal except to perpetuate itself by injecting politics into comics at every opportunity.
ComicsGate was named after GamerGate, an online campaign that began around 2014 and which was centered on video game culture and journalism. (GamerGate took its suffix from the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s). GamerGate was begun by video game fans around 2014, and had as its goal honesty and integrity in games journalism and a pushback against perceived political correctness in video game publishing and journalism, which was overshadowed by multiple media outlets reporting this as nothing more than online harassment by a vocal minority, aka "trolls". Despite being kind and wonderful people at heart, GamerGate did lead to a small, SMALL number of rape and death threats against women in the gaming industry.
ComicsGate shares a few complaints with GamerGate. ComicsGaters, like GamerGaters, often speak of their favorite industry being "infested" with "SJW's" creating too much content for women and assorted minorities. ComicsGate also intersects with reactionary politics and the alt-right in a manner similar to GamerGate. However, ComicsGate has yet to reach the high profile that GamerGate did, and its presence on forums like 4Chan and Reddit is minimal compared to the level of attention GamerGate received there. On August 27, 2018, prominent ComicsGate figure Ethan Van Sciver had this to say about ComicsGate in an interview he gave to the Rekieta Law YouTube channel:
"All of these things [ComicsGate, GamerGate, etc] are interrelated. What they have to do with is progressive ideologues invading male dominated hobbies and implementing change. Unwanted change. They always follow the same prescription. These ideologues invade your favorite hobby, they get in somehow, they find themselves in leadership or roles of influence (...) then they start hiring more social justice warriors, they start bringing in social justice warriors who really don't belong there, and these social justice warriors start looking around and they say 'hey, uh, this thing that you like, whether it's NASCAR, whether its the WWE, whether its comics or whether its GamerGate (sic) (...) that is toxic masculinity, it is racist, it is bigoted, (...) we've gotta start making some changes, we've gotta start bringing women in here. We gotta bring in some wimmens!'"
On September 4th, 2018, In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Ethan Van Sciver declared that he and he alone owns the expression “ComicsGate”.
"I own the word 'ComicsGate.' It belongs to ME. (...) Nobody will make a ComicsGate line of Comics except for ME."
This statement was in response to author Theodore “Teddy” Beale announcing his intention to launch a line of comic books branded as “Comicsgate Comics”.