Bill Sienkiewicz Brings A Level Head To A Comic Book Controversy

There is a debate going on in the comic book industry and on the internet about how women are depicted and or drawn in comic books. Here is a glimpse of that conversation.

Comic book artist Frank Cho is learning a valuable lesson about internet, don’t poke the internet bear. There isn’t a problem with Cho voicing his opinion or his artwork, and there is no problem with differing opinions voicing their thoughts. The problem lies within the comment threads. What starts out as a calm discourse turns into lowest common denominator mud slinging, and sometimes violent hate speech.

On Sunday, Rob Liefeld tries to right the ship and put the conversation back on course. Guess what happened, the internet bear won in a slaughter.

Then Bill Sienkiewicz get’s tagged in a post on Facebook about the issue, he does not responded immediately but takes the time to craft a message (two and half hours to be precise).

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Before the internet bear takes over this conversation; here is a calm, rational ,thought out opinion on the issue at hand.

Sienkiewicz is not condoning or sanctioning blatantly offensive content but he’s not trying to determine what’s right for other people.

“I’ve been foolishly trying to draft a response that won’t piss off at least one group somewhere out there in the electro-ether; a fool’s errand. There are many MANY horrible unjust, unfair and truly obscene things that deserve our collective and absolute outrage– and I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that most people know what these things are.

But this– this, not so much.

If Art upsets, or consoles, or outrages, or comforts, or excites, or raises question—then it’s doing its job. And once an artist- of any gender, ethnicity, religion,or any relative persuasion– does the work, and releases it into the vast collective universe, it belongs to the public at large- and is no longer in the control of the artist –often regardless of His/Her/( or LGBT/Androsexual/Trans/Intergender’s/Atheistic/ Devout/Agnostic’s etc) original intent.

We’re in a cross-cultural species-wide crossroads (and I include the four-legged and oceanic denizens of the planet as well, if I’m being inclusive)—where everyone -in this case, every single person who has felt voiceless and silenced and afraid and objectified for so long now feels the heady liberating siren call to express -often explosively- long-repressed needs angers and passions— not only to be seen and heard and respected—but to simply matter.

That- to me- is the bigger issue. It’s not a digression or a ‘beside the point’ or an obfuscation. It’s one of the main challenges—long overdue– for this generation and the next (along with climate change and all that boring reality shite) as we strive to move to higher levels of enlightenment and mutual understandingblahblah —and I can hear it now: many will say that every. single. small. thing. matters. including THIS: how talented artists-(and yes, my friends-) like Frank and J. Scott might be perceived as contributing to the downfall of civilization as we know it—or at least ‘perpetuating harmful stereotypes and gender inequality and sexual objectification’.

But as a white male of dubious ‘privilege'(I am for good or ill– also a Polack…and we all know what society thinks of THEM. You want to hear screams of anguish and anger over decades of stereotyped stupidity?oh you don’t?)— I’m already drafting an apology when I dare to ask all the inflamed and incensed and outraged: ”Jesus h Christ on a stick..I mean..really?!”

Because that just sounds so condescending. It’s like I’m daring to ask for proportional response, or that context be considered or the matter be looked at ‘in the grand scheme of things”. That sort of crap.

Far be it from me to deny anyone the right to enjoy the hell out of Outrage–Me, I love good outrage. especially justifiable outrage. I could luxuriate in being pissed off at a great many things… But drawings of the female form -(or even male) –ain’t one of them. Sorry. Matter of fact, I rather enjoy them.

So by all means get furious, enjoy the addictive rush of anger and lash out, vomit bile… but maybe think better of it and count to ten before pressing Send.

Or better yet count to twenty.

Even I did that much, and I’m one of THEM,” said Bill Sienkiewicz.

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Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.

2 COMMENTS

  1. […] ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. I would be remiss if I didn’t send you all to an article about a Facebook post by the classy, Bill Sienkiewicz, who said it ever so more eloquentl… an article about a Facebook post by the classy, Bill Sienkiewicz, who said it ever so more […]

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