Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-settings.php on line 512

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-settings.php on line 527

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-settings.php on line 534

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-settings.php on line 570

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1244

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1442

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/cache.php on line 431

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/query.php on line 61

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1109

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/http.php on line 61
The Post-Game Show » 2009 » July

Archive for July, 2009

Twilight: Full MMOn

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

welcometoforks

There’s a rumour going around, repeated on some news sites, that a Twilight MMO (massively multiplayer online game) is in development. Yes, a game in which you can immerse yourself in the thrilling setting of Forks, Washington, hailed as the logging capital of the world. At last, a game where kids can escape the dull trudge of small town life and all the petty stresses of high school by pretending to be high school students in a small town.

Oh, but with the addition of womb-nibbling throbbing Mormon psycho sparkle vampires. And teenage dogboys with great abs.

Exciting as this sounds, it seems that the story is a bit of a fraud. A game is being developed - but not by anyone with the rights to develop the game.

If you go to TwilightTheVideoGame.com and click ‘enter’ (because there was always a possibility you might go to a website and not want to enter), you will be treated to a tremorous school flute recital that you cannot switch off, and some happy spew about how Twilight The Video Game will “allow players to immerse themselves into a depper form of storytelling and adventure”.

dogboyThe inappropriate abs of a 17-year-old.

Click on ‘Meet the Staff’, and you can read about Brandon, Bethany, Maile and Beth (all in the third person) and Steve, Gretchen and Christine (all in the first person). Apparently Steve is a “fierce friend” and was adopted as a baby; Bethany shows and grooms dogs; Maile designs packaging for snack foods (hey, I love snack foods); and Brandon regularly earns his place on the Dean’s list (which I assume is a good thing, but it sounds like ‘the naughty step’ to me). Click on the News page and you get… nothing! Click on the Links page and you get… the thrilling realisation that people still make websites with Links pages! Oh, GeoCities, how we miss you.

The stink of fancruft lingers over everything. There is no mention anywhere that author Stephanie Meyer or license-holders Summit Entertaiment are involved in any way. Further investigation reveals that this is a fan project that the creators intend to hand over to Summit for free, on the assumption that Summit will lap it up rather than, say, shut it down with a leaden and humourless cease-and-desist.

tillicumparkDefer your virtual gratification at Forks’  Tillicum Park.

As far as I know, it is the first fan-fiction video game. That in itself is slightly exciting - game-making technology is now so cheap and freely available that people actually can do this stuff in their garage, and while it may not be great today (I’m assuming), it could be great tomorrow. It is the continued democratisation of media. Hurray! And it’s being wasted on Twilight. Boo!

That said, I wish Brandon, Bethany et al luck with their endeavour. Working on the game will probably be a good learning experience for them all, and if they do succeed, well, think of the fun we can all have with a Twilight MMO. I expect the folks at 4chan will be first in line to get accounts.

And yes, the park in Forks, Washington, really is called ‘Tillicum Park’. No, no-one else seems to have noticed how hilarious this is.

SDCC09 Day Four: The Hangover

Monday, July 27th, 2009

It ended with a ‘pfft’. At least, that’s the impression that I get from way up here. After the Marvelman announcement on Friday, it seems the news out of San Diego dried to a trickle. What happened the rest of the weekend? Where did everyone go? Saturday was dead, and Sunday is always dead. In fact, Sunday is where publishers stick their ‘oh and also’ panels; the low priority panels that they don’t expect to draw much of a crowd.

Sunday is when Marvel closed out its schedule with its ‘Women of Marvel’ panel.

blackcatpearlnecklace

Yeah, baby. Feel the representation.

‘Women of Marvel’ is actually about women working for Marvel, rather than the female characters, which is probably just as well given how the company tends to market female-dominated books like Heroes for Hire and the horribly named Marvel Divas. It even seems somewhat remarkable that Marvel can field a six woman team for such a panel, though three of those women are colorists, and one was an editor. The only writer on the panel had proved herself as a novelist first.

Before anyone snaps at me for disparaging colorists, let me be clear; I like colorists. Some of my best friends are colorists. But where else would you see Marvel fielding a panel that’s 50% colorists, except maybe at a colorists panel? Colorists are becoming the nurses of comics. It’s a fine profession, but there are other options for women to pursue. Why can’t Marvel field a panel with at least two female writers, and at least two female pencillers? Maybe even on a panel that doesn’t have the word ‘Women’ in the title? (According to the schedule, ‘Women of Marvel’ was the only Marvel panel with more than one woman on board. Mondo Marvel, aka ‘World of Marvel’, had none.)

magnetohead

The X-Men panel was not on Sunday, but I’m just catching up on that coverage. According to Comic Book Resources: “September is when “Nation X” begins, with two other September shipping specials, ‘Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus’ and ‘Dark Reign: The List - Uncanny X-Men’ laying the groundwork for the story. “They all sort of flow into each other,” Fraction told CBR News.”

I’m so confused. I miss the days when they used sequential numbers to get the flowing going. I am very much in favour of putting the crossovers in their own little mini-series, but as soon as you start needing checklists to follow a story, there’s something wrong.

In other news, Scott Pilgrim is becoming a side-scroller video game! I have nothing really to say about this; I’m just excited. If they don’t have an Honest Ed’s level, I’ll cry. (Honest Ed’s is not in the movie. I consider this a disaster.)

zquinto

Zachary Quinto is getting into comics - at last, Sylar in mylar! And when Hollywood comes to comics, you know what that means; generic ideas that the author thinks are original, presented in a style that shows no understanding of the medium, on a schedule that would try the patience of a saint. Hooray!

But, what’s this? Quinto isn’t writing comics? “We’ve talked about it. But I feel like my instincts as a writer probably lend themselves more, at this point, toward screenwriting,” said Quinto. So what is Quinto doing? His production company is teaming up with Archaia to develop new comics, and his role will be… well, it’s not clear. From the sounds of things, he may just be using his star power and geek cred to lure in talent. (When it comes to selling comics, celebrity names don’t seem to count for much.)

Reading between the lines, one suspects the aim here is to produce ‘proof of concept’ comics for potential TV and movie licenses. Let’s hope he can come up with a bigger hits than Jada Pinkett Smith’s Menace, or Rosario Dawson’s Occult Crimes Taskforce.

Finally, let’s talk Torchwood. There was a Doctor Who/Torchwood panel; it wasn’t on Sunday. But let’s talk about it here anyway, because Children of Earth finally wrapped in the US on Friday, which means it’s now safe to talk about it. Spoilers follow, of course.

torchwood-boys

Ahead of SDCC, Russell T Davies spoke to Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello about the series conclusion and the backlash over the death of Ianto. One of Ausiello’s questions was whether Davies has felt pressured to ‘de-gay’ Torchwood, and Davies’ answer infuriated me:

“I think you can forget about people picking up gay rights as an issue. It’s rather like children picking up nursery blocks and waving them in the air but having no idea what it entails. We’re talking about issues in my entire life here, not just one small television program. If they did research they’d go and look at the history of gay and lesbian characters that I have put on screen. They should simply grow up, do some research, and stop riding on a bandwagon that they actually don’t know anything about.”

There you have it, kids. Russell T Davies is the only gay in the village. He knows about the gay, and you do not. Not even if you are, say, gay media website AfterElton, where they asked this weekend, ‘Who killed the gay better, Buffy or Torchwood?‘. In poll on the same site, which has a predominantly gay readership, more than half of readers said they would not tune in to a fourth season without Ianto. But what do they know about being gay?

Was the death of Ianto homophobic? I actually don’t think so. It is another in the storied canon of ‘kill the queer’ stories, sure, but as with Joss Whedon, I think it comes down to what has the most narrative impact. It was cheap and sloppy writing, but it wasn’t a case of killing the queer because he’s queer.

That’s just my opinion, and other people read it differently, and not because they’re dabbling in arcane things they cannot understand. It is a legitimate question to raise. It is especially legitimate to wonder whether, even if Davies was not consciously being homophobic, he was subconsciously responding to certain pressures.

Russell T Davies has a deeply pompous image of himself as not just a writer, but a ‘writah-darling’, as in, ‘I am a writah, darling’, and this is a manifestation of it at its worst. At the Who panel this past weekend, Davies tried to ameliorate fan rage, saying, “I have nothing but respect for internet fandom: I understand that some things I have said have been taken the wrong way - and I understand that, and that’s OK because sometimes people will always read things the way that makes sense to them.”

So, you see, when he said, “They should simply grow up, do some research, and stop riding on a bandwagon that they actually don’t know anything about”, that was taken the wrong way. Stupid fans.

Torchwood has been confirmed for a fourth series, in which an adorable puppy will join the Torchwood team, only to be flayed alive and drowned in vinegar.

The puppy will be bisexual.

SDCC09 Day Three: Slow News Day

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Would you fight in a war to defend someone else’s rights? Probably not. Given the choice, I think very few of us would lay down our lives in that way.

But would you march for someone else’s rights? Just take a few hours out of your day, to be seen and to be heard, because it might make a difference in the lives of thousands of others? Brother, can you spare the time? Some people do. A minority on a march will be there not for themselves, but for their friends, their family, their country.

Would you vote to uphold someone else’s rights? You’re in the voting booth anyway. All you need to do is tick the right box, and it will make all the difference in the world to the freedoms and happiness of your neighbours. In California, almost half of voters would. Maybe you’re one of the one in two.

Would you change the bar you drink in, if it made a difference to someone else’s rights?

What’s the least you think you might do?

Today is the last day of the San Diego Comic-Con.

There was no news yesterday. Perhaps everyone was too hung over from the Friday night parties to do any reporting? Or perhaps Saturday is no dominated by move and TV show panels that no-one wheels out any announcements on Saturday?

Ain’t It Cool News recapped the first footage from Iron Man 2; both Lost and Heroes had panels (and with Heroes saviour Brian Fuller now off the show again, it’s hard to get excited about another season of that); David Tennant and John Barrowman kissed (it’s not very exciting); DC talked about Blackest Night and Marvel talked about Dark Reign (it’s all so grim and gritty) and since both of those crossover events are already going on, there’s nothing much to say about either.

If the comics journalists are stuck for a story to write about, I have a suggestion. As far as I can tell, none of them have covered the Manchester Grand Hyatt story at all. Not even to challenge it. Not even to present the fact of it. Perhaps they would cover it if someone fed it to them in a press release?

twitteratcbr

SDCC09 Day Two: Reds, Whites & Blues

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

redshehulk

This is Red She-Hulk, because Marvel are not out of new ideas, no sirree. Sure, they’ve done the ‘female version of male character’ thing a lot lately, with the likes of Black Panther, Ultron, Hawkeye, and so on, and they’ve done the ‘evil version of good character’ thing even more, with Red Hulk, Daken, and the entire Dark Reign thing. But ‘evil female version of male good character’? That’s some crazy innovation right there!

I expect the creative process was exhausting, too. ‘Do we go with ‘Red She-Hulk’, or ‘She-Red Hulk’? Let’s have another writers’ retreat’.

eisnerlogo

Last night saw the announcement of this year’s Eisner award winners at Comic-Con, with deserving wins for Comic Book Resources, Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man, Art Baltazar’s Tiny Titans, and Image’s Comic Book Tattoo. Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman won Best Continuing Series, despite not being a continuing series. Whoops. It is a terrific book, though; it’s just in the wrong category (or a badly named category, perhaps).

Get the full results at The Beat, courtesy of Heidi MacDonald.

losersposter

The movie version of The Losers is apparently coming along nicely, as series artist Jock released a comic-art poster showing the names of the cast. What’s interesting is that the comic book cast was at least one-third ethnic - Pooch and Aisha. The movie cast has a black actor playing Roque. A Spanish actor is playing Cougar, so presumably he’s being played as  Hispanic. (My comments tell me he was in the comic as well. I don’t recall, but of course, we never saw his face.)

This is a particularly strong example of an odd trend in comics-to-movie (and TV) adaptations. Alicia Masters turned black in Fantastic Four. Kingpin turned black in Daredevil. Pete Ross turned black in Smallville. Iron Man opted for the black Nick Fury. Hollywood is not known for its embrace to diversity, but when it takes on a comic book story it actually has to add black characters. Existing ethnic and female characters also often get a profile boost. Comics are so bad at this stuff that even on a mature readers Vertigo title, Hollywood takes the medium to school. Hollywood. It’s like getting racial sensitivity seminars from Pat Buchanan.

Aside from the Eisners, the biggest news out of SDCC yesterday was that Marvel has acquired the rights to Miracleman, or rather, Marvelman. For years Marvel insisted that we call him Miracleman, now they suddenly want us to call him Marvelman again. So indecisive.

marvelman

Marvelman was created in the 1950s by Mick Anglo, and famously reinvented by Alan Moore in the 80s. Fans are treating the acquisition of Marvelman as a big deal, but it’s really just the long-anticipated fulfilment of something set in motion years ago. The purpose of the Neil Gaiman Marvel comic 1602 was to raise money to sue Todd McFarlane for his unauthorised use of the character, and to clarify once and for all who actually held the rights. Even then it was clear that the eventual intent was for Marvel to take ownership and reprint the comics (though it sounds like Marvel does not yet have all the story rights).

The name reversion was also always part of the plan, but it may suggest a worrying development for fans of the character. It seems inevitable that Marvel will try to integrate the character with the Marvel universe, but Marvelman is basically a Superman analogue (by way of Captain Marvel), and as Sentry has proved, Superman analogues do not fit well in the feet-of-clay Marvel world. Squeezing Marvelman into a world of crossovers and Red She-Hulks will be like having characters from The Wire dropped into One Life To Live.

Showing the full extent of his sophisticated understanding of Marvelman, Marvel editor Joe Quesada said, “It is arguably the JD Salinger of comic book characters”. JD Salinger is an author, of course, and not a fictional character. Quesada may have been thinking of Charlie Salinger, Matthew Fox’s character from Party of Five.

boycotthyattposter1

An update on the Manchester Grand Hyatt boycott, which I wrote about earlier in the week. I don’t know if the comic industry has taken notice, but the folks at the Hyatt certainly have. Their marketing director stopped by my blog yesterday to say that Doug Manchester has recanted his position on gay marriage. “Mr. Manchester believes that every American is deserving of the opportunity to receive all of the benefits from civil marriage, gay or straight.”

That sounds good, but it’s only words. Nothing has changed. Mr Manchester spent $125,000 to help strip Californians of their rights. He’s now donating $25,000 to support giving them different rights, plus hotel credit to lure gay customers back to the hotel. That does not balance the books. If Mr Manchester truly believes that every American deserves equal rights, we need action, not words. Let’s see an equal or greater donation in support of gay marriage, from the same wallet that donated $125,000 to take those rights away.

spartacus

I’ll leave you with a little palate cleanser; the trailer for Sam Raimi’s new swords-and-sandals TV show Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which debuts in January on Starz and sees Raimi re-teaming with Xena star Lucy Lawless. It looks gloriously violent and shamelessly sleazy - all thighs and biceps as far as the eye can see. While HBO’s Rome did everything on an expensive set, Spartacus is shot on cheap-and-cheerful green screen, 300-style. It will be terrible in all the best ways.

Sources: CBR, Newsarama, The Beat.

SDCC09 Day One: The View from Up Here

Friday, July 24th, 2009

I’m not in San Diego for the Comic-Con. I’ve been three times before, and I was thinking of going again this year, but it’s too daunting a prospect. Tickets and hotel rooms both sold out at such a rate as to suggest the whole thing was going to be a hellish scrum, and that doesn’t seem the best way to spend my money.

So instead I’m watching the news from afar. The big news from yesterday as far as the mainstream media is concerned was the Twilight panel. I twittered last week; “I predict there’s going to be a Twilight-fuelled mob riot at SDCC this year, and at least one comic creator will be killed. Mark my words!”

I was wrong. Well, so far. But the LA Times did report on squabbling in the shanty town that sprang up in the queue for the Sparkle Vampires days in advance. Do I feel like I’m really missing San Diego this year? Who wouldn’t want to be in the same place as thousands of dirty cranky hormonal Twilight obsessives, I say!

breadline

It seems the young girls in the queue (aka Twilight’s intended audience) were being bullied and jumped by the over-entitled ‘Twi-Moms’, the crazy Jean Teasdales who make the Twilight phenomenon so terrifying. It’s one thing to have inappropriate stirrings for buff 17-year-olds, but quite another to be loud and obnoxiously tribal about it at the sprightly age of 40-something.

In tech news, Comixology has announced an app for reading comics on the iPhone, which is interesting, but not necessarily compelling. Reading comics on a screen may be (part of) the future, but I personally don’t much enjoy reading text on a screen the size of an iPhone, and I don’t see comics being any more fun to read that way.

Longbox also announced a few more names signed up for their digital comics service, including NBM, Dabel Brothers and Archaia - but still no ‘killer name’, which is what I think they’ll need to be a big success. The closest they’ve come is the news that some Image creators will be signing up with their own work, but I had already assumed that would be a the case when Kieron Gillen mentioned that he’d written such a provision in to his contract.

grantandadolf

Robot 6 at CBR is running a quote of the day for SDCC, and for preview night they ran a quote from Grant Morrison, which included this:

“I don’t care about geeks, you know? Geeks shouldn’t be given power. When geeks get power, you get Hitler.”

No, Grant, you get Barack Obama.

Actually, that’s bullshit, but it’s not as big a pile of bullshit as the Hitler comparison. It’s so dispiriting to see how readily creators turn on fans when they get mired in crossover, event, and marquee superhero comics and get a greater exposure to the outspoken maniac minority. For whatever reason, the average quality of Grant Morrison’s work was higher before he started writing mainstream DC titles, and if that realisation is making him insecure, he shouldn’t take it out on the fans. That’s totally what Hitler would do if Hitler was writing Batman.

A few movie posters have been unveiled, including one for the boys, and one for the other boys:

hexprince

DC Western Jonah Hex is not a comic series I’ve ever read, but I was mildly interested in the movie. This poster has killed that interest stone dead. It looks sterile, tacky, and full of Megan Fox, and it conjures up bad memories of LXG and the laughably bad movie version of Jean Giraud’s Blueberry.

Prince of Persia… well, Jake Gyllenhaal still doesn’t look very Persian, and the wig still looks like a wig, and the choice of font is just odd, but what the hell, he’s pretty, so I am going to go and see this.

jeftevoodoo

Talented Spaniard Jefte Palo has been announced as the artist on the new Brother Voodoo title at Marvel, written by Rick Remender, and the previews look lovely. I refuse to call it ‘Doctor Voodoo’, as I think it’s patronising and racist to suggest that a black character needs to be called ‘doctor’ to get some respect. If the counter-argument is that ‘Brother Voodoo’ sounds too cliché, well, maybe you shouldn’t be publishing a book about a Haitian houngan with a skull painted on his face? You’re either committed or you ain’t, Joe.

On a final note: a lot of my friends are freelancers for major publishers, and this is a busy week for them, so they probably haven’t had a chance to read my piece on the Hyatt boycott in defence of gay marriage. Here’s the problem: I’m calling on the comic industry to show a social conscience, but the comic industry isn’t taking my calls.

This is my plea to my friends and to anyone else in comics or comics reporting; please spread the word. Whether you agree with the boycott or not, you must agree that it’s better that people make informed choices. “I didn’t know about the boycott” or, “I don’t know what the boycott is for” is the popular meme of the moment. People should know. Please, pass the link around.

Credit: I’m getting my news from CBR and Newsarama. You should too!

SDCC09: San Diego, Why Don’t You Come To Your Senses?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

What defines a superhero? Powers? Costumes? Code names? Those may be the elements that make a character ’super’. The ‘hero’ part comes from one place; a willingness to fight for what’s right even when it’s not convenient.

The other thing about superheroes is that they’re fictional. The people who read them, and the people who write and draw and publish them, are under no obligation to follow their principals. We normal, ordinary folk can relish these tales of brave men and women standing up against wicked deeds, but when the time comes for us to stand up for an idea, well, that’s where the line is between fiction and reality.

sdcclogo

Which brings us to San Diego Comic-Con 2009, and the Manchester Grand Hyatt. SDCC is the biggest event in the comic book year, bringing together thousands of fans in one huge sweaty hall. It’s one of the biggest conventions to hit San Diego every year, and the hotels in the area are always booked out.

One of the official hotels is the Manchester Grand Hyatt, owned by Doug Manchester. In 2008, Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to the successful effort to strip Californians of their right to same-sex marriage with Proposition 8. For the past 12 months there has been an organised boycott of Manchester’s three hotels - the Grand Hyatt and the Grand del Mar in San Diego, and the Whitetail in McCall, Idaho. The boycott does not apply to other Hyatt-operated hotels.

Labour leaders and gay rights groups have backed the boycott.

The comic industry does not.

On the one year anniversary of the boycott last week, organisers claimed they had cost the chain $7 million in business.

But not comic book business.

boycotthyattposter

Comic book publishers, writers, editors and artists are all staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt this week. I won’t name names, because I know many people had forgotten about the boycott even though this is the second year that it has hit the Comic-Con, and the organisers of the boycott did not do a good job of getting word out to the industry. I also feel that naming names would make people defensive, and I would rather they were contrite.

The problem - and it’s an appreciable one - is that the San Diego Comic-Con is huge, and the Manchester Grand Hyatt is only two blocks from the convention centre, and it is traditionally the social and business hub of the whole event. Most of these people work on superheroes, but they are not heroes. They will not do the right thing if it’s inconvenient to their business, or worse, to their buzz.

Last year some attendees argued that the boycott would punish the wrong people - the hotel staff. That’s an odd argument. People aren’t going to sleep in the streets or drink water all weekend if they are not at the Hyatt. Some waiter somewhere will get your tip, and he won’t be less deserving than the waiter at the Hyatt. When you choose to eat in one restaurant, your heart cannot bleed for all the waiters in all the other restaurants you walked past.

apollomidnighterwedding

The other argument against a boycott is that people can spend their dollars, but mark them with a word or phrase or symbol that shows that this money comes from a queer-friendly source. Even assuming that people buying beers that they intend to expense later will be paying in cash, how will those markers ever make it to the account sheets? Even if every pro-gay person who stays or drinks at the Hyatt during this convention goes to the front desk and registers their objection to Doug Manchester’s position, will they be heard? It’s better than doing nothing, but only barely. It’s a fig-leaf for the conscience rather than a response.

The boycott is not unique to SDCC, and it has had an impact, because Doug Manchester is reeling. Two months ago, ahead of the convention season, Manchester tried to make amends - in the most wretched way possible. Having donated $125,000 to oppose gay marriage, he pledged to donate a fifth as much, just $25,000, in support of… civil unions. That’s not a reversal of his anti-gay discrimination. That’s the same position from a new direction.

Manchester also promised $100,000 in credit to local gay and lesbian groups - a bribe that gay groups have said they will reject as ‘blood money’, should it ever materialise (it hasn’t yet). All of this comes after the fact, after Proposition 8 passed in California and millions of gays and lesbians were stripped of their rights. Far too little, far too late.

Doug Manchester wants the gay dollar, but he still does not support gay equality. The boycott continues. It should continue, either until Manchester recants his position and makes a donation greater than $125,000 to a marriage equality group, or until Proposition 8 is repealed or overturned.

But the comic industry is not part of the boycott. Every dollar spent by the comic industry at the Manchester Grand Hyatt is a dollar spent in support of hate.

gayheroes

Fortunately these comic book people all work in the media, and that puts them in a great position to fight that hate. One of the easiest ways to combat prejudice is to increase the visibility of diversity. The major comics publishers have skirted by with a minimum commitment to diversity, usually doing less than the least they could do, and sometimes just edging across that line as non-committally as possible. Even smaller publishers tend to shy away from gay content, feeling that it’s a different audience and a different market, rather than part of their audience and part of their market.

It is unfortunate that money spent by that audience is being used to line the pockets of a gay rights opponent. One might charitably assume that most of the pros who make this mistake are doing so in ignorance. Hopefully they will not remain in ignorance, and having recognised their error, will be happy to redress the balance through their work. After all, as of this week they cannot claim neutrality. They can either stand by their support of Doug Manchester and Proposition 8, or they can stand against it.

Most people don’t have what it takes to be a hero, and stand up when it’s difficult to do so - not when there are beers on the table and the company is buying. But these people don’t have to be villains.