Marvel writer Chelsea Cain left Twitter today amid a storm of viciously hateful messages. The abuse has been growing since Mockingbird appeared on the cover of her eighth comic wearing a shirt that reads “Ask me about my feminist agenda”.
Cain stuck it out until this morning, when she officially deleted her Twitter account. No more corgis for us. (If you didn’t get that, go pick up all 8 issues of the Cain run. You can thank me later.)
The people sending her hate mail have clearly not read Cain’s Mockingbird series. I’m not even sure they’ve read anything with Mockingbird in it, ever, because Bobbi Morse is and has always been a feminist. This is just a more open representation of her character. Bobbi’s first appearance in Astonishing Tales #6, way back in the early 70s, involved a complex storyline where she was a brilliant scientist working as a S.H.I.E.L.D. double agent. Given that, the current line should appeal to the so-called “purists” who are spewing hate all over the internet.
Of course, this kind of hate isn’t about “purity”. It’s misogyny, pure and simple. These fake fans have a stubborn belief that comics are about straight men, preferably white, and those are the only stories worth telling. Any deviation from that standard draws the most hateful bile imaginable. Writers and artists struggle to stand tall in the face of personal attacks, especially when they have little support from publishers. Marvel gave Cain nothing at all when she asked for help in dealing with the abuse.
What’s really upsetting is that this was Chelsea Cain’s first foray into writing Marvel comics. She is a talented writer with a funny, engaging voice. I laughed out loud at least once in every issue. Marvel was lucky to have her. If history is anything to go by, they won’t realize this until the trade paperback for Mockingbird comes out (DC had a similar wake-up call with Midnighter last year).
Want to help Chelsea Cain and other creators like her? Tweet support using the #StandwithChelseaCain hashtag. Engage in online communities for your favorite comics and let your voice be heard. Most of all, find your local comic book store and buy the Cain run of Mockingbird. If we’re loud enough to drown out the hate, maybe Cain will stay with Marvel.
And maybe we can have more corgis.
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology being published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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