Chelsea Cain Hounded Off Twitter After Feminist Mockingbird Cover

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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.)

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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.

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And maybe we can have more corgis.

Author: Khai

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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About the author

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.

Comments

  1. What a load of horseshit. If this was really about ”misoginy” and people wanting exclusively white male characters as protagonists, Cain would’ve gotten this abuse way before that obnoxious cover showed up. Clearly this is about people being sick of marvel hamfisting [slur removed by admin] politics into their superhero comics.

    1. My opinion? Those people were ignoring the story because they didn’t really care about the character. They were upset by the “feminist agenda” shirt, but if they’d been reading the comic they would have been upset waaaay before now. That means the people actually reading Mockingbird were liking it (hello, that’s me) and only people who noticed the feminism because of the cover were upset.

      For your edification, though, the comments made to Cain were incredibly, brutally, viciously misogynistic. So there’s that.

    2. It Is: you show your own “misoginy” (and miseducation) by calling the cover “obnoxious”. You obviously have trouble with the idea of the prospect of a female comic book character having a feminist agenda. I wish everyone had more of a feminist agenda. The world has had just about enough of maleist agendas.

    1. I did find some of these comments when I researched the article yesterday, though I see now that there seem to be… less? What? I wish I’d taken a few screenshots. Live and learn, Khai, live and learn. Regardless, she did make a point of saying much of it was directed through her DMs, and that was specifically what chased her off.

      Would I be willing to entertain a theory that as a new comic author coming from the fiction world she was unprepared for the volume of messages and harsh critique common to comic fans? Yes, I could see the logic in that. Would I say she “faked it”? No, because her book was already cancelled with the usual potential for a revival if the sales for the trade paperback are good. What possible value could a publicity stunt have that would outweigh her reputation? Do you think women like being the “troublesome one” because even those of us who rock the boat get tired thighs, man.

      I guess my point is, this is a thing that happens and if she says it happened, I see no reason to call her a liar. There’s no benefit that balances the penalties. I don’t see it. Thanks for the lesson about screen-shotting, though.

      *Note: I actually just found a few examples, including the one that set me off yesterday. In the interest of journalistic integrity I will email these to you, but I refuse to post them here because they’re pretty awful. Anyone who thinks this wasn’t real, I’ll also send you these links.*

      1. I would like to see the evidence.

        I am not trying to suggest that nothing happened. In fact, there is no evidence that this was a sells stunt, so saying that the lack of evidence for harassment automatically supplies evidence that it’s a sells stunt is poor argument.

        I am asking because a study social media. I am a doctoral candidate at OSU English. And I might want to do an article on this in the future.

  2. Let’s not target all straight white men. Most of them are wonderful people! Generalizations are stupid and petty and show off lazy thinking. Not that I know a ton of straight folks but some of my best friends… 😉

    That said, I’m saddened and stunned to learn of all this news. I just read the Mockingbird TPB by Cain and was utterly charmed by it. I’m glad to hear the rest of the series will be collected. I hope Marvel can entice Miss Cain back to the series as it is such a hit.

    The TPB has also scored very high on the Goodreads list of Marvel 2016 books. I have not seen that mentioned anywhere else yet.

    1. Actually, I’m glad you posted here. It gives me the chance to update this article. Chelsea Cain made a statement shortly after we went to print. She clarified that she did delete Twitter because of hate, but not exactly in the way it seemed. Most of the worst stuff happened after she announced she was leaving, and she left because she realized she didn’t want to waste her time dealing with daily internet hate when she could be doing things she found more enjoyable. Here that is if you want to read it:

      https://chelseacain.com/blog/140-characters-plus-few-thousand-more-twitter-hubbub

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