Attempted to make it cohesive with the other Robins but EH… thank you for love gurl♡!
Pronounced "ska-lya." A little curated space for my interests. Primary fandoms: Spider-Man and Doctor Who. Proportion of political content may vary.
I also run @#$% Yeah, Spider-Wife!, a Mary Jane Watson tumblog.
Icon credit: made by me using art by Andie Tong.
We have two weeks left until the open call for submissions for Beyond- the queer sci-fi/fantasy comic anthology are closed!
If you’re thinking of submitting (and we hope you are!) please make sure to have your pitch sent to us by December 15th, 2013.
DOCTOR WHO ~ PRISONERS OF TIME
12 Cover Puzzle by Francesco Francavilla
It was a year ago when IDW editor Denton Tipton approached me asking if I was interested in doing covers for a 12-issue, all 2013 long, celebratory miniseries for Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary.
Being a HUGE Doctor Who fan (as some of you might know already), I didn’t have Denton to ask me the question twice: I was so EXCITED to finally tackle, in a more official, BBC approved way, one of my favorite characters ever and one of my favorite tv shows ever.
So I asked Denton what they wanted from me for this set of covers: “each month will be a different incarnation of the Doctor” he said, “so it’s pretty much your chance to draw all the Doctors and have fun with it”.
Since I like the puzzle or combining pictures to make a bigger pictures, I came up with the idea to do a big TARDIS puzzle, with each Doctor being a piece, and have the readers building it as they buy the issues month by month. I also suggested the order of the piece to reflect the time-space vortex in the opening titles of the tv show (see diagrams above).
Denton loved the idea right away, but we had to submit it to BBC for final approval. I kept my fingers crossed and it worked cause tomorrow you are getting the last piece (#12 - cover shown above) of this big TARDIS puzzle.
Now you can build that thing and jump on it and have the adventures of the lifetime! Or just a nice 12 covers/books puzzle of Doctor WHOs and the TARDIS ;)
BIG THANKS to Dento Tipton, IDW, and BBC for letting me do this thing: it was ridiculously FUN!
"Splendid chaps, all of them."
On Saturday I came across an article on The Mary Sue reporting on Tess Fowler who had spoken up about some creepy treatment she’d received years ago at a convention. As I read the article, it seemed familiar to me. Not the specifics, but the tone. I thought it sounded very much like someone I used to know. I understood what Tess was feeling, because I knew it well. It’s the feeling that something is happening beyond your control; that just a minute ago you were standing on concrete and now you’re on a roller coaster clicking up, up, up while you look over the side of the car, watching solid ground get further and further away.
That feeling is the fear you feel when someone is asking you to do something you don’t want to do, and you have no idea how to say “no” and put everything back the way it was. The way it was before you accepted that drink, or made that crude joke to be “one of the guys”, or let someone sit too close, or didn’t push their hand away fast enough.
Women in comics are still in a boys club. A clubhouse with a sign on the door saying “no girls allowed”. To get into the clubhouse, you have to convince the boys in charge that you belong there. In talking with Tess and hearing about other women who have been in similar positions, the common theme seems to be that we all feel like if we’d just been able to keep up with the big boys, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in these situations. I think a lot of us have been shaming ourselves for a long time about our failure to “play the game” successfully.
Yes, comics are tough to get into. Most worthwhile things are difficult. But why the hell are there still people making it even harder? Why am I hearing all of this about things that have been going on for years, creeps and pervs and predators slinking around and getting away with it over and over because no one wants to be responsible for these people, so long as they’re getting good work out of them?
You can point out all of the wonderful women who have made it, or are on their way and doing wonderful work, but how many other girls and women out there never got a chance because they couldn’t stand the bullshit? How much great work have we lost from talented sensitive people who are not prepared to navigate a system that will try to feel you up and then throw you out with the trash?
I worked in a comic book store from 1993 – 1999. I worked at DC Comics from 2000-2002. I have had icky experiences in the comics community, but I’ve usually told myself they were my fault because I couldn’t play the game. When I was in comics, it wasn’t the cool visible side. It was the “write up the travel arrangements and mail the promotional materials” side. Very dull. But I had been reading comics for years, and I was always a little star struck when talent came by the office or I had a chance to meet them in a social setting.
Back in 2002, I became acquainted with Brian Wood through informal drink-ups that would happen down on the Lower East Side. He struck me as a little detached, a little too cool for the room. He was well known in the group, and welcome. I had heard rumors of womanizing behavior, but didn’t think it applied to me or anyone I knew, and paid it no mind.
When he suggested we step outside and take a walk around the block one night, I agreed. I was rather surprised that he was paying attention to me, as I’d seen him hitting on other girls at other times. As we walked, there was some friendly and suggestive banter between us. I had learned through experience that if I seemed shocked or uncomfortable with “good-natured joking”, I would be seen as boring, someone with no sense of fun that couldn’t hang with the cool kids. I wanted to hang with the cool kids.
When we had walked 2/3 of the way around the block, we stopped at a neighborhood garden. Walking among the trellises, he pointed out that no one would be able to see us there. I pointed out that people could come by any time. He assured me this was not the case, and suggested that I could… lower my head, so to speak. I was standing very close to him, and his hand was on my arm. I reminded him that he had a girlfriend. He shrugged that off as a non-issue. Standing in this secluded place with him, I didn’t feel like one of the cool kids at all. I felt… wrong. I felt anxious, like I was on my way up the roller coaster. I told him no, thank you. He let the matter drop. We walked back to the bar, and that was the end of it. However, I learned much later that Mr. Wood went on to tell that story to others, but reversing the parts so that I was asking him, and he was declining. This was disappointing, but not surprising.
Not long after that walk, Mr. Wood came up to the offices. I’d never seen him on my floor before, but it was not unheard of. Sales & marketing occupied the same floor as DCU Editorial. Mr. Wood swung by my office unexpectedly, and we exchanged hellos. After he had left, I got an IM from Brian, saying he hadn’t expected to come by. I joked that it was a shame he couldn’t stay, as I could have “shown him the storeroom”. It was just a joke, because of course we had established that nothing inappropriate was ever going to happen.
Later in the day, I was alerted to a rumor posted on Lying in the Gutters. The rumor said that the word was the girls at DC retailer services were giving out a lot more than posters in the storeroom. I was shocked. I was hurt. I was embarrassed. And I couldn’t do anything. I asked my employers at DC if I could say anything to refute it, since everybody knew that I was the only person in that position, but they said no, it would blow over. It did. No one talked about it online, or called me a slut or even said anything to me directly. But the suspicion was there. The subject had been raised in the office and now it was in people’s minds. My job didn’t change, but I was not given any new responsibilities. I was observed. I found printouts of my online posts in the office printer.
I left DC Comics in autumn of 2002. I don’t read comics anymore. I don’t want to think about the bad memories I associate with that period of my life. It’s not who I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my Superman tattoo, I still re-read my old Sandman trades, I still have a set of Cerebus phone books on my shelf. I just don’t want to think about the people who write and draw them. I merely want to enjoy them, and I can’t.
What happened to me was not criminal, and hardly the worst thing that’s ever happened to a woman in comics. But it sure as hell wasn’t right. When I tweeted to Tess to show her my support, I just wanted to add my voice to what I assumed were many others. It was only later that I realized I was the only other person to say anything. So, my little squeak has been mentioned by others now. And now you know my Brian Wood story.
I would like to add that shortly after I tweeted to Tess, I got an email from Mr. Wood. His response was about what I would have expected.
On Nov 16, 2013, at 2:07 PM, Brian Wood wrote:
I saw your tweet. l don’t recall much of our interaction - just the drink ups and casual flirting, but I apologize for making you uncomfortable in anything I did.
This response made me a little angry. To apologize by qualifying it with “I don’t remember that, but sorry if I made you uncomfortable” really isn’t an apology. It’s an excuse. So I reminded Mr. Wood of his behavior. I also told him “It was a long time ago. I don’t have anything to do with comics anymore, but it doesn’t mean I forget or forgive lies and slanderous gossip. I appreciate that you are in a difficult place right now and feeling serious regrets over your behavior. Thank you for addressing it.” That would have been the end, but Mr. Wood couldn’t let it go:
My recollection was I wasn’t in a relationship during those drink up days… that was sort of the point of all of my WEF drinking, was that I had ended a long relationship in 1999 or so and my next one wasn’t until late 2002 or so. But I don’t recall the date of our incident exactly. I also felt like our attraction was mutual. But perhaps not. I thought we didn’t end up fooling around at that moment simply because it was a public place.
The supply closet thing was a dumb error. I didn’t name you, but I also didn’t know that only one DC employee ran the storeroom, which I heard about way later. I should have tracked you down then and apologized but I had no idea it had gotten you in trouble. I’m sorry about that now.
The only apology I see in this whole reply is “I should have apologized. I’m sorry now that I didn’t.” I bet you are sorry, Brian. I bet you are. The problem with “apologies” like this are that they are really excuses. All Mr. Wood needed to do was say “I’m sorry about that. I’m not that person anymore.” But he didn’t. He had to explain why my experience wasn’t really something to get upset about. He refers to making untrue (if unnamed) statements about me to the media as a “dumb error.” Not a mistake, an error. Like the wrong thing here was that he didn’t do a head count of how many people he would be hurting. I am disappointed with this non-response, and I hope you are, too. It seems to me that Mr. Wood isn’t sorry, he just doesn’t want to look bad.
I used to try to keep up with the boys, but in truth, I only want to keep up with actual mature men and women. It’s a shame that so many people treat comics like an alternative to growing up instead of an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and grow.
It’s not too late for you to call this kind of behavior out.
It’s not too late for you to speak up.
It’s not too late.
~ Anne Scherbina
This is an important thing to read. Brian Wood didn’t make one sleazy mistake, he has a pattern of inappropriate, dishonest, sexist behavior that is harmful to women working in the comics industry. He is not an ally, he is not a “feminist writer.”
How we got here:
I responded in a Twitter thread to another pro, giving my account of a story from my past as a show of defense. That this thread was then picked up by Bleeding Cool and has sparked another, larger conversation about the state of comic books today is more important here. But I also did take to Twitter again to make a very public statement after my inbox was filled with accounts from other women who had found themselves in my same position. My story was not an isolated incident. Not by a long shot. I knew I’d catch some heat for being so honest, but I stand by my decision to speak frankly, in anger. For the ladies who can’t talk about it, and for the gents who’ve been watching it occur for years, but also to clear the air:
My Response:I’ve forgiven Brian years ago for the following story. My eventual anger was due to the accounts being given to me as a result of the Bleeding Cool article. I’ve moved on from what he did. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with defending someone else on social media. My followers already knew the story. As did my husband and friends. (According to my inbox this is just a well known fact, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.) I never asked for a boycott, or blacklisting, as I am being accused. I actually spoke very openly about the opposite. About this being a systemic problem in need of addressing. So let me be very frank in repeating what I said openly before.Brian Wood has every right to be a part of comics. To make books and make a living unhindered. I believe that. I also believe his behavior is a symptom of a much bigger disease. A disease of silence, where you go along to get along. And you never say anything about your experiences because the harm to yourself and perhaps to others will be monumental. That’s not okay. And it has to change.The account:It was 2007 SDCC after hours, and I was trying very hard to pitch a book with a writer friend all day, while also pitching my portfolio. I had just had a gallery published in Heavy Metal magazine and was hoping to forge a career.I wandered up to the Marriott to wait outside for said friend to show so we could meet up and talk about the day. Didn’t realize I wandered into the center of an indoor/outdoor bar party full of professionals and editors.Brian Wood found me standing there in the crowd. He had a drink in one hand, and seemed slightly buzzed. I felt I knew Brian. He’d been talking to me on myspace for months, and was very nice to me online, about my art. Even going so far as to say he believed in me, and that I could go far. Even saying he might like to see more. I was happy when he approached me and introduced himself. Hopeful even,I was less happy when he began to come on to me. He got very close to me and asked if he could buy me a drink. He told me I was beautiful, and let me know he had seen my photos of costuming on my myspace and that I should be thankful he was interested in me beyond that. He got graphic. I chided him and pointed to the ring on his finger. I let him know it wasn’t cool. He brought up his child. I can’t recall now if it was a pregnancy or a brand new birth. Only that it made my stomach drop into my shoes when he talked about it and I said very specifically, “Dude you’re somebody’s DAD. What are you doing, man?”He said he didn’t know. But then he kept doing it. He blamed my beauty. He blamed my proximity. He blamed our online conversations. I left, as gently as I could. Because everyone makes mistakes. He made sure to let me know at the end of it that he loved my work, and still wanted to see more.I went inside and found a lounge chair on the other side of the lobby, away from the bar. I set up my drawing stuff. Friends came. They sat on the couch across from me and we talked while I drew. Normal after hours stuff for me. Fun stuff.Brian approached from my left, fiddling with a camcorder in his hands. He took a seat with us and we all said hello to him. We all tried to include him in the flow of conversation. He would grunt, or give us a dead pan expression like we were idiots. It was alarming to say the least. We even exchanged looks with each other wondering what was wrong with him. He just kept fiddling with his camcorder, and his drink.Eventually he made my friends so uncomfortable that they cleared out. I bid them goodbye and kept right on drawing. I wasn’t afraid of Brian. Weirded out maybe. But not afraid. Because he’d made a point of talking to me about comics, and my chances at a career, for months. I felt he was far more interested in me as a professional peer than as anything else. Naive? Yes. Especially now that I know this was his m.o. And I wasn’t the only one.I then engaged him in polite, friendly conversation. Or attempted to. After all, we were buds in my mind. Online pals. He reached out and asked to see the piece I was working on. He asked me questions about it. But when I answered he would just stare at my face and then not respond. Then he would go back to his camcorder. It was weird. It was slightly creepy. But for a good 20 minutes it went on like this, with me responding to his questions, and talking about work, and him trailing off into silence. Finally he told me he didn’t want to talk about work. That his job was “kind of dumb” and he focused on it all day so didn’t want to do it now.Awkward.I looked at him sidelong, and asked what he DID want to talk about. He said he wanted to get to know me better. I told him I was good where I was. That we could talk right there in the lobby. That I had work to do. He said I could bring the work up to his hotel room. That we could talk about it there. We went back and forth like this for quite awhile. His voice low and conspiratorial, mine full of feigned politeness.This was one of my very favorite writers. I didn’t want to make him mad. He knew I didn’t want to piss him off. He knew how badly I wanted a spot in comics. We’d discussed it, at length, online.Was this “my chance”?I still don’t know because I began to gather up my things to make a break for it. I told him thanks but no thanks again and again. He stopped me, touching my shoulders, asking me to stay. Then he took one of my pens and wrote his room number on a piece of my artwork. He told me he just had a headache from the noise of the party he’d just been to and he wanted to lay down. But that he would wait for me, and we could discuss my work, the way I wanted. Then he left.My boyfriend showed, helped me gather my things. And we left.Next day I walked around the floor with my writer partner, and we passed by a company booth with one side table full of a row of our heroes. Brian was dead center. He saw me before I could duck into the crowd and shouted my name. I ignored him. He shouted again. I grabbed my friend’s elbow and steered him past the booth, and the shouting man. I nodded to Brian as we moved past, a smile across my face (or I hoped it was) and nodded at him like a broken bobble head. I didn’t know what else to do. Everyone was looking at me. Brian then shouted to ask where I’d gone the night before. That he’d waited until 3am for me before he realized I was standing him up.
See, the problem is far more insidious and quiet than a big bad villain rubbing his mustaches and trying to get poor little girls to go to bed with him. It’s bigger than one man and one girl who nobody knows from Adam. Too many women have a story like mine. Not just about Brian but about all kinds of men in the comic book industry.And I’m going to come right out and give Brian the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he has no clue that what he did was wrong. Maybe it was so subtle, even to him, that he just can’t see himself in that light. But we did talk about the incident post SDCC. That was when he was rather mean to me. It got ugly. So ugly I showed the messages to my boyfriend in horror. I called Brian out on it and asked for an apology. He gave one. Half hearted at best, but he gave one. Then he promised we were still cool. And never spoke to me again.Which is fine. Totally kosher. I took it on the chin. I tried to learn from it. But it was always one of those things that stuck in my craw. And it made me very watchful any time a professional man wanted to get close to me for any reason.See, that’s all you can do in this business. I just went quiet on it for years because I was told not to be the one to rock the boat. That no one would ever work with me if I did. That the backlash against me would be monumental. That I would be called a liar, and no one would ever support me. All true.In closing: I don’t hate him. I wish him well, and I wish his coworkers well. I mean that. Sincerely. They are all skilled, talented individuals. And taking money away from comics via a boycott does not help the medium we all love.
But this really does need to stop. This ease with which folks reach out to silence women who bring it up. This immediate jump to, “She’s nuts. She wants attention. She’s unstable.” I repeat my message from Twitter: The men in this industry have the power to change things. Brian being one of them, actually.My account is above, in detail, for anyone who wants to see how the power play can be subtle, and scary, and wrong all at the same time. Again, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and say maybe he really just has no clue that his behavior was wrong, or could have such a lasting affect on someone who once looked up to him. I can believe that. And I can believe a lot of men reading this, in positions like Brian’s, might feel the same way.So how about we use this opportunity to link arms and work towards finding ways to fix this? Open discussions, and a devotion to never letting such behavior stand. Forgiveness for those men who can admit the wrong doing and want to make a change. Togetherness. One tribe. One family.
Because I think everyone reading this wants the same thing. For those funny books we grew up on to be a thriving, healthy modern business full of all kinds of creative people and personalities.
Anonymous asked: What did you think of the scene in ASM Volume 2 #47 when MJ was upset that Shathra had claimed that Peter had cheated on her? Does it demonstrate that MJ doesn't know Peter as well as we think or that she doesn't really trust him? I don't but these are opinions I've heard
well, things were in their marriage at that point, and then all of a sudden this woman starts broadcasting to the world that she’s spider-man’s lover, you can’t blame mj for being upset. there’s always that part of her that remembers her parents’ marriage and thinks that’s how she’ll end up, it has very little to do with peter and more with her own issues, imo, especially since she pretty much immediately believes him when he says it’s not true. that’s what trust really is, not so much that you’d be able to predict someone’s behavior, but that you believe in what they say.
I would imagine it’s distressing to be forced to realize — in the most dramatic and public way, except for the part where you still can’t talk to anyone about it — that you are so far out of touch with someone you love that you have no way of knowing for yourself whether the accusations against them are true. Even if you don’t truly believe that they are!
I originally wrote this as part of a response to Tess Fowler’s brave-as-hell decision to name Brian Wood as the dude who’d harassed her at a convention. Posting it again, on its own, because there are some things I want to expand on…
Every time I have a conversation with another woman about which conventions or pros to be careful of; every time we discreetly pass around names and tips for staying safe (safer) (safeish), I get angrier and angrier that dudes are not, as far as I know, having parallel conversations about NOT DOING THAT SHIT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Certainly not with the frequency and volume and routine that we recommend wearing heavy shoes and not letting yourself end up alone in a corner with that one guy. Certainly not enough to make a goddamn dent.
I’m putting this firmly on the men in comics, because, you know what? Men are the overwhelming majority of the people in the industry with institutional and hiring power. Even most of the most senior women in editorial departments answer to one or more male boss, usually a dude who has been in the industry long enough and played its games effectively enough to be pretty solidly entrenched in the existing power structure; and, even if he is basically a decent human being, to have capitulated to and internalized and regurgitated and privileged appeals to tradition and status quo over things like personal dignity and safety and minimal motherfucking professionalism.
Men in comics, especially men in positions of institutional power and popular visibility, you need to step the fuck up. It has been going on for so, so, so goddamn long. And the women who speak up get written off as squeaky wheels and malcontents and difficult, and patronized and blacklisted and quietly driven off, and everyone is fucking terrified to go public because the worst perpetrators are the most entrenched and protected.
So: If you’re in a position to speak up, and you’re not doing it; if you’re a boss who looks the other way while your male employees edge out and harass and sometimes even flat-out assault female colleagues and fans; if you’re a professional with enough of a name to command attention; and you see this and don’t speak up long and loud, fuck you. Fuck you so much, for standing by while shitheads poison the well because you were too afraid or apathetic to rock the boat when you were the only one with an oar. Fuck you for throwing your colleagues and people who could and should have been your colleagues under the bus, or standing by quietly while someone else did; for sitting on evidence and documentation; for not speaking up when you have the credibility and platform to make an actual goddamn difference.
When you see harassment and abuse, and you are in a position to call it out and effect actual consequences, and you don’t, you don’t get to be a good guy anymore. You have become part of the problem. You are why this shit persists—every fucking bit as much as the people perpetrating it.
I mean: When I said that one guy in the first paragraph, you knew who I was talking about, didn’t you? Doesn’t matter if we were thinking of the same names (and oh, you adorable, naive children who assumed that there could only have been one). What matters is that you knew and you didn’t do a fucking thing.