Before we begin I need to say something. We at Comic Booked are pretty much given free reign over what we cover and post about. I’m saying this because I want it to be clear that the following is my opinion only. It does not, in any way, reflect the opinions of anyone else here at Comic Booked. This is me and mine alone. I want this to be clear because I’m posting about the recent shooting of Rep. Giffords in Arizona on January 8 and the response and fall out of someone within the comics community. It effects me and I want to say something about it. This is mine, I own it and want to make this known.
The recent shooting of Arizona Rep. Giffords has done a lot of interesting things. It’s been used as a rallying call of unity by some and a political football to blame ‘the other side’ by others. Regardless of where anyone stands it should be agreed upon that the shooting was uncalled for and there is no excuse or reason big enough to cover it.
Then there is Travis Corcoran, President of online comics retailer Heavy Ink. His response to the January 8th shootings was to post, that same day, on his blog the following:
1 down, 534 to go
But, to be fair, he explained his rather insensitive posting by adding: “It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot “indiscriminately”. Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone. Please!”
His defense? To post an even longer, less coherent ‘defense’ of his beliefs “I don’t retract my callousness. I dislike Representatives and Senators, and I think that each and every one of them is doing grave harm to the United States, and to the freedoms of the citizens of the US. As long as they continue to be callous by the laws they pass (and to do massive harm to real people – senior citizens, mothers, fathers, children), I reserve the right to use harsh language towards them.”
He offered further explanation, when pressed on his blog: “I don’t think that anything productive is going to come of killing either the senator or the judge, but, yes, I think that it is morally legitimate to kill pro-regulation senators and pro-regulation judges, if it can be done without harming innocents.”
Well, normally I would use harsh language to put a ‘man’ like this in his proper place. But, fortunately, I don’t have to. See, while politics is something you normally avoid talking about with people, when human lives are lost or almost lost it adds a whole new level to things. Shortly after Corcoran posted this rather cold and, frankly, stupid comment the backlash against him and his business began:
Nick Spencer, creator of the hit Morning Glories, responded to Heavy Ink by way of Twitter: “Dear @tjic, in lieu of your recent statement, “1 Down, 534 To Go,” (reported here http://bit.ly/efew5B), I’d like to ask that you & your store @heavyink stop carrying my creator-owned work. I respect your right to an opinion, but am not personally comfortable doing business with someone who advocates violence against people they disagree with. I certainly have no power to speak for my publishers and employers, but as an individual creator, I hope you’ll respect this request.”
Birds Of Prey writer Gail Simone chimed in via Twitter: “@tjic, you have my pity. May you grow a soul someday, because you desperately are in need of one.”
Paul Cornell, writer of Knight And Squire for DC Comics added: “I can’t stop someone selling my books. But please don’t buy them from Heavy Ink”
Warren Ellis chimed in: “Obviously, I’d rather Heavy Ink didn’t sell my work, but I don’t have a choice about which stores order my books. However, if you do buy my work from Heavy Ink, would you please consider buying it from someone else instead?”
Legend Ron Marz then added his name to the list on the Robot6 article that was one of the first to report on this.
Website nuklearpower.com, home of the Atomic Robo comics had this to say: “For their first year or more, every time a new issue or trade paperback collection of Atomic Robo came out, it set new records for their sales. More copies of Atomic Robo were sold through Heavy Ink than any other online retailer, possibly more than all the others combined. Additionally, Heavy Ink was one of the oldest and most reliable advertisers within the pages of Atomic Robo. Hell, my parents use Heavy Ink. But not any more. We are cutting all ties.” Adding “You can purchase comics from a number of online retailers that are not run by amoral monsters who think murder is a just form of political expression. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a great comic shop in your town, visit them! It’s an investment in your community and you get to be entertained while doing it.”
Travis Corcoran is unapologetic about his remarks and has tried, miserably, to defend them. In a phone interview yesterday with The Arlington Advocate he claims his first post was a joke but then keeps talking. “I won’t say I wish I hadn’t spoken cavalierly among friends. But if you phrased the question differently, has this [experience with the blog post] been a wonderfully fun thing, am I glad 30,000 people read what I wrote for my friends? Yeah,” he said. “I didn’t do this as a publicity stunt.”
Two things here, first that wasn’t the question and no one really cares if you thinks it’s ‘wonderfully fun’ that more people are looking at your rantings and political stupidity. (The reporter corrects Corcoran’s 30,000 number “Upon checking his actual daily hits, Corcoran said he’s had about 12,400 daily for the past four days.”) That isn’t important here. My second point is. He runs and ONLINE store. Has for years. He knows, obviously, how the internet works and to say he just wrote that blog for his friends is pathetic and insulting to anyone with more than a 4th grade intelligence. When you are attached to an online business, especially when you’re THE PRESIDENT of that business, you know your blog is read by more than just your friends.
Heck, it’s because of my blog and other places that I’m writing for Comic Booked. Even I understand how this works.
Now, it’s difficult writing this and not go off on one of my trademarked rants, my friends who have known me for years know exactly what I’m talking about. The fact that I’m not going off on this guy shows heroic restraint the likes of which I rarely show. Needless to say, in my opinion Corcoran is one of the lowest forms of life I’ve had the displeasure of discovering. To make light of a tragic shooting and to not just condone, but promote violence against men and women with families shows the type of ‘man’ he is. The lowest of the low and the scum of the earth. Corcoran will hopefully learn from this but reading his rather pathetic attempts as ‘clearing things up’ I doubt it. It’s times like this that people show who and what they truely are.
So, what’s the point here? Simple. I’m just letting everyone know what’s going on. This tragic event has affected us in the comics field in a way we’ve never had to deal with before. One of our own has made his personal feelings and hatred known and it puts a bad light on the rest of us. I’m joining Ellis, Simone and the rest in not buying from Heavy Ink. That’s my choice. While I never like the idea of boycotts, I suppose in this case that’s the only choice we have.Vote with your wallet.
Finally, this isn’t a free speech issue. True, he does have the right to say whatever he wants but anyone worth their salt knows that RIGHTS come with RESPONSIBILITY. What this means is just because you CAN say something doesn’t mean you SHOULD. If you do, and you say something like this, then whatever fall out you get, you deserve. Also, free speech does not cover speech that incites violence against others. Corcoran did this on his blog, he promotes and supports violence against our elected leaders and that is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen from someone within the comics community. There are a lot of things I could say about Corcoran but I’m choosing to keep my remarks ‘family friendly’ but I am very disgusted, offended and angered about what he said, and the fact that it puts the comics community in an arena we don’t need to be in. He should be ashamed of himself as should his supporters.
I apologize if this is more of an incoherent rant than an editorial. This whole situation has shown me a level of disgust I’ve never seen from someone within the community and it’s thrown me for something of a loop.