Do We Need a World War to Winnow Out Writers Like Sina Grace?

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Sina Grace

If you're a reader of Marvel's comic book line (you know, those things they keep producing in order to maintain the trademark over the characters that make bank in the movies), then you're probably already aware that the publisher has elected to cancel a good sized handful of their titles.

One of the titles on the chopping block is ICEMAN, the solo adventures of one of the original X-Men. Drake's character first courted controversy when a time-traveling younger version of himself was outed in ALL-NEW X-MEN as gay. This contrasted with nearly 40 years of history where the character was demonstrably -- in word, deed, and (because this is comics) thought -- heterosexual. But Brian Michael Bendis threw in the twist, and there we had it. Bobby Drake was now gay, past and present.

More recently, Drake got another shot at a solo series, this one penned by Sina Grace, a writer who was also gay and could, ostensibly, bring his personal perspective to the character. Unfortunately for Sina and fans of the book, the storyline didn't catch on, and was roundly criticized by a number of outlets.

Among the critical outlets was the YouTube channel, Diversity and Comics, operated by Richard C. Meyer. Meyer's channel is no stranger to controversy, and has attracted the attention of the occassional angry comics professional. At one point, comics professional Mark Waid encouraged attendees going to the New York Comic Con to come pull him from a panel if they saw Meyer in attendance so that he could confront the YouTuber face-to-face. Everyone's good at something; Meyer's apparently good at pissing people off.

Not that that's an unattractive quality. Irritants can make pearls, so the oysters tell us.

And then there's the case of Sina Grace's letter to fans announcing the cancellation of his series. I had seen the image of the letter previously, and thought nothing of it. I didn't read the book, and I was aware that it was just the tip of the iceberg of announcements yet to come. But I was a bit surprised when I saw the tweet from comics artist George Caltsoudas:

It wouldn't be the first time that a comics creator had gone off the deep end regarding sentiments expressed by the D&C channel. But surely Caltsoudas was mistaken, and his quote was not accurate. In fact, many responses to his tweet were accusatory of outright fakery. I responded as well, asking Caltsoudas to clarify and/or correct his quotation as needed, but received no direct response. So I had to do the heavy lifting myself and watch the same video to see where George could have come up with such an idea.

The video was largely Meyer reading aloud from Sina's letter, affecting an effeminate voice presumably because Sina is gay. At the 8:00 mark, I found the commentary that Caltsoudas had to be referencing. The exact quote is:

"We really need a world war and a draft. We need high casualties. We need stuff like this winnowed out of society. This guy is -- let's look at his picture -- Yeah, we'll get him on a nice artillery crew. He's probably good at math, he's good at doing range tables. Tragically taken out by enemy counter-battery fire. Nice medal to his mom. Never has to explain why he was never married to a woman. Yeah. Yeah, that would settle it up."

People speak quickly and briefly on social media, and it's easy to add meaning to their words. We're pretty sure that Ben Rhodes wasn't really fantasizing over the deaths of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Vice President Pence when he looked forward to seeing an indictment article "alongside the obits for Ryan, McConnell, and Pence." And we're pretty sure Rosie O'Donnell wasn't really trying to bribe two senators to vote the way she wanted when she offered them each two million dollars, cash...well, okay, that one's still up for debate.

Likewise, there's reasonable wiggle room that the D&C Channel wasn't really calling for a pogrom of gay men, or effeminately gay men, or Marvel Comics writers, or whatever group it is that he's lumping around Sina Grace. But there's also enough lack of wiggle room for people like George Caltsoudas to make the logical leap (in this case, more like a logical hop) to think this was being called for, although the quotation marks in his tweet are definitely inaccurate, and more than likely reflective of his own take on what he heard.

The original video is below. Readers are invited to compare and contrast for themselves.