In a world where unarmed, innocent people are murdered freely by authority figures, slavery is at an all-time high, someone opens fire on an American school almost every month and people die from inadequate, needlessly overpriced health care, some people think the biggest and most upsetting issue in our society is about video game opinions.
And, unfortunately, these people create a serious issue. Despite the fact that they rally around a fundamentally trivial and pointless cause, their furious and aimless harassment of others has become something worth talking about.
If you ask a Gamergater, they'll tell you that their fight is over "dishonesty in journalism." That's a pretty big fight. Journalistic bias has convinced Americans that climate change might not even be happening, that minorities commit more crime than whites and that we actually have any reason to be dropping bombs on the Middle East. Mainstream media is a clusterfuck of biases and sensationali-wait, what's that? Gamergaters focus on video game journalism?
That's odd. I'm pretty sure nobody has ever died because of a video game review. I'm pretty sure nobody's life has ever been ruined because a video game review mislead them about the quality of an electronic plaything. What, exactly, do these people believe is "wrong" with video game journalism? What do they believe is so critically wrong that tens of thousands of them have tweeted #gamergate and formed e-militias devoted to terrorizing anyone they think can be blamed for it?
It all started with a single game review.
According to the Gamergate side of things, a woman used sex to get her video game reviewed by a popular outlet. That's the meat of it. That's what started the avalanche of rage and abuse.
The more complicated truth is that the woman's ex boyfriend alleges she was dating the writer who reviewed her game.
Now, presuming all of this is true, and her game was only reviewed because she was sleeping with the reviewer - what, exactly, is the harm here? What's the impact?
Video games are a hobby. They're playthings. Toys. While "casual" is a dirty word in hardcore gaming circles, the entirety of the video game industry is a casual thing by default, like all entertainment fiction. Video games aren't politics. They aren't science. They aren't medicine or law or any other subject that actually impacts the world. They are pieces of art that exist to amuse people.
The very website where this review was posted, Kotaku, isn't even a site that pretends to be serious "journalism" about anything. It bills itself as a blog. It has always featured subjective opinion pieces and even entertaining fluff as simple as a funny video post. Where anyone got the idea that it was some sort of journalistic leader is a baffling question.
Frankly, presuming it really is what happened, a person who reviews mere video games on any website, whether a blog or major industry site, has a right to review them as favors. There is no conceivable harm that can come of someone discussing their girlfriend, friend, work buddy or mom's video game. We're only talking about works of entertainment here; the worst thing that can come of a "dishonest" game review is that somebody plays the game with higher expectations than they presented with.
In any rational world, this would be met with a light scoff and quickly ignored in favor of things that, you know, actually affect people.
Unfortunately, we seem to be living in a world where, to many people, video games are life itself. Video games are so important to some individuals that they will band together to attempt to actually harm anyone who does not like video games or does not feel exactly as they do about video games.
Since these events, the "gamergate" movement has gone on to systematically harass a series of other game reviewers and designers, almost every one of them a woman, under the false pretense that they are battling against "journalistic corruption." Of course, many of their targets have nothing to do with journalism at all; women who both work on games and express anything either critical of the gamergate movement, or about the role of women in video games become targets of gamergater threats. Some have had to leave their homes when these threats escalated to doxxing and real-world stalking.
Apparently all because a bunch of little boys are just that protective of their equally little toys.
These are only a few examples, but they keep coming. The targets are nearly always women, falsely perceived by thousands of gamergaters to somehow pose a threat to everything they hold dear about the gaming world. To these people, the moment a woman says "I wish there were better female characters in games" or "I wish there were more women getting hired by the industry," gamergaters hear "I hate men" and "I hate games."
It's fascinating the kinds of arguments these obsessive fans use to defend themselves, too. Not long ago I was receiving messages here on DA up to several thousand words long from a certain individual who swore that "most" of gamergate was against the bullying and harassment.
If that's the case, then why does it keep happening, and why does it keep winning? Where is this level-headed, compassionate majority when people are receiving death threats and intimidated into leaving their homes or jobs by this allegedly small, niche minority of "extremists?"
It's as if they think that by remaining neutral - by simply turning their backs and ignoring the problem - their hands remain clean enough to cover their own ass.
Of course, I've explained more than is even worth explaining on this topic. I shouldn't have even had to cite any links. The very fact that thousands of people are FURIOUS over some sort of "ethical issue" in nothing more than "video games" already ruins whatever argument they were fighting for, because it already shows that our culture has degenerated to the point where a staggering number of younger people care more about defending the good name of video games than virtually anything else going on in the real world. The very existence of a "gamergate movement" only proves how many people have cocooned themselves in their own entitlement complex, psychologically fellating themselves in a fantasy scenario where they are not only the center of the universe, but the universe is made out of copies of Halo.
A little girl I knew was abducted. I was very affected emotionally, and when I looked around my home town in the following days, I finally noticed all of the little fliers asking for help finding missing children. ( In America there are 1,500 missing child cases open every day. The fliers are often printed on the backs of coupons and are distributed as junk-mail.)
I just began saving the fliers, and after a year had a drawer full of them: Disposable mailers with tiny monochrome photos of missing children. It didn't seem right that these faces were so small and bland.
One night, out of nowhere, I was inspired to paint a full color portrait from one of the cards. As an artist, the question was this: How does a person paint a portrait of a missing child? I could not just approach it like an illustration. I could not just go about it as if it were a polite painting.
I began by putting away my brushes. They were too smooth. Too pretty. Too controllable. Instead, I began using palette knives. They were difficult to control and allowed for unexpected deviations. At times, I laid out my palette and created these in very dim lighting. Surely the way a person is painted may reflect the circumstances of the person...At times the process becomes very emotional for me. Each portrait may take as many as thirty of forty sessions, as each layer adds to the depth. It's like taking the long way home. The long process avoids superficiality. I think that the complexity of the paint reflects the complexity of the child's situation.
I have met many families who thank me for painting their child. They found comfort in knowing that "someone" was thinking about their family. Occasionally, A recovered teen will write me. They find it fascinating that a stranger was compelled to paint them during their darkened childhood.
A couple of months ago, the folks at Chaosium Inc. [ www.chaosium.com/ ], the publishers of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, confirmed their desire to publish The Call of Cthulhu (for beginning readers). When I received word I immediately began revising the now almost two-year-old text and illustrations to ensure that the print version is of the highest possible quality. I am currently about a third of the way through this process, and thought it would be good time to let you all know that the oft-requested dead tree edition of this story looks like it is actually becoming a reality.
I continue to be grateful for the encouragement of the folks around here, and I look forward to updating you all with any further news as it arrives.
In the meantime, I'm posting up the pages of The Statement of Randolph Carter (for beginning readers) I was working on when the word came through from Chaosium. Being very much aware of the irregular schedule that I have in posting these things, I was going to hold on to these until I had finished the whole story. I figured folks wouldn't have to put up with the long waits betwixt posts, but with the whole thing on hold for the moment, you may as well take a look at them now with the adaptation currently incomplete.
(Yes, yes, I know - Dagon (for beginning readers) is also a few pages short of a complete story. It will get done. Eventually.)
Take care of yourselves, and be excellent to each other!
*News* since you already saw this is Saturday's featuring Sunday and Monday will come later this day Sunday Featuring in the afternoon Monday Featuring in the evening just a warning we're having 4 journals today we're sorry and tomorrow that's not going to happen
Creation-inspiration Journal Featuring
* HOW TO GET in this journal feature list simple just comment on the link below show us their the deviation or deviations you want to have feature. *note if you link us more then one link both will be feature but it can take some time when the other will be feature hope you understand that .
Regarding the debate of whether comic artists should continue selling unauthorized prints/sketches of characters they don't own, I think Bissette and his legal advisor are 100% correct. So from now on, I won't be doing any sketches or commissions at shows of any character that I don't own. Am I rolling over in fear of Marvel? Maybe, but as it states below, they're in their legal right to come after me if there's ever a dispute. I love to complain about the Big Two, but I can't (in good conscience) get upset at them if I'm breaking the rules myself. Being DC exclusive, maybe I can get a waiver that allows me to sketch DC characters, so I'll keep you updated.
From Steve Bissette's FB page:
ALERT, ALL COMICS CREATORS: With permission, I'm quoting key points my dear friend and own legal advisor/contract consultant (since 1992) Jean-Marc Lofficier raised on his posts to a Yahoo forum discussing Ty Templeton's cartoon concerning the Gary Friedrich v Marvel judgment. Jean-Marc succinctly notes WHY this judgment has changed EVERYTHING for anyone who has worked for Marvel, or what this judgment changes (probably irrevocably) about the landscape for all concerned:
"...with all due respect to Ty, he's talking (drawing?) out of his ass.
So to clarify again, here is what I thought is important to remember here:
1) This is the first time Marvel is using convention sales of copyrighted Marvel characters as a "weapon". They are of course perfectly entitled to do so, legally speaking. But it does mean that, from now on, all of you here who draw sketches of Marvel characters for money at conventions or sell sketchbooks containing pictures of Marvel characters are on notice that you might be sued (usually for triple the amount you made) should Marvel decide to go after you.
My legal advice to you guys is simple: STOP and destroy all sketchbooks for sale with copyrighted materials in it. I'm serious. You've just been put on notice by this case.
[Note: In a followup comment to a question on the matter of selling sketches/sketchbooks at conventions featuring Marvel characters, Jean-Marc added:]
If Disney and/or Marvel have a policy to deal with that sort of business, I would encourage anyone planning to sell sketches, etc. to contact them and obtain a waiver or a permission of some kind under that program.
Ivan is incorrect about one thing: Disney, if not Marvel, does have a full office staffed with para legals of young lawyers whose only job is to look for copyright/tm infringements and send C&D (cease & desist) letters. I have seen them. They don't do it for the money or to be a pain the the ass, they do it based on the legal theory that if you don't actively protect your (c)/tm, you run the risk of it being used against you as an affirmative defense in an infringement case.
Based on the GHOST RIDER case, it is, in my opinion, only a matter of time until Disney, now aware of the issue, sends one of their young attorneys with a stash of blank C&D letters at conventions and start handing them out to everyone selling Marvel sketches without authorization.
Receiving that letter will oblige you to hire a lawyer and even if Disney lets you off the hook (which they probably will), you might be out of a couple of grands by the time the process is over -- or you run the risk of being stuck with a $15K bill if you fight them.
Again, I emphasize: this is sound business practice for Disney; NOT doing it entails risks far greater than doing it. They have gone after children's nurseries before which had Mickey painted on their walls for the same exact legal reason. And that was far more time consuming and bad PR-wise that going after some comic book guys at artist's alleys.
It is only a matter of time.
So if they have a waiver/permission program as Ivan says, join it; if not, stop.
[Back to Jean-Marc's original, full post:]
2) Although there never was any serious dispute that Marvel owned whatever share of GR Gary Friedrich was claiming (personally, I'm not a mind reader but I think Friedrich was hoping for some kind of settlement), there remains two legal issues that Ty obviously didn't grasp:
2.1) When Moebius drew his SILVER SURFER with Stan Lee, he got royalties and he was still getting them when Starwatcher split in 2000. You will note that modern-day WFH agreements spell out that the money you're getting will be the sole compensation you will ever receive and you're not entitled to anything else. It is spelled out because if it is not, courts are at liberty to interpret the contract and decide whether or not you should be gettong something extra.
The back-of-the-check contract signed by Gary did transfer ownership of GR to Marvel, and the amount of that check was the consideration for publishing rights, but nowhere did it actually state (as it does today) that it was the ONLY consideration to which Gary might be entitled in the event of a film or a TV series. The Court could have easily decided that on the absence of that clause, Gary was owed something.
2.2.) There is a famous case about singer Peggy Lee who won her suit against Disney for their reuse of her songs in LADY & THE TRAMP on video, because that medium didn't exist when she signed her original agreement with the Mouse, and contracts at that time didn't specify the now standard "and other media to be invented in the future". The Court chose to interpret that lack of specificity in favor of Peggy Lee. When Marvel sold the rights to GR to the studio which produced it, they likely sold the video, DVD and game rights. These media did not exist when Friedrich signed his back of the check contract which did not list any and all future media. Therefore, based on the Peggy Lee case, the Court could have found that Marvel didn't own those rights, and therefore couldn't resell them, or, as in the Peggy Lee case, simply that they owe the plaintiff some kind of percentage, that's all.
So it remains my contention that Marvel owes "something" to Friedrich (and Ploog as well) based not on the publishing, but purely on the disposition of the multimedia rights to GR. That the Judge decided otherwise is a tough break for creators, and unjust.
3) Which brings me to my next point, which is that documentary standards are being unfairly applied throughout the judicial system, and somehow mistakes always seem to favor the corporations, not the small guy. The enforceability of a contract depends on accurate documentation which must be produced in Court. If you have a mortgage, but the bank cannot produce your properly signed promissory note, then the court has the possibility of nullifying your mortgage. It's happened in a few rare cases, but more often than not, people have been thrown out of their homes despite banks being unable to produce a properly signed note.
In this case, has any of you seen the back of the check signed by Friedrich? Was that check properly endorsed? Was there anything crossed out? Why should mistakes in documentation automatically benefit the corporations, and the little guy should be held to standards of evidence that the companies themselves don't respect? Why did the Judge assume that the paperwork was in order & automatically benefited Marvel? What I'm saying is, if people can lose their homes despite proper paperwork, well, then, Marvel could lose GR despite its paperwork. It's up to the Court.
So whether or not you feel any sympathy for Gary and his cause, this is another loss for the Little Guy which, in the greater scheme of things, impacts all of us."
SPREAD THE WORD. SPREAD THIS LINK.
And QUIT doing, creating, selling ANY sketches or sketchbooks or prints featuring Marvel/Disney characters, IMMEDIATELY. And let fans know WHY you are no longer doing them, and/or CANNOT do them ever again.