After seeing some snippets from Bleeding Cool and CBR, you wonder sometimes… Do these sites have an agenda? If they have an agenda, what is it? On top of said agenda, who controls the message and the capital? All of those questions are good to ask, yes. You also have to ask yourself, if the message is against what I believe… Why do they print it? It’s simple, because it’s what they want you to believe.
Bleeding Cool was founded in 2009 by Rich Johnston, a British writer and political cartoonist. However, since its founding, Rich has stayed hands off and has been designated as Lead Writer. This position is essentially a fluff position. Rich is basically a staff writer that has tenure. Which even though he founded the site, Rich has no ownership or actual power. This leads you to ask, who does?
That would be Avatar Press, an AA independent comic book company. For the sake of comic companies, I will use the baseball system of A to designate the companies. It’s not a top independent company by any means. It tries to maintain an image of the bad boy/bad girl publisher by allowing comics that are outside the norm with little to no restrictions. The company is also noted to be very left leaning.
Lead by former Wizard Magazine freelancer, William A. Christensen, it had its glory days with Brian Pulido’s Lady Death and Evil Ernie. These days, it maintains web presence with web comics by Warren Ellis and various properties not snatched up by the Big Two or the AAA companies. These include: Robocop, Night of the Living Dead, and Friday the 13th.
As a company with left leaning philosophies, there’s little to no editorial control between Avatar, its writers, and its subsidiaries. And Bleeding Cool uses any connections it can from its parent to scoop up any unfounded rumors, scuttlebutt and hit pieces that they want. This was seen with various hits against Ethan Van Sciver, Jon Malin, Richard C. Meyer and Patrick Zircher.
The company also engages in selective editing when any of their writers are caught plagiarizing or committing libel. This was seen in the case of Patrick Zircher and Ethan Van Sciver, as both men were willing to pursue other courses of action if inaccuracies were not corrected. Even though, Johnston is a British citizen, he is still subject to U.S. Libel laws. This is because his employer is based in Illnois.
Comic Book Resources
Known as CBR for short, Comic Book Resources is the resource that’s fronted by much maligned writer, Kieran Shiach. While Shiach is known as the face of the site, he’s not the sole person there. In fact, it’s not even his site to be honest. The site was founded in 1995 by Jonah Weiland. And it was one of the more balanced sites for comic book news.
The site featured writers such as the aforementioned Rich Johnston. It also featured industry pros such as: Erik Larsen, Gail Simone, Robert Kirkman, Mark Millar. This was in its glory days before the site went down in quality and content. Much like Bleeding Cool, CBR isn’t owned by its creator either. Weiland sold his then 11 year old site to Valnet Inc. If the name does sound familiar, they’re also the owners of Screen Rant and all affiliated properties.
CBR had quite the interesting past 2 years, as it was sold in the middle of the night without warning. They proceeded to move in Valnet loyal employees and bring in reporters in line with the company ideology, such as Shiach. They also moved in some elements from Screen Rant as lead editors. The site hasn’t been the same since.
The only real voice you see from CBR online outside of the articles is Kieran. And his voice is the loudest, preachiest, and most shrill of all. He uses the various articles and connections to the industry to brigade who he doesn’t want in the industry. He’s done this with Ethan Van Sciver, Jon Malin, Richard C. Meyer, and Howard Croykin.
He’s also been one of the more vocal critics of Patrick Zircher and Sean Gordon Murphy’s anti-block campaign to win back customers. As both men have seen their products grow in volume, Kieran harps on against anyone that doesn’t toe the company line (or the line set by Valnet, as given to him).
The Mary Sue
I’ve covered this company in an article prior, but let’s go ahead and state the facts about them. They are a third wave feminist site dedicated to comics and entertainment. They do love veering into politics that they harp on about. Sometimes, with hilarious results mocked by their detractors. The funniest thing about The Mary Sue is that people aren’t always sure who the man behind the curtain is.
Note: I said man. As much as they would love to show off how independent they all are without a man around… They still need capital like everyone else. To provide this capital, you would need someone who’s been around the block in the media, wouldn’t you? This did happen. In fact, they got a pretty good sugar daddy to help found their site, Dan Abrams.
If his name sounds familiar, then you’re smarter than the average reader. For those who are wonder who Dan is, perhaps you’ve seen his hit show? Perhaps, you’ve seen his other show? So, yes, Dan has lots of capital to do what he pleases. And those are usually left leaning programs and sites. Go ahead and take a look at his profile.
Other than being a legal expert and licensed juris doctor, Dan is usually a guest on The View. He’s also a writer. The book he’s written should give you an idea on where Dan leans on intersectional feminism: Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers and Just About Everything Else.
Does the picture get a bit clearer on how The Mary Sue operates now? Even though the site’s matrons say that Dan has no bearing on their articles and decisions. Let’s not mince words here. The Mary Sue is very much within Dan’s leftist vision. He maintains a neutral vision on his hit shows, but even he knows yelling about his feminist agenda will cost him big money.
Comicosity is lead by Aaron Long and Matt Santori. Although, Aaron is the real editorial power, we don’t hear as much from him. The real loudmouth of the two is Santori. A man who prides himself as a cis queer Jew, Santori isn’t much for shame or educated opinions. He’s also quite the offended person if you approach him.
Comicosity is considered low-tier as well. It doesn’t have the pull of the above three sites. It’s hardly updated. The only two in the masthead are the aforementioned Aaron and Matt. The site is hardly updated at all. And the most frequently updated section isn’t the comic reviews or previews. The most updated, if you can say that, is the Representation section. A bed of virtue signal at your fingertips.
The site seems to focus on the “We’re here, we’re queer” mantra than actually reporting the facts. It’s a hotbed of #Resist foolishness that’s only rivaled by the above three sites. The articles are mostly guest articles, to be blunt. And as a senior editor, Santori has a lot to be desired. It’s laughed at by anyone on either side of the issue for a reason.
Unless you’re just as deranged as Matt himself, and there’s a lot of pros that are, there’s nothing there for you at Comicosity. Getting them to actually update would also be a miracle on its own. The last update, as of print, was over a week ago. If you’re not blocked by Santori, he’s off on another week of vacation according to Twitter.
Just for laughs, he does have a page on that famous cyberbowling site. This should give you an idea of the character you’re going to be dealing with. Especially a master-less website like this one…
I’m going to round this off with the least reputed of these sites, Capeless Crusader. A site led by Josh Epstein, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, that usually gets it all wrong often. Josh claims himself to be a centrist, but his views are pure left leaning. He’s used the site to go after Diversity and Comics. He’s used pieces by the now disgraced Melissa Morgue, how was proven to be a male feminist that stalks comic professionals on that lean right.
The site claims to provide to the point analysis about comic books beyond the Marvel/DC arguments. But there isn’t much content that will keep you there. Also, the ads slow down any browser that isn’t running instances of ad block. Josh himself is a treat on Twitter, if he hasn’t blocked your name. The simple reason is that Josh is very thin skinned to criticism. In fact, when questioned about Melissa Morgue, he submitted names to a block bot for Twitter.
This site doesn’t have a master to report to, per say. In fact, there’s not even the deft of writers that CBR or The Mary Sue has. There’s even a link, if your browser hasn’t crashed, to come onto the site as a staff writer in any of the available positions. This site isn’t moving past where it is, and if Josh gets lucky, some seedy publisher would buy it from him.
To be blunt, for a site that claims to be centrist, there’s nothing in the middle here at all. It’s Hegelian rambling at its finest. The name itself should give away all you need to really know about what you’ll get here, anyways.
All of these sites have an agenda. Even this site has an agenda, I’m not going to lie to you. Except, I’m honest about my agenda. I may not agree with someone’s politics, but if they produce good product… people will buy said product. It’s how this stuff works.
The above sites will use any means they can to manipulate a struggling medium to the cliff’s edge. It’s not about quality comic books for these places. The virtue signaling is more important to them than the actual capital. This is the major problem is comics media today. These sites are sounding boards for radical agenda, not impartiality.
The stories are not good as they once were from when these sites started in their infancies. But the conclusion should be the same. These sites aren’t going to give you impartiality. It’s not in their company DNA anymore. As long as you understand that, the better off your experience in comics will be. This site isn’t 100 percent impartial, but we’re not pretending to be.
What we are, though, is honest to a fault. We’re not about to apologize for that. Not until the above sites apologize for yellow journalism. At this rate, we may see Half Life 3 first…