Man, no one's saying anything interesting today. Well, there is some interesting percolation regarding the Friends of Lulu Empowerment Fund (good link roundup here), but I think I'll hold off on any commentary until things shake out a bit more. Honestly, I was worried that today would bring nothing worthy of prodding with a long stick, but then I read Newsarama's circulation of the Fantagraphics Defense Fund press release. Or, more accurately, the comments left in its wake. A few excerpts:
"We are living in an age where the term freedom of speech is very much dissected in many parts to be interpreted in an infinite ways. You can’t put an author’s name like Harlan in an article knowing that it is saying very much negative things. Your magazine is not a tabloid or an open forum to have another author to write this kind of stuff....Everyone in every entertainment field knows that if you don’t mess with Harlan Ellison then he won’t mess with you. Leave as that."
"Give money to help Gary Groth fight Ellison.
Yeah, lemme get right on that...
I like how he's now formed FOF (Friends of Fantagraphics) to bookend the EOE (Enemies of Ellison) he founded back in the 90's.
Go dig through Peter David's But I Digress archives to get a GLIMPSE of the massive feud between Groth and Ellison. Good readin'." [Fuck Peter David-DH]
" Y'know, guys, given 18,000 years, I'm pretty sure you could come up with the money yourselves..."
"Hey, thanks for telling us your own book about yourself isn't self-aggrandizing. Because a statement like that from a publisher documenting its own history is very reassuring. [Emoticon deleted as per this site's policy-DH] The suit is stupid, and Ellison should be ashamed of himself for filing it, but Fantagraphics should have known better than to court disaster by trying to get in a jab at Ellison on the cover of their interview collection. Sure would be nice if they'd finish growing up and concentrate just on publishing good material and not trying to impress people with how clever and daring they are."
"I'll always agree with the core concepts of freedom of expression, but once those ideas are expressed, the subjects of the more controversial 'expressions' are allowed to respond in a number of ways, including legal action. Both sides of this particular disagreement have pushed the civility envelope over time, so neither gets a lot of empathy from me."
"Harlan Ellison really no longer contributes anything but white noise and damage to the industry in the case of attacking Fantagraphics. This seems like a sad shout for attention from an aging starlet. Britney Spears only shaved her head; Harlan's trying to destroy one of the oldest independent comic publishers in the industry. Pathetic and exactly what you would expect from him at this point. I wish Fantagraphics the best and will continue to support their products."
"...Yeah, well, that's the problem. Li'l Harlie thinks he's the Church of Scametology now. Say anything about him, and he'll sue even if his case has no merit whatsoever, knowing full well that most people will simply settle just to rid themselves of him; the logic being that simply giving the rabid dog a bone will be cheaper than a lengthy court battle that'll cost more than it's worth, especially since Harlan couldn't pay claims won in a counter-suit if his life depended upon it(*). ...On a related note, here's one you kids might find interesting: Harlie's Wikipedia articles are watched over by a small group of "watchdog admins", who censor out any mention of bad behavior by Harlan even if it's based 100% on verifiable facts and contains nothing slanderous by any legal definition. The reason? They're not defending Harlan, they're protecting Wikipedia and the contributors from any legal harassment from Harlan on a tirade.
(*) And I doubt seriously Harlan could have a "fire sale" to help bolster his legal defense fund even if Sir Art Clarke endorsed it."
I'm convinced that most of the anti-Fantagraphics posters are either (a) whiny superhero fans who resent the implications of Fantagraphics' mission statement, or (b) Peter David sycophants. I can't empathize with the former--even when Todd McFarlane was my favorite artist, I was still interested in non-superhero comics of all types. But I guess noblesse oblige demands that I condescend to feigning sympathy. The latter are a plague on humanity, but thankfully they have all the influence they deserve.