SoooooOOOoooo, in case you missed the news — this happened. It was a whole thing. Got a lot of media attention, as it turns out. As such, a lot of other questions popped up around and about the situation, and I thought I’d try to answer them — most of these I already answered on Twitter, but I’m gonna pop a few more in here, too, for posterity’s sake.
I do appreciate the outpourings of support. It’s been a wonderful counter to the overall situation, and also a great counter to the hot fresh tides of hemorrhagic diarrhea that have sloshed upon my beaches, spewed forth from the Worst People. And trust me, there’s been a whole lot of that. To what end, I dunno — they got me fired, good job, clowndicks, now what? But I’ve noted about 40 YouTube videos celebrating the firing, and gotten lots of communication from The Worst People, some of which relies on the standard poo-poo baby insults (soy, cuck, and a new one, NPC? wtf is that?), and private messages that were more comfortable using nastier (often homophobic) epithets.
I guess this is their victory lap? So it goes.
But, I got considerable support, too, and thanks, honestly, for that. I was at the Bucks County Book Festival yesterday in Doylestown, PA (chatting with the inimitable Fran Wilde!) and I had a lot of people come up and offer their support — people I don’t know, people who were not necessarily fans before? It was nice. I had people at the farmer’s market, at my son’s school, all aware of the situation. Which threw me for a loop, but they were all in on the solidarity, and that was rad.
I also know that some folks put themselves out there by supporting me online — either because they work with Marvel, or are especially vulnerable to harassment — and many who did speak up for me DID receive harassment all their own. So both thank you and apologies for that.
(I also appreciate folks sharing links to my books and such. That really means a lot, and honestly, it does help.)
So, to answer a few more QUESTIONS and such that have come up — kind of an FAQ, evolving out of this situation:
Q: “Chuck, but don’t you actually suck and are also the worst?”
A: I mean probably, I dunno.
Q: “But didn’t you want Roseanne fired from her job and isn’t it the same as what happened to you?”
A: Roseanne said racist stuff and boosted dangerous, wackadoo conspiracies, which is different. But also, you’re free to call for me to be fired, and Marvel is free to fire me. I mean, I don’t like it, and I think it sets a troubling precedent and a chilling effect (alongside a very clear message to comic creators: “We do not have your back, not one little bit”). But it is what it is. They were free to do it.
Q: “Were you really fired for your politics?”
A: They told me as much, though in an EW article, there was this:
Which is sorta weird, because it suggests they don’t like… bad words? Politics are fine, as long as I don’t put the word ‘fuck’ in there? Which for the record is probably nonsense. I mean, hello, DEADPOOL, the movie, is gloriously, deliriously filthy.
And again, we’re talking about someone (ahem, me) who has written blog posts expounding on my love of tasty, tasty vulgarity going back to like, 2009. My first novel, Blackbirds, is heady with the stink of countless vulgarities. Shouldn’t have been a surprise. Couldn’t have been a surprise.
Q: “Did you receive any warnings beforehand?”
A: None, zero, bupkis.
Now, this answer and the one before it combine to suggest, at least to me, that booting me off the comics was in fact ideological — like, okay, if you didn’t like my vulgarity or whatever, you would’ve done one of two things:
1) You would’ve asked me to tone it down. “Chuck, you’re being poopy,” they would’ve said, and then I could’ve decided on my own if it was worth toning down my poo poo doody words to keep a job.
2) They would’ve just let me finish the last two issues of Shadow of Vader and then softly urged me off the second as-yet-unannounced SW comic. And then just… quietly never hired me again. That woulda worked. I might’ve wondered if something was up, but not enough to speak out about it. I would’ve casually assumed that they didn’t want to hire me again for XYZ reason, which is 100% normal in freelancing anything.
But this wasn’t soft. It was done with purpose and swift measure, suggesting an ideological bent. Further, nothing I’d said or done in my tweets recently had made the news — well, it made cuckoo alt-right news blogs, which is the only place I make that kind of splash. So, if someone there felt, uhh, splashed upon, it means they felt that way because they pay attention to exactly that kind of news — fringe right-wing stuff, not MSM.
(Well, okay, I had some tweets in the mainstream news recently — specifically, the shitposting tweets between Sam Sykes and I, which resulted in You Might Be The Killer, directed by Brett Simmons, and still currently airing on the SyFy network and showing at film festivals. So: my tweets were bringing me only good news. I say this not to humblebrag — well okay maybe a little — but also to note that the way I tweet is not unknown. The evidence of that literally exists in film form.)
I mean, hey, maybe I’m wrong; maybe someone just had it UP TO HERE with all my BAD WORD TURDS and just couldn’t take it anymore but this seemed like something else to me. This felt explicitly political. As if I had peed in someone’s ideological pool.
Q: “Who really fired you? Marvel? LFL? Disney?”
A: I have no way of actually knowing this, and can only go with what was said on the call, which was that this was my editor, at Marvel. I asked specifically “where does this come from?” and that was the answer.
Q: “Were you fired because you included LGBT characters?”
A: Not to my knowledge. I only noted that in my original thread about all this because that is what tipped off the harassment wave at the beginning of all this, way back when Aftermath came out — and that harassment wave arguably culminated in this campaign to get me fired, which, ultimately, seems to have worked.
Q: “Would you ever write for SW or Marvel again?”
A: My understanding with Marvel is that I’m done there, like done-zo, game over, it’s KOS if I show up. Star Wars, well…
Star Wars is like, the greatest thing to me. It forms part of my pop culture blood and bone. And the people I have met, both fans of SW and the people who work inside the architecture of that storyworld (all fans themselves!) have been amazing.
I don’t expect they’d hire me again (breathe a sigh of relief, Worst People), and it’s not like I have time anyway — Del Rey has me for a couple big books of my own I need to put out into the world first (WANDERERS — 2019!) Plus, other projects are lining up, which is nice. But, sure, I’d work in SW again. I love it too much.
Q: “But Chuck, don’t you actually hate fans and insult them?”
A: No. What? No! Why the sweet hot fuck would I hate fans? Fans, in the truest sense, literally supported me and my endeavors. That’s true of fans of SW, of Marvel, and of me personally. The only people I’ve ever insulted are the ones who harass, the ones who have very poisonous ideas about dehumanizing people who don’t look like them.
If you feel insulted by that —
Well, check your soul, see what you really stand for.
Q: “But Chuck, didn’t you actually insult people who didn’t like your book and also The Last Jedi?”
A: Also no. No, no, no. My own wife didn’t like The Last Jedi! (Though she’s come around on a second viewing. In fact I literally just caught her re-watching the Yoda “we are what they grow beyond speech” this morning.) Tons of people don’t like present-tense writing, so they didn’t like Aftermath. That is perfectly normal and cool. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like. The people that got me salty were the ones who again, were harassers, or were the keepers of awful ideologies.
Q: “But as a brand representative –”
A: I should stop you there. I see this often enough that I need to call bullshit. Freelancers are not brand representatives. Yes, if a company finds our tone or words reprehensible, they shouldn’t hire us, but no one in their right minds expects a freelancer to be a banner-carrier for a brand. We do work. We are real people. We get to have real opinions. I’m not your dancing monkey.
Q: “But Chuck, aren’t you antifa?”
A: Well, I am anti-fascism, yes — which, last I checked, wasn’t supposed to be controversial. Being against a dictatorial, authoritarian regime is… pretty much stock-and-trade for the entirety of American history. That said, I do not belong to any “antifa” groups — I don’t put on a mask and do whatever the fuck antifa do. I’m Eleanor Shellstrop — not really into joining groups.
Q: “But Chuck, didn’t you call for violence against Trump supporters?”
A: I’ve been seeing this one a lot.
Let’s refer to this tweet right here, and then, you tell me.
Because it feels to me like, ohh, I dunno, when I say, “this isn’t the same as calling for violence,” I’m making it clear that this is not the same as calling for violence. It’s almost like I said, “The sky is blue!” and then a bunch of people got mad because they assert that I said the sky is red?
Obviously, no, I do not call for violence. My support for incivility is one meant to support noisy protest, whether in the streets or in restaurants or in government buildings. It’s one that says it should be okay to use your words, all of them, even the vulgar ones, because you shouldn’t have to couch your scorn for this administration’s actions in a pillow of polite comfort. That comfort serves those we protest, not the protestors.
Let me say, of course, that if you feel that my tweets felt like a call to violence — I offer a genuine apology if what I said came across that way. I don’t see it, but then again, I don’t always see the whole shape and tenor of things I say, because I, like most people, am firmly up my own ass. I’m just doing my best over here, so if it came across that way: apologies.
Do understand the deepest fucking irony of being precious about this, mm? The PA GOP governor candidate talked about stomping Tom Wolf’s face with golf cleats. The president has routinely flirted with inciting violence at his rallies. Or hey, remember Greg Gianforte? Or GOP mailers with rifle scope crosshairs on Democrat opponents? Not to mention the codified policies of putting kids in cages, which one could argue is a violent, illegal act. Or shrugging off the violence against reporters — or the deaths of reporters. Or cozying up to white supremacist groups. Or, or, or.
So, no, I’m not calling for violence.
But those calls are out there, and they’re coming from inside the house.
(The White House.)
But I am mad. I mean, am I not supposed to be?
If you aren’t mad, I gotta wonder why.
Q: “But you did delete some tweets because you knew they went too far.”
A: I deleted some tweets because they were the tweets being sent around by huge alt-right celebrity types — thus, they were open portals to endless harassment, and deleting them shut those portals, therefore snipping a lot of that harassment. I very, very rarely delete tweets, but these, I had to, just to stem the frothy poo tsunami trying to crash on my house and home.
For the record, I still stand by them. I still would like to tell the GOP to eat shit. I still compare them — particularly, GOP Congress — to prolapsed assholes. That’s not a call to violence, it’s just me being pissed, and trying to (perhaps weakly) utilize some of the vulgar rage magic put forth by some other maestros of the form, like Bill Hicks or David Simon.
Q: “What is a prolapsed asshole?”
A: It’s like a regular asshole, except instead of an innie, it’s an outie.
Q: “Did you see David Simon tweeted about this?”
A: I did, just this morning. And it is not exaggeration to say that it is currently one of my fondest moments in this weird-ass career of mine. A tweet like that from David Simon is a blessed object. I wish to get it made into a cross-stitch and hang that shit above my desk.
Q: “What happens now to Shadow of Vader?”
A: Ennnh? I don’t know. I like to think they’ll keep my first three — they told me I was being pulled off of 4 and 5, which leads me to believe that my completed scripts for 1, 2 and 3 will still end up out there. I was honestly very proud of them. The third issue in particular! The editor (same who fired me) was very happy about it. I wasn’t kicked off the book for lack of quality. And I had started to see the art for issue 1 rolling in from Juanan Ramirez, and the covers from Greg Smallwood were whoa-dang.
Q: “And you were kicked off a second book?”
A: Yes, a comic, not a novel, to be clear.
Q: “Should we boycott Marvel?”
A: That’s between you and your gods. I won’t encourage it, and I also won’t tell you not to. Boycotts do damage — they would theoretically damage the company, but would also damage creators across the board, including some marginalized ones. One option would be to continue to buy those comics, but only those — Nnedi Okorafor, or Eve Ewing, for instance. Or Jody Houser’s upcoming Star Wars run, or Greg Pak’s run.
Or don’t — I mean, I dunno, boycotts aren’t mean to be clean, they’re meant to burn down a forest. Again: between you and your gods. If you do cut out Marvel, I hope you’ll increase your comic buys elsewhere, supporting creators telling cool stories where you can.
Q: “Should we buy Shadow of Vader when it comes out?”
A: Again, consult with your intestinal flora on that one. You could buy my issues and not the ones by others. Or you could say fuck it and never buy them, or buy them all or — again, you do you. Do what feels right and feels necessary.
Q: “Who will write the rest of Shadow of Vader?”
A: I do not know. (I won’t lie, whoever picks up that job will earn an askance glance from me. That’s petty, I know, but I’m a messy bench.) I did full outlines for issues four and five, so I don’t know if they’ll cleave to those or do some other thing. Epic shrug.
Q: “What was the other comic series?”
A: I don’t wanna say and spoil anybody’s pudding. It’s not announced yet. When it is, I’ll flag and and say HEY I COULD’VE WRITTEN THAT, and then we’ll all rage like Ewoks about it.
Q: “Chuck, you gonna be okay?”
A: I’m gonna be great, seriously. I’m privileged in a lotta ways, and very little of my income was from comic stuff, so — I’ll be aces. This more concerning to me in a LARGER, WHAT-IT-SAYS, RED-SCARE, BLACKLIST kinda way. I hope we’re ALL okay. As I’ve noted, marginalized creators are subject to considerably greater harassment and also are more vulnerable to this sort of thing.
If this can happen to me?
It can damn sure happen to you.
Vote in November.
And thanks again.