Janelle Asselin’s recent “Anatomy of a Bad Cover” editorial, critiquing artist Kenneth Rocafort’s cover for the upcoming new “Teen Titans” #1, received a massive reaction from both comic book fans and professionals — ranging from shows of support to threats of physical violence, and prompting a subsequent dialogue about the treatment of women in the comics community. CBR spoke with Will Pfeifer, who is writing the relaunched “Teen Titans” for DC Comics, about the new series, and asked his thoughts on the situation. What follows is Pfeifer’s response.
First of all, I like the cover; I’m excited to be working with Kenneth on this and I like what he did on the cover. I think it shows the characters and tells you who is going to be in it, and I’ve written the issue so I know on the cover there’s also some clues about specific stuff in that issue. But that being said, people write about comics all the time. I wrote “Amazons Attack!” which, I don’t know if you remember, got a really critical response! [Laughs] But you know, you do your work, you put it out there, people respond to it and write a critique, and whether you agree or disagree about it, it’s fine.
What has happened to her, as far as the response of people criticizing her, is beyond appalling!
I’ve read columns from Heidi MacDonald that say this is what happens to women in comics when they criticize something, and as a husband and the father of an eight year old daughter obviously there is no way you should threaten anyone with anything, much less rape, about somebody writing a criticism of a comic book of any kind! It’s insane! I know guys were saying that they were shocked this goes on, and a lot of women were saying this goes on all the time; a lot of my friends are married and have kids, we work in this professional businesses and this behavior is just crazy. I think a lot of it is a combination of, first of all, a lot of guys are crazy jerks and the Internet empowers people to do stuff that they would never have the balls to do in person. I’m sure they wouldn’t walk up in person and say that stuff to her; they wouldn’t have the guts. But everyone’s anonymous on the Internet — freedom of speech can be a double edge sword sometimes.
I don’t agree with her opinion of the cover, but it’s appalling the reaction to her. As a writer, and I’m sure for Kenneth as an artist, we want people to respond to our work, even if we don’t agree with it. We want to put our work out there and have people react. But this kind of thing is insane!
If you disagree with her, that’s fine. If you agree with her that’s fine too. But if you’re threatening her or just doing some crazy mean attack, grow up! That’s all I would say, grow up. Have a conversation, don’t threaten. It’s so out of my wheelhouse; I know it goes on, but I can barely believe this goes on!
Check back next week for CBR’s full interview with Will Pfeifer.