Why, Tony Harris?

Published November 13, 2012 by Teresa

I really liked Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina, and I was into Mark Millar’s War Heroes (back when they were publishing it, that is. Whatever happened to the other half of that 6-part series?). They both had one artist in common, Tony Harris, and he does great work. While I thought his style was better-suited to something like War Heroes than something like Ex Machina (as I mentioned in this Pink Raygun review), I always had a huge respect for his talent, and loved it when he’d surprise me.

It’s harder for me to respect him today.

Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme…someone’s up in arms about women who cosplay to “get attention” again. Except this time, it’s an industry professional – one whose work I admired – who’s spewing the vitriol. Tony Harris posted this as his Facebook status message today:

I cant remember if Ive said this before, but Im gonna say it anyway. I dont give a crap.I appreciate a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male. Sometimes I even go in for some racy type stuff ( keeping the comments PG for my Ladies sake) but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you. Some of us are aware that you are ever so average on an everyday basis. But you have a couple of things going your way. You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? You are what I refer to as “CON-HOT”. Well not by my estimation, but according to a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU. You have this really awful need for attention, for people to tell you your pretty, or Hot, and the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of you hanging on them with your glossy open lips, promising them the Moon and the Stars of pleasure, just makes your head vibrate. After many years of watching this shit go down every 3 seconds around or in front of my booth or table at ANY given Con in the country, I put this together. Well not just me. We are LEGION. And here it is, THE REASON WHY ALL THAT, sickens us: BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER. And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day. Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face. Yer not Comics. Your just the thing that all the Comic Book, AND mainstream press flock to at Cons. And the real reason for the Con, and the damned costumes yer parading around in? That would be Comic Book Artists, and Comic Book Writers who make all that shit up.

There is so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose I should follow Maria von Trapp’s advice and start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start.

“Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you.” – really? You’re “onto them?” And there wouldn’t be the SLIGHTEST projection happening based on your own insecurities or that of members of your fan base, would there. No, sir. Suddenly you’re mind-readers and you know for a FACT that if a girl is hot (or even “quasi-hot”, whatever the fuck that means) she couldn’t POSSIBLY find you attractive, or like what you like, or think you’re a cool person, or want to be nice to you because she actually WANTS to be, not just because she wants attention. That shit, like, never happens. Because all hot people are shallow.

Shallow is kind of defined by judging people based on appearances without looking deeper (not deep, hence shallow)….aren’t you being just a mite shallow RIGHT NOW, YOU HYPOCRITE?!

“Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU. You have this really awful need for attention, for people to tell you your pretty, or Hot, and the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of you hanging on them with your glossy open lips, promising them the Moon and the Stars of pleasure, just makes your head vibrate.” – actually, the one thing those man-boys have in common is that THEY want attention, from girls and women they think are pretty. Because they think they are OWED that. Because they are raised thinking they deserve any girl they want. And if a girl DOESN’T respond to them for whatever reason, she’s being “stuck-up” and “shallow” and, by the way, “she couldn’t possibly be a real geek anyway.” Stinks of sour grapes to me. Mr. Harris, since you’ve decided to be the spokesperson for these boys in men’s clothing, let me give you a message to take back to the tribe. Not a single one of them is OWED female attention. It is something that has to be EARNED, and the way to EARN it is by being a decent human being, and showing women respect. It’s not a big secret. The thing is, it doesn’t always work, because not every woman is going to be attracted to you. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with her. But if you rant about how horrible she is because she doesn’t like you, that DOES mean there might be something wrong with YOU.

“And here it is, THE REASON WHY ALL THAT, sickens us: BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER. And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day.” – you’re right. They might NOT give them the time of day outside the con. And my response is…SO?! (see my comment above about men feeling they are owed female attention) And you’re right, some of them might NOT know anything about comics, and might have simply thought the outfit of a particular character was cool and wanted to show off her hard work (costumes are generally MADE by these women, believe it or not, which takes skill – much like moving a pencil around a page to create art. Cosplayers are artists) in an environment where that character will be appreciated. Again, I say…SO?! So the fuck WHAT?! The only way her actions are hurting you, or any other man-boy, is that she’s not “really” the idealized “hot-and-also-into-comics” girl of your fantasies, and that disappoints you.

You know what? IT IS NOT HER JOB TO MAKE YOU HAPPY! It is not her responsibility to live up to your fucking expectations. I’m sorry if you just woke up and suddenly realized that not every woman is attracted to you, nor is every woman your ideal. GET THE FUCK OVER IT. Women don’t exist FOR you, they exist ALONGSIDE you, and they have their own shit going on. If you want one, approach her like a PERSON. Don’t spew all over the internet about how shallow and horrible they’re being. That reeks of desperation and hypocrisy. And the fact is, men who aren’t into comics would not be given this much of a hard time. If a guy who’s a comics fan attended a con with a dude friend who didn’t read comics, but who went just to “experience” the con, that guy wouldn’t be quizzed and harassed. Costume or not. It would just be ASSUMED he was a fan. And that infuriates me.

And lastly, this one really kills me:

“And the real reason for the Con, and the damned costumes yer parading around in? That would be Comic Book Artists, and Comic Book Writers who make all that shit up.” – you’re right, cons originally WERE just for comic book creators. Before they were fan events, cons were industry events where professionals could connect and make deals. However, they were opened up to fans so that those same artists and writers could SELL THEIR SHIT. So, unless you have a problem taking money from the fans at cons, shut your fucking face about who they’re “really” for. Otherwise, I demand a fucking refund.

Tony Harris, I have a little less respect for you today, and I’m a little less likely to buy your next project. I know that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but there it is. As you and your man-boys are LEGION, so are women. Actually, we’re the majority of people in the country and on the planet. You’d think that, if nothing else, you’d realize that it’s an unwise business decision to say things that will piss us off. Alas, some people are too busy creating art with their heads up their asses to realize how the world actually works.

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6 comments on “Why, Tony Harris?

  • Having been present at a convention for a particularly blatant cos-player (an almost fully naked Poison Ivy at NYCC), I can definitely say that there is an unhealthy dynamic that goes on. If that’s what Tony Harris is talking about, I get his meaning, but his rage is misdirected. The cos-player bears some of the blame, but the social awkwardness of the male fans and the tendency of the geeky subcultures to portray women as sex objects for the male characters are more to blame.

    But the most damning problem here, as Teresa says, is the assumption that the women are cos-playing because they’re looking for male attention and not because they are actually fans. If Tony Harris has proof of that, I’d like to see it. If he doesn’t, he shouldn’t be making unfounded accusations.

    • Well, and there’s the other thing where it shouldn’t MATTER whether they’re “actually fans” or not. Not only is it sexist, because only women have to prove that in this way, but it’s also being elitist about something really stupid. Geeks and hipsters, both often trying to keep people out of the clubhouse rather than sharing the things they love so much – because the more people know and love these things, the less “cool” they are. Argh.

      As for the cosplayer having some of the blame. I’d say that she can only be blamed for wanting to get media attention (you show up mostly naked to a con, there will be news crews), not necessarily male attention. I think that’s an important distinction to make. Cosplayers that are “seeking attention” are often seeking attention from EVERYONE. Thing is, many male fans see conventions as their purview, and therefore assume that everything there is for them. Including women. Also, how is a dude dressed like The Flash or Thor NOT “seeking attention”? No one dresses up at a con to be inconspicuous. And if that’s the case, then it’s specifically the sexual attention women are being particularly blamed for inciting. So, once again, women are blamed for existing with bodies, but men aren’t taken to task for their attitudes and actions? So it’s up to the woman to not wear that kind of costume, and if she does she’s “asking for it?” Huh? I’m sorry, no costume warrants being held to a double standard like that.

  • I genuinely don’t understand the argument that women who cosplay are only doing it “for the attention”, and don’t know anything about comics.

    Guess what: if you’re an attractive woman, then you’ll get plenty of attention anywhere you go, whether you want it or not (mostly when you don’t want it).

    If Tony Harris (or any other person) argues that female cosplayers don’t really like comics, I have to wonder: if this “quasi-pretty” woman wants male attention so badly, but doesn’t give a crap about comics, why doesn’t she just go to a bar or something?

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