Thursday, November 24, 2011

So apparently I'm now labelled a "homophobe"

It all stems from a comment I made about this Batman & Robin cover where I said "OMG! Is this a parody of something? Way to keep those gay rumors at bay. Crotch shots are GO!" Well, if you assume I'm a homophobe, then just go ahead and assume that I think you're an idiot. Do you really know what that word means? I don't think you do. Maybe you should look it up. I neither fear gay people or have distain for them. That said, the main reason I talked about this cover being a "miss" for me beyond the "Ambiguously Gay Duo" vibe it's sending off it that the overall design is flat. It really doesn't look like any thought was put into the over all design. Just two characters jumping around.
Now I've heard someone say that it's a homage from something else, like a Street Fighter cover or something. I've got two problems with this. First, if it is, maybe a credit should have been included. And two, why would you re-do something that was lame to begin with? Unless of course this book is supposed to be a big joke.
Bottom line, I'm not a homophobe, and these are just opinions. If you're offended, guess what? Nobody ever died from being offended.

p.s. Just wanted to make it official on this blog. Frank Quitely is a fine artist. Those Bite Club covers he did back in the day are fantastic along with other newer work. And I'm sure he's a hell of guy. But as stated on Twitter, a lot of those Batman & Robin covers left me cold in a design sense. Like I said before, it's just my opinion.


  1. No need to apologize, that's gotta be one of the goofiest and drab looking covers I've ever seen. And normally I enjoy Quietely's work, but it seems like he called this one in.

  2. At least I think it convey the message very clearly about the serie: Batman & Robin are not that friendly one with another (is that it? I did not read it)
    I don't find it really "gay": I would not call this crotch shots: it's completly flat! That said, the way they can open widely their legs seems impossible.

  3. I think Jay Smooth's short talk on discussions surrounding race translates almost entirely to this kind of discussion around homophobic language:

    I don't know what the original accusatory comment was, but I would make a distinction between a homophobic person and a well-intentioned person whose language might accidentally occasionally reflect some degree of homophobia. I think a person who is not a homophobe should welcome criticism of their actions (again, not character) because no one is perfect. It's silly to think that because one "neither fear[s] gay people [n]or ha[s] distain for them" that one is incapable of making an unintentionally homophobic remark.

    To be clear, I'm not making the case that what you said was homophobic--I'll abstain from that discussion. I just think it's important not to act so reflexively when someone calls out your behavior. Can you, as a non-homophobe, confidently say that nothing you would ever do could possibly hurt members of the gay community?

    You're absolutely spot on about how crappy that cover is though. Thanks for this blog!

  4. I think it was a matter of how you phrased it. I think it just seemed like you were brushing the cover off instead of discussing anatomy or design.

    Either way, I agree, I love Frank Quitely to death but his covers feel so cold.

  5. The back matter of the trade editions makes it clear that Morrison gave Quitely sketches of what he wanted the covers to look like for B&R, so that could explain some things about the flat design.

    I suppose even if you're given a bland design it's your job as an artist to make it good. I'm not an artist though so I wouldn't know.

  6. I'm gay. I agree with your comments about the cover. You're not a homophobe.

    Quitely usually kicks ass, but the cover in question was a tad off.

  7. I have very mixed feelings about this post, Dave.

    First, I should point out that I'm gay. Just to get that out of the way.

    About the cover: Design-wise, it's true that it's not that inspired. But I think it's a nice illustration. Yeah, it's rather goofy looking, but I think part of that is intentional. I find Frank Quitely's art often hilarious and it's part of what I like about it. I don't get a "gay vibe" from this cover at all, but I don't really have a problem with you or anyone else feeling differently about it, as long as it's not expressed in terms like: "Oh, this creeps me out because it's gay." Gayness is not creepy, and if someone is creeped out by it, then, yeah, that's the very definition of homophobia. However, that's not at all what I got from your original comment, so I didn't think you were being homophobic at all.

    It's your response to the accusations of homophobia I have a problem with, though. The accusations may have been unfair and may have been worded in a disrespectful way (I haven't seen them) and I get why you would be annoyed by them, maybe upset, maybe even pissed off. Explaining that you're not in fact a homophobe and that your comments were not meant to be offensive is fine. But your comment that "If you're offended, guess what? Nobody ever died from being offended" reeks of cocky privilege, which I actually find more offensive than anything else that was said by anyone in this discussion.

    People who are often discriminated against have every right to be sensitive about language and attitudes that affect them. Maybe in this case they did overreact or jump to conclusions or misinterpret your words, but the hurt they felt is real and it's not something that you have any right to dismiss. The best thing you can do is clarify the misunderstanding and apologize for any unintended harm.

    I understand where you're coming from. You probably think that because the offense was unintended it absolves you of responsibility. I'm not going to say that intentions don't matter. Of course they do. There's a huge difference between someone unintentionally hurting me and someone doing it on purpose. But you need to consider that consequences ALSO matter.

    Being offended by something is just a different way of saying "this hurts me." Maybe this is a kind of hurting that you can't relate to because you've never experienced it directly, but believe me, it is real. Maybe it doesn't kill, but that doesn't make it any less real. Would it kill you to be sympathetic to it? Even if you did not do anything wrong in the first place, all I'm saying is sympathy and kindness when responding to this kind of thing goes a long way.


    1. I think the point is that it's perfectly acceptable to be offended, to be emotionally hurt. The advice to those people is not to prevent Dave Johnson from expressing his opinion in the way he wants to express it. The advice is to 1) Learn to deal with it. This is called "maturity." 2) Stop consuming that person's content if you can't understand that offense is something you took, not something that he gave.

  8. I'll let this guy respond for me about "being offended" .

  9. Dave,
    Your comments are insightful and hilarious.

    Thank You

  10. This blog is awesome. More people should be brave enough to say what they really think.