Tony Harris Said Some Things, And Now We Have ‘Cosplay Appreciation Day’ In Response

You may have already heard about the kerfuffle yesterday regarding comic book artist Tony Harris (Starman, Iron Man, Ex Machina) posting a rant on Facebook about female cosplayers. You may have even spotted the #CosplayAppreciationDay Twitter hashtag trending yesterday. The hashtag was inspired by Gail Simone, who declared Tuesday Cosplay Appreciation Day on her Tumblr in response to Harris’ post. We’ll get to his post in a moment, but first we wanted to point out that part of the backlash he received was probably due to some very terrible timing:

Female cosplayers have had to put up with a few ridiculous situations in the past month. MONTH. Not weeks, not years – four discussions in a month. First, Mandy Caruso detailed how she was harassed by press at New York Comic Con. She was wearing a Black Cat costume that revealed cleavage, and the male interviewer asked her to spank him and asked what her cup size was. Then, cosplayer Molly McIsaac posted about how people wearing costumes doesn’t mean you can treat them like pieces of walking meat. And finally, just over the weekend, there was arguing about a faux nerd girl meme that used the word “whore.” Intense discussion surrounded all of these posts – from all sides. Today’s incident takes the prize though. [Geekfemme]

In other words, Tony Harris picked a pretty bad time to annoy people who were already fed up about geeky girls having their nerd cred constantly questioned for no other reason than their gender, which is bullsh-t. So here’s what Harris posted on Facebook yesterday:

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 SH-T 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 f–king 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 sh-t up.

So, yeah. In one broad swipe, he characterized genuinely geeky women as “the exception to the rule” (thus painting the majority of women at cons as crazy, pandering, dishonest attention whores who are preying on men) and “average Comic Book Fans” as men who rarely or never speak to women and are “ALL unconfident when it comes to girls.” Gee, I wonder why some people took issue with those characterizations. I also enjoy the irony of a comic book artist complaining about scantily-clad cosplayers who are wearing the exact costumes drawn by other comic book artists.

Harris later posted this followup:

So I guess I broke the Internet in half today . Lots of interesting commentary, to say the very least. Didn’t realize that many people would care about one guys opinion. Also extremely savaged and humbled by the vicious response that went so far beyond any reason whatsoever, with personal attacks on my family, my sexual history, and accusations of advances being rebuffed cosplayers, which has never ever happened. My candor and my delivery of most things can be and usually is quite blunt. Can’t help who I am, but what I’m not, and never have been is a misogynist or sexist or any number of things I was called. I have the utmost respect for all the women in my life from my mother, my sister, motherinlaw, my wife and wonderful 2 daughters. This is my final word on the subject so move on. I won’t address it again.

Yeah, I have no idea why anyone might infer sexism after reading that earlier post. No idea at all. Then Harris followed up the follow up with this:

So heres my follow up commentary. Tried to “engage” my detractors on Twitter. Big mistake. Not gonna backpeddle. Not one step. I tried to be clear at the beginning by saying I know there are legit Cosplayers who know the material and love it. So if you wanna gloss over that and accuse my statements as being all inclusive of Cosplay, then blow me. See, this is why I posted this HERE, on MY page. You dont like it? Leave. Dont threaten to stop buying my work, because Im sure most of you who threw that gauntlet down, never did to begin with. Good riddance. Hey all you self righteous f-ck-faces out there who are spewing even MORE hatred at me, than you accused me of spewing. pfffft. Really, thats how you come at me? Once you have moved on to hate on someone else….Good Riddance. But the one thing I HAVE to address is the use of the word MISOGYNY. So I am a Misogynist? Why? Because I frown upon Posers who are sad, needy fakers who use up all my air at Cons? Sorry, while you Cos”Play” Im actually at work. Thats my office. F–k you. I actually dont hate women, I dont fear them either. Nor do I mistrust them. I do not portray or Objectify half naked women in my work. I never have. I have always been VERY vocal about my dislike of that practice, and that my view is and has been that T&A in comics is a Pox. If you wanna come at me with accusations of Misogyny and sexism, youll be wrong. I think there are several Hundred “PRos” I could rattle off that are doing a fine job of perpetuating that crap without ANY help from me. Its not helping to further our industry. Hey haters, Im not sad, lonely, stupid, uneducated, gay, nor do I wear Assess for a Hat. Im not a Sexist, and have been very vocal about the fact that its a GOOD thing to see so many female fans at shows, and I treat them with the same kindness and respect as I do ANY male fan I meet. I guess the one mistake I made in my original post was that I excluded Men. Let me rectify that… SOME of you MEN, are as bad as SOME of the Women Cosplayers, I talked about earlier. There. Oh and to all of you guys who are my friends, and pros who I work with, dont go and try and defend me or anything I wrote. Youll just get sh-t on. Thanks though. And lastly, Bleeding Cool, and Rich Johnston are Sh-thead, scumbags, and this isnt the first time his camp has come after me. F–ck you Rich.

Uh . . .

Moving on. . . . We’ll be celebrating Cosplay Appreciation Day (belatedly) with a couple of posts here later today. In the meantime, this comic seems relevant:

[Pictures via Big Red Kev, Warming Glow, and Sailor Swayze.]