I’ve been going back and forth on this for a long time now, but after the events of the last twenty-four hours, I think it’s time that I make a decision.
GeneralsJoes will no longer be covering or providing coverage of IDW Publishing’s G.I. Joe comics until something can be done about writer Aubrey Sitterson.
From a personal perspective, I can respect his devotion to his political beliefs. Hell, to be totally honest, I share some of those beliefs. But over the past several months, Mr. Sitterson has systematically worked through social media to generate a sense of ill-will for the majority of the G.I. Joe fan base, and I’ve reached a point where I just don’t want to discuss it or give it any exposure any more.
It started in the G.I. Joe: Discussion Facebook group where some members were talking about a particular G.I. Joe cover, which caused Mr. Sitterson to get exceptionally hostile towards the fans to the point where he posted an image of himself giving the middle finger with a blatant image of the president blowing his own brains out on a t-shirt.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of Donald Trump (an issue I will NOT be discussing further so don’t bother asking) but the gesture struck me as being completely out of line for a creator who is attempting to engage with the fan base. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when one of the admins stepped in, Mr. Sitterson fell back to his personal social media platform and proceeded to accuse the entire group of being homophobes and racists, a complete and total misrepresentation of the facts. He has used this same tactic with a recent exchange regarding folks expressing sympathy and emotion for the events of September 11th.
Since then he has continuously posted virulent and aggressive posts through social media while at the same time promoting G.I. Joe, and over the past several weeks I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with how closely linked the G.I. Joe brand has become with his own mode of online commentary. Mr. Sitterson has spent a lot of time in the wrestling world, and he certainly seems to be working to generate heat, hoping that this heat will spill over into sales and attention for the G.I. Joe comics. Unfortunately, sales continue to falter and I see disgusted fans by the dozens unsubscribing or expressing their distaste for the way the current writer is handling himself.
G.I. Joe, at this moment, strikes me as a brand in crisis. I strongly believe any curator of that brand in a professional capacity needs to express himself in a professional manner. Mr. Sitterson has not been doing that for a very, very long time, and eventually his agenda is going to drive away what few hardcore fans the G.I. Joe brand has left.
Believe me, I am about as far from the “hardcore G.I. Joe military RULEZ” crowd as you can get. I have plenty of room in my love for the brand to accept the more eccentric and outlandish stories. That’s a huge part of what has made G.I. Joe what it is today. In another life I would enjoy and appreciate the outlandish nature of what Sitterson is trying to accomplish, but his aggressive belligerence makes it impossible to do so.
What I cannot do is accept the fact that one of the brand’s creative members seems to feel a need to work so hard to ostracize the fans who have supported this brand for decades. His recent tweet about September 11th was poorly worded and borderline offensive, and when folks have called him on it, his response was (and I quote):
“But as a guy who stood in the streets of lower Manhattan, where he lived, and watched it all unfold: F*ck you.”
Is that really the brand ambassador that we all want at the head of the ship? Also, did he forget that the events of 9/11 not only impacted New York, but Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and thousands of people who lost family members aboard the aircraft that crashed into the two towers?
From a personal perspective I will no longer be buying IDW Publishing’s main G.I. Joe title. I’ve been purchasing every single G.I. Joe comic since 1984. It took until 2017 to get me to stop, but I have finally been worn down to the point of just not being able to support it anymore.
Mr. Sitterson has complete and total freedom of speech and as I’ve already said, I fully respect his opinion and his intense desire to share that opinion regardless of what others may think. It’s an admirable trait.
However, in this case, I think he is actively damaging a brand that cannot withstand the continued punishment, and the best interests of IDW Publishing’s G.I. Joe universe do not necessarily align with his. For that reason, I’m expressing my own freedom in not promoting or commercially supporting IDW Publishing’s endeavors with the G.I. Joe universe. It’s unfortunate, and honestly I’m sure my little voice in this big, huge world doesn’t mean much, but I’ve gotta do what I feel is right.