Dec 23, 2011

Another open letter to Marvel Comics

In response to Marvel's inclusion on a list of companies that support SOPA.

(Note: I posted this on the discussion boards, and it was removed three days later. I noticed last week (Jan 2012) that someone else had posted something about it that was still up.)

Dear Marvel Comics,
In 1961, with the publication of Fantastic Four #1, your company revolutionized the comic book medium. Artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko defined artistic styles that continue to reverberate into the present day. In the 1970s, comics like Howard the Duck and Man-Thing offered scathing and intelligent critiques of the problems of the United States and the world. In the eighties and nineties, Claremont's X-Men took on such issues as homosexuality and South African apartheid in moving and challenging ways. In the early 2000s, your company threw off the shackles of the Comics Code Authority, and demonstrated that comics could be a mature, intelligent, and self-regulated medium.
Imagine, then, my dismay, when I saw your company listed as one that supports the proposed, draconian Stop Online Piracy Act. That a company so steeped in, and adept at, revolutionary art could support something that will destroy the most important revolution in modern human history is unthinkable to me. And all in the name of profit. People who download your comics illegally will not go to a comic store and buy them if SOPA is passed. They will simply not read comics. Your support of this act will punish both those who get your comics illegally, and those who get them legally, such as myself. The internet is not a marketing and sales tool. It is a tool of communication. Such a tool can certainly be used for sales, but that is not its sole function, nor should your company treat it as such. In the last 20 years, the world has become a smaller place, thanks to the internet. Parts of the world that had little to no contact for most of human history are now joined by communities of like-minded individuals. The internet has made it possible for us to understand just how alike we really all are. And to understand just how different as well, and how wonderful that difference is.
I understand that your parent company, Disney, is also a supporter of this act. It is my fervent hope that this is the only reason that your company is on such a deplorable list. I urge you, whomever may be the person to make such decisions, to rescind your support of SOPA. It will fundamentally alter, for the worse, one of the most important advances in human history. Rest assured that, should this act be passed, and your name remain on the list of supporters, Marvel Comics will lose my business forever. I have read your comics since I was 10 years old. I am an avid collector, and my first collected comic was Transformers #1, published by your company in 1984. However, I will have no qualms ceasing to give you business if you contribute to this destruction of the evolution of human beings.
I will be posting this letter on Facebook, and on my personal blogs, and anywhere else I think that it might impact your customers. Your support of SOPA is terrible, and, whomever this might reach in your company, you should be ashamed of your participation.

Sincerely, and with much gratitude for the amazing stories and characters you have given me over the years,

Tom Miller.

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