UPDATE: Chelsea Cain, the writer of Marvel Comics’ recently canceled Mockingbird series, has spoken out Thursday after deleting her Twitter account on Wednesday amid a deluge of hateful tweets directed at her. Cain, who is also a bestselling novelist, posted a lengthy statement on her personal website clarifying her reasons for leaving the social media platform.
“There is still a vocal segment of the comic book readership that is dominated by sexist jerks with Twitter accounts,” Cain wrote. “Twitter is still a highly flawed platform that nurtures a culture of bullying. … But know that I did not leave Twitter because of rape threats or because someone had posted my address, or any of the truly vile tactics you hear about. I left Twitter because of the ordinary daily abuse that I decided I didn’t want to live with anymore. The base level of casual crassness and sexism. … If a stranger yells at you on the street? You walk away.”
Read Cain’s entire statement on her website.
EARLIER: The comics community is rallying behind Chelsea Cain after a slew of online attacks led the Mockingbird writer to leave Twitter on Wednesday.
Before deleting her account, Cain tweeted she had been targeted by “misogynist bullies,” reports Comic Book Resources. “I’m just done here,” she wrote. “I’m amazed at the cruelty comics brings out in people.”
The bulk of the online harassment came after last week’s release of Mockingbird #8, which includes Joelle Jones’ cover art of the titular superhero, whose real name is Bobbi Morse, wearing a T-shirt that bears the slogan, “Ask me about my feminist agenda.” Cain’s harassers took issue with the term, despite the fact that the character — a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent skilled in espionage and martial arts — is indeed a feminist.
Mockingbird marks the first time the character has headlined her own comic. It’s also the first foray into comics for Cain, who is a bestselling novelist and former columnist for The Oregonian. Cain said this is the first time in her career she’s had to block Twitter users due to threatening messages, reports Inverse. “My day job is writing thrillers,” Cain said. “Bestsellers. Sold millions of copies. Never had to block people until I started writing comics.”
It’s unclear whether Cain, who could not immediately be reached for comment, will continue pursuing opportunities to write comics after the series was canceled last week after launching in March. “Mockingbird is canceled,” Cain tweeted last week. “But we need to make sure Marvel makes room for more titles by women about women kicking ass.”
The attacks on Cain have sparked a deeper conversation about the treatment of female comic book characters and creators. Marvel’s editor-in-chief Axel Alonso wrote on Twitter, “I stand w/ Chelsea Cain, condemn online harassment, and think the MU, and the industry, benefits & grows from diverse creators & characters.”
Many in the comics and books communities posted their support for Cain online, some using the hashtag #StandWithChelseaCain. Gail Simone, Margaret Atwood, and Brian Michael Bendis were among those to speak out. See a sampling of their tweets below.