Stopping short of an apology, Dynamite Entertainment has issued a statement seemingly in response to being called out by fans and comic book professionals on social media for their association with self-described affiliates of Comicsgate.
In an unsigned statement that neither identifies Comicsgate by name nor any of the creators presumably involved, the comic book publisher founded by Nick Barrucci as an offshoot of Dynamic Forces defines itself as a "partner in the fight for equality and inclusion," explains its association with the unnamed figure as "helping a friend of many decades and his family," and announced the association is "behind us."
Here is Dynamite’s full statement:
"Dynamite Entertainment is a partner in the fight for equality and inclusion. Our company was founded on these core values more than 15 years ago and they are essential to the creative process – the work of visionary artists and entrepreneurs – that we are passionate about. Intolerance has no place in our company or our industry. The impulse behind this brief association was that of helping a friend of many decades and his family, and not how that assistance could potentially affect our valued colleagues, partners, and friends. That association is behind us and this time has strengthened our resolve to continue working with the most diverse talent in creating the best comics possible."
Dynamite came under recent fire for a planned variant cover for a reprint of its October 2019 release Vengeance of Vampirella #1 featuring Dynamite licensed characters Vampirella and Red Sonja alongside Cecil, a character who shares his name with his creator, a vocal member of Comicsgate.
The cover was part of a fundraising campaign created by Dynamite on IndieGoGo (opens in new tab), a crowdfunding platform popular with Comicsgate-associated creators.
"In speaking with Cecil, neither one of us realized the cover would be so polarizing. We discussed and are not moving forward with the cover or the campaign," Barrucci tweeted on July 19. "All current orders will be canceled and refunded as soon as possible. We thank everyone for your support!"
Dynamite has previously organized similar crowdfunding campaigns for other variant cover reprints of Vengeance of Vampirella #1, including a Vampirella/Cyberfrog variant drawn by Cyberfrog creator and Comicsgate figurehead Ethan Van Sciver, which was successfully funded back in April (opens in new tab).
Van Sciver also previously created an IndieGoGo funded variant for Vengeance of Vampirella #1 (opens in new tab) back at the time of its original release in October 2019.
Following backlash over the cover featuring Cecil, Van Sciver spoke out on a livestream (archived here by a viewer) detailing what he described as a private business association with Barrucci - who is also Dynamite's CEO and publisher - going back to 2019. Van Sciver alleges Barrucci offered him guidance and business advice when starting his self-funded Comicsgate affiliate titles.
As a result of the controversy, writer Mark Russell stated he would no longer work with Dynamite (opens in new tab) following the completion of his current contract to write Red Sonja, while writer Gail Simone stated (opens in new tab) she had canceled a planned project with the publisher, whom she’s previously written for.
Dynamite's actions Wednesday follows writer Tom King tweeting a tersely worded criticism of DC for hiring an artist King wrongly presumed tacitly supported Comicsgate to draw a variant cover to his upcoming new Rorschach limited series.
King later tweeted he had made a mistake, retracted and removed his tweets, and apologized to the artist.