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Jae Lee speaks out on Tom King’s “irresponsible tweets” over Rorschach cover

Jae Lee's variant cover to 2016's Batman #1, written by Tom King
(Image credit: Jae Lee (DC))

Artist Jae Lee has spoken out after a contemptuous 48 hours which began Friday when Tom King publicly expressed "deep disappointment" with DC hiring the artist to draw a variant for King's upcoming Rorschach series. King quoted Lee's recent drawing for a Comicsgate associated project as the cause for this disappointment.

Several hours after his initial tweet, King said he subsequently talked with Lee and learned the artist was not aware of Comicsgate and that the two were now "all good. Best possible outcome."

Jae Lee and Loki

Jae Lee and Loki (Image credit: Reedpop)

On Lee's Instagram page, the artist said he and his wife/colorist June Chung weren't "all good".

"I'm writing this because I'm angry," Lee explains. "These irresponsible tweets are not harmless. They do not just go away. They have real-world consequences. They can take away your job. Your life. Your memories. June and I were robbed of a special day. So, no, we're not 'all good'."

Lee and Chung's "special day" was the couple intending to spend Friday mourning the recent death of their dog, Loki. 

"Instead, a part of the internet I avoid like the plague came barging in," Lee continues. "I had companies I'm working for calling me, friends reaching out to me. I'm seeing hate pouring out of strangers' mouths, accusing me of things I have no knowledge of."

(Image credit: Jae Lee (DC))

"I'm seeing first hand how fast lies are spreading. Let me be clear, I'm not part of any group."

Comicsgate is a movement involving several comic creators and fans who have spoken out against what they feel is forced diversity and social reform in the modern comic book industry. The movement has developed its own community, with former DC-exclusive creator Ethan Van Sciver being one of its loudest voices. Lee drew a variant for Van Sciver’s upcoming one-shot Cyberfrog: Rekt Planet. Van Sciver debuted the cover in a tweet that included a #Comicsgate hashtag, which King now says he mistakenly assumed Lee was aware of.

"This isn't the start of a conversation. This is the end," Lee writes on Instagram. "So please, don't drag me into a world I never wanted to be a part of, nor will I ever want to be a part of."

Chris has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, and has also written for USA Today, Life, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the  2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and the 2012 Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table.