This article was originally going to be much different. Originally, I was going to be tasked with reporting on the sad news that legendary comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver had been chased off of social media by the actions of a few who have seemed to have found it acceptable to threaten his safety and the safety of his family. Under the circumstances, no one would have blamed him for packing it in, and this is a story that has played out before. Dean Cain, better known as Superman/Clark Kent in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, had been fairly active on social media, but deleted his accounts a few years ago due to similar harassment. Lena Dunham recently claimed to have abandoned Twitter over bullying, but that turned out to be a lie to garner attention. There are many celebrities that enjoy being active on social media. They appreciate their fans and they enjoy the connection that social media gives to them. There is no one for whom this is more true than with Ethan.
I'm friends with Ethan on Facebook. He's an interesting guy. One night we were up just the two of us talking about Ed Wood movies for a couple hours. It was great. Ethan, probably a lot more than most, really seems to enjoy connecting with his fans on a personal level. When he announced yesterday that he would be leaving social media and going into hermitude, I have to admit, I was quite disappointed. Like many of his fans, I look forward to seeing what kinds of shenanigans Ethan was going to be up to every day. There are other comic book creators who are this way, Ethan is by no means the only one, but Ethan seems to really take it to another level.
One of the great things about Ethan is that he's a fan. Everyone in every trade has the people they admire, but Ethan really geeks out over these other celebrities he meets at the various cons he attends or wherever he meets them. He is always posting pictures, like one recently of him with Caity Lotz, or posting pictures of autographs he's gotten. Somehow, when a celebrity is that much of a regular guy, it really makes you feel closer to them. They know how we feel! This one truly gets it. He knows how much he means to us, because he knows how much these people mean to him. The mayor of Van Scivertown is a very humble person, and he's a better friend because of that.
Ethan didn't go into any specifics about why he had decided to leave social media, or the nature of the threats made against him, but Ethan is very political, and politically conservative (though he really comes off as much more Libertarian than Republican), and I can't help but wonder if that had a lot to do with it. Unfortunately, and it's gotten worse in recent times, people tend to really go off the rails where politics is concerned. The threats may also have come from some recent comments Ethan made about cat lovers, though. Everyone knows cat lovers are crazy. Either way, it really is a shame that he has to put up with this at all. People need to understand that it is not acceptable to harass someone, and certainly not to make threats of bodily harm against them or their loved ones, over political opinions. Politics are important, no doubt, but it is unacceptable to take it to that much of an extreme, and when you do that you make everything he's ever said about your side of the aisle correct.
In the end, Ethan proved that he had more in common with the brightly colored characters he makes his living drawing than anyone had ever imagined. Inspired by a flood of support from his real friends, and that includes his fans, he has decided to stay and fight. Like Green Lantern, he would overcome great fear and not allow the bullies to win. The hearts of many were lifted, my own included, when he posted this:
And the messages of hope and love he was talking about? Some of them were actually quite touching. Ethan has done more than draw a few funny books. He has touched many. He has been an inspiration to many, and we hope that he will stick around and continue to be an inspiration to many more. I wanted to be able to include some of them here, but unfortunately the authors of some of the more touching ones had privacy settings that prohibited me from messaging them and asking permission to use screenshots of their comments. Needless to say, his fans came out in droves to express how much they were going to miss seeing him in their newsfeeds, and everyone was respectful of his plight and his decision and no one asked him not to leave. They just expressed their sadness and told him how much he has meant to them, and that seemed to have been enough to instill in Ethan the courage to reconsider his decision, to stay and fight for friendship. Ethan Van Sciver is a stand-up guy and here is to hoping he sticks around for some time to come because, hey, one of those people who was sad at the prospect of not seeing him in their newsfeed was me. Mad ups, Ethan. You are an inspiration to everyone.
Do you have a favorite Facebook or Twitter celebrity? Let us know in the comments.