Here’s my response to a thorny question. I’m not sure I have a good answer for it, but I’m putting it here in case it strikes a chord with you.

There are people in comics who don’t get along, just like in any other business. Or high school.

Sometimes the ire comes from legitimate grievances. Some very serious, some from minor scuffles that inflate into drama, sometimes from clashes of egos. Some people just lie.

Whatever the source, there will always be people who will demand that you cut someone, or shun them, or publicly castigate them. And if you don’t, you are a bad person, too.

Setting aside the issue of whether or not the grievance is legit, the emotional issue is real. People feel badly when they see you being pals with someone they don’t like, whether the harm is real or not to your eyes.

I shun people I don’t like by ignoring them, but I don’t run around making an issue of whether or not other people should cut everyone I don’t like, too. If their names show up on my page, my assistant has orders to delete. They simply don’t exist for me.

People are going to believe what they’re going to believe, and they’re going to act in their own best interests. If they buy a book by someone who has done me harm, I don’t have the time, energy or interest to give people a lecture about their lack of moral fiber over their consumer choices every time they make one. And it is highly probable that outside of a few hundred hard core comics fans, no one has ever heard of these problems.

Most of us buy goods and services from sources that don’t treat people very well every single day. It’s nearly impossible to police every source, so we make our choices where we can. Fine, those are feel-good choices. Separating the art from the artist is a non-issue, because you’re not an art critic, you’re a consumer.

These are consumer choices we all get to make because it’s our money. Our time. Our life. End of.

But I’ve had people demand I quit jobs on their word, and I’ve done so. Every single time I’ve regretted it. And every single time, I’ve seen that person turn right around and either befriend the person they demand I shun, or try to get work with that client at a later date.

I’ve also had people demand that I publicly associate with people who’ve done me serious harm, only to turn right around and announce that if I appeared forgiving of that person, then the original offense must not have been as bad as I made out.

I do not have the energy to invest emotionally every time this happens, because it is like death and taxes for inevitability.

You will be criticized for forgiving. You will be criticized for being unforgiving.

Make your own decision. I can’t make it for you. I can’t tell you whether or not someone else is telling the truth about their issues with that person over there, but I can tell you I’ve met people in this business who have serious problems, some who don’t, and some who use real problems as a shield to lie about fake ones, or as an excuse as for why they are so abusive to others.

What does that mean? It means people are complicated, and the world is complicated, and people who draw stories about heroes in tights and capes have the same complex/childish issues as everyone else.

There is no template for who to pick for friends and colleagues, because your fave is problematic, but my fave is misunderstood and complex and filled with remorse, so you have to forgive my fave.

Right?

That’s how it goes.

It’s your life and your responsibility. Good luck.