I’m a long time comic book creator for DC and Marvel comics, but two years ago I created my own “Blacklist Universe” via crowdfunding sites.
There’s a reason I named my company “Blacklist.”
It’s a nod to having been blacklisted at the previously named comic book companies years ago for taking a conservative Christian stance on all things political and religious. The 11th commandment at those companies seems to be, “thou shalt not speak your mind unless you’re a bleeding heart leftist.”
But I can’t do that.
So a couple of years ago I found myself in the crowdfunding business, launching my first Indiegogo campaign “Lonestar: Heart of the Hero.” The title follows a super-patriot who fights vampires with his team of “Unknown Soldiers.” It did better than six figures and launched me on a path to independence in my creative journey.
I did three subsequent projects with Indiegogo, to varying degrees of success.
In the interim, I tried to launch a reprint campaign on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform that was known to be less friendly to right-minded persons such as myself. Indeed, my campaign was canceled thereafter I uploaded preview pages of Lonestar beating the snot out of a group of MS-13 gang members who were about to rape a young black woman.
Kickstarter’s reasoning was that they did not allow “discrimination, subjugation, or intolerance towards marginalized groups.” You know. Marginalized groups like MS-13.
It was almost to be expected.
Kickstarter had previously rejected other projects by right-leaning creators, but I needed to see if they were legitimately blacklisting conservatives, or if it was just a one-off situation. It was the former, it seemed.
Thus back to Indiegogo I went because up until now, even though their public positions seemed in line with the left-wing agendas of the day, their internal policies seemed to be welcoming to those of the conservative or libertarian persuasion.
This is why this shadow-banning came as such a surprise to me.
Now, I want to preface this with the fact that I still don’t know their actual reason for the shadow-banning, and I am loath to automatically ascribe nefarious motivation or causation to the issue.
All I know for certain is that since Wednesday of last week, my new comic book project, “The MAGAnificent 7,” has been undiscoverable on the Indiegogo browser.
What does that mean? It means that for the hundreds of thousands of users on Indiegogo who use the platform to find new projects to support there is no way of finding my book without doing a text search or having a direct link to the project.
You cannot browse the website and find “MAGAnificent 7.” Not through any of their browser parameters or through your own browsing history if you had looked at it recently. It will not be in your recommended list, it will not show as trending, it will not list by date launched or closing, nor will it list by dollar amount raised.
This all started late in the day July 8. “The MAGAnificent 7” is completely shadow-banned.
Is that a big deal? Well, yes. Roughly 20 percent of my previous campaign’s support came from Indiegogo users browsing the site. Not to mention that the entire purpose of being on a crowdfunding platform is that you have access to their previous clientele.
Why am I paying Indiegogo 5 percent of my revenue on top of $.30 per transaction if every sale is being delivered to them by my own marketing and promotion efforts? I have a Shopify store, I could just as easily send my fans there and pay zero fees to make those sales.
So my question is: am I the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the conservative creators on Indiegogo?
Is my pro-Trump book just a little too… TRUMP for them? And if they’re willing to shadow-ban me, will it be long before they start canceling creators the way Kickstarter has done? I certainly hope not, which is why it’s important to call out this behavior at the beginning, and nip it in the bud.
But there is another problem; Getting the word out that this is happening. Because so many of the right-leaning comics creators who have the biggest voices in the crowd-funding space use Indiegogo to make a living, they’re not speaking up.
They don’t want to take the risk of biting the hand that feeds them. Which is understandable when you have a family to feed and bills to pay, I do as well. But as I mentioned before, I called my company “Blacklist” for a reason.
If they’ll do it to me and they aren’t called into account, they WILL do it to you eventually.
Mike S. Miller is a veteran comic book professional. You can follow him on Twitter @AbacusMike