Penny Parker announced she’ll be taking on the corruption in the comic book industry, focusing on the familiar faces of Gail Simone and Kelly Sue DeConnick. As a journalist, Parker is most famous for exposing a “whisper network” of creators and media conspirators. These industry professionals allegedly formed blacklists, hired based on nepotism, and conspired to try to destroy anyone who runs afoul of them.
This week, Parker revealed she will be releasing a new book titled Generation Simone with a projected release date of 2025. The book is set to explain how a whisper network came into power in comics and brought about the industry’s collapse.
In 2017, corruption in the comic industry came to the forefront of pop culture, with several voices calling out the bad products from Marvel and DC Comics, what appeared to be diversity hires based on nepotism, and creators getting blacklisted for their political support of Donald Trump.
The industry corruption came to public attention in September of that year when PJ Media’s Megan Fox wrote an article regarding a group of industry insiders colluding to harass YouTuber Richard C. Meyer at New York Comic-Con, based on screenshots uncovered by journalist and comic creator, Jon Del Arroz. The article was promoted with the hashtag #ComicsGate to highlight the corruption, and the hashtag eventually became synonymous with rebellion against wokeness by independent creators and fans.
Penny Parker drew attention for her independent comics journalism by uncovering the toxicity in the industry during the #ComicsGate uprising, with a post on Twitter in 2019 naming members of a whisper network she claims are the sources of lies and fake news in comics. Her list included Rich Johnston, Alex de Campi, Kaitlyn Booth, Joe Glass, Caitlin Rosenberg, Graeme McMillan, Heidi McDonald, Asher Elben, Tess Fowler, Chris Arrant, Heather Antos and Stephanie Cooke. She wrote up her evidence of this network for pop culture news website Bleeding Fool in 2020 and 2021.
Several creators in the industry were pushing a feminist takeover of comics leading up to #ComicsGate, including comic writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gail Simone. The two women are often criticized as getting books because of their vocal feminist takes, used by Marvel and DC as diversity shields against accusations comics was a boy’s club. Simone infamously posted a picture to Twitter of the two women making kissy faces with the caption, “Sorry we are ruining comics, everyone! Love you, @kellysue!”
Parker’s book cover for Generation Simone is based on this tweet. I reached out to Gail Simone for a statement on the future book, but she has not replied as of the posting of this article.
“ATM I won’t divulge where it is being published because……3 of the Whisper Network members have a long history of tortious interference, specifically sabotaging major book deals It’s about now, but also it’s a 25 year recap of what brought us to this state in comics,” Parker posted, teasing the contents of the book.
She alleges in her thread on X.com that the whisper network has died down in its online activities. However, there still is a lot of real-life backstabbing, blacklisting, nepotism, and intimidation of comic creators and journalists going on within the industry. Sources from within the industry have brought her information throughout 2023, which she calls “wild.” Still, she also says other than writing on the topic, there is very little recourse possible for the victims of this crew because lawsuits cost far too much to be worth it in most cases.
She ends her thread by imploring more people to come forward and whistle blow to add to the contents of her book, saying, “Has anyone in the Network harassed you, stalked you, bullied your peers, spread rumors about you…. or worse? MY DMS are OPEN!!!“.