Everybody knows that when you want to read about comics, you head over to Comics Alliance, Newsarama, iFanboy, Comicbookresources, IGN or any number of other websites. The people who create content for the sites are demonstrably fans of the medium, and although they can be upset or angry with what they read, they always come at it from an interesting, understandable angle.
Now -- when you want to know how the latest Fear Itself tie-in ends without having to go to a store and buy it, or what the last page of a Batman comic looks like, you go to Bleeding Cool. If you've arbitrarily decided that you want to hear some possibly invented gossip about which writers hate each other, you go to Bleeding Cool. And if you googled 'Becky Cloonan', optimistically looking to read about her upcoming collaboration with writer Nick Spencer on a Doctor Doom miniseries? You probably went to Bleeding Cool, where you would've read writer Rich Johnston's take on a breaking news story.
The Von Doom miniseries is cancelled, you see. Marvel have decided to pull the story before even the first issue came out. Spencer and Cloonan both took to Twitter to mourn the series that will never be, and a few people wondered if the book was cancelled to save money, because editor Alejandro Arbona was recently let go from Marvel, or for whatever other reason. But Rich Johnston didn't need to wonder. He had inside news. He took to his site to explain that Cloonan had recently had a few personal issues which meant she couldn't complete the project.
But not just that. Johnston told his thousands of readers that Becky Cloonan hadn't sent Marvel a single page of completed art. Meanwhile, she would be enjoying her new ongoing gig working on Conan for Dark Horse. In the process, he was effectively telling people that Becky Cloonan was unprofessional.
And wouldn't you know it? It turned out that his information, his exclusive sources and subsequently his article were all incorrect.
After discovering that he was completely wrong, Johnston quickly pulled the offending content from the page and tried to cover up his inadvertent attack on Cloonan. If you go there now, you'll find a wall of red text which explains the situtation as Johnston sees it. All claims about Cloonan have been removed, although the opening paragraph is retained. In one quick rewrite, Johnston proved his site has no integrity whatsoever.
And you know what he did after he deleted the article, wrote a new one - without offering any kind of apology to Cloonan? He wrote an email to her asking for her side of the story. Shouldn't that have been his first move?
Now granted, comic-books are a relatively small industry in the grand scheme of things. But Comics Alliance, Newsarama and several other sites managed to report this news without slandering anybody. How come Bleeding Cool get away with this attack on Becky Cloonan? Writers such as Brian Wood and Matt Fraction have taken to Twitter to condemn Rich Johnston's actions, and it looks like this story is set to continue for a fair while yet.
After years of uninterrupted gossip and slander, is it finally time for Bleeding Cool to apologise for its lack of integrity? Why should legitimate comic-book writers be tarnished because this one website doesn't do the research, reports without evidence, and openly lies to the fans?