Novelist and comic book writer Chelsea Cain has apparently deleted her Twitter account following a series of botched responses to a social media furor stemming from the reprinting in Man-Eaters #9 of tweets critical of the book by a reader.
Man-Eaters has been criticized since its announcement for presenting a binary view of gender that excludes experiences of transgender men, transgender women, and nonbinary people. The comic’s central premise is a dystopian satire where girls turn into ferocious were-cats when they get their periods and the book’s patriarchal society outlaws periods as a result, leading to repeated criticisms that the book fails to address how the premise would affect transgender men who menstruate, transgender women who do not, and nonbinary people who may or may not. Cain initially responded to some tweets from a private individual on Twitter back in May, but then reprinted two of their tweets on a poster on the wall of menstruation reeducation camps in last week’s Man-Eaters #9, sparking a series of critical tweets from comic book industry critics, pundits, professionals, and readers on Saturday to which Cain repeatedly attempted to respond, only to further stoke the flames when those responses were viewed as ignoring the substance of criticisms or focusing on Cain’s own distress.
You can read our detailed account of the weekend’s events here. That report ended after Cain offered to bring on transgender sensitivity readers to the book, but noted that she could not pay them, which was not well-received. Cain later said she would speak to Image about obtaining funding for the service. Cain has previously described the production of Man-Eaters as “financially ruinous.” Image has found itself in hot water over transgender issues multiple times in recent years, most notable with Airboy in 2015 and Divided State of Hysteria in 2017. Image declined to comment on the weekend’s events when asked.
Following the publication of our initial report, Cain apparently deleted her Twitter account Sunday night after posting one final statement in now-deleted tweets.
“Man-Eaters has meant a lot to a small group of people and we will finish the last three issues for them,” Cain tweeted. “I’m sorry that I’m not who you want me to be, and I’m sorry that [Man-Eaters] can’t be inclusive to every experience.”
“We just wanted to make a comic about periods, to say to middle school age girls that they are okay,” Cain continued. “Thank you to everyone who posted that they’d be willing to read future issues for trans sensitivity. I’m sorry I can’t get back to you.”
Though Cain’s Twitter account is currently unviewable, Twitter allows 30 days after the initial deactivation of an account to restore it. Cain has left social media before, following backlash to the publication of Mockingbird #8 at Marvel, which featured a Joelle Jones cover of the book’s star wearing a t-shirt that read “ask me about my feminist agenda.” That incident initially earned Cain goodwill from the same community she found herself at odds with Saturday and Sunday.
Another account of the events was posted Monday morning at Women Write About Comics, which is worth your time to read if you’re interested in a deeper understanding of the issues.