I'm hoping that title is attention grabbing but not like...click-baity because I genuinely like this guy and want to draw attention to his work.
Yes, he's a white married guy living in Ohio. BUT. In the (web)comics he's put up this year he has featured:
- issues of addiction (I've been reading his stuff for years and people have really had to tackle alcoholism and sex addiction in specific)
- several queer people (both POC and not) who are all over the spectrum (including people struggling to come out of the closet and a trans person early in their journey)
- a story arc involving a queer couple deciding to have a family (probably) without anything other than a "two people deciding to have a family" vibe to it
- a story arc where two biracial siblings deal with (or don't) the parental racism that one of them faced when she didn't act good (read: white) enough
- Made it pretty clear that his characters are fleshed out individuals and that his decisions about race and sexuality aren't just for fun
- One-shot comics that call out men in general and specifically nerd men for howthey treat women
Lately his Tumblr has been all about the announcement of a female Transformers character (it really is a big deal in the world of Transformers, I promise) and the TERRIBLE treatment that one of the female creators is facing online. A guy on a forum apologized to the woman's HUSBAND when he was called out for 'jokingly' asking if the woman put out...but only after he found out that her husband was participating in the comments. Willis got so angry I'm pretty sure he had a stroke or something because he just turned into Buttercup over there.
He engages with his fans ALL THE TIME and outright refuses to let bigotry happen on his watch, and is sometimes more patient with ignorant assholes than I would be (sometimes, less). He actually shut down comments on one of his sites today rather than let people voice their bile on his forum. He's very good people, and I wanted to make sure people knew about him. Shortpacked is definitely more on the nerdy end, but Dumbing of Age is a great all around comic set in college.
My favorite comment on his Tumblr right now:
I am from a very, very white region. I am surrounded by racist comments that I hate, but it has always been the almost cartoon-villain type (confederate flags in Indiana...which was a Union state). Of course I think racism is bad, but I never thought about how subtle it could be. I know this admits how naive I am, but DoA and the comments are eye-opening. I like when my preconceived notions are questioned. So, thanks for being able to do that. I hope you don't let everyone else discourage you.