“Our story was never one about romance.”
– Cynthia Naugle
The modern comics industry, in recent years, has tried to paint itself as an inclusive and compassionate environment. They’ve several talentless people based on arbitrary characteristics alone. The media, the company, and even the people themselves will jump at the chance to tell you, in a lengthy monologue, how caring they are. They’ve cultivated an environment of people who say the right things – but do so only to hide the monster waiting just underneath their latest hot take on the Trump administration. And now, these creators of valiant heroes are being exposed as the villains they truly are. It all started with a brave woman by the name of Cynthia Naugle.
The story began back in 2013. Naugle had just ended a long-term relationship with her boyfriend. She decided to move back in with her family. She confesses to feeling like her life had sort of hit bottom – as if she had dropped all they back to square one. After all, the future she had been planning with her boyfriend had come to an end.
It’s understandable that a new job offer would seem like a ray of hope. Naugle had been working at a comic shop – and that comic shop decided to expand its marketing department which opened up a position for a new assistant.
“I was so excited about this. It was at that time right after my break up and I had the fuel to do something more with myself and felt like I had something to prove, I was eager to do something more to prove I didn’t need my ex-boyfriend. I was also very vulnerable at this time.”
Needless to say, she eagerly accepted the job – looking at the opportunity as a way to both grow as a person and put the past behind her. This is where she met the shop’s marketing department manager…her abuser.
The manager was friendly at first – acting as a sympathetic ear. He allowed Naugle to vent out her frustrations about her boyfriend and her breakup, but that’s where things took a dark turn – especially for a vulnerable Cynthia Naugle.
“My new manager, we’ll call him “X”. X acted like my friend, he was there for me during my break up, listened. Then one day while we were having a conversation about my break up the topic of our intimacy came up, he got closer, put his hand on my hip, and lower. He kissed me, and invited me to his place during our lunch break, I said yes.”
This wasn’t a friendly invitation from one co-worker to another. There was no dinner or friendly conversation after that. According to Naugle’s post – it seems as this man had figured he’d caught his prey and the thin facade of friendship was no longer needed.
“Immediately, he starts to take off my clothes. I can’t stop shaking, I couldn’t say anything but “I’m nervous, I’m nervous, I’m nervous.” I couldn’t look at him. Then he slaps my face. I couldn’t do anything after that.”
It didn’t end there. Remember, the manager and Naugle were supposed to be working together. His advances continued at the workplace. He would even follow her into secluded areas of the shop and strip her right there. Naugle voiced her rejection over and over, but it didn’t matter. He only responded with threats to keep her in line.
“For months, this kind of behavior continued. I would tell him I didn’t want to anymore, and he would make comments like “Okay, I’ll just go after your friends then, how about the minions?” (Minions is what we called the students we’d hire that were part of a highschool program.)”
The abuse lasted for months. Since they still had to work together, he slowly began to manipulate her behavior. If she refused him sex at work, he would become hostile. He criticized her and became highly judgemental of everything she did until she gave in. And her behavior did begin to change.
Naugle began only doing things he approved of. She only read books he liked or ate things he liked her to eat. He despised her male friends and only liked talking about her girl friends (which Naugle has confirmed, he actually did go after).
“I was losing myself around him without realizing it. I just didn’t want to deal with him being angry at me.”
While they eventually parted ways – he kept in contact with her by, what I would describe, comes very close to grooming. Favors and kindness in exchange for accepting his abuse.
“He’s helped me with job references, okay, I guess I’ll let him masturbate on the phone when it was supposed to be our catch up talk.”
Naugle finally managed to distance herself from him. She got engaged and she realized how abusive their relationship had been. But in 2018 the manager said he’d be a guest at the Tuscon Comic-Con. This was bad news for Naugle since she too had been invited to be a guest. But things, for her, turned out to be even worse than she imagined.
“Last day of the con, his girlfriend comes up to me and tells me “Hey, I just wanted to say again it was really nice to meet you and X has always said that you’re someone that’s very important to him and has meant a lot, he’s had nothing but nice things to say about you. So it was really nice to finally meet you.” It was incredibly sincere and nice.”
Apparently, after so much abuse, after trying to dominate every facet of her life and after all that pain, guilt, and suffering – he was telling everyone that their relationship was wonderful. He spun the narrative that their relationship was one for the storybooks.
“But this got me angry, I was livid. Of course he’s not going to say anything bad about me. He’s tried to manipulate the situation. That what he went through with me was…nice? WHAT ABOUT ME. Where’s my say?”
At the end of her post – Naugle posted what she wanted to say about her abuser. Personally, it doesn’t matter so much that he sees it than it does that the whole world sees the years of suffering and boiling anger Naugle had built up finally vented out in one strong message.
“You’re an awful person, you were never my friend.You’re not going to paint this story into “the one that got away”You never had me, you hurt me, manipulated me, you took advantage of me, you’re an abuser and I feel sorry for you.You’re not going to do this again.”-Cynthia Naugle