Friday, May 01, 2009

Hotspot #19: Webcomic Finds-Now Written By An Evil 14-Year Old!

When I'm in my contemplative mood, which usually comes after a slew of reviews, I take a break and think... and experiment. It's part of the learning process, and I've learnt to just go along with it instead of pushing myself to do reviews despite the requests that pour in. (The waiting list is well into double figures now, but uh... until next review cycle?)

However I can't refrain from checking out links some some er... little birds send to me from time to time, including this rather amusing comment thread over at Addanac City.

Warning: This is a ranty rant of the highest order.

If you recall, Addanac City was on the receiving end of one of my more controversial Postcards, where I gave it a rather sound thrashing for the very bad presentation and obnoxious tagline. It was so distracting that it coloured my entire perception of the comic, and put me in a bad mood to boot. But it was a very very valuable lesson in how a bad preconceived notion and presentation can influence how a reader "sees" a comic, and how they can be offended by it.

Of course, the most wonderful part of the whole thing was the reaction of the creator, George Ford, who politely thanked me for the review and got to work improving the site. We even exchanged a couple of reasonably friendly (well respectful, at the very least) emails and comments, so I thought to myself that even if I did not enjoy his comic, I could totally admire his work ethic and receptiveness to criticism. 

In fact I even dropped in from time to time to check how he was doing and gave him further feedback on the changes he made. 

Recently I received a post on the blog with a request to check out his website redesign. I'm always happy to give feedback to people who are willing to ask nicely for it and listen, so accordingly, I checked it out, left some comments and suggestions on how it could be improved, and thought that was the end of it. This is it, verbatim from the comment in the other post.


Hi George,

I see you've been hard at work!

I have a couple of points about the new web design:

1) I'm not a big fan of the bright turquoise background. It makes the text very hard to read. I would suggest either a) toning the colour down b) putting a white backing layer for whenever there's text. That way you can still have your turquoise without straining the reader's eyes.

2) I actually liked your old header better. This new one is nicely done and attention-grabbing, but it's TOO attention grabbing. It's got waaay too much going on in the image, it's even interfering with the comic itself as the reader's eye is drawn to the banner more than the comic.

The rest of the layout is a massive improvement. I like how it's a lot easier to navigate, the calendar function is a plus! And reducing the number of ads really does help massively.


So imagine my surprise when a little bird tells me that I'm being badmouthed by readers over at Addanac City. *raise eyebrow* Eh?

Honestly I fully expected it when I released that Postcard, but this is months later, so it's a little late isn't it? But my curiosity got the better of me, so I had a look. I have to admit while "badmouthed" was probably an exaggeration... I was amused to see some rather impotent personal attacks directed at me there.

Sadly, there was precious little constructive criticism in the comments, mainly the usual you-must-be-a-comic-artist to review fallacy (which I am, but that is totally irrelevant to the issue... I do not have to be one to review as explained here. If you disagree I will be more than happy to take you on in a debate on this topic.) and the you're not being fair argument (more on that later, I have my own practical reasons for rejecting it).

Most of them missed the point of my review and George's post. Maybe I need to improve my writing to get my point across better. But I do despise pandering to the lowest common denominator. Since I'm already being vilified, I might as well go with it; besides, some of the comments are too delicious not to share. 


Wow George,
As always you were super sweet to that reviewer. All of that, despite the fact that she was just rude, mean and behaved like a ,well I won’t say. I even read her follow up to your last comment and she doesn’t like the color of the page…. Please. She reviews and behaves like a mean 14 year old. Very unprofessional.
Enough about her, I do now and did before love, love your page.

[SKIP TO NEXT RELEVANT PART]

The one thing I would say about reviews in general is to consider the source when you make changes. I would make changes based on positive criticism.Is that an oxymoron? Meaning, If you start changing based on those that clearly don’t appreciate you it will end up changing for the worse. IMO
Forget about them. You are and will always be a great artist



This one is by far my favourite. I guess I'm supposed to be offended and outraged or something, but in truth when I read that comment, I chuckled in delight for a good half hour.

You might wonder why I should be delighted. Well, I've been told I have a tendency to see patterns and connections that most other people don't see. It's probably responsible for my unorthodox sense of humour, and how I occasionally break into maniacal laughter for no apparent reason.

The irony is delicious here. My point in the Postcard was a preconceived notion and being presented badly influences how a comic is received. It's foolish to assume potential readers will be fair and give each comic a fair chance. Hell no, first impression, website presentation, first three pages... that's all you get at most. Fail to impress by then... there are thousands of other webcomics out there in the web. You've blown your chance. Tough. That reader is going away and not likely to come back.

In the case of Addanac, it gave me a bad impression, the website enforced that, the tagline amplified it and by the time I got to the comic I hated it already.

Now many people will whine it was "unprofessional" and "unfair".

Incidentally: To that I say: Oi! What cloud do you live on? Come down to earth and back to reality, please. Life is not fair.

Oh, I fully admit I am human and thus I write from my point of view. If you want fair try one of those other reviews that try and write from some detached, 3rd person perspective. That's not what Webcomic Finds is about. It's about exploring comics from the point of view of a new reader. I really shouldn't have to explain this... it's in the bloody blog description.

People are not paragons of virtue and will not be fair. You're bloody damn lucky if they give you a chance and check out your link. People WILL judge on first impressions, and many WILL check out a link, see a bad presentation and shuffle off elsewhere without even looking at the comic. I'm a practical reviewer. This is what I take into account.

Interestingly, in the same way, the commenter quoted above got a preconceived notion on the newspost, came here expecting a bad review, glossed over parts I did praise and focused on the criticism.

Never mind that the review was specifically requesting feedback and criticism from me. It was not unsolicited.

Never mind that I warned the creator the review might not be positive, the creator accepted that.

Never mind that I gave some points I felt were valid... they weren't sugar coated and gift-wrapped... THEY MUST BE WRONG AND SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.

The best of all... the follow up comment was specifically requesting me to check out the website design. I did so and gave critical feedback. *GASP* I did not like the colour? How dare I?!? I must be EVIL INCARNATE! *sarcastic*

Back to my point, this commenter got a preconceived notion, came expecting an evil reviewer, saw what she only wanted to see and let it influence her judgement of what she saw.

Sound familiar? Yep. Exactly the point I was trying to make. She reacted exactly how I did in the Addanac City review. (See how important first impressions are? People WILL judge your work even before they see it. It's human nature to do so, and it's futile to make apologies for it).

I have to admit, I'm as human as the next person, and I do enjoy being proved right. And I must say it tickles me to death when someone who so violently disagrees with me and who probably wished to call yours truly something that rhymes with "witch" (And probably refrained from doing so by their utmost reverence for the sacrosanct female canine ;) ), ended up doing the exact same thing and proving my hypothesis right without me having to so much as lift a finger .

It's like having your cake, getting to eat it and being presented with the recipe after that... with compliments.

The world is a wonderful place. That comment really made my day. It had me chuckling into my glass of Orvieto. Mmm... Delicious.

Too much sweetness in a wine sickens me. It's like drinking cheap supermarket Ribena. Ick. Initially sweet, but shallow and boring after the second sip, and containing far too much sugar and flavouring to be any good for you. I like my aperitifs a little more complex, slightly dry, less cloying and pandering.

The same also applies to creative feedback. Vacuous praise like "You'll always be a great artist!" is all very nice and all, but abhorrently useless except for inflating one's ego. Let's be realistic... neither George nor I are "great artists" yet. We're journeymen at best. This kind of praise is more damaging than helpful. It encourages people to slack and rest on their laurels. And then they never improve because they get too settled in their comfort zone.

I'd rather have something like "Your writing uses too many parentheses; they break the flow of reading" or "Your posing and camera angles are rather predictable and conservative, you should try more adventurous approaches." You know something that actually helps me get better at doing what I am doing. That quality of critique is hard enough to come by, why should you expect someone to be NICE on top of that? It's like expecting someone to help you AND then compliment you. For Free. WTH?

Oh and I know I've bemoaned about this before, but why the heck do people keep referring to me as a professional? This is my NOT my profession. I am very proud to be an amateur comic artist.
Amateur
1 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession
2 : one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science

Both apply to me. I do this not because it's my job, but my hobby and I love it; And I am not presumptuous enough to disclaim I do not fit in the category of the second definition. I don't do this full time so my experience is not to the level of a professional. When I see my stuff I always see where I can improve further (and I suspect it'll be that way till the day I die). Like I say I think it's a good thing.

Does that mean I do not know what I am talking about? I do know my skill level. I have miles to go yet, but I don't believe in false modesty either. At this level I DO know what I'm talking about. If you feel I'm fudging, point out the part when you think I ring false. I'll be happy to come back with proof and reasonings why I said what I said to back it up, if I didn't already.

Why else would people ask me for a review if I didn't? Why not ask the commenter above for a review if they wanted cotton candy make-you-feel-good reviews?

If George hadn't ASKED me for a review, I wouldn't have even bothered to spend my time writing about someone who was so obviously happy in what he was doing. I'm happy with leaving people who don't want my opinion alone, and I respect their right to be left alone and be happy with their comic. I've taken down reviews from people who asked me to out of respect for them, no questions asked.

But when people ask me for a review, I'm relentlessly honest. I will not lie to spare someone's feelings. And in this case George asked me. Twice. So I was honest, even when it was painful to be so. Oh sure it'd be easier to always write nice reviews and make friends, but I'd be a liar by extension. What's that you say? I can critique more nicely? News flash. I already do. I just don't bend over backwards to do it. 

You want harsh? This is harsh. And probably not as useful. It seems to be harsh for the sake of being harsh.

I can understand people not listening to me if I offer unsolicited advice. Fair enough. They never asked for it. I usually save myself the trouble and don't give it either.

But I do get a teensy-weensy bit irritated when people go out of their way to ask me for a review, people (or others) get offended and hurt when they didn't get glowing words of praise and ignore the points I make because "they weren't put in a nice enough way". These type of people really need to wake up, and grow up and stop living in their sheltered little ivory towers. People aren't always going to, and have no obligation to sugar-coat everything just because someone couldn't handle criticism without tears welling in their eyes.

Writing reviews take time. If I took the time to bloody write a review I obviously gave a damn about it. There are many more people who would like the critique in their place. I could be working on my own projects and improving MY comics with that time. People do not pay me to write this review. Heck, I don't even ask for a link back. I write them for my own development, my satisfaction, and everything else is a bonus.

Wasting my time annoys ME. I'd thank people to not waste my time by not asking for what I've already warned them in advance they might get. Let's get this straight. If I hate something I don't tear it down. I freaking ignore it. My time is precious and it's not worth my effort to take notice of. I'll only do it if A) They ask for it, and I think they can benefit from it B) I can learn something from it. Sometimes B comes before A.

I'm not here to be nice. I'm here to be honest. If I see something praiseworthy, I'll say so. If I say something that deserves to be shot, I will shoot it with a AK-47 and a full magazine of bullets. I try to be nice most of the time, but if your presentation puts me off, well... It's your own fault for putting me in that mood. That's the mood like-minded readers are going to be in anyway, and sometimes one has to be harsh to make a point get through. Can't take the heat? Kindly remove self from kitchen.

My observation so far has been: mainly webcomic creators who read other people's webcomics make any attempt to be "fair" when reviewing. This is because they know how hard it is to make a comic and keep it running (Incidentally I give credit for both which people who didn't skim over the review would have noticed). But your main audience, the majority of people who read webcomics... they don't give a damn. So either you have a readership of mostly sympathetic webcomic creators (whom you've probably left nice comments on their blogs/comics to win their affections before), or you suck it up and adapt.

In any case, if George wasn't prepared to get a negative review, he wouldn't, and shouldn't have asked for it. (If I am not mistaken, he pretty much said so to me himself, and because I have respect for him, I will take him at his word that he really meant it, and not that because it was the right thing to say.)

Ah well. I am aware people do like rushing to defend the underdog for the warm fuzzy feeling it gives. Me? I prefer helping them in a constructive manner. And so I'm prepared to help people by being their harshest critic and giving my unreserved opinion when they ask for it. 

If I have to play the evil villain and be vilified before the eyes of their readers, so be it. :D



Maybe I should do a Sherlock Holmes policy and only pick up review requests that intrigue me. Hm yes. That's not a bad idea at all... maybe I will. 

I'd still have done Addanac City though, that was a very educational review.


Thus ends a long rant in which I got to trot out two new words in my vocabulary. :D All in all it's been a good day. Signing off... Evil 14-year old Comic Reviewer. 

I even have my maniacal laugh ready!


18 comments:

  1. Aw, Ping. Thumbs up for trying to keep positive about this -- IANAR, but I myself was quite shocked and upset when an analytical comment I made about a popular webcomic was perceived as attack, and thereafter jumped upon with a vengeance.

    And... good post, but will the right people (i.e., those who don't understand what you explain here) ever read this? Other than for flame material?

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  2. Hey Aoede!

    Well I did consider going over and rebutting their points (and correct some of the false things they said I did that I never did). But honestly, what would be the point?

    You can tell from those comments they only ever came over here to defend their friend over what they incorrectly perceived as an attack. They didn't even read the review properly or any follow ups, they just came to see me being "mean" and so they can go back and say "Don't listen to the mean reviewer whose review you asked for because she's MEAN!"

    What they're interested is in showing support for their friend. Nothing wrong with that, so let them be. It would be a waste of MY time to go over and try and convince them since they have no interest in learning about making comics and improving them. (George is a different matter, he shows interest in finding ways to improve, so I don't really mind answering him when he asks me about something.)

    My ranting over here is really to set the expectations right to people who ask me for reviews so they know what to expect.

    Personally I now find nothing to be shocked or upset about when someone attacks you personally for a comment you made. I think Margaret Thatcher said it best with the following quotes:

    "I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left."

    The same also applies when they ignore the message, or attempt to dismiss it because it wasn't presented politely/kindly/nicely enough for their tastes. If they have to resort to such weak reasoning... it means they've already lost and can't find a way to rebut my points that holds any water.

    "I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job."

    The people I like most are the ones who have the guts to challenge me on the things I say and write. Not to be confused with the ones who flatly tell me I'm wrong without any substance to back it up.

    That's because if I get proven wrong, that other person would have then won me over and gotten me to take up their point of view, and THEN I'd learn something new.

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  3. I took a look at this even though I knew I wouldn't like it.

    My biggest problem is that I don't like the characters. They're mean, irresponsible, and they laugh about it. That carries over to their facial expressions. They seem expressive enough, but they're conflicting with me too much to enjoy it. The jokes that he does use don't seem to build on each other, but I couldn't bring myself to read very much.

    He puts strips from the same story in groups. This works out really well for reading through the archives.

    The background fill is now blue, which makes the text readable. I still prefer white on black or some of the other variants, but this won't drive people away immediately.

    The ads are now shifted out of the way of the comic and you have to scroll down to see them. They seem to be webcomic related and appropriate. I would actually move them above a lot of the text on the side so that more people see them.

    He seems to have two menus, the top line as well as the text on the bottom right. This is confusing, I think. Especially because the light blue fill has low contrast with the dark blue text.

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  4. As you'd remember, William G found out (on many occasions) that criticizing a webcomic would usually bring down upon his head the wrath of said webcomic's fans. I think the logic is that if you criticize something they like they feel you are criticizing their personal judgement for liking it in the first place. That applies across the board to anything I suppose. I remember when I was about 14 years old a TV reviewer criticized a somewhat flamboyant new weatherman who I, as naive 14 year old, thought was really funny. Well, didn't I see red over that!! I fired off a ranty hiss-fit letter of rebuke which was then published in the TV mag... and made fun of by the reviewer!

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  5. In all fairness, while you did give the comic some very helpful advice, and he did "ask for it" so to speak, the review was still quite harsh, in my opinion. I'm glad that you essentially admitted here you had a preconceived notion before you even read the comic to review it and, you're right, sometimes first impressions can be lasting impressions.

    Also, in his defense, he didn't post the article on his blog to spark controversy or spew hatred at you and your review. He took it better than most I've seen get reviewed like that. As far as his fans who posted in the comments, fans will be fans. Don't let that influence how you perceive him or his comic. That's just not really fair.

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  6. @Bob: Cheers for commenting on that. Yes, I've already stated a few times before (and in the review itself) I came in with a preconceived notion, but that was what I actually intended to demonstrate. I make no pretense of trying to be just and fair. What I'm aiming for is what the common reader will be like, and like you've mentioned, first impressions last longest.

    I agree that the review was harsh by my standards as well, (in fact if you check back on most of my other reviews, they are mostly kindly). In this case however, I chose to be harsh on purpose, because based on the self-praising and unstantiated "America's Funniest Comic Character" tagline, I thought the shock value would be needed to "wake" the creator up from that reverie.

    This decision is based on another experience I had, where I met someone with a somewhat similar personality to George who was very pleasant, would constantly ask me for advice and seemed willing to accept it. I'd tell them very nicely and sweetly what was good, what was wrong, how it could be improved; they'd nod their head and agree... then go away, happily brag about what I said was good and ignore the advice and NOT ACT ON IMPROVING IT. AT ALL. It might have been water sliding off a ducks back for all the good it did.

    The galling part was that they then came back to me later and asked for another critique again. And another. This went on for almost 2 years without change (you can't say I'm not patient) and eventually I realised that despite them saying they were listening, they weren't. So I fired off a harsh no-holds-barred tear apart like I did with Addanac City when they asked me again. And THEN the message finally sunk in and we actually saw improvement after 2 years of churning out comics that had no development at all.

    Nowadays I have less free time than I used to, so I cut out the 2 years of kindly advisories and head straight for the jugular if I think I see a similar personality type. Sometimes I can be wrong, but you never know whether the decision you've made is the right one until after you've made it. You can only do your best based on the information you have on hand at that time.

    Also no need to rush to George's defense, I've not attacked him personally at all, nor do I intend to. As I have mentioned multiple times before (maybe I should put it in caps) Yes, I quite understand the post (it's an old one from 2 months ago, reposted) and what George meant to say in it. I KNOW he's not attacking me, and to be honest the first time he posted the exact same post most of his readers got what he was trying to say. Sadly, the 2nd batch missed the point by about league or two. Oh well... *shrug*

    My only disappointment was that George didn't repost the comments from the original post as well, as there was some neat discussion in there.

    Fan will be fans, I couldn't make comics and write this blog for this long without finding that out ;) (Compared to the some Inverloch fans however, this batch are quite mild, really.)

    That's not to say those types those irritate me any less now that I know, but I'm glad to say I've never let fans influence how I see a comic or its creator. I DO judge a creator by how he/she reacts to his/her fans' actions, however :D One can't control the actions of other people, but you can take steps to correct them if you see them going off on a wrong tangent.


    @xmung: That's an interesting take on why fans tend to react badly when you criticize works that they admire. I'd never thought of it that way before, it would explain why some seem irrational, as if I'd attacked them personally.

    About your story: I think we've all been at that stage ourselves before as well. I'm pretty sure as a 14 year old I did some pretty stupid ranting as well although I can't even remember what it could have been about other than something trivial and stupid... maybe some disagreement in "shipping" combinations *shudder*. And I'm not talking about boats.

    Sometimes as adults we have moments of relapse and do it too, but I'm glad most of the time, we've learnt to exercise control. Or so I'd like to think.

    @Bryan: The contrast between the text and background colour was the main point I wanted to make in my feedback to him. I assume the website is a work-in-progress, so I have no doubt he'll shift a few things around again.

    The comic didn't 'click' with me either, but different people have different tastes, so I'm not too bothered. Like I said before, some people find Happy Tree Friends funny. I don't. And I'm fine with it that way.

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  7. I don't think George posted that blog post as an attack to you. He was talking about an experience he had with a bad review and the things that he learned from it. Most of the commenters didn't even say that anything that bad about you (there was one exception that I saw). For the most part, we were just encouraging George with the way he handled the criticism and improved because of it. It doesn't help to dwell on negative opinions of your work. But I would just encourage you not to knock George for some of the things people commented on his site. He has been nothing but a gentleman about this whole thing, and he refrained from saying anything bad about you even in his own blog. He wanted to share the experience of what it's like to get a bad review with his readers, and talk about how he's moved on from it. There's nothing wrong with that!

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  8. Hi Matt,

    I totally agree about George being a sweetheart about all this. And I'm quite well aware of what George meant to say in the post. In fact, when he first posted that same post two months ago right after the Postcard came out (the one on his blog is a repost), I was among one of the commenters posting there and offering him encouragement.

    Surprised? Now I bet that was something you didn't know ;)

    The comments were lost when he revamped the site I think. I have no idea if he kept any copies. You could always ask him directly if you don't believe me :)

    Also... This rant is not directed at George, and at no point have I attacked George. I'm sure you read the post before commenting, but you might have been mistaken as my rant is about the some of the commenters and some other review requesters I've had (Addanac is not the only negative review I've done. Some were somewhat childish about their reaction, which was why I was so impressed by George.'s maturity). It is in no way a post denouncing the creator himself. Just his some of his more irrational fans.

    In fact, if you can point out in the above post where my supposed "attacks" on George are, please do so. I'll be more than happy to issue a correction and apology. But do make sure they were directed at George, shooting the sun and shooting the moon are two different things.

    One part about your sensible post I would respectfully disagree with is the bit about dwelling over negative opinions of one's work. While I do agree that sulking over it is somewhat unproductive, I do believe in analyzing negative comments as well... mainly to see if there is any merited feedback (however nastily put) hidden in there.

    I want to improve as well, and even seemingly pointless attack posts like a few of those on the thread can tell one a lot if you know how to read between the lines (although I will agree by net standards they were quite mild, which was why I said "badmouth" was an exaggeration) . That's why posts like that delight me really. I'd rather have a negative post than praise sometimes. I get more information out of it that way.

    Anyway, thanks for writing in.

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  9. This issue reminds me very much of the readers down at Pheonix Requiem, a famous webcomic. I'm not going to rant on here, but basically a thread was made specifically on the PR forums about a negative review, and how every point of that review was wrong. The readers arguments against this bad review were pretty much 'PR is made of awesome' and 'the artist is soooo clever' haha that thread pushed me over the edge and I went on a rant. the majority of the forum posters consist of people kissing the artists arse, and the artist doesnt even say 'thankyou' for their kind, unconstructive comments. It was later said that it would be 'awkward' and 'unreasonable' to say thank you for nice comments. Is it like a culture thing? I know too many artists who dont say thank you for any comments they get, I dont get it! I totally see that as being really rude/obnoxious! Is it just an English thing to say 'thanks'? 0_0
    Anyway, enough rant from me. I read the post on the webcomics website. The artist was very reasonable and understanding, and I also liked that he was honest about how he thought hed get a great review and was blown down (as is the artist for Pheonix requiem too in response to crit) I feel the artist after your comment on how he talks about his comment made him become slightly more humble...but wow the people who left comments afterwards 0_0 You're right, they seemed to pre-assume and totally ignore the positive comments made! 0_0 Why does this happen I wonder? I see it alot everywhere, I feel like these commenters are desperately trying to please the artist! I guess I get all happy when the artist of lackadaisy replies to my comments, maybe its on the same level as that? :S
    I like it when people leave crit, it feels less empty then a nice comment. But at the same time, I do understand and appreciate positive comments too, although more so when there is reason behind them (like 'I like the fluent line work').
    PS. I strted reading YOUR comics, but I havnt finished yet. Maybe I'll give come constructive crit when I'm done too ;)

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  10. Wow. Where do I jump in here? :)

    First of all: Hello, Ping! I don't believe either one of us imagined this subject escalating like it has.

    Secondly, when my ADDANAC CITY website was in its infancy, I did not have a way to incoprorate comments nor receive any feedback from my readers except through email. It's gotten to the point in this day and age where even sending an email has become a hassle for some folks.

    I also did not have room on the site to expound about certain things or give a "director's commentary" about how specific strips came to be. I created a blog on Wordpress so I could stay more in touch with my readers. I met a few good folks and I received some positive feedback. But out of the hundreds of visitors who came to the comic site each day, only a few read the blog.

    When I built my new site, I was excited to discover that I could combine the blog AND the comic. I went back to see which of my old blogs could be of interest to and help fledgling webcomickers and wannabe cartoonists. The one thing I believe in is sharing what I have learned with others who are receptive to it.

    I chose the Getting Reviewed blog because it was one of the most honest testimonies I had written. I didn't include Ping's review of me so I could have everyone rally around me and tell me how terrible she was. I included it for balance. It would have been great for my ego(immense as it is,lol) to just talk about the reviews where I triumphed or skated thru, but that wasn't the case. I wanted to show both sides of the coin. I felt newbie cartoonists needed to be shown that they should be openminded and always aware that their mother may be the only person who loves them unconditionally. I wanted to be a positive example of how to handle a non-flattering review and prepare them for when it happens.

    I'm quite sure you're not the only one who doesn't like Addanac City, Ping. I can live with that. When I requested that you take another gander at my revamped site, it wasn't with the thoughts of "Hey, I'm gonna win her over this time!". No. I knew you still wouldn't like the comic itself, I just wanted you to see that the site was progressing and that changes were being made. I think you got that. Thanks for the added feedback, additional changes may come in the future.

    When I started AC, all I wanted was a website where I could place a comic strip and switch it without having anyone else help me do so. I am not html-savvy. My initial site was rather crude. The navigation was nonexistent, my archives left much to be desired, and I dealt mainly in Photobucket. I worked with what I had. I was that broke kid who showed up at the prom with his grandfather's suit on. But I was there. And I got a dance or two.

    Now I've got the requisite worldwide-accepted ComicPress site. I'm pleased with it for the most part.

    I'm glad to know that I have quite a few supporters. I don't think they were attacking Ping so much as defending me more (I'm the nice guy in real life too who gets cut off in traffic and never blows the horn).

    The folks who visit Addanac City and leave comments there LOVE the series as a whole. Some strips work, some don't. But ambivalence doesn't create comments. You either gotta love it or hate it. I post all the comments I receive (except for that stoopid spam). Yes, my friends rallied to my defense, but isn't that what friends are for? I have a few myself for whom I'd topple mountains for. We're all in this little clique of people who draw funny pictures day in and day out basically for free. When we feel that one of us gets jumped on, we're all in the mix. Neither side looks for the reasoning behind it.

    All in all, Ping, while we may never be bosom buddies, I believe you and I have developed a grudging mutual respect for one another. You see where I'm coming from and I see where you're coming from. Our respective readers are just adamant about what what we do and who we are. It's good that our creations can evoke that much passion in people. That's why we do it.

    Thanks to all parties involved in this matter, positive or negative! Y'all have a great day. Ping, if this comment sees the light of day, much obliged for letting me respond to the controversy.

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  11. Hey George!

    To be honest, I really didn't see this blowing up like this two months later either. *chuckle*

    Don't worry, I know exactly what you meant in that blog post, and it is an admirably honest account that you posted for the right reasons.

    Our opinions do differ in a lot of things, but we both also share the same passion for creative work and the drive for knowledge on how to improve it. So naturally we'd have respect for each other even if like you say... we're not exactly BFF. ;) But then again, because of that, we can talk about things and we can happily debate each other's points of view without having to worry about politics or decorum or offending each other.

    People who know me know I'm not the comforting type of "friend" who (to paraphrase the song "Drops of Jupiter") sticks up for a person even if I know they're wrong. Rather I'm the type who would probably be the first to point out they were wrong even if it costs the friendship doing so. But at the same time, if I see said friend doing something I am sure is a big mistake, I'd intervene and offer to help. To me, that's a what friends are for.

    So yeah, I'm more of a litmus-test kind of person. While I'm not to be depended upon to cheer people up all the time (heh), I can be depended upon to tell you what I really think without any strings attached.

    But when I DO say something is good, you'll know it's because I really DO think it's good, and not because I'm afraid of hurting people's feelings or losing one's friendship by saying it.

    Anyways, I'm glad you stopped by, George. It's been an awesomely interesting discussion. Have a great time discovering the wonder of webcomics, don't be shy about letting us know if you need feedback on changes again.


    As for my comments policy: I allow all comments except for spam (DIE SPAMMERS) or those that cross the lines of decency (usually ones that viciously attack by race, religion or gender). Anything else is welcome. Newer posts get through instantly, but older ones (more than 2 weeks) are moderated (due to spambotting. Grr!)

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  12. Hey theorah!

    Isn't Phoenix Requiem done by the same person who does Inverloch? Because if it is I believe I actually had a run-in with that particular fan-dom years ago.

    I posted a Hotspot a few years ago on a rather glaring plot-hole in Inverloch which apparently incurred the wrath of the fanbase as well. It wasn't even half as harsh as the Addanac City review too. I should go hunt it out from the archives somewhere.

    Thanks for taking the time to check my work out, I'd be overjoyed to have any criticism and feedback. Persoally... I'm my own harshest critic, but criticism from a different point of view would be great.

    Cheers!

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  13. Oh my, can't say much about this topic because I haven't got the time to read so many different comics, but this is one of your longest rant and most commented post ever, Ping... and it has got no pictures break up the words even if it will make it longer (yes, I am shallow). Yet, am intrigued by how people react by criticism in general. My own experience dictates that take every crit in good stride, and change accordingly for some perspective. But when it comes to the end-product, you gotta sometime stick to your own (unique?) guns, but after seeing the change. I'm sure that translates in webcomic terms too.

    Anyhow, my biggest question is: why a 14 year old? That is something that I can't get how it comes about. It does my head in not knowing the origin of this thought process! :D

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  14. Now that you mention it... Wow. That IS a really long post and an even longer comment thread.

    The 14-year old thing is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the commenter who accused me of behaving and reviewing like a mean 14-year old. It amused me so much I used it for the title.

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  15. That's not what I meant, Ping. I know that the commenter used the 14-year old thing, but still I don't know why 14 year old was chosen of all the teenage-hormonal years.

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  16. I know this is a month old topic, but I just re-found your blog and decided to poke around your archives. As you could imagine, it grabbed my attention.

    Anyway, in my long, lonely career as a "webcomics community" pariah, I studied the wide world of comics quite intently in order to understand the minds and actions of comics creators and their fans. Minds that I found, quite honestly, alien. Minds that I could not understand and as a result, they angered me. Angered me because I felt that as a comic geek myself, there shouldn't be such a perceptual gap.

    And after studying what seemed like an endless stream of rampages over things that ranged from a negative review to the ending of Spider-Man's marriage, I came upon the answer to my question of why things are the way they are:

    Everyone involved in comics, from creator to fan, are madder than hatters.

    This realization has made me more forgiving, more understanding, and less likely to get my underwear in a bunch over actions I find unbeliveble. And instead of crying myself to sleep at night over the words found online, I just smile wryly, shake my head, and hope some day scientists find a cure.

    Keep on, keeping on, Ping

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  17. Well remember that "fan" comes from the work "fanatic". I think it's pretty self-explanatory that a small but vocal portion of them aren't going to be the most rational of people ;)

    But in the end I've come to realize in ANY kind of "community" there will always be people who don't act the same way you think people from that community should.

    And honestly, it would be a bit creepy if there weren't...

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  18. This is an interesting rant. I have written more than a few comic book reviews, and over the last year I've focused on independent books. When you open your blog up and begin to review indy books, you become immediately weighed down with a mass of truly crappy comics. I'm to the point now where I only read and review the ones that really stand out in the crowd. I would love to give them all a chance, but I don't have that kind of time. You are absolutely correct, first impressions are everything in this business and until creators accept that cold hard fact, they will never be successful.

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