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Eric: On the other hand, I drank the kool-aid. I DRANK THE KOOL-AID!

There's drama in webcomics again, for those who aren't paying attention. This time, it seems to be twofold -- in one direction coming from William G's recent review of Penny Arcade and PvP (and most recently a Something Positive review), and on the other side there's drama at the Daily Grind.

My thinking, for the most part, is to give the latter a bye. Maybe Weds wants to get into it, but I'm backing away slowly. I'm kind of the opinion that if the contest stresses you at all, drop out of it. Either these things are entirely for fun or they're not.

Note I am studiously not saying either side in the debate is right or wrong. If this makes me a wuss, I revel in it. I just don't see why anyone would do this if it makes them all riled up.

On the William G essays... I'm similarly of little opinion. Well, that's not true. I have an opinion about PvP, Something Positive and Penny Arcade (which you can tell by the fact that... well, I talk about them a lot). So does William G. They don't match up, entirely. There are points we disagree on.

This is what we call "the critical dialogue," and it's actually a very good thing. Different critics bring different tools, views and opinions to the table, and do different things with them. Our disagreements form the cosm of the discussion, and the discussion -- in the end -- allows for the improvement of the art form as a whole. That is, in fact, the point. No one should ever expect critics or reviewers or anyone else to always agree with them.

I have to make note of one thing in William G's review of Penny-Arcade and PvP, though, because I think A) it's interpretable many ways and B) I think the discussion might be a worthy one. To whit:

Basically, they're cult works much in the same manner as Rocky Horror Picture Show, or Star Trek, or WWE Raw. If you like this sort of stuff, then you're already part of the cult, so nothing I just wrote means anything to you.

It's easy to typify Rocky Horror or Star Trek or WWE Raw as cults. An extremely small portion of the moviegoing public is into Rocky. The television watching public has very small portions that are seriously into Star Trek or wrestling. Even when those latter two were at their most mainstream, they weren't mainstream.

However, if the medium is "webcomics," we can't possibly refer to Penny Arcade or PvP as cult comics. Not in terms of the medium.

I assume that William G. actually meant that there is a cultish dimension to Gamers, and that may be. (Or may not be -- again, it's its own medium. If we group all of entertainment and leisure time activities into one large morass, then fans of any segment of it are essentially cultists. If gaming or webcomics are media unto themselves, then they form mainstreams and fringe within those media.) However, I have to approach these as webcomics, and consider them from the point of view of that medium and that audience.

And by those lights, both strips not only are mainstream, they define the mainstream.

Last week, Mike Krahulik claimed they got 518,650 unique IPs in one day on a typical Monday. Not hits. Unique IPs. Which means that that's not even counting (say) all the AOL users who happen to be behind a specific IP number via NAT or the like, or people who read it via scraping, or via RSS type stuff. That's not "you get two hits per visitor," either, because those are specifically the visitors. I believe him, too, because when they recently linked me, my own UIPs jumped over two hundred thousand for the day. (Please note, my UIPs are normally "less" than that, much like walking to the store is "less" swift than taking a Porsche with no speed limit.) You can say what you like -- you can't claim they're "fringe."

It's the same with Scott Kurtz -- especially since Kurtz's comic is essentially mainstream in tone. Yes, there are geek references and game references and Mac references and the like. That is the Internet mainstream. However, PvP is essentially a workplace humor strip. It isn't even a wish fulfillment workplace humor strip. The PvP crew isn't building mad scientist inventions and struggling to keep Miranda's future self from taking over the world. They boil down energy drinks and espresso to make dangerously highly caffeinated drinks and can't quite manage to pay their bills on their current readership.

If we're going to critically analyze the medium, we have to understand where the signposts are. We have to understand the community and the audience. And most of all, we have to understand that when we're on the web, the geeks aren't the minority. Half a million readers isn't 'cult' anything. Hell, to my knowledge, that's more than the readership for almost any 'mainstream' comic book. (I'd say any comic these days, but I don't know the current X-numbers, and I'd rather be cautious than wrong on this.) If we want to progress the art form as a whole, we have to recognize where the art form is.

I'm not debating William G's opinion, like I said before. It's his, I think it was considered and I think it was honest, and that's all I ask from a critic -- and exactly what I think all of you expect from me, on my end. But we need to make certain our opinions don't overshadow the fact of what we're criticizing, lest our critiques seem out of touch and therefore dismissible.

Because no one gets any benefit from a dismissed review.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at April 5, 2005 11:59 AM

Comments

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at April 5, 2005 1:16 PM

I wash down my other webcomics with this Kool-Aid every day.

Comment from: alschroeder posted at April 5, 2005 1:26 PM

I play no games on my computer, xbox, what-have-you. I like a computer because basically it's a typewriter on steroids, or a drawing pad, or whatever---but I'm not big into games. Sorry.

Nevertheless _I_ read both Penny Arcade and PVP. PVP is no problem to decipher at all. Penny Arcade sometimes loses me with the more obscure gaming references, but it's still funny.

I also follow MacHall and for that matter, Applegeeks (even though I'm a PC-user), without much problem.---Al

Comment from: Reave posted at April 5, 2005 1:43 PM

My biggest problem with his review isn't the review itself, but his position that the only reason PvP and Penny-Arcade are popular is because they are "popular." Sort of a boot-strap theorem. He maintains that they are "underwhelming" comics that only have popularity due to their, well... popularity. It's a fairly circular argument. His claim revolves around the same idea that is put upon pop idols, summer blockbuster movies, and the like. In a sense, he's using the "people only think this is good because so many people like it" defense. From a logical fallacy standpoint, his entire review is either "False Cause" or "Ad Hominem."

... Sorry for that last bit, but I've been reading through a few books on philosophy and ethics lately.

Anyhoo, back on track. So I live in North Carolina. In North Carolina, we have this thing called NASCAR. Now, I'm not *FROM* NC, I just went to school here and stayed to work. I never got in to NASCAR. I don't *get* it, per se. To me, it's a bunch of advertising banners whipping around an oval for 3 hours. I don't get it. I think it is, in fact, boring.

But a few million people disagree with me. And when I say "few" I mean "a lot more than a few." They love it, live it, and dedicate a generous amount of money to it per year. To them, it's as exciting as any other sporting event. Therefore, to the fans, it isn't boring.

So, how do we decide if it's boring or not? Do we take my opinion, or the opinion of the fans? According to Mr. G's logic, the fans are CLEARLY only perpetuating the excitement value of the event. Clearly, there is no way NASCAR is exciting - people like it, after all.

Yeah, I know, not quite the same - but it sure seems that way. It's the same as listening to fans of Indy bands. Or better yet, listening to OLD fans of Indy bands that "made" it, and their discussions that involve the term "sellout."

He's entitled to his opinion, and he's welcomed to have whatever opinion he feels like creating. However, his opinion seems to be based more on logical fallacy than objective fact.

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at April 5, 2005 2:03 PM

*Stands up and applause Reave*

He said it better than I ever could.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at April 5, 2005 2:03 PM

Reave: In other words, he's saying PA is the Paris Hilton of webcomics? :)

Comment from: Shaenon posted at April 5, 2005 2:10 PM

I'm sure more people watch pro wrestling than read Penny Arcade. A big "cult" is still a cult. The question is whether PvP and PA offer substantial entertainment to someone who isn't part of the gaming community, in the way that, say, "Star Wars" can entertain someone who isn't part of the sci-fi community.

William G thinks that they don't, that the humor is too grounded in gaming/geek references to appeal to people who don't have those interests. Other people think otherwise. Of course, a lot of those people are gaming geeks.

I tend to agree with William that, of the two strips, PvP has more mainstream appeal; it's as much a workplace/character strip as it is a geek-humor strip (and much of the geek humor is about something other than gaming, anyway), whereas PA is pretty solidly focused on Gabe and Tycho and their opinions on gaming-geek culture. But whatever. Both strips have more readers than almost any other comics (not just webcomics--comics), so who's to say they need to broaden their appeal?

Comment from: Colin L. Burke posted at April 5, 2005 2:11 PM

It seems like everyone's opinion of PVP and PA is that if they had gotten into the webcomic game now, they wouldn't be as popular as they are now. While I admit that their timing was impeccable for debuting their comics, I think they'd still probably make it in the business. Would it be immediate? Of course not. They'd still have to go through all the hoops everyone else has to in order to be noticed. But I think the reason they're so popular is because they really are well written comics, especially in terms of relating to their audience. PA is especially in this area, because let's face it, their primary audience is gamers and even game manufacturers. They're like the editorial cartoon of the video game industry sometimes.

PVP is much more skilled in a broader scope of humor. Not only is it geek-based, but it's also character-driven. I could honestly see this comic making it in the newspapers, because even though there are strips focused on gaming or comics or whatnot, there are plenty more dealing with the characters and their interactions and relationships. Anyone can get into a comic as long as it has strong characters. That's what PVP has, and that's what makes it as popular as it is.

As a side note, and this is just my opinion, but just reading a month's worth of a comic for every year it's out doesn't do it justice. That's eleven other months every year of other comics that could really hit the laugh button in a person. If you're going to do a full review, you need to know the source material completely. Cliff notes don't count.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 2:17 PM

To sumamrize his comments:

a) the art was all right, even though he "heard" that they save and re-use pieces of the art, in which case if true it sucks, but he'll give them the benefit of the doubt

b) he didn't think they were all that funny.

To summarize my reaction:

a) means nothing to me personally. Heh.

b) I simply flat-out disagree with -- but hey, no-one ever claimed we had to find the same things funny. People disagree. I also flat-out disagree with Eric's assessment of GPF, but I do find I enjoy reading his articles.

However, as Eric touched on, the article has an implied c) which serves to *dissmiss* anyone who might disagree with him, and this I *do* take exception to. He implies that anyone who disagrees with him does not disagree with him because of an honest difference in preferences, but because they are "true believers" of one (or both) of the strips.

It's impossible to have a dialog about disagreements in quality and style when the other guy is claiming that you're caught up in a cult of personality. So... he thinks what he thinks, but I don't see any particular reason why I, or anyone else for that matter, should really care.

Comment from: William_G posted at April 5, 2005 2:20 PM

I dont want to be a bastard about this Reave, since I'm rather tired of having been a bastard all day to to so many people who've gone well out of their way to earn it.

But lets go and look at what an Ad Hominem attack is:

http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/attack.htm

According to this, my review is lacking the vital "Attacking the person" requirement. Who was I slamming now? A wacom tablet isnt a person.

As for the false cause, which one do you mean?

http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/causal.htm

Because as far as I can tell, none of them fit the bill, and you're making up an entirely different review in your head.

But none of this matters. When it comes right down to it, all I did was state an opinion based on my personal judgement of what I think a good comic is. They didn't measure up to that standard. And that's all the justification I need for what i wrote.

Some people can't seem to accept that, Kurtz certainly couldn't. And if he didn't feel a need to throw some weight around to show me who was wearing the pants in the webcomics world, this non-drama would never have existed.

I mean hell, given the way some are responding to it, you'd think that I raped their grandmums.

That so many people have gotten so venomous, and highly personal over it.. well Christ people, and Kurtz especially, I don't like saying this since I'm a dork myself, but you need to get a frigging life if you're going to declare war on someone because of a negative review.

All in all, just more reasons to look at the webcomics world like it's a highschool.

Pathetic.

Comment from: Phy posted at April 5, 2005 2:24 PM

William G, as a "critic", is underwhelming. His primary justification seems to be "meh".

Sorry. I expect a little more than that.

You know who's a critic? Eric is a critic. He's a fan. He's a critical fan (run for your lives!).

These strips are behemoths because they have won their territory the hard way, through trailblazing and through cleverness and through sheer persistance.

Both are kind of brilliant in their own way and show that you can do "gaming webcomics" and come out radically different, that you can cover the same basic genre and still be smart and funny and relevant.

William G's opinion is just that, but this is far from what I would expect from a typical critical review.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 2:27 PM

Of *course* webcomics is high school. *Everything* is high school...

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at April 5, 2005 2:30 PM

The critique failed me when it decided to look at PvP mostly as a gamer strip. To be honest, I don't think I would have kept with it if Kurtz made a gamer strip. I wouldn't even call it a workplace strip (I've gone month-long stretches wondering if they ever put out a magazine - hey, maybe that's why PVP the Magazine is on hard financial times). It's a strip about a circle of friends, it just so happens that they're video gamers who work in the same place.

I've sat and wondered if John Kovalic (to use an example) decided to suddenly have the Dork Tower crew work for a small RPG/gaming company together, if it would seriously alter the tone of the comic. To be honest, I don't think so at all. It would add some work-related story arcs, but overall I think Dork Tower would still be a geek-oriented circle of friends comic.

(Just as a side note, I almost used the phrase "Social Circle Strip," until I realized how wrong that might sound out of context.)

I think, for better or for worse, that people constantly misinterpret PvP just because they want to look at the strip as something it's not. Part of that might be due to how Kurtz presents it, though.

As for the little snit over the Daily Grind... the creators painted themselves into a corner and as one of them said, they got themselves into a lose/lose situation. Of course, part of that was evident right off with their "No excuses" rule and how it was written - you're going to cause hurt feelings with anything worded that strongly, either by applying it or not applying it.

Of course, drama was inevitable. Webcomic artists have earned a reputation for being highly sensitive about their work and easy to get into a catty situation. Making a competition surrounding webcomics was inevitably going to cause the friendly conflict to become less so.

Of course, on the topic of Kurtz's famed "tantrums," I think he consistently underestimates how people will take his statements. He, much like myself really, miscalculates how strongly some people will take an action.

Here's a personal example, that shows to me how Scott Kurtz really is. Way back in 2001, he publically solicited Japanese speakers for assistance with the fourth PvP comic (back in the Dork Storm days). I speak some Japanese, and I'm not merely one to meekly email someone in that instance. I actually tracked down his phone number and gave him a call. (I'm not going to tell you how; I think he'd appreciate not getting calls at all hours of the day.)

Now, put yourself in Kurtz's shoes for just a moment. Some complete stranger comes cold-calling you at home, trying to pitch themselves to help with your comic (when he already selected someone else to assist). You could justify any kind of rant about that. But he was a real nice guy about it - he thanked me for my interest, told me he already had someone, and hoped I would continue enjoying the comic. And to my knowledge he's never discussed the incident on the site or his forums at all.

That doesn't sound like the Scott Kurtz most people complain about. I suspect that if more people dealt with Scott in real life, they'd be much more forgiving of him when he shoots his mouth off on the net, and we'd have many fewer controversies.

Of course, what would be the fun in that?

Comment from: William_G posted at April 5, 2005 2:35 PM

Here Phy, I'll pass this along to you again since you see to have missed it the first time:

http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/attack.htm

Dont waste it all in one place.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 5, 2005 2:35 PM

From Phy:

William G, as a "critic", is underwhelming. His primary justification seems to be "meh".

Sorry. I expect a little more than that.

You know who's a critic? Eric is a critic. He's a fan. He's a critical fan (run for your lives!).

I think I need to jump in here.

I disagree with your assessment of William G. William G. is a critic. He and I proceed from different assumptions and along different methods, but mine is in no way superior to his (or vice versa). We're operating in different critical traditions and we're criticizing and critiquing and reviewing in different values. That doesn't make mine right or better -- just different.

I'm glad to see William G. in this. I honestly am. If I disagree with some of the points of a review of his -- or all of them, or its thesis, for that matter -- I'm still getting the benefit of a different critical perspective and that's a very good thing. If he one day reviews Gossamer Commons, I'll do my level best to learn from his review whether I agree with it or not.

A lot of the comments have been more opinions on his review than on the thesis of my snark. (Shaenon jumps out as an exception). That's perfectly fine -- I don't think anyone disagrees with that. However, I want to reiterate I'm not looking to bash William G.'s review. I found the question of what a "cult" is in these terms interesting, and interesting == "stuff I want to write about on Websnark," most days of the week.

And if you think about it, William G's review got me thinking and then engaging. And isn't that the sign of a successful critical essay?

Comment from: William_G posted at April 5, 2005 2:54 PM

Thanks Eric, I appreciate that.

But I'm going to bow out of this since I've come to realize that the only thing people want to read from me is, "I'm wrong, you're all right, they're great comics and I was crazy for even assuming otherwise."

Which no one is going to get.

I will admit that the first review is boot ugly, and Hyung Kim pointed out that I wasn't laying down my opinions solidly enough. I think I got a better handle on what I'm trying to do with the S*P review, which Milholland seemed to have had no problems with.

But people seem to be determined to make the entire thing into a personal issue simply because I did not like the webcomic they did. If people want to know exactly what ad hominem attacks look like, they should have seen the comments pages before I locked it away.

And it was was sad, because the people who did give valuable contributions to the discussion got drowned out but they people who just wanted to hurl abuse. And people were providing some really good comments.

If you want to talk cult mentality: Kurtz issued a personal attack. Most of the people sending me their oh-so-delightful thoughts parrotted him like they were chanting a mantra. They didn't provide anything new, they didnt bring anything of their own. They did what he wanted them to go do, without thinking about it.

Simply disgusting.

Comment from: William_G posted at April 5, 2005 2:58 PM

And Shaenon is the smartest person in all of webcomics, and everyone should be bowing before her when she speaks.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 3:02 PM

This is my second try posting this...

Eric, I will play Devil's Advocate to your assertion that PvP and Penny Arcade are not "cultish" by nature of their extreme popularity.

One could argue that the web favors "cultish" or "identity-oriented" web sites over more general-interest websites, and that it's precisely *because* PvP and PA are "cultish" that they have larger audiences.

A good example for this is Slashdot. Slashdot is targeted at a very specific audience -- Linux users. This is a much smaller group of people, demographically speaking, than people who use Windows... but the site is so heavily trafficed that there's a term for when Slashdot links to another site and brings it down because of the mass influx of Slashdot readers clicking on the link and overloading the servers: "the Slashdot Effect."

The web is a good thing for small and diffuse demographics, because the diffusion doesn't matter. It's one of the reasons there are a fair number of indie musicians who are interested in the web: if you have 50 fans of your band in each state who are willing to fork over $8 for a new CD, that's $20,000 -- without the expense of travelling to each state to track each of these fans down.

So, for the purpose of this argument, I will propose that smaller demographics -- ones that could be labeled "cultish" if you were feeling, er, snarky, are disproportionately more successful on the web because the web handles them more efficiently than the outside world.

Comment from: Colin L. Burke posted at April 5, 2005 3:02 PM

Crud, completely forgot to mention this: webcomics as a whole are a cult following. Regardless of how popular they are, there's still a huge amount of the world's population that doesn't even know such a thing exists specifically for the web. I meet people everyday who give me a blank stare when I mention a "webcomic."

Comment from: Reave posted at April 5, 2005 3:03 PM

Honestly William, I think you're a dick.

Also, my friendly Troll #2 in the lab agrees that it caters to a subculture, but that doesn't make it "underwhelming" from any standpoint. He read over your review, and then your comments here, and he also thinks you're a dick.

So, we both agree you're just a dick. I mean, come on - you're hear calling us pathetic for no reason at all. We didn't attack you personally, but you felt the need to toss down the gauntlet of hate. Of course, you can argue that you're just catering to a subculture, and that only your subculture matters.

But all in all, you're reviewing old established webcomics for no other reason than to complain. I mean, that's like reviewing old popular movies from 1995 and pointing why "they weren't so great." Why don't you do something more interesting and review - and this is just a suggestion - NEW webcomics. You know, stuff people aren't aware of yet. Stuff that people haven't formed opinions on yet. Stuff that you don't have to worry about a large portion of the fanbase becoming angry at you for trying to lay out the same crap that has been said since their inception. I mean - come on. If you're going to attack established comics, at LEAST choose to attack something that someone else hasn't already gone over a hundred THOUSAND times before.

Yeesh, what a grouch.

Comment from: Brandon E. posted at April 5, 2005 3:11 PM

I thought your (William G.) review was interesting, and like most didn't agree on a lot of points.

What I have noticed on your rebuttals to criticism is that you seem unable to take it.

I know some of the people commenting on your blog were being dicks and attacking you instead of attacking your argument, but you also seem to be fairly hostile to some who legitimately criticize your critique. I think you need to realize that if you are going to put anything up in the public domain, you are going to need to learn to deal with criticism.

You said...

"But none of this matters. When it comes right down to it, all I did was state an opinion based on my personal judgement of what I think a good comic is. They didn't measure up to that standard. And that's all the justification I need for what i wrote."

All he did was write an opinion on your argument, he has as much of a right to do that as you do to criticize a webcomic.

I think Reeve's first paragraph was valid, although he has some incorrect terminology. Although I understand where you are coming from and I think it isn't quite as circular and logicless as Reeve's paragraph implies.

Correct me if I'm wrong but what I think you (William G. still) was saying was that PVP and Penny Arcade are popular because they were one of the first successes, and their success led to more viewers. Because their viewing audience got so large, others were attracted to read it, so their popularity ensured they remained popular. I think this is true to some degree although I think the strips are far better then you give them credit for but that is based purely on personal sense of humor, and no one can fault you for not having the same sense as others.

apologies for spelling.

ADDED ON AFTER SEEING REEVE'S LATEST POST.

Actually, with this post you (now Reeve) are resorting to personal attack. And it seems a pretty silly argument to say that someone isn't supposed to share their opinion when they are a critic and that is precisely their goal.

I think the reason William chose to write a critique of these comics is precisely because few really do because they are established. I think he was perfectly in his rights to do so even if, once again, I don't necessarily agree.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at April 5, 2005 3:12 PM

I get the feeling that William G just likes to hear himself speak. Or in this case, see himself's posts.

Or something. Yeah. : )

Sure it's just an opinion, but why go defending it everywhere. The best critics are those who can say something and let their review speak for them-- the minute you start defending yourself... you lose.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 5, 2005 3:17 PM

Honestly William, I think you're a--

And that's a technical foul! Over to the free throw line, everyone else back to center court.

Honestly, gang. No personal snipes. That's all I ask.

Comment from: Montykins posted at April 5, 2005 3:18 PM

"I mean, that's like reviewing old popular movies from 1995 and pointing why "they weren't so great.""

Oh, don't get me started on Forrest Gump.

Comment from: Reave posted at April 5, 2005 3:18 PM

Oh, I'll come out and say that I am personally attacking. Me. Attacking. Him. Personally.

That's my goal, you see. After his last post - which I personally took as an attack, I should add - I though he wanted to open up the comments to a full-on war. After all, this is high-school, right G? If he's going to treat me like a pointless troll, I'm going to act like one.

Also, G, honestly, between you and me - look up False Case, Post Hoc, and compare it to what you said, and then come back and tell me that it 'doesn't fit at all.'

Or you can come back and continue your attacks! =D

I won't vehemently defend PvP or PA - Kurtz is a dick 60% of the time, and Gabe's like a crazy wombat. I find some of the comics to be hit-or-miss. I'm a fan, yes, but I won't throw myself out in front to stop a bullet.

But I will step up and point out problems with reviews. And I will *DEFINATELY* step up to personal attacks.

Bring it, bi-yotch!

Comment from: jjacques posted at April 5, 2005 3:18 PM

Opinions are like assholes: everyone has one, and if you post yours on the Internet you may end up regretting it later.

Comment from: Reave posted at April 5, 2005 3:21 PM

Eric,

Hey now, you didn't call him on his "Pathetic" statement! Unfair call ref! I was behind the line! The umpire needs some glasses!

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 5, 2005 3:22 PM

From M. Wright:

Eric, I will play Devil's Advocate to your assertion that PvP and Penny Arcade are not "cultish" by nature of their extreme popularity.

One could argue that the web favors "cultish" or "identity-oriented" web sites over more general-interest websites, and that it's precisely *because* PvP and PA are "cultish" that they have larger audiences.

That's a good rebuttal, actually. The question then is, would we consider Penny Arcade's audience as somehow tangential to Webcomics, or vested within.

(PvP's audience I think it pretty general purpose webcomics, so I think that's not as sharp an example.)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 5, 2005 3:25 PM

Hey now, you didn't call him on his "Pathetic" statement!

I read that as general instead of specific, but I'm willing to blow whistle on that too, because... well, dude. It's not exactly helping debate, is it?

So okay there. Both sides. Back away from the personal. There's plenty of meat in the discussion without it.

(Reave -- the "bring it" comment draws a warning, on the theory that you probably wrote it before you saw the technical foul. Man, is this a convoluted sports metaphor or what?)

Comment from: Tangent posted at April 5, 2005 3:26 PM

I actually disagree with Reave on this point: popular webcomics become more popular /because/ they are popular. They grow faster and gain more popularity and part of this is because they are popular.

However, it is /not/ because people are jumping on the bandwagon.

It is because people tell their friends about the webcomic and hope they start reading. If one of them does and then enjoys it, that person tells THEIR friends (we don't all exist in a single "circle of friends", instead we have a few friends in common and then others outside the scope of the first person - sort of multiple interlocking circles of friends depending on the person in question) and maybe one or two get interested...

This is actually how many webcomics start up. You just got a Keenspace account (because it's free) and your comic is up and has a couple strips... and you tell your friends who all read it out of a sense of "I better read it or he/she will be moping about it" and maybe a couple like it. They then tell some others... and you slowly start getting more and more pageviews. You start with 2-3, then you're up to 10, and then inching toward 20... and then after a certain point it starts climbing faster and faster.

Of course, part of this is thanks to the IRC. On Nightstar in the #crfh channel, we'll have a couple times a week someone showing up and just posting links to amusing moments in the newest webcomic they've started reading. And some people will click on that as well.

And of course we now have Websnark, which has hooked me on Todd and Penguin, Questionable Content, and Schlock Mercenary (to name a few)...

Still, the primary means of gaining new readers is "word of mouth" (or keyboard as the case may be). The more popular the comic, the more readers who are likely to try and get their friends into reading it, and thus we end up with a period of exponential growth, until finally it evens out as new readers tell their friends, only to find out those friends are already readers. ;)

So yes, popularity does affect how easily you gain new readers... but it's not because people are jumping on the bandwagon, but because there is an increased base of people recruiting new readers.

Robert A. Howard

Comment from: Reave posted at April 5, 2005 3:29 PM

Eric,

Aye, I type slower than normal, so I didn't see your warnings until afterwards. I'll be good, but only because you asked.

*makes "I'll see you later, punk!" motions at G, behind Eric's back*

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 3:31 PM

The question then is, would we consider Penny Arcade's audience as somehow tangential to Webcomics, or vested within.

Well, I think some of its audience is. One of the reasons I like Penny Arcade is because it serves as a "political cartoon" for the Gaming industry... and it does that very, very well. I can well imagine that there are a fair number of PA fans who read that strip but don't "do webcomics" simply because the material in PA is relevant (as well as entertaining) to what is going on in the world of computer gaming.

But Webcomics (capital W) is a subculture as well (I'd rather use that phrase than "cult," since cult has some connotations I don't think apply). So if you're describing PvP as a "general purpose webcomic" it would still fall under that definition.

Comment from: Arachnid posted at April 5, 2005 3:40 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I stopped paying much attention when he started referring to 'nerd culture'. Huh? I'm pretty sure he meant to say 'geek' culture, but since 'nerd' is still considered a derogatory label to pretty much everyone that voluntarially - proudly - calls themselves geeks, I can only presume he has absolutely no respect for the target audiences of the comics he just reviewed.

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at April 5, 2005 3:50 PM

My apologies William, I wasn't dissing you, I was ignoring you. I think it's fully within my right to ignore what you're saying because what you're saying isn't valid in my world for all that it might be valid in someone else's and I just couldn't be bothered to reply.

But since you seem to have gotten your knickers in a knot.. Why did you post the review if not to get people all PO'd at you, spread word of you and get notierity? If you wanted to actually do a REVIEW not a rant and poke session you would have chosen different web comics.

To steal a Frank Zappa quote; "The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate they own" A comic that gets 500 unique visitors a day is a cult, one who gets 500,000 is not.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at April 5, 2005 3:53 PM

To be fair, Arachnid, I know quite a few people who disagree on whether either geek or nerd is an acceptable term. Those who favor "nerd" point to how their term was invented by Dr. Seuss (while "geek" comes from people who bit the heads off of animals in carnivals). Those who favor "geek" tend to find that people as a whole tend to use "nerd" in a much more derogatory fashion, and also point to "geek" as a more defiant stance.

Myself, I favor using "geek," but not everyone feels that way. Not that I agree with William G's essay as a whole, but he very well may prefer to use "nerd."

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at April 5, 2005 3:59 PM

Tangent wrote:

Still, the primary means of gaining new readers is "word of mouth" (or keyboard as the case may be). The more popular the comic, the more readers who are likely to try and get their friends into reading it, and thus we end up with a period of exponential growth, until finally it evens out as new readers tell their friends, only to find out those friends are already readers. ;)

I'll validate this. In February Arthur, King of Time and Space was nine months old and getting about x unique visitors a day where x equals a number that's nobody's business but mine. At the beginning of March when I joined the Daily Grind challenge which was linked to by PvP and Slashdot, I had a day or two of 4x unique visitors. Through most of March it troughed out at 2x. Then last week I got websnarked, and that day my unique visitors spiked at about 10x. Since then I've been running at about 3x or 4x though it's probably too soon to say. The point is, every spike in unique visitors y tends to result in a new plateau of average daily unique visitors of about y/2.

See, because William G. wasn't saying PvP and PA are popular just because they're popular. He was saying they're popular now because they were popular first. They got their spiking in when there weren't yet a million webcomics out there hunting spikes. And that's true. And he's also saying that they're not funny, but that's just his opinion.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 4:08 PM

That may be true, Paul, but back then a spike wasn't particularly large. PvP had the fortune to be Slashdotted once when Scott dissed Illiad, and that counts as a SPIKE, but back when there were fewer webcomics there were also fewer audiences. That, and longevity does not guarantee huge audiences.

Comment from: thok posted at April 5, 2005 4:14 PM

Just calling Penny Arcade a gaming comic misses part of the point. Penny Arcade has a sarcastic, angry, and mocking point of view. Much of the appeal is watching Tycho and Gabe be jerks, and watching them suffer from jerks. Certainly the tone of Penny Arcade is not cultish, even if the topic of Penny Arcade is.

As a side note, I'm sort of surprised that there aren't that many webcomics that apply Penny Arcade's tone to some other popular subjects. (The only non-video game example I can think of is Theater Hopper.) I'd imagine that a Penny Arcade style webcomic that focused on sports (or fantasy sports) would rival Penny Arcade in popularity.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at April 5, 2005 4:25 PM

I think that perhaps the biggest fallacious arguement in there is whether or not PVP or Penny Arcade would flourish in the current webcomic environment.

Do I need to even be saying this? There would be no webcomic environment without them. They didn't forsee any boom in webcomicking, they caused it.

Also, about the whole geek culture thing. Lets think for a moment here... what was the first big-ish webcomic? User Friendly, anyone? That comic goes over the heads of a good deal of the people who post here, myself included.

Webcomics began as geek culture, and while they're no longer such exclusivly, dismissing PVP and Penny Arcade for being a bunch of geeks is like dismissing Shakespeare for being too archaic

oh, and Ad hominim? spot on. just swap out "abortion is wrong" for "PVP/Penny Arcade is an excellent webcomic" and "Priest" for "geek" in the example at the bottom

Comment from: Phy posted at April 5, 2005 5:07 PM

With all due respect, I read Wm's post on Wm's blog and opined that he wasn't much of a critic. This was not an "attack", this was an observation. (I'd attacked Wm, he'd well and truly know it, but that's neither my style nor my intent).

Looking at his blog, I stand by my observation. He's written two reviews covering three strips. I'm going to go out on a limb and say what I see: "blogger". If Wm. builds up a body of work, sells some of the pieces, gains some critical praise, then I'd cheerfully change my opinion. Then. Perhaps it's a nit but just calling one-self a critic does not make them one.

This isn't a hypocritical stance. I make my living as a technical writer by day and can fairly (and accurately) describe myself as a Writer.

I write creative fiction on the side at night, but I don't consider myself an Author, and won't until I've established myself with an track record of actual sales. I trust you'll see the distinction.

My buddy

PTC has become an accomplished film critic and is able to relate the central truths of a film without necessarily liking or disliking it. His relative like or dislike for it has no bearing on the film's intrinisic worth. He may or may not add his opinion, but he can still critically identify whether a piece is good or not and separate that from whether he likes it or not. (I remember having an argument with him many moons ago when I championed _A Bug's Life_ and he observed that _Antz_ was the better film. That irritated me because I liked the former film, but after looking at the two years later, it dawned on me that he was right. _Antz_ really is the better film, and PTC was right in his justification for it being so.)

For example, PTC also has a blog. He recently wrote up his first musings on _Sin City_. He then followed that up with the sale of an actual http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/reviews/sincity.html of _Sin City_ for Christianity Today. You can see many of the same elements in the two pieces, but his review is more polished and more detailed and is crafted for the audience at the publication. I liked this paragraph from his review:

"If there is one theme that comes through in Miller's works, it is a deep distrust of authority, whether of the political or ecclesiastical kind. In one scene, the senator played by Powers Boothe█whose brother, Cardinal Roark (Rutger Hauer), is deeply implicated in Goldie's murder█says true power comes not from a gun but from getting people to play along with your big lie. ("Powers" Boothe talks about "power"? And come to think of it, Mickey "Rourke's" character ends up going after a Cardinal "Roark"? Were these actors hired for the sheer punworthiness of their names?) In Miller's world, authority of any sort is the "big lie," but once this deception has been ripped away, there is nothing to take its place but pure demonstrations of force█and, occasionally, an act of self-sacrifice."

Getting back to Eric's thesis, Wm. misidentified the strips as niche players while Eric correctly recognizes that each has successful forged what is now mainstream. A good reviewer would see that. Eric did. That's going to sting a little. Sorry.

The fact remains is that Wm aspires to be a critic and perhaps one day soon he'll develop into one. For now, this criticism gig is a work-in-process for him (imo) just as creative writing is for me. In the meantime, we're both bloggers with a hankering for something more. I contend that we both should keep working at it but not pretend to be something we aren't yet.

No harm intended, imho, ymmv, support your local sheriff.

Comment from: Shaenon posted at April 5, 2005 5:09 PM

"I think that perhaps the biggest fallacious arguement in there is whether or not PVP or Penny Arcade would flourish in the current webcomic environment.

Do I need to even be saying this? There would be no webcomic environment without them. They didn't forsee any boom in webcomicking, they caused it."

That's going a bit far. There were a fair number of webcomics before those two, and even if they hadn't come along there would still be webcomics. Personally, I got into the scene because of "Sluggy Freelance."

Comment from: Shaenon posted at April 5, 2005 5:27 PM

"Getting back to Eric's thesis, Wm. misidentified the strips as niche players while Eric correctly recognizes that each has successful forged what is now mainstream. A good reviewer would see that. Eric did. That's going to sting a little. Sorry."

I think that if you reread William's essay, you'll see that he's not saying that the strips are "niche players" in the webcomics world. He's aware that they're popular, and says so. His argument is that they're niche strips: they appeal mostly to a particular interest group. On the Web, gaming fandom is huge...but it's still a niche group.

Where William and Eric differ is on the question of whether PA and PvP have much to offer readers outside the gaming-geek community. William thinks that these strips are like, say, the WWF: huge core fanbase, but not very appealing to people outside of that fanbase. Eric thinks that they're more like, I dunno, the original "Star Wars" movies: the work has enough universal appeal to draw in a general audience on top of the hardcore fans.

I don't want to imply a value judgement here. I'm a big WWF fan myself. And, really, is it that controversial to suggest (correctly or otherwise) that a strip about gaming might be mostly of interest to gamers?

Incidentally, my hat goes off to Randy Milholland and his "yeah, not everybody loves my comic unreservedly, lots of other people do, get over it" stance. At least somebody around here's got class.

Comment from: Phy posted at April 5, 2005 5:43 PM

I don't want to imply a value judgement here. I'm a big WWF fan myself. And, really, is it that controversial to suggest (correctly or otherwise) that a strip about gaming might be mostly of interest to gamers?

I dunno. My buddy barely cares enough to know how to play Freecell. He loves PVP and won't go near PA. Personally, I love PA for Tycho's essays. He grabs me with his prose (and some might say his rhetoric) and I stay for the comic.

Incidentally, my hat goes off to Randy Milholland and his "yeah, not everybody loves my comic unreservedly, lots of other people do, get over it" stance. At least somebody around here's got class.

I'm don't know if you were thinking of Wm. when you wrote that, but I couldn't help but chuckle. I guess it's a good lesson for anybody who produces creative works and then puts them out there in front of the public.

For myself, I'll grab onto that truth and bow at the wisdom - "point taken".

Comment from: Wednesday posted at April 5, 2005 5:50 PM

My buddy PTC

Holy fuck. PTC.

Holy...

World too small. Holy. Dude. Oh my god.

I have nothing useful to add (I am backing away from this thread because my brain is holding about as much as it needs to to hack on Wordpress right now, and very little more). I just wanted to be effusive and stuff, because the world is too small. Too bloody small.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at April 5, 2005 6:34 PM

Allow me to rephrase. There would be no webcomic environment as we know it without PVP or Penny Arcade.

They're to webcomics what Nirvana was to grunge. They weren't the first on the scene, but they are clearly the most important in a purely historical sense (if "history" applies to this)

its true that there would be webcomics, but I still hold that there wouldn't be nearly as many, and there is no doubt in my mind that the ones that would still exist would be signifigantly different.

Eric, do you think there would be a Websnark if there was never a PVP or Penny Arcade?

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 6:45 PM

EW, comics like User Friendly and Sluggy Freelance were rock-star success stories before PvP got popular. I can't speak to Penny Arcade because I'm not sure when they caught on... but I think it's overstating just a bit to claim that they were the most important in a "purely historical sense."

In a purely historical sense, I'd consider the "most important" webcomics to be Kevin and Kell, User Friendly, and Sluggy Freelance. K&K because it *predated* the web (it was a compuserve comic), and UF and Sluggy because they were already success stories when the rest of us were trying to figure out how we might be able to get a little bigger.

Comment from: Phy posted at April 5, 2005 6:51 PM

re: PTC

rotfl

Yeah, I've gone through a number of stages with PTC dating back to my earliest days on the web in 1996. He's... unique. ;) Even then, he was questioning things that I held to be sacrosanct. He's always seemed to have the need to get to the bottom of something without letting anything distract him from that search. He's always shot straight, but that sort of candor can be incendiary, and I used to wonder if he had any idea of the havoc his search for truth was wreaking.

Nine years have passed (has it been that long) and thank God, people mature. I like to think I have, I know that PTC has. Heck, he married a great gal recently, something I never would have thought possible back in the day. Oh, me of little faith.

I have come to develop the deepest respect for his abilities as a writer, thinker, and critic, and consider him a friend.

It wasn't always thus. However, in the circles in which we run, sparring, contrition, redemption, and forgiveness are all part of the package. I have grown to really appreciate his intellect and his perspective, and have watched him mature as a writer and critic.

I once called him "sharp" in an impetuous moment early on, leaning heavily on the barb. I still call him that all these years later, only with the emphasis now on his intellect. He's one of a kind, and I now mean that in the best possible way.

If you happen to cross paths, please forward on my warm regards. After all these years, it seems that it now possible for us "to philosophically connect", (an inside joke from "Theo's Logic"). :)

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at April 5, 2005 6:51 PM

I see where you're coming from there. Not sure I agree, but it does make a lot of sense.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at April 5, 2005 6:53 PM

I have to side with the idea of inevitable history. Some comic would have been huge - there was too much burgeoning talent for webcomics to have remained an ignored niche. Hell, I started reading webcomics because I thought, when I finally had regular Internet access, that someone out there had to be doing it, and I wanted to read it.

In that way, you could equate Nirvana and either/both PA and PvP. The alt rock/grunge scene was bubbling with great acts - note that Pearl Jam's first album actually came out a couple months before Nevermind; Ten just took longer to gain traction (partly because Nevermind was the third album from Nirvana, who had already established themselves in "the scene"). They get credit for being good and in the right place, but it's a bit much to say something like "Websnark wouldn't exist without Pvp and PA."

Comment from: larksilver posted at April 5, 2005 6:55 PM

It's interesting to see how worked up the "Community" as a whole can get over .. well, not much. heh. Much like in every other aspect of life, people who want to get worked up, well, WILL.

This is something anyone who wishes to offer criticism is going to have to anticipate, accept as fact, and get past, if they want to do this for long at all.

I'm sorry that William G. doesn't enjoy these two comics. The joy is that there are so many others that he can read something else. His criticism style may not be what others would wish it to be; the joy of that is, tada! They can go read something else... like websnark (teehee).

No reason for the smashing and the bashing.. but it's an unfortunate side effect, one that surely William could (perhaps should?) have foreseen. I'm sure even our darlin' Mr. Burns has had his share of slash-and-bash when he "dared" to say his bit about his feelings over.. say.. Sluggy recently.

So basically, as I find myself saying to the World At Large recently.. what's the big deal?

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at April 5, 2005 7:14 PM

Not speaking for anyone else, but I like to hear myself speak... that's my deal.

Comment from: quiller posted at April 5, 2005 7:17 PM

I feel I have an opinion about this, but I'm having a hard time phrasing it.

I think William G certainly sets up in the beginning that he is writing a blog, not a review he is setting up for publication standards. I think he wrote this to the standards he wanted to, and in the style and manner that he chose, and that's pretty much what I would do in a blog, so I can't really fault him.

As to the comics not making it in the current webcomic environment, I'd have to disagree. I note that Control-Alt-Delete has achieved a lot of success in the last couple of years, and I consider it comparable to Penny Arcade. PVP would not be where it is today, but it would be in the upper bracket of recently created comics. The level of their success is attributable to when they started, but being successful in the webcomic community is not.

I think the boat was really missed with PVP in only taking one comic a month. It is a gag a day comic, but it is also a storyline comic. Reading a storyline from every 3 months or so would have been better for evaluation purposes. It is as much about the relationship of the characters as the jokes.

I wouldn't introduce PA to non-gamers. I would introduce PVP to non-gamers.

As for cult followings? I'm not sure what it means. If you ask me, it has something to do with community. There's no "Everybody Loves Raymond" community. But I'd guess there is one for "Lost". The fact that Penny Arcade has its own convention makes it seem a bit more of a cult to me. But hard and fast definitions are more nebulous than gut characterizations.

Comment from: quiller posted at April 5, 2005 8:08 PM

Oops, one comic a month is unfair, one month a year is much less so. Misread that part this time through.

Comment from: Joseph White posted at April 5, 2005 8:24 PM

I think a more interesting subject than whether or not PvP and Penny-Arcade are good comics is the effect they've had on the webcomics genre. Both, due to their early emergence and enormous popularity, have had a profound effect on the style of humor used in webcomics. If we think of the webcomicsverse (is that a word? Oh well, it is now) as being like the fabric of spacetime, both PvP and Penny-Arcade, due to their popularity and early establishment, are much like singularities, warping the fabric of the webcomicsverse towards the "office humor" and "two chimps on a davenport" styles of humor, in much the same way that Snow White profoundly warped the direction that American animation has taken. If Disney had made War and Peace instead, animation in America might be very different. Likewise, if Penny-Arcade and PvP had not been the first (or nearly the first) things might have been very different. As it is, we're only just now beginning to move away from the track those two comics set us on.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at April 5, 2005 9:39 PM

32_footsteps: You have brought out the music nerd in me. Fear my wrath as I fix an error that you made:

"(partly because Nevermind was the third album from Nirvana, who had already established themselves in "the scene")"

This is incorrect, my friend. Nevermind was only Nirvana's second album. The lone album they had released prior to Nevermind was Bleach. (Though they did release and record a string of singles and such, which would later be compiled as Incesticide.)

Otherwise, turning off anal music nerd mode, I can't really fault what you said. (Though I am still of the opinion that Nirvana had far more in common with the underground/punk scenes than it did grunge. After all, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden et. al were influenced by classic rock while Nirvana was influenced by very obscure groups like The Vaselines, The Raincoats, and the Pixies. That's a whole 'nother story, though.)

Comment from: Wednesday posted at April 5, 2005 10:25 PM

I note that Control-Alt-Delete has achieved a lot of success in the last couple of years, and I consider it comparable to Penny Arcade.

Can someone elaborate on this, please? Seriously. I really don't have a grasp on Ctrl-Alt-Del's fanbase breadth, and I'd like to know more.

Comment from: tynic posted at April 5, 2005 11:01 PM

Shadowydreamer: I'm 99% sure William G knew exactly what he was provoking when he wrote this and did it deliberately to stir up the fanboys.

I agree with quiller - his is a blog, not a review site, and as such should be held to different standards.

I wouldn't classify William G's remarks as a review, all things considered, for exactly the same reason I wouldn't classify some idiot fan-journal "ZOMG I really like this comic it's amazing and now I'm going to review it" as a review. For me, a review should maintain some degree of objectivity - I expect a reviewer to come in to the item fresh, without preconceptions, prepared to like or dislike the work on its own merits.

William G has made no secret of the fact he can't stand either PA or PvP, has taken every opportunity to make snide remarks at their expense, on forums, messageboards and blog comments, with a degree of animosity that I've always found surprising. I remember in a previous PA thread he was talking about this upcoming 'review' almost as a threat. This whole ... kerfuffle was so orchestrated and predictable it makes me want to tear my hair out. And everyone responding to it is probably doing exactly what the originator wanted.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at April 5, 2005 11:42 PM

Actually, I formed as a question for a reason, because the only one who can tell us for sure if there would have been a Websnark if not for the growth in webcomics furnished by Penny Arcade and PVP is Eric. I myself am not fully convinced of this.

I guess its fair to say that someone else would have popped up. In fact, for sheer sake of arguement, I'll assume that history would have taken the turn towards webcomicry. That being said, it wouldn't have been nearly the same, because the twin giants would have been different comics, made by different people.

All this is going back to the original point I made (and in fact the only one I really give a damn about when it comes down to it) is that the contemplation of whether or not Penny Arcade and PVP would survive as upstarts in the current webcomic environment is without any merit whatsoever, because that would require that you remove PVP and Penny Arcade from the current environment, which would make it an alltogether different environment the nature of which we could only speculate.

If that makes any sense

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 5, 2005 11:45 PM

I actually understood that...

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at April 5, 2005 11:47 PM

Excellent! Could you explain it to me? Because I haven't a friggin clue.

Comment from: William_G posted at April 6, 2005 12:30 AM

Dear people:

1) Yes, I existed in a total webcomics vacuum before deciding to tackle PvP and Peny Arcade. And thus I had no opinion about the comics before I typed in their URLs to my browser.

2) Yes, I orchestrated this whole thing. Like a modern day Machiavelli I took the fity uniques a day, ranting about my computer, juggernaut that is my blog and grabbed the attention of the world.

I was worried that my secret brain ninjas would fail in their mission to pierce Scott Kurtz's ego and force him to not only get really personal, but to provide a link. But they performed beautifully. I also applaud my brain ninjas in their tireless efforts to cause people to act like such obsessive dorks over what amounts to nothing that they'd have to hijack another person's website over it.

So, having controlled all of you and what ever keyboard twitches you poured out, I shall now reveal my master plan:

It was all done to get Shadowy Dreamer's attention. All of it. The gains of this diabolical plan may not be obvious to the fool who fails to see the nuances and brilliance of such, but you will all learn... oh yes you will...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at April 6, 2005 12:35 AM

Wow, all this anger and stuff about dumb comics on the interweb. Wasn't all of this webcomic crap supposed to be about having fun making comics and reading them?

So some dude with a blog doesn't like your favorite webcomic. I mean, who really cares? I'm still not convinced that 90% of the people on the internet aren't really A.I. constructs anyway. You know, like I am!

Comment from: kirabug posted at April 6, 2005 12:36 AM

Wednesday wrote:

I note that Control-Alt-Delete has achieved a lot of success in the last couple of years, and I consider it comparable to Penny Arcade.

Can someone elaborate on this, please? Seriously. I really don't have a grasp on Ctrl-Alt-Del's fanbase breadth, and I'd like to know more.

I couldn't give you numbers, but I can say this much: I got to them via AppleGeeks, (which I picked up via someone else, but I can't remember who) about six months ago, read through the archives, loved it, passed it on to my husband (who only has five webcomics on his favorites) and three friends, all of whom love it, and it seems to be spreading from there.

It's a PC/gamer comic - heavier on the PC than the gamer, well-established characters, plots aren't overly predictable and pretty fun. Even though the Mac-bashing irks me to no end I keep coming back. And if they can keep a late-20s Mac chick who doesn't really game all that much on their readership, it's got to have some broad-based appeal.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at April 6, 2005 2:29 AM

Nuances and brilliance?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Comment from: Jeff Eaton posted at April 6, 2005 4:31 AM

Holy fuck. PTC.

Holy...

World too small. Holy. Dude. Oh my god.

I would like to take a moment to second your statement. My world just shrank a few sizes too. I giggle, now.

I expect to see Dr. Chuck mentioned on Salon, soon.

--Jeff

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at April 6, 2005 10:31 AM

It was all done to get Shadowy Dreamer's attention. All of it. The gains of this diabolical plan may not be obvious to the fool who fails to see the nuances and brilliance of such, but you will all learn... oh yes you will...

I should go find this Shadowy Dreamer person and point out they're not only using a handle I've been using for 12 years but spelling it wrong too!

..Silly William, not realizing that while I can only speak for myself, I wasn't the only one ignoring him.

Comment from: William_G posted at April 6, 2005 1:30 PM

Shadowydrummer:

You have enough "snarky", "holier-than-thou", and "barely-passible-wit" running in one sentence to sink a battleship.

Ever consider graduating from being a hanger-on in someone else's review blog, and start writing one of your own? You'd be perfect for the job.

Comment from: Montykins posted at April 6, 2005 1:51 PM

You know, William, for someone who said he was going to steal the philosphy of "There are people who don't like my comic. Good for them. That's their right," you seem to spend a lot of time arguing with people who didn't like your review.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at April 6, 2005 2:05 PM

Well, in all fairness, it's easier to say than to do. In theory it's easy not to respond to negative comments made about you or your work... in practice, it's all too easy to give in to the desire to respond, defend yourself, lash out in retaliation, etc.

Comment from: Montykins posted at April 6, 2005 2:18 PM

Oh, absolutely. It's a perfectly natural impulse to read something negative about yourself or your work and say "Well, we'll see about that!" I just found it entertaining that the thing I quoted was actually in his Something*Positive review. In fact, in this very thread, Randy Milholland is given praise for (wisely) not rushing in to defend himself.

So I didn't have to look very far for the contrast, is all I'm saying.

Comment from: Kusand posted at April 6, 2005 2:22 PM

I find the venomous, self-righteous comments going between certain people ripping each other for being "snarky" and "holier-than-thou" hilarious. Keep bickering, please.

Comment from: Phy posted at April 6, 2005 2:27 PM

A real (novice) critic would accept feedback (even of the negative variety) in order to further his craft. A smart one might even embrace it.

Comment from: William_G posted at April 6, 2005 2:28 PM

Yah know Monty, if people had decided to aim at the review instead of trying to drag me through the mud at ever single opportunity, what you just said would have been meaningful.

A tear would have rolled down my cheek. Honest.

But you're right. I have been spending too much time trying to deal with hostile people who quite simply dont want to consider the possibility that the emperors may have no clothes on.

Basically, if people want to keep hijacking Eric's blog just so they can have a place to act like dicks towards me, then they can go right ahead.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 6, 2005 2:49 PM

Okay. Blown whistle. This one's done, folks.

William asked that I delete his comments. I don't do that per se, but clearly we've moved into the "attacking people who aren't Eric" realm from more than one angle, and that's not kosher, so it's stopping.

(Attacking Eric is something else entirely, of course.)

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