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Eric: Channel markers.

Webcomics criticism has grown, since the days we first started putting pen to virtual ink over here at the 'Snark. We weren't the first to talk about webcomics, we're far from the last, we're not the best (unless you think we are -- and if you do... well, thank you!), but we're among the better known.

One sign of growing, in any critical field, is when the field begins to turn on each other and devour each other's sweet, sweet flesh. And we've kind of moved into that realm. There is rending and gnashing and pain. We have reached the point where Webcomics Criticism has Drama of its own. Drama between critics. Drama and hatred and bile.

The great thing about Critical Drama, as opposed to, say, Webcomics Drama, is no one gives a shit except other critics.

Seriously. Oh, a few Webcartoonists stare and shake their head and say things like "what in God's name are you people doing?" But for the most part, the only people who care about internecine warfare between critics are other critics. And, as has been pointed out, it is this very internecine warfare between critics that is the foundation of literary criticism from at least the 19th Century onward.

As a side note, as has often been mentioned, Harold Bloom is insane. But I digress.

Well, I'm not going to add fuel to the fires. For one thing, I have a hard time caring about them. In the words of Wednesday White, I'm going back to bed, blearily eating saltines, and watching Doctor Who. For one thing, Doctor Who is really good, these days. And for another, the arguments hardly need me.

However, I do recognize that, for whatever reason, folks read what we have to say. So, it seems appropriate to offer some advice to the prospective webcomics critic, blogger, journalist or what have you. This is my advice, as opposed to The Websnark Style Guide. I don't necessarily speak for Weds here.

Consider this some channel markers. These aren't rules, because... well, honestly, who the fuck am I to set rules? But these can help keep new critics and bloggers out of the shallows.

If you think I'm specifically writing about you... I probably am. But let's pretend I'm not. This isn't meant to be personal. It's just advice.

Be up front and consistent about what you're writing. Some people write because they really enjoy writing. They don't really care if they get an audience or not -- they just want to put words on the internet. Others really like having people read their stuff -- they want an audience. They crave it. And they're going to shape their writing to that audience. Some people want to be vicious and mean, tearing into the banal and substandard with a vicious glee. Others want to support and promote the things they actually like.

The important thing is to understand what it is you want to do, to be up front about what you're doing, and to be consistent about it. If you're a webcomics review site, wanting to render your opinions (be they positive or negative) about webcomics, and rate them according to your scale, that's fine. But you should make it clear that's what you're doing. If you hate all webcomics and want to take webcartoonists down several pegs, be clear about that. (And if you hate all webcomics and want to take webcartoonists down several pegs, admit it to yourself and others -- don't claim to be a general review site.)

This, by the by, is why Weds and I so firmly say Websnark isn't a webcomics blog. It's not that we don't write about webcomics. We do write about webcomics. But we write about other stuff, too. We write about Bibleman and video games and Jack Chick and my cat. We get to do that because we're up front about it.

If you're not up front about your intentions, people will castigate you. They will call your motives into question, and use it to undermine your credibility. And some people will believe them. If you are up front about your motives and intentions, some people will still castigate them, of course, but you'll remain credible through it all. And credibility is coin of the realm for any kind of critic.

Accept that not everyone is going to agree with you. This one should be highlighted, underlined and circled in your notebook. Not everyone is going to agree with what you say. Your opinions aren't natural laws. You may think something is great. Someone else is going to think it sucks. Accept that. Don't worry about converting them to your opinion. Express your opinion as clearly as possible, accept that some folks will disagree with it, and move on.

Support your thesis. It's easy to write "the webcomic Anime Treacle sucks donkey." Heck, I just wrote it, and it took less than five seconds. However, declaring that Anime Treacle sucks donkey doesn't do anyone any good if you don't support what you're saying. You need to demonstrate why it sucks donkey. You need examples. You need evidence.

Now, you might not understand why this is important. "It's just my opinion," you say. "No one can claim it isn't my opinion." And that's true. No one can.

However, if someone who likes the webcomic Anime Treacle reads that, all they can say is "wow, what an asshole." And then they'll never believe anything else you ever write. They'll assume you're stupid. If you weren't stupid, you'd agree with them about Anime Treacle. They'll tell all their friends "wow, this guy is stupid." The word will spread. The word "stupid" will appear in many peoples' descriptions of you.

And people who agree with you that Anime Treacle sucks won't come to your defense, because there's not enough there to defend. All they can say is "well, I think it sucks too!" And sooner or later, you'll post that one of their favorite webcomics sucks too, and you'll lose them. Ultimately, every person on the planet -- including various people in the third world who have no electricity, will think you're stupid.

Which honestly isn't the point of blogging, now is it?

On the other hand, if you explain why you think Anime Treacle sucks, and give examples, you give people a chance to see where you're coming from. You'll convince some of them. Others will disagree, but they'll have a sense of why you came up with that opinion. And yes, a couple of people will disagree and say you're stupid, but it will be easy for other folks to come to your defense. You will begin to build a reputation as not being stupid. Life will be better.

As a side note -- saying that Anime Treacle sucks, and then linking to a particularly suckful example strip? Doesn't much help if you don't go into why that strip is an example of sucking. Any time you figure it's self evident? It's not.

Don't argue your point on that webcomic's forums. It's absolutely natural. You post a well thought out essay that makes a solid point about a webcomic. You support your thesis. You try to be as fair as possible to your subject. You make it clear you know your subject and you're not doing this out of hate. This is honestly what you felt, and you just hope that -- if it's negative -- it doesn't hurt the cartoonist's feelings as much as it helps him improve.

What's the first thing you do after posting? You go to that webcomic's forums, to see if they're talking about your essay.

Don't lie. We all do it.

And at first, we get upset because no one seemed to notice. "Where the Hell are they," you think. "Someone on this forum must read my site too!"

As a side-note? No. No, that's not true. I don't care how many people you've got reading. We've got a frighteningly large audience over here on Websnark, but that audience pales in comparison to the internet in general. There are vastly more people out there who've never heard of Websnark than those who have, and it's entirely plausible that the majority of a given webcomic's audience would be among those who've never heard of us.

And it's also true of you.

Anyhow. You become tempted to post a pointer yourself. Don't. Let them find it, or not find it.

If they do find it, and they start a discussion, go ahead and read that discussion. Like I said, we all do. We want to feel like we've had impact. We want to feel like our words have been read.

Well, you start reading, and you begin to realize that these people didn't get the point. They're reading things into your essay that you didn't mean. They're accusing you of things that you didn't feel. And some of their responses are clearly wrong. They clearly didn't even read the essay -- you address the very things they're accusing you of! They're lying or they're wrong. And no one's taking your side. No one's explaining just how wrong they are.

You will have an overpowering urge to post your response. To say "no, I think you misunderstood. I'm not saying Anime Treacle is pornography. I'm saying that Anime Treacle's use of nudity can be off-putting to the potential audience." You want to reasonably show them what you meant.

Don't. Walk away. Take deep breaths. Go read Wil Wheaton's blog for a while. But don't go to their turf and try to get them to "understand." They're not going to. And you'll get a reputation for being a defensive hothead who can dish it out but can't take it. And no one will ever -- ever -- take anything you write seriously.

Yeah, they're going to get it wrong. Guess what? That's okay. These are the hardcore fans of the comic strip you just said mean things about. They're not going to kiss you for it. They're going to hate you. Let them. This is their place. The place where Anime Treacle is the coolest damn strip on the web. You've posted your opinion. Let them froth all they like over there.

If you see something you honestly didn't think of -- a clarification of your essay you honestly feel must be made? Do it on your blog. That's your place. If they want to get into it, let them come to you.

But be sparing on those responses, even then. See "defensive hothead who can dish it out but can't take it" above.

Don't take yourself too seriously. Writing is largely ego-driven. We all know it. We want to believe we're carving our words into the living rock of history and the Critical Discourse®. We want to feel that the things we say will be remembered for the decades to come, will bring men and women to tears, will change lives, will out-Oprah Oprah. And in our heart of hearts, we believe that will come to pass, one day.

Leave those sentiments in your heart of hearts. Jesus, guy. It's just blogging. When you see people dismissing you, shrug and move on. Let what you've written speak for itself. If someone makes fun of you, laugh and try to see their side of it.

And don't lose your sense of perspective. Some people really love criticism. Or bloggers. Occasionally, you might get groupies. Enjoy it. (Though, you know. Use a condom.) However, most people who read webcomics criticism are fans of webcomics. They're interested in what you have to say because they're interested in webcomics, and they think it's neat someone's writing about them. Never confuse that with being more important than your subject matter. A hell of a lot more people read Penny Arcade than read your critical site. The minute it seems like you consider yourself the starmaker, the filter through which webcomics fans will see all their work, the person who stands as Editor To Webcomics who must be appeased lest you bring your wrath against the apostates? Your audience will start laughing at you. And then most of them will leave. If you're really lucky, someone will write something making fun of you. Truly lucky people might get a webcomic's daily strip devoted to mocking you.

Hand in hand with that is learning to accept the criticisms made against you, whether they're fair or not. If you get any sort of audience at all, you're going to get some responses to your work. And if you're like most of us, you're going to obsessively look for them. You'll surf Technorati and your site statistics for links, google your site name, and otherwise haunt the halls of fora and blog to find what people are saying.

Well, some of them are going to say some pretty brutal things about you. They're going to accuse you of things, rightly or wrongly. Some of them will be young enough (at least emotionally) to think they're pretty cool if they call you various words that mean "homosexual." Some of the things they say will be very, very hurtful.

And, worse yet... sometimes they'll be right. Sometimes their criticisms will be well thought out, whether they're being reasonable or inflammatory. Sometimes, they'll actually be pointing out your flaws.

The best thing you can do is ignore the idiots and try to learn from the smart people. I don't mean you need to change to suit your own critics -- sometimes they're going to fail to understand where you're actually coming from. Sometimes they're going to be right, but you're going to decide to continue anyway, because it's what you want to do.

Most of all, you should only rarely respond to them. If part of their criticism involves the now infamous phrase "they've lost me as a reader," it's fine to post a polite note thanking them for reading up until now. Don't try to defend yourself. It can't go well. It won't go well. And if they said hurtful things... well, try to get over it, and when you're writing your own stuff, remember what it felt like and try not to dish it out to others.

Unless, of course, that's your bag.

(And for God's Sakes, don't make every conversation you're in be about you. If you're in a forum or comments section of a blog, discussing something, don't phrase every comment to be a thinly disguised self-advertisement. Self-promotion is just fine in moderation. But if you're finding a way to relate a debate folks are having about an essay someone wrote about Anime Treacle, don't use it as an excuse to pimp your own recent essay on Manga Saccharine. That way lies people yearning to have you skinned as a rug.)

Be confident. The flip side of the last point, however, is a need for confidence. You have to be confident in what you write. You have to stand by your words. If you participate in a forum discussion or a comments section of your or another blog, you need to have the courage of your convictions.

Does that seem self evident? It's not. It's not because it's very, very easy to discount yourself. After all, you're talking about webcomics, and that means you're talking about webcartoonists. You're talking about Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub. You're talking about Gabe and Tycho. You're talking about Jon Rosenberg and R. Stevens. You're talking about people who tens of thousands of people read every day. (Sometimes hundreds of thousands of people. Sometimes millions.)

Hell, even in the critical community there's folks everyone's heard of with loud voices and loud opinions. There are Phil Kahns, William Gs, Fleen Folks, and yes, Eric Burnses and Wednesday Whites. People who've been in any number of screaming matches with each other and with the aforementioned webcartoonists.

And here you are. Thirty people read your blog. You have no street cred. Who the Hell are you? No one.

Weirdly, it's a safe place to be in. "No one's going to give a damn what I have to say, because I'm nobody." It's a way of posting opinions which you can then disavow. And, it's a way to fish for affirmation -- if you say "no one gives a damn about me -- I'm just a guy with a blog," it's an opportunity for people to post back "of course you're someone."

The problem is? It doesn't work. At all.

Trust me. I've been there. "I'm just a guy with a blog" was my rallying cry for the first nine months of Websnark's existence. And the best thing I ever got for it was an eyeroll. It was a mistake, because what it really says is "I'm not important enough to take seriously."

Well, if you're not important enough to take seriously, why are you wasting everyone's time by posting essays and comments in the first place?

You know that list of names I put up above? Kurtz, Straub, Tycho, Gabe, Rosenberg, Stevens, G, Kahn and the like? They play streetball. They go full on balls to the wall. When they show up, they show up to play, and they will tear your throat out if you pull that "I'm nobody" shit on them. I know. I've seen it. I've been it. If you want to participate, participate. It doesn't matter if they've never heard of you -- make your points, support your points, and have faith in your points. And if you're wrong, you're wrong. But at least you brought your A game.

Don't try to rewrite history. Look, we make mistakes. We all do. Sometimes we post an essay and we get stuff wrong in it. Sometimes that stuff makes the whole essay wrong. Sometimes, we put up an essay innocently and it turns into a firestorm of controversy we never meant. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a crucible on all sides.

The temptation is to go back. Revise. Reword what we said. Take the essay down entirely.

It is never a good idea. Ever.

For better or for worse, we live in an ephemeral medium. It's dirt simple to pull down posts, delete comments, go through and re-edit after the fact. One of the truisms of creative writing is "writing is rewriting," and it's so simple to go ahead and edit edit edit.

The problem is, people have responded to what you wrote. If you go and change what they responded to, they're going to remember that fact. Even if you have the best of intentions, any editing or rewriting you do is going to come across as self-serving -- an unwillingness to admit to your mistakes. An attempt to make the record show you made no mistakes, so your critics must be wrong.

Have you ever seen the glee someone takes in posting a Google Cache copy of an original post you've since changed? It's particularly savage glee. And boom -- you have no credibility left. At all. In anything. Congratulations. You have just been demoted to punkass bitch.

And then, there's the deleted post. Or comment. Or whatever. You know the one. You made a mistake. You took a ton of heat for it. A controversy has brewed. It's not what you meant, at all. So you pull the post down. Maybe you post an apology as well, but you get the mistake out of the record.

Well. The people who hated your post don't forget it because you deleted it. They remember it. Only now, they remember their version of it. And their version of it is vastly worse than what you actually wrote. And they're more than happy to tell the world about this horrible version of what you wrote, and here you are completely unable to refute them, because you took down the evidence. Even if you put it back up, it's trivial for your critics to say "hey, they rewrote that while it was down!" You have absolutely no way to win if you do this. And all too often, you seem like a coward when you do it.

It's not right. It's not fair. But that's how it is.

The best thing -- the only thing -- you can do is post a correction. "I said this in my last essay. I was wrong. I didn't mean for it to go where it went. I'm sorry." If you want to absolutely make certain you acknowledge the areas you were wrong, add html strikethroughs to highlight the areas you were mistaken in. If you need to add a correction to the essay itself, put it at the bottom next to a clearly marked edit marker.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes, you have to own your mistakes, in order to keep your credibility.

Everything counts, and your audience has a memory. This goes with the very first point. Remember how I said to be up front? Well, the reason for that is over time your intentions -- your real intentions -- will become clear.

If you start your blog claiming loudly that you're going to be a critic who's highlighting the problems and issues you see in sequential art today, that's fine. If, however, you spend the next four weeks trashing Anime Treacle or Manga Saccharine, over and over and over again? No one is going to believe you're trying to make sequential art better. They're going to believe you have a vendetta against Anime Treacle and Manga Saccharine. They're going to believe this because they're right.

I'm not saying your vendetta against Anime Treacle or Magna Saccharine are wrong, mind. I haven't even read your vendetta yet. However, the simple fact is, you have a hate on for those webcomics and that hate is eclipsing everything else you do. And people aren't going to look at you as a reasonable webcomics critic with good credentials in the field and credibility in various matters. They're going to look at you as the guy who hates Anime Treacle and Manga Saccharine. They're going to see everything you do through that filter. Even if you end your blog and launch a new one where you never, ever talk about Anime Treacle or Manga Saccharine, a core group of people will dismiss everything as being part of your vendetta. Or will remind people of your vendetta. You will be seen as having an agenda.

Understand, this has nothing to do with whether you are right or wrong. This has everything to do with credibility. I've said before that there's no such thing as objective criticism. This is true. However, there is still a capacity to be deceptive in your criticism. When you're seen as having an agenda, people become suspicious of your work, regardless of that work's intention. They'll question whether you're being selective, to build support against the objects of your vendetta. And even if there's no evidence of that, they'll bring that bias to whatever you write.

The same thing can happen when you cut a swath across broad sections of webcomics. If you rail against gamer comics, or sprite comics, or furry comics, or Keenspot comics, or any group... and if you do it often enough... then you stop being seen as a critic and you start being seen as "anti-gamer" or "anti-sprite" or "anti-furry" or "anti-Keenspot." Or whatever. And again, what happens is that then defines you. You can post about how much you like Sluggy Freelance, and they'll come back at you and say "but Bun Bun and Kiki are talking animals, and you hate furry comics. So either you're lying now or you were lying then! Which is it? Huh? Which is it, Skin Boy?"

Remember, you'll get back what you give out. A couple of times up above, I made mention of "being able to dish it out but not take it." That's actually a rhetorical fallacy. Our capacity to gracefully accept criticism has no bearing at all on whether or not our own criticisms are valid.

But, remember that word I keep using? "Credibility?" Credibility doesn't care if we're discussing a fallacy or not. If you're giving a sense that you don't have as thick a skin as you're expecting your own targets to have, you're going to lose credibility. It's not fair, but it's true. And that's mostly true when you're posting vitriol.

It's a simple relationship. If you post reasonable essays, with well thought out points that are well supported, you'll get back comments that engage those points in a reasonable way. (With, admittedly, a few people flinging feces against the walls. It is the internet.) If, on the other hand, you mock people, you're going to get back anger and mockery of your own.

If you give your audience the capacity to comment, understand that means you're going to get comments in kind. (You'll also sometimes get purely dickish comments, because sometimes people can be dicks, but I digress.) If you're not emotionally ready to be torn to shreds every time you post... don't tear into other people with your posts.

Be prepared for thunderous silence. Sometimes, we put a lot of work into our essays. We really, really research them. We bring our A game writing wise. We make it entertaining. We have just the right touches of humor. We make them accessible. We do all the things that we're supposed to do. And we post, and we read the post, and we know... we know we hit that one right out of the park.

And we wait for comments to arrive.

And we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And sleep on it.

And check in the morning.

And where the fuck is everyone?

It happens.

Sometimes it happens because you didn't resonate with people as much as you thought you had. It's sad, but true. Sometimes, we don't actually do as well as we think we have. Sometimes we do nail a given essay, but no one cares about the subject matter.

And sometimes it's just as good as we thought, and everyone loves it... but no one has anything to say. It's easier, sometimes, to comment when you disagree than it is when you agree. If you get it absolutely one hundred percent right, persuading everyone who sees it... sometimes that leaves no room for anyone to provide feedback.

It can drive you completely insane. But there it is. Sometimes people are just going to be quiet. Anything you do to drum up discussion will only weaken the original essay. You're stuck.

It sucks. But as there's nothing to be done for it, we move on.

Finally, no one is under any obligation to you. This might be the hardest one for people to admit. Remember above, when I said not to take this stuff too seriously? This is why.

No one is under any obligation to you.

They're under no obligation to agree with you.

They're under no obligation to respond to you.

They're under no obligation to link to you.

They're under no obligation to acknowledge you.

The subject of your essay is under no obligation to listen, to change their ways, to acknowledge, to point their audience in your essay's direction or to in any way make any indication they know who you are.

Your audience is under no obligation to give you feedback, to agree with you, to get the point of your essay, to understand you, or to come back for more, tomorrow.

Your peers are under no obligation to consider you a peer.

No one is under any obligation to take you seriously.

No one is under any obligation to you whatsoever.

If you spend time, and energy, and have a little luck, you will build up a reputation... you will slowly build credibility. You will get return visitors. You will get people agreeing with you, and arguing with you. You will get linked. You will get influence. You will get acknowledgment. You will get an audience. Whether that audience is 30 people or 30,000 doesn't matter. You will get them.

But you don't get them for free, just by showing up. It takes time, and work, and effort. It takes accepting when people misunderstand you, and being thick-skinned when they insult you. It takes working damn hard to get your facts straight and admitting when you get it wrong. It means being honest about what you're doing and accepting that not everyone will agree with you. And it means having a sense of humor about yourself, but also standing by your work.

It can be pretty damn cool. It can also suck. And it can be hard. How do I know those points above are channel markers? I've screwed them all up at some time or other. If you go through the past, you can see where.

So. Maybe these will help others as they move along their way. In the meantime, I'm not going to trash any other critic right now. Not when there's a bed, and crackers, and Doctor Who.

Good luck. And if you run aground, mean to.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at March 12, 2006 10:05 PM

Comments

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 10:13 PM

And keep it under a million words. ;)

Comment from: mckenzee [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 10:18 PM

...will think you're stupid.

Which honestly isn't the point of blogging, now is it?

Drat, I missed the point again.

*sigh*

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 10:22 PM

And keep it under a million words. ;)

I own my verbosity! ;)

Comment from: Joe Zabel [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 10:55 PM

Good grief, Eric, this is the third Websnark this week on the subject of webcomics criticism! What on earth is going on?

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 10:59 PM

I think I'm going to become a webcomics criticism editor.

Comment from: Kail Panille [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:04 PM

I'm going to become a webcomics criticism critic.

I can see it now:

From today's Websnark. Click for full sized Internet Lifeguard!

I will be huge!

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:05 PM

Well, no. This is the first snark this week on the subject of criticism. There were two snarks last week on specific webcomics that took criticism as their subjects.

As for what's going on? Well, this was what was on my mind today.

Comment from: Minivet [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:06 PM

Steve Troop's webcomics criticism editing sucks donkey!

Comment from: Ford Dent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:06 PM

You know, there's the smallest part of me that wonders precisely what the webcomics criticism drama is which the post alludes to.

But honestly, the post is an excellent guideline for any dude looking to toss their own hat into the ring of the tiny niche that is webcomics criticism. That just might be more important than whatever the hell drama is going on.

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:10 PM

Steve Troop's webcomics criticism editing sucks donkey!

But notice how it takes the attention away from my lack of updates. ;)

Big puppet interviews this week, by the way. I managed to interview a couple of sci fi celebrities this weekend.

Comment from: College Zoo [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:16 PM

Editor? Good Luck. I think the very reason Eric writes on the internet is so that he doesn't have to worry about getting his opinion within X number of words so his peice will fit into the allotted area of dead tree matter.

Comment from: Violet [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:20 PM

Goodness me. It's as though you fellows made a checklist.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:21 PM

Ford:

But honestly, the post is an excellent guideline for any dude looking to toss their own hat into the ring of the tiny niche that is webcomics criticism. That just might be more important than whatever the hell drama is going on.

You win the kewpie doll! Whoo hoo!

College:

Editor? Good Luck. I think the very reason Eric writes on the internet is so that he doesn't have to worry about getting his opinion within X number of words so his peice will fit into the allotted area of dead tree matter.

I'll have you know I turned in a piece for anthology this weekend. 1,000 word limit on it. No more.

I had 1,000 words on the button.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:27 PM

A lot of this applies to running a webcomic as much as it does to running a criticism blog.

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:29 PM

You can learn anything you want to know about writing from "Star Trek." Not necessarily about writing per se, but more about how less is more.

Star Trek I had a big budget and was crap.
Star Trek II had a small budget and was great.
Star Trek III had a relatively small budget and was relatively good.
Star Trek IV had a small budget and was great.
Star Trek V had a large budget and was crap.
Star Trek VI had a small budget and was great.

I think that when people are limited by some means -- whether it be by money or by space, they often economize to the point of greatness. Having a large (or infinite as in the case of the web) is actually hurting the writing, because you don't have to edit anything out.

This same lack of editing has hurt Stephen King as well. Ever read any of his earlier 128-page books?

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:31 PM

Among other things, this reminds me that I owe Joe Zabel a long-overdue email about various things he and I discussed a few months back. Just have to figure out what, precisely, I want to say in it.

For critics and our little little squabbles, there's a very good reason that nobody cares - no critic has yet shown the capacity to actually physically injure (or kill) another critic. And until our bloated, hated numbers are culled (by either our own hands or those of the artists we've savaged), nobody is going to care about what arguments we have.

On the other hand? If we arranged Healey vs. Burns, battle to the death, I can hand-pick at least a hundred people who have never heard of Websnark who would root for Eric just because it would mean he'd be attempting to tear my fucking face off.

"And for God's Sakes, don't make every conversation you're in be about you."

If there were only one thing on this list I could be found guilty of, it's this one. For whatever else anyone could say about Eric, he's always remarkably tolerant of behavior running afoul of this rule.

Finally, on waiting for comments... I know that pain all too well. (Hey, remember what I said one paragraph above? I'm blatantly in violation.) I'm somewhat mollified by the presence of an editor - she almost always gives me feedback, and she's come through praising some of my most difficult pieces. I recommend finding someone like that as well, because you'll be surprised how many stupid reactions you'll avoid if you can count on getting solid constructive criticism from someone you trust.

Comment from: sqbr [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:43 PM

Actually I find many of these points apply to the general task of expressing yourself on the internet and being taken seriously, whether it be a webcomic, blog essay or even just a post on a forum on a topic you feel strongly about.

Now if we could just make it required reading...

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:45 PM

Point the first: I greatly enjoyed one particular part of this essay. Enjoyed it altogether too much, probably. And that is all I will say.

Point the second: . . . "Skin Boy"?

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:46 PM

Any takers that Burns wins in less than 10,000 words?

Comment from: enchiridion [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:52 PM

I need to go register animetreacle.com right now. The name? Genius. And we've already been mentioned on websnark. We can skip right past step 2 to the lovely lovely profit.

Comment from: mckenzee [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 12, 2006 11:57 PM

Yeah, about that, Eric.

I don't think "ThecobblestonesoftheOldPortalleywaywerecool" is really a word.

Comment from: kirabug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 12:07 AM

And until our bloated, hated numbers are culled (by either our own hands or those of the artists we've savaged), nobody is going to care about what arguments we have.

What, like a Great Outdoor Fight for webcomic critics? Freaky. Does the winner have to beat up his best friend to become the winner?

A lot of this applies to running a webcomic as much as it does to running a criticism blog.

I was thinking it ought to be entitled, "How to be a good citizen of the blogosphere" myself. I can think of a couple of totally-non-comic blogs I visit that could use a link into this.

if you say "no one gives a damn about me -- I'm just a guy with a blog," it's an opportunity for people to post back "of course you're someone."

Sometimes I do this -- because I want someone to say, "no, really, anne, you count as a comic artist too." It's fishing for compliments, really, and in and out of the 'net (heh, fish - net!) it rarely works.

But sometimes when listening to the Big Fish it's important to give the perspective of the Little Fish - and it's hard to do give the perspective of the Little Fish without someone misinterpreting it as fishing for compliments.

Oh, and Eric, good essay :) enjoy the crackers.

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 12:38 AM

Just for the record, this essay was passed through an editor. Eric bounced the whole thing off of me as it was being written, and I made several suggestions for how it could be tweaked and such.

Not every post he makes goes through me, but many do.

You know. Just for the record. Just in case anyone thought otherwise.

Comment from: Starline [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 12:43 AM

I think that last point can go for webcomic creators as well.

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 12:55 AM

According to dictionary.com:

EDIT
1a. To prepare (written material) for publication or presentation, as by correcting, revising, or adapting.
1b. To prepare an edition of for publication: edit a collection of short stories.
1c. To modify or adapt so as to make suitable or acceptable: edited her remarks for presentation to a younger audience.
2. To supervise the publication of (a newspaper or magazine, for example).
3. To assemble the components of (a film or soundtrack, for example), as by cutting and splicing.
4. To eliminate; delete: edited the best scene out.

To bounce ideas off someone is not being an editor. Having someone take a big black pen to something ... now THAT's an editor.

My point is basically this: You have a better chance of people reading your entire article if you hone it down a bit into a concise post. The sheer length of this article will keep a lot of people from seeing all of your good points.

Comment from: Dan Vincent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 12:59 AM

Absolutely echo the "Be honest" vibe. I like to complain. Not much else to it. I'm curmudgeonly. But I also don't pretend to be much more than that.

There was supposed to be more to this comment, but I've forgotten it. Damn.

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 1:04 AM

Definitions 1a and 1c can both be fulfilled by reviewing softcopies and making useful suggestions and/or criticisms, though.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 1:06 AM

To bounce ideas off someone is not being an editor. Having someone take a big black pen to something ... now THAT's an editor.

Steve?

I make money at this. I have worked with a lot of editors in my time.

In this essay, Weds saw every section. I threw an entire point out and reworked another, based on her comments. She had me reword six or seven other sections for clarity.

Trust me. She knows what an editor does. Very well. And she's very, very good at it.

My point is basically this: You have a better chance of people reading your entire article if you hone it down a bit into a concise post. The sheer length of this article will keep a lot of people from seeing all of your good points.

And now, I'm laughing my fool ass off.

The longer posts get far better feedback, have higher pageview counts, and much better links back than the smaller posts. I've seen it dozens of times. If anything, I've found that when I go four to five thousand words, I'm going to have much much better spread and response than anything I've "honed down into a concise post."

I appreciate that you don't like to read the long ones, and I've appreciated your comments. This time? I'm pretty sure you're dead wrong.

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 1:29 AM

I enjoy your writing and I know you're good at it. I mean, when we were doing the telethon book, I sought out one of your articles for inclusion in it.

But... I know from reading a lot of the comments, that it's not the length that really makes people post more comments ... it's the infighting and arguing over minutia in the comments that fuel the fire. I remember one post (albeit, it was about me, so I watched it all day) where there were something 40-80 posts that never referred to the article itself. It was all backstabbing and arguing amongst the posters.

Anyway, I do think that edited down writing (to a point, anyway) is much stronger than rambling writing, which all of us are guilty of any number of times.

I was just trying to help.

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 1:39 AM

Here's the one I was thinking of:

http://www.websnark.com/archives/2005/06/sammy_was_eatin.html

I skimmed through the comments just now, and I don;t know how many there are exactly, but I do now that hardly any of them (if any of them) actually refer to the post.

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 1:43 AM

Sount me among those who feel that the greater length made this a stronger, rather than a weaker, snark. The thesis he was working on was best-served in a heavily-verbose sauce.

Comment from: PO8 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:19 AM

Eric: I hate this about myself, but a couple of early spelling errors really distracted me from the extraordinarily nice collection of writing advice. "Criticial" -> "Critical", I believe, and also "internacine" -> "internecine" (twice). I believe you lose some credibility if you use big fancy words like "internecine" without spelling them correctly. On the bright side, you can blame these mistakes on Wednesday. That's what your editor is for. :-)

Let me be clear, however. I really enjoyed the essay. Thanks for putting it up!

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:19 AM

Eric, there's another point you alluded to but I'm just going to focus on. You will inevitably step on someone's toes and piss them off. The only way to avoid that is not to post at all, and if you're doing reviews because you enjoy it... well, you can always write completely for yourself and never post it, I suppose. But I think it's worth risking the ire of others to share your thoughts and beliefs.

I struggled with this recently. It seems lately when I say something, I inevitably seem to annoy someone. I have watched quite a few forums where someone new will show up and just ask a few innocuous questions and get the Old Timers descending upon them, snarling that that topic has been discussed to death. The Old Timers forget, however, that sometimes those discussions were about something entirely different and then tangented into another topic, or are buried beneath dozens of response threads.

No one ever satisfies everyone. Don't let it bother you. If you're doing this for fun... let it *stay* fun for you. That's really what's important here. Having it remain fun.

If it's not fun... if it's become a job, and you're struggling to post new reviews... then maybe it's time to take a break, or to re-examine your goals here. Things change. Maybe what started out as a labor of love has evolved into a desire to create productive output for the webcomic community as a whole. Or it may have started out as a joke, a way to poke fun at people, and then become something more significant, something serious.

Just be true to yourself. If you do that... then it hopefully will work out.

And good luck to you. There are more people reading these reviews than you'd think... sometimes to see what's worth reading, and sometimes just to see what people are saying about comics in general. It doesn't matter if they agree with you or not... if they've read what you wrote, then you've achieved something great.

Take care

Rob H., Tangents

Comment from: Violet [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:26 AM

It is as though a great defensive field had been projected, so as not to read words.

Comment from: MarvinAndroid [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:32 AM

On the little mini-debate about bite-sized blogs and word count:

I think that you can use as many words as you like to make your point as long as, and this is important , there is NO FILLER. This is especially important when you're writing a piece with any kind of thesis. The more you stay on-topic with your main theme, the more effective it is. If you go off on a ten-page tangent about your cat in the middle of your essay on how much Anime Treacle sucks donkey, you're going to lose the readers' attention.

Novels are an excellent example of this (since someone mentioned Stephen King earlier). Take this comparison between two very good books. Great Expectations was very long, but it worked since all the parts tied together in the end. Whereasn another excellent book, American Gods (by Neil Gaiman), should have been about a hundred pages shorter. I can point to numerous sections of the book that should be removed (although obviously I won't list them here, since this is, in fact, the kind of tangent I just said you shouldn't have in a blog). I'm a hypocrite.

Back to my original, non-hypocrtical point, you can write all that stuff about your cat. Just don't put it in your Anime-Treacle-sucks-donkey post.

I had a point in there somewhere. But I lost it.

Midnight is not a good time for writing...

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:33 AM

For some reason, I've been having problems with 'critical' for about a week. I fixed about five instances of that specific misspelling, but missed a bit.

Internecine is a sheer mea culpa.

For the record, despite my whole thing on errors in the essay? I've corrected the spelling in question now. ;)

Comment from: lucastds [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:35 AM

What's going on?

This is what's going on.

Maybe?

Comment from: chalcara [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:38 AM

This post was very enjoyable. :)

Honestly, I always thought that's just what common sense dictates if you interact with people in general - being honest, true to oneselves and standing up for one's mistakes - but like so often:

It's the INTERNET. Common sense isn't all that common here.

Sad isn't it? Who knows, maybe this essay will help to spread what should be common courtsy. :)

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:41 AM

By the way. Kirabug? You are a webcomic artist. Maybe your art isn't as pristine as Poe or Gallagher, but it's fun. And heck, if you look at early CRFH, CotC, PvP, or Nukee strips, you will see a rough beginning... but many of the seeds that exist in the artwork of those comics years later.

Don't sell yourself short. If you keep updating... and manage to keep drawing every day or other day at least, even if not posting those doodles as comics, your art will improve by leaps and bounds from what it is today. And your early artwork is better than early CRFH, for instance.

Rob H.

Comment from: dormouse77 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:49 AM

Back to Mr. Troop for a second....

Um... I dunno, but... it seems like the first time you said how long the post was, that was about trying to help. At around the fifth post (which, to be honest, was pretty insulting. I mean, quoting Dictionary.com to make it seem like they don't know what *editor* means?) it seemed you were more trying to be *right.*

As for me? I like the long posts.

Comment from: HumanSockPuppet [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 2:57 AM

Well said, Tangent. Heh, that's what I keep telling myself with my stupid webcomic too.

Just keep drawing, and improvement will come with time, as with anything else.

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 3:09 AM

Um... I dunno, but... it seems like the first time you said how long the post was, that was about trying to help. At around the fifth post (which, to be honest, was pretty insulting. I mean, quoting Dictionary.com to make it seem like they don't know what *editor* means?) it seemed you were more trying to be *right.*

It wasn't really to be right or wrong as much for me to see what it meant. ;) Like it or not, I do have a journalism background and it pains me sometimes (and not in Eric or Wednesday's case specifically) to see some of these blogs in action. I know I've gone off about journalistic integrity in other comments and libel in others.

I'm not about to start writing my own blog because I really don't have much to say regarding comics. But I do have something to say about journalism and writing from time to time. Maybe I should just shut up.

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 3:16 AM

No. There's no reason to shut up, Steve. Well, other than the fact that I'm saying there's no reason to shut up and I do a grand job of pissing people off so obviously if I'm suggesting something you probably would want to do the opposite. ;)

You've valid points of view. You believe what you're saying. That makes it worthwhile.

And now I'm headed off to bed before I make a bigger fool of myself. Or start typoing. Or something.

Rob H.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 3:27 AM

Steve -- I have no desire to see you shut up, for the record.

(I also apologize if my last response to you seemed overly snide. It wasn't meant such.)

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 3:35 AM

Not a problem, Eric. ;)

Like I said earlier, I keep forgetting that these comments are rarely about the article -- and more about picking apart one another's posts.

I like the idea of raising the bar of comics and blogs, but just because we can do something without restriction, isn't always a good thing. That's all I was trying to say.

Man, I gotta start drawing comics again. I'm starting to get really opinionated again, aren't I? ;)

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 3:55 AM

Man, I gotta start drawing comics again.

Yes. Yes you do. They've been in that hold for how long, now? ;)

Comment from: Steve Troop [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 3:57 AM

Just since Christmas. I think I've been going through puppet obsession since my grandmother died the same way I went through Gilligan's Island obsession when my grandfather died.

I guess I don't do well with depression and other parlor tricks.

Comment from: coldcut [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 4:01 AM

"Ultimately, every person on the planet -- including various people in the third world who have no electricity, will think you're stupid.

Which honestly isn't the point of blogging, now is it?"

This is less of a rhetorical question than you might imagine.

Comment from: Pooga [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 4:12 AM

I will say for the record that in the general case, Steve is 100% correct. I am often a victim of my own verbosity. Even after editing a post, removing obvious tangents and places where I can see I've muddled my point, I usually end up taking three times as much comment space to make a point as most other posters. Which is a significant reason I post so infrequently in the many blogs and fora I read. It is also generally true that when I see a long entry on a blog, I might read the first few paragraphs, but generally will skip to the next entry.

However, that is rarely the case on Websnark. Even on subjects with which I am barely familiar, I find Eric's and Wednesday's writings to be fascinating. For example, my last MMORPG experience was acting as a beta tester for the original Ultima Online, but I love reading Eric's "City of ..." sagas. That's not to say E&W never miss, but the ratio of fascinating long posts to boing or repetitive ones (and Eric's long posts go well beyond the length of "long" posts on just about any other blog I follow) is remarkably good. At this point, I would say Websnark's track record gives them more freedom to post longer essays because, as was mentioned above, there's not much filler. Even the bits that seem like tangents early on usually get tied into the overall theme of the essay.

I don't think this would have been a good essay to kick off Websnark (in terms of length), but after a year and a half of establishing his strengths in this area, I'm not at all surprised to see the number of people who've defended Eric's longer posting. Yes, it breaks with standard blog conventions (which tend to favor short entries), but when it happens here, you generally know it's going to be good.

Comment from: Doc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 4:26 AM

Three points:

1: You are so incredibly right about not deleting things, do you know how hard it is these days to actually find out about what actually went down with megatokyo if you weren't reading it at the time? I tried for ages out of pure curiosity but it's all second hand and never specific and you just end up with the feeling that everyone involved is an arsehole (though I am sure this is not the case but second hand accounts generally only include the bad stuff).

2: Skin Boy. Seriously man. Awesome.

3: Thank you Steve, 'Depression and other Parlor tricks' is now the title of my next.... well, something. The next time I need a title, that is so it.

Comment from: Moony [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 6:29 AM

Eric, I always saw your 'I'm just a guy with a blog' statements as you keeping your ego in check, which is something I can really respect. :)

Comment from: Peter C. Hayward [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 7:26 AM

Hey, are you talking about Weekly Webcomic Reviews? Because you know Weekly Webcomic Reviews is a webcomic criticism blog. And I hear that Weekly Webcomic Reviews is totally into the webcomic drama. If you haven't seen Weekly Webcomic Reviews, you should go and check it out.


...Weekly Webcomic Reviews.

Comment from: O.M. [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 7:33 AM

Honestly, posts like this honestly impress me. I'm akin to someone that would agree with the "shorter is better" rule, but in this case I don't.

The voice of experience carries a lot of weight, and you've got it down to a T, to the point where even your fictional examples smack of "....did he really diss Anime Treacle?"

In fact, upon reading this, I feel as if I could do something similar based on these guidelines. I likely never WILL, but I actually feel like this would be a good basis to actually use if I were going to.

And given I rarely can read anything non-fictional this long, your keeping of my attention span through the whole thing is commendable.

Comment from: TasteMyHouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 7:35 AM

Eh, i really haven't liked the background music of the new series. The acting is great, the writing is solid, but the MUSIC totally kills it for me, i can't stand it. Its almost to the point where i watch it one mute.

/music student.

Comment from: Bahimiron [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 7:40 AM

I think I might start my own webcomics criticism-based blog. 'Cept instead of following any of the suggestions Eric lists above, my blug will be a mish-mash of libelous accusatious, ad hominem attacks and jingoistic pedantry. Why should I point out the specific reasons that Megatokyo 'had me and then lost me' when I can just jump all over its creator for being an anti-American Hollywood leftist?! Or, barring that, an anti-American east coast liberal elitest! Yeah. It's gonna be an awesome column. Whenever anyone says something in the comments I don't like, I'll just shout SHUT UP! SHUT UP! YOU DON'T GET TO TALK HERE! and then ban them. I'll be the Bill O'Reilly of webcomics. So cool.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 7:54 AM

Maybe, Kira, maybe. Though beyond Eric and Wednesday, how many people deal with their best friend in webcomics criticism?

Of course, if we just expand it to critics in general (which is what we'd need to do to see Eric and I face off to the death), you'd see any number of potential final matchups.

At this point, I only want to see this because I want to see someone name attack moves after Bloom or Derrida.

Comment from: Robotech_Master [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 8:27 AM

They should make people read this entry and then pass a multiple-choice quiz on it before they are ever allowed to post anything to the Internets (sic). Very nicely done.

Comment from: djcoffman [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 9:21 AM

I think anytime we can get people talking about webcomics, be it drama, good stuff, bad stuff... it's good for webcomics.

The whole point is to keep the conversations going. Some conversations are just BORING though.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 9:31 AM

Yeah, but the thing is, anything is boring to someone (it's the flip side to the idea that there's always someone who will like a given thing, no matter how awful it might be). The best thing to do is just skip it and go on to the next discussion. At least, that's what I do when the topic in question doesn't hold my interest at all.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 10:02 AM

For the record, despite my whole thing on errors in the essay? I've corrected the spelling in question now. ;)

Oh, that's not what you were talking about at all. There's a difference between revising for language usage - readability - and revising for content.

Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 10:43 AM

Excellent essay! I love it when you give us so many lovely words, well-considered, and absolutely reeking of quality. I'm a printaholic, and you, sir, have fed my addiction yet again. Thank you!

I do have to point a wee bit o' fun, or my Smartass privileges might be revoked:

I had 1,000 words on the button.

Did it hurt much?

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 10:50 AM

Dr. Who is good THESE days?

THESE days?

Burns, you think webcomics drama is bad... do you REALLY want Whovian drama? DO YOU???

;-)

Comment from: Fabricari [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 10:51 AM

Eric, you clearly have a passion for what you do. And this essay is greatly appreciated, if not inspiring.

One of the problems of being a fan and critic of webcomics (or anything) is that your opinion will change over time. Over minutes even, depending on what you've had to drink.

Part of the fun of reading a blog like this is watching you evolve your opinions. You're right. Being wrong isn't a crime. Deleting your posts and getting into comment wars is.

One thing I would add to your list: Don't cross the line between creating webcomics and writing about them. Matt and I created that "other" blog so we could separate the two. I don't think I'd want folks reading my comic to be force fed the crap I blog about. Unless they sought it out.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 11:14 AM

Burns, you think webcomics drama is bad... do you REALLY want Whovian drama? DO YOU???

I clearly misspoke. Or... er, miswrote.

What I meant was the current run was exception even for Doctor Who.

I have a long standing passion for the Doctor's adventures through all eight of his previous incarnations. And I've just started listening to the audio plays. So... er, there!

Comment from: DarkStar [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 11:47 AM

Wow... I need to boil this down to a bullet point list, print it out, and tape it somewhere I'll see it when I'm writing. I need to internalize this. I'm not overly interested in Webcomics Criticism specifically, but there are a lot of general blog survival tips there. A lot of things that I need to work on in my own writing, critical or not.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 12:14 PM

Phhpbbth

Webcomics, webcomic creators, and webcomics criticism are ass.

...

Yeah, I said it.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 1:38 PM

Doctor Who = not ass

Comment from: TasteMyHouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 5:28 PM

Doctor Who = not ass

But whats-her-face is totally fine... you know, the blonde with the union jack.

Comment from: Sandalphon [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 6:20 PM

Great post, Eric. HowEVer:

As a side note, as has often been mentioned, Harold Bloom is insane.

Care to elaborate on that? :-D

Comment from: cyco [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 6:30 PM

RE: Length of snarks

I think that concisity is almost always something good to strive towards, but in this case it doesn't really apply. When an essay is divided like this into different bullet points, what matters is that each individual point refrains from doing anything other than supporting the thesis or main topic.

Comment from: Doc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 7:35 PM

Eric: The audio plays are one thing, but what about the BOOKS man? Have you read the BOOKS? Specifically the 8th doctor books, start around 'unnatural history' or maybe a bit earlier and you catch most of the cool stuff. Though personally I've got major catching up to do (from about 'Hope', I kind of lost interest after the earthbound arc but still want to see where it went) there was a really good run there for a while.
Not to mention it actually let construct major plot arcs way to complex (though not always in a good way) for the tv show.

Comment from: Thomas Blight [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 13, 2006 11:50 PM

Eric? You have to Evergreen this. Like right now.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 12:41 AM

But whats-her-face is totally fine... you know, the blonde with the union jack.

Billie Piper? The new one?

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 12:54 AM

Rose rocks. Seriously.

I still miss Ace, though.

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 1:33 AM

Dr. Who is good THESE days?

THESE days?

Compared to the dark days of Eric Roberts as the Master? ;)

Comment from: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 1:58 AM

It's probably too late, but this essay would be a perfect addition to "The History of Webcomics", by T Campbell.

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 12:10 PM

I wouldn't think that webcomic critics would have much of a place in a History of Webcomics. We're more behind the scenes. Eric and Comixpedia probably would get a place, but the rest of us? I doubt it.

"You need to be this tall to get on this ride" ;)

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 5:47 PM

You know, speaking of Doctor Who. I've always wondered about something. They have the Doctor. They have the Master. Where's the Bachelor? (No, I don't mean that stupid show on ABC.)

And if anyone knows when the Red Dwarf movie is ever going to come out, do please let me know.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 6:10 PM

A Bachelor can't get a job traveling time any more.

Comment from: kirabug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 9:36 PM

Robert, thank you :) It's that grass-is-always-greener thing. Do artists ever get to the point where they can actually draw what their mind's eye sees?

32 -

Though beyond Eric and Wednesday, how many people deal with their best friend in webcomics criticism?

Hell, I can't even get my best friend (husband) into webcomics, forget their criticism. If I could, maybe I'd've actually made it to a freakin' con by now.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 10:49 PM

Do artists ever get to the point where they can actually draw what their mind's eye sees?

Maybe once or twice a week. I dunno about anyone else.

Comment from: William_G [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:25 AM

On the topic of wankers, er... critics:

It's probably too late, but this essay would be a perfect addition to "The History of Webcomics", by T Campbell.

And...

I wouldn't think that webcomic critics would have much of a place in a History of Webcomics. We're more behind the scenes. Eric and Comixpedia probably would get a place, but the rest of us? I doubt it.

I guess youse guys shoulda taken up Mr. Campbell's offer ta proofread in order ta improve da book when he made it a week ago. Then ya'd know dat he's gots it covered.

...

I have no idea why I wrote this as a Batman goon.

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