You know, I haven't gotten into trouble in a long time.

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I should open this discussion with a frank admission: I don't read Dominic Deegan.

I have friends who love it. One friend in particular has tried on numerous occasions to engage my enthusiasm. That he didn't succeed proves nothing other than I'm not him, and he's not me. It's one of those that just didn't grab me. There are lots of them. It happens.

That's not what I'm here to talk about today.

I get mail. It's generally a lot of fun. But a non-trivial amount of the mail I get... well, has an agenda to it. Or at the very least wants to line up sympathetic support from perceived authorities (after all this time, I still have some trouble seeing myself as an actual authority, mind). And today I've gotten some mail about Dominic Deegan. In particular, about the note that Michael "Mookie" Terracciano (the webcartoonist in question) put up on the strip, reprinted here wholly without permission:

Wow.

I had a lot of people really mad at me this weekend. Lots of forum posts and e-mails about how upset y'all were about Siegfried's death. There was even some name-calling in a few instances. I kinda felt like there was a big middle-finger hovering over me wherever I went this weekend, like one of those little black rainclouds... only in the shape of a middle finger. Hell, even my mother was mad at me this weekend (although for completely unrelated reasons).

But Siggy's demise seemed to open up a floodgate of feedback about how unhappy many of you are with this storyarc and the comic in general. Many of you said that the comic has "gone astray" or "descended into melodrama" or "there's too much angst." For those of you who would like things to lighten up, I ask you to bear with me for just a little while longer while things wrap up with The War In Hell. Afterwards, things won't be so "epic" around here.

Oh, and there won't be so much crying in the rain.

Now, I know why I'm getting mail about this. I'm getting mail because of terms like "Cerebus Syndrome" and "First and Ten Syndrome" and stuff I've written about General Protection Fault and the like. I get that. I understand.

(Though it's worth noting, for those who have equated this situation with GPF's -- Terracciano's saying "hang in with me, and things will cycle up." Darlington said, roughly, "go away and come back and read the whole thing as a single unit after the morbid stuff is over." Apples and oranges. But I digress.)

And you know -- it's possible. Maybe Terracciano is going for the Cerebus. Maybe he's going headlong into First and Ten. I don't know. I don't read the comic. Though it's worth noting -- if the series has been a mixture of serious and light all along (or at least for the last X amount of time), then it doesn't apply. It's when you go from wholly lighthearted to angst-ridden that we have First and Ten. In any case, I don't know.

I do know, however, that I was drawn, inexorably, to the Dominic Deegan forum. Maybe because of the trainwreck principle. I dunno. I was chatting with a friend online at the time, and he went too, and we were both kind of stunned.

My favorite comment in the thread about the note:

[...] if Michael can't handle negative as well as the positive, then he's not an artist worth shit.

Holy fuck dude.

All right. Let's cut to the chase. Because I don't know Dominic Deegan, but I do know fandoms. And I know artists. And I know what happens when a webcartoonist brings his story into an unpopular area. The vast majority of readers trust the artist knows what he's doing and hangs in there. Generally, a smaller group gives feedback, some of it negative, and see above. They hang in there, having registered their concern.

And then there's the other fans. The ones who take it desperately personally. Mookie is ruining Dominic Deegan! Doesn't he understand? This -- this is shit! This is all wrong, and any cretin should know better! We should take this away from him! We should destroy it now, before he shits all over our memories! He's wrong! And bad! WRONG AND BAD!

I talked about them before. It's in one of the most popular of the evergreened essays. And their byword, spoken or not, is entitlement. They feel that because they've been good and loyal readers, investing their time and energy and yes their love into Dominic Deegan, they have some stake in it. Some ownership. And when things happen they can't abide, they're ready to flense Terracciano to the bone over it.

Well. I believe them. I've loved webcomics this deeply before. I know how painful it can be to see characters I love die, and bad things happen, and horrors be inflicted. And failure occur. I know.

Get. The fuck. Over it.

You're not paying for this. You're reading it. And believe it or not, conflict is not a bad thing. Dominic and his... um... orc friends are going to have some mind numbingly miserable days. Dominic Deegan has always been a story comic (as near as I can tell), and that means everything has to go hideously wrong sometimes. If you can't abide the direction it's going in, if you can't take the pain of seeing characters you love going through hell, or if this just isn't what you read Dominic Deegan for and you feel he's lost you as a result? Stop reading the damn comic. Write about it if you must. God knows I do, in those situations. (You might remember those essays.) But be constructive, explain your reasons why, try not to be acrimonious and then leave.

Good on Terracciano for not punching out of his storyline. Clearly, he's going to stick to it until it gets where he wants. And he'll lose some people for doing that, and maybe he'll gain some others. But if you're sending venom and vitriol to him because he's making the comic something you don't want to be, turn off the fucking computer, go outside and rejoin life. You don't have to support it if you don't want to any more, but Jesus Christ, don't be those people. Those people suck.

Oh, and one other thing?

Terracciano clearly can handle the negative as well as the positive... because despite the shitstorm, he kept going. And almost certainly that's what's pissing you off the most.

He doesn't owe you anything. This isn't his job. You're not his bosses. He understands that you might leave. You have to understand that if this is going to be worth your time in the first place, he's got to draw it without caring if you leave or not.

Jesus, people. Think.

73 Comments

Oh, I disagree. I am owed something. I'm a goddamn WCCA winner. I'm owed EVERYTHING!

Now get out your kneepads.

I think it's worth mentioning that cerebus syndromes can't really be applied to Dominic Deegan. It was always a funny and dramatic.

Nothing like a blow job joke from milholland to start my afternoon. And I haven't even checked S*P yet!

True Dat. Mookie's just past 1000 strips, and the dark stuff has been happening at least since the Sin City storyline (which started in the 400s). It's not like this is a new trend or anything.

I never realized how hollow the webcomics world seemed without Eric Burns posts.

I do wonder, through. You say the readers are not paying for the privelege of dictating the storyline. Yet, many webcomics offer little fandom trinkets you can buy for $9.99 from hats to mugs to hell, I don't know, webcomic-based vibrators. (Sorry, I was channeling Hello Kitty for a moment.) Likewise, a lot of webcomics uses web advertising as some way to recompensate for payment to the evil webserver in question.

Does buying the merchandise (or having advertisements that are there to entice the reader to purchase something) mean the reader is entitled to having some satisfaction with the way the comic is progressing, or is that still solely the artist's modius operandi?

In my view? Nope. A person can choose to support the comic or not support the comic. They can buy something because they think it's cool, or they can tip the guy or whatever.

If the guy is doing this for the tips or merchandise, then sure -- he's going to tailor things to maximize his return. Most webcartoonists aren't in this for those reasons, though.

Buying the merchandise doesn't entitle a reader to anything. I bought a Something Positive shirt because I support Randy's comic and his work on the comic, not because I wanted to buy a right to offer my opinions as though they're going to change anything.

Get. The fuck. Over it.

This should be accompanied by a celestial chorus singing in perfect harmony, and a giant scroll with flaming letters, and maybe even lightning and thunder, because maybe that way the message will sink in.

I have, of late, been wandering into the forums of some of the webcomics I read (I miss my livejournal at lunch, darnit!).

I'm glad I entered kirabug's forums before I wandered into Dominic Deegan's. The vitriol I discovered when I clicked that link one day last week shocked and stunned me. In order to give the benefit of the doubt, I looked back over some time, and found a pattern of hostile, quasi-abusive "fan" behavior in there, which is sad. By all accounts, "Mookie" is a good guy, and he clearly loves what he's doing. I really hate it when that's pooped all over in the name of "entitlement."

I can understand relating deeply to a character or to a world, or whatever. But it seems that some forums, more than others, attract trolls.. and poor Dominic Deegan's is a veritable troll mecca.

If their forum had been the first I encountered, it might have been my last. As it is, I still read the comic, but most definitely not the forums. ew. Thank you for saying much more eloquently than I could what I desperately wanted to shout at those perpetrating such dreadful behavior.

Get. The fuck. Over it.

Y E S.

I think that could have been the whole essay right there.

Peace Out.

Dominic Deegan is one of the first webcomics I ever read, back when I had devoured the Penny Arcade and Sluggy Freelance archives and went stumbling drunkenly through the internet in search of more of this online comics goodness. I stumbled across Keenspot, and the rest is history. (From Keenspot to Schlock Mercenary, and from there to here, hehe.)

While it hasn't *always* been a comic with lots of drama, this is nothing new, Mookie has had plenty of dramatic storylines in the past. This one may have been the biggest yet, that's all. In short, I completely agree with Eric, and Larksilver, also. I don't read many individual comics forums, but if I am interested and take a peek, I won't go back to an overwhelmingly negative forum.

Dominic Deegan has always been a story strip, with both the drama and the funny. Maybe the first dozen or so strips are the punchline variety, but one of the first storylines was about Luna’s mother trying to convince her to suicide. There has ALWAYS been the funny mixed with the darker stuff in the strip.

What I find interesting is that I never really found Siggy to be that ‘beloved’ a character. He was a stick-up-his-arse ass way back when and then disappeared for a long time. He only recently resurfaced at the end of the Battle for Barthis, and his role in the most recent storyline has been nothing if not conflicted. I mean, he beat the shit out of Dominic for pointing out that his father was a racist. He was definitely becoming an interesting character, but not one I had any sort of emotional investment in.

If anything, I was shocked at his death because it doesn’t give him the opportunity to really redeem himself. A ‘sorry’ as he’s dying really doesn’t cut it for what he did to Dominic, either before, during or after the pummeling. Of course, I’m of the ilk that actually trusts the creator to tell his story. I’m sure there’s more in store for Sigfried down the line.

P.S. It’s a bit ironic that you posted the link to the Entitlement essay right after you reminded me of it last week in LJ in response to my fan community rant. :)

Y'know. There are parts of this that I agree with, and parts that I don't. I agree that negative fans can ruin an endeavor, and that fans aren't "entitled" to the development that they want. However, anytime a creator of intellectual property submits their work for public consumption, they are choosing to open it up to criticism. I think everyone that views it (legally, for non free products) has the perfect right to say, "this is not good." Sometimes, like this (or also the ouster of the MITDOP comics on Saturday Sluggy Freelance, or the criticsim that hurt websnark), they go overboard. Other times, such as Oceans Unmoving in Sluggy, or George Lucas's revision of the Star Wars movies (or Jersey Girl http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/24), we are glad when people tell the artist that they screwed up. Really, unless you're Axl Rose, hiding your product in your bedroom and refusing to let anyone see it, I don't feel that you should be immune to criticism. Fans don't have to read DD, and Mookie doesn't have to read the forum.

That said, reason and discourse ought to dominate the discussion, not the shouting of loud anger. I like how you put it Eric, "If you can't abide the direction it's going in, if you can't take the pain of seeing characters you love going through hell, or if this just isn't what you read Dominic Deegan for and you feel he's lost you as a result? Stop reading the damn comic. Write about it if you must. God knows I do, in those situations. (You might remember those essays.) But be constructive, explain your reasons why, try not to be acrimonious and then leave." That's really insiteful.

See, I would be one of the fans who thinks that maybe, just maybe, the poor bastards in Dominic Deegan need a break from having terrible things happen to them.

The difference is, I trust ol' Terracciano to work things out because he always has before.

It's so nice having you back and posting Eric.

Hi there. I'm a regular poster on the DD forum, so I thought I'd just come here to try and offer up some defense.

First: The reason that most of the fans unhappy with this latest turn of events, myself included, is not some overbearing ammount of angst. The biggest reason is the death of a character that many feel had an unbelieveable ammount of story potential. I made a post about my own personal reasons here: http://forums.keenspot.com/viewtopic.php?t=88960

The rest of the grumbling comes from what has been dubbed by some as "Klo Tark ex machina", and what has been viewed by some as an overabundance of cliffhanger strips recently. Occasionally, the angst/seriousness is mentioned, but its low on the list.

Second: That comment you quoted was from one particularly cranky member of the forum. We have a couple of those, but it is certainly not representative of the majority of us. However, that's the way they are, and we just let there comments slide.

Third: No one on that forum hates Mookie. There was one (go ahead and count him) that refered to Mookie personally, and that came from one of our resident cranks (who I know is not a malicious person in actuality) who also happened to be the webmaster for the fan site of the character who died. She was pissed and said something she probably shouldn't have. However, that was the only comment that went after Mookie personally, the rest had to do with his work.

Fourth: We still like the comic. That's why we're still reading it. When we don't like something that has happened, we're going to say so, however. It is not an attack on the creator or the story, it is a critique. We do this because we care about the comic, and we don't want it to go downhill. However, we in no way want it to go away, we keep reading.

If you'll recall, Star Wars: Episode I got a lot of negative feedback, sometimes rightfully, but those people giving the negative feedback still wanted to see Star Wars. They still wanted there to be an Episode II, and they still wanted to go see it. They just didn't want it to turn out badly, that's all, because what fan would want to see something they're a fan of jump the shark?

I've actually been reading DD from almost the beginning (one of the very few times I discovered a webcomic less than a year into its run). Kind of interesting that people would email you about Cerberus syndrome... we're talking about a comic in which one character attempted suicide for the first time about two months into the comic's run (she tried again about two-three weeks later). I think any comic that throws in two different suicide attempts within its first three months was a dramatic story-based comic right from the start.

As for Siegfried's death ruining potential storylines... hold on one moment. We're talking about a character that was finally developing friendships with these people, but was still a massive jerk. And now, whether or not he likes it, he's beholden to the lord of Hell, who happens to have a personal grudge against pretty much all the main characters. And you're complaining about lost potential? I can see so many more new directions for Siggy's story to go.

Maybe it's not the potential anyone else saw. But it's the potential Mookie saw. And he hasn't steered us wrong so far (which is where the Star Wars analogy breaks down, because, dude, Ewoks). It's dramatic as all get-out, it's riveting, and there's lots of story potential.

Besides, as I always like to say, not every story gets a happy ending.

Miyaa wrote:
Does buying the merchandise (or having advertisements that are there to entice the reader to purchase something) mean the reader is entitled to having some satisfaction with the way the comic is progressing, or is that still solely the artist's modius operandi?

IMHO buying merchandise entitled the reader to... well... the merchandise. Just as supporting the Disney juggernaut by buying a stuffed Pooh doesn't give the consumer rights to demand Disney rewrite Pooh, supporting a small-time comic doesn't give them rights to demand creative license into the comic.

Being a shareholder, now, that's another story. But I haven't seen anyone go public with their webcomic stock yet.

Larksilver: thanks for the props :) Glad our tiny band of misfits has made you smile :)

if Michael can't handle negative as well as the positive, then he's not an artist worth shit.

Reading this, I cannot get past the simple category error: the worth of an artist's art has precisely zero to do with how the artist handles criticism. Not an artist worth your time, maybe, but the wording used in the quote is pretty clearly not going for that meaning.

(It's been so long since I've posted a comment! Ah, forgetful Typekey. How I've missed you.)

I thought a couple of things are worth mentionning.

At the beginning of the year Mookie posted a series of drawings that were previews for future storylines. He may be deciding on how to do individual comics on a near-term basis (or maybe not) but he certainly has his major storylines well planned and scripted at this point. He also warned his readers that the hell storyline was going to be dark and gory. (I seem to recall someone, I think it was probably in the Tangents forum (either that or Snarkoleptics) predicting that Siegfried would become the new demon of wounds and pointing out the similarities between Siggy and the past of Karnac (loving a woman who loves a friend, violent tendencies, etc), so kudos to them for getting so close to the actual outcome.) Anyone expecting Mookie's going to be changing from reader input after that much work is sorely mistaken.

Let me say that my past experience with the DD forums have scared me, so I don't hang out there anymore. But I did hang enough to know how many girls were fans of Siggy in that fictional crush way of certain fangirls, and it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't some of the more vocal on this.

All that being said, and Eric's points much agreed with, if Luna winds up dead from this I can see DD being very hard to read for a while. It would be kind of like killing Zoe off in Sluggy Freelance.

And, of course, this being a fantasy comic, Siggy may not be beyond redemption, even in hell.

32_Footsteps: The lost story potential that most people are talking about with Siggy is character development based. Unfortunately, faceless hellspawn don't really get much of that. Additionally, the Star Wars analogy was more to reference that we are still caring fans of the comic and still want to read it, even if we give the occasional critique.

quiller: Are we expecting Mookie to go back and undo what he has done, or maken a sudden, drastic change in the current story arc when we offer critique? No, we aren't. However, it is nice to think that he takes into account the opinions of his readers and possibly (key word here) slightly alters how he goes about things in the future in order to improve the story.

Additionally, I am neither female, nor am I obsessed with any particular character. I have a fairly decent grip on reality, thank you.

I personally have no problem with Siegfried dying. I would have preferred Luna dying, as I feel it would have had more impact and I would have cared more. The only plaint people have been posting that I agree with is that this storyline has been feeling rather drug-out. It's been one crisis after another until you start hoping someone gets killed off so we can quite with the fake-outs regarding the "final fated."

Oddly enough, I was thinking of the potential GPF comparison earlier this week. Great minds, I guess.

Xingba: Somehow I doubt he'll end up faceless. Masked, perhaps, but not faceless.

...This should be accompanied by a celestial chorus singing in perfect harmony, and a giant scroll with flaming letters, and maybe even lightning and thunder...

I smell T-shirt!

Man, guys, don't make me nostalgic for killing off characters. You'll have no one to blame but yourselves.

Xingba:
erdom, and not a large one.)
Who is to say that a faceless hellspawn can't get much character development? It's all up to the writer. Certainly Karnak has gotten a lot of character development, and he was introduced to us as a demon.

And taking the readers' opinions into account on how to write the story... that doesn't improve the story, it just gears it to a particular vocal segment of the audience, who quite possibly aren't in accord with the majority of the readers. Good or bad, the vocal group is almost always a minority. The set of fans who participate in a forum are merely a subset of the entire readership, and most readers don't see fit to contact the author with their opinions. Should a writer alter things even slightly to suit a particular subgroup when he does not have any way of knowing if that's an accurate reflection of the whole? Particularly if it's contrary to his own judgment -- judgment, which it must be noted was good enough to have earned him all of those readers to begin with?

When writers are interviewed about writing, there are certain traits and habits that keep cropping up among those writers that keep getting acclaim and success. One of those traits is that they write what they think will be the better story, not what some of their fans have asked for. I think if a writer is to really write a good story, the direction of it and the thought process behind it must be internally consistent, and that cannot happen if the writer is second-guessing himself because of a few vocal fans.

And, from the fan standpoint, do you really want a writer making a deliberate choice to cater to you, even a little bit? It sounds good at first, but there are problems with it even beyond the issues it causes for the writer. For starters, which fans should the writer listen to? The fanbase is almost never going to be of one mind on anything. There are, doubtless, some people who were glad to see a racist jackass get killed. (I'll admit to feeling he had it coming, though I do think he had redeeming qualities.) Any decision you have an opinion on... there's probably somebody out there who has a differing opinion. Who should the writer listen to? You? Them? Why?

Secondly... I have read some series of books, webcomics, etc., where the writer did start taking into consideration what the fandom would like to see. Inevitably, I felt I was wasting my time reading them; as a fan, they no longer held interest. Because when the writer starts down that path, it's a very short journey to one of the surest ways to kill off interest: predictability. The fans know what they want... sort of. What they really know is what they like out of what they've already seen. They don't know what they want in the future... because they haven't seen it yet. And surprises are, by their nature, going to include some things that aren't going to be what a fan thought they wanted.

And that's really where the naysayers' arguments on this fall apart. Lost potential with Siegfried? Perhaps, but his story is clearly not over yet, and there is thus potential yet there. I suspect most of the vocal naysayers didn't see Siegfried's death coming... why then the presumption that they know what's coming next with him?

Feh. Just a sidenote to anybody reading my post and getting confused by the initial line after "Xingba:". That line isn't supposed to be there, it's just leftover from an initial thought. Nothing got caught off, nothing to see there. ;)

A-the fuck-men.

Kirabug: Y'all made me feel welcome, and you crack me up. Where else do I get to hang out with a pest, a dustbunny, and a heebie-jeebie?

Xingba: It's not just the content of the forums that represented the problem, at least for me. It's the tone. These were not readers saying "oh, man, I can't wait to have humor again" or "augh! But Siggy is my favorite character!"

These were readers who claim to love the comic who were viciously attacking it... and this trend doesn't just cover the past week or two, but rather goes for the last couple of months (as far back as I looked, actually, before the ick got to me). There is a difference between the statements indicated above and (paraphrasing, but it's a very near quote) "This stupid (expletive) storyline has gone on for too (expletive) long. I paid for Mookie to be able to quit his day job, and this is what I get?"

If that's not a sense of entitlement, from multiple "fans," widely agreed upon by others... then what is? As someone said up there in all those wonderful words, if you donate to a comic or purchase their merchandise you aren't buying creative control, you're giving money to/purchasing a product of to support something you believe in.

Wasn't it Howard Tayler who just recently said, in the comments on this very site, that he doesn't write what he thinks his characters should do, but instead writes what they think they should do? Perhaps Mookie, too, feels that they should tell their own story, and we (and he) should just, y'know, let it come out on the page.

Sure, the Deegan and Co. gang have had a rough couple of months. We all go through such times, it's just more drastic because this is a no-holds-barred fantasy. Life sucks sometimes, and good folk go through hell for months, sometimes years, at a time.

The thing that so many of the fans of DD seem to be missing is that, even in the midst of all this, there is humor. There are still "Death from above!" bits and horrible (delightful) puns, and goofy pink bard stories. That's what people do is it not? We struggle, we grieve, and we try to find ways to live despite (and because) of it. It's a shame that so many of DD's vocal fanbase are angry that Mookie's made his characters too real...

Okay, that's it. No more posting for me after my bedtime. I get all philosophical and crap. I hope that makes some sort of sense - at least, as much as usual.

I'll confess; I'm one of the ones who sent Eric a note asking for his comments on the DD strip comments. I was hoping to jog him to post here, and I guess it worked :-). I certainly didn't mean any disrespect to Mookie or his fine work.

The words "please just bear with me" have taken an ominous tone for me, though, after many bad experiences. A webcomic is absolutely the author/artist's creation to manage, and I've walked quietly away sometimes, but darn it I miss the "good ol' days" of some of those strips. See my most recent blog entry at http://fob.po8.org/node/188 on the subject of "Multiverse Syndrome". I know it's just my opinion, but it's strongly felt.

Please understand, though, that I have the utmost respect for those who exert the tremendous labor needed to regularly create a comic and place it on the web. These are generous people, and deserve our praise. Even if sometimes their storyline is not the one we would have written. :-)

Does buying merchandise from a strip make you at all entitled to the strip? I say no, for the same reason that buying food from a restaurant doesn't make you entitled to anything other than the food and related service. What if the food is worse a month from now? You don't go and march on the place demanding they change it back because the food you ate a month ago. You don't make "bring back the bacon and tomato quiche" signs and march on the diner.

Well, maybe some people do that.

....dammit! Now I'm gonna have to go read this thing just to see what all the damn fuss is about!

*looks at archive*

It's official, I'm a glutton for punishment.

I'm wondering how this affects things when the author is selling merchandise for the comic (which I've bought) and then falls apart on his schedule. Or if the primary reason that the author is falling apart on his schedule is because he's too busy making merchandise.

Chaomancer Omega took the words right out of my mouth. Maybe faceless hellspawn don't get much character development in many authors' stories. But Karnak alone proves that Mookie isn't like other writers, at least in as far as giving characterization to denizens of Hell.

In other words, don't anticipate what Mookie would do by comparing him to other artists, especially ones where he's proven to be not at all like them.

Great. Now Willis is gonna kill off Batman!

I think Mookie should be proud he created a character beloved enough for people to be upset at his death.

As long as he doens't kill off Mike...

erm... again.

I'm a dustbunny?

Okay, this conversation brings up another question. If it is all about the writers and how they want to drive a story along, why even have critics or critical analysis about how good or bad a story is? Why should the authors put up a forum where readers can comment on how good or bad a story is? There are other ways for artists to judge how well a particular comic is fairing than just from forum discussions, like web hits and sales of the said merchandise.

I realise everyone wants to have some modicum (sp?) of praise, but still, if you have a damn good idea where your story is going to go, why even bother to field suggestions or read criticism of your work? To me, good art, good writing, good music, good webcomics involve a dialogue between the artist and his intended audience. The artist presents his work and the audience views it and deems whether it is worthy of being seen again and again. It's the function of aethestics and beauty. I hope it is not as selfish as the dicussion makes it seem out to be.

Now, I haven't read Dominic Deegan for some time, and I don't really have the time to catch up on it at the moment, so I can't say much about the current controversy....

...but wasn't the first story arc focused on a mother trying to drive her own daughter to commit suicide?

I'm just saying. It did not start out in happy fairy fun land.

The reason for criticism is so writers and artists can find out how effectively they've done what they wanted to do.

More to the point, it is not the existence of negative commentary we're debating. Seriously. Negative commentary is good. Feedback is good.

What we're debating is the tone of such things. As well as the difference between "this wasn't well done" and "I DON'T LIKE THIS!" There's lots of stuff in the media I love that I don't like. That doesn't mean it's ineffective or even the wrong path to go in. However, my sympathy for the characters can't become the driver for an artist or writer to guide where they go.

Whoa, so many comments overnight...

Listen, I'm not saying he should "cater to the fans". That's why I said "[i]possibly[/i] slight alter" and not "absolutely drastically alter". I never meant that I wanted him to cater at all. However, as someone who is trying to become a bit of a writer himself, I can say that criticism can be a very sound path to improvement. It's like Paul said: criticism will tell me how effectively my story has been told. In my mind, that's something a writer or artist ought to know.

Also, please stop accusing the entire forum. Are there some people who can be a little cranky and perhaps rash with what they say? Yes. Should you damn the entire forum because of that? No. Most of us were not viciously attacking it. Go ahead and read the post on the link I posted, and then come back and tell me if I was viciously attacking it. I would be stunned if you thought so.

The thing is, this is the first real rough time I have seen in the forums. During the last "Battle for Barthis" arc, there was almost nothing but praise. Heck, even for parts of this arc, the same thing happened. The parts with Karnak were almost unanimously loved, from my understanding. People basically had a problem with two things: Klo Tark, and the fated fatal (along with the cliffhangers the latter entailed). Are we really attacking him for disliking these two things? Are we trolling the forums by stating our opinions on them? Does that mean we don't like Dominic Deegan?

If you really think the answer to those questions is "yes," then I'm not sure there is anything else I can possibly say to convince you otherwise.

Let's all remember to use our indoor voices. ;)

Xingba: I think that point's a good one to make. However, I think it actually dovetails with my original point (and indeed the Entitlement essay I referenced). The vast majority of the DD fandom almost certainly just... you know, likes Dominic Deegan. They might get into it, they might hate things that happen, but they're cheerful and polite and all the rest.

Those for whom entitlement swirls lurk within the depths of such a fandom, ready to crest water and eat naked chicks while they swim. The problem is, they quickly dominate the perception one has of a forum and/or a fandom, both for outside onlookers and -- in some cases -- by the artist him or herself.

Which is why it becomes -- in the minds of many -- a problem of the entire forum, even though it is a small but vocal minority who are engaged in it.

"Why should the authors put up a forum where readers can comment on how good or bad a story is?"

Well, in a best-case scenario, a forum does allow the readers to form a community around the comic, and a community around it creates a greater attachment, which leads to that community more actively recruiting more readers.

Of course, the best-case scenario doesn't always happen, and you get things like this happening more often than anyone cares to admit. I can completely understand why any artist would want to forego forums (to be perfectly frank, I'd probably prefer to go without them myself if I was doing a webcomic).

But in terms of criticism, it's worth discussing the difference between constructive criticism and whining complaints. Some of what's been said about DD has definitely established itself firmly in the latter camp. I personally don't think that which is in the former camp are correct, but at least they try to be fair about it. (The closest I can find to a legit complaint is the parts about Klo Tark - but then I question why people can accept a mortal landing in a deadly situation and getting transformed into a demon, but not a mortal landing in a deadly situation and getting transformed into an angel.)

The dividing line is, as Eric points out, the sense of entitlement. You can say you don't like the current DD storyline all you want. But it's not fair to say that Mookie owes you a better one. He doesn't owe anyone the time of day.

Eric, you're probably right. There probably are people who have an undue sense of entitlement, and they are the ones giving Mookie the crap he doesn't deserve and saying that he owes them things he doesn't. The problem here is that, to be frank, your original point gets kind of lost in the article. Which gets to the reason I'm even here in the first place.

You see, I think a lot of people misinterpreted your article and/or Mookie's comment. In the past day or so, tons of new posters have been making threads with titles like "You should all be ashamed!", basically accusing everyone in the entire forum of being a class A douchebag. They aren't getting that you're talking about a select few people, they just saw "These guys are complaining about things they have no right to be complaining about, so they should just shut up or get the fuck out."

That's not your fault. They misinterpreted what you were saying. One of them even linked this article as citation for our meanness, so I felt I had to come here and clarify things, because some people just didn't seem to be getting it. Sorry if I've caused a fuss.

Fie on you, Eric Burns! Ok, so I haven't bought any merchandise or been able to afford to donate, but as a fan of your work I feel I have the right to dictate what you read, and thus write about! More DD:OFH!

Alright. Silliness aside, I have posted on the Dominic Deegan forum several times (not that anyone tends to notice me) and while there's a whole lotta vitriol at times (the debate over Siggy's father turned into quite the mudfest) I haven't particularly found it unlivable. They're vocal people (or they wouldn't be posting, now would they?) who enjoy the comic and want to talk about why - and why they DON'T enjoy it when they don't.

I can sort of see the Cerebus syndrome comments, not because the subject matter has changed but how the handling has. Mookie's gotten much better at the drama - and less likely to play drama for laughs. (everyone talks about Luna's 'tragic history' - truth is a lot of it was played for laughs, including suicide attempts, being cut out of her mother's will and left penniless and despised by the rest of her family, etc.) As Mookie plays it more seriously, so do the fans take it more seriously.

Truth be told my biggest problem with DD:OFH is Dominic himself. He's been getting more and more annoyingly perfect, imho, as his power level has increased exponentially. Knows all, sees all, blah. I miss the selfish, misanthropic smoker from the first few hundred strips - but in general the story's still so good it keeps me hooked, and we do see occasional flashes of that young curmudgeon when there's time - which I look forward to the chance now the war in hell is drawing to a close.

To get back to Siggy: I AM disappointed at the death, not because I think he's out of the picture but because of his loss of potential as a human. Love him or hate him he was the most HUMAN of the cast. He stumbled, he screwed up, he got up and dusted himself off and kept going. He had irrational responses based on emotion and prejudice not logic. He was as 'real' as it gets in fiction, imho. All that is gone now - he's become a faceless (literally) minion of the new Lord of Hell. Where this will go, dunno. But that old Sigfried is gone, and I feel a sense of loss and disappointment. And I hope that Mookie's proud of himself.

Literally, I do. He's managed to make me care about the death of a small-minded bigot with severe anger management problems and a seriously twisted sense of values, and to miss Siggy now he's gone. He's done good work with the character, and with the plot, and I still eagerly sit there many a night at 3AM hitting 'refresh' til the new comic comes up. So he's not only doing what he enjoys, but doing it well enough to entertain and engage.

Nice comment Shelbelle, and certainly one of Mookie's talents is that he is able to make people care about his characters so much.

I also consider it one of the interesting aspects of Dominic Deegan is watching how Mookie manages to create a story out of a character like Dominic who would normally not be considered story material. Imagine it as a TV pitch. You see we have this character, and he's always grumpy, and his special ability is being able to see things in the future, past and present, and he is physically weak and highly intelligent and generally solves problems by thinking two steps ahead of everyone else. It is not exactly standard fantasy fare, though it is a bit reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes.

Certainly keeping Dominic human and fallible as his power sometimes threatens to become omniscience has to be a tough road for Mookie to walk as a writer. He has to both deal with the fact that Dominic has better ability to know what is going on than most heroes, and figure out how he can use that power in such a way as to be a cool hero instead of just a smartass know-it-all. It takes some inspired planning to make a battle between two seers compelling, particularly in what is generally a 4 panel comic with punchline.

Oh, and regarding the DD forums, I should make clear that it was many years ago when I last stopped visiting, and they may be dramatically different these days (the comic has certainly changed plenty). I originally enjoyed visiting the forums when there was plenty of intelligent commentary and intriguing speculation going on. Perhaps if some of the visitors to this comment area are representative that spirit may have returned to the forums. (Though obviously every active forum will have a mix of people from all regions of the intellectual and emotional spectrum.) Sadly it is often the boorish who's actions speak the loudest, but thankfully Mookie is thicker skinned than many of the artists out there.

Ah, good old Dominic Deegan...brutality that would make de Sade squirm, not one but two rape controversies (albeit one fairly minor), all interspersed with corny puns and fish facials. My wallpaper is the Christmas freebie.

"...everyone talks about Luna's 'tragic history' - truth is a lot of it was played for laughs, including suicide attempts, being cut out of her mother's will and left penniless and despised by the rest of her family, etc."

You know, just in general, I wouldn't say things like "oh, he wrote about a character being disinherited and attempting suicide twice to be funny" to make any sort of point. Whether or not it actually is funny is besides the point. But it almost sounds like you're saying "oh, he's a terrible human being, but only for the laughs."

Okay, from all I know about Mookie, he might get a kick out of that being said. Still, it's not the kind of thing I'd say as a glowing point about an author, especially amongst an audience that isn't by and large familiar with him.

For those who can't believe I haven't fallen under Dominic Deegan's sway... take heart. someone vastly cooler than I am has become consumed by the archives and is talking them up.

Seriously, when you can attract a Foglio, who needs a Burns? ;)

Honestly, I'm surprised that anyone likes Sigfried. I started reading the archives last year, tore through them in a few days, and decided fairly quickly that one of my favorite comics was him getting crucified to a wall with his own sword. I really hated him as a character. Yeah, he had redemption possibilities, blah blah blah, nevertheless, I despised him. He wasn't conflicted and human, at least not as I saw him, he was a bastard and a bully who abused his power constantly. He beat up on the injured, the crippled, the young, and anyone who was a little different. He was a bigoted ass who would rather kill you than admit it, and he tried to do so with Dominic in this last arc. Siggy as a demon? Yeah, sounds about right. Can't be that much worse than what he did in life.

Reading that entry, you obviously need a Burns to get the attention of a Foglio. ;)

Ah, fannish entitlement... Try as you might Eric, that blight will forever stain the land.

Protocoach: That's always pretty much been my impression of Siegfried as well. I've never been able to understand how anyone could like him. I was kind of hoping he would end up managing to redeem himself, but I can't say he's reaped anything but what he sowed.

Certainly keeping Dominic human and fallible as his power sometimes threatens to become omniscience has to be a tough road for Mookie to walk as a writer. He has to both deal with the fact that Dominic has better ability to know what is going on than most heroes, and figure out how he can use that power in such a way as to be a cool hero instead of just a smartass know-it-all.
That's actually the thing I like best about what he's done with Dominic lately. Despite the fact that Dom's power level has raised and expanded exponentially, Mookie still manages to challenge the character without making his allies seem like nothing more than sidekicks designed to sit back and watch slack-jawed as Super Dominic saves the day again.

You know, just in general, I wouldn't say things like "oh, he wrote about a character being disinherited and attempting suicide twice to be funny" to make any sort of point. Whether or not it actually is funny is besides the point. But it almost sounds like you're saying "oh, he's a terrible human being, but only for the laughs."
*sigh* perhaps I didn't express it well. Maybe it's a case of 'you had to be there' - but I have to point out that there's a lot of humor that's based on just such brutality and worse. (I cannot watch most sitcoms and comedy movies because I end up empathizing with the 'poor schmuck' character and wincing rather than laughing at the 'funny' things - physical pain and mortal embarrassment just is not long-term-amusing to me. Mookie only got away with not turning me off with it cause he didn't make it the ONLY funny thing in the comic - unlike most TV/movie comedies.) During the early days of the comic it seemed that he couldn't decide whether he wanted it to be gag-a-day or drama. He was on a 4 panel format and he seemed to work very hard to bring both the drama and the funny - and by and large he succeeded, partly by playing the drama for laughter many times. As the strips lengthened to 8 panels he got away from that formula - it's now more 'straight drama' than 'regular punchlines with story to hold it together'. Both are good - but there's definitely a case to be made for 'cerebus syndrome' because the drama's no longer half slapstick-setups, but played straight with the humor coming and going rather than happening every strip.

Honestly, I'm surprised that anyone likes Sigfried.
Who said he was likeable? :D He's not very likeable as a person, and in real life, I wouldn't let that psycho in my house. But he's an engaging and fascinating character who never stopped evolving, even when he backslid. Eventually he might've turned into a really decent fella, and as it was he was trying. The sadness over his death is mostly sadness over unfulfilled potential - at least for me.

Who said he was likeable? :D He's not very likeable as a person, and in real life, I wouldn't let that psycho in my house. But he's an engaging and fascinating character who never stopped evolving, even when he backslid. Eventually he might've turned into a really decent fella, and as it was he was trying. The sadness over his death is mostly sadness over unfulfilled potential - at least for me.

Honestly, I can say that I really was surprised that Siggy ended up as a lieutenant of Hell. I mean, sure, as you said, he backslid a couple times, but honestly, some of his 'infractions' were simply a part of who he'd been raised to be. His father was obviously a brutal man, and Siggy was certainly taught to be just like him. But after the first conflict with Jacob and the Chosen, he seemed to improve. Sure, he had a few moments that seemed to highlight he wasn't there yet, but was Dominic, an intellectual, completely destroying Brakkis any less brutal than Sigfreid, a very physical person, disciplining the crooked knights in what could possibly be argued as righteous indignation at their blatant betrayal of what the Royal Knights are supposed to uphold? I have to say that his open contrition over nearly beating Dominic to death actually made me feel sorry for the poor guy. Honestly, I have to think that the infernomancer specifically targeted Siggy's pop just because he knew that it would destabilize Siggy's potential of allying with Dom even further. He lashes out, wrongly, at Dominic and eliminates possibly the only one there capable of putting the infernomancer down. Beyond that brutal act just before his death, Sigfried's actions were the acts of a flawed but mostly 'lawful' character. The real problem's not with Sigfried's abuses of power so much as the system that allows such autocratic power in the hands of a single group.

So yeah, I'm hoping that Siggy's story isn't done yet. Because honestly....that wouldn't do justice to the character, in my mind, to simply see him as a mindless minion till his inevitable destruction. Honestly, I think there's some kind of point to the mask Sigfried wears...it seems to divorce us from his face, which is usually twisted into a demonic visage in such cases. Perhaps Karnak's bending the rules again? I see potential here, and I hope it's not wasted.

"Maybe it's a case of 'you had to be there'..."

To quote myself, above...

"I've actually been reading DD from almost the beginning (one of the very few times I discovered a webcomic less than a year into its run)."

So yes, I already was there. One of the first DD strips I read was Luna's second suicide attempt. They were played for irony (and to make the story interesting), but I wouldn't say laughs. Keep in mind that Eric is the only one here who has said that he doesn't read DD. Some of us have been reading it for quite some time.

Hmmm. I've never been able to see that side of Sigfried. He's always come across to me as a one-dimensional bully who I couldn't wait to have off my screen.

When he first showed up during the War in Hell arc, my only reaction was disbelief that he could have so completely failed to learn anything from his past screwups, and that he was still acting in exactly the same way as he had from the start.

For a complex character with redemption possibilities, I think that, say, Szark provides much much better possibilities.

One final question: Mookie?

And 32, what's wrong with Ewoks? At least they're better than that Jar Jar Binks blight!

Eric, I'm curious: In what ways would you change your essay (if any) if Dominic Deegan WAS Mookie's full-time job, or at least a significant source of revenue for him? Because honestly, your entire essay could apply to a certain segment of the OOTS fanbase if you just switched the names, up until you say, "This isn't his job." OOTS *is* my job--or more specifically, manufacturing OOTS merchandise is my job, since I don't really make money directly from the website, except in some donations here and there.

Do you think an artist has any more or less obligation to listen to fan entitlement if the fans are putting bread on his table? My feeling has always been that as long as I accept in advance the ramifications of any direction change--up to and including the possibility of widespread abandonment by longtime readers--and don't whine about it afterward, it's still my story to tell as I see fit.

I love 95% of my fans, but that other 5%? If I could block them from viewing my site, I would. I've often wondered if I should put up a sign on my site that says, "The management reserves the right to refuse your business for any reason."

Eric, I'm curious: In what ways would you change your essay (if any) if Dominic Deegan WAS Mookie's full-time job, or at least a significant source of revenue for him? Because honestly, your entire essay could apply to a certain segment of the OOTS fanbase if you just switched the names, up until you say, "This isn't his job." OOTS *is* my job--or more specifically, manufacturing OOTS merchandise is my job, since I don't really make money directly from the website, except in some donations here and there.

I would cut that line out. And... well, that's about it.

There is a major difference in expectation between someone who does this for the sheer joy but keeps a day job, and someone who does this to put food on their table. That difference is this: the audience honestly can demand a good faith effort to update consistently when their patronage feeds the artist.

However, the audience gets no more say in the content of what the artist puts up as any others do. As you say:

My feeling has always been that as long as I accept in advance the ramifications of any direction change--up to and including the possibility of widespread abandonment by longtime readers--and don't whine about it afterward, it's still my story to tell as I see fit.

And that is absolutely right. So long as you understand that if you piss off enough of your audience, you might need to find some other means to feed yourself and your family, then power to you.

The thing is, most (not all) of the time, writing for the audience instead of following your story as you see fit does more to lower your retention than doing something shocking or flouting their will would. When people talk about "selling out," that's actually what they mean. Not "you shouldn't make money doing what you're doing," but "you shouldn't change what you're doing to maximize your profits." And you know, there's room for debate there, but that's getting afield.

Needless to say, I totally agree with you.

Dare I mention it?

You must be doin' something right, Eric... you had a discussion rife with, well, discussion, but didn't get any aggro on you. Maybe the trend, she is broken?

Marvel comics has been puttering along for years, terrified of upsetting their fan base by having anyone, y'know, change and grow noticeably.. and the X-Men titles, in particular, have stagnated and lost droves of readers because of it. As has been repeatedly brought home to me, art should be an expression of one's self, or it rapidly loses its value.

And to be fair to Mookie, he's really solid on his updates - and he always alerts people ahead of time when he'll miss them (for a convention or to deal with personal matters).

Miyaa, Mookie is Michael Terracciano's nickname. Most of his fans use it because it's alot easier to spell than his last name, and his first is too common.

Finally, yes, the Ewoks are better than Jar Jar Binks. That's like saying trichinosis is better than botulism - quite true, but you're really better off without either. The Ewoks were the sign that Lucas was much more interested in creating marketable characters than ones that added at all to the story.

Unless Lucas really did want to show that Imperial stormtroopers were so dumb, they'd get their asses kicked by a bunch of pimitive, undersized teddy bears.

(Though it's worth noting, for those who have equated this situation with GPF's -- Terracciano's saying "hang in with me, and things will cycle up." Darlington said, roughly, "go away and come back and read the whole thing as a single unit after the morbid stuff is over." Apples and oranges. But I digress.)

Well, no, not exactly.

Jeff said exactly what Terracciano said -- "hang in with me, and things will cycle up." He ALSO said that it might be easier for some people to read it in blocks, because GPF was considerably more episodic during the Surreptitious Machinations storyline. But the difference wasn't that Mookie said A and Jeff said B, the difference was taht Mookie said A and Jeff said A+B.

Whether that's an important difference or not, I can't say.

Another big difference, to me at least, is that Mookie has said that for a single storyline, one that's lasted, what, weeks? The whole major arc has only gone on a month or two. Jeff said that for a year.

A year is long enough for any change to feel permanent, and for those words to mean a heck of a lot less to a fanbase than they might over the course of a couple of weeks.

So yeah, I'm hoping that Siggy's story isn't done yet. Because honestly....that wouldn't do justice to the character, in my mind, to simply see him as a mindless minion till his inevitable destruction. Honestly, I think there's some kind of point to the mask Sigfried wears...it seems to divorce us from his face, which is usually twisted into a demonic visage in such cases. Perhaps Karnak's bending the rules again? I see potential here, and I hope it's not wasted.

Personally, what I think people are missing is the possibility that DD's Hell doesn't care about the righteousness of people in it. Karnak wasn't really evil, just very id-driven. Siegfried was much the same. I think that more or less, certain situations allow one to be drawn into Hell and it proceeds to twist you. Similarly, even though Siegfried wasn't evil, they can use his id to twist him. Similarly, I suspect that most who were cast down in that manner still possess that spark that may allow redemption.

The real trouble isn't when the fandom starts raving. Fandoms will always rave. Knee-jerk reactions are a part of humanity, so there will always be rage spewed from people who attach themselves to a comic that happens to undergo change and evolution.


The trouble is when artists start apologizing for their own writing and plotting. It's tough not to do in the face of rabid (and rational) criticism. However, when artists apologize, it sounds like they themselves do not believe that what they did was right. "Just bear with me" is an acknowledgement: it says "my bad." It's one thing to apologize for an actual screw-up, like not meeting a deadline, or failing to live up to some promise; apologizing for the comic makes it seem like the current plot is a screw-up as well.



This doesn't mean that artists should ignore their critics. When critics speak of troubles in pacing, or art, or even characterization, it is a good opportunity to reevaluate the work and see where the delivery can be improved. But the artist cannot apologize for their actions, for that assumes that their work is bad instead of not good enough. There is a difference. Bad work is a disgrace. Not good enough work is almost good, almost right, almost there. There is no shame in almost being where you need or want to be.



Eric is right. Fandom has no place being bitches about the story because the story is not theirs to dictate; it is theirs to consume. The artist is a despot, and the very fact that creators have forums and interact with their fans is an testament to their benevolence, which fandom would do well to not abuse. In the same vein, admitting mistakes allows said abuse to continue, while acknowledging room for improvement and knowing when to tell fandom that they are wrong shows that the author is receptive but still the owner of his own comic.



Honestly, I didn't understand why mookie had to apologize in the first place. Anyone who's followed Dominic Deegan for a while knows that epic storylines are what that comic is about. From the beginning, things have escalated over at DD, and it's been a pattern that everyone should have picked up on and one that is clearly what mookie did from the beginning. What were the critics expecting? If mookie increased the interplanar conflicts to start including other planets, I would not treat the news with surpise. On the other hand, if Dominic & Co. settled into a happily ever after comic, with idyllic daily happenstance, I would be shocked. Mookie had nothing to apologize for other than perhaps "I'm sorry you don't like epic stories: Why are you here?"



However, like I said, it's not easy facing down critics, especially when they come from within the very group of people who like your work. They are your contingency: when they are angry, it really does feel like you did something wrong. I know why mookie apologized. I probably would have done the same, upon reading some of those fans' first reactions.



I am glad that Eric is around to stand up for authors when they find their own courage lacking. I'm also glad that Eric knows when an author is honestly losing what their comic actually stands for. Hopefully mookie will be emboldened by such support, and find the self-confidence to be able to pick through what fans are saying and find what is, in fact, useful criticism. Hopefully, in the future, he will avoid saying that the current status is bad, but I'm almost done with the bad and soon the good will be back.



Incidentally, I always found Siggy to be very unsympathetic. His only saving grace was his lawfulness, really. He -meant- to do the right thing, but his own personality always got in the way. His death is tragic in many ways, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. He wasn't -my- friend.

Recovering Extrovert -
ok, that was really long. Interesting, but really long. may i ask why you put tons of spaces between your blocks of text?

may i ask why you put tons of spaces between your blocks of text?

It's a flaw in the current content management system: the vertical spacing in the preview and the vertical spacing in the actual comment are very different.

Blast you spacing! Why must you make me look like a fool! Is my own idiocy not enough for you?

Ahem. Sorry about that. I will control those in the future, with sticks.

ah . . . i pretty much never preview, i just type what i want and assume it will show accordingly.
of course, i rarely do more than hit in order to set something off, and when i do, it's just 2 s, so i leave 1 blank line.

like so. now, i will see how this posts. :) but you can't edit, and previews are never accurate, so i guess it's just a matter of educated guesses until you learn how it processes. :)

Hmm.

My oblique comments about someone not updating because he's too busy working on stuff to sell to the fanbase was actually referring to OOTS. It's interesting to see the other side of the story.

On the other hand, I rarely whinge about a comic. I just delete the bookmark and see if the hooks are still in. I've tried to drop PvP twice now but I keep coming back - there's been plenty of others that I've just let go. It's very therapeutic.

A question on the 'bear with me' thing. If a artist is trying to set something up, and the set up is itself rather boring or in some way less than good, but the thing being set up is good, is that worthy of a 'bear with me'? Also, is that an apology or simply a notification?

My thought here is that if an artist is doing a long running comic which updates on a regular, frequent basis, waiting for every part of a story to be perfectly tellable may not be a luxury they can afford.

If you've planned out everything months or years in advance, you probably have every bit of needed backstory filled in somewhere before it's needed. If you're working closer to the seat of your pants, and get an idea that is just too good to pass up, but it requires a bit of backstory, what's the best way to go about the backstory? Exposition/Narration? Gets things across very quickly, but is very blatant. Flashbacks? Good and bad points there. Sub-par comics with the sole purpose of content loading? Least obvious method, but also least fan-satisfying.

I'm curious here, as I'm currently script-writing and am looking at how to set certain things up.

Sean Duggan -
I think you're dead on. The particular strip to look at might be this one.

For those just tuning in, Sigfried's men have been under the control of a demonic presence. In this strip, the demon releases them a second before Sigfried chops them up. Therefore, whether he was aware of it or not, he's murdered a bunch of innocents. That's a damnin' offense in these parts, buckaroo.

Eric Burns-
I found your site by chance a week or so back, and I've been reading through the Snarchives voraciously. Thank you for writing some tasty, tasty discourse.

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