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its very reasonable to try and avoid hurting people where possible but it is much less reasonable to demand that someone else’s risqué jokes be removed from a website that the viewer has full power to just… not visit anymore. The joke was in poor taste, making it one of thousands of similar jokes. If you find the comic offensive, that’s fine, but referring to people who have run a wildly successful children’s hospital charity for over 10 years as “the dick wolves guys” is just shitty.

I never said the comic should be taken down, just that the PA guys were kind of dickheads about the whole thing. They could have either apologized, defended it, or just ignored the criticism and let it blow over instead of bringing it up themselves every few years. 

Anonymous said to thewebcomicsreview:

I feel like you’d be a little spiky too if literally hundreds of people began circulating that LOTH page as proof that you hated burn victims and supported burning people in real life.

It was actually a much later page that got people mad at me for “hating white men” because I wrote Riley as a jerk. 

There’s no shortage of stupid-ass criticism of comics. Part of being on the internet now, and a lot of people have had it was worse over way less. 

Anonymous said to thewebcomicsreview:

Like, not to nelabor the point, but if you think angrily pushing back because multiple people jumped directly to accusing them of having actually raped someone because “only rapists would find that funny” is being an asshole, I just don’t understand your worldview at all.

People accused me of transphobic language when I tagged a Questionable Content page with “the trappening”, but I never felt the need to “push back” on trans people. I considered their arguments, decided they were making a fair point, apologized, and removed the tag.I know some of the people who were originally upset with me were satisfied by this, and I’m sure some of the people who were upset with me were not satisfied with this and stopped following. We all moved on with our lives and I tried to be a little more thoughtful when discussing trans issues so I didn’t say something stupid again.

Anonymous said to thewebcomicsreview:

artists who release their art for free don’t have a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t hurt anyone, are you fucking mental? press the back button. find a different comic. don’t flip the fuck out and demand an apology and then carry a grudge forever when you don’t get it

Sure, lots of comics have difficult or challenging content. Sometimes it’s in the service of a really fucking good comic that wants to say important things about difficult issues.

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Such as Drop Out’s discussion of mental illness, or take your pick of [Most “Great Literature” From School]. 

Sometimes it’s in the service of a stupid joke

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The Homestuck epilogues have, um, a lot of this, like this segment of middle-aged Gamzee fucking teenage Vriska in a bush for shock value grossout comedy. 

And the Homestuck epilogues got a lot more criticism, mostly because Homestuck’s this big huge corporate franchise but also because this stuff is really dumb and worthy of criticism. Much of the criticism is fair, and I think it’s a little cowardly of Andrew Hussie to hide behind his staff like he does, letting them take all the criticism why he poses with horses. There’s certainly an issue when people fire a massive hate mob at random teenagers making their first comics, but a major webcomic/gaming corporation making rape jokes isn’t quite the same thing.

And, really, if you’re sending a message to “The Webcomics Review” asking me not to have opinions of major popular webcomics, perhaps it is in fact you who should hit the back button. Or not, if you don’t want to. I’d be a hypocrite to tell you not to criticize me, after all. Feel free to leave a comment on my comic over at SaffronComic.com! 

Anonymous said to thewebcomicsreview:

It’s super good of you to promote humility and accountability like this. Quick question though, how many times has the address of your children’s school been posted on twitter because of a joke you drew?

Hi. This is Daniel Kelly of the Webcomics Review. We recently made a post where a rich and famous comic creator was criticized for making and standing behind a rape joke and selling rape joke shirts and flags.

Some found that idea disturbing.

We want to state in clear language, without ambiguity or room for interpretation: we hate doxxers, and all the doxxing they do. Seriously, though. Doxxers are really the worst

It’s possible you read my blog, and became a doxxer as a direct result. If you’re doxxing someone right now, stop. Apologize. And leave. Go, and dox no more.

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Not super sure you’re the guy to be dismissively rreferring to someone else’s poorly executed over the top hyperbolic comedy-evil joke like “dick wolves”, Mr. Villian Burns A Child To Death For Laffs.

People say stupid shit all the time, and I’m no exception. To pick a comparable example, when Claire and Martin had the infamous “You’re Beautiful” strip in Questionable Content, I tagged it as “The Trappening”, which a lot of people got upset about, because using “trap” was transphobic.

The difference here is that when people came to me and said “Hey man don’t say thinks like that it’s transphobic”,  I went “Okay yeah that’s a reasonable request”, apologized, and edited the post to remove the tag

This is not how Penny Arcade reacted when people were upset by the Dickwolves strip. First they made posts with jokey Trigger Warnings, then they made a strip making a joke out of the reaction

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Then they started selling Dickwolves shirts and pennants

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And when the Penny Arcade store pulled the Dickwolves merch due to the controversy, Gabe said it was a mistake and wore the shirt to Pax, and then, a few year later at a different Pax, went on stage to say he regretted pulling the merchandise to a cheering crowd.

People say stupid shit all the time, it’s part of being human and let he who has not shitposted throw the first stone. But part of being an adult is realizing when you’ve done something hurtful to someone. And then you can either go “Sorry, I’ll fix it” or at least “I realize this is hurtful but I think it’s important to the art I’m trying to make and I understand if that makes you not want to read it” and maybe throw up a content warning.

What you don’t do is spend years making fun of the people you hurt, and sell a bunch of merch making fun of them. Then you’re just being an asshole.

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What Happened with those web comics guys…

jessethorn:

Six years ago, I had a very one-sided “feud” with the creators of the web comic Penny Arcade. Amazingly, it still comes up in my life all the time. It’s still high in the google ranks when people search for me. I think it may still be in my Wikipedia entry, though I haven’t looked lately. It’s brought up in maybe a third of online conversations about my work. My approach over the years has been to avoid talking about it, but it came up again yesterday, and a guy who called me a monster on Twitter apologized and seems genuinely interested in knowing what went down. So I’ll just say it here and be done with it, OK?

Years and years ago – I think 2009 or 2010 – I got a publicist’s pitch for a compilation book of the web comic Penny Arcade. I didn’t think it was right for my public radio show, but I remembered my Jordan, Jesse, Go! co-host Jordan had been a fan of it, so I asked the publicist if that might be a good fit. She agreed, and we found a time – Jordan was working weekdays at FOX at the time, so he actually took a half-day off work to make it happen.

The guys showed up at my place in Silverlake (where we recorded at the time) an hour earlier than scheduled. They were confused about when our recording was supposed to start. (I don’t know if they miscommunicated with their team or what, but I later double-checked the scheduled time.) They were kind of peeved that we couldn’t start right away (Jordan was on his way over from west LA), but I offered them a seat and a drink and tried to chat.

They’d come with a video guy, who was shooting when I opened the door. They didn’t introduce him or explain his presence. I said hello to him, and he sort of nodded at me. I never learned his name. I tried to make small talk with them, and they weren’t having it. They were annoyed I had an XBox and not a Playstation. I guessed it was because they wanted to show me their game – one of them mumbled, “No. Demos.”

I found out what their hard out time was and assured them we’d get things wrapped by then, even though Jordan was stuck in mid-day LA traffic. I explained to them (as I do with all guests who don’t know the show) that it was a comedy chat show, not an interview show, and Jordan and I would talk for a couple of minutes, then we’d introduce them and we’d just kind of goof around for an hour or so. They grumbled acknowledgement. 

When Jordan showed, we pretty much went right into the studio and got started, trying to be mindful of their out time. In the first segment, we usually talk for a couple minutes, then introduce the guests. Literally from the moment we introduced them, they were stonewalling us. They seemed annoyed to be there, angry at us about the time thing, and generally unpleasant. Or actually I think one of them was pretty much totally silent, while the other was unpleasant. I took a break, and switched to trying to interview them in the next segment. They weren’t having that either. So I pretty much gave up and thought, “well, we’ll get enough show to use, and get them out on time, and decide what to do about all this later.” So we just sort of powered through the last 20 minutes or so. They left, and Jordan and I were basically like: “huh. That was weird.”

Because we’d had a special weekday record, we had a regular recording scheduled for the weekend a few days later with Xeni Jardin from Boing-Boing. While (obviously) not a comedian, she was totally delightful, and it was a fun show. We put that up as the next episode of the podcast, while we decided what to do about the crappy show we had in the can.

Then I started getting emails, like, “Have you seen Penny Arcade?!”

Basically they had made a comic in which I murdered them (which, by the way, included their publicist’s real name). They wrote an explanatory essay which was frankly pretty awful. They were nothing less than completely contemptuous of us (mostly me).

Frankly, I was completely stunned. It would never have occurred to me, even after they were so rude on the show and at my home, to publicly condemn them. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I didn’t really know what to do, and I knew their web power was a thousand times mine and I’d never win a fight. I posted something conciliatory on Twitter and hoped it would all go away. Something like, “It seems like it was all a misunderstanding.” Of course, they responded to my conciliation with more rudeness on their forum and on Twitter. Basically they were like, “Yeah, it was all a misunderstanding. We’d didn’t understand that guy was an asshole.”

Their publicist emailed me a nice note. I replied and said that I’d heard from listeners of ours that they weren’t really social guys, and I guess they just weren’t up to it that day or whatever. She said she’d worked in genre publishing her whole life, worked with plenty of people who weren’t super-social, and she’d never had anyone do or say anything this awful. I think she was also legitimately worried about herself, since she’d been named in the comic too.

I started getting emails, and forum trolls, and tweets – calling me every kind of awful name, talking about how shitty my work was, all kinds of awful stuff. It was literally the most unpleasant period of my online life. It went on for weeks. I was totally shocked that people wouldn’t look at a comic like the one they made and think, “Geez, what kind of unprofessional dick would do this?” 

For obvious reasons, we didn’t put out the show. We had a lot of fans who had been big Penny Arcade fans, and they were really curious about it. Their reactions to the news had been a real spectrum, from “wow, these guys I liked sure seemed like dicks” to “that’s those guys being those guys!” to “I guess it was just a misunderstanding.” Our fans being sweethearts, it was mostly the last one.

So finally, I figured it’d been a long time, and I’d post the show to our forum, so those folks who really loved JJGo could satisfy their curiousity. Shortly thereafter, the Penny Arcade guys hotlinked the show from their blog with a shitty note about me being “toxic.”

So a new wave of people emailing me, clogging up our forum, sending me shitty notes on the forum, tweeting at me and so forth started. A big conversation happened on their forum about how awful I was. Etc, etc, etc. So I took down the show and decided not to talk about it any more. I figured if I tried to defend myself, it would just start a new shitstorm.

Many times over the years, our fans have reached out to the Penny Arcade guys about it, on Twitter, on their forum, whatever. They’ve always declined to apologize or ever moderate their shittiness. When I added a show hosted in part by guys from video game world, I got a new round of emails and harassment – people saying “how could you team up with that creepy asshole” or whatever. Honestly, over six years, this has never stopped – it’s slowed, but it still crops up every other month or so.

Anyway, thanks to PAX, their video game con, they’re richer than me, they still have a lot more internet power than me, and I guess this all will probably start a new mini-wave of bullshit. But if you want to know what happened, that’s what happened. Since this all went down, the guys behind the comic have had a couple of big incidents involving stuff even shittier than what they did to me. We don’t really get our fans defending them anymore. Our fans are almost universally kind, thoughtful people, and these guys have show their colors many times. Unlike six years ago, when I was barely scraping by on a combination of donations and my wife’s law school loans, I’ve got a secure career doing what I love, with kids and a home and a car that works and everything I’ve ever wanted. 

We’ve been doing JJGo pretty much every week for about ten years now. This is the only time anything like this has happened. I’m really proud of the show, and really proud of that record.

So yeah, that’s what happened.

Wow I can’t believe the dickwolves guys turned out to be assholes I for one am shocked