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Damonkey Business: Letter To The Reader

Dear Mr. or Mrs. Reader,

I would like to cancel my subscription to your opinions.

I have been a longtime loyal subscriber for almost two years, having originally been won over by your public action's ideals, integrity, and overall quality of judgement. When you first popped up as a small start-up, with a few comments peppered here and there on my newsmagazine articles, you made a profound impact, and quickly won my heart.

I have stood by loyally as you charmed editor after editor with your unsolicited words. Many times I could not help but think you had a wiretap on my brain, your words so echoed my own unspoken personal thoughts and feelings. Consistently, you have risen up to the challenge and filled a need in the webcomic media world: we asked for an intelligent audience, and you answered the call.

However, your most recent public-aching, the theme of which seems to be "Mildly Risque Cover Images Are The Devil" has left me completely disgusted. You have chosen to force your opinions on what is "worksafe", what is "proper", and what is "art" on my unsuspecting delicate editorial condition, and I fear the trauma will not soon be forgotten. You didn’t even have the decency to warn me about this beforehand, or offer me some sort of filter option – you just went ahead and voiced your opinion uncut, uncensored. What if some of my kids would have been reading your words along with me? Didn’t you think of the children??

You're lucky I don't sue.

You shout headlines berating each of my beliefs and contradict yourself all the way. Your party line used to be "print comics are getting stagnant" and "syndicated strips are dull and drab, diluted by mainstream prudism and conservatism". You would stand on your soapbox, all disheveled and devilishly handsome in the cool breeze, and rally passionately against the establishment – "You are quashing the artistic sprit! You need to let us spread our wings! Stop censoring us!!" You rationaled that the only reason you weren't rich and famous yet was because of the conservative regimes who were restricting your creative freedoms. You praised those works that dared to cross lines, saying that more people should dare to go against the grain.

Now, when we decide to listen to your rallying call and charge on in the direction of freedom, you suddenly cry foul-mouth? What happened to you?

You used to be cool.

You can be certain that I will be telling my family, friends, and co-workers about this, and do all that is in my power to ensure that they all cancel their subscriptions to your opinions, too. How DARE you express such a thing as a thought that I disagree with! How DARE you not always meet my unpredictably ever-changing editorial expectations and standards!

Since you don't seem to be happy with us anymore after this one issue, this one time, I can only conclude that my sole recourse is to completely stop reading every single one of your words for the duration of my lifetime, and if I can help it, that of my afterlife, too. I mean, obviously, by committing this one apparent faux-pas against us, it's clear that you will never again say something intelligent, right?

'Cause I'm certain that next month, we'll be putting up the exact same cover again, and the next month after that, and every month thereafter. Sure, we USED to put up a different cover every month beforehand, some better or worse than others. But obviously, this time, we mean to make this one permanent.

So if you could kindly cancel my subscription to your opinions, I'm sure that the world will somehow be a better place.

Or at least that's what I gather since you seem to be so convinced of the same in regards to us.

Yours sincerely,

D. Monk

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Craaaannky~ ;)

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

You kick ass, Frank.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

People came to expect Comixpedia to be worksafe. To mock complaints over this apparant misconception is not helpful. I'm sure you know better than I whether people went over the top in their complaints, but complaints about the sudden appearence of material that is not safe for work seems completely valid to me.

It's also worth noting that your readers are individuals with individual opinions. To berate them for changing a collective opinion is silly because they never held one collective opinion.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

People came to expect Comixpedia to be worksafe.

Let he who never checked Sexy Losers on work cast the first stone.

Meh

When those complaints go beyond "I would prefer Comixpedia art to be work-friendly" to "OMFG Comixpedia has been taken over by radical pornographic anarchists!!!!1", I think that's deserving of a little bit of satire.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Ridiculing your own readers -- now that's ballsy!

If I can make a practical suggestion -- Comixpedia could really use a publicly posted mission statement and writers' guidelines. Not in the forums, but right on the front page, alongside the "About Us" links. This will allow you to make clear how you see Comixpedia, and what strictures you place on its content. A line as simple as "While Comixpedia doesn't often use exclicit material, we reserve the right to do so," would be appreciated by readers, and more importantly, would save you from as much headache in the futre.

You would probably also get more submissions if you had easily available writers' guidelines. A: because it serves as a constant invitation to writers to submit work, and B: because many writers feel more comfortable about submitting if they know beforehand what the editorial criteria are.

At any rate--you're doing a great job with Comixpedia, and it's getting better all the time. I sincerely hope you won't let this silly ruckus discourage you.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

I agree. Publicly available guidelines would help a lot.

And I suspect have the outcry over the entire cover controversy was mainly because no one was expecting it.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

It's satire. And I think it's aimed more at those who complained for other reasons than NSFW.

As for NSFW issues, we've tried to react constructively to the constructive comments on Safe For Workness we received from readers. There is a non-cover URL for Comixpedia now (news.comixpedia.com) and we continue to try and warn readers when images in individual stories may contain NSFW images.

As for the cover itself, after having reread the many, many comments about it both here and on the Internet at large, I think most of the outrage comes from folks who saw a lot more in the cover than is actually there. (Some of it from folks who seem unclear on how female anatomy actually works). But anyone who's actually followed Comixpedia over its life will know that I've been pretty responsive to reader comments and suggestions. So we may not have made everyone happy with the cover, but by Thursday we had made SFW options available (and we would have done that sooner but I was offline completely Monday and Tuesday so I didn't see the comments until Wednesday).

Anyhow, just my 2 cents.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

(Some of it from folks who seem unclear on how female anatomy actually works)

Ah, so it's not just a graphic contributing to the theme of the stories. It's actually another subtle representation of the weakness of the fairer sex by the ignorant, dominant male society in an effort to keep women in their place in the kitchen while men continue to rule the internet unbounded. Good thing we got to those feminazis before they got to us.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

David Wright's picture

'Cause I'm certain that next month, we'll be putting up the exact same cover again, and the next month after that, and every month thereafter.'

AWESOME!

taking you literally,
dave

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

This article is predjudiced towards readers! What about equal rights for the illiterate?! SHAME.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Damn.

I *knew* I was forgetting someone in my piece.

*rushes off to create a mime-version of the column*

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Goldbrickers of the world: Unite!

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

*picks up a stone* Cool!

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Brian's picture

Yeah, I mean, who'd have ever thought people would get offended by a woman grinding with a computer? I mean I totally didn't see that coming.

All right, humor aside, any time you put blatantly sexualized material up on a public website, some people are going to complain. Weather the complaints have been warranted or not, I can't say(Personally, I thought it was rather funny), but the reactions, I think, ought to have been expected.

-Saga of the Ram hosted on Graphic Smash

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

My complaint was that the cover is raunchy and sex-as-spectacle, while the articles reviewing comics like Sexy Losers (or sex in webcomics in general, which often do NOT use sex as spectacle) decry them for employing, yes, sex as spectacle. And even without that cover, I thought the staff had been kidnapped and replaced with angry Puritans.

I probably don't read enough webcomics to know anything, but Sexy Losers uses sex as the medium, the mode, not the end product. I don't read it so I can look at drawings of breasts. I didn't read Framed!!! because it was guys standing around going "I'm in a comic!" Those were the mediums, the oceans in which the ship sailed. I imagine that there ARE many webcomics that go "hey! Look! Boobies!" but how long do they last?

Kristofer Straub www.starslip.com

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

And the blind don't have the slightest idea what all the controversy is about in the first place.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

I said that.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

How in the heck do you get that from the quoted text?

Assuming you're serious you're completely wrong on your interpretation of my post. I said nothing that could be interpreted in that manner and if you persist on criticizing me in that way the terrorists will have won.

Why do you hate America?

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Wow, you're just as good at that "I'm not sure if he's being serious or sarcastic" thing as I am. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go light a firecracker under Larry Flynt's wheelchair.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Y'know, the next article Damonk needs to write needs to be a biting, personal attack on Anonymous.

Complain, complain, complain.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

any time you put blatantly sexualized material up on a public website, some people are going to complain.

The only time I've ever had people complain about any blatantly sexualized material up on my public website was when it involved Aryan Jesus, my nuts being hacked apart, or Furries.

Number of complaints about Jesus having sex in my strip: 2 (one of course coming from my sponsor who then pulled all advertising, the other just a reader who said "Wow, that one was pretty offencive" and oddly enough they wern't talking about the strip that offended my sponsor, but the strip that appeared before it).

Number of complaints from feminists pissed off about me lamenting over just how much my vasectomy operation hurt: Maybe a dozen or so. No idea why they're so pissed off over a strip that suggested that perhaps women don't know what it's like to have testicles. I've certainly never been pissed off when they suggest that perhaps men don't know what it's like to give birth.

Number of complaints from Furries who are offended by my character Bunny Boy: Too many to count. Some of them just really seem to have a good hate on for me and that character.

What does all this tell us?

Do a comic about a Furry Jesus having sex then getting a vasectomy and you'll have more controversey than you'll know what to do with.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

m_estrugo's picture

Well, I'm gonna tell you what.
 
I'm very proud of the contributions I did to Comixpedia in the past, even if they were just a few illustrations, and was ready to accept more in the future, too; and I was contacted to contribute with my words on an article that is scheduled to be released on this very issue, so I knew this month's topic would be sex and webcomics.
 
I was so proud of the illustrations I did for Comixpedia that I have included them on my online portfolio, that I use to try to find freelance jobs as a children books' illustrator.
 
Imagine my shock when I found that the links to Comixpedia I provided on that portfolio showed this cover. I suppose it adds a new dimension to the "not work safe" concept. Of course, the images of my contributions to Comixpedia are now offline, will be still on that state until the cover is replaced in June.
 
While Comixpedia's staff is free to do whatever they want and put whatever picture they consider appropriate to illustrate one of their covers, the editorial line and approach Comixpedia has followed all these months made me think it would be perfectly OK to link from my portfolio to Comixpedia, supposing it was a safe link to offer to editors interested on seeing how I illustrate an article.
 
The unexpectedness of this cover issue, together with a long-lasting depression, made me get upset at this situation, and made me to type very vitriolic posts on the forum, so I want to apologize for anyone I could have insulted, and, especially Ghastly, to whom I think I may have offended.


It's all good, baby.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Don't worry about me. I bark a lot, but I very rarely ever get really offended. Besides, I don't generally let one, two, or even a dozen disagreements colour how I think about a person.

Hell, if I did that I wouldn't have survived 16 years and counting of marrage to the same woman and I don't believe I have a friend worth respecting that I haven't had a disagreement with from time to time.

heck you should have been around for the glory days of The Pervert's Row, Hard's old BBS. Everyone there would get into huge drop-down drag-out disagreements from time to time, but at the end of the day the pants would come down and it would be all about the love, baby.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

I don't know the specifics of your situation, but if you're putting up an online portfolio, make sure you host your own images. Nothing is more unprofessional than having dead links because some other site is down. Additionally, if you'd done illustration work for a magazine like Playboy, I'm sure you'd put it in your portfolio, too (no, not raunchy cartoons, but like article frontispieces). A serious employer will look at your work, not who's been paying your bills. You create your gallery with your said pieces and you reference where this work appeared, but you don't have to hotlink it.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

m_estrugo's picture

My images are hosted by my own self, on my own space. Actually, the images on that generic gallery are all pointing to my own site, except the thumbnails, and if the thumbnails are failing to load is because the GFXartist.com site is behaving wonky today. It wasn't behaving wonky yesterday, and I hope it won't be behaving wonkly tomorrow. But if it's wonky tomorrow, I'll look for another site to host my stuff.

My own gallery, apart of this one, is going to be added to my own site as soon as I finish the site I'm working on at http://www.wintervision.com/~artieroo/ , and this long URL will change to estrugo.wintervision.com as soon as the whole site is done.

I wouldn't work for Playboy. It's simply, not my style. :)

And, of course, I NEVER hotlinked to Comixpedia or whatnot.

Here you have the caption for one of my entries, now offline:

    This is a little comission as an illustration for an article for http://www.comixpedia.com , an online 'zine dedicated to webcomics.
    The article, available at http://www.comixpedia.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&... , narrates how the writer, who assisted to certain Comics convention, was puzzled when he was told that "over 60% of the panels on the con wopuld talk about comics, something strikingly odd for a COMICS CONVENTION.
    I admit I couldn't have chosen a laziest subject for this illustration, but I find this picture interesting because it's 100% made on Photoshop. You know, if I learn vector draing one of these days, I'm sure I'll save a lot of time.

... and the image links to http://www.wintervision.com/~artieroo/gallery/comicon.jpg

Hope that helps to specify my situation.


Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Let he who never posted as anonymous cast the first stone ;)

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

I don't mean to suggest that Comixpedia was wrong to put the cover up, or that you guys didn't respond aptly. I only mean to say that one small part of this article directs mockery towards people who I feel expressed a legitimate concern.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

It's all good. I regret posting my message the moment I re-read it. I agree that some concerns are legitimate too, and I'm glad Xerexes take care of the problem for them. I don't know if I still have an opinion on this subject.

I mean, I like that cover lots. But I also recall being very surprised the first moment I saw it. I respect the Comixpedia right to put up whatever content their editors want, but they should decide what's Comixpedia's real opinion over this. This is a news site afterall, the way I see it Comixpedia's purpose is to provide a public service to our webcomic community. And if you can't respect the right of other webcartoonists to be pissed with that cover, then there's something wrong going on here.

As much as it may hurt me to admit now, *maybe* Damonk should have approached the problem through a different angle.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

I wholeheartedly agree with the article. In railing against the cover, you are supporting that which you decried. Step back, take a look at yourself and either change, or accept what you've become.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

scarfman's picture

Yeah, geez, what's the point of free speech if everyone else has it too? I mean, really.

Paul Gadzikowski, paul@arthurkingoftimeandspace.com
http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com New cartoons daily.

"You will be king of every time and space now - just, one at a time."

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

Heh. Actually, I'd be casting stones too.

Re: Damonkey Business by Damonk

You read webcomic community sites as part of your job?

cool!

I only read sites like this when I'm slacking.