Jane Irwin Ending Clockwork Game

Clockwork Game is a comic about the Mechanical Turk and Jane Irwin just announced that she’s ending the comic:

In other news, I have decided to end Clockwork Game.

After a solid month of deliberation, I’ve decided that my original intent doesn’t actually match the story I’ve created. The problems I’m seeing are not fixable with a few changes to dialogue or action; it’s a deeper, more fundamental issue with the overall tone of the story. I’ve been too focused on the nerdy parts of the story I enjoy, and in doing so, I’ve failed to take some very critical aspects of the story into proper consideration.

I’m not ending the book because of anything anyone’s said to me, or because of a need I feel to "keep everyone happy". "You can’t keep everyone happy" is a sentiment best reserved for minor issues like the difference between using algebraic instead of descriptive chess notation, not major considerations like accurately framing racial stereotypes within a historical context.

In the last month, I have read dozens of devastatingly honest posts from Readers of Color who’ve been hurt by White authors who didn’t take the full implications of their stories into account, posts so eloquent and brave that I cannot help but be moved by them to examine my own work and ensure that it’s worthy of these same readers, authors in their own right who’ve risked so much to put their opinions out in public.

My passion for comics cuts two ways — I fiercely love the comics I make, but I’m also unwilling to publish and sell a work that I’m not completely willing to stand behind. While I am disappointed that I won’t be completing the project, in the long run, I think I’ll be much more comfortable with this decision. I can only hope that my readers will agree.

My last remaining concerns regard the end of the first chapter, and the archives. I have another fifteen or so pages left to run, and I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll be releasing them, or keeping them online as an archive. On one hand, if I’m not willing to publish the work, I don’t really have a reason to keep it online. On the other, if I complete the first half of the story, properly footnote it, and add the texts that properly discuss the automaton’s Orientalism, it could be a good resource to keep up for reference, especially given the dearth of online information on the topic. I’ll probably give myself another week or so to make a final decision.

I realize that every work is flawed, and that as creators, we learn as we go. I want this to be a learning experience — I just don’t want this learning to come at someone else’s expense.

There’s a growing thread of comments to Jane’s post if you’re interested in how her readership is reacting.



Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.