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Stirring up the nest

I have been keeping an eye on www.pvponline.com for new Moblog updates from Scott Kurtz as he plugs away on his daily strip in the 24 hour comic challange he and other creators were involved in overnight last night.

As Scott prepped for the 24 hour comic day he posted on his site about how alot of people have bashed him for doing this and some are even his friends, according to him. This isn't the first time he has been bashed for doing things that are, in my opinion, pretty normal things to do to get your name out or just to kick it with some buds and have fun. So after reading this the question I have is, "Why is that in the web comics business alot of the creators are just out and out assholes?"

I wanna say up front that I know not eveyone is, but there are more than the fair share if you ask me. Hell, even I have been a target and I am by no means a big fish in these waters.

I have a theory about this. I feel that in the web comics business we have so many assholes because so many of the creators in the business are no talent hacks that are always jealous and on the constant attack because they can't compete with good artists in any other legitimate way so they must demean and degrade in order to weed out any competition before it ever really starts.

I feel this way because very little of this activity really goes on in the commercial art business, in which I currently work. We have competition between each other, but not to a level that we want to destroy the other artist like you see way too much in web comics. In reality, I suppose all of this happens in web comics because we are still an underground organization. We have no real set rules or etiquette really. We are just out here trying to get by the best way we can.

At any rate it's kind of messed up. I mean, I have no problem with competiton - I really enjoy it actually - but alot of people are out here not to promote competiton, but to promote hate and no matter what business you are in, that is just out and out bullshit. But, I could be wrong and if I am I'm sure someone will let me know it. Thanks for reading, steam has been blown off.

Chris Cantrell's picture

True enough Scott. Nice post.

Haunted Pixel Studios www.hauntedpixelstudios.com

Re: Stirring up the nest

Bryan Prindiville's picture

[quote:e499a83004="Thomas"]I feel this way because very little of this activity really goes on in the commercial art business, in which I currently work.

First I've got to say I want your job then. I worked at an Ad agency before my current job and this kind of stuff was all over the place. We called it back-stabbing. The only difference is that (as everyone else has said) you have your relative annonymity and don't have to really worry about someone confronting you on it.

But, any press is good press. I started reading PVP because I saw someone flaming over Kurtz. In fact thats how I've gotten into a few of the other strips I read too come to think of it.

-bry

[quote:96aa3d2c8c="Willie_G"][quote:96aa3d2c8c="Anastasia"]If there's any convincing to be done about clamping down, it won't be over puerile stuff like that, it'll be over kiddie porn and neo-nazi white supremacy sites and "best ways to mail anthrax to people you want to see snuffed" kind of business.
I don't think so. You see, people generally realize that those sorts are extreme cases, and they don't represent the majority.

It's that purile stuff that "they" will point to when they're coloring all of us as the same bunch.

But... that's sterotyping! Nobody does that anymore, do they?

Anarchy is quality footwear at affordable prices.

My theory

All artists, and from what I've observed, cartoonists are needy people. We seek validation, acceptance, acclaim, accolades, readership, financial opportunities, etc.

We all have dreams and those dreams are hanging on a string as we all work shitty day jobs that we really hate.

When I was in this desperate state with PvP, I would lash out at anyone I felt was "less talented" but experiencing the success I so desperately craved. I lashed out at Sluggy. I lashed out at User Friendly. I took my shots, tried to get them to shoot back. I talked shit about their work with my friends. We were in on the secret that none of their readers knew: They sucked and our work was 10 times better. We would caress ourselves with comfortable philosophies on the matter such as "popularity doesn't equal quality."

So now PvP is having its success and it's my turn on the top of the heap. Now I get to have the shots taken at me. PvP is shit. It's not funny. It's tired and nothing but shitty sitcom jokes. Kurtz is a hack, he's a pompous ass, he's an arrogant fuck that likes to shit on the little guy.

These are all the same opinions I had of the "big guys" when I was trying to get something going with my own work.

When I get hate mail, or see a hate filled post, the first question I ask is "how old are you?" Most "haters" tend to be younger. The second question I ask is "what's the name of your webcomic?" Because most of my critics are other webcomics creators.

People who don't have their own artistic aspirations that hate my work just stop reading it. I never hear from them.

My success has a half-life and soon my time in the sun will be over and there will be a new, younger set of guys coming up with their own critics.

I think it's just the way of things.

Anarchy is mob rule.

Can't you be both? Must we choose?

y'know... this wasnt too bad for a spur of the moment rant. I'm copy and pasting it to my blog. :wink:

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:c609397097="Willie_G"]I think the reason Kurtz never gets much press is that his fans don't seem to be a lot of drooling zombies like your average *edit*...top webcomic about two slacker buddies who talk about video games all of the time... *end edit* fan.

Yeah, what is up with those Sinfest fans?

What?

What!?

Re: My theory

Al Schroeder's picture

[quote:c904913109="Kurtz"]
(snip)
So now PvP is having its success and it's my turn on the top of the heap. Now I get to have the shots taken at me. PvP is shit. It's not funny. It's tired and nothing but shitty sitcom jokes. Kurtz is a hack, he's a pompous ass, he's an arrogant fuck that likes to shit on the little guy.

These are all the same opinions I had of the "big guys" when I was trying to get something going with my own work.

When I get hate mail, or see a hate filled post, the first question I ask is "how old are you?" Most "haters" tend to be younger. The second question I ask is "what's the name of your webcomic?" Because most of my critics are other webcomics creators.

People who don't have their own artistic aspirations that hate my work just stop reading it. I never hear from them.

My success has a half-life and soon my time in the sun will be over and there will be a new, younger set of guys coming up with their own critics.

I think it's just the way of things.
And it's easy to get an inflated reputation for being arrogant or an asshole that's overblown, on the Internet--- where sarcasm and the cutting comment is the norm, and cynicism is the common coin. But when I wrote you, Scott, if I could use the PVP gang for a cameo, you very graciously agreed, and allowed me to use them here at http://mindmistress.keenspace.com/horror45.htm...a kindness I haven't forgotten. I've found you nothing but gracious to the little guy.
And it's only fair to say so.---Al

 Al Schroeder III of MINDMISTRESS---think the superhero genre is mined out? Think there are no new superhero ideas? Think again.

Erik Melander's picture

I think it is in a bit way an internet thing. Sure it's also true what Scott and others have mentioned about the opinions of other creators ("he's a hack and popularity doesn't equal quality etc."), but before the only way to throw that in someones face was by actually telling them to their face (or by phone or regular mail, but that's too much of a hazzle for most). Now you just type a few (badly spelled) sentences and click a button and you've let that succesfull bastard know what a prick he is. And he can't get back at you either because you're "anonymous".
I do have my own comfortable philosophy:
"Lack of popularity does not equal lack of quality" which I cling to like my life depended on it.

Offtopic:
Scott, that Skull doll is going to be mighty sweet.

Have you heard of the term "The ME decade", or "The Decade of greed" or "the Slacker Decade" to refer to the 70s, 80s, and 90s?

Well, the first decade of the 2000s can be easily named, "The asshole decade." Take a good look at our current pop culture. Look at the top TV shows like American Idol. Look at the top musical acts like Eminem. Look at the leaders in the White House or in Parliament.

These people are all fucking assholes.

Now, I think this may be a chicken / egg problem that can never be solved, but I think the internet has a big part in this assholification. The other problem is that the current youth market are the spoiled spawn of the yuppies, but that another argument...

The thing about the web is that the thing gives certain folks the feeling that they can get away with saying and doing anything they want because they are protected by both their fake "name" and the realization that the people they are treating like shit are thousands of klicks away from them, and thus they wont get the shit kicked out of them like they would in a face to face situation. On the internet, even a coward can be a bully.

That's the first part of the problem, and the guilt lies squarely with the lack of morals of the people who act this way.

The second part of the problem is us.

If we didn't keep rewarding people for being assholes by visiting their websites and messageboards and blogs, they wouldn't have the audience and then they wouldn't keep trying to put on a show for all of us. We all get our little thrill when we read a nice lengthy flame war. It's like watching our little gladiators prance around trying to draw blood. And we get our kicks watching the defeated get banned off of a board.

There are some times when I take a look around the web, and I see what sort of complete shit is out there, and I'm disgusted with myself for participating in it. I'm as guilty as everyone else.

The internet is filled with garbage, and we did it ourselves.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:a3cdb1efff="Willie_G"]Are we iconoclasts or just asses?

I'm an Iconocl-ass.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Your lips say "no" but the roofies say "yes".

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:7ce3994710="Phalanx"]:lol: And I forget to login.

That was my post just now.

Poetry!

Sweet, sweet poetry!

:lol:

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Anarchy is a pipedream with a pipebomb.

:lol: And I forget to login.

That was my post just now.

Re: My theory

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:fe1936a273="Kurtz"]
We all have dreams and those dreams are hanging on a string as we all work shitty day jobs that we really hate.

Ha-HA!

I've got the best day job in the world so I don't have to worry about the "make a living from my comic" thing... or at least I didn't until my comic lost all its sponsors and now I have to come up with a way to make it earn its keep.

Stupid Aryan Jesus.

Man... and all these years I thought you were just a mean old man Scott. Now when I look at you all I see is a frightened and lonely little boy who is insecure and is just reaching out in desperation for a little love, a little attention, a little human affection. :(

Let me hug you Scott. Let me hug your pain away. :cry: Come, let Ghastly make it all feel better.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:d1dd099023="Phalanx"]:lol: Another one of my classic muck-ups! Nooo!!!

That's so going into "How Not To Make A Forum Post!" (If we ever get around to that theme on HNTRAC)

Right next to the one Tero did about my embarassing typing errors.

I think my personal favorite typo was when Jenova said "I eat whatever I find in the panty".

Aaah... a girl after my own heart. Of course she meant to type "pantry" and by the time she corrected it, it was too late.

My own embarassing typo was when I posted "what I really want is a servile femboy". What I meant to type was "fembot" but what with the "t" key being right next to the "y" key...

I did get a surprising number of offers from people who wanted to be my personal servile femboy though. :oops:

Oh well, it's all good baby.

:lol: Another one of my classic muck-ups! Nooo!!!

That's so going into "How Not To Make A Forum Post!" (If we ever get around to that theme on HNTRAC)

Right next to the one Tero did about my embarassing typing errors.

scarfman's picture

Justin-Pie wrote:
To be honest, I rarely ever hear anything about Scott Kurtz, be it good or bad. The only time his name seems to come up is when somebody's rattling him off in a list of Webcomic Success Stories (along with Penny Arcade, Goats, Sluggy, etc.) Maybe I just read the wrong forums?

I'm with you. I've read the rants on Scott's page. I don't know why people attribute such a constant level of snarkiness to him. I had to start reading Comixpedia to learn he's an asshole.

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

Speaking purely as a newbie online comic artist, I must say that all the name calling and politics that surrounds the online comic world is NORMAL in any type of creative community. Comics are appreciated purely through the personal opinions of their readers, and most times, personal opinions clash. This is even more pronounced in the so called legitimate forms of media like TV and film, where avid fans can argue for hours over tiny irrelevant details.

While it is possible to dwell on the fact that people are jerks and can't be nice to one another, it is fairly futile to do so, because people will act that way regardless.

So, it follows that if you really do feel that you are doing something worthwhile with your comic, then that's all the reward you'll need. Sure it's nice to be on top of the heap, but is it really the only thing driving your work? I sincerely hope not.

I think the reason Kurtz never gets much press is that his fans don't seem to be a lot of drooling zombies like your average *edit*...top webcomic about two slacker buddies who talk about video games all of the time... *end edit* fan.

[quote:3992c32bc4="Ghastly"][quote:3992c32bc4="Willie_G"]I think the reason Kurtz never gets much press is that his fans don't seem to be a lot of drooling zombies like your average *edit*...top webcomic about two slacker buddies who talk about video games all of the time... *end edit* fan.

Yeah, what is up with those Sinfest fans?

What?

What!?
But he inks so well!!

Are we iconoclasts or just asses?

That was a mighty good post, Scott.

Of course, when I get hate mail, I usually just think "ESL teacher in Korea", but our life experiences are different. :wink:

Re: My theory

[quote:dbeae2ef74="Ghastly"]Let me hug you Scott. Let me hug your pain away. :cry: Come, let Ghastly make it all feel better.
Just don't leave your drink unattended...

Hey...

I'd take you more seriously if you posted using your real name.

[quote:0eac34f2b1="Anonymous"]deranged PvP fans
I hope my three fans never get like that.

[quote:7e8867934e="Anastasia"]As long as the internet is anarchic and democratic, it will be filled with garbage AND excellence.
Democracy is the collective decisions of many, anarchy is about destroying that.

And as long as those anarchist elements continue to plague the internet, they will continue to play into the hands of those who wish to take that democracy away.

They who own the filters will be able to look at things like this crap and easily convince the sheep in the general public that them clamping down on us is a good idea.

The human web-garbage are hurting us, and we are going to pay for their excesses. Simple as that.

[quote:4a222aee47="Anastasia"]If there's any convincing to be done about clamping down, it won't be over puerile stuff like that, it'll be over kiddie porn and neo-nazi white supremacy sites and "best ways to mail anthrax to people you want to see snuffed" kind of business.
I don't think so. You see, people generally realize that those sorts are extreme cases, and they don't represent the majority.

It's that purile stuff that "they" will point to when they're coloring all of us as the same bunch.

Anarchy is "I hope I get to my gun before he does."

Anarchy is a bunch of jabronis with nothing to lose. And when they do eventually get something to lose, they're the first people to call the cops to help them get it back

[quote:9f03dd83ca="Anastasia"]Willie G. you seem fixated on the definition of Anarchy as a kind of nihilistic chaos. I already told you that wasn't what I meant. It's a leaderless system of order, usually involving decisions reached by consensus, which is what makes it so difficult to actually implement.

I know what you meant.

But I know what you're suggesting is impossible. Humans are animals. Completely self-serving. And the only reason we behave ourselves is because we have the fear of punishment by the group.

The anonymity (and the physical distances between people) of the internet has removed that fear of punishment from the minds of most people, so they behave like on the website I cited above. This, in turn, is what government agencies will use to restrict and control web material.

The majority of the people using the web will go, "Well, these assholes are ruining my enjoyment of Homestar Runner, so do what you need to do."

Quote:
a leaderless system of order, usually involving decisions reached by consensus

This is exactly what happened at that site I linked to earlier. All communities need someone who's job it is to bring the hammer down on people who cause problems for that community. Cops, if you will.

[quote:19d3ce7341="William_Beckerson"]There are some times when I take a look around the web, and I see what sort of complete shit is out there, and I'm disgusted with myself for participating in it. I'm as guilty as everyone else.

The internet is filled with garbage, and we did it ourselves.

This may be true, but it's a good thing. It's a good thing because it's the garbage of equality. The internet is filled with garbage because ANYBODY can put what they want out there. And that's the same reason why the internet is also filled with incredible, mindbending talent, intellect, insight and originality, things that all too often slip through the cracks of economically and/or poltically controlled mediums.

This is equality. Which is not the same thing as television, which is filled with garbage because it's full of scrabbling egotists and ass-sucking sychophants, moneygrubbers and beaurocratic beancounters, a place where critically aclaimed programs get pulled because only a few million people are watching them, and mediocre homogenization is refined to a High Art.

As long as the internet is anarchic and democratic, it will be filled with garbage AND excellence. Woe unto the day when the filters kick in. For they will assuredly not make it a place for the better.

[quote:14e09a5c96="Willie_G"]They who own the filters will be able to look at things like this crap and easily convince the sheep in the general public that them clamping down on us is a good idea.

The human web-garbage are hurting us, and we are going to pay for their excesses. Simple as that.

If there's any convincing to be done about clamping down, it won't be over puerile stuff like that, it'll be over kiddie porn and neo-nazi white supremacy sites and "best ways to mail anthrax to people you want to see snuffed" kind of business.

Be that as it may, you have a point about the sheep being swayed to accept authoritarian oversight to keep The People safe and clean. That's always a fight that's going to have to be fought in a free society. I don't have a ready answer to that.

btw: without going on a political pedagogy, I just want to mention that when I say "anarchy", I don't mean it in the colloquial sense of nihilistic chaos. Maybe I shouldn't use that word, it so often gets misunderstood. I mean a system of leaderless order driven and directed by a democratic process. Sounds contradictory? Not really, just tough to maintain.

..

Anarchy is rule of thumb.

No, wait.

Anarchy is thumbing your nose at rules.

No...

Anyway, I know it's a representative republic.

So there.

.

Willie G. you seem fixated on the definition of Anarchy as a kind of nihilistic chaos. I already told you that wasn't what I meant. It's a leaderless system of order, usually involving decisions reached by consensus, which is what makes it so difficult to actually implement.

There are no cops in an anarchistic system.

I won't harp on it, though. You really want to understand anarchy, there's this thing called Google. Try keywords "Anarchy", "consensus", "affinity groups", "political" for starters. Otherwise, just keep thinking what you already think you know. All the same to me.

[quote:d75d864501="Anonymous"]Claiming you can have democracy on the network is the kind of statement I expect from a country that doesn't even know it's a representative republic. If we DID have democracy on the network, the chaos would be unbelievable. The only thing I could predict for sure is that everyone would be adjudicated gay, and just about everything would be banned, at first out of prejudice and at last out of retaliation.

Maybe this is true. Maybe "democratic" wasn't the right word.

China's government, btw, has a pretty strong control over how people use the internet, if I'm not mistaken.

..

It's not a webcomic thing...it's an internet thing.

I think one of the main reasons folks bash each other so much on forums is because posting a mean message or sending a nasty email is just too easy! People need to write their posts/emails as a Word document, save it, wait a day, read it over and then decide whether you still want to send it. Instead people turn into The Hulk, smashing and bashing their way through the world wide web.

I agree, it is a good rant. Right now, though I am out the door to go somewhere, but you do bring up alot of good points and I would like to post about them later. Till then...thanks for posting.

To be honest, I rarely ever hear anything about Scott Kurtz, be it good or bad. The only time his name seems to come up is when somebody's rattling him off in a list of Webcomic Success Stories (along with Penny Arcade, Goats, Sluggy, etc.) Maybe I just read the wrong forums?

*grin* I remember when Scott let me use his Turing Test storyline for a University presentation. The people actually stayed awake for it :)

Mr. Guest: I have to agree with Willie_G. Posting anonymously isn't the way to go if you don't want be dismissed as just a jealous sourgrape. If you're that scared of retaliation from deranged PvP fans, at least use a handle. :)

Considering some of the very unkind things Scott Kurtz has said about other people's webcomics over the years, there is a certain hypocracy in him complaining about being bashed for what he does.

I think a big part of the problem is the ranting artists do on their comic sites. Instead of focusing strictly on their comic, they use their space to stand on their soapbox and voice their opinions. Which may not be a bad thing in some cases, but when the rants are always negative and putting down other webcomics, well, a negative atmosphere is the result.

I think one will find that the artists who are the most vocal in their opinions are also the ones who draw the most fire. It is the price one pays for deciding that their own opinions are worth posting for their readership.

In the case of PVP, Kurtz is well known for firing missiles at other webcomics in his rants. Is it any surprise that there are some missiles fired back? Isn't Kurtz at least partly to blame for the negativity that surrounds his site?

I think the problem through all the ranting people do we've created an atmosphere where complaining about what other people are doing is the norm.

Kurtz always reminds me of the really weird kid at school nobody likes (and I mean NOBODY! We’re talking the one the nerds don’t even talk to) which is almost certainly an only child. You know the type. Throws a tantrum and kicks people in the shins then wonders why no one will play with him afterwards. Of course the idea that it’s his fault nobody likes him, never crosses his mind because his mommy (or in this case, his reader base) says he’s special… so it must be everyone else’s fault!

NEVER his fault tho. Oh no sir-eee! He’s mummy’s little ANGEL!

He might have talent (tho I don’t call the over use of cut-and-paste “talent”, but that’s just me) but he’ll always manage to manage to piss off his peers somehow. He can’t help the need to kick someone in the shins but STILL acts surprised when they kick him back.

*agrees 100% with Kurtz*

Anarchy is self-determination, self-governance without relying on a ruling class. Nihilism is often mistaken for anarchy. Without anarcy the internet would not survive. Democracy is not an option for the network, since there is already an oligarchy sitting in control of it and a beaurocracy which also wants to get in on it.

Claiming you can have democracy on the network is the kind of statement I expect from a country that doesn't even know it's a representative republic. If we DID have democracy on the network, the chaos would be unbelievable. The only thing I could predict for sure is that everyone would be adjudicated gay, and just about everything would be banned, at first out of prejudice and at last out of retaliation.