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Shawn Matthews Is Dead

Those of you in the webcomics world have never heard of Shawn Matthews. He was a fellow expat here in Korea, he had a fairly popular blog called Korea Life. An typically informative and entertaining look at his life in Korea. I was a frequent reader.

He comitted suicide by jumping from the roof of his apartment in Beijing.

I met him once, we had dinner, and I bought my first digital camera from him. I owe him a lot because that camera brought some stabilty to my life here in Korea. Being an expat is an isolating experience. Few speak your language, you're outside your culture, and you're far away from home, and the people who bring stability to your life. Most deal by becoming drunkards. Some deal by chasing skirts. I deal by burying myself with online matters, and comics.

Shawn, he couldn't deal. And that's a shame.

But, there's another side to this story. Shawn was being cyber-stalked and harassed by a group of expats because they didn't agree with his views. Filling up his blog comments with flames. Signing his email up to child porn site, stuff like that. And it devolved to really invasive stuff like calling up his ex-girlfriend or his office. And while I can't say they were what caused him to jump, I have no doubt they had an influence on his downward spiral. He had to stop blogging because of them, and I know that telling tales of his life in Asia was one of the things he enjoyed doing.

I guess those webcomic wangs where you send your readers off to harrass people dont seem so cute anymore, huh?

It's a shame, a fucking shame.