The following rant was meant for the Comments area of Daku’s post about the strip, Doctor Fun. Simply put, it got away from me. BIG TIME. So I have cut and pasted the glorified goodness to my column for you to peruse. If you’re not an artist, please excuse the loaded question in the conclusion. Enjoy.
William G’s first comment on the matter of whether or not it’s ethical or right to leave no reason for ceasing updates on a webcomic seems like more of a personal statement than anything concrete or steadfast. Many would argue that there comes a point, regarding traffic numbers, fan participation, or mainstream penetration, where the art becomes something more than words or pictures on paper. We have investments in these art forms, be they comic strips, novels, movies, songs, or any other choice of medium, and to dismiss these is to disrespect the audience and act unethically toward your fellow man.
As Scott Kurtz pointed out in my last Comment section, fans can develop more than a simple interest in a comic strip for any number of reasons, be they personal or professional. They could read your blog, buy your merchandise, check your strip RELIGIOUSLY every single day, but no matter what form their investment takes, they have essentially taken stock in what you have to say and show. To shut down this connection between creator and viewer so abruptly and without warning or explanation is to show the fans you have no respect for them, whatsoever.
Respect must be earned, bottom line. Once earned, respect must be maintained and held in the highest regard. Even if you start a webcomic just to satiate your own delusions of fame and fortune, if you gain that respect, either from the audience or your fellow creators, you have an obligation to show them the same courtesy and at least acknowledge their respect in some form or another. Respect is the ultimate form of flattery. Conversely, disrespect is the quickest way to tell someone you don’t care.
While this could open quickly into the debate of whether larger-than-life icons that started off as simple pieces of art (i.e. Superman) belong to more than just the folks who created them, I’ll save that for another column. The point here is to do unto others as they would do unto you: show them respect and courtesy by alerting them to delays and/or terminations and they will, in turn, show compassion as to your decisions for that ultimate outcome. If you can’t understand, grasp, and utilize this concept, taught to us as children as, “The Golden Rule”, then I am ashamed to call you an artist.
I mostly agree. The vast majority of delays I\’ve done were due to working long distance with a partner and once due to illness. So long as I warn or explain my absence, I feel pretty safe. I\’d never lose respect for a creator unless they went on full hiatus or just left without a word. As for the delusions of fame and fortune though. Unless you planed on making a living, I\’d be surprised to meet anyone who started for any reason but to humor themselves. Then again, you\’ve probably met a lot more artists than I have.
You are simply arguing for the case of fan-entitlement by trying to tie it to an issue of respect for the fans. Simple fact is, until money becomes involved, a creator is beholden to no one but themselves.
In this case the sudden ending COULD be viewed as rude, but looking at what\’s posted on the site: \”As promised, I somehow managed to finish 520 weeks or ten full years, even if it took a bit longer than ten years to get there\”
Well, this strikes me as meaning \”I reached my goal that I set out to reach, and thus the point where I was planning to stop. So I stopped\” It also implies that the regular audience likely knew about it long beforehand. (Unlike the rest of us who didn\’t give this comic a second thought, and most likely never knew of it to begin with, until Eric Burns told us it ended)
Arguing that doing so was disrespectful is like arguing Dave Sim was disrespectful for ending Cerebus at the point he planned to.
So anyway, the argument seems aimed at the wrong target for the wrong reasons.
Now, if Scott Kurtz suddenly up and ended PvP tomorrow, you would have more valid argument on your hands.
I guess I should have made it clear that I targeted no one in particular with this article. (Soon after I started writing this, the post you speak of went up.) No, this is more of a blanket accusation; feel free to crawl on in if you think you belong.
Beholden? I\’m not talking contracts and obligations as far as contractual agreements go; this is more of an ethical and moralistic play. Ethics and morals play a big part in how I treat other people, so I carry that through to how I treat the readers of my webcomic. If you don\’t see things that way, then you\’re different than me. It\’s ok to be different.