Further proof that the world is coming to the end, Jason and Steve do a whole review of a comic featuring topless women without having the whole show be about boobs. Maybe Brigid really is bringing some class this place.
During this years WCCA‘s there were two strips that cleaned housed: Lackadaisy which we reviewed a while back and all loved, and Octopus Pie which we’re reviewing now. Will it also recieve total affection? Tune in now, (or later, when you have time, that’s kind of the beauty of podcasting) to find out.
Podcast editor’s note, sorry this took so long to post, between my internet going down and various services being picky, this is much later than anticipated. And if the above player still isn’t working, try this link http://cdn2.libsyn.com/digitalstrips/DS_140_-_Review_Octapus_Pie.mp3
Please… all bloggers… enough with the Octopus Pie reviews…
It’s a critical darling that can’t seem to gain audience traction despite all the anointing a comic could receive, and what this reveals is that people are reviewing comics they are reading anyway, and readers are just not into the title. The idea as I see it is to review comics you would not otherwise read.
Am I out of line? You decide. But two comics artists independently said the same thing to me in the past eight or so days. I was already thinking it, so I’ll say it, even though I dislike being blunt.
I’m not quite sure what you’re saying.
Are you saying that we should review comics we don’t read? If so, then I would think this review would make you happy since none of us read Octopus Pie before hand. One of us is now a regular reader, but two of us remain unconvinced.
As a general rule, we pick a strip that one of us is already of fan of so that our review will be at least 1/3 positive. Our goal is to introduce people to new strips we think they would like as we introduce each other to such strips. This one was a little different because we couldn’t think of a new strip and we hand talked about doing it months ago after the WCCAs but never got around to it.
I gotta go with Steve on this one (loathe as I am to admit it).
I’d heard of the strip before, largely because of the WCCA sweep, but I had no idea what it was even about before we agreed to review it. Also, I didn’t know it was a thing to review Octopus Pie, we just saw an interesting strip that we knew was buzzworthy at the moment and we figured that was enough to warrant a review.
I didn’t read this before, but I am now, and the same goes for Edgar Allan Poo, which I never would have checked out had we not come across it weeks ago. I wouldn’t have read this without a review as the art style didn’t initially grab me and website is beyond simplistic. The same could possibly be said of EAP, which features a site design so horrendous it’s amazing the strip hasn’t imploded from the lack of coherence.
There’s so many strips out there like that, so we just try to catch a few and send them your way. To us, Octopus Pie fit that requirement.
Since when does Octopus Pie have no readership traction?
It has a pretty big audience for a comic that’s only been online for a year.
I don’t mean to tell you what you should review. What I mean to say is that Octopus Pie has a very high review-to-readership count. I won’t bore us all by attempting a count, but I do note that this week alone it has been reviewed or featured in ComixTalk, Fleen and Digital Strips, plus one I can’t seem to find and which will have to be discounted.
By reader traction, I mean growth following the burst of award publicity. Compete shows a rough average of 4000 daily visits and holding steady, while Alexa shows about a 30% decline over one year ago. This suggests to me that the real story is why the strip has stalled.
There’s also a tidbit of irritation in my feelings of OP overdose, and it comes from Meredith Gran’s public appearances of late. Her condescending attitude toward comics she would have you think are leagues punier than hers, and her smug broadcasts on Twitter and other media, dismay me and make me wonder what she says when the cameras are off. Author conduct counts when reviewers visit Scott Kurtz, but recent reviews of Gran’s work have not done their homework and inventoried her hostile pronouncements, declarations of privilege and me-me-me. I’m not one for fighting and I hate hurting people’s feelings, but if someone doesn’t speak up she is going to erode her career further and some negative coverage might actually be a kindness.
I intend to offer suggestions, and in no way to dictate how you should go about your mission as you see it. I enjoy this site and I am generally an advocate of all webcomics, and I recognize that I might be sensitive to issues that others view as being of lesser importance. I encourage you to examine the issue and form your own conclusions. The youTube video of her appearance at the Googleplex (note: one hour long) with Rich Stevens is easily findable, as are the Twitter backlog files under “Punkybird,” — the latter being subject to change as I type. Perhaps really the best thing is not to re-investigate things I happened to encounter, but to simply look and listen and note how this intermediate level comics author talks about her peers. I’m sorry, that’s not the word she used. Apparently we’re “hobbyists.” How she’s not a hobbyist with 4500+- readers leaves me baffled, and how she became such a ubiquitous spokesperson for us on pumped-up credentials suggests to me that we better be more prudent about who we anoint with awards. They are typically given later in life and career to prevent big heads and to acknowledge accomplishment, not mischief and decline.
I’ve known Meredith for years. She has a sarcastic sense of humor, but she’s one of the nicest people in webcomics. You’re reading into something that’s simply not there. I’ve seen the google video and honestly have no idea where you’re getting a hostile/smug vibe.
“Hobbyist” is not an insult and I’m surprised that you take it as one. There are plenty people out there who do webcomics as a hobby. Meredith has been a hobbyist in the past.
A hobbyist is simply someone who is not a professional.
I don’t know how accurate Alexa ratings are, especially factoring in rss feeds, but 4500+- readers is nothing to sneeze at.
Please don’t put words in my mouth, or let the insights provided by a personal relationship cloud your understanding of how these behaviors come off to a casual observer.
What is offensive is not the notion of hobbyist, it’s implying that one has risen above that (implicitly humble) station when in fact one has not. That’s hypocrisy, and that’s what troubles me.
As a student of ways to turn webcomics into a business, I dislike the drumbeat of messages suggesting she supports herself with OP when it is obviously not possible. The comic wouldn’t even cover air fare to conventions, in my estimation. The estimate of OP’s circulation is not presented to argue that she has no following; it is presented to express my confusion as to how she present herself as if she is a peer in success of people who are far more successful — and more humble — than she.
I’m all for “nice,” and she is free to spin her story however she wants, but my personal reaction to what I’ve seen is that she would benefit from more honesty and less self-absorption. It causes me cognitive dissonance when actions and truth correlate poorly. I have noticed many people are not bothered by this, and base their judgments on how they personally are treated. Such is human nature.
This is already more than enough discussion of one person’s issues for one thread — I have enough faults of my own — so I am going to sign out and let my comments speak for themselves. If they are wrong, they will quickly be forgotten.
BTW, I think people participating in a thread where someone is undergoing a critique should identify themselves, because it prevents readers from assuming the subject has “snuck” onto the thread to argue their case. I know that is not the case here, but I offer it for consideration.
If Meredith Gran sees this, I hope she will read it as being focused on the deeds and statements of her professional persona and not any sort of attack on herself personally or her work. Indeed, I was forced to undergo a rigorous upgrade of my own public persona at a similar age, and it was very difficult and lonely. To this day, however, I am grateful to the people who alerted me to how my behavior was perceived by others. I wish they could have warned me more gently, but I don’t know if I would have heard them.
My intention was not to misquote you in any way. I genuinely thought that you were taking “hobbyist” as an insult. I don’t agree that claiming not to be a hobbyist is the same as saying that hobbyists are beneath you. If I’ve misunderstood your meaning again, I apologize.
“BTW, I think people participating in a thread where someone is undergoing a critique should identify themselves,”
If you can’t identify me by following the link in the signature of this and my previous post, I don’t know what else I can tell you. Is Bengo your real name?
I don’t believe public “critiques” of someone’s personality are appropriate, humble, or non-hostile. Neither are baseless accusations that someone is lying about their source of income. If your goal is to have a spotless public persona, I suggest that in the future you critique peoples’ personalities via e-mail.
Hooray for dialog!
@Bengo: Please don’t get the impression that we’re took offense to your advice. I’ll be totally honest, I had no idea Fleen or Comixtalk had recent coverage of Octopus Pie. I’m sure you realize that they both have time traveling capabilities and will often abuse them to make it look like we took their ideas. Either way, we welcome advice and thank you for it.
As for not doing the research on whether Gran is a nice person or not, I guess we are guilty of that, but on purpose. I can’t speak for my cohorts, but I’ve given up caring. Most Internet people are good, friendly folk with a streak of real douchebag running right down the middle. Now days, I just assume everyone is like that and move on. This is not out of any deep philosophical peace I have with the universe, I’m just really lazy and research is a lot like work.
It does raise an interesting point though, should a comic or other work be judged partially on the personality of the creator? On the one hand the work should speak for itself, after all it is what is on trial. But on the other hand, the aspect of Web comics that I preach the most is the sense of community and the connection that readers can have with the creator. I think this is a really good topic for discussion and I’d love to hear what you, and anyone else out there has to say on the matter. We may even have to do a round table show about it some day. Thank you for the idea.
@Mr. Toast: I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word hobbyist, I think of old men in funny hats playing with model trains. Maybe that’s why people got offended. Maybe next time she should use the word amateur, that makes people think of the Olympics. Or amateur porn. Either way, much classier.
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