Oh, look, one that isn't directly about feminism in comics.
There's a site out there some of you may have heard of: "Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad." The gist of it is, some guy (recently, some people) sits around picking apart webcomics he (they) judges to be bad, usually (pffft, I mean always) in a snark-filled, insulting manner.
This thing gets plugged at me from time to time, and each time, my response to the plugger is, "Why do you hate me so fucking much that you'd try to inflict this wad of crap on my eyeballs?" Because this is exactly the kind of crap that makes me assume an anonymous identity. Holier-than-thou shitbags who aren't content to let anything that doesn't mesh with their perfect art utopia fantasy exist in peace, absolutist jackasses assuming the role of arbiter of taste not only for themselves, but for everybody else as well.
This kind of blog is no innovation. This is the Internet, after all, and snark and self-important twattery are in no short supply. I have noticed what appears to be a pattern among this particular type of critic/reviewer/asshat; I will share the pattern, but only "John Solomon" et al. will know if it holds true in his/their case.
Component 1: Art Student. Took some course of study in the arts, probably at some art-specific school. May very well still be in school. Is convinced their handful of years in an institutional learning facility gives them nigh-superior wisdom.
Component 2: Youth. Is quite probably too young to realize that they don't quite know fucking everything and probably never will. (This is not an absolute rule, see below).
Component 3: Horrible Curmudgeonly Idol. Quite often a teacher at aforementioned school, but could also be some other type of mentor or even some celebrity or notable figure. In any case, the defining feature is this individual's intense hatred for anything that is not either A) themselves; B) something on a short list of personal likes; or C) sucking up mightily to said Horrible Idol. This hatred manifests itself in a harsh binary attack on everything in the Universe, resulting in two classes of things: that which is genius and that which is utter filth. In order to save that which is "genius", it is necessary to destroy (or at least abuse) everything that doesn't measure up to that standard. Rather than put it in so clear a term, however, the hatred is euphemized in some way, such as: "He tells it like it is, isn't afraid to let THE MAN know what he thinks." Noble motives are ascribed to behavior that, for some reason, some people think is visionary inside a classroom, but in another setting, such as a Thanksgiving dinner, would get you ejected from a house and then beaten with crowbars.
Your average Horrible Curmudgeonly Idol is the exception to the Youth component, having managed to maintain the "I KNOW FUCKING EVERYTHING" mentality well past its normal expiration date. What flavor curmudgeon the idol is directly linked to the amount of success he/she has: if they are a successful person, the rest of the world is expected to bend to their whim or be soundly castigated for not obeying/living up to expectations. If they are unsuccessful, sheer bitterness over that which is successful drives a spewing of bile.
("Successful" being related to the Idol's own viewpoint: A person who fancies themselves a painter but cannot make a living at painting may consider having to take a teaching job at some art school to be a personal failure, even if they do quite well at the job.)
Quite often, what happens is this: the nascent asshole hits the art school, becomes exposed to all manner and means of new concepts, and it blows his/her mind, just not quite enough. The Horrible Curmudgeonly Idol is discovered. If it is a celebrity, it is through new exposure to their work, but often it is a teacher at the art school. In the latter case, the student receives a harsh critique on their own work from said Idol, and it "opens their eyes". The failures and mediocrity of their own work is revealed in cruel detail, and the idea is formed that such an awakening never would have happened if not for the glorious whip-hand of the Idol spanking them into awareness... THUS, the asshole-in-training takes this as a sign that they themselves must use this same tactic against art and artists they dislike or despise, to "tell it like it is" in as confrontational and unpleasant a way as possible so that either the object of scorn may themselves "awaken" and possibly redeem themselves, or that they will simply melt away like butter on the skillet of scathing review.
Add in a dash of neo-conservative prudishness swiped right from the bowels of Something Awful, and there you have "Your Webcomic is Ba...
Wait, what? conservative? No way!
Yes way! These folks are every bit as anti-sex as your average Fundamentalist Christian Evangelist, as long as whatever sexual element there is falls outside their politically correct spectrum. Wasn't all that long ago this same kind of person would be openly yelling "faggot" and "queer" at their objects of scorn, but no, now that's a sign of bigotry and intolerance, so to get that same namecalling, finger-pointing rush, they move on down the line to anything less accepted. Furries, for example, or anime freaks.
Make no mistake: this type of person is intensely interested in the masturbation habits of other people. If they even suspect slightly that some person might get a little excited by something a hair out of the ordinary, look out, it's "HAY GUESS WHAT TEH PERVS R DOIN", and it's all okay, because everybody thinks furries (or whatever) are weird. And okay, maybe the furries ARE weird, but what the hell? You've just moved from homophobia, worrying that a gay guy is gonna butt-bang you right there on the street, to worrying that some furfag is going to wrap you up in a coyote skin and mount you on the hood of your Civic. (Or some gender-swap androgynite is gonna dress you up in fishnets and sweatshirts and call you MaryBob, whatever the hell.)
And this goes right to what I was saying last post, about people being all wrapped up in what other people get off on. (So in a way it does tie into feminism, I guess.)
Now, up until this moment, I was satisfied to just let all that go. I mean, picking on bad webcomics? It's like taunting all the kids on the short bus. I suppose it can make you feel superior and all that, but damn, dude, it's way too easy a target and it's a bit overly sadistic for my tastes. My greatest joy at graduating High School wasn't the accomplishment of academic whatever, it was the idea that at last I was free of that cesspool of bullies and cliques. Oh, woe, when I realized that it keeps going long after, but at least I don't have to actually read some fucked-up site about griping about webcomics.
But then someone came up with Webcomics' Seven Deadly Sins, (and someone plugged it to me, the fucker, going "you really gotta read this!", do I never learn?) which isn't even itself all that outrageous, until you get to the last: Pride.
And ooooohhhhh baby, isn't Pride the worst sin of all. Because all those crappy webcomic people think they're the coolest, think they're the best.
But Pride is the very heart of a site like "Your Webcomic is Bad...", the primary driving force. Pride in one's own standards, one's own ability to know what is "good" and more importantly what isn't, Pride in knowing you're in the "cool" section of the Internet, Pride in your ability to make the other monkeys dance and flail and cry, Pride in your very own asshole-ness, your ability to be an utter douchebag to people whose only real crime was to create bad art where you could possibly see it.
(Let's not forget Wrath, too. For every angry webcomic creator who can't accept criticism, keep in mind there's an opposite number right there on "Your Webcomic is Bad..." who can't tolerate the idea that someone would create anything without fucking running it by them to get the aesthetic thumbs-up first.)
(Oh, and though they kinda gloss over Envy, try not to miss that under Greed they complain about some despised comic actually making a profit for the creator In Defiance Of God's Will while other, more deserving and better-crafted webcomics languish in poverty and obscurity. It may not be a personal Envy, but it's certainly Envy on behalf of someone else, at least... the idea that someone does not deserve what they've received.)
At this point I suspect the person who plugged this bit at me knew it'd tick me off, in pure "let's you and him fight" fashion, and I guess it has to some degree. But I have the secret key to victory here in my heart.
If you have a webcomic, and it has been assaulted by this site, or you fear it may be at some point in the future, here is the secret:
The moment you really give a shit what a site like this (or any other) says about your webcomic, you lose. It's the easiest thing to understand, the hardest to accomplish. Almost nobody can completely turn off their feelings when some dipshit yells "you suck, faggot!" at you. Nearly everyone likes approval, hates criticism. But it takes no real skill to dislike something. Everyone can do it. This website is not special in that regard. Any artist or creator must be aware that they cannot please everyone, so worrying about a small clutch of detractors with verbal skills evolved beyond the keyboard fist-pounding argot of 4chan is pointless. Know that your bad webcomic continuing to exist (or better yet, thriving) in spite of John Solomon's shining brow radiating tangible wisdom is the thing that will aggravate him the most.