Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad: Guilty pleasure or valid criticism?

TwilightEL

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I'm focusing on Mike Saul, Ted David and John Solomon's blog here, but this isn't all about that.

Following that link will lead you to a blog whose entire purpose is to ***** about webcomics that the contributors think suck. A lot of their arguments are just ad hominem attacks or "I hate anime and this reminds me of anime so it's bad" or "this didn't amuse me so it's not funny" and "I use a lot of profanity so therefore I am always right." Also, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than the comments section on that blog. They use "***got" like it's going out of style and on maybe a third of the flames, it's all generic gay-bashing and "UR an idito!!1" so brain dead and juvenile that unless they use a name, I can't even tell who they're trying to insult. However, a lot of the criticism is very valid and funny and most of the webcomics they mock really do suck.

I know on this site, there's a ban on creator-bashing, but we can still be brutal in attacking something we don't like. I think our current level of criticism is acceptable, especially since most people here justify their hatred of various people and/or their products, but what level isn't acceptable? To use another example, www.anti-shurtugal.com is a site based entirely off of bashing the Inheritance trilogy. It's given me almost the best writing advice I've ever gotten. I also love Mike Smith's harsh, negative and hilarious reviews of the Harry Potter series. (Just FYI: The reviews in chronological order seem to be HBP, PoA, SS and DH.)

You remember Super Joe? Remember everyone's responses to it? That wasn't an exaggeration. I think we can all agree that it doesn't matter how many people like your work, praise is worthless unless it's well thought out. Speaking as someone who'd like to write professionally one day, I'd rather see one clever critic that held my work up to the standards of people like Whedon or BKV and didn't dismiss it as total crap, instead of a thousand gushing reviews.

So I guess the questions I'm asking are: What criticism is bad criticism? Are critics obliged to be polite and if so, how polite? How much justification do you need to say something is bad? And, of course... guilty pleasure or valid criticism?
 
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Ultimate Houde

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So I guess the questions I'm asking are: What criticism is bad criticism?

The type where all they say is, "This reminds me of this which sucked. So yours much suck." or the, "You're just trying to emulate this story, and you do a sucky job of doing it."

Now, I post Blairwood in other places an dhave since taken it down precisely because of those type of reviews. I had a few people who said it wasn't anything like Blairwitch Project, so it sucked. I had some others who would go, "This is Heroes, get your own idea." Now, I started writing this story in 2004, hell, the post would be before Heroes was even annouced, yet people still commented on the fact that it's based off of Heroes. The reason why I haven't deleted it here is because its mainly ignored, and for the most part the people who do read it have something intelligent to say about it, good or bad.

Are critics obliged to be polite and if so, how polite?

Personally, if someone is polite in their post, and not activily trying to make it the most insulting post EVAH!, then I'll be more obliged to read it and take criticisms into account

How much justification do you need to say something is bad? And, of course... guilty pleasure or valid criticism?

Well, if one posts examples where they felt the story was bad, that's good and all. Spelling and Grammar mistakes should only really be brought up if it ruins the flow of the story in your mind. But plot holes, or characters with unexplained ideas, or the story completely changing direction in a few lines, bad plot points, those types of things hsould be brought up. It can only help the writer if they truely want to become a writer. Someone who can't take advice, well, they don't deserve to be writing.
 

Planet-man

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Mike Smith is a great example of the kind of thing you're talking about. I read his review of Half-Blood Prince last year, and although hilarious, it's completely irrelevant as an actual review because he didn't read any of the preceeding instalments. It's like reviewing a puzzle piece.

Definitely guilty pleasure in his case, and kind of frustrating to read as an aspiring critic myself, because here's someone who's already making a name for himself as a type of critic, even though he really doesn't know how to critique anything, just to write in a harsh, vulgar tone of voice.
 

TwilightEL

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Mike Smith is a great example of the kind of thing you're talking about. I read his review of Half-Blood Prince last year, and although hilarious, it's completely irrelevant as an actual review because he didn't read any of the preceeding instalments. It's like reviewing a puzzle piece.

Definitely guilty pleasure in his case, and kind of frustrating to read as an aspiring critic myself, because here's someone who's already making a name for himself as a type of critic, even though he really doesn't know how to critique anything, just to write in a harsh, vulgar tone of voice.

It seems like you're saying that he only knows how to be rude, which I disagree with. I'm not saying that the things he writes are always right but sometimes, he'll hit on something that really is a major flaw with the books or make a really good point about writing in general. Plus, most of the time, he's very funny. However, I'd agree he's critical, but not a critic. The HP reviews aren't really proper reviews or recaps or anything... I wouldn't really know what to call them, but I wouldn't compare them to an actual review of the books or any other book.
 

Planet-man

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It seems like you're saying that he only knows how to be rude, which I disagree with. I'm not saying that the things he writes are always right but sometimes, he'll hit on something that really is a major flaw with the books or make a really good point about writing in general. Plus, most of the time, he's very funny.

Very funny indeed, but...

However, I'd agree he's critical, but not a critic. The HP reviews aren't really proper reviews or recaps or anything... I wouldn't really know what to call them, but I wouldn't compare them to an actual review of the books or any other book.

This is exactly what I'm saying.

I know he's not exclusively rude, but he's far more of a comedian than a critic, and unlike Maddox, whose humour comes from how hilariously accurate in his brutality he almost always is, Mike's stuff is only occasionally dead-on, which isn't that rare for any comedian.
 

Jaggyd

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*goes to look and see if my webcomic's mentioned* cus...y'know, it's crap
 

Gideon Stargrave

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This guy is just being unfair for the sake of it. The only comics he's talked about that I've ever read are VGcats and Ctrl Alt Del, and his main criticism seems to be vague and peppered with accusations of plagiarism. Give me a break. There's so much crap on the web today, everything can seem like something else if you look hard enough. He just seems to like ranting about what an ******* his least favorite creators are. He *****es about "Stupid criticism" of his writing, but laps up any stupid praise that lands in his comment box. My guess is that he's just out on an ego trip, and I wouldn't have a problem with that if he was actually funny.

I don't care that he doesn't actually write a webcomic, an d I don't care that he criticizes things that I like; it's that he does it in a way that makes it impossible for me to enjoy his writing. I get what he's doing, and even respect it, because the internet is riddled with mediocre webcomics trying to establish themselves...but isn't that how almost every single "great" webcomic started out? Look at Penny Arcade's early art and story. It sucks. Now, it's considered one of the best on the web. I don't see why this guy is so intent on halting the creative process of people who are just drawing comics for fun. Again; if he were being particularly funny or clever about it, it wouldn't bother me.

I think that Planet-man brought up Maddox before, but what Maddox does is a whole other game; he's a humorist, not a critic. His humor usually involves being unusually harsh about things and people that he openly admits to not really caring about just to be funny.
 

E

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Guilty pleasure. Not really for me though.

When people are bold enough to "publish" their work like this they MUST understand that there is an entire industry, for lack of a better term, created to belittle them and their work. People get hurt feelings and the funny (ironic funny, not haha funny) is that most of the time, as already indicated, the insults have little to nothing to do with their work!

If people don't have thick enough skin to deal with things like this then they shouldn't publish their work. I say "shouldn't" meaning they shouldn't for their own mental health.
 

Ice

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Guilty pleasure. Not really for me though.

When people are bold enough to "publish" their work like this they MUST understand that there is an entire industry, for lack of a better term, created to belittle them and their work. People get hurt feelings and the funny (ironic funny, not haha funny) is that most of the time, as already indicated, the insults have little to nothing to do with their work!

If people don't have thick enough skin to deal with things like this then they shouldn't publish their work. I say "shouldn't" meaning they shouldn't for their own mental health.

Yeap. That's why my #1 rule is that "Remember you will NEVER please everyone."
 

E

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Yeap. That's why my #1 rule is that "Remember you will NEVER please everyone."

It's a little deeper than that but same idea. It's one thing to have people not like your work...it's totally another to have them go out of their way to make you feel like crap for creating it.
 

Ice

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It's a little deeper than that but same idea. It's one thing to have people not like your work...it's totally another to have them go out of their way to make you feel like crap for creating it.
True. But I'm just saying that as a..."starter" for the lack of a better word.

I think that makes sense...*scratches head*
 

Planet-man

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To use another example, www.anti-shurtugal.com is a site based entirely off of bashing the Inheritance trilogy. It's given me almost the best writing advice I've ever gotten.

I took a look at this, even though I haven't read those books, and they really do give great advice on all those aspects of writing, especially about the rhythm in prose and everything. Excellent find.
 

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