So my defense of Andy went over like a lead balloon. That’s okay. I wasn’t looking to change minds, just put an alternate opinion out there so it wasn’t all negativity all the time. Next time, though, if some folks could favor respectful dialogue over striking an adversarial tone, that would be cool. I didn’t insult you, right? I’m just saying respond in kind and we’ll all get along swell. Why make enemies?
On a related note, I have a rule when it comes to the comics industry: don’t openly insult other creators. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying “don’t dislike other creators”. That’s impossible. A lot of the people who work in comics (especially the really successful ones) are dicks. What I’m saying is “you never know who is listening.”
What work I have gotten through IDW and the BBC, I have gotten by being friendly and by always knowing my place. In this industry, I’m nobody. Even if someone is, in my opinion, totally talentless, arrogant, and a douche; if they have a book coming out monthly, I keep my mouth shut. Somebody out there likes their work, probably even lots of somebodies. What if I start saying “Judd Winick is the most bland writer in comics” and the person I’m speaking with is a friend or a fan of Judd’s stuff? Now I seem like a douche and I’ve alienated myself from that person for no good reason. For all I know, they could have been a good connection.
In short: when you start talking about how you think someone else is a hack, chances are, you’ve just lost your shot at something good before you even knew you had at.
I’m not saying that I know it all but, trust me on this one, I’m not the only person in the industry who keeps this rule. It’s a goodie and it’ll serve you well.
My name is Dan Roth and I am the co-writer of the brentalfloss webcomic. For the last six or so months, Brent and I have worked with Andy to craft a comic we hoped would be a worthy addition to the brentalfloss brand. Whether you like the comic or not, I can tell you that Andy continues to be an invaluable part of our team and that there is no other artist I would rather work with. The fact that he continues to receive daily harassment from people who seem to feel completely justified in tearing him down is utterly baffling to me.
Andy has been a complete professional since our first communication. He’s always been honest about the work he can commit to doing, always willing to draft and redraft work until the final product is one we are all happy with, and he has repeatedly met the deadlines we have asked of him. Those traits are not always easy to come by in an artist (or a writer, for that matter).
I don’t care that Andy got his start doing fetish art. Plenty of other artists have done the same. I get him wanting to distance himself from that. There’s a difference between telling people that they are wrong for being into a fetish and deciding that it’s best for one’s career to distance themselves from previous work.
I also don’t care that Andy pokes fun at situations he has encountered as an artist at conventions. Where some people see straw men arguments, I see a narrative that keeps things general enough to protect any real-life parties who may have been involved.
I really don’t care what Andy looks like. Whether he looks the way he draws himself or is a secret squirrel is irrelevant. What matters is that he is, in fact, an artist. You may like his work, you may not, but what he looks like in real life has zero bearing on whether or not he is worthy of respect.
What I do care about is that people undermine Andy by posting his previous work when he has asked specifically that people refrain from doing so. I care that this is being done to hurt him personally and professionally. As a person who has worked with the CBLDF, I am aware of how comic book art can be used against the people who create/sell/own it. I find that behavior truly unethical.
What I do care about is that people have gone to great lengths to slander Andy’s good name. I care that people expect him to accept criticism in the form of ad populum and ad hominem attacks. These are not genuine attempts to help him grow as an artist. These are cruel non-critiques designed to push Andy down and force him out of the industry he feels so passionately for. Of course he deletes comments like that and bans people. To do otherwise would be masochistic.
What I do care about is people who feel they should be treated with respect, but are willing to offer none in return. If Andy were a woman, imagine how many of you would leap to his aid when people mock his physical appearance. Why then is it okay to mock his appearance as a man?
It seems nothing is off limits when it comes to criticizing Andy. Nothing, of course, save for any legitimate criticism. That’s why these attacks take the form they do - because there is nothing so awful about this man or his art to criticize at all. Andy is not a bad artist or a bad person. He is simply a man whose art you may not appreciate, whose opinions you may not agree with.
I realize that the attacks will continue but I do think it’s worthwhile that a voice be present that speaks as someone who works with this man in a professional capacity. In my experience, Andy deserves respect, not scorn and derision.