I recently received an e-mail from David Wright, who writes and draws Todd and Penguin. After asking his permission, I’m posting the e-mail on Tangents.
Thank you very much. I just now saw that you emailed me, though I did see the link in the chatbox. I appreciate the nice words! I saw that you wrote of the comic again, I’m honored that you were moved to draw again.
Man, this month wiped me out. I was in the middle of moving into a new house, a loved one was diagnosed with cancer, and my job position changed to add 6 times more work, which is not humanly possible, but I’ve no choice but to attempt. So about halfway through this storyline, when people started knocking the comic, it was really hard to keep it going. I know it didn’t come off as well as I dreamed it would, I probably should have written it out fully in advance, something so large, and edited it down some, teased more in the early parts, but time was just not on my side.
I’m glad, though, that some people, like yourself got what I was trying to do, and I appreciate it.
thanks for the words, particularly the honesty in not holding back that you were going to give up on the story. I appreciate the honesty and any constructive feedback.
speaking of nice words, I really enjoy the job you are doing with the site. I am glad to see more comic critiquing done in this fashion. For someone like me, who is not really plugged into the webcomic scene, (I don’t have the time to read many) I like to read about them, and every now and then am compelled to try something new from the reviews.
I think one of the things that intimidates readers, at least me, is that they have no knowledge of the
comic’s history and don’t really want to start off in the middle with no knowledge. Sites like yours and Websnark are like a good friend, making reccomendations, telling me a bit about the comic, enticing me to read. Very cool and well executed!
This e-mail reminded me of my time as a creator… and how vulnerable it makes you feel. I’ve tried as a critic to emphasize the positive even if I’m pointing out parts that I’m unhappy with (especially with CRfH – I’ve noticed that I’ve been rather critical of several points about the comic, which surprises me with each review. I consider CRfH to be one of several comics I consider my all-time favorites… and yet I’ve no qualms about pointing out perceived problems).
It can be discouraging at times being in the middle of something and getting several comments about how the story isn’t working or that they miss the light-hearted stories of earlier times. As a fan (and a critic) I realize that there is a line between constructive criticism and constrictive criticism. We fans are not in control of the story. The artist is. A lot of work goes into these comics, and more than one person has been dissuaded from telling their stories because of overzealous fans telling them what they can or cannot do.
And yes, I see the irony in a critic cautioning on writing criticism… but the important thing to remember is that we’re not telling the story here. We might not like the story… and there is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t like the story and the reasons why. Or what flaws you’ve sensed and maybe a way or two to deal with the flaw.
I don’t know. Not really. I stumble with this every time I write a review and critique a piece. But Dave’s letter let me know that I am doing something right, at least. Just as my review let him know that he was doing something right
And that makes it all worthwhile.