Saturday, September 29, 2007

For those from SomethingAwful or YWiB

Well, I figured I might as well get this over with since I got yet another surge of visitors yesterday from and the fact that they link my comic with being one of the worst out there, and that pretty soon it's going to be reviewed on "Your Webcomic is Bad and You should Feel Bad about it."

I'd been wondering whether or not I should do this for awhile, mostly because the people who are dead-set in their opinions aren't going to be swayed by anything I have to say on the matter, but I figured I might as well try, anyway. For those unfamiliar with this, Lightbringer has been posted on's forums before as an example of one of the worst webcomics out there and people frequently post about how detestible I am for it. Well, I'm doing a preemptive strike and responding right here to it, since I really don't want to shill out $10 to join a forum JUST to respond to crticisms. I'd really wanted to avoid this, since frankly I feel that if someone has a problem with someone else's work, they should just confront them about it and tell how they feel. Sure, most of the time they won't listen, but other times they will, like I have when people have criticized me on various things about Lightbringer.

-First, yeah - my art sucks. I've made no secret of this. While throughout various times in the comic I've talked about how I liked how a panel came out or thought something looked awesome... well, of course I would. I'm still new to comicing even after a year and I'm always trying to find ways to improve, so when I think something turned out pretty well, I'm going to be proud of it. That doesn't mean it truly is anything to be proud of, but there you go.
-Secondly - me calling myself a published author when I did it through self-publishing. Yeah, it's not really the same thing, but honestly I didn't truly understand the difference until recently. And only now am I starting to realize all the flaws my books contained and I'm trying to improve upon that in my future writings.
-Next - the trade paperback thing. Yeah, that was really stupid of me. I actually thought I could go back, revise the comic pages with a little better artwork and rewrites, and sell the thing, but honestly my artwork sucks too much for that to work out and I sincerely doubt any such option would work in the conceivable future.
-This one's a doozie. For the regular readers, remember how I had originally planned for Issue 8 to be about White Death and then suddenly it changed into a focus about Hannah? Well, while half of that was to try to respond to a criticism I had been given about how the characters in Lightbringer didn't seem to have any real personality, the other half was because of White Death's backstory.

When I first came up with her, the idea was, in a nutshell, that she was an actress who was raped on stage in front of thousands of people who didn't realize she was being raped. I patted myself on the back for the ingenuity of having such a traumatic backstory for a character... but then I found out about And I became a feminist, realizing the plight of female characters in comics. And I posted my idea about White Death and they told me it was a bad idea. And the more people I told about it, the more people told me it was a bad idea, so I realized they were right and I pulled the story.

But then those on found that post and decided to link to it, using it as an example of what a terrible person I was, even drawing the scorn of one person in particular who shall remain nameless even though I have made every attempt to earn their respect. What they failed to do was to point out that in the very same thread they posted to on's forums, I had posted how bad of an idea I realized it was and asked for advice on how to change it, which the fine people there did and thus I shall be doing the revised story later down the line. I recognize I'm still not perfect in all the details when it comes to treating female characters with respect, something that I'll be pointing out when we get to Issue 10, but I am conscious of it and I am trying to change.
-Something more recent that was posted critiquing me was how I referred to the art I purchased at FallCon was "Fanart." That was most definitely an error on my part, something that someone pointed out to me and I subsequently changed, upon which they suggested I call it Giftart or Guest Art. I know that those who I had gotten the artwork from weren't fans, I just honestly thought that most of those terms were interchangeable.

At the moment, that's all I can think of. I know I really shouldn't care about what other people think of me, but it's important to me that people don't think I'm an awful person even if they don't think my comic's any good. Thanks for your time.


Blogger Adalisa said...

Well, Lewis, first of all, congratulations on changing your mind about White Death. It takes a lot of guts to change the backstory of a character when you realize you were wrong.
Second, to be honest, I'm a constant reader of YWIB. I have never commented, as I feel most of the comments are unnecessary mean, but I feel that Solomon and his team, while they are very mean on their way of writing, have some good points from time to time. I'm surprised that in SA say you'll be reviewed, as I thought that Solomon and team focused on those artist who simply won't try and get better, and you definitively don't fall in that category. So if you do end up reviewed, my heartfelt advice to you is this: Listen to whatever you feel can help you (As you did with White Death), and ignore the rest. They'll be mean, there will be some who say you're a terrible human being, yes, but you know you aren't. So, why listen to them?

9:28 AM  
Blogger Rational Mad Man said...

So you gave up a chance to explore the relationship between fiction and real life,t he way fiction can desensitize us to the horros of real life, and the fact that by masquerading as fiction real atrocities can be perpertrated, not to mention making a profound symbolic statment about both the crassness of modern american entertainment,and the instinct of most people to ingore the evidence of evil right in front of them if given even half a chance becasue a bunch of ideologues said it was bad?

Without the courage to tell the stories you want to tell and explore and examnie the themes you want to, your writing will never be more than mediocre pap fit only for third rate sitcoms.

Next time grow a pair and write the story you want to write,regardless of how many angry feminazi's protest.

You wanna be a better writer? Then dont let morons dictate what you write in order to further their political agenda.

10:08 AM  
Blogger SciVo said...

FWIW, I've dropped some of the most popular webcomics from my reading list while keeping yours. You write an interesting story, and while I wouldn't pay money for your art, it doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork.

You've improved a lot, largely by making productive use of criticism. When someone criticizes your listening to criticism, I suggest that you follow their advice by ignoring it. No matter how clever your specific variant might've been in isolation, the rape backstory has been so overdone in comics that it would've been trite and dull in its larger context.

Keep up the good work!

2:18 AM  
Blogger Lewis Lovhaug said...

(ARGH! It didn't post the first time!)

First of all, thanks for the show of support. ^_^ This is really interesting since this is the first time someone has posted on the Blog part itself and not the tagboard or the forum (although I'm sure this is because of this post being linked on When Fangirls Attack). I certainly try to take criticisms into play whenever I can and I'll try to keep doing so into the future (the entire idea behind Hannah getting a storyline from her perspective was becaus someone told me the character didn't have any personality).

Next, in addressing Rational Mad Man, a few points:
-Thanks for picking up some of the themes I wanted to explore with the idea. I hope I can do a good job with the revised storyline.
-The thing is, even though I'm egotistical enough to think that I'm a good writer, I'm not egotistical enough to think that I would've been able to pull it off. Hell, look at Gentlemanly Behavior - my original ideas for the storyline were going to be an exploration of what a superhero's role in the media was supposed to be while also criticizing media bias. Does anyone think I actually pulled those themes off effectively? And even then, a bad idea is still a bad idea.

Look at DC's Identity Crisis - in retrospect, was there really any NEED for Dr. Light to rape Sue Dibny? Sure, there needed to be motivation for the Justice League to mindwipe Dr. Light, but why the hell did THAT have to be the reason for it? I also don't become a better writer by ignoring people when they tell me that it's not a wise idea.

Furthermore, my artwork as bad as it is would've severely hurt the impact any such story was going to have. Yeah, I'm showing improvement, but it's still not at a good point.
-Finally, please do not refer to feminists as "Feminazis" unless they're actually members of the Nazi party or believe in racial purity combined with extreme nationalism in combination with idolizing the teachings of a genocidal, short, drug-using failed artist with a Charlie Chaplin moustache.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Socrates said...

But then those on found that post and decided to link to it, using it as an example of what a terrible person I was, even drawing the scorn of one person in particular who shall remain nameless even though I have made every attempt to earn their respect.

I'm really curious. What, exactly, did you do in an effort to earn the respect of Abby/Ryuko?

12:18 AM  
Blogger Lewis Lovhaug said...

So much for "remaining nameless." ^^;

Essentially, I just always tried to be friendly. Upon reflection, it probably was irritating how I'd always try to engage in pleasant conversation. However, when they first started insulting Lightbringer on Something Awful, she stated (paraphrasing from memory), "You think that's bad? I have to go to class with this guy!" At the time, she and I were in a class together and I had maintained my attempts at being friendly, though I had pretty much gotten the picture that I wasn't really considered a friend. But on the same token, I hadn't thought of myself as an adversary to her or someone who she disliked. More like a fifth wheel, is all.

After that, I finally outright asked her, "Why do you seem to dislike me?" She listed off a few reasons, mostly relating to the fact that I was and still kind of am rather egotistical, especially when it comes to minor achievements. As such, I asked for the chance to improve my image and she agreed. A few days later when saw the post on, (again paraphrasing), I recall she said she was disgusted by this and that how dare I call myself a feminist. After that I stopped trying to earn her respect.

Maybe "respect" is too strong a word for what I expected, but I don't think I deserved full-on scorn or despisement.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Gabby said...

If you ever do decide to stop making this comic I will morn it's passing.
And if you stop because of a few criticisms then be sure to post the names of the people who made them so that I can have their head bashed in.
I'd do it myself, but I took an oath to do no harm.
Besides that I'd like to point out a few things.
The first is that I waited for you comic to come back through more than one dry spell. Although none of those where as long as this last one, I have decided that more than one comic wasn't worth waiting for.
Secondly, it takes more than just good art or a good story line to make a good story.
And finally, you've already brushed up against the rape issue when you covered slavery.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Lewis Lovhaug said...

Brushed up against it, but I didn't know any better then. And even then, I didn't make it the focus of a single female character's backstory. It doesn't forgive the fact that I did it in the first place, but it's there now and I can't just ignore it or change it without revamping the entire story.

Had I known then what I know now... yeah, I would have made them focus on different crimes.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Lewis Lovhaug said...

Oh! But on that note, thanks for the support. ^_^

6:42 AM  
Blogger Abby said...

Truthfully, part of the reason I don't like you is because I saw you as someone who could not take criticism, or ignored it. Changing your storyline is definitely a good indicator that you can take some criticism, though I'm still not sure why you'd have thought it was a good idea in the first place.

The other reason I don't like you is because I see the parts of myself that I don't like in you: the person who, despite being unable to reach professional quality, thinks they're hot shit. It's really more my problem than yours.

I guess part of the problem is that I spend a lot of time bitching about you behind your back but never to your face. I don't like being that person, so I'm going to try to stop. I doubt we'll ever be friends, but I really don't like hating people, so I'll try to stop.

Also, in the interest of truthfulness, I was kind of weirded out about how you talked to all my friends about how I don't like you, even the ones you'd never met before.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Lewis Lovhaug said...

At the time of originally coming up with the storyline, it was before I'd ever realized what a gendered trope rape was and I wanted something that would be what I thought was both dramatic and traumatic for a backstory. It's that very immature mindset that assumes horrible trauma/blood/death/destruction/etc. = MATURITY AND HIGH ART! I suppose male privilege probably played a part in me thinking it was a good idea originally, as well.

Perhaps you're right there, Abby, but it's still a problem I have to face with, myself. When I first met you and the others in Hack Writers, I really did think I was grand for self-publishing a few books that could certainly stand to use some revisions. I've never gotten the impression of you that you had my kind of egoism going on, but thank you for those words.

Never saying anything to my face was definitely what I was bitter about, which is why I really appreciate you posting that. Sometimes I'd get the impression you were uncomfortable around me but I didn't know when to stop myself and for that I apologize. I certainly don't want to hate anyone else, either. While we may not be able to be friends, I'd like to think that at the very least we're not enemies.

Some of those occasions, like last year, I was attempting to make inquiries to find out if there was something I had done to offend you before I first made that confrontation in clas. As for stuff like yesterday at Fallcon... Well, you've seen how my mouth starts to flap, but I've wanted to stay on the high ground so I don't think I ever said anything negative about you when I had said conversations, only that there was a misunderstanding on the storyline and that I have egoism problems. In the case of me conversing with Spike, the artist/writer of Templar, Arizona (which reminds me, I have to go read that...), it came up when she mentioned she was a frequenter of the forums (although she said she never really checked out the webcomics thread).

In any case, for any and all wrongdoings on my part of the whole thing, Abby, I apologize and would like to thank you for speaking your side of things here. ^_^

12:52 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Yeah, Spike posts on the thread, but I don't think she's ever actually checked out your comic.

You're welcome.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Gabby said...

Just for the record, I've never commented before because I didn't feel like I had something important to say. Now I do.
Simply put, Women get treated badly in fiction because the get treated badly in real life.
The long version is that I am the first woman in my family in three generations not to have been sexually abused during her childhood, and I can say without a doubt that no one in my family would be upset at you for using that in a fictional story.
Please don't forget that your story is about what happens in the most crime filled city there is. There are going to be places where it isn't going to be P.C.
If you ever decide that you want or need a counterpoint that is slightly less outspoken than the ultra feminists or the people who actively search out things just so that they can bash on them, please seek me out.
I've put a web page under my name this time. There's nothing much there yet, but you can contact me there none the less.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Steltek said...

I'm glad you have the flexibility ot change things when you decide they don't work.

That said, the Girl Wonder crowd has a few good points -- a very few. But beneath that they are simply disguising politically motivated screeds under a thin veneer of literary criticism. They have the right, of course, to try and make changes using the free market as a medium, but it's dishonest that they don't simply say that they demand all comics fall in line.

Any acknowledgment of real average differences between the sexes is taboo to people like these. Unless you take it as read that women and men are ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL and will do EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS on average (absent some nebulous patriarchal conspiracy, of course) then almost none of what they say makes any sense at all.

People like these (in other fields than comics, obviously) are why the presidents of major universities can get bullied out of their jobs for citing recent, solid, scientific research suggesting that men and women have differences that aren't limited to their genitals and "oppressive social constructs".

If you really believe as they do, well, I wish you luck because I believe you're going to have to live with the frustration of holding beliefs that are hopelessly incompatible with reality. But please don't let yourself be bullied.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Lewis Lovhaug said...

@Gabby: Congrats on that! My condolences on the previous generations of your family, though. =(

Bear in mind, it wasn't the fact that I was doing a story on rape that made things iffy. It was the fact that rape is still a fairly gendered trope as a motivation for a character, and said rape was going to be her motivation. That's not to say that such things don't motivate people and there are plenty of people on who have read or seen rape stories and think that they're fantastic, but the problem is a matter of pulling it off effectively. Sure, the quality of a story is mostly subjective, but if such a story isn't pulled off effectively it can backfire. I don't think I was at a point artistically where I could pull the story off effectively.

On that note, though, thanks for the ear and for responding. ^_^ I'll keep your offer under consideration.

@Steltek: I've never gotten the impression they want all comics to fall in line. There are people who like superheroes, anime, various TV shows, slice-of-life stories, scifi, fun stuff, dramatic stuff, dark stuff, and childish stuff. They all have different opinions and sometimes some see sexism where others don't and some disagree without ever coming to blows.

Discussing average differences is one thing - possible differences in brain chemistry, the center of gravity for the different genders. I've seen usually that they have problems with such studies because they tend to reinforce stereotypical gender roles (Girls like pretty, shiny things while men like aggressive, warlike things). I of course wouldn't know for certain unless I saw more articles, but then again I can't speak for all of them nor would I try.

Now, personally, I have a problem with such studies because I have a very individualistic philosophy, stressing one's own personal choices over biology. As a result, I roll my eyes at studies describing differences between genders because it falls under how an individuals decide on doing things and not because of deep-rooted biological factors.

That said, thanks for the remarks. ^_^ I'd only hope you spend a little more time there and listen a little more to what they have to say. Admittedly, I still have some issues with aspects of feminist philosophy (mostly because of aforementioned individualistic look at society), but most (if not all) of their grievances are legitimate.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Socrates said...


You really, really don't have the first clue what you're talking about here. Take a couple years of university-level Gender Studies, or even just an introductory course in human psychology and then try again, 'kay?

2:15 PM  
Blogger Steltek said...

@Lewis: I've read their points -- I actually agree for practical purposes with many things they say. (I think the oversexualization of female comic characters is bad, but for different reasons than they do, for example.) It's the theory behind it, and the extent to which they see sexism in the media that I object to.

I also espouse a strongly individualist philosophy, however finding average difference between the sexes defines the center of a spectrum, not the extent of the spectrum. To say, for example, that women do not (on average) hold the same interest in engineering that men do is NOT to say a woman who personally wants to be an engineer will be bad at it, will not be as good as a man at it, or will be less of a woman because of it. It does, however, nullify the feminist contention that the fact that there are on average far fewer women choosing engineering as a profession is evidence of gross systemic discrimination.

@Socrates: Oh I have no doubt that I'd change my views if I took gender studies at face value and allowed myself to be indoctrinated without applying any critical thinking. If you want to talk about systemic bias, forget about comics and let's talk academia.

9:45 AM  
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