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Author Topic: Comic strips and heavy topics  (Read 2736 times)

sfsdfd

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Comic strips and heavy topics
« on: 01 Jun 2015, 05:33 »

My main reaction to today's topic is almost exactly the same as the bottom tagline: Goddamnit.

But my reaction isn't directed at the story arc. I mean, it's a sad development for a character that I really like, but it is plausible and legitimate, etc. Rather, it's a feeling of questioning whether we really need to go here again.

Faye's depression-fueled alcoholism crash was the subject of strips 2866 through 2889: 24 full strips, running for 8 full weeks. Then, her recovery - the aftermath of her hospital visit, and her start in AA - was the subject of strips 2902 through 2925: 24 full strips, running for another 8 full weeks. That's 16 weeks out of the last 35... i.e., very nearly half of the content, for two-thirds of a year. Yes, during both stints, we got a healthy dose of character development of Faye and her friends - but the primary topic was the consequences of alcoholism, in florid detail.

Comedic media has a long history of "very special episodes" that deal with heavy social issues. On the one hand: yes, absolutely, dark social issues need to be dragged out of the shadows and into the light for discussion, for many reasons - raising awareness, reducing stigma, etc. Claire's trans status has been handled very tastefully, as both a social issue and a character development point for both her and Marten. Along the same lines, Hyperbole and a Half has dedicated a few strips to the topic of depression, and they are some of the most accurate and effective and powerful portrayals I've seen in any media, period.

But this use of the media comes at an expense. People visit for amusing and light and interesting stories, but the promise of that material is jarringly replaced with Very Serious Topics. Overdone, this can start to feel manipulative - like late-night television shows that are 30% content and 70% advertisements. It feels like an attempt to give people just barely enough of what they want to keep force-feeding them the message that the authors really want to spread.

Of course alcoholism and depression are chronic and neverending battles. Of course the victims of both diseases backslide, and of course we should acknowledge and support the efforts of people who are struggling with it IRL. The earlier rounds of comics dealt with those topics in sufficient - even abundant - scope. But with this latest development, this is starting to become a comic that's about alcoholism and depression, front and center, as the intentional story arc of a fictional character in a formerly amusing comic strip. I really cannot fathom the purpose of this revisit in such a short span of time - nor how it can be realistically resolved without a third long, hard slog through a heavy topic.

And for the first time in something like seven continuous years of reading, I'm inclined to check out of this strip for... well, about eight weeks, I suppose.
« Last Edit: 01 Jun 2015, 10:30 by sfsdfd »
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Thrillho

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #1 on: 01 Jun 2015, 06:13 »

QC has existed for more than twelve years. Artists evolve, they do different things.

Take musicians as an example; compare Pink Floyd's Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to The Wall, which came out twelve years later? Or if we're being fair, maybe Saucerful Of Secrets; shorter timespan, but the personnel changed less given that Syd's barely on the latter. They grey. They evolved. They changed. They didn't want to do (deceptively sinister) whimsy any more, they had these dark, epic rock albums to make.

Any medium you'll find it.

I think the 'Very special episode' thing is denigrating to the people who write these comics, and I think that you are severely overestimating the amount of understanding that the general populace, even when reading something like QC, has for something like alcoholism or depression or any of these issues.

The number of people who were insensitive over, say, the death of Robin Williams, because how could he be sad? He had a daughter and millions of fans and millions of dollars.

Or even in this week's WCDT, where someone wasn't so much insensitive as a touch deluded, thinking that Hannelore having some kind of fit in front of Faye over her getting drunk would actually make a damn bit of difference to someone who, lest we forget, is an addict after all.

Art is a reflection of reality and sadly, it is still often necessary. People need this shit. And jeph can make QC however he wants to make it, because I think it's pretty obvious that it long ago ceased to be a joke-a-day comic and is now a comedy/drama that happens to be serialised.
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sfsdfd

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #2 on: 01 Jun 2015, 07:30 »

Any artist is welcome to do whatever they wish with their medium. My post was strictly about my reaction to it.

Regardless of the importance of the topic or public awareness of it - if the manner in which it is discussed causes recipients to leave, the message is lost. The internet is overflowing with content that authors believe to be important, but that has no audience.

And I am not even questioning the decision to cover this topic in this medium. I am questioning the value of covering it yet again, so soon.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #3 on: 01 Jun 2015, 07:51 »

It' s not "covering it yet again", it's a continuation of the same story - this is how such stories go in real life.  And remember that for each person who might be less interested, like you, there could perfectly well be another who is more interested; one cannot assume that one's own reaction is typical.
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sfsdfd

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #4 on: 01 Jun 2015, 07:59 »

Remember that for each person who might be less interested, like you, there could perfectly well be another who is more interested; one cannot assume that one's own reaction is typical.
That's certainly true, which is why I only discussed my own response to the comic.  I have no idea how much of the reader base will have a similar reaction, but I rather doubt that it's 0%.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #5 on: 01 Jun 2015, 10:22 »

Understood! Sounds like why I suddenly stopped reading Gunnerkrigg Court even though it was very well done.

One interesting note is that years ago Jeph said in a Q&A that he hated writing drama and put up with it only to move the story along, and preferred the wacky light-hearted strips. Unless he's changed, and every change in direction will change who reads the comic, then we're due for a long run of offbeat humor.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #6 on: 01 Jun 2015, 10:38 »

I'm sorry that you don't think this is just a logical continuation of the current story.

I've been reading/enjoying this comic for years but this was the first time I've ever been inspired to go to the forums.  Mostly to express my appreciation of capturing such an accurate moment in a disease.  If it feels like beating a dead horse, imagine living with it.  I hate it when someone gives their character a serious issue,  only to have it resolve in a quick and neat manner.    It's messy and painful for both the alcoholic and everyone around them that cares.  I spent seven years dealing with someone else's floundering in chemical abuses before cutting them off.  Its especially crushing at moments like this, where it seems like they've got their feet back under them and everything is turning around. 

Thank you Mr J for making a slice-of-life comic accurate.  Sometimes its a real hoot, others its a dang bitter pill to swallow.
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Omega Entity

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #7 on: 01 Jun 2015, 11:10 »

They weren't arguing that it wasn't a logical conclusion at all - in fact, they said it was 'plausible and legitimate'. All sfsdfd was saying is that it's so damned soon after the hospitalization arc. We all knew (at least, all who are somewhat familiar with addiction knew) that a backslide was, if not inevitable, highly likely.

Not wanting to have to revisit that particular case of drama so soon is in no way, shape, or form dismissing Faye's issues or saying that they have to be magically cured. All some of us want is a a good, long break from the slog of of super-seriousness.

No, people and their families who deal with addiction in real life don't get the luxury of a break. But we are people taking in an entertainment medium - we're on the outside, looking in, on a fictional set of people, watching the characters live their lives. Just because the struggle is constantly front and center in real life, doesn't mean that people reading a comic in which it's one of a character's problems should be lambasted for not wanting to go back there so soon.

Absolutely -no one- is suggesting that she's cured, nor that she should be portrayed that way.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #8 on: 01 Jun 2015, 15:23 »

I'm a bit puzzled by the idea that serious themes should not be revisited on a continuing basis. Surely it would be more like the "Very Special Episode" syndrome if an author treated something like a check-box, saying in effect: "OK, that's trans issues *tick box*, and alcoholism *tick box*, let's get back to the wacky fun.", and never referred to the problem again.

My own view is that it is more respectful to serious issues, and to readers who have experience of them, not to treat them as one-off "special episodes" but to show that they are often lifetime struggles. Obviously tastes differ, and if people prefer a more light-hearted comic that is fine. Authors and works evolve, and in that evolution, they might gain some audience, but also lose some. I'm not quite sure why "I'm outta here" announcements have to be made, but tastes differ on that too.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #9 on: 01 Jun 2015, 15:33 »

I'm not quite sure why "I'm outta here" announcements have to be made, but tastes differ on that too.

I am amused when people say they are leaving a forum, and then stay on to join the discussion of why they're leaving.  There's another place I frequent where this is such a regular occurrence they have a thread for it...
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #10 on: 01 Jun 2015, 15:58 »

My own view is that it is more respectful to serious issues, and to readers who have experience of them, not to treat them as one-off "special episodes" but to show that they are often lifetime struggles.

Yes.

This is also an issue that Jeph has struggled with personally.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #11 on: 01 Jun 2015, 16:20 »

Why does anyone post anything?

I think you can boil that down to 4 reasons:

They feel a need to prove something.
They are looking to find like minds.
Attention seeking.
They think they have something to contribute.

Ragequits are almost always one of the middle 2.

QC has rapidly gone from a comic I was looking forward to, 5 days out of the week to "Meh." It's not reached the level of Misfile, which I realized I was only reading because It was linked from my home page. (So I removed the link.)

While I feel the OP's pain, I disagree with the thesis. This is far from the first very special episode Jeph has done. The difference is purely pacing. Proof, I guess, that all pictures aren't worth a 1000 words. It just takes longer to tell the same story.

Still, I do understand. Sometimes, "I'm thinking of quitting this (noun)" is just a throwaway line. A shorthand for how a person feels.

Whatevs. I agree, to an extent, with the OP. This storyline has gone past its sell by date. At least to the extent that is pretty much the dominant theme of QC now. That said, I don't think it would make sense any other way. Having it end with "Faye has a crisis. Faye is magically able to defeat her demons," would ring pretty hollow. This had to happen. While I may be less than thrilled with it coming back so soon, I think I'd have definitely dropped QC if it hadn't come back. I've known too many alcoholics to believe in sudden change and I'd feel that Jeph was handling the subject poorly.

As for the pacing, it's Jeph's comic to pace as Jeph likes and pacing is a lot harder than you think.

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #12 on: 01 Jun 2015, 18:12 »

My comment would just be, "If you think you can do better, you put out a comic that reaches nearly 3k strips."

Right now, in webcomic circles, that number is incredibly small. In fact, I'd suggest the number wouldn't be hard to count.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #13 on: 01 Jun 2015, 18:59 »

(Re-posting from the WCDT, since this thread felt more appropriate)

I understand and share some of the frustration here--I've been slowly losing interest in the comic (to the point that it's now only my second favorite, after Dumbing of Age), and have started scaling back to reading it once a week, instead of waiting for the daily updates.  After the multiple derailments of the past few weeks that were Momo's and Hannelore's stories, though, it was kinda nice to get back on track, even with a "Very Special Episode"...

...unfortunately, Jeph kinda killed the moment for me:



Yeah, I know, Jeph has wrestled with his own addiction demons in the past and finally feels confident enough to address those issues in the comic, but that "mocking laughter" tweet makes Monday's comic feel like cheap drama.  "Oh, sure, I could address any one of the dangling subplots in the comic, like Claire's future at the library, Marten's lack of momentum, Sven's relationship with his sister and/or Faye, Dora's own issues and relationships, heck, even Faye's attempts to get back on her feet after being fired and hospitalized, but nah, I'm just gonna get her drunk again for lulz."

I dunno, maybe it's just me and a reflection of how I feel about the comic lately.  And at the risk of adding to the drama, maybe it's time for another ragequit break...
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #14 on: 01 Jun 2015, 19:31 »

My comment would just be, "If you think you can do better, you put out a comic that reaches nearly 3k strips."

Right now, in webcomic circles, that number is incredibly small. In fact, I'd suggest the number wouldn't be hard to count.

Why does one have to think they can do better to be a critic? I'm pretty sure Roger Ebert never made a film and he was paid to be critical of them.

It seems to me that if one is required to match Jeph's output before expressing a criticism, the inverse is true. One should have to  match his output before expressing praise.

Try making a comic that reaches 30 strips, without missing an update or using filler. It's hard. But ultimately you're putting it out there to get opinions on it. You hope those opinions will be "I like this." but they might be something else. In fact, it seems overwhelming likely that they will be something else. Then you start wondering why you even bother with it.

Trying to make a comic doesn't give you any magically superior perspective. It just makes you wonder if you're being fair. Or, if you have GAD, if you're being fair about being fair. Reading for pleasure is necessarily irrational. It's all about how a media makes you feel. If you have to master that medium before your feelings are valid, then you can't dislike anything until you can do it better.

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #15 on: 01 Jun 2015, 23:14 »

I've quit reading QC on a regular basis.

The story rings true, hits me close to home, and isn't uninteresting in and of itself. It does seem like beating a dead horse, but as others have said that's how it works most times.

While reading through the archives awhile back, I thought I'd grown to dislike the characters. It isn't that, though. I've grown to dislike Faye. I've grown to hate the pacing of the comic, too. The focus went from story to art, and I miss that old focus. That's Jeph's prerogative, I won't criticize.

Alice Grove moves glacially slow and somehow I don't mind nearly as much. Maybe it's the freshness of it all.
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pwhodges

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #16 on: 01 Jun 2015, 23:56 »

Sometimes slowness means that any update at all is a treat!  (Dresden Codak... which is now on a fortnightly update cycle, which he's late for this week for the second time in a row!).

Anders loves Maria had periods of that as well.

I also dropped Misfile.
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #17 on: 02 Jun 2015, 00:34 »

Pace really is hard. At least as hard as distinguishing between "this bothers me" and "this is a problem." When I wrote my strip, week 10 was supposed to be 50 strips. Instead, it's 30. That's a pacing problem because it wasn't written with a 3 day schedule in mind.

It's one I don't mean to change for now because I don't have fan base that expects anything, at all. Freedom in poverty, I guess. But if I can't change schedules, I'll eventually have to rethink my scripts. That's really underlined what the transition with QC has been--I also crunched some numbers and it holds up. The total volume of QC information density has dropped. Compared to what it was before, it's gone from 5 days of stuff to 2 to 3 days of stuff.

That's a kind of "just the facts, ma'am" look at it, and I suppose there are feels attached. But I'm fully aware that this free. Jeph doesn't owe me an adjustment in pacing any more than I owe him a page view. I certainly don't expect a change to suit me. OTOH, I do think it represents an issue. Jeph's still structuring the strip's content as he would for the more dense presentation. Practically speaking, that's going to make juggling a large cast more difficult.

Of course, as long as the page views keep up and the patrons keep paying, it's an academic problem, isn't it?

EDIT: I dropped Misfile because of the X-Files problem. While resolving the set up would end the strip, it's become clear that Misfile isn't really going anywhere. The same could be said of a lot of comics, QC among them, but QC hasn't had a setup since the talk. It doesn't have a background premise with plot implications. Misfile's issue became, "there's plot threads, but I don't care about them." I wouldn't say the quality failed. I think that's different with QC, in that I care about the plot threads, but it's starting feel like we'll never get there.

sfsdfd

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #18 on: 02 Jun 2015, 00:40 »

I'm not quite sure why "I'm outta here" announcements have to be made, but tastes differ on that too.
First - the post that started this thread was the second time I've ever posted in this forum - the first being a pretty basic "nice strip today" message. Why would I ragequit a forum on which I've not yet meaningfully participated? What would be the point? Why would anyone even care?

Second - please go back and read it again. I didn't write that I'm leaving. I wrote that Monday's development was so unnecessarily tawdry that it made me want to leave. I wasn't writing about my plans; I was describing the magnitude of my reaction. I'd hope that any author would consider the reaction of the audience to be valuable data.
I'm a bit puzzled by the idea that serious themes should not be revisited on a continuing basis. Surely it would be more like the "Very Special Episode" syndrome if an author treated something like a check-box, saying in effect: "OK, that's trans issues *tick box*, and alcoholism *tick box*, let's get back to the wacky fun.", and never referred to the problem again.
As I noted above, the handling of Claire's trans issue has been just utterly spot-on. It's neither been hidden, nor pushed into front and center. It has simply been a significant part of the main story arcs. Similarly, Jeph has done very well with a few other tough issues: Marigold's and Clinton's extreme social awkwardness, Faye's breakup, portrayals of sex, etc.

That's why this insistence on mucking through alcoholism, time and time again, is perplexing: it's abruptly out of character for the way that QC has dealt with tough issues. The heavy-handedness; the clumsy pacing; the insistence on portraying the most bleak and revolting aspects, like Faye vomiting all over herself... seriously, WTF? It's pointlessly cruel, both to the characters and the audience.

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #19 on: 02 Jun 2015, 02:23 »

[...]

That's really underlined what the transition with QC has been--I also crunched some numbers and it holds up. The total volume of QC information density has dropped. Compared to what it was before, it's gone from 5 days of stuff to 2 to 3 days of stuff.

That's a kind of "just the facts, ma'am" look at it, and I suppose there are feels attached. But I'm fully aware that this free. Jeph doesn't owe me an adjustment in pacing any more than I owe him a page view. I certainly don't expect a change to suit me. OTOH, I do think it represents an issue. Jeph's still structuring the strip's content as he would for the more dense presentation. Practically speaking, that's going to make juggling a large cast more difficult.
[...]
You raise a very good point, and I think that is also the reason why people (including me) got very fatigued during the Marten/Claire-are-together-arc.  To the overall topic of an author pushing the topics that are important in an annoying way - yeah, that problem's magnified now. He did it a few times in earlier strips, too, but it usually was one or one week or so, but not 8. Gladstone's got your solution right here - I get infuriated/bored if I check the comic every day. If I check it once a week, I can ignore a lot of the pacing/filibuster issues.
(And no - people don't ragequit, usually. they quit because they're bored, or because they feel they're strung along, or because they don't care).

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #20 on: 02 Jun 2015, 02:43 »

I'd hope that any author would consider the reaction of the audience to be valuable data.

Indeed; but you should be aware that to the best of our knowledge Jeph only rarely comes to this forum (even though it is his) to find those reactions.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #21 on: 02 Jun 2015, 05:22 »

Sometimes slowness means that any update at all is a treat!  (Dresden Codak... which is now on a fortnightly update cycle, which he's late for this week for the second time in a row!).

Anders loves Maria had periods of that as well.

I also dropped Misfile.

That's been my frustration with "Power Nap," though they seem to finally be updating on a more regular basis (through it's still at most once a week, and rarely that.)
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #22 on: 02 Jun 2015, 05:49 »

the insistence on portraying the most bleak and revolting aspects, like Faye vomiting all over herself... seriously, WTF? It's pointlessly cruel, both to the characters and the audience.
What is pointless about it? I'm sure it happens, and isn't "show not tell" a standard maxim of story-telling, especially in a visual medium?
« Last Edit: 02 Jun 2015, 06:05 by Akima »
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sfsdfd

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #23 on: 02 Jun 2015, 07:54 »

I'd hope that any author would consider the reaction of the audience to be valuable data.

Indeed; but you should be aware that to the best of our knowledge Jeph only rarely comes to this forum (even though it is his) to find those reactions.
Thanks - I wasn't aware. Fair enough.

Secondarily, my point was just to express my reaction, and to see how others felt about the strip as well. The discussion has been worth the time.
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sfsdfd

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #24 on: 02 Jun 2015, 08:00 »

the insistence on portraying the most bleak and revolting aspects, like Faye vomiting all over herself... seriously, WTF? It's pointlessly cruel, both to the characters and the audience.
What is pointless about it? I'm sure it happens, and isn't "show not tell" a standard maxim of story-telling, especially in a visual medium?
Of course - but so is: know your audience.

If you're producing a documentary about World War II, the content will hopefully be vastly different if you're targeting it for (1) a classroom of third-graders, (2) a classroom of high-school students, (3) a bunch of deluded Nazi sympathizers, (4) a group of concentration camp survivors, and (5) a collection of military science scholars.

My point is that this graphic and protracted depiction of Faye's struggles is unsuitable for the likely readership of QC cultivated by the previous 3,000 strips.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #25 on: 02 Jun 2015, 09:01 »

That's a fascinating and well taken point.

I have a quibble which doesn't refute your main point. Jeph has not yet touched the "most bleak and revolting" parts of addiction. When Faye steals Marten's money to buy booze and kills a pedestrian while driving drunk, only then will we approach that ball park.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #26 on: 02 Jun 2015, 09:07 »

My point is that this graphic and protracted depiction of Faye's struggles is unsuitable for the likely readership of QC cultivated by the previous 3,000 strips.

You and I, while disagreeing to some extent, must both avoid considering ourselves "the likely readership".  Jeph may know his readership better than either of us, as people from all parts of it contact him directly, and a much smaller sample come to this or any other forum.
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Stanistani

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #27 on: 02 Jun 2015, 12:36 »

Questionable Content is even more interesting to me when the focus is on character problems. Literature is about struggle. Jeph still adds comic relief, even in the dark strips. If I'm having issues with the pacing of a comic, or the subject, I just give it a rest, come back to it later.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #28 on: 02 Jun 2015, 13:07 »

I'm a bit puzzled by the idea that serious themes should not be revisited on a continuing basis.

If I understand right, the criticism being made is about proportion and emphasis.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #29 on: 02 Jun 2015, 15:07 »

I understand and share some of the frustration here--I've been slowly losing interest in the comic (to the point that it's now only my second favorite, after Dumbing of Age), and have started scaling back to reading it once a week, instead of waiting for the daily updates.

That's probably the right way to read it. We've got the old newspaper comic pacing now, it's not written for the day. It's written for the week.

I think that's a bit of a problem since most stories shouldn't go that long. Taking it to the extreme Hanners mole went even longer and that one reddit post kinda nailed it, Marten and Dora's break up only took 4 strips where Hanners mole took 8. Marten and Faye are probably going to talk for three more strips when you could realistically finish up, not the story but this part of the story, in one dialogue heavy strip. And perhaps it will and I'll be surprised, but if we get 3 it turns into a problem because you have to put a punchline in each one and that kinda dilutes it.

Not to say we should get all standalone strips or anything, but most stories should just be 2-3.

More directly on topic, I don't mind getting dramatic since we don't that often. Faye fell off the wagon after probably just a few days qc time was a good twist that hooked me and Marten catching her reeled me in. Despite just complaining about how I'm afraid it's going to go long I really want to see how this goes.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #30 on: 02 Jun 2015, 15:14 »

Questionable Content is even more interesting to me when the focus is on character problems. Literature is about struggle. Jeph still adds comic relief, even in the dark strips.

I would argue that the first 3rd of 2015 hasn't had any real struggle. It's been a pure setup. I would add that while I feel the OP's pain, I don't agree with their thesis. I'm not a fan of QC's comic relief. I'm here for the story.

If I'm having issues with the pacing of a comic, or the subject, I just give it a rest, come back to it later.

Worth considering, but me thinks it as important to remember that the way a person consumes a media may not suit the next person. IMAX, 3D, 2D, dead tree, ebook, 1 page a month, 7 strips a week. It's all different. Personally, this suggested strategy doesn't work for me. I've been too busy to check in on all my comics more than once or twice a week for quite a while.

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #31 on: 02 Jun 2015, 16:28 »

Of course - but so is: know your audience.
What makes you think you know Jeph's audience better than he does? I am a part of his audience too, and I don't have any problem with his depiction of Faye's alcoholism so far. I have no quarrel with you exercising your personal taste, or saying "I don't like the way Jeph is handling this issue"; that is perfectly legitimate, but what makes you imagine that your reaction to his work is more typical or common or legitimate than mine or anyone else's, and where do you get the idea that, in not catering to your taste, Jeph demonstrates that he doesn't know his audience?

You and I, while disagreeing to some extent, must both avoid considering ourselves "the likely readership".
This. I don't know what the "likely reader" of QC is, so I don't claim to be one, or assume that I am one. I don't particularly like someone implying that there is some "likely readership", of which they are a part, to whose tastes Jeph should cater or he's doing something wrong. It is a flavour of the "all right-thinking people agree" argument.

Incidentally, anyone who claims that Marten and Dora's breakup was "handled in four strips" wasn't paying attention. There were storm-clouds on the horizon well before the final bust-up, and turbulence continued well after.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #32 on: 03 Jun 2015, 01:07 »

As I noted above, the handling of Claire's trans issue has been just utterly spot-on. It's neither been hidden, nor pushed into front and center.

Except that an alarmingly large number of people in the WCDTs and elsewhere disagree on that, think it had too big a focus, etc. etc.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #33 on: 03 Jun 2015, 01:15 »

No, that was the handling of Marten and Claire's relationship, which was portrayed without explicit focus on the transgender aspect of it.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #34 on: 03 Jun 2015, 01:18 »

Excellent point.

I would only be labouring on the same thing you and Akima were saying anyway, namely that there is no defined core QC audience.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #35 on: 03 Jun 2015, 11:58 »

As I noted above, the handling of Claire's trans issue has been just utterly spot-on. It's neither been hidden, nor pushed into front and center.

Except that an alarmingly large number of people in the WCDTs and elsewhere disagree on that, think it had too big a focus, etc. etc.
I think those people would have been upset regardless of the amount of focus on her being trans. It could have been a single throwaway line from before they started dating and it would have been too much focus. I'd argue it isn't spot-on, but it was handled very well regardless.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #36 on: 03 Jun 2015, 18:35 »

I suggest that it is important to remember that, when it comes to art, there is no spot on. There is only "works for me," or "does not work for me."

Sometimes, when a thing is not working for "me," (whoever me is) it's because "me" has some unexamined prejudice towards some part of the subject. Facing up to the very special subject of the moment, I don't think that's the issue. It's certainly a road I've been down before, so I know it well enough to say the treatment works for me. The only thing that's not working is the speed and the lack of movement around all other hanging threads in QC.

I know Jeph's been hinting at Faye having a problem for a long time, so it may seem as if I'm ignoring something when I say "the speed" but my experience has been that people reach this level of drinking struggle long before they start to implode.

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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #37 on: 05 Jun 2015, 06:30 »

I'm not quite sure why "I'm outta here" announcements have to be made, but tastes differ on that too.

I am amused when people say they are leaving a forum, and then stay on to join the discussion of why they're leaving.  There's another place I frequent where this is such a regular occurrence they have a thread for it...

The one place I regularly post were people "flounce" (local term for it) they get the ban hammer instantly & their last post(s) are deleted. You'd think that'd take the fun out of it but idiots keep doing it.
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Re: Comic strips and heavy topics
« Reply #38 on: 06 Jun 2015, 21:10 »

That's why this insistence on mucking through alcoholism, time and time again, is perplexing: it's abruptly out of character for the way that QC has dealt with tough issues. The heavy-handedness; the clumsy pacing; the insistence on portraying the most bleak and revolting aspects, like Faye vomiting all over herself... seriously, WTF? It's pointlessly cruel, both to the characters and the audience.

De-lurking for a minute to throw in a quick "WTF?" If you've ever known ANYone with addiction and witnessed what they've struggled with, this is anything but perplexing. Mucking through again and again -- daily, in some cases -- is pretty much the point. Jeph's likely drawn on his own experiences here, and like several of us, probably knows plenty of other people who've had similar experiences. Not everybody's a "happy drunk", or high-functioning. People puke on themselves, shit themselves, piss themselves, et cetera. Not all of them, not all the time. But it happens.

The irony is, of course, only compounded by the fact that if Faye just put the bottle down, never to so much as think about returning -- much less actually picking the damn thing up -- several people would complain that it was extremely unrealistic. And you know something? They'd be right to.

Like it or not (and you don't, I get it), not everyone brings the same set of experiences to "tough issues." Those experiences, in turn, color our perception. If we approach the stuff we read/watch partly on the basis of what we've seen or been through, how is it in any way unusual that a writer would do the same?
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