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2010 Webcomic List Awards announces nominees

The 2010 Webcomic List Awards nominees have been announced. I’ve promoted a few of them here as being worthy your time namely Bug and Red’s Planet, but as I look at the list – I’m seeing quite a few worth voting for.

Here they are:

For Best Writing


Sinfest
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Bug
Oglaf (NSFW)
xkcd

For Best New Comic


Red’s Planet
Axe Cop
Scenes from a Multiverse
Minor Acts of Heroism

For Best Colour Art


Hanna is not a Boy’s Name
The Meek
Dresden Codak
Oglaf

For Best Black and White Art


Lackadaisy
The Abominable Charles Christopher
Sandra and Woo

For Best Non-traditional Art


Union of Heroes
Dreamland Chronicles
Romantically Apocalyptic
A Softer World

For Best Gag-a-day


Bug
xkcd
Sinfest
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Oglaf (NSFW)

For Best Longform Comic


The Abominable Charles Christopher
Girl Genius
The Meek
Gunnerkrigg Court
Questionable Content

For Best Character


Hanna from Hanna is not a Boy’s Name
Axe Cop from Axe Cop
Imy from Imy
Zombie from Hanna is not a Boy’s Name
Antimony Carver from Gunnerkrigg Court
Alan Warren from The Dreamer
Cleo from Cleopatra in Spaaaace!

And finally, last but not definitely not least, the nominations for Best Comic 2010 are:

FreakAngels
Gunnerkrigg Court
Questionable Content
Red’s Planet
The Meek

The winners will be announced in an online illustrated ceremony on the 31st of January.

Judges are:
Vicki Paull of Comic Mole Investigates and IndieReview.
Tom Truszkowski of Station V3, Z7, Silence in the Darkness of Q16 and Ebb’s Children, as well as the Podwarp 1999 podcast.
Rob Tracy of Remedial Comics and admin/founder of Webcomics Community.
oppernaR of oppernar.com and admin at The Webcomic List.
El Santo of Webcomic Overlook.
Kurt Hathaway, whose been working in the comics industry since the 1980s as a writer, a letterer, an editor and an inker at companies including DC, Marvel and Image.
John Allison of Scary-Go-Round and Bad Machinery.
Dr. Stuart Ashen of Ashens.com
Phillipa Rice of My Cardboard Life.
David Bishop, screenwriter, editor of Judge Dredd and 2000AD and writer of an impressive number of novels and audio books.
Rose Loughran of Red Moon Rising.
Melissa DeJesus, Illustrator of the syndicated strip My Cage and the TokyoPop title, Sokora Refugees.
Ed Power, the writer of My Cage.
Dr. BlkKnight of Crossing Death and admin at Webcomics Community.
Wendy Wood of Gilbert and the Grim Rabbit and forum admin at The Webcomic List.
Alice L (aka Chilari), The Webcomic List moderator.
Luke Surl of lukesurl.com and the webcomics.co podcast

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
January/17/2011
@ 4:45 pm

Looks like these were picked at random. So many terrible strips made the cut, so many amazing webcomics didn’t.

Finally! Common ground between print and webcomics….digital or print, awards are a joke.

#2 Zoe Kirk-Robinson
January/17/2011
@ 5:41 pm

So nice of you to dismiss the efforts of so many people who give their time and skill up every day to entertain people for free, Ted.

#3 Mike Cope
January/17/2011
@ 6:31 pm

CONGRATS, EDDIE!!!

#4 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/17/2011
@ 6:56 pm

What you’re mostly looking at is the favorites of people who frequent TWCL forums, mostly creators, and then a small amount of readers from those comics. It’s a very small sample of a pretty small group.

I wouldn’t classify it as good or bad, it just is what it is. It reminds me of fan voting for pro sports.

It seems a lot of the same titles keep popping up year after year too, although there are some new ones this year.

Doesn’t seem like anyone else is willing to do webcomic awards though, in any other form.

#5 Eddie Pittman
January/17/2011
@ 7:37 pm

Thanks Mike and thanks Alan for the post.

I was hoping for the Ted Rall Lifetime Achievement Award though. Maybe next year.

#6 Rob Tracy
January/17/2011
@ 8:16 pm

You know I was going to write something really awful (true and has been said before but still awful) about Ted but frankly it’s like candy to him. He absolutely laps that stuff up. So everyone just take a deep breath and realize that Ted’s days of relevance are slip sliding away and if we don’t acknowledge him when he baits us he’ll eventually go away.

Tom… I would point out that being that this is only the SECOND year of The Webcomics List Awards it might be a touch too soon to sigh, get jaded and start lamenting the fact that the same ol’ strips are getting nominated “year after year.”

If it’s any consolation it seems FreakAngels is ending soon so we probably won’t have to compete with Ellis/Duffield et al in 2012.

These are fan picked awards. So it should not be surprising that the ones that are the most popular have been nominated. Personally I think some awards are better than no awards which is what the community would have if Wendy hadn’t picked up the ball last year. We should be grateful to her and the others on staff at The Webcomics List.

#7 August J. Pollak
January/17/2011
@ 11:42 pm

Tom, thanks for the details on what exactly the awards were; it was actually what I was curious about.

I’ll admit I’ve heard of none but a handful on this list (or for that matter the site that’s creating this award), but I too noticed that there seem to be a lot of carryovers from their list of last year’s nominees. Maybe a less flamewar-provoking way to put this would be to ask what the ratio here of independent-outsider-to-popularity-contest this is.

#8 Gar Molloy
January/18/2011
@ 4:54 am

Well the first round is voted for by the public, to a certain value of ‘public’. Only people involved in the creation or distribution of comics (print or digital) are eligible to nominate, and you aren’t allowed nominate yourself. The public votes to make up the shortlist, and then the judges decide the winner in each category from the 5 most voted-for comics. I think that tips it a little more in favour of ‘popularity contest’, but that’s just the nature of the beast.

I hadn’t heard of The Abominable Charles Christopher before the nominees were announced, and I really like it, so that’s justification for the awards right there.

Also Rob: Ted seems to be an OK guy, he’s just a bit of a dick. You of all people should be able to understand that :P

#9 Zoe Kirk-Robinson
January/18/2011
@ 5:55 am

As a judge on these awards, I’m actually surprised to hear that people think this is a popularity contest.

The fact that there is a panel of judges (some from outside of webcomics entirely, like David Bishop and Kurt Hathaway but mainly from inside the community) suggests to me that the most nominated strips are being vetted to minimize the effect of popular mass voting.

There is no way to prevent a popularity contest without turning the awards into a pointless display of clique favouritism. A popular vote from people with a stake in the community that is then judged by a panel is as good as an award system can get. If you think there’s a better way, email the awards’ administrator and I’m certain the committee organising the awards will give it a look for next year.

#10 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 7:46 am

Actually, no awards is definitely better than any awards.

The trouble with awards of any kind, regardless of how they’re determined, is that pop culture has split into shards of schisms. There is no popular consensus that something is great in the same way that there used to be that, say, Elvis was. (The irony is, back when a group like the Beatles were universally acknowledged as important and award-worthy, they didn’t NEED an award.)

From the Oscars to the Tonys to the Emmys to the Pulitzers to the AltWeekly Awards, the lists of winners are invariably controversial. This is because there is NO movie or TV show or anything that even 20% of the population thinks is Best. In a field as diverse as webcomics, this is even more true–there are so many that a strip enjoyed by 1% of webcomics fans could be the most popular strip ever. If that strip wins, 99% of webcomics fans are disappointed. So I say, lay off the awards.

Frankly I can’t imagine how work like Octopus Pie or Cat and Girl or Diesel Sweeties could be overlooked in favor of some (<–note "some," "many", not all) of these picks. At the same time it's amazing how a strip could get a fan base while having not bad, but nonexistent writing chops. Or completely generic artwork.

As for Rob and others who can't stand an honest opinion, comics will never get taken seriously as art until they are able to sustain criticism and improve as a result. That's quadruply true about webcomics, which are an incredibly insular, internally critic-free zone. Personally, I know I've benefited from years of critiques, many of them extremely harsh, from fellow editorial cartoonists. I've gotten better, but I have a long way to go. I know I'll never get there, but I'm trying. We all have a long way to go–well, everyone except Bill Waterson.

#11 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 7:53 am

@Zoe: As award systems go, letting the “people” vote on the first cut is just about the worst possible way to select the supposed best of anything.

Most readers simply are not aware of the breadth of the field. If they are aware of a large number of strips, it’s still a small fraction of what’s out there. Moreover, strips that don’t get a lot of links from other, more popular, strips, never get the chance to get a bigger audience or press coverage (as did xkcd, in the NY Times) which results in the fanbase that will vote for you to win an award like this.

You need judges who have an encyclopedic knowledge of the webcomics universe–men and women who literally know EVERYTHING–judges with exquisite taste. Good luck with that. The Pulitzers can’t even find judges who know the entire field of editorial cartooning–and there’s only a few dozen of us.

It’s a doomed endeavor, one that ought to be abandoned before it rewards trite “popular” work at the expense of more obscure, superior work.

#12 Gar Molloy
January/18/2011
@ 8:12 am

Well, if we want an award where every submission is looked at by the judging panel, then I guess that’s what the Eisners are for. Of course, they’ve only got one category for digital comics and it doesn’t distinguish between comedy strips and dramatic serials, but hey, at least it’s not run by volunteers who think webcomics are important but don’t have time to read through hundreds of them.

All those names on the judging panel there? Those refer to people. People who care enough about an unappreciated subset of an unappreciated artform to do a recognition event at no material benefit to themselves.

It’s just an award, Ted. Peer recognition. It’s a nice little ego and traffic boost for the nominees and winners, and it’s something to aim for for anyone else that cares. Shitting on the concept benefits nobody, and it’s very small of you to do so.

#13 Tom Sexton
January/18/2011
@ 8:47 am

I don’t see the harm in having awards. Especially in a field where more often than not there is little encouragement and gratification for work that is (in many cases) done for free. Whether these awards are appropriate and whether they fill that need is another question. But they certainly seem to be moving in the right direction.

I did like this tidbit from Ted:
“We all have a long way to go?well, everyone except Bill Watterson.” <– that's the truth.

#14 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 8:48 am

I’m not trying to “shit” on anyone. But if someone pays me enough…I digress.

As we editorial cartoonists have learned, awards can be extremely damaging to an art form.

The major awards for editorial cartooning have repeatedly gone to not only work that is not the best, but work that is downright awful. The effect has been to instill in the minds of editors that bad is good and good is bad, effectively incenting cartoonists to produce terrible work because that’s what sells. Awards to bad cartoonists also tell the public that the art form sucks–after all, if that’s the “best” of a field, then the whole field must not be worth checking out. (For me an example of this is the awards that go to fiction. For a long time, during the last 20 years, I checked out highly lauded fiction titles, found them to be crap, and swore off the genre entirely. It took a while to suss out that there’s good stuff out there, but it’s harder to find.)

Sorry, Gar, an award is not “just” anything. It has an effect. It matters.

#15 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 9:18 am

@Gar… LoL yeah if anyone can understand a dick it’s me I guess. But I can’t agree with you on Ted. I don’t think he’s an OK guy.

@Ted “trite” and “superior” are YOUR opinions. If you nominated anyone for the awards (I’d bet you didn’t) or volunteered to judge or take part (I doubt you would you’re too busy spreading unhappiness on the internet) someone might give a crap about YOUR opinion.

As it is your opinion is no more valid than anyone else’s (and a good deal less valid than those of us actually participating in the process) and just because you assert that the awards are flawed because in YOUR opinion superior works are overlooked it doesn’t make it true.

God save us all from Ted Rall’s “critiques” and “opinions.”

#16 Zoe Kirk-Robinson
January/18/2011
@ 9:34 am

Ted said: “This is because there is NO movie or TV show or anything that even 20% of the population thinks is Best”

I say: What about Citizen Kane?

#17 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 9:53 am

Citizen Kane, though of obvious historical importance, is so boring as to be virtually unwatchable.

What did I ever do to you, Rob?

#18 August J. Pollak
January/18/2011
@ 11:13 am

Blasphemy, Ted. I love that movie, as do, apparently, a lot of other movie viewers.

That said, thinking a movie (webcomic) is good or bad is irrelevant to Zoe’s point: if 20% of an audience says a movie (webcomic) is good, then you should address that poll result, not simply say “it’s not true.”

But let’s look at it this way: Citizen Kane is referred to as the greatest movie of all time by a collection of film authorities. AFI, various critics’ circles, etc. That is very, very different than saying that Citizen Kane, for example, won 20% of a survey on Netflix. Yes, that’s a site populated by people who love watching movies. That doesn’t make them authorities on movies. It makes them educated fans.

I’m fine with fan polls. Fan polls are fine. From marketing perspectives, fan polls are necessary. But it’s not the same thing as an award and not distinguishing the two diminishes both. So, yes, 20% of readers can say they think Citizen Kane is the best film ever made. I’m with them. But who am I? Do I matter? Any award that has any clout needs to answer that question, not respond to challengers with insults. And look, I’ll be the first to admit I have no idea what determines an “authority” on webcomics. Maybe the model makes that impossible.

Ultimately, whenever this kind of argument pops up, I have to refer to one of my favorite examples of this disparity ever, in the form of The Modern Library’s survey of “the 100 Best Novels.” The list on the left is from authors, literary experts, editors and poets. The list on the left is the readers of the website.

http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/

If you aren’t depressed after reading that, then I applaud your optimism for our culture. It’s something that I do not have.

#19 August J. Pollak
January/18/2011
@ 11:14 am

*list on the RIGHT is readers of the website, obv.

#20 Kelly Ferguson
January/18/2011
@ 11:28 am

August, I have one slight quibble with your argument: Have you seen the Netflix top 100 list? “Crash” has been #1 for about 3 million straight weeks! Calling Netflix users “educated fans” gives them far too much credit.

#21 Pete Murphey
January/18/2011
@ 11:46 am

“Crash” is unwatchable and unbearably annoying. Citizen Kane is brilliant AND incredibly fun and interesting to watch. However, I love Orson Wells best in a movie he didn’t direct, “The Third Man”.

#22 Mike Krahulik
January/18/2011
@ 12:30 pm

I find it hard to believe that no one in this entire thread has mentioned the VERY obvious problem with these awards.

Penny Arcade is not nominated.

I refuse to participate in any awards program that does not nominate me.

#23 Oliver Knörzer
January/18/2011
@ 12:39 pm

Go fuck yourself, Ted Rall!

#24 rick stromoski
January/18/2011
@ 12:52 pm

>>>Go f#*k yourself, Ted Rall!

Funny how an inordinate number of these threads end up like this.

#25 Dan Bielinski
January/18/2011
@ 1:02 pm

Good to see “Bug” in there. That strip is great everyday.

#26 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 1:02 pm

August, that list truly is illuminating.

I like me my Stephen King, really I do, but “It” as one of the 100 best books of all time?

#27 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 1:05 pm

To clarify my point about no movie and 20%, etc etc, I meant NOW. There was a lot more cultural consensus 50 years ago.

NOW I think you’d have a tough time finding 20% of the population who loved anything, much less thought it was best and most deserving of an award.

#28 Scott Kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 1:07 pm

Everyone is mad at Ted because he’s right.

Other than a nice evening of getting your ego stroked, awards do nothing for your work or your career. They certainly don’t do anything for your income. So there’s little point to them beyond industry back patting. At least in comics.

These awards specifically seem to be generated by the community of a blog. Why is this even news.

So long as people in Webcomics require this kind of incestuous ego stroking to feel accomplished, we’ll continue to need the word Webcomics.

I’m kind of looking forward to the day when we don’t need it anymore, myself.

#29 August J. Pollak
January/18/2011
@ 1:11 pm

All I can picture now is an adorable cartoon raccoon shouting expletives.

#30 August J. Pollak
January/18/2011
@ 1:26 pm

Mike you totally win webcomic awards in our hearts. And because that’s where the ceremony is held, we know you’ll be able to attend. You are already there.

#31 Jesse Cline
January/18/2011
@ 1:28 pm

This site gets more like Jerry Springer every day.

#32 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 1:34 pm

But there were hot trashy girls on Springer.

#33 August J. Pollak
January/18/2011
@ 1:36 pm

I wonder what percentage of the country likes that.

#34 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 1:50 pm

@Ted. Personally? Other than setting a foul mood for the day when the first thing I see in the morning is you pooping on a project I’m excited to be a part of… nothing.

I actually wish there was some sort of private messaging here because I feel like I’m attacking you and that’s not what I wanted to do. What I wanted was for you to just maybe back off and think about what you’re saying before you poop on the work of dozens of people (I know you said you aren’t trying to Ted but you are… and anyone with eyes can see it) who never asked for your criticism of their work. Alan didn’t post an editorial on the value of awards in the webcomics medium. It was a news item promoting it and you took it as an opportunity to once again espouse an unpopular and controversial opinion (several actually… my grandmother LOVED Citizen Kane).

But you rankle me in the way you present your ideas Ted. You always have. Even when I agree with you. You take what authority you have gained from your career and so on and you represent your specious arguments with made up statistics as if they were inviolate.

You could do with a dose of humility (in my opinion) and that’s coming from someone who’s been accused of arrogance. A lot.

Let me give you an example of how you could have said exactly the same thing you said above (response #14) without expressing opinion as fact and without falsely representing people you don’t represent (because honestly Ted even if half the other ed cartoonists out there are lefty and love you there’s got to be a whole bunch of conservative ed cartoonists out there that can’t stand you [and yeah this is an assumption but I feel pretty safe making it]).

Here’s the meat of your original post without the ending restating of premise (just like my old English professor taught me too!) and the literary example which frankly smacks of the whole elitist “if it is popular it must suck” argument I’ve been hearing all my life (if you want to be Harper Lee Ted that’s fine… I’ll take Stephen King’s money, success and impact on society every time… I liked Atticus Finch… I liked Roland Deschain more).

“As we editorial cartoonists have learned, awards can be extremely damaging to an art form.

The major awards for editorial cartooning have repeatedly gone to not only work that is not the best, but work that is downright awful. The effect has been to instill in the minds of editors that bad is good and good is bad, effectively incenting cartoonists to produce terrible work because that?s what sells. Awards to bad cartoonists also tell the public that the art form sucks?after all, if that?s the ?best? of a field, then the whole field must not be worth checking out.”

Now here’s a way to say it which doesn’t leave the taste of Rall poo in everyone’s mouth.

I can’t claim to represent all editorial cartoonists but I personally believe that awards can be extremely damaging to an art form.

The major awards for editorial cartooning have repeatedly gone to work that I believe to be not only work that is not the best, but work that is downright awful. And while I can’t prove it I strongly feel that the effect has been to instill in the minds of editors that bad is good and good is bad. I’m confident that this has an influence on the editorial cartoonists themselves who in turn seek to produce this dreck just to appease the aforementioned editors. The net impact of this being (once again in my opinion) that the public at large looks at the sub par product that editorial cartooning is rewarding as its “best” and becomes dismissive of the entire medium.

This to me is a much fairer and more honest representation of your opinion Ted. You might feel there are too many middling words but I’m certain a guy like you could find ways to convey his thoughts without representing opinion as fact and pulling fake statistics (response #10 paragraph 3) out of the air… if he really wanted to.

The danger with guys like you (IN MY OPINION) is that if I were to come in here… new to the community and wide eyed with excitement about the topic at hand I might read your comments and think “Wow… that’s Ted Rall… He worked for United Press Syndicate and was recently interviewed on MSNBC… if he says that The Webcomic List Awards will hurt all webcomics then it must be true and therefore I will no longer be involved in them.”

Do you think there are people out there who might be influenced in that manner Ted? You know, without thinking it through for themselves and perhaps questioning your motivations and reasoning? You’re pretty well traveled. So am I. I tend to think that most people are just that easily influenced. Especially when they haven’t been here to see some of the truly crazy stuff you’ve come up with before. But I guess that’s a matter of opinion (<—– see not afraid to say it).

Your career and accomplishments give you experience which translates to a measure of authority in this field. Authority is power and with power comes a measure of responsibility (thank you Spider Man). I've never felt Ted, that you exercise that power responsibly. And that is what bothers me about you. I don't think you are a terrible person. I just think you don't give a whole lot of thought to the consequences of your words. Which in private communication perhaps is forgivable; but in front of an audience makes you not so much the "OK guy."

Nobody's perfect and everyone shoots off their mouths (Lord knows I do) from time to time but for you this is your default position. And you aren't the only one. But since you asked. There you go.

#35 donna lewis
January/18/2011
@ 1:51 pm

Hot Trashy Girl checking in….

d

#36 rick stromoski
January/18/2011
@ 1:54 pm

>>>NOW I think you?d have a tough time finding 20% of the population who loved anything,

Americans love their guns.

#37 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 1:59 pm

@Donna: Yay! Can never have too many of those.

@Rob: Guilty as charged. I often say what I think without worrying much about the feelings I might hurt. I often fail to use qualifiers that would make my opinions go down more easily.

But I don’t think I’m going to change. I have always admired people who speak their minds, plainly and forthrightly. That’s one of the things I respect about Scott Kurtz. I might not always agree with him, but his “arrogant” tone doesn’t bother me. I like the fact that he says what he means and means what he says.

In this forum you only have a few sentences to get your point across. Keeping it simple often means writing it bluntly.

Also, I have found that many people who are annoyed at my posts don’t read them carefully. For instance, I never said that ALL of these comics in the links up above were bad. I said there were “so many” bad ones, which there are. So if you are up on that list, feel free to think I wasn’t talking about you.

#38 donna lewis
January/18/2011
@ 2:06 pm

@Ted: I actually can’t certify status on the Hot scale…only Certified Trashy and Certified Girl. I’m guessing that 2 out or 3 is acceptable for this forum.

#39 Tiki Carol Leach
January/18/2011
@ 2:07 pm

Just a blanket observation on web comics:
It apparently DOES pay to advertise.

As per movies:
There are no bad actors, just bad directors.

#40 Mike Lester
January/18/2011
@ 2:22 pm

I feel like I just read the TDC equivalent of the “Mean Joe Green” Coke commercial….

#41 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 2:32 pm

Ah the west coast is up and out of bed.

@Mike and Scott. I don’t know why you guys didn’t get nominated. If I had to guess I’d say that it probably has something to do with the same snobbery that keeps most action movies/stars from ever getting nominated for an Oscar.

Penny Arcade, while awesome and wildly popular is somewhat confined by subject matter. PvP, also awesome and wildly popular is less so but still somewhat involved in gaming and the related culture.

But honestly if you are Michael Bay and your making a gazillion dollars per flick while the Oscar goes to some indie art film that cost less to make than your craft services budget do you care? Maybe enough to say “screw the Oscars” (which is kinda what you guys just did) but I doubt it keeps you up nights.

And yet… Scott you wanted that Harvey pretty bad last year didn’t you? Bad enough to ask your community to get involved?

http://www.pvponline.com/2010/08/02/harvey-awards-is-it-my-turn-yet/

Is that hypocrisy? Or is it because you have your award and recognition and so it no longer matters to you. By the way, Alan ran at least 3 stories about the Harvey’s last year (this is regarding your “why is this news” comment). And the category you were nominated in was “On-Line Comics” against a field that frankly (with the possible exception of Kate Beaton) couldn’t stand up to your worst year with PvP. Two of the “nominees” haven’t updated in eight months or so and Zuda is dead. You had the awards ceremony on the corpses of two of your fellow nominees (although the author says Sin Titulo will return at some point this year) and High Moon only lasted another month or so.

Is that really indicative of an inclusive and well defined field of on line comics nominees? Is it less incestuous if we call it on line comics instead of webcomics? Lastly The Web Comics List is not a blog although it has one. I don’t work for the site and wouldn’t want to be seen as representing them but I believe the main function of the site is to serve as an updater tool and community hub for a large amount of webcomics. A webcomics list if you will… that lets members know when a new comic is available and hosts a forum that allows readers and creators to commune.

Can you guys tell it’s a snow day and I’m stuck at home yet?

#42 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 2:46 pm

Feelings are irrelevant Ted. I’m a judge and a presenter and the people whose work I was referring to was that of the volunteers and organizers who make the awards happen. I’m not nominated and since my comic is just running up on it’s first year I wouldn’t expect to be. I’m in no hurry. If you had come in here and said “gosh I think all of those webcomics suck” and then proceeded to rip every one of them apart I wouldn’t care. I may disagree with you but I certainly wouldn’t care. Because that would be your opinion; clearly labeled so.

What bothers me is when you muddy the water. Hurt all the feelings you like. I like honesty and truth with my opinion. But when you state opinion as fact, pretend to represent others (that you do not), misquote, use fake statistics, fantasize or any of the other tricks I’ve seen you pull here to make your point all you do is mislead and confuse and that is the enemy of truth. And seeking the truth; some kind of truth is supposed to be at the heart of all discourse/debate.

#43 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 2:52 pm

@Rob wrote:

But honestly if you are Michael Bay and your making a gazillion dollars per flick while the Oscar goes to some indie art film that cost less to make than your craft services budget do you care? Maybe enough to say ?screw the Oscars? (which is kinda what you guys just did) but I doubt it keeps you up nights.

Yet another reason awards are intrinsically stupid.

Prominent winners in a field don’t need an award, so it makes sense to pick a winner who is obscure and worthy of additional recognition to help jumpstart their career.

On the other hand, it’s kind of crazy when the elephants in the room (Penny Arcade and PvP in this case) get ignored in favor of work that is, frankly, not nearly as good.

There is no right way to pick a winner. So no one should try.

#44 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 3:05 pm

I wasn’t suggesting that it’s right or even fair. But your assertion that one shouldn’t even try is silly.

What’s that old saying…? “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.”

As you know Ted we aren’t even a Democracy. We’re barely a Representative Democracy and we’ve had huge problems with justice and human rights and so on and blah blah blah.

So should we abandon all government and live in Locke’s “State of Nature?”

On the one hand we’re talking about the structure of human society while on the other we’re talking about an award for socially relevant doodles. So the scope is off a bit but I think my point is clear.

Just because something isn’t perfect you don’t give up trying and improving unless the damage of trying outweighs the loss of the endeavor. Most reasonable people I hope would agree that a little awards show isn’t going to hurt anything and might just actually be pretty cool and fun. And Ted as long we we don’t have bleating sheep editors to run us all off the cliff of mediocrity (your premise not mine) I don’t think we have quite the same worries as ed cartoons do.

#45 Scott kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 3:24 pm

@Rob,

There’s no hypocrisy. I’ve been nominated for a Harvey four times and they keep asking me to host and I didn’t want to not win in front of an industry I respect one more year. I’m glad I won. I enjoyed the evening of ego stroking. The award looks great on my shelf.

But are you telling me that a bunch of webcomic people nominating themselves for an imaginary award is as newsworthy as the Harveys?

The Harveys are barely news worthy. I say that as a winner and MC of the ceremony.

#46 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 3:51 pm

If you’re going to slander my character, Rob, the least you can do is point to some specific examples.

#47 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 3:52 pm

@Scott

You’re not allowed to nominate yourself for The Webcomics List Awards. It’s in the rules for the nomination form.

That said, you didn’t show up here for any of the three aforementioned news stories about the Harveys with the same message (I checked) and you lobbied to win your Harvey… sorry but that smacks of hypocrisy to me.

Or “do as I say not as I do” to say the very least.

I’m not even sure I want to explore the “industry I respect” versus “a bunch of webcomic people” comments as I’m afraid where it will go.

As for imaginary… that’s still hasn’t been decided.

And as for The Webcomics List Awards being more or less newsworthy than the Harvey’s I’ll simply say they are probably as newsworthy in their second year to the webcomics community as the Harvey’s were in their second year to the print comics community.

I don’t feel it’s wrong for me to hope that they build into something that someone might enjoy getting and feel that it looks good on their wall.

#48 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 3:54 pm

@Ted

Ok.

http://dailycartoonist.com/

#49 Scott kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 4:14 pm

@Ted

It is SO not worth your time even acknowledging Rob. Seriously.

#50 Clay Jones
January/18/2011
@ 4:18 pm

I often read threads on subjects I don’t give a crap about because Ted made a comment on it.

#51 Darryl Heine
January/18/2011
@ 4:48 pm

Doesn’t Dawn Griffin’s Zorphbert and Fred get a nomination?

#52 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 5:13 pm

@ Scott

ah a deft tactic. If you cannot sway the debate in your favor ignore the opposing debater. I believe you illustrate a similar tactic with one of your Blamimations characters. An air horn is usually involved.

It’s not my fault you bear trapped yourself with your own behavior. If you’re going to swing in here and start poo pooing all awards six months after asking everyone who reads your blog to help you get one and hosting the ceremony to boot I think you should be called on it.

#53 Daniel Boris
January/18/2011
@ 5:18 pm

Congrats, Eddie!

#54 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 5:29 pm

@Scott: You’re right about Rob. So, one last time:

Gallons Scott hypocritical for hating awards yet trying to get one is just as absurd as calling a communist hypocritical for trying to get a raise at work. We live in this system. We don’t like it, but we have to get by in it. Stupid though they are, awards can help your career.

#55 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 5:31 pm

Stupid auto-suggest puts in “gallons” in lieu of “calling.”

#56 Scott Kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 6:05 pm

@Rob

I have no problem replying to you. I’m just advising Ted not to get into it with you about slander. Cause having that argument with YOU is not worth his time.

Nothing I have said here is hypocritical. I stated that awards, while nice and ego stroking (they are) do nothing for your career (they don’t). I can vouch for that as I have an Eisner and a Harvey sitting on my shelf.

These webcomic back pattings are not industry voted awards. they’re a bunch of webcomic people trying to congratulate each other. And it’s pointless.

So until you catch me lobbying for some webcomics award, you haven’t caught me in any bear traps.

#57 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 6:21 pm

@ Ted

Actually since it’s Scott that I suggested was being hypocritical and Scott doesn’t believe that awards have any value (beyond the ego stroke) or can help your career or income (he said exactly that in response #28 if you’d like to scroll up) then your metaphor is somewhat busted (not that it worked very well to begin with).

But if we’re to believe that Scott is sincere in his assertion that awards are valueless then his desire to get one of those awards ascribes it some value and shows his efforts to get one to be in conflict with his statement above.

This is some pretty basic logic here.

If he believes they have no value now then why did he want one then? If he believes awards ceremonies are not newsworthy now then why didn’t he speak up when Alan posted the three stories about the Harvey’s earlier this year? You did Ted. You made it pretty clear how you felt about awards then.

#58 Scott Kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 6:26 pm

@Rob,

I said INDUSTRY awards have no impact on your career or income. I never said they were worthless.

I said Webcomic people giving each other awards to prop each other up is worthless. But since that’s the only kind of award you’ll ever win, I understand why you’re defending them so staunchly.

#59 Scott Nickel
January/18/2011
@ 7:18 pm

When do you guys find time to cartoon? I had to take a sabbatical from work just to READ all these posts. (Quite entertaining, I must admit, so carry on!)

#60 Ted Rall
January/18/2011
@ 7:25 pm

@Rob: If Scott had never won an award, you’d accuse him of sour grapes if he said awards were stupid.

#61 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 7:36 pm

@ Scott N

I’m just a writer (I draw a comic sometimes but my art is abhorrent and it’s just for fun). I’ve got my scripts done for the month and my day job was canceled due to bad weather. So I had some time. I’m glad you’re enjoying the discourse.

@ Scott K

Actually what you said in response #28 exactly was:

“Other than a nice evening of getting your ego stroked, awards do nothing for your work or your career. They certainly don?t do anything for your income. So there?s little point to them beyond industry back patting. At least in comics”

Now where I come from that second to last sentence (since we have now reached the word lawyering phase of your backpedaling) where you say there is “little point to them beyond industry back patting.” is easily understood as saying they are worthless. Worthless being a synonym of pointless and pointless coming from your assertion that there is “little point to them beyond industry back patting.”

This is of course me assuming that industry back patting isn’t worth much and also assuming I understand the meaning of the words “little point.” If I flubbed either of those I do apologize. However I would like to hear you explain why “industry back patting” has value but “Webcomic people giving each other awards to prop each other up is worthless.”

Or for that matter how to tell the two apart.

“But since that?s the only kind of award you?ll ever win, I understand why you?re defending them so staunchly.”

Seriously? Dude? That’s where you’re going with this? You won’t bait me into a personal attack Scott. You’re too good at playing the victim and I know better.

More in a moment. Dinner

#62 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 7:37 pm

No Ted. I wouldn’t. Please don’t put words in my mouth. I’ve been a fan and admirer of Scott’s for a long time. I don’t enjoy disagreeing with him as much as you think I do.

#63 Trevor Kent
January/18/2011
@ 8:03 pm

For once, I agree with Ted, and through my peripheral vision, four horsemen suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Coincidence?

As someone who loves making comics, and who is attempting with some success to improve his art, If you don’t want to hear critics and just want your ego stroked, DON’T CARTOON. Art is subjective, so even if you are the next JR Jr. or Bill Waterson, someone will always be around the corner telling you that you suck. And someone will always be next to them saying that they’re stupid for thinking that. The books and webcomics I enjoy are different than those that Scott may enjoy, or my circle of friends, and so on. But here’s the thing to do whenever you get criticism: Take it with a grain of salt, but still listen. I’ve gone up to professionals in both print and web, and gotten critiques that tore me apart. You have to learn to live with it, and in a way, love it. I look forward to critiques, and while I may brush off some of it due to a personal opinion, I always consider trying it somewhere else.

Now to go against the other side, I have to slightly disagree with Scott. Think back a bit to when you were still learning your craft, even after starting PVP. While critique and criticism was probably something you took seriously as well, I’m sure when people told you that a comic made them laugh or was well drawn or whatnot made you smile. Do I think that the awards as they are now are a perfect way to do webcomic awards? No. Do I know how to fix them? Also no. But here’s the difference: Do I think they’re pointless? Not really. We as artists need to be recognized every once in a while. The comics nominated are all doing something great, whether its art, writing, medium, or just being a damn good comic all around. Sure there may be a bunch more that are also doing wonderful work, and I think that seeing the same names in this webcomic award list is defeating the purpose of the award itself, but maybe it’s an incentive for creators like myself to make better work. Whether it’s for promotion, for critique, or even just to feel good about the work your doing, it still has some merit, even if it’s so small it’s just a blip on the radar. And a comic should stand up on it’s own merits, cartoonists should feel good about getting an award, but they shouldn’t shove it in anyone’s face going “LOOK! I GOT AN AWARD! KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!” and all that mess. Not saying that the nominees will do so, but I have seen it happen before, and it really devalues both the work and especially the cartoonist.

Anyways, that’s enough from me. There’s a point somewhere up in there.

#64 Scott kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 8:16 pm

Ron,

You don’t understand how it’s possible for me to be glad I won an award and still realize that the awards are meaningless?

#65 Rob Tracy
January/18/2011
@ 8:42 pm

@ #64 Scott K

No. You clearly desired the award. You sought it, you lobbied for it. You emcee’d the event. So it had some value and or meaning to you. I mean, now that you’ve won do you ever have any intention of hosting the event again?

It is the fact that you seek to deny that same possible value to others to others that confuses me. But now you’ve said that the awards had “little point” and are “meaningless” but they are not “worthless” so I’m starting to get confused about a lot of things. And I’m getting ahead of myself.

@ #56 Scott K

Actually it’s not worth my time since his premise is right there in response #14 for all to see. Including him.

I’m not trying to catch you in anything Scott. I’m simply trying to clarify why someone who is a supposed founder and champion of the webcomics model might feel one way about one on line award and completely indifferent (actually that’s not true you have actually been aggressive in your opinion that this award ceremony is not newsworthy and the award is meaningless but for arguments sake let’s say indifferent) about another.

So now that you’ve massaged your position a little it’s just webcomic awards that are incestuous and back patting? Webcomics is not an industry and therefore the award has less value than a print comics industry event… giving an award to an on line comic? Am I understanding correctly?

Let me ask you something. Setting aside all the problems I have with everything that you’ve said in here today. Is it possible for you to agree that, even for someone on your success level in webcomics who clearly couldn’t give a crap about The Webcomic List awards that it might be nice to win one?

I’m not talking cartwheels down the street or even “hey let’s eat somewhere nice tonight because I won an award” nice. Just nice. Not even “I’ll put it on the mantle” nice. Just opening a box or getting an e-mail and there… you just won an award for your webcomic and you say to yourself “eh that’s cool” and go on with your life with maybe a bit of a spring in your step for the rest of the day. Could you agree that it might be that nice?

Could you agree that it might be enjoyable for those involved in organizing the awards? Not life changing but fun and gratifying in some small way?

If you can’t agree with even that much then we have nothing left to talk about on the subject. I mean, if you are thinking “if I ever win one of those awards I will be so angry” then there isn’t much to say. Sincerely you are a master of denial.

But if like me you think it might be nice to win and believe that others might think it would be nice to win: it might be fun for those involved and for Pete’s sake it doesn’t hurt anything then my next question to you is what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

I understand you feel they are meaningless but if they aren’t harmful then why do you care enough to come in here and align yourself against them?

I’ve reread your comments and I get that you feel… something about the webcomics community. That your feelings and attitude have shifted lately cannot be denied in my opinion. But I don’t see anything here saying that you believe these awards to be a harmful thing.

So what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to get Alan to pull the piece. From the way he interacts with you I’m not sure he would do you any favors (who knows though he might). Are you trying to convince him not to run awards announcements in the future? Are you trying to specifically get him to ignore The Webcomic List Awards? Do you have something against them? Are you trying to sway public opinion in general against all awards or just The Webcomic List Awards specifically? If it’s all awards would you then, having accomplished your goal junk your Eisner and Harvey?

I sincerely don’t get you lately man. You’re the cat who wrote the book on webcomics but lately you’ve shown nothing but disdain for anyone who hasn’t been at it for years and years (and/or exactly in the manner in which you deem appropriate). That article with The Oatmeal was an embarrassment. You long for the day that Webcomics just become “Comics?” You would have us toss our unique identity away so that we can be a part of an industry with so much less freedom and unlimited layers of bureaucracy? For what? So you can finally receive the acceptance and recognition from the industry that has spurned you for so long?

All of that is a discussion for another time I guess. But I seriously don’t get what’s going on with you and I don’t think I’m alone.

My biggest confusion will all of this is why the guy who runs a website that charges people to learn more about making webcomics would have a problem with an award ceremony geared towards recognizing good (subjective yes but ultimately the goal) webcomics? It boggles my mind. I mean I can totally understand the indifference. But the aggressive stance against it just does not compute.

Seriously the only thing I can think of is that Webcomics.com is planning on creating it’s own award in the near future and you’re trying marginalize anything similar. It’s all I’ve got.

#66 Scott Kurtz
January/18/2011
@ 10:43 pm

Wow.

I get that receiving an award makes a person feel good. Recognition does that. I’ve experienced it first hand. It’s nice. And yes. I posted on my blog that I hoped to win the Harvey considering I’ve sat through those award ceremonies more than five times and I keep walking away with nothing to show for it but a hangover. It was nice to win.

But clearly everyone else reading this thread can accept that a man such as myself can simultaneously enjoy accolades and maintain an understanding that such recognitions are unimportant in the grand scheme of my work and career.

It’s nice when people say they like your work. I like it when people say they like my work. The fact that the Webcomics List Awards didn’t mention my work has no bearing on my feelings towards it. I hope that sufficiently answers your question on that.

You would have us toss our unique identity away so that we can be a part of an industry with so much less freedom and unlimited layers of bureaucracy? For what? So you can finally receive the acceptance and recognition from the industry that has spurned you for so long?

The unique identity you’re talking about is already gone, Rob. It left when the rest of the comic book industry put all their comics online. Having a comic strip online no longer makes you a unique commodity. It just makes you normal now. I’m not asking you to toss it. I’m asking you to wake up and realize it’s no longer valid.

There are a handful of syndicated guys who have “spurned” me, but the majority of traditional print cartoonists are among my friends and colleagues. I have always wanted to be counted in their ranks. Even Wiley and I talk regularly now.

I did write a book on webcomics. And my shift in attitudes towards the “community” is more a response to how most of you who read my book missed the entire point. And you continue to miss the point.

I hate the webcomic cargo cults that book spawned, and it makes me almost regret contributing to it.

No. Webcomics.com will never create an award. The award is that you live in a time where the technology for cartoonists to get their work to a large audience for practically free exists. Congrats. You won. Stop patting yourself on the back and work on your crappy comic.

p.s. depsite having won last year. I will be returning to MC the Harveys. Most hosts do three years.

#67 Matt Bors
January/19/2011
@ 12:28 am

Sorry I’m late to the thread, guys! The “unlimited layers of bureaucracy” found in the comic industry keep me pretty tied up.

#68 Trevor Kent
January/19/2011
@ 5:18 am

@Scott: Maybe it’s that these things are unimportant from a professional and business standpoint, but are important from a personal and creative standpoint. I think that’s what many people take from it. It’s a personal success, and something to be personally proud of. But like you’ve said before here and other places, it doesn’t help your business or professional career at all. I think what makes this discussion heated is when people confuse the two sides, which is exactly what shouldn’t happen, and where I agree with you.

#69 Gar Molloy
January/19/2011
@ 5:56 am

@Scott Kurtz: “Even Wiley and I talk regularly now.”

So what, he tell you to execute order 66?

Digressing from the main topic a bit, but seriously Kurtz, you’ve been pretty down on webcomics lately. OK, so you’re a success now, and have been a success for a while. You have a well-illustrated, critically-acclaimed (and, hey, award-winning!) comic. Your peers are now “real” cartoonists. You may be coming across in text as a bigger dick than you actually are, but you seem to be expressing something very close to hatred for webcomics these days. I know you love arguing on the internet, but you don’t have to kick the underdogs quite so vehemently. We all know you’re one of the big kids now. That’s proven already. Sorry to go ad hominem, but you’ve been pretty snotty to the amateurs lately.

Anyway, just because you’re playing in the majors now doesn’t mean the bush leagues shouldn’t have trophies. Congratulations on working your way up from the minors, but we’re all playing the same game here. So the Webcomics List Awards are back-patting and self-congratulatory. You can say the same thing about the Harvey Awards, the Eisners, Emmys, Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammies, etc. etc. etc. Heck, you could say it about the Nobel Peace Prize and it’d apply! There’s a difference in scale and scope of achievement for these awards, but they’re all just peer recognition events. They’re not all on the same scale though. The Eisners are worth more than the Harveys are worth more than The Webcomics List Awards. It’s the difference between National, State, and County championships.

Now I’m never going to win a Nobel, but I might have a shot at an Eisner some day. That’s one of my dreams. Between now and then, a couple of SmackJeeves awards or a thumbs up from Nathan Fillion or something would be nice. It’s all the same game, but it’s not a level playing field and not everyone’s in the same league.

Then again, I’m an admitted amateur. I love making comics and I’m proud of my work, but it’s not making me any money. So the WCL awards are beneath you now. Kudos. They’re not beneath Me. The judging panel is a mix of amateurs and professionals awarding a mix of amateurs and professionals. Peers. It’s a peer recognition event, and it’s nice to be recognised. You’re in a different peer group now and you’ve worked long and hard to get there and everybody respects that, but do you have to be so dismissive of everyone that’s still in the leagues you’ve graduated from?

What was that Ted said earlier about the Beatles not needing awards? OK, so Penny Arcade is The Beatles, but you’re at least The Kinks. Questionable Content can be Abba. (Personally I think QC, SMBC and XKCD are too big for the Webcomic List Awards, but I’m not a judge) So hooray for everyone that’s ‘made it’ and has multi platinum albums and doesn’t need to win Battle of the Bands at the local ampitheatre to get an EP deal with Fartballs Records. As a garage band, I think winning Battle of the Bands would be pretty sweet.

As for critical review, well that’s something webcomics would benefit from a hell of a lot, but there’s not a whole heap of volunteers to do the job. If you want to dissect Neko the Kitty Comics and show me what works and what doesn’t that’d be fantastic. I know I’d get more than a ‘this is terrible and you should die’ out of you. Or at least you’d give reasons for why you think it’s terrible and I should die. It’d benefit me hugely. I doubt you’ve the time, though, and my rank is sufficiently beneath yours that it’s impertinent of me to ask.

…and was it order 66? It’s been a while since I’ve seen Revenge of the Sith so I just guessed the number.

#70 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 6:18 am

@ #66 Scott K

Yes… Wow indeed. So now that we’re 66 comments into this and you’ve admitted that awards are nice to win I guess the only question remaining are the ones I already asked but you skipped over.

Why did you come in here to drop a deuce on these awards and what were you hoping to accomplish when you did so? I’m genuinely curious. As venomous as your arguments with Ted have been I can’t see you riding to his rescue. You don’t even seem to agree with his assertion that awards are harmful to the art form which, along with his delivery was the crux of my problem with his statements in here.

So what was it?

And now it’s sarcasm time.

I’m sad our unique identity is gone Scott. I will miss it. But at least I get to read Batman and Flash and Green Lantern and Spider Man for free now. Can you link me to where the updates are posted?

Actually… never mind. The comics I already read on line are better. And they aren’t better because they’re free. They’re better because they aren’t corporatized re re re re re re interpretations of someone’s idea for a comic from sixty years ago. The characters and environments are fresh and new and are allowed to develop without the heavy hand of a marketing department or a shareholder’s bottom line. They are created for the best reason that any art is created and that is because the artist is compelled to do so.

And if you think I’m misinterpreting your book you can absolve yourself of that responsibility. My comic site was up and running already by the time I ever laid a hand on HTMW. I learned how to make comics by reading them and watching what other creators did. Still in my opinion the best way.

#71 Ed Power
January/19/2011
@ 7:29 am

I like soup! And roller skates! Once I roller skated with soup and I spilled it on my pants! >:(

#72 Ted Rall
January/19/2011
@ 7:35 am

It is amazing how people can talk right past one another.

Also, it’s interesting that after being unable to get Scott for so long, I finally seem to grock him.

He will and should correct me if I’m mistaken, but I don’t think Scott has lost his love of webcomics. Quite the contrary. What he’s decrying is the attitude of the webcomics community. It is time for webcartoonists to stop acting like babies. To realize that they have arrived. That they have been accepted into the mainstream, are no longer excluded, have the same opportunities as anyone else, and indeed that the distinctions between “print” and “web” are so narrow as to be virtually nonexistent.

Exercises like the Webcomics List Awards are a symptom of the kind of insularity that will kill what makes webcomics interesting. Artists should always look outward to other genres and fields. When they don’t, they become incestuous and dull–see, e.g., McSweeneys or the Best American Comics series.

And Rob, you need to get real about webcomics. They are not across the board “better” than print. To the contrary, the average print comic–as lame as it is–is much better than the average webcomic. Because of the absence of barriers to entry, the average webcomic is just terrible–and there are zillions of these terrible pos-es. But there are, of course, some really great webcomics, some that are every bit as good as the best of the print stuff. Just not that many. The major challenge for webcomics, as I see it, is the difficulty for new readers to be able to wade through a sea of garbage in order to find the good stuff.

Elitism is not all bad. Develop a curated forum–website compilation, an app–for the best webcomics and the form overall will benefit enormously. You guys need to create some barriers to entry so that lazy webcartoonists work harder to better themselves. I mean, seriously, considering giving awards to people who haven’t posted new work for half a year is embarrassing.

P.S. Only someone who has won an award has the moral standing to say they’re dumb. Scott has that standing. As do I.

#73 D.J. Coffman
January/19/2011
@ 7:41 am

I never really understood “Webcomics” awards when I’d look at the nominees and they all seemed really poorly drawn or executed. I always felt those “awards” were kind of a joke and only taken seriously in a very very small cottage industry. Actually, if you consider “webcomics” a cottage industry, the webcomic awards aren’t even taken seriously inside of that cottage… maybe two cottages down???

Nowadays I don’t mind seeing these pop up among the aspiring community. We were all aspiring at one point and it did feel good to have someone recognize or point at your work (even when you knew in the back of your mind you weren’t there yet) In 99% of “webcomics” there is a real lack of polished craft in cartooning that easily separates it for me personally. I think Scott would likely agree that you can just look at something and instantly know if the person has chops already, or some kind of potential for the future.

I don’t begrudge these awards, just like I don’t begrudge the pee-wee football league giving out trophies and occassional Xboxes to players at the year end banquet. It makes the kids feel good and it inspires them to keep going. It’s a great thing in that regard, building up some egos and giving some young creators some fuel to keep going in a world that likely doesn’t encourage them at all. Even though I come from that George Carlin school of thinking where not EVERY kid should be given an award in school.

Comparing any of these amateur awards to the likes of Eisners or Harveys is just a little insane to me. It totally is the difference between MVP of the Superbowl, and PeeWee Football trophies. Both people play football, sure, but at WAY different levels.

#74 Gar Molloy
January/19/2011
@ 8:28 am

@Ed: Yeah, soup’s good. Never had the balance for roller skates though.

@Ted: Kurtz has been much more down on webcomics than usual lately, you must have noticed that you’ve been arguing the same side in a bunch of threads on here.

He’s coming from a position of being at or near the top of the game and has started looking down on the wannabes. So there are no barriers to entry for webcomics, and a lot of them are done as a hobby, a lot of them are terrible, and the creators often get sick of them after a couple of months and stop updating. A lot of them don’t deserve recognition. So with such a vast swamp of crap out there, making it onto the ‘B’ list is kind of an achievement. It’s where you’re not a heavy-hitter, but you’re not quite a nobody.

Why does everyone have to be judged on the same level when they’re clearly not? We can’t all be best of the best, so why dump on those who are ranked highly amongst the Pretty Good? Rewarding excellence is a fine and admirable thing, elitism isn’t inherently bad, but what’s the harm in rewarding above-averageness? Especially if it encourages a creator to keep improving.

For those of you that get the reference: there’s a whole lot of ranks between ‘Harmless’ and ‘Elite’.

#75 Matt Conning
January/19/2011
@ 8:44 am

Ted grocks Scott

#76 Gar Molloy
January/19/2011
@ 8:45 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_(video_game)

#77 Gar Molloy
January/19/2011
@ 8:56 am

@DJ Coffman: Looks like we posted at the same time, but Yes! That’s exactly what I’m talking about! It’s awards for the B-listers. Not everybody deserves an award, not everyone who deserves an award deserves a major award. As an evenings-and-weekends guy, it’s nice having a couple of things like this crop up every year where I might stand a chance of actually winning something.

#78 Chris Flick
January/19/2011
@ 10:46 am

Personally, I can get where Scott is coming from on this. But I also see Gar’s analogy about football as well.

For 18 years, I obsessed about pursuing and winning a league championship in the men’s 35+ baseball league I play in every summer. It’s what drove and motivated me to stay in shape over the winter, go to the gym when I didn’t want to and ultimately go through the summer grind of playing hardball every weekend of every summer… sacrificing summer vacations, traveling to tournaments, etc. etc. etc.

But then I was fortunate enough to be on a team that actually won the league championship not once, but twice. And a very strange thing happened… only AFTER winning the championships, I realized how utterly meaningless they really were.

I know this little story isn’t really art or comic related but like Scott’s Eisner and Harvey, I still have those two trophies in my office and they really don’t mean all that much to me – even though I was utterly passionate and obsessed about trying to win them for 18 years.

Now, all that being said, if someone deemed me worthy enough to give ME a major award, I’d still put that leg lamp proudly in my front window for the entire neighborhood to see.

The only difference being… I would still realize it’s a pretty gaudy and ridiculous lamp.

But I’d still display it nonetheless. :-)

#79 Scott Kurtz
January/19/2011
@ 11:03 am

@Rob

– I came in here and “took a deuce” on the Webcomic List awards because I think they are a pointless exercise in ego stroking and are detrimental to the artistic advancement of everyone involved and a symptom of what I believe to be a much larger problem inside of “webcomics.”

– My intention in doing so was to express an opinion on the matter in a public forum where the subject was being discussed. I know you have paranoid fantasies about my being threatened by your little empire. But they are a personal delusion on your part.

– You can read Batman, Spider-Man, the Flash an Green Lantern for free on their respective Comixology apps and web apps. All the major publishers are offering free issues of their comics. And people are gobbling them up because they are proven commodities. Unlike your free comic which nobody knows or cares about because it is not compelling material. No matter how many awards you invent for it.

The comics I already read on line are better. And they aren?t better because they?re free. They?re better because they aren?t corporatized re re re re re re interpretations of someone?s idea for a comic from sixty years ago. The characters and environments are fresh and new and are allowed to develop without the heavy hand of a marketing department or a shareholder?s bottom line. They are created for the best reason that any art is created and that is because the artist is compelled to do so.

You sound like a complete tool for saying this. The comics you read online are not always better. All print comics are not corporatized or re-interpretations of an original idea. Characters and environments online are not inherently fresher or more innovative. Good print comics are being made despite any shareholder’s bottom line. You’re talking out of your ass.

I’ve criticized business models and means to an end, but you’re attacking creator motives here. And you don’t know a damn thing if you’re claiming that print cartoonists are making comics for any other reason than for love of the game.

#80 Ed Power
January/19/2011
@ 11:18 am

Thanks Gar. Anyway, like I was saying….You know what would’ve been stupid? A Trojan Pinata. It would’ve lost the war and all the candy would’ve just been bludgeoned Greek soldiers. A horse was REALLY the way to go.

#81 David Goldreich
January/19/2011
@ 11:20 am

What?!

http://www.webcomics.com/public-journal/2011/1/19/the-webcomicscom-awards.html

#82 Jesse Cline
January/19/2011
@ 11:29 am

JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!

#83 Stephen Beals
January/19/2011
@ 11:42 am

Wow. If you can make it through all of this, Ted & Scott are saying some pretty substantial stuff.

I can’t stand awards and have no bad feelings towards the good intentions of the presenters (I suppose, I really don’t pay attention to them). Peer recognition is wonderful, but it’s not the end all/be all of a creative life.

But I see so many creators spending their time urging others to vote for them in something and I really don’t get what the reward is. There are so many awards now I’m not sure if it’s a resume booster, an ego booster, or simply a goal in and of itself.

Maybe all of those are valid reasons to like awards, but my own satisfaction with what I’m doing tends to come before all of that.

I doubt if I’m aware of 1/200th of the comics out there. I wish that wasn’t the case, but that’s the world we live in now. It takes so much time to create a comic that it’s hard to keep up with the stuff that’s easy for me to find.

#84 Kris Straub
January/19/2011
@ 12:25 pm

I don’t have a problem with awards and the webcomics community being self-comforting — I have a problem only when it takes precedence over everything else.

Rob, all you had to do is come in here and say “look, I know what the awards mean and what they don’t — if we can put a spring in someone’s step with our recognition, that’s all that matters” and you’d have been fine. But man, you belabor the importance of it, and how Scott and Ted are shitting on the webcomics community, and how there HAS to be a secret positioning reason for Scott to have done this to steal your thunder, etc, etc. It’s just not as important as any of that.

Either the awards are just for fun and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks — especially these titans of industry — or they’re worth fighting tooth and nail about to defend the crucial sanctity of from its monstrous detractors. Stop fighting, there is literally nothing to defend (or attack) here.

#85 Brad Guigar
January/19/2011
@ 12:25 pm

Heh. :) Here’s a little bit more information on the Webcomics.com Awards…

The nominees are…

* The cartoonist whose creative need is fulfilled by his or her comic.
* The self-publisher who sees his business growing a little bit larger every month.
* The recipients of e-mail, tweets, posts, likes and other messages from people who have been touched by their work.
* Creators who know more about ad chains, print runs, CMYK, pageviews, typography and about three-dozen other obscure topics than they did a year ago.
* The cartoonist who is happy to be presenting his work to an audience on his/her terms… and can see a future in doing so for a long time to come.
* The cartoonist who does better work today than he/she did one year ago today.

The winner is revealed in the rest of the post, which is about putting awards in their proper place.

#86 Pete Tarkulich
January/19/2011
@ 2:06 pm

I suppose I’m weighing in weigh – er, “way” – after the fact, but it’s a slow day at work. As a webcomic creator, the awards mean nothing to me. Were I to be nominated or (God forbid) win, it would, as Scott said, have no impact on my comic. Or my life. It would be an ego stroke, nothing more. But life goes on, and so must my comic, so I would smile, say “thank you”, and continuing drawing. Outside of that ego stroking – which I receive whenever a reader sends an email telling me he or she loves my comic – it would be almost as if the awards never existed anyway.

As a webcomic reader, it means even less to me. I gave up on award presentations – the Golden Globes, the Oscars, whatever – a long time ago. I found them uninteresting, masturbatory, and non-impacting on what I watch, listen to, or read. The fact that a certain webcomic wins an award will not make me want to read it anymore than before it won an award. What will make me want to read it is if it’s interesting and well-done.

All that having been said, I have no problems with there BEING an award for webcomics. Play in the sandbox and have fun. Just be aware that those of us on the slide and the monkey bards are not necessarily going to care about it, and differing opinions will exist whether you want them to or not.

#87 Ben McCormick
January/19/2011
@ 3:05 pm

I like DJ Coffman’s comparison of Superbowl MVP vice Pee Wee Football trophy. Maybe one of those Pee Wee players will “grow up” and be in the Superbowl one day but in the meantime it’s not necessarily news and it’s definitely not worth going mouth frothing mad about when someone doesn’t think it’s all that important.

As for Rob, every time you come in here and try to act as if you’re one of the big boys and spout off defending the sanctity and greatness of webcomics you come across as an insufferable prat and make the rest of us who aren’t quite famous yet look bad. Please take a breath and calm down before you have a stroke or something.

#88 Dave Stephens
January/19/2011
@ 3:58 pm

It’s definitely news to the peewees and some peewees are definitely going to be in the ‘big leagues’ some day, so good for them – an award if a form of positive reinforcement, and positive reinforcement isn’t the be-all, end-all, but it works for a lot of talented people and it isn’t going away any time soon…

In the end, it doesn’t matter if who wins or loses, but it DOES matter if these awards (and ALL awards, Harvey, Eisner, etc.) cause some folks to continue creating and improving when they might not have continued, otherwise…

#89 Zoe Kirk-Robinson
January/19/2011
@ 4:03 pm

Good grief. I put my tuppence in early here when things were just a discussion but when I come back from working on my comics, all hell has broken loose!

Scott, I’m shocked at the aggressiveness of your posts. When I hear you on your podcast or read your blogs, you come across totally differently than you have in this thread. It really feels like something hit a nerve with you here and I can’t understand what.

Ted, I think I understand what you’re saying but you’re saying it badly and as a result, other people are getting really worked up about it. I’m sure that’s not your intention but nevertheless, kicking the newbies of cartooning isn’t nice.

Rob, I think I’ve said what I think of how you tend to act before and I don’t think I need say it again.

With regard to the awards themselves, of course they’re not important in the grand scheme of things. No award is important in that respect. These aren’t the Life Changing Awards of Career Advancement +2 (+4 against trolls, grants an extra saving throw when feeling like it’s time to give up) and nobody in their right mind is going to argue that they are.

They are a chance for people who like comics to say to other people who like comics “hey we all like your comic”. They’re not limited to webcomics in the traditional sense of the word either (I personally voted for a print comic that has a copy published online, for example. It didn’t make the shortlist however). The only reason the title is “Webcomics List Awards” is because the awards are spun off from the people on The Webcomics List forum. Consider it and artefact title.

Is this award newsworthy? I’d say it’s no less newsworthy than some of the other stuff that gets reported on here. It’s of interest to some people and not to others but that’s the nature of the news.

Can we all hug and make up now?

#90 Ted Rall
January/19/2011
@ 4:49 pm

Point taken, Zoe, though I yam what I yam. I’m no diplomat. Doesn’t hurt to try, though.

Having been around comics my entire life and having been published in print since I was a teenager, I have been forced to conclude that, as a rule, awards really do a lot more harm than good.

Part of it is the politics inherent to them. Part of it is the fact that no methodology reliably results in outcomes most people can agree with.

But there’s a really big problem with awards, one that no one can ever fix: they turn a couple of people into winners and everyone else into losers. It may be nice for the prom queen to take that dance, but why should all the other girls be made to feel that they’re ugly and unpopular?

Especially when the prom queen isn’t particularly pretty at all.

Most awards exist not to reward the best in a field, but to promote the organization granting the award. Which is why they don’t really care about choosing the most deserving winner(s).

Awards are evil. They always will be.

#91 Scott Kurtz
January/19/2011
@ 4:55 pm

I would like to nominate all of us for an award in the category of awesome discourse.

WE’RE ALL WINNERS.

Including Alan. Think of the pageviews.

#92 Rob DenBleyker
January/19/2011
@ 4:56 pm

Hi, I run the 1st or 2nd most popular online comic depending on how XKCD’s doing, and I just wanted to say that internet awards are dumb and so is the word “webcomic”

I dig the nominees though. “Bug” in particular is a great strip and deserves more recognition.

Keep on arguin’ guys.

#93 Rob DenBleyker
January/19/2011
@ 4:58 pm

Also Romantically Apocalyptic is gorgeous and I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet.

#94 Layne Myhre
January/19/2011
@ 4:59 pm

I don’t know if the pee-wee or bush league analogy is a good one. In the pee-wees, it’s often very much recognized that awards are just to make people feel good, and they are by no means a reflection of how good or bad any player on the team may be. These are the leagues that give out trophies to every single player.

In the bush leagues, awards are given for specific metrics… runs, hits, pitching records, etc etc. If you win an award in the bush leagues, it may not be a huge deal, but it has a specific meaning.

Comics awards are meaningless, because there is no metric. And webcomics awards are especially so. As artistic endeavors, the “value” of a comic is completely subjective, so you end up comparing apples and oranges and picking winners arbitrarily. In the end, the awards mean nothing more than “your comic exists and some people happen to like it” which is a statement that can be applied to EVERY comic on the whole internet. So, if the awards are just a feel-good thing, why not give them out to everyone? Or, why not attach a real metric to it, like “this comic was the most followed link on the webcomic list site”? Or if the purpose is to give some recognition to under-rated comics, just do a feature on comics you think people should read?

I’m gonna start an award, and I’m gonna call it the “comics I like” award, and the prize is that I just buy something from the store of each webcomic I really enjoy, and tell all my friends about it, and… oh wait, that already exists and it’s called “our business model”. My bad.

#95 Arne Schulenberg
January/19/2011
@ 5:23 pm

Being one of the nominated “peewees” myself (in the non-traditional-art categorie ? I guess some of you will not even count me as a cartoonist, well, never mind) I am happy about the following (and I think that’s an important factor of any kind of award): It’s free Promotion for all participants! Awards like this are a great way to promote several comics at once!

So I am looking forward to see the ceremony going online ? and regardless if I win or not ? I will send out a press release the day after it goes online to my local newspapers, radio stations, newsblogs etc. (Lucky me that I am the only nominated webcomic from Germany and we don’t have soo many comic awards over here to talk about.)

#96 Isaiah McAllister
January/19/2011
@ 5:29 pm

I just hope Joan Rivers doesn’t tear me a new one when I show up to the awards wearing a dress that is clearly from last season.

#97 D.J. Coffman
January/19/2011
@ 5:31 pm

One note about the “Pee Wee vs Super Bowl” comparison I made– Pee Wee was probably taken as “kids” when obviously there are a lot of adults working on webcomics in those awards.

A better comparison might be baseball, where you have adult leagues in your city, and the games can be pretty intense. They have awards for those leagues and there’s some money floating around too here and there in sponsorships. Those adults don’t play because they want to get on the Yankees, they play because they love playing the game and it makes them feel good.

The big thing is, I don’t think these awards being around are hurting anyone. It’s a group of friendly peers encouraging and acknowledging each other. That’s cool, good for them! I don’t see how it hurts anyone or could even raise this level of conversation?

#98 Trevor Kent
January/19/2011
@ 5:34 pm

Arne: Promotion is a hard sell for me, since a person can promote a comic all they want, but much like ads or a flyer, it will only draw a small amount of readers. Being the best in the selected comics is great, but it doesn’t change the fact that people won’t read a comic unless it’s something they’re interested in. I may be one of the few, but I don’t read Hark, A Vagrant. Not cause I hate it, but because the occasional ones I laugh at are those which others have linked me to. My friends will link me to something I may like, but the comic as a whole isn’t my thing. That doesn’t change the fact that Kate Beaton became very popular over the past couple years. If they slapped a “Best comic ever!” award on to Dinosaur Comics, it doesn’t make me a reader. An award isn’t promotion. It doesn’t mean I think the awards are personally or creatively worthless as I said, but professionally, you could promote yourself much more by taking out ad space or going to a convention.

#99 Arne Schulenberg
January/19/2011
@ 5:52 pm

Tevor: I will spend one hour of writing this press release and another hour of posting and sending it out to the people who I want to read it. After that I have at least 20 more free links from some bigger German comic and/or news websites and maybe some local newspapers and radios who will take a look at my website and ask me for an interview.
It will only cost me a very short time whereas taking out ad space and going to a convention (what I do, too) does cost more time and a lot more money.
People will only read Union of Heroes if they are interested in reading a photocomic about superheroes from Germany, yes. But they can only start being interested if I reach them personally or if someone else writes something interesting about me ? awards are helpfull for the second of these categories.
Adspace and conventions are for the first one.

#100 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 5:58 pm

@Trevor #98

And yet Rob Denbleyker just discovered “Romantically Apocalyptic”, can’t believe he’s never seen it before and thinks it’s “gorgeous.”

I wonder if he considered or would consider adding it to the “Stuff We Like” section of his wildly popular WEBCOMIC (sorry Rob) “Cyanide & Happiness.” where hundreds of thousands if not millions of people would be exposed to it?

Promotion indeed. I wonder if some of you read what you and the others in this thread are typing or if it’s all cat’s on a piano.

No snow day today so you guys are all way ahead of me.

I’ll try and catch up.

#101 Trevor Kent
January/19/2011
@ 6:38 pm

And yet what about everyone else on that list? I can tell you among that list that I currently have two bookmarked. I read one frequently, and that’s only because the other one doesn’t update often enough (hold on, I’ll get to that). But I’ve checked out the other comics either from this post, or before this. And I’m not trying to be confrontational or angry, but those comics don’t grab me like others do. Do I think Romantically Apocalyptic is beautiful? Very much so. But I don’t read it.

A post about an award, and a post about a comic you feel strongly about are two different things. If you love Bug and think it’s a great comic, then more power to you. Make that blog post and tell your readers about a comic you love. I do it, too. But an award post comes off as not having your full backing behind it. I understand the snowball effect, Rob, and I think that can and has happened. But this brings me back to the topic of updates.

If I go to a site from an award list, and I hate to pick on him, like Dresden Codak, and see that the last 5 consistent updates were guest comics, and that he didn’t update the comic for two weeks before then, then all that promotion means nothing. Romantically Apocalyptic has 34 pages. How am I supposed to judge a story or a style after 34 pages? That’s not even the size of a twofer in the print industry, and half the time the print guys can’t even get a story completed in that amount of time. Especially with all the event crap that happens.

If you want something that you can promote, you really have to have more to your comic. How else will I know that the comic that won an award is going to continue? Or if it’s in hiatus forever?

Just to be clear, I don’t want this post to come across as “I hate these comics and these awards.” Just my opinion and why I feel that way.

#102 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 7:02 pm

Post #101 @Trevor

yeah but Trevor I think you’re off the mark here (actually I’m not sure I understand your opening question… were you suggesting that all comics in the awards ceremony should receive equal exposure to all… I’m not getting it…. Rob Denbleyker seemed to like Bug too but I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the awards or the exposure brought by them should or could be all things to all nominees). Exposure is exposure. Admitting you checked out all the nominees from the news post, directly conflicts with your assertion that this is not exposure. And you are only one dude dude. If thousands of people are exposed to a comic through an awards ceremony there will be people (Like Rob) who feel perfectly fine judging a comic by 34 pages and become regular readers.

Already, just in this thread there have been nominees admitting they are glad to be nominated and readers admitting they have found new comics that they like… all in a news post about an award ceremony. That’s nice.

I’m working on a proper response to all the posts I missed today and trying not to let the pile get any bigger.

#103 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 8:18 pm

First let me say that I defy anyone to go back through my posts and find an instance in which I stated that I thought these awards were important. You won’t find anything. Because I never did. In fact the closest I think I ever came to saying that the awards were important was in my original post where I said:

“Personally I think some awards are better than no awards which is what the community would have if Wendy hadn?t picked up the ball last year.”

I also said at one point I was excited to be involved in the project. But then I’m excited to be involved in anything that relates to webcomics. So that isn’t really saying much.

Not exactly a glowing endorsement of awards is it? It’s probably because I agree… they don’t have a whole lot of value.

But that doesn’t mean I think they harm the art as Ted stated (post #14), or “think they are a pointless exercise in ego stroking and are detrimental to the artistic advancement of everyone involved and a symptom of what I believe to be a much larger problem inside of “webcomics” as Scott stated (post #79).

All I think about awards… is all I’ve been saying in my questioning of Ted and Scott. They’re nice.

For me this post was a news announcement about the awards. I saw it moments after Alan posted it before anyone had made any comments. I chose at that time not to comment myself. I had nothing to say, it was simply a press release.

Then Ted commented and for me the discussion then became about two things. Ted’s assertion that awards damage the art to which they are related and Ted’s manner of delivering his opinion. I felt I made my point with you Ted. We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether or not awards damage art but since you admitted you were “guilty as charged” at not considering the consequences of your word choices you haven’t had much to offer this discussion beyond coming to Scott’s aid (badly I might add).

Scott then entered the discussion. And the first thing he said was:

“Everyone is mad at Ted because he?s right.”

Scott is not Ted. Scott as everyone knows is a co-author of the book “How To Make Webcomics” and he works with Brad Guigar on a website called Webcomics.com that charges people an annual fee to learn better how to make and improve webcomics.

Now Scott was ascribing to the same philosophy as Ted. A philosophy he has repeated (post#79):

“I came in here and ?took a deuce? on the Webcomic List awards because I think they are a pointless exercise in ego stroking and are detrimental to the artistic advancement of everyone involved and a symptom of what I believe to be a much larger problem inside of ?webcomics.?

He didn’t share what that much larger problem is but I believe that he believes there is a problem.

I’ve noticed a pattern of behavior from Scott over the last couple of years that has shown him to be very disdainful and even downright hostile to the webcomic community. His statement about the Webcomic List Awards, knowing as I did that he hosted and lobbied for a Harvey seemed further evidence of that pattern and so at this point I decided that I wanted to explore his motivations for making such statements. And yes call him on what I see as a B.S. position.

So if you think this has been about me defending the awards you aren’t paying attention and/or you need some advanced reading comprehension lessons. These are complex thoughts in rough waters. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t have the ship for it.

And there’s a reason I haven’t addressed many of the rest of you. Mostly it’s because you are just offering up your opinion and stating it clearly as opinion which I’m a big fan of. But also to put it simply… most of you agree with me whether you notice it or not. Most of you agree with me that awards are nice… they don’t hurt anything… and they aren’t a big deal.

If any of you think that it hurts webcomics to have awards or that they are indicative of larger problems in the community (whatever that may be)… now is your opportunity to clarify. Because I haven’t seen that opinion cropping up from too many folks beyond Ted and Scott. And if there is a real problem we should talk about it.

And now that those of you who couldn’t make it through 100+ posts understand what’s really going on here (I HOPE) I’ll move on to address the folks who addressed me throughout the day.

Post #79 Scott K

Let me first say that you can take personal shots at me (call me a tool, paranoid, suggest I’m talking out my a$$ and call my comic lousy and so on) all you want. I won’t go there with you. I’ll admit I’m not on your level with muckraking. You don’t want to be civil. That’s your call.

Your stated reasoning for attacking the awards is illogical and I dismiss it out of hand. The meat of the matter here is why you chose to express this opinion and aggressively campaign against one awards ceremony (The Webcomic List Awards) whilst emceeing and accepting awards from not one but two others (the Harvey’s and the Eisner’s).

Your argument only works if you feel this way about The Webcomic List Awards and only The Webcomic List Awards. Which is opposed by other words you have spoken (please see many examples above).

You simply cannot say that awards are meaningless if you desire one. It’s illogical. You don’t stop to pick up random chunks of dirt on the side of the road and display them on your shelf. With one breath you decry awards and with another you announce you will be emceeing the next Harvey presentation.

I think I know exactly why you felt the desire to enter into this discussion and poop on these awards but if I say it you’ll just deny it. I’m hoping you’ll be honest enough to admit it on your own.

I don’t believe I’m paranoid Scott. I honestly think you feel threatened by anyone and anything that challenges you. But that’s your hangup. Not mine. At NY I tried to bury the hatchet and reassure you that I wasn’t looking for a scrape and you replied and I quote “Well that’s good Rob because you couldn’t do anything to me if you wanted to.” I almost felt like I should shout back “oh yeah well I’m rubber and you’re glue.” Who says something like that to someone trying to make peace?

On to your attempt to prove that comics and webcomics are one and the same now.

I’ve been a comic book reader (and for a time retailer) for much of my life. I have several cases of comics in my collection. I still get misty when I think about Barry Allen’s death in Crisis On Infinite Earth’s and the thought of the first time I read Ross and Waid’s Kingdom Come still takes my breath away. I Still believe that Dixon, McDaniel and Story are the best team DC ever put together in comics and their release of the Nightwing solo series, comic perfection.

You and I are around the same age so we probably grew up reading much the same stuff. After awhile I just couldn’t take the stale stories, high price points and constantly resurrecting heroes and villains. Anyone who knows anything about writing knows that once death is no longer a consequence drama just evaporates and conflict becomes meaningless.

The Webcomic List states that it is currently tracking seventeen thousand three hundred comic profiles. I’ve heard numbers as high as thirty five thousand at other sites. I have every confidence that there is great heaping truckloads of crap amongst those numbers. And my experience as a reader tells me that there is a comparable level of junk in commercial comics.

The thirty five webcomics (with a few others I check on on from time to time) that I have bookmarked are innovative, they almost never bore me and I find them exciting on an intellectual and emotional level that inspires my passion for the medium. And I get to read them all… week in week out, for free and pick and choose what creators to support financially and how. The creator(s) of these webcomics are willing and often eager to engage their audience and as a creator myself I learn things from them every day. This to me is the apotheosis of webcomics and the reason they are superior to print (in addition to the influence of corporatization, marketing and so on that I mentioned above).

You can disagree with this, but it is my opinion and I’m entitled to it. Telling me how awesome “Blackest Night” was isn’t going to change my mind. I know Green Lantern is great. I’ve read him. I also know that if they kill him off again they’ll eventually bring him back. Maybe as the new Deadman this time. I’m sure there are bright spots in many print comics. I still like my webcomics better.

But to be clear, you should not think that I am saying all webcomics are better than print comics. That’s a huge and foolish statement. What I’m saying is the ones that I read (webcomics) are superior to anything I would be interested in reading in print.

Please spare me the “DC and Marvel” are now on line like webcomics are Scott. The difference between offering a gateway comic that can be read for free in hopes that the reader will buy others (at the same or even higher price for a digital copy with all sorts of DRM despite a significant decrease in expenses to create) is a far cry from the all free all the time model of webcomics. Shame on you for implying otherwise. The day that DC updates Superman titles the same way that Avatar updates and markets FreakAngels is the day I will agree with you that webcomics and comics are one. Until then the “Web” most definitely is an important distinction.

I never said nor suggested that print cartoonists don’t love what they do. What I offered was my opinion that what they do is lessened by the materials they have to work with and the hand of the business they are in. You misinterpreted and misrepresented my words.

I know my reply to Scott was really long. Sorry but it should be pretty obvious that he’s a master of word lawyering and deflection and I need to choose what I say carefully.

#104 Scott Kurtz
January/19/2011
@ 8:45 pm

@Rob,

I think you’re pretending not to understand me at all. I’ve answered your questions a couple times now.

I think the Webcomic List awards are dumb because I believe them to be a construct of amateurs designed to make themselves feel more important. Compare that to the Harvey’s and Eisners which are judged by industry professionals who many of us grew up being influenced by.

Now that’s the THIRD time I’ve answered that question. Will it be the THIRD time you ignore it?

Hosting a comic book event like the Harveys is about socializing and networking. Yes, it’s for an awards show, but hosting that dinner has little to do with the award itself. Plus it’s just a lot of fun. I would argue that being asked to MC has done more for me than winning the award ever could.

When you tried to bury the hatchet in NY, what I tried to convey to you was the following: You’re imagining the hatchet. Brad and I were packing up after a weekend of not even knowing you were at the show when you appeared to let us know that there didn’t need to be a scrape between us. No kidding. You had to explain to us who you were. How could their be a scrape. I love how you’re leaving that part of the exchange out of your recollection of it.

DC and Marvel are not online in the same way that webcomics are. Yet. But they don’t need to be yet. And they may be in the future. I’m just telling you to get ready. Because right now you’re not in a position to compete. And a Webcomic List award isn’t going to change that for anyone.

#105 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 8:58 pm

#84 @Kris

Kris your post exaggerates and is based on a misunderstanding of what I’m concerned about here. I never said there “HAS” to be some secret reason for Scott pooping on these awards. I said it was the only thing I could come up with because I could not understand his reasoning. I have since had time to consider it and I think I know the answer now. But as I said to Scott above I’m not going to say it because he will most likely deny it.

What leads me to want to explore Scott’s motivations is his position as a leader, educator, mentor and example in the community. His behavior as of late, his disdain, his stated hostility towards webcomics creators and the community at large coupled with his desire for acceptance from the print side of comics makes me think of him as the lead lemming headed for a steep drop. Why should I follow him if he doesn’t have my best interest at heart? Why should anyone in webcomics? Do you think I created Webcomics Community because I don’t care about the community? (You can spare me the comment about creating WCC simply for self promotion and assume I have been suitably chagrined by it).

#85 @Brad

I’d love to find out more about the Webcomics.com awards as well as all the other interesting and insightful things that go on at Webcomics.com. Additionally I would like to take advantage of your great deals and discounts. My $30 is burning a hole in my pocket (this is not sarcasm…. ok it’s a little sarcasm but I would like to join). Can I?

#106 rodd perry
January/19/2011
@ 9:01 pm

Zoe, I’m surprised there aren’t more girl comics represented here if you were on the panel. How do you do that “@” thing, and what does it do?

#107 Scott kurtz
January/19/2011
@ 9:11 pm

Oh Rob. You just became so transparent. I’m bowing out now. This is what this was all about? I am not a leader. I’m not asking anyone to follow me. And I see you positioning yourself now. This is so OBVIOUS now. I can’t believe it took me this many moves to figure out what you were getting at. Jesus.

You’re hilarious.

P.S. Brad will never let you in webcomics.com. But you KNEW that, didn’t you?

#108 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 9:16 pm

#87 @Ben

I’ve asked you repeatedly not to suggest I represent you. Seriously dude. I am not you. I am me. I’m not pretending to be a “big boy” I’m expressing my opinions.

I thought we had an understanding about this. Frankly I would not want to be associated in any way with someone who metaphorically wets himself and rolls over every time he interacts with someone he perceives to be an actual “big boy.”

You are my definition of “success breeds forgiveness.”

My ability and willingness to speak to people like Scott as the fallible human beings they are should not frighten or affect you. Please stop trying to make your bones by putting me in what you perceive to be my place.

#109 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 9:21 pm

#89 Zoe

If you are just realizing that this is the “new” Scott Kurtz then you haven’t been paying attention for the last couple years. It’s been a gradual shift but it’s there.

As for your feelings on how I tend to act I’m more than willing to discuss those with you in a public forum where you cannot block and delete my posts whilst encouraging others to rally against me… any time you wish (expect when I’m working, eating or sleeping ;)

#110 Trevor Kent
January/19/2011
@ 9:38 pm

@Rob And you proved my point earlier.

“You can disagree with this, but it is my opinion and I?m entitled to it. Telling me how awesome ?Blackest Night? was isn?t going to change my mind. I know Green Lantern is great. I?ve read him. I also know that if they kill him off again they?ll eventually bring him back. Maybe as the new Deadman this time. I?m sure there are bright spots in many print comics. I still like my webcomics better.”

What if it won an award? Would that change how you feel about it? I’m guessing no. And your argument seems to be the opposite of the argument from the other side: “There’s a few good webcomics, but print is better.”

Do both have equal standing? Sure. Because both print and web have their crap and their gold.

Anyways, back to promotion. You know how to get good promotion? Do a good comic. The reason these comics were selected is because they have built a readership that nominated them. That’s also why we see a handful of the same comics every year, with one or two newcomers. Do those people need the promotion? Not from an award on the web. They need promotion from people who feel strongly about it and tell others about it. If you don’t do a good comic, then you probably either don’t have a large readership, or have a readership that cant promote you to others. How about this: Every one of those comics make a request of their fans. Tell one friend about the comic.

The fans that truly love the comic as one of their favorites will do it. If you have 5000 readers, perhaps 1000 tell their friends, generously (People are lazy too, remember.) You might get 500 – 750 new readers the next week. That’s not terrible. Especially because with the WCL and WCCA awards, you’re advertising to such a small group of people: Those that are in one of those communities. Many of those people read the comics nominated anyways, and those who don’t have either heard about them and/or don’t care. Now a press release like this one will pull in less than 50 people maybe, depending on how many people checked on this AND read webcomics AND are interested in the comics listed.

To put it nicely, these awards are mostly preaching to the choir, and that’s why Scott and Ted think that they are pointless. That’s a little more like what I was trying to say above. An ad and a con appearance gets it slightly out of the webcomic community. Put a flyer at your local comic shop if you have one, or ask a small bookstore if they want to bring you in to promote local talent. Then you get a press release in a local newspaper. People who don’t read webcomics might think “Oh, that’s interesting that someone around here does that stuff!” and check it out.

I sold an old book of mine in a comic store. A person bought a copy, brought it home, and immediately tweeted me, saying something like “I picked your book up and loved it. Checking your website now.” That’s a reader. That’s who you want. He wasn’t a webcomic guy, nor a standard superhero print guy. But something about my josei manga style book fit with his pull list at the comic store. Putting 5 books in a store did more for me than even putting an ad up on a website. I don’t think an award would have done more than that, either, even if it was something bigger than the Webcomic Awards.

#111 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 10:01 pm

#110 @Trevor

No if GL had won an award it wouldn’t change my mind. You’re right about that. But you’re wrong about why. I’ve already been exposed to GL. I’ve read it extensively. It’s a familiar product to me. My assertions towards the “potential” (because lord knows there are no guarantees in life) value of something like The Webcomics List awards is to a Webcomic that has no exposure to me.

For example. I had never heard of Bug. I read the entire run. He gained traffic from that. I chose not to add it to my bookmarks. But I gave it a shot. There are other nominees that may make the cut. I have yet to finish reading through them all. But I intend to.

But I don’t know why you separated the top part of your post from your position on promotion because that’s all I was talking about to you in regards to your previous post.

Of course the best way to get attention is compelling content. I would never disagree with that.

I don’t deal in made up numbers though. Estimates sure but you have no way of proving and I have no way of refuting the numbers you start throwing around in your post.

I agree with your thoughts on diversification in promotion. I believe wholeheartedly that we have to do it all. But I’m not all that certain what were disagreeing about. I believe that an award may have potential value and I’ve cited some examples here in micro scale that I believe support my case. You feel that they are not worth the time I guess? The thing is there is little chance either of us would be able to “prove” we are right. So it’s not much of a discussion.

#112 Rob Tracy
January/19/2011
@ 10:52 pm

#104 @Scott

I think I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on our NY encounter. My recollection is that I said “Scott” as a greeting and you immediately countered with “Rob.” It was pretty plain you knew who I was. I wasn’t just at the show. My booth was less than 20 feet (in the same row) from yours all weekend long. I didn’t feel I needed to go out of my way to remind you of anything. But whatever. You want to try and diminish me by suggesting I’m beneath your notice you go right ahead. I’m not seeking your attention (although the “you’re a douchebag” song for me with Straub on BG vocals during your UStream was inspired). Just pointing out your rudeness when I tried to reassure you of my intentions after your crazy tweet suggesting dire consequences should I try and steal the Webcomics.Com article archive. As if I would. Ever.

And yes. I am hilarious. Can I use that as a blurb on my next book? I can see it now. Scott Kurtz says Rob Tracy is “hilarious.”

No Brad never will let me into Webcomics.com. And that is lamentable but hardly the end of the world. I’d say you should take it as a sign of my character that I haven’t tried to sneak in. It wouldn’t be tough. But it wouldn’t be the same and I don’t go where I’m not wanted.

So our unique identity as webcomics is already gone since all the major publishers put their comics on line…. but they aren’t on line like webcomics yet (but soon… maybe) and you’re trying to warn me because you don’t think I’m ready. Is that the gist of it? I don’t really see myself competing with them regardless of their on line position but thanks, I guess.

Scott. If you feel you had to answer me three times regarding this issue I apologize. I personally don’t believe for a moment that your position was ever very clear. You were all over the place and contradicting yourself but with post #104 you have clarified things nicely and revealed pretty much what I thought, but had a hard time believing.

You really have become so arrogant that in your mind everyone in webcomics that doesn’t meet your arbitrary criteria is an amateur. Everyone you seek acceptance from is pretty much automatically an industry professional (and pretty much all of them are in print). Therefore the Harvey’s and Eisner’s are prestigious (and have some sort of value since you desire and participate in them) and The Webcomics List awards are dumb amateurs trying to make themselves feel important. Which is bad for some reason… I’m guessing because in your mind only the Industry Professionals should be allowed to make people feel important… or amateurs should spend their time making themselves feel important rather than relying on awards from their peers… or something like that. I still don’t get the “bigger problem” that these awards are indicative of (is it “amateurs are feeling important and shouldn’t be without permission?) but I’m sleepy so moving on.

How sad this is. Now that you believe you have been accepted by the people you always wanted to be like you have cast a wary eye upon the revolution you helped create and found it wanting.

Something like The Webcomics List Awards must seem like a “monument to all your sins” (to quote “Halo”).

How horrible it would be for you, I imagine if The Webcomics List Awards gained prestige and notoriety over the years and continued to recognize work you considered amateur.

And after all of this I’d bet you’re still longing for an award you consider prestigious that doesn’t include the words “digital” or “on-line. in it”

Sad.

The other day Alan asked you what you thought of xkcd’s creator and you described him as an “essayist” (please correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure that was it) rather than a cartoonist. And you’ve admitted in your podcast that you have become a snob.

If you’re really going to abdicate your position in the webcomics community (and yes Scott I know you’ve been publicly insisting that you don’t have one for as long as you’ve clearly… really obviously had one) why not do it right?

I’ll give you a list of what I believe to be the top 30 or so most successful webcomics and you can just let everyone know what you think of them. Really lay into them. I believe that would finally let everyone know what you truly think about the medium you helped create.

Obviously that would be a lot of work but if you really have grown to hate the “cargo cults your book created” isn’t it time to burn their huts and chase them into the sea? Let them know what you think of the webcomics they read and admire. I’m certain that after that they will leave you alone.

I don’t know for sure what “moves” you were making but I was seeking truth. But if I was making moves I’d say that this particular post was when I really revealed my position. Since we’re using chess metaphors and whatnot.

Early to rise. Off to bed. Night all.

#113 Ben McCormick
January/19/2011
@ 11:00 pm

Yes, Rob, that’s it exactly. I found success and got my membership package to the super secret successful cartoonists club. After they showed me the super secret handshake I drove my platinum plated sports car to the Ink & Paint Club and we all talked about keeping the “little people” in their place.

Dude, seriously, if you consider me successful at this point then by all means latch on to whatever make-believe Internet award you can and hold on to it with all your might.

I don’t see you addressing the “big boys” as fallible human beings. What I see is you taking opportunistic pot shots at people with any level significance above your own in the hopes they will respond to you, validate your existence and make a name for yourself. “Look at me! I took on Ted Rall and Scott Kurtz! I am somebody!” It reminds me of a yappy chihuahua scrambling around making a lot of noise for nothing. Honestly it just gets old.

“The Webcomic List states that it is currently tracking seventeen thousand three hundred comic profiles. I?ve heard numbers as high as thirty five thousand at other sites. I have every confidence that there is great heaping truckloads of crap amongst those numbers. And my experience as a reader tells me that there is a comparable level of junk in commercial comics.”

No, there’s not a comparable level of junk in commercial comics. Why not? Because there are editors and various other filters to keep that level of crap out. Webcomics don’t have that. That’s why we end up with thousands of crap comics online that flood the internet and make it even harder for the good comics to be noticed.

Of those seventeen thousand three hundred comic profiles on TWL how many are comics that updated for 90 days or less and then went on “hiatus” for the next couple years? How many look like they’re being drawn by a learning disabled chimp? I’m willing to say that the vast majority of the 17K on TWL and the 35K elsewhere are crap.

Are there good ones? Sure. Are there up-and-comers who will one day amaze us all with their greatness? Sure. Are there cartoonists on there that would make the best commercial guys look like amateurs? Probably. But these folks make up a small fraction of the profiles on these websites.

The Age of Webcomics as we knew it has long been over. Either you step up your game and make Comics or you get left behind.

#114 Dave Stephens
January/19/2011
@ 11:15 pm

“No, there?s not a comparable level of junk in commercial comics. Why not? Because there are editors and various other filters to keep that level of crap out. Webcomics don?t have that. That?s why we end up with thousands of crap comics online that flood the internet and make it even harder for the good comics to be noticed.”

SO so soooooooo true!

#115 Scott Kurtz
January/20/2011
@ 12:01 am

Can we all agree that cartoonists, both print and web based, would be better served to hire PR people and only speak through them?

#116 Ben McCormick
January/20/2011
@ 12:10 am

@Scott My attorney has advised me not to answer that question at this time.

#117 rodd perry
January/20/2011
@ 1:13 am

I get it, this is like porn. I’m skipping through the rational arguments to get to the juicy insults.

#118 Pete Murphey
January/20/2011
@ 8:10 am

“Of those seventeen thousand three hundred comic profiles on TWL how many are comics that updated for 90 days or less and then went on ?hiatus? for the next couple years? How many look like they?re being drawn by a learning disabled chimp? I?m willing to say that the vast majority of the 17K on TWL and the 35K elsewhere are crap.”

Seems like a good reason to have awards, they act as another filter. They are not meant to render absolute truths but they can sometimes point you towards something worthwhile. It?s an imperfect system but so what? That?s true of all awards and judgments of artwork. Cartoonists, of all people, should be able to practice the grain of salt approach. If you don?t get too happy if you win one, or too suicidal if you don?t, everything will be OK. No reason to potty on the process.

Red?s Planet, by the way, is an excellent strip and very deserving of an award and recognition.

#119 Rob Tracy
January/20/2011
@ 9:24 am

@Scott

Better served undoubtedly. But there wouldn’t be much truth or honesty in that. I’ve always liked that you mix it up. I’m saddened by your current attitude towards the community you helped create but the fact that you are honest about it gets you lots of points in my book.

#120 Scott Kurtz
January/20/2011
@ 12:04 pm

@Rob,

This is the fourth or fifth time in this thread that you’ve tried to position me as someone who’s turned my back on the webcomics community. You keep insisting in an attitude shift towards it. That I’m down on it or resentful of it.

These are all things YOU are CLAIMING about me. And I would ask that you stop trying to position me as someone who has turned against the community I helped build.

I love webcomics, but I’ve always taken a tough love approach to those entering the fray. Not everyone gets to do this. I believe in the model, but I never have believed that everyone can make it work.

You’re mistaking my championing the accomplishments of my peers with my insisting that adopting the label itself makes you special or better than print.

My assertion has ALWAYS been that we’re the same. That we belong into this group of people who call themselves cartoonists. That we’re inspired by the same traditions of format, style and content. And that just because our model is different doesn’t mean we’re “less than.”

Looking at your website and your collection of comic strips it’s obvious you’re better served looking for the truth in your own habits and practices. Right now I see a man trying to position himself as everything BUT a cartoonist.

#121 Ted Rall
January/20/2011
@ 12:50 pm

@Pete: “They are not meant to render absolute truths but they can sometimes point you towards something worthwhile. It?s an imperfect system but so what?”

There are two “so whats.”

First, these awards purport to pick “the best” comic or writer or letterer or whatever. Not the best B-lister. Not the best friend of someone on the committee. The best.

Stupid as it seems, a lot of people take such things seriously. They think words mean what they mean. They think that if some official-sounding group calls a comic “best,” then it is. When the winner is not best, not even good, but bad, that hurts the entire genre by making the public think the genre sucks.

If you want to give an award for “here is a sample of some pretty great comics, but there are many more out there,” do so. Of course, that’s called a collection of links.

#122 Jason Hackett
January/20/2011
@ 1:14 pm

Thanks to this thread, I have come to a realization about cartoonists, wannabes, never-will-be’s, ought-to-be-betters, and the rest of us interested enough in cartooning to come here: Being a cartoonist is our aspiration and/or reality because we want to be little gods of our own created worlds. Along with other deficiencies in our own psyches, we are overly impressed with ourselves, our own sense of humor, our own cleverness, and whatever else we are certain makes us more special than someone else. We are so impressed, in fact, that we create little worlds with characters that express and embody our own precious, self-aware brilliance. We spend thought-time on our little worlds, creating our characters, putting them into all manner of funny (we ARE so funny, aren’t we?) situations, granting “life” and raining down “death” when we so choose, as gods of our comics.
Then we come to forums such as this and find out that there are other “gods” who don’t see things the way we do. Even if some are pretty darn good at creating trees, people and jokes, clearly these others are false gods because their realities are not like our own.
So the next logical step for some is to discredit the other gods; for others it is to try to wedge or worm oneself into a pantheon and be content with not being Zeus, but at least not also being a mere human.
But there it is: reality. We all ARE mere humans. Worse, we are nerdy humans with large, yet frail, egos.
This fact, of course, necessitates a hasty retreat to our respective comics so we can get back to being gods worth exulting.

#123 Pete Murphey
January/20/2011
@ 1:51 pm

“Stupid as it seems, a lot of people take such things seriously. They think words mean what they mean. They think that if some official-sounding group calls a comic ?best,? then it is. When the winner is not best, not even good, but bad, that hurts the entire genre by making the public think the genre sucks.”

You?re exaggerating on both ends. An entire genre is not going to be ruined by an award that doesn?t pick what you consider to be the best comic or excludes a lot of very good comics. People take awards seriously but not that seriously.

The Academy has certainly made some pretty bad Oscar choices over the years, often letting politics, favoritism or drunkenness get the better of them, but overall those awards have elevated the status of movies and have been a plus for the business. Since ?best? is always a pretty subjective matter, no award can satisfy everyone and certainly some awards will have more validity than others. People always argue endlessly about the Grammys and the Oscars, that?s half the fun and it gets people to focus on articulating why they think something is good. That’s better than throwing your hands up in the air and saying that there shouldn?t be awards because they?re subject to imperfection and they will sully the public?s view of an industry or degrade the meaning of the word ?best”. We’re talking art here not science.

#124 donna lewis
January/20/2011
@ 2:38 pm

“Being a cartoonist is our aspiration and/or reality because we want to be little gods of our own created worlds.”

Just want to point out that some of us merely aspire to (1) keep busy enough with a hobby that we stay out of trouble; and (2) avoid therapy by maintaining a helpful outlet.

Sad to say, I’m not even joking.

#125 Wendy Wood
January/20/2011
@ 5:17 pm

Hello. I’m Wendy and I’m the person running the traversty/fun diversion/peer recognition thing/self-congratulatory egofest that is the awards.

I’m going to quote a section of one of my posts from a guitar forum. The thread was about the VH1 best artists list and people were arguing about positioning and people that weren’t included and in some cases, I think anyway, missing the point a little. Here’s part of the bit where I mentioned the awards:

“Anyway, the reason for doing it is not because we want to come up with definitive answers to who’s the best in what area, but as a sort of community focal point. The old awards got people talking, got people cross promoting each other’s comics, telling any readers who qualified to vote who they thought deserved to win. Very few people would agree with the winners of every category and it’s true that in both our new awards and the old awards comics find/found their way into the the top few of categories they really weren’t that qualified for because they’re popular. A comic with quite basic art can find itself as a contender for Best Art because it’s popular through the quality of its writing. You have to accept that kind of thing though.

Finding winners is only half the job. The other half is getting people active and giving them a place to focus as a community and that’s true for most awards and lists I think.”

One of the things that I think is great about webcomics is the interaction you can have, the community. It’s a very open, fluid sort of thing. It’s the reason I volunteered to help run the List’s forums and why I took on trying to run a replacement for the WCCAs when people were saying it was a shame that they weren’t going ahead.

I’ve gained absolutely zilch from the awards. In fact it’s probably cost me readers as whatever readership I have left are probably sick of me going on hiatus again because of it. It’s taken up a lot of time that I would normally spend working on my own comic, has caused a lot of stress and a few very late nights.

Judges and committee members are excluded from nominations during years that they’re helping and all Webcomic List staff past and present are excluded from nominations permanently.

This isn’t a self congratulatory thing. The people at the heart of this are involved in webcomics for the most part, but we as individuals have nothing to gain. We’re involved in comics because we think they’re great, so we’re doing what we can to promote them and get recognition for how great they can be and to give the community something to talk about.

Regarding the promotion angle, when the nominees were announced both last year and this year a lot of people who were nominated or who were/are otherwise involved in the awards posted the nominees for their readers to see, readers who hadn’t heard of some of the nominees and in some cases have checked them out for the first time and enjoyed them. Other people have been posting lists of who they’ve nominated with the same result and personally I think that’s one of the best things about doing something like this, readers discovering new comics.

Anyway, I think this post is plenty long enough by now so I’ll leave it at that.

#126 Ted Rall
January/20/2011
@ 5:54 pm

@Wendy: I appreciate where you’re coming from. However, when you write:

A comic with quite basic art can find itself as a contender for Best Art because it?s popular through the quality of its writing. You have to accept that kind of thing though.

I have to reply: No. No one has to accept that sort of thing. It is really, really, really stupid.

Also:

Very few people would agree with the winners of every category…

Doesn’t this kind of invalidate the results?

I don’t blame you for trying to gin up some enthusiasm for webcomics, but I don’t think awards are a positive way to accomplish that. There are so many other ways that are effective, like cons, that awards are unnecessary.

#127 Wendy Wood
January/20/2011
@ 6:03 pm

@Ted

A comic may find itself a contender for a category it doesn’t deserve to win, but that doesn’t mean it’ll win it. There is no perfect way to run an award that won’t mean you have a similar issue or be seen by many as being snotty and elitist by excluding all outsiders entirely.

And I don’t think not everybody agreeing in any way invalidates the awards, because everybody has different tastes. Otherwise there would only be three nominees for each category, hardly anyone would feel the need to nominate and the whole thing really would be pointless.

#128 Alice (Chilari)
January/20/2011
@ 6:18 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of comments. I can’t believe I missed this earlier. But I’m here now. Here’s my 2p:

I’m not a webcomic creator. I am an amateur writer, a graduate student, and a webcomic reader. I am also a forum moderator at TWCL and a member of the Committee and judging panel for The Webcomic List Awards. For these I am a volunteer. Other things I volunteer as include ML for NaNoWriMo, Secretary for a university society, and I’ve got my name down to make a cake for my department’s seminar series in February. Just to put things in perspective.

Now, I don’t know how much exposure the nominees really get from these awards. They get some: if nothing else, they get a few extra readers in the form of the judges. I’d never read Girl Genius until I had to for last year’s awards, and now it’s bookmarked, so there’s one reader they didn’t have before. And I’ve recommended it to a few friends, though I don’t know if they ever read it. But it’s something, and something is better than nothing.

What I do know about is the other side the awards. The committee, the planning, the judging. I enjoy doing it. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it. I like having the opportunity to read comics I would not have otherwise come across. I like being able to read them more critically than I normally would. I like to express my opinion, and I like that, as a judge, my opinion matters. Now I realise that in the opinions of many, my opinion doesn’t matter. Fine. And it’s certainly true that these awards were not set up for my own enjoyment. But does that mean they’re worth any less because I do enjoy being involved in them? No.

As for suggestions that such awards actually damange the webcomics community, what utter tosh. How on earth can they harm anything? And what precisely is the supposed underlying problem with webcomics that they illustrate, hmm? The awards create a talking point, promoting community. They produce exposure to the nominated comics, albeit a small one. They encourage those involved in webcomics to think a little more critically about the comics they read when they nominate. They allow some of us to do things we would not otherwise do, such as drawing the pages for the ceremony. They give opportunities to webcomic creators to promote outside the webcomics community using the results, as Arne discussed above regarding Union of Heroes.

And fine, maybe we’re not important, any more than baking a cake that looks like an iron age hill fort for a load of academics on a Wednesday afternoon is important, or helping to run a society where a bunch of students watch some Doctor Who and some films they might not have seen before is important. So? It produces enjoyment, community, friendship. It makes some people smile, not just the winners and nominees, but also the judges (when they read the comics) and the fans (when they discover a comic they like to read has won or been nominated for an award). And isn’t that more important than, well, being important?

#129 Ted Rall
January/20/2011
@ 7:00 pm

It makes a few people smile. It makes most people angry.

Awards are like capitalism.

#130 Jessica Ottowell
January/20/2011
@ 7:25 pm

First, just to clear the air I will introduce myself, I’m Jessica Ottowell, a former comic writer/artist. Now for the important bit, whilst I am the developer of the TWCL Awards site and a fiscal backer, the following are my own views and are not representative of TWCL or the committee that oversees the award nor is this intended as a personal attack.

@Scot
I am most concerned about your views of this award and would like to bring to your notice the following,

No Judge or Staff member’s comic can be nominated within the awards,

We have safeguards to prevent both self nomination and multiple submissions (of that are proprietary),

Our awards are most assuredly “industry” awards as we only permit people who work in the (web) comic “industry” to participate (again the involvement of the submitter is checked in this regard),

(Please refer to dictionary.com, seventh definition or OED online 1.c, thank you)

As for how the result is reached, it is by “industry” vote then once collected and compiled in to a league table style format, passed to our judging teams.

As you can see from the above, it is rather secure and not open to lobbying.

Now with the above out of the way and CLEARLY explained, I will continue with other points you have raised.

I find your tone pointlessly demeaning, to class the webcomic community as “bunch of webcomic people nominating themselves for an imaginary award” or worse, I put this to you what makes the Harveys any better. Perhaps if our industry was so stuck in its ways, you (and Ted Rall) would cease this mindless prattle. Do you feel threatened or in someway emasculated by our open community own awards structure. I don’t mean that in anyway insulting, its just a question.

I see this as a odd place to be, you claim that no award is worth it but have been called out on lobbying to gain an award, I wonder on this contradiction, consider that from my viewpoint that sends mixed messages about your views on awards.
Can I have a down to earth straight answer?

I would also like to mention that I only have the other people’s views on the topic on supposed lobbying, I won’t take that as fact, but your counter was not very convincing and perhaps did not inform others of the situation.

Can I ask, what is your views on our judge lineup, both past and present. I would also like to know your views on the involvement of people like Brad Guigar, who we had last year and whether or not his involvement added credence to our award?

In regard to a physical award, we do have plans to introduce one but due to deadlines and issues with sending these things internationally, we were sadly unable to provide one this year but I am investigating cost efficient ways of providing them worldwide but I don’t see how without one this year it somehow becomes less real, if you would like to explain your thoughts on this, I would be much obliged.

Thanks

Jessica

#131 Pete Murphey
January/20/2011
@ 7:44 pm

“It makes a few people smile. It makes most people angry.
Awards are like capitalism.”

It only makes the anarchistic communists angry, everyone else seems pretty pleased or indifferent. After your revolution, Ted, all web comics will have to be awarded ?best comic? because they will be forced by the Proletariat to be viewed with equal merit and value, just like the workers, who will all be paid the same salary no matter what they do or how well they do it.

#132 Scott kurtz
January/20/2011
@ 7:52 pm

@Jessica

I don’t know who you are, why you care what I think of your award, why you feel I owe you any explanations or how my opinions, difficult as they are for you to comprehend, affect you in any way.

I’m not an elected public official with a constituency to answer to. I think I’ve explained myself more than was required already.

Scroll up.

#133 Jessica Ottowell
January/20/2011
@ 8:06 pm

@Scott
I know you don’t know who I am and that to me is rather nice,
I merely wonder why you are being a jerk, chill.

Your supposed explanation is fragmented and feels as if you are hiding something behind it and I just was wondering if you would actually be clear and concise about why you feel this way and as I am always looking for ideas on how to improve the award, I perhaps thought a open, clear and friendly approach to a active dialog on what you actually thought was its flaws rather than dull and unclear rhetoric would be productive.

I would also like to hear from anyone here, who has some helpful, productive and implementable ideas on the awards to get in touch. I understand that perhaps we have some ruff edges to knock off and would love to hear from anyone who thinks they can do that.

Perhaps Scott you don’t feel that you owe me explanations but I am open to suggestions, if you do not wish to given them, please stop talking about it as you are not being productive.

My door is always open (and thats not due to the fact that I have a guitar in the way of the door closing)

Thanks =^..^=

Jessica Ottowell

#134 Mike Cope
January/20/2011
@ 8:11 pm

Speaking of making people smile …

“Cartooning as a whole is still one of the most fascinating businesses around. One can be the creator of a comic strip running 500 newspapers or one can be an unknown amateur decorating a letter to a friend in order to make it more meaningful. In either case, the person doing the drawing gets the same satisfaction from putting down on paper something which he thinks is funny in a way completely unique to his personality. He also knows that he is bringing a smile to someone somewhere, and there are few joys greater than this.”

– Charles M. Schulz, “A Career in Cartooning,” unpublished typescript dated June 16, 1965.

Source: My Life with Charlie Brown, edited by M. Thomas Inge, 2010 (pg.109-110).

#135 Wendy Wood
January/20/2011
@ 8:40 pm

@Mike Cope

I like that. : )

It reminds me of when I did some instructions for a friend on how to use the email account I set up for her. I did it as a mix of normal written instructions and little illustrated bits where one of my characters would take over.

At one point the character insulted any reader who didn’t already know how to do part of it and the cartoon version of myself that I sometimes draw came in and started arguing with the character only to lose and get insulted myself.

I don’t know if anyone else ever saw it, but it made her laugh, partially because it made me look a bit crazy.

#136 Rob Tracy
January/20/2011
@ 9:28 pm

Can you guys FEEL the tough love?

@Scott

It’s unfortunate I couldn’t get a proper reply out to your post #120. More important things got in the way. Rest assured I will give it the attention it is due some time tomorrow.

I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath. :P

#137 Scott Kurtz
January/20/2011
@ 10:13 pm

@Jessica,

If you want suggestions on how to improve your award, all I can offer is the following: If you’re going to offer an award, be an institution from which an award carries some gravitas.

Currently you and I do not possess such gravitas. Giving out awards seems to be a waste of both of our time.

@Rob,

That pesky day job getting in the way? Tsk!

#138 Ryan Sohmer
January/20/2011
@ 11:04 pm

If you folks want to do awards, do them. You don’t need permission and I don’t understand why you’re desperately seeking approval.

If it’s the hope that your awards will be seen as valuable by guys doing this for a while, it won’t happen.

And if that’s not your hope, why are we still here?

#139 Michael Dean
January/21/2011
@ 12:13 am

@Rob

Bated breath. As in abated. Not bait as in fish. Just fyi.

@Post

Congrats to the nominees!

#140 Alice (Chilari)
January/21/2011
@ 2:21 am

@Ted #129. Most? “It makes most people angry”? Can you back that up? It might be that more people are indifferent to the awards than actually support them, certainly, but I doubt there are as many people who actively oppose them, who are angered by them as you seem to think.

@ryan #138. You’re right, we don’t need permission and we don’t need approval. But while I can’t speak for anyone else here, I personally think that when the awards are criticised, in the way that they were in the first few comments, we have the right to defend ourselves and justify our motives in doing the awards. Continued criticism of the awards, including comments which are intended to marginalise and demotivate us, necessitate our continued existance here. We have the right to a voice, and we will not allow that to be taken from us by people who simply have different opinions to us and voice those opinions as if they have some kind of authority over us.

#141 Gar Molloy
January/21/2011
@ 3:30 am

“We have the right to a voice, and we will not allow that to be taken from us by people who simply have different opinions to us and voice those opinions as if they have some kind of authority over us.”

See now I’m imagining you as the girl from Labyrinth.

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. You have no power over me.”

The Goblin King outfit looked better on Bowie than it does on Kurtz, but it’s all good.

…although when I tried posting this the first time it didn’t post to the board, which is annoying, but thematically apt.

#142 Zoe Kirk-Robinson
January/21/2011
@ 4:57 am

RYAN SOHMER: “If it?s the hope that your awards will be seen as valuable by guys doing this for a while, it won?t happen.”

Some of us who think the awards are a good idea have been “doing this for a while”. My first webcomic started in 1996 and I like the awards. Clearly therefore these opinions have nothing to do with how long anyone has been producing a webcomic.

The fact is guys, neither side is going to back down here and neither side is going to be pronounced “right”. Why not put all this energy into doing something creative, rather than filling up the Internet with yet another slanging match?

#143 Gar Molloy
January/21/2011
@ 5:31 am

“Why not put all this energy into doing something creative, rather than filling up the Internet with yet another slanging match?”

Because what started as a simple press release has turned into a big entertaining argument that’s lasted all week!

This thread has gotten people from different levels in the comics industry talking about The Webcomic List Awards for DAYS! I don’t know how many people have linked to this thread or the WCLA site as a result of the debate as to their worth, but I’m pretty sure it’s gotten people on here that might otherwise not have given them a second thought to check out the awards and nominees!

#144 Ted Rall
January/21/2011
@ 5:35 am

@Jessica: Scott’s views are clear. Perhaps you don’t want to understand them because they conflict with your worldview and what you’re trying to accomplish with this contest.

#145 Wendy Wood
January/21/2011
@ 6:23 am

@Ryan

Regarding if longtimers in comics are going to take the awards at all seriously, we have Kurt Hathaway on board as a judge and he’s been doing comics for living since I was two years old. We also have Melissa DeJesus, John Allison and David Bishop on board. Dave Roman, David Troupes and Emma Vieceli were judging the awards last year.

I’m not going to say we’re going to get everyone to take note of it, there are webcomic newbies who couldn’t care less, but to suggest that nobody who’s been in comics for a long time will pay any attention or take it all seriously is wrong.

We’re already getting some positive feedback from some of those people and in some cases they’re coming on board to help, so yeah I do think *some* established comic creators are going to see this as something of value, not all by any exten, but you can’t please everybody, right?

#146 Ted Rall
January/21/2011
@ 6:49 am

Because this thread isn’t long enough, a random meta observation:

One thing I find frustrating about the webcartooning scene is the desire to reinvent the wheel. Comics awards have been around forever. Most cartoonists hate them. Why repeat the same mistake with webcartooning?

(For those who look for quantifiable data, there is some: the membership of the AAEC voted down a proposal to establish an AAEC Award a few years ago, in part because people thought awards were inherently flawed and make things worse instead of better.

#147 Wendy Wood
January/21/2011
@ 7:11 am

@Ted

I don’t really see any of what we’re doing as an attempt to reinvent the wheel.

Due to organisational issues one pretty popular webcomic award stopped happening and we came in to replace it, complete with the illustrated ceremony which is a holdover from the WCCAs. We use a different model to handle nominations/voting, but it’s not a new one. People enjoyed the old one and thought it was a shame when it stopped so we took over.

I know you hate awards and think they’re a very bad thing and I accept that, but not everybody agrees. Some people enjoy them.

#148 Keith Brown
January/21/2011
@ 7:26 am

Ted Rall said:
“So many terrible strips made the cut”

I am an amatuer who has read these blogs for a while, mostly lurking in the background. While I appreciate you have been catooning for a long time and aparently make a living at.
I have seen your work and I’m not sure where you get the cojones to talk down about the work of others.
Isn’t it wonderful there are so many different flavors of toons available? Print, web or otherwise?

#149 Isaiah McAllister
January/21/2011
@ 8:15 am

Checking this thread is like checking on the Middle East peace process…

Still fighting…

Move along.

#150 Jessica Ottowell
January/21/2011
@ 8:54 am

@Scott

Thanks for your feedback, I can’t say I agree with you on your points, esp on the point about you not having the gravitas to do it yourself, actually thats we asked you, Wendy send you a email last year about getting you on board.

You seem to have quite the following in our little “industry” and thus your name carries quite the weight. In regard to the idea I do think that our award has the gravitas given the names involved, we would still love to have you on board but if you are still not interested, well I suppose I can’t help that.

This year we have some fantastic board members, with some quite high profiles as you can see from the article. Not to mention the awards affiliation with the biggest listing site in our “industry” with one of the most active user communities.

I do think the above gives us quite the authority in our industry.

Thank you! =^..^=

Jessica

P.S Sorry about the sloppy spelling of the last post, I was rather ill.

#151 Layne Myhre
January/21/2011
@ 10:58 am

I’m not even convinced that there IS such a thing as the “webcomics industry”. Most people who read webcomics have never even HEARD the term. They just know that xkcd or Penny Arcade or Cyanide and Happiness or Questionable Content or whatever is one of the stops on their morning web-browse, along with LOLcats, their YouTube subscriptions, Facebook and Google News. If I had a dime for every person who’s asked me “what’s a webcomic?”…

There are plenty of people in “the industry” who’ve never HEARD of TWCL. Or Top Webcomics, or any of the other lists out there. Or maybe they have their own sub-community. Do you know how many comics there are on Livejournal? Or Deviant Art? I’m not saying that TWCL aren’t as big or bigger than the next webcomics list on the net, I’m just saying that, to the vast majority of people in or outside of “the industry”, this appears to be an award on the scale of an internal forum community… like if there was a “best post” award voted on here at the Daily Cartoonist. Sure, TWCL is a larger community, but it still seems pretty insignificant on the overall scale of “comics and comic-like things on the internet”.

All that is not to say you shouldn’t HAVE the awards, just that any expectation of “industry-wide” recognition is… well, rather silly.

#152 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 12:46 pm

Guess what guys…. another snow day is upon us.

#151 Layne although this applies to #138 Ryan as well.

From what I read from the folks who support having the awards I’m not getting that they are looking for across the board approval or industry wide recognition. People will like the awards or they won’t like the awards. They will agree with the choices or they won’t. They will approve of the judges or they won’t. And all of that assumes the awards even hit their radar. I don’t see any of the people involved suggesting that universal approval or recognition is something they seek or even want. Obviously from this thread controversy makes for good discourse.

The issue at hand is Ted, Scott and a few others actively taking a stance against such awards. Their reasoning being that they hurt the medium and in Ted’s case they are impossible to fairly and equitably conduct and present (which considering that all art is subjective is true yet still a crazy reason not to do them because of all the people who do like and appreciate them).

I think you are making a mistake if you think anyone came in here with the intention of swaying this community or that community towards approving, endorsing or supporting these awards. I would suggest that the people here who are listing off reasons why they are good and viable and so on feel somewhat on the defensive by the statements made in here by Ted, Scott and a few others.

Someone has to say something bad about something before someone can defend it. If no one had attacked the viability and veracity of the awards there wouldn’t be much to say here.

And I would further suggest that while it’s doubtful Scott or Ted will change their minds on the subject it is a worthwhile endeavor to offer a counter to their arguments if only so that no one believes for a moment that it is the majority or even lone opinion in any community; print, web, editorial, pro, amateur or what have you.

#139 @Michael D

ooooh… yeah… my bad. I probably set off your pet peeve alarm there huh? Sorry. I do know it’s bated not baited. I was tired but that’s no excuse. If anyone ever says “I could care less” when they are talking about something they don’t care about I land on them like a sumo. So I get where you’re coming from. Sorry.

More to come. I’m going to go get some tacos.

#153 Michael Dean
January/21/2011
@ 12:49 pm

@Rob Nah, I used “baited” for years until I learned the difference. Just passing along the info.

#154 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 12:53 pm

@Rob,

Ted and I just said we thought awards were stupid. You turned this into some big fight, suggesting hidden motivations and sinister plans. You’re not championing against anything but your own status as an unknown quantity by “taking us on.”

You have better ways of spending a snow day.

#155 Scott Metzger
January/21/2011
@ 1:07 pm

“More to come.”

Rob – aren’t you exhausted? What else is there to say about this?

At the same time, I find your New-Yorker- article-length posts oddly fascinating so feel free to crank out more of them. It’s your call and your time. I just can’t believe this thread is still going.

Maybe this will turn out to be the longest thread on The Daily Cartoonist for this year.

Hey, there should be an annual award for that!

#156 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 1:16 pm

@Scott Metzger

It’s all he has. Arguing here. Don’t take it from him.

#157 Ed Power
January/21/2011
@ 1:20 pm

Do you know what I’m glad isn’t a word?!?!?! Defecake! But if it were here is how I would use it in a sentence: “Defecakes were the least popular Hostess snackcake ever”!!!!!! >:[

#158 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 1:22 pm

@Scott

If that was really all you said we wouldn’t really be here now would we? Besides some things have developed that I think are worth discussing.

Like the fact that Rob Denbleyker put “Bug” in “Cyanide & Happiness’s” “Stuff We Like” and the site’s traffic has spiked. According to Project Wonderful one of his ad displays has had almost twelve thousand referrals from the “Cyanide & Happiness” site, the unique users have nearly doubled from the previous day and the page views have more than doubled. Additionally the bid on that ad space (on the bug site) is more almost $3 more for the highest level for the past month and more than double what it was on the previous day.

Now here Scott is where you sneer and act dismissive of these numbers because they are so unimpressive compared to yours or perhaps you’ll attack the methodology of data collection at PW. I don’t know I’m sure you’ll come up with something.

But that would just be more deflection. Because regardless of whether or not Bug retains any of that audience. Regardless of whether or not Bug would have eventually reached this level of audience based solely on the quality of the comic, regardless of whether or not Rob D would have recommended Bug without the awards being involved (and although he does not explicitly state that he discovered Bug from the awards nominees as he did for Romantically Apocolyptic it isn’t hard to make the connection that the awards story is involved somehow when he says “I dig the nominees though. “Bug in particular is a great strip and deserves more recognition.” and then he proceeds to provide that recognition)….

Regardless of all of that there is no way to logically deny that the awards, which haven’t even been awarded yet… have done SOMETHING for Adam Huber (creator of “Bug”). Even if he just makes $3 more today and doesn’t retain any of the audience he got great exposure and made a little extra cash… because he was nominated for the award.

What’s more… I think it’s safe to say that Adam found the experience emotionally fulfilling as well when he posted this blog entry talking about how great it was just to be nominated.

http://www.bugcomic.com/blog/the-webcomics-list-awards-2010/#comments

I believe the words “cloud nine” were used.

And if you scroll down you may notice that among the very respectable amount of comments there isn’t a single “awards are stupid” or “awards are inherently biased by subjectivity and therefore flawed by there own nature and thus a pointless and harmful exercise in ego stroking.”

No they were all just happy for him. Because it was nice.

Don’t worry about my time Scott. I’m a taskmaster. You wouldn’t believe what I can get done in a day when I put my mind to it.

#159 Kris Straub
January/21/2011
@ 1:23 pm

Stop drilling, Rob, you struck oil. You won me over. The awards are a great idea and you’re doing important work for the webcomics community. Have a good lunch and enjoy the rest of your day.

#160 Stephen Beals
January/21/2011
@ 1:26 pm

Rob, your posts are fascinating in a “pulling out a long tapeworm” kind of way.

Ewww.

#161 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 1:33 pm

#155 @Scott M

Nope. Not exhausted. As you can see from the post above I do believe there are more things to say and I still owe myself a response to Scott K’s post #120.

I’m glad you enjoy my posts (regardless of your thoughts on the subject I’ve always felt that anything worth writing is worth reading to someone).

P.S. Your current comic with the cats and the energy drink was one of the funniest damn things I’ve seen in a long time and I read a LOT of comics. Kudos. I wish I could send 12k referrals to you just for that one comic.

#162 Gar Molloy
January/21/2011
@ 1:42 pm

Man, I can’t believe this thread is over 160 comments long! Scott and Rob, you guys have this great mutual insistence on poking the bear going on here. Seriously Scott, you keep saying Rob doesn’t matter to you, but you keep responding to everything he says!

And this is a pattern of behaviour for you. You do this in here ALL THE TIME! There’s some otherwise innocuous little bit of webcomics-related news, and either you or Ted make a little snide remark on it, and then someone steps in to defend whatever you’re talking about it and it just snowballs into this big protracted drawn-out Thing. I don’t know how many times we’ve seen Scott say he doesn’t want to argue any more, only to come right back and keep arguing for another sixty comments!

An it’s with that in mind that I’m proud to present Scott Kurtz with the prestigious Golden Schlong Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Internet Dickery!

Scott, your provocative rants have raised the profile of webcomics article after webcomics article on here, often in a negative light but almost always in a way that provokes people into an argument with you. Your inflammatory comments and your resolution in standing by them have lead to volumes being written both in support of you and in defense of the positions you attack. Your dickery infuriates, yet promotes thought and discourse. Who else but Kurtz could have turned a puff piece about an article in the Economist into a debate about the nature of an Artist? Who else but Kurtz is willing to champion both the old guard of the syndicated strips AND the up-and-coming wave of digital cartoonists, and piss off both sides equally? Who else but Kurtz would have the fortitude to read through tirade after tirade leveled against, him and still come back with an attitude that makes people want to argue with him week after week after week?

The threads Scott Kurtz participate in have a tendency to become convoluted, vitriolic monstrosities. Often they derail completely from their original point, often they just devolve into personal insults, but they’re almost always entertaining, and often there’s a few things worth reading amidst the bile, where people have managed to articulate their thoughts clearly.

The Daily Cartoonist just wouldn’t be the same without these huge drawn-out threads, and it wouldn’t be a place I’d want to visit so often.

You’re a dick, Scott. And I salute you.

#163 Ted Rall
January/21/2011
@ 1:46 pm

I have never typed the following words before:

I have been outtalked.

If words were weapons, we could send Rob to war and win, win, win.

#164 Scott Metzger
January/21/2011
@ 1:51 pm

Rob ? Thanks, glad you like that cartoon. Nice of you to say.

#165 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 1:59 pm

@Rob,

The great part is that I don’t even have to have a discussion with you. You’ll just fill in my words for me. In that last post you managed to provide my side of our argument without me even having to type.

Your participation in this discussion seems to be all about positioning me as anti-webcomics, a person who turned his back on a community he helped create (your words), and yourself as someone for the community.

And now I’ve learned you’re sending attack emails to people who are defending my position in here. Nice.

It’s official. You are the new William G, or Bengo. You’ve locked your jaw down on the idea that there is a webcomics Maritocracy and that I’m at the top of it holding you back.

Good luck with that. It’s done so well for your predecessors.

#166 Keith Brown
January/21/2011
@ 2:00 pm

Gar,
That is hilarious! Thank you for asking me to model for you! :)

#167 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 2:08 pm

@Scott K

Emails? Plural? Prove it!

Sending Tovias an e-mail was a courtesy frankly because he had so massively misunderstood my response to him that I felt it would be embarrassing for him were I to point out his error publicly. He and I have had the same discussion in the past that he was attempting to start up again in here. I didn’t feel it was necessary but I offered to repost my e-mail to him here… verbatim… if he wanted to continue the argument. I have not heard from him since.

I didn’t pull his e-mail out of the ether. We’ve corresponded before.

Nice deflection though. Hat’s off. Now how about you defend your position? Post #158 awaits.

#168 Kris Straub
January/21/2011
@ 2:21 pm

Scott, it’s time for you to shut your mouth. There is something true happening here, and it’s time to do away with the idea that the internet is a level playing field. It’s not level at all.

Ask someone who their favorite webcomic is. Maybe they’ll say PVP, maybe xkcd, maybe Penny Arcade. Fact is, there’s hardly anyone saying the smaller comics. And the reason is that the bigger comics are actively blocking their presence. If they weren’t, all comics would have the same number of readers. Guess what, they don’t. Point proven.

So why would bigger comics try to destroy the smaller comics? Follow the logic. There’s only one reason: they’re scared. They’re worried that the public will find out there’s way better work being made, so they have everything to lose if they don’t team up to destroy that ragtag band of true heroes.

No more. I’m tired of the constant toadying and kissing up and zero work I had to do to get to where I am. I’m ready to blow this wide open. It’s time to flush these vipers out into the light.

The top echelon of webcomics lied, cheated and stole its way to first place. They created networks of false Twitter followers, gamed Alexa and bolstered each other economically with trust-fund monies siphoned from unsuspecting family members. Meanwhile, true artists, who refuse to partake in these atrocities, languish in misery. No longer. No longer!

The 2011 Webcomic List Awards are the first rally point of the New Revolution that will shake webcomics to its very bones, ousting all that rotten meat that’s accumulated over the past decade. It’s time for everyone to get to do this for a living, because everyone wants it equally. Because that’s how business and art work.

OPEN YOUR EYES, INTERNET! Even now they eye their keeps and towers, ready to flee! They grow weak! Quickly now, everyone pat each other on the back and join a Top 100 list!

#169 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 2:27 pm

@Rob,

What position am I supposed to be defending NOW? Could you specify? It’s hard for me to figure out what sentence to respond to out of your multiple walls of text.

Also, is it a position I actually took that I’m defending or a position that you invented for me in this thread that I’m defending?

#170 Alice (Chilari)
January/21/2011
@ 2:38 pm

Oh, I get it now. Very well done, Kurtz and Straub. Had me going. But I completely understand now. This is what’s going on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1PBptSDIh8

I applaud you. Really.

#171 Isaiah McAllister
January/21/2011
@ 2:39 pm

@Kris Does that mean you”ll finally link to my YAOI Sonic the hedgehog sprite comic?

#172 Pete Tarkulich
January/21/2011
@ 2:48 pm

Rob,

“The issue at hand is Ted, Scott and a few others actively taking a stance against such awards.”

Wrong. Nobody is taking stance AGAINST the awards, just sharing opinions ON the awards. It’s not as if anyone is picketing outside the awards ceremony with signs or anything. You’re allowed to believe in the wholesome goodness of the awards, just as Scott, Ted, and whoever else are allowed to believe that the awards are cavity inducing. Negative opinions have no bearing on the awards moving forward. It’s still going to happen regardless, correct? As I see it, you’re not defending the awards – you’re being defensive. That’s not a good look for any person in the creative world. Get a thicker skin, shake your head, and continue moving forward.

#173 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 3:04 pm

@ Scott and Kris

Kris. If you’re trying to deflect FOR Scott now then you aren’t doing a great job. The points I’m trying to make aren’t anywhere in the same galaxy as the nonsense you just came up with and you should refrain from trying. You aren’t good at sarcasm. You’re too nice a guy.

The point you are still on the hook to defend… Scott… is your first one and the one you’ve been discussing with the ladies. I realize that having me define what you are defending is just another form of deflection (like asking a question in answer to a question) but I’m willing to take a bite. Just be careful not to spend much time trying to twist out of your position as I ascribe it or I’ll call you on it and reference every single post in this thread and quote you to back up my assertion of your position.

Your position is that awards are stupid, pointless, won’t help your work, career or improve your finances. They are harmful to the medium and indicative of a larger problem within the webcomics community. (and after some time with the following modifier so you could explain campaigning for a Harvey) Unless they are given out by a body with prestige (or GRAVITAS) like the Harvey’s or Eisner’s and even then they really aren’t worth anything.

Now defend your position or conceded it. Post #158 awaits.

#174 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 3:11 pm

@Pete

I’d have to disagree with you. I honestly believe that when someone with Scott’s following takes a position like this when it is apropos of nothing it does have an impact on the community. Our discussion on the subject has gotten dozens of folks on both sides of the argument involved. Brad wrote an article about it for Webcomics.com It isn’t a pointless endeavor.

Yes the awards will go on regardless of Scott’s negative assessment but if no one challenges the opinions of the man who co-founded webcomics.com, co-wrote How To Make Webcomics and so on new people to the community may be swayed to his line of thought. I think he’s wrong. I’m here to counter that.

#175 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 3:28 pm

@Rob

Okay I concede.

#176 Dave Stephens
January/21/2011
@ 3:29 pm

Yeah. Uh huh… Right. Flames of all sorts and butt-kissing obsequiousness and meandering vagueness as well as good points and bad points and downright nasty points were made here and that’s the internet for ya…

Blah blah blah blah… BUT!

I am happy to have found 15 webcomics I never knew about…

Thanks Alan!

#177 August J. Pollak
January/21/2011
@ 3:31 pm

I like kitties.

Kitties are fuzzy.

#178 Matt Bors
January/21/2011
@ 3:46 pm

I hate cats. I like dogs.

#179 Trevor Kent
January/21/2011
@ 3:53 pm

@Rob: Scott has already defended his position, as you have defended yours. This happened 160 posts ago. Give it up. You didn’t read the sarcasm in Kris’ post, and you keep egging Scott on, only because you want that tiny chance that he’ll change his position (he won’t) so your ego is left intact. Stop.

#180 Zoe Kirk-Robinson
January/21/2011
@ 4:08 pm

Cats and dogs are both great in different ways.

#181 Pete Tarkulich
January/21/2011
@ 4:08 pm

Rob,

“…new people to the community may be swayed to his line of thought.”

You sound like a religious fundamentalist with this statement. That scares me.

The fact is that you made your opinion clear very early on in this debate. Since then nothing new has been brought to light except for tangents and personal digs. You don’t need to worry about the “big dogs” harming the webcomics awards; you’re digging a grave for it. Personally, any respect I might have had for the awards has been frayed because of your interactions here. I would have had far more respect for you and the awards had you made your point known and backed off.

But I guess in the end it really doesn’t matter what I say or what anyone else with a differing viewpoint says. You’ll continue being defensive about it, the show will go on, and the world will keep turning.

#182 Stephen Beals
January/21/2011
@ 4:09 pm

I love both cats and dogs. It’s hamsters I can’t stand.

#183 Pete Tarkulich
January/21/2011
@ 4:16 pm

I feel compelled to add that it’s bullsh*t like this that makes the “webcomics community” look like a joke in a lot of people’s eyes. We need to learn to accept that within the community people are going to believe and do different things. The capital “D” Drama has to end.

In other words, “Can’t we all just get along?”

#184 Michael Thorne
January/21/2011
@ 4:36 pm

… Wow.

And here I thought the webcomic community, or the comics community *I’m with the “Let’s drop the “Web” from webcomics camp* Was sane, or at least could behave rationally.

I do a webcomic, sometimes it sucks, sometimes it’s sucks less. I’ll never be a PVP or any of the other big boys, but do I care? nope.

Would it be nice to get an award? Sure, why not? Is it gonna make me produce a better comic, probably not, only hard work and practice does that.

I’m done.

#185 AJ Perales
January/21/2011
@ 4:58 pm

Guys, guys, guys, …Guys. Come on. Let’s wrap this up. I got this.

Can’t we all just agree to rename them the “the 2011 ‘MAGIC WAS INSIDE YOU ALL ALONG’ awards” & move on?

Give ’em a little certificate, maybe a pat on the head, & get back to MAKING comics, which is where the real winners & not-winners are made apparent.

Sound good?

#186 Ben McCormick
January/21/2011
@ 5:09 pm

@Rob you haven’t heard from me because I remembered what my grandmother told me when I was a young boy, “Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll both end up dirty, and besides, the pig likes it” I chose to not wrestle the pig.

As for the email, post it, don’t post it, I really don’t give a darn either way. I’m sure if you do post it my diminished reading ability would prevent me from completely understanding your sage words of profound wisdom. I’m also sure that any response I make will only be twisted around to show how you are right and I am so very wrong. So shred the email and sprinkle it on your morning cereal for all I care.

@Everyone else Regarding awards, I am totally against fuzzy kitties or dogs of any sort receiving webcomic awards.

Anything said here isn’t going to sway anyone’s opinion of TWL Awards any more than me posting a comment on the Fox News site will magically sway their audience to support Obama.

Personally I’d spend less time fighting about awards for comics, webcomics or toasters and more time spreading the news to folks who don’t even know about comics online. If we’re all worried about the “Industry” why not do something to highlight it and draw in new readers for everyone instead of recycling the same 500K readers?

But whatever. Everyone go do your thing.

Oh and one more thing, I think Kris Straub is a major-league idiot and has no grasp of the art of cartooning. (Hey, Kris, not really, but could you put a link to my comic on your site and tell people that I insulted you? Maybe they’ll come check out my comic. K, thanks).

#187 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 5:09 pm

#179 @Trevor

Please see post #158 where I offer all new evidence with actual numerical statistics and everything.

Then please see post #175 where Scott Changes his position.

#181 @Pete

So what you are saying is that Scott Kurtz has no effect on people new to the webcomics community? Sorry I have to disagree. I don’t know why you would suggest I back off when both Scott and Ted continued to argue their positions every time I responded. Why don’t you tell them to make their point and back off? What is the difference between them and me?

Careful how you answer lest you prove my point that Scott has influence in the community.

I am sorry if the drama bothers you. No one forced you to come and read 180+ posts of something that bothers you.

@Scott. Glad you could see things from another perspective. It’s big of you to admit you were wrong.

Ok I think that wraps things up nicely. What say we meet back here in nine days or so when Alan runs the story on the winners? 2PM Eastern good for you guys?

#188 AJ Perales
January/21/2011
@ 5:26 pm

One funny P.S. to all this, despite position or affiliation or whatever, is:

When this started, the question was “Wait wait wait, who the **** is Rob Tracy?”

After reading down a bit the answer becomes “Oh, some insufferable self-righteous dude with an inexplicable ego who likes to repeatedly strike deceased equines. Huh.”

Way to self-market, brother.

#189 Aaron Weiss
January/21/2011
@ 5:26 pm

I’m still confused as to how an award that exists is imaginary.

If someone doesn’t like the existence of these awards, why post? Damn artists, you scary.

However I do support the debate of “HE GOT ROBBED” or “THIS COMIC IS AWESOME”. Call me old fashioned.

#190 Rob DenBleyker
January/21/2011
@ 6:09 pm

“So what you are saying is that Scott Kurtz has no effect on people new to the webcomics community?”

He absolutely has no effect.

#191 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 6:12 pm

Oh no I’ve been diminished by AJ Peralta. I mean… Perales. Perales right? Anyway I’ve been diminished by my brotha…. who can’t seem to link to his site. Let me help you out.

http://withbothhandsonthewheel.blogspot.com/

That’s cool you got a blog and some tweets… and….

did you just tweet this to Scott?

@pvponline & follow that up with either an earnest tweet-hug or a firm tweet-handshake, whichever you prefer. Thanks! 26 minutes ago
@pvponline I’d like to take a second to thank you for being such an honest & respectable man on top of being a truly inspiring artist. 32 minutes ago

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Creepy dude. Seriously.

#192 AJ Perales
January/21/2011
@ 6:32 pm

@rob

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!

Sweet.

Yes, my sincere words to someone I admire as a fan are creepy, but searching my blog & twitter account & then posting them in an unrelated forum is a classy move & in no way furthers my point.

Yep, reading Scott’s thoughts here led to a general reflection on the guy, & having never sent an email or anything I thought it couldn’t hurt to send him some kind words.

Because being a cartoonist isn’t about something STRANGE & UNNATURAL like cultivating a fan base of people who respect you & would like to say so, it’s about being awarded with VERY IMPORTANT awards.

Aw man, thanks so much for that, really. I needed a fantastic laugh. A cute deflection stunt like that will definitely win people over.

Really though, Bless You.

#193 Kris Straub
January/21/2011
@ 6:37 pm

Rob! Are you making a watch list now?

Are you actually charting others’ tweets to determine the allegiances of potential new archenemies?

Do you have enough of Perales’ discarded receipts to determine whether or not he’s meeting with Scott in secret locations?

#194 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 6:42 pm

Actually I would argue that it was the link juice of The Daily Cartoonist and not the WCLA that got Bug notice by explosm and thus, the traffic spike.

He should be thanking Alan.

#195 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 6:47 pm

Deflection? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
(Princess Bride FTW!)

You called me some names. I implied you were stalker. I didn’t dodge you. You insulted me. I was pretty clear that you are a very creepy dude.

I can’t imagine why Scott didn’t respond immediately with some heavy tweet petting or a vigorous tweet reacharound.

But there’s nothing of substance to discuss here. So I’m off!

Let me know if @climacticus thinks I’m a bag of dicks later after you tell him all about it. HIS opinion I care about.

#196 Kris Straub
January/21/2011
@ 6:56 pm

I’ll add it to the list of webcomic illuminati action items.

#197 AJ Perales
January/21/2011
@ 7:01 pm

Boy, I do hate to entertain this, but eh.

I am completely comfortable sending off a fan-tweet to someone whose work & public persona I enjoy without expecting anything in return. It’s like a fan letter, who expects anything back? Nothing stalkerish about that, really. Just dorky, yeah.

You, on the other hand, have continued to go to my twitter page to read tweets between my friend & I? Really? Yikes. That genuinely creeps *me* out, & as far as I know you’re know fan of mine.

But yeah, as Mr. Straub says, I guess I should try & find out if someone has been rifling through my trash.

Oh, & I meant deflection in that I made a comment that you are beating a dead horse here & not coming across as much more than a foot-stomping trog, & then you proved you had the power of the Google & posted it here, thus ‘shifting the focus’ & ignoring what I said.

But it’s fine, because now you’ve spent multiple posts attacking some dude who strolled in here & was amazed at how badly you come across & said so. Not exactly staying on point, or proving to anyone you’re NOT a troll.

Oh well, real life is to be had now. You have been a DELIGHT! 8D

#198 Ben McCormick
January/21/2011
@ 7:06 pm

To paraphrase:

“This site is infested with Cartoonists. I have here in my hand a list of names that were made known to the webcomics community as being members of Webcomics Dot Com and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the webcomics community.”

#199 Rob Tracy
January/21/2011
@ 7:08 pm

Kris the sarcasm is still weak sauce brand. If you want I can try and make you really angry so you can tap into your inner snark. Let me know.

No Kris. When random dittoheads insult me I like to check out who they are so I can apply a measured response. Like when Scott and I started to argue and he checked out my comic so he could insult it. It’s fairly common practice on this thing we call the in ter net.

I hope Scott’s not meeting with him secretly. At some point there will be an AJ Peralta sized Scott suit somewhere and then we’ll have no more PvP which would make me sad.

And Scott…. as usual your logic is faultless. Adam should thank Alan immediately for running a story which wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the awards.

Lastly… Peralta… dude why would I go to your twitter page when it’s all right there on that glorious blog of yours. I hope someday we can bury the hatchet and you can become a fan of my work so you can ask me for a virtual hug. I could use one right now with random strangers just joining into arguments they don’t understand and insulting me.

#200 Anise Shaw
January/21/2011
@ 7:30 pm

I have to agree that awards given out to the community by the community are silly, especially from a marketing standpoint.

All you’re doing is creating schisms amongst comic artists, of whom there are so few that it creates a terrible and poison environment. If the awards some how brought comics to a larger audience, one that doesn’t often participate in webcomics or understand much about the webcomics community, then it would make sense. The fact is, there is no advocacy going on to justify the awards. Spend your time promoting them outside of webcomics and you’ll get my attention.

Comic artists need to work together to explore new markets and audiences, not pick apart what we already have.

And to note, I consider the greatest accolade to be getting my comic done and have someone enjoy reading it. Awards were created as a marketing tool, and nothing more. I have enough marketing tools right now to get by on.

I need to go draw now, because these comics aren’t going to make themselves.

#201 Michael Thorne
January/21/2011
@ 7:54 pm

Come on everyone!, Lidsville Marathon at my place! We can all drink orange pop, and laugh about how silly everyone is being!

No douches allowed.

Take it as you will.

#202 Michael Thorne
January/21/2011
@ 7:57 pm

And as for the Dog/Cat/kitti/fuzzy debate, Lizards and reptiles FTW! :)

oh..also…pie.

that is all for now.

#203 Jack Cayless
January/21/2011
@ 7:59 pm

Just to shift the topic back to the Webcomic awards, if only for a moment.

I’ve only been putting comics on the internet for a couple of years but I think I see these awards as nothing but a pat on the back, and I get a dozen or two pats on the back every time I post a new update, via my comment box. In fact, I see a comment on one of my pages as FAR more encouraging and ego-boosting than I would an award such as this one. Let me explain.

From what I understand, after the public have had their say, the dozen or so judges get together and choose one out of five nominees. The winner of the award get’s a nice ego stroke for beating four other people. And…that’s it.

Compare that to a comment on a comic’s latest update. Of all the thousands of webcomics that the average viewer has on offer (via these lists and databases, which are easy to find) this person has taken time out of their life -however brief- to comment on your strip. To me, that means so much more.

Granted, it’s still just an ego stroke, but it’s not “Twelve people have decided that, out of these five comics your’s is the best”. It’s “Out of all the comics I can read, yours is the one I want to talk about.”

I have a smattering of fans that like to show off certain characters of mine, and then link to my site to show their colleagues the story behind them. It’s happened a few times that I’ve got a small forum-full of new readers by fans showing off my characters, and I embrace the act with open arms (I even emailed a ‘Thank You Sketch’ to one reader for doing so, because the readership went up quite dramatically) and I wonder if these awards would even come close to bringing in the same sort of publicity. And even then, I would be sharing these new readers with a dozens of other creators, so the effect is diluted.

Certainly – if I were ever nominated for this award – it would warrant a definite “Cheers!” to the judges and voters, but that’s the same thing I’d say to a bloke taking the time to offer some constructive criticism, or writing “can’t wait for the next page!” in the comment box.

The award is an email saying “You’ve won!” I get loads of them, though most of them are flagged as spam.

#204 Stephen Beals
January/21/2011
@ 9:58 pm

I don’t think an award has ever creeped me out before.

#205 Evan Yeong
January/21/2011
@ 10:57 pm

I’m just going to jump in here having never commented on this website before.

I read thirty some webcomics, and draw a comic myself, even though it /is/ only printed once weekly in a publication I run myself that is only distributed at the college I attend.

With that out of the way, I’m going to address #203 JACK CAYLESS and his mild criticism of the award. I can definitely be down with the feeling that a personal comment is worth worlds more than an award given you by a gaggle of judges you don’t know, but at the same time I can’t help but look at the 16 judges appointed and notice the webcomic artists and others represented.

There are people on that panel who I respect as far as they’ve gotten occupationally; I definitely wouldn’t mind if John Allison dropped me a compliment of any sort whatsoever. There’s been effort put forward to compile a list of judges who are worthy of that title, and I think there’s something to be said for that.

TL;DR: Yes, comments can be better than awards. But awards given by the talented who can presumably perceive talent shouldn’t be taken too lightly.

#206 Jack Cayless
January/22/2011
@ 12:25 am

@#205 Evan Yeong

I understand where you’re coming from, and totally agree! If someone big in webcomics paid me a compliment, I’d be very appreciative. And seeing who the judges are, I can see why you raised the point.

Although, if I understand how the awards work, it’s the public that does the initial nominations, and these judges choose from what the public has put forward. I can’t help but wonder if the judges would choose differently if they were given control of the nominations.

I think the awards would mean more to everyone involved if people that had some standing or knowledge in the webcomics industry chose – for example – a strip they feel is worthy to win for each category, and then decided on a winner out of those put forth. Cutting the public out of the equation might make the nominees a little less…predictable?

I hope I don’t come off as jealous and all that, but I’d like to see something like Para-Ten for Best Colour Art, or Wonderella for Best Character. Alas, that’d require lots of time invested in sieving through a lot of rough to get to the diamonds. But it’d make the award that much more significant.

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