Posted November 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm
It's hard to put into words how excited and happy I am to have reached this point in Goblins. It's taken us three years, but as of the next update, the comic has finally looped back around to the Goblins.
As many of you know, Goblins was written start to finish, years ago. So when I cut away from the GAP (Goblin Adventuring Party), I knew it was going to take a very long time before we'd get back to them. I prepared myself for a lot of "Um... I thought this comic was called Goblins. Where are the goblins?
" and boy, the internet didn't disappoint!
After being away from the GAP for so long, it's hard to remember just what the heck was going on last time we saw them. So what I've done is piece together a short reminder
. Or you can click here to go read that actual part of the comic
I'm so incredibly excited to be reaching this part of the story. Some amazing moments that I've been waiting almost a decade to reach, are about to happen. So to everyone who's become a part of this... the casual readers, the hardcore fans, the new readers and the veterans...
This is going to be awesome.
As always, thanks for reading.
Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Note: The subject of this blog post is gender equality. I understand that a bunch of you have no interest in reading about this, so if you're one of those people, you're welcome to skip it. I promise not to talk about Goblins stuff or anything else that you'd prefer not to miss out on. You're safe to ignore this post.
EDIT NOTE: Since writing this post, I've discovered that I've been broad-brushing men's support groups and lumping them all into the title of 'Men's Rights Activists'. This is inaccurate, as there are other groups that believe in and discuss men's rights that don't identify as MRA. I apologise for the oversimplification.
The more videos, podcasts and interviews I listen to about gender equality, the more I notice a growing chasm between feminists and the MRA (Men's Rights Activists). The reason this bothers me so much, is because I believe it pushes us away from the end goal that most of us want to reach. Gender equality.
There are douchebags on both sides of this chasm. Both feminists and the MRA have people saying insane and hateful things about the other side. But both sides also house some really decent and intelligent people who genuinely want gender equality for absolutely everyone. One trend I've noticed, is for individuals from one side to point at one of these insane douchebags and declare "See? All Feminists/MRAs behave this way!" while the other side might declare "That's an extremist minority who doesn't represent our views".
Let's ignore the insane folks who write blogs about how the other genders need to be rounded up in camps, etc and focus on what I believe to be the meat of both groups. The people who want real equality. A seemingly growing number of these people claim that in order to reach equality, the other group must be eradicated. I don't see this as the most effective path to equality.
Both sides have attacked the other for claiming to be victims of various levels of oppression. I can only speak from my own personal experience, but I grew up in a house full of women. I lived with my Mum, my Nana and my two sisters (one of them black). As a white male, I've experienced almost no direct sexism or racism, but I've seen a lot of both of those things smack my family hard in the face. So when women stand up and claim that they face painful or frustrating sexism on a daily basis, I believe them. It seems callous to simply claim that they're wrong or lying. On that same note, it seems equally callous to declare it a hate crime whenever a group of men want to get together and discuss men's rights or how sometimes it sucks to be a man. I believe that anytime anyone claims to be a victim, step one should be listening to them. Step one should never be to declare them a liar.
Many of us have seen the people tweeting things like "Men only need to do two things. Apologize and STFU!" or "Women should stop talking and go make me a sammich!". In my opinion, neither of these people are advocates for the rights of their gender. They're just bullies. Saying that these people are truly fighting for their gender is like saying the bully who smashed my Marvel Comics lunchbox in grade one was truly fighting for DC Comics. He simply wanted to hurt those who were different than him. That's what bullies do.
When someone says "women's rights" or "men's rights" online, there seem to be various groups of people who'll react to those phrases as though someone had said the N-word. Sure, "human rights" is a far more inclusive and accurate phrase, but it isn't wrong to say "Men have rights" or "Women have rights" anymore than it's wrong to point at Joe over there and say "Joe has rights".
To me, the feud between feminists and MRAs is like two people sitting in a room. One person says it's too cold, while the other claims it's too hot. Both people would be happy with the thermostat set at room temperature, but no one is touching the thermostat, because they're too busy yelling at each other over whether it's currently too hot or too cold and which one of them is the real victim.
I don't think that we can aggressively force gender equality. Sure, we could force people to behave in a certain way with laws, punishments and even rewards, but in order to have true equality, we have to genuinely believe in it. The only way we're going to believe in it, is if we listen to everyone objectively and with an open mind.
This issue is incredibly important. We need to try to rise above whatever frustrations or hurt feeling we've picked up and realise that this is bigger than each of us. Have you ever seen really intelligent people disagree and debate each other? It's amazing how some of them are able to do that without automatically considering the other person to be stupid, evil or insane simply because they disagree. If we can do this to some extent... If we can disagree with each other without anger, disrespect or prejudgment, I think that discussions might be far more enlightening.
I'm far from an expert on this and I still have a lot to learn, but I've read literature from both sides. With both feminists and MRAs, I've found things I agree with and things I disagree with. I DO believe that men have rights and that sometimes it sucks to be a guy. I believe that it can be healthy for men to discuss this with each other and hear someone say "I know, right? I hate that!". I also believe that misogyny is a terrible problem that we all need to address. I think that women get screwed over in a lot of unfair ways and we need to listen to and learn from a lot of the people who are pointing at it and saying "Look!". I think things like GeekGirlCon
, a place to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women in geek culture are much needed, great ideas.
It's almost certain that you disagree with at least part of what I've written here and that's cool. In fact, it's healthy. But you can disagree with parts of what people say without vilifying them. Even if I'm fumbling around and going in all the wrong directions, know that I'm not trying to hurt anyone. I'm just seeing that a lot of people are uncomfortable and I'm doing my small part to try to get to the thermostat.
As always, thanks for reading.
And follow me on Twitter
, if you like.
Posted October 10, 2013 at 11:57 am
As most of you know, I'm in the midst of my double convention trip. This has resulted in some temporary sacrifices regarding the comic. I really didn't want to post another Altsplanation or a guest comic, because I'm anxious to get back to the goblin adventuring party (which is right around the corner). So for now, take a look at this very unfinished page which I will finish up once I get back home.
For those of you in the New York area, I hope to see you at NYCC (booth 1668) this weekend!
As always, thanks for reading.
Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm
In a couple of hours, Danielle and I are about to leave for VCON
. I'll have a Goblins booth where I'll be selling some prints, shirts and anymugs. You'll be able to find me in the Cyberspace Hall (near registration).
Then, after VCON is over, we're hopping on a plane and heading straight to New York for NYCC
! We'll be at the Evertide Booth right here
. Here we'll have prints, shirts (if they're ready on time. Please be ready on time) and books. Everything is being sold by the Evertide Games people (good, upstanding Americans) and all of the merchandise was made in the USA and is meeting us there. You hear that, border people? I'm breaking no laws. Please let us into your country. Oh please, do.
We'll also be sharing the booth with Romantically Apocalyptic
We'll also be playing the upcoming card game Goblins: Alternate Realities at both cons.
I will be bringing my smaller drawing tablet and seeing if I can update as usual. I think that in order to do this, I may have to skip the fancy shading for 2-3 updates.
As always, thanks for reading.
Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:25 am
Dear EVERYONE I've ever fought with, insulted or was sarcastic to online:
How have you been?
I want to tell you a secret. Well, it's not a secret exactly, but it's definitely something that up until now, I didn't really want you to know. Remember that time you said something to or about me and I shrugged it off with some condescending remark like "Sure thing, Pumpkin" or "You got it, Kiddo"? Maybe I even dabbed the beginning of my sentence with a snide, little "lol" or "haha" to show you how untouched I was by your comments. And if our communique took place long enough ago, I may have even hit you with a "You mad, bro?" before realising that the phrase had already become a tired cliche. The goal being to show you and any witnesses, that I cared so little about your words, I was sure to forget them moments after my cool, glib response. Well none of that was true. I'm not really cool, I'm almost never genuinely glib and I never actually call people condescending nicknames. And your comments? Well they totally did get to me. Sometimes for days or longer. Sometimes it was because you were smarter than me or had the moral high ground in our debates and sometimes you were just... louder. The crazy thing was that I often tried to expose how upset you were while simultaneously demonstrating my own emotional Teflon. Isn't that stupid?
At the heart of our battles, were subjects like gender equality, racism, politics, gun rights, religion or sometimes more personal topics like work, friendships and money.
Sometimes I said things to you that were so damned clever and insightful that I just had to re-read it, imagining how you were going to feel as you faced the glare of my undeniable logic and quick wit. However, we both know that there were also times when I said the dumbest shit imaginable. Yikes. You may have been trying your damnedest to make me look and feel stupid, but nobody can do that to me better than I can.
The point of this letter isn't to apologise or convince you of my own righteousness. Nor is it to declare that I'm somehow now above it all, as I'm sure we'll go at it again at some point. No, the point of this letter is to tell you that... well... you're okay. I don't mean that we're friends, far from it. I mean, sometimes you fling the most offensive, venomous hatred not just at me, but at huge groups of genuinely victimised people for "the lols". On the other hand, sometimes you're a reasonable person that sees the world very differently than I do.
See, I love my wife (I'm going somewhere with this, hang tight). My wife is the most amazing person I've ever met. There is no league that contains her but if there were, I wouldn't be in it. She's awesome. Imagine Optimus Prime made of bacon and breakdancing for you on your birthday. She's that level of awesome. And see, here's the thing. You have stuff in common with her. Maybe it's something as vague as 'you both have opposable thumbs' or maybe your laugh sounds like hers. Whatever it is, you are in some way, just like the most amazing human being I've ever met or heard of. No matter how hateful or bat shit crazy the things you say are, no matter how terrible you make me feel by exposing my faults or proving me wrong, that's something that I'm always going to remember about you. Some part of you is 'bacon Optimus Prime' awesome.
And I don't mean this in some spiritually over-decorated 'I have the higher ground' way, because if you look at all of our fights, I really don't. What I mean is that it's mathematically impossible for either of us to ever be completely horrible. As long as my wife, bacon and Optimus Prime are awesome, so are we.
Posted September 4, 2013 at 12:44 am
(Trigger Warning: This blog post contains upsetting details)
Over the years, I've gotten varying degrees of responses from readers concerning the sensitive subject of Kin's past. More precisely, her rape. Those reader responses have ranged from violent anger to gratitude. Some readers already know this by now, but Kin's story is a retelling of something my Mum went through before I was born. When she told me about what had happened to her, I became upset enough that years later, I wanted to incorporate her tale into Goblins. With her permission, I went ahead and did it.
Over the years, I've sat on comments like "you're trivializing rape" and "you're only adding rape to your story because you're a lazy writer", etc. I mean, it's not like a was about to tell the internet about my own Mother's secrets! About a couple years ago, a rape survivor publicly attacked me for creating a comic that "made light of rape". I then made the situation much, much worse by ridiculing her on this blog. That was immature and stupid and I apologized. Twice. Recently, it was brought to my attention that she still reads Goblins to this day (she calls it "hate reading") and still writes in her tumblr about how offensive it is.
When this situation exploded at the time, my Mum called me up and told me to tell everyone what had happened to her and how Kin's situation was based off of it. I said no. Then we spent the next few months arguing about whether or not to go public with my Mum's story. Here's what my Mum said...
"You tell them what happened to me and put my email at the bottom!"
"Mum, you want me to put your email in the blog? Why?!"
"Cause if they want to say something, they can damn well say it to me! Bring 'em on!"
"I'm not going to unleash the darker parts of the internet onto my own Mother."
"No, do it! I don't give a fuck! I'll tell 'em how it happened and then they can tell ME how 'trivial' they think it is!"
My Mum is... well she's pretty damn awesome. Still, I refuse to post my Mother's email and she's still not very happy about that.
Anyways, here's an email I received today that I wanted to post because it brings up some points in a very respectful manner. This email doesn't call me any names, etc and so I felt that this would be a great way to show an intelligent disagreement to this aspect of my comic and then show my response.
To the creators of the most excellent comic known as Goblins:
I discovered webcomics and other free content only several years ago. Goblins was one of the first webcomics I grew utterly addicted to. It was one of the ones that showed me what wonders the world of webcomics truly has to offer. It is one of the ones that, still, I hold all other graphic-&-written media up against as a measure.
All of that is true, and will still be true after I say the following:
Are you nuts?
As a survivor of severe abuse myself, I've watched Kin's story with great interest: how she's portrayed, the brutal honesty of her experiences without being sugarcoated, other characters' reactions to her experiences and suffering, her own growth and handling of all that occurred in her life, the progression of her story....etc.
Mostly I've been very appreciative. I've rarely seen a man handle such a difficult story, and especially an issue that is so central to women, with such respect and a call for compassion and honesty. That kind of thing gives me hope for humanity, and I see little enough of it.
But seriously, are you crazy? Kin's been with Forgath and Minmax for, what--a number of days, now? And already she's almost kissing him? It's ludicrous. Even if she had only been raped once, but it had been the night before they found and rescued her, I would have said it was ridiculous.
One does not overcome or recover from that kind of severe trauma, to the degree she's displaying, anywhere near so fast. Not enough to even to have sexually responsive thoughts, much less find herself almost falling into a kiss. I'd already found it to be a bit much just that she was so comfortable with touching him already. Plus, anyone who's been through what she has should be having cripplingly terrifying nightmares. She should be utterly exhausted from them, to the point that it affects her ability to function.
You have to understand: It's not about whether or not she loves him. We can all see that she does. It's not about whether or not she's afraid of him, personally. It's not about being afraid of whoever you're with for a partner. It's about the fact that what you're doing (or trying to do, or attempting to experience) with that person, is so terrifying that you lose the ability to breathe, think, be aware of your surroundings....etc.
The experience of trying to recover sex as a part of your life, after it's been sullied into becoming something evil, is a long, and difficult one. I cannot speak for all the rest of the population of victims and survivors on our planet, nor should anyone try to...but I can speak from my own experience, and part of my experience is that I've spent over a decade in various chatrooms, forums, and support sites for survivors of severe abuse and/or rape....and not one person in all the online places I've been to has ever indicated in any way that even a partial recovery like that, so soon, was possible either for themselves, or for any survivors they knew either.
Trying again is....it's facing something so terrifying that many choose to simply live without it forever, rather than try. But you have to try, because it's a part of being human that every person has a right to, and if you don't, you'll live the rest of your life with a vital part of yourself missing...but somebody took it away and left so much pain and degradation in its place, that rape itself has earned the nickname 'soul murder'.
It's facing that, but...with someone that you trust enough to help you face it, fighting through the horrible images in your head, the vile viscous horror of the past trying to suck you back down into it....and depending on them to keep you safe, to make it better, make it different this time. Because....sometimes the only way to recover part of what was taken....is to have someone else give it back.
And it can't be done in a few days, or weeks, right after the trauma. I have, on a few rare occasions, met men that I just automatically felt completely safe with. It was entirely instinctual, but always turned out to be on the money. One of them was a dear friend who helped me through some of the worst of it. But even with him, it was really, really hard.
I had known him for a year before could accept and return hugs, or sit next to him on the couch to watch tv. Months more went be before I could handle snuggling. And a further year of moving very, very slowly, and utmost gentleness, before I could complete sex without being badly scared. Understand--we'd completed it already earlier in the year. But managing to complete the act of sex doesn't mean you're healed, it just means (hopefully, unless you were pressured into it or pressured yourself too much) that you're doing better than you were. It still takes time, time and experience, to replace the bad memories with more recent, healing ones, as the most prominent thing in your mind when you contemplate something sexual.
That was my experience, but I've never spoken to any woman over the years who could do or feel as Kin is right now (I just read the page where she gets her tail back), so soon after any severe sexual trauma. That she should be behaving this way after years of the most severe abuse possible, thanks to a violent psychopath's use of healing potions and spells, is....well, yeah, ludicrous is the only word I have that's fitting.
And most of the women I've known....while the personal cost of our experiences tend to defy verbal description, most didn't go through something as severe as what Kin did. In some ways yes, but that gets complicated.
I'm writing all this, because it seems like portraying Kin's story realistically is something important to you. And what you're doing with her--her character, and her story--right now....well, you're taking the Goblins comic, and making it an entirely different kind of 'fantasy'. (i don't mean a sexual fantasy, i just mean this is fantastically improbable)
The thing about recovery is....it's never really over. Even years later, you still have a bad day with it sometimes, and....well, you can recover, yes. You can grow, attain a different kind of strength (the lucky ones), and...yes, you can move on. But you also have to be allowed alot of latitude to mourn. Because, the person that you were, before it happened? That person is gone.
Forever. It's like who you used to be died, and now you have to learn how to be somebody else, by healing over a terrible life-shattering injury, or perish right along with your past self. The same thing goes for your previous life, the one you were leading. And yes, the same goes for the life you would have had. Because nothing, Nothing, is ever the same again. They don't call it soul murder for nothing. Rape is an act of destruction so complete, it also reaches out and wrecks the lives of those close to the primary victim.
Secondary victims are everywhere, many of them unaware of this, because the shame attached to sexual assault leads so many victims to suffer in silence. Adding to this tendency is the fact that it's such a personal experience, and the privacy of the victim was assaulted in such a severe, and degrading way, that having to give record and be examined by physicians and talk to authorities, can feel like you're being assaulted all over again. A wound so personal and intense, tends to also cause a person to not want to be near anyone, simply for instinctual reasons: a badly wounded animal doesn't want anyone or anything near it. It just wants to retreat to its den and lick its wounds and whimper until the pain stops.
So, yes, frankly....while I've been impressed with much of how you've handled Kin's story, and how her story has affected some of the others around her....right now, I'm disappointed. Really, really, disappointed. I don't think you're a misogynist, like those yackers keep claiming. You're just making a really huge mistake.
Still a loyal fan,
(Sender info withheld)
Thanks for the email. (Warning: Possible rape triggers in this email)
I completely respect where you're coming from and have a couple points in response.
What you're bringing up is all part of Kin's story. We can see Kin's alternate self (who's gone through the same tragedies that our Kin has) pulling her away from Minmax in disgust. Many of the points you're bringing up with me are about to be brought up in the comic, so you can rest assured that I'm not simply glossing over the serious after-effects of rape.
Furthermore, Kin's story is a retelling of my Mother's true story. When she was 16 years old, my Mother was kidnapped and held for 3 days by 4 men. For those 3 days, they raped and tortured her. They held her naked, by her ankles off of a high balcony and laughed while she screamed for her life. Granted, there is a huge difference between 3 days and Kin's 2 years, but it's important to me that I tell my Mum's story through Kin.
What Kin is experiencing with Minmax, is what my Mother experienced after her ordeal was "over". Kin's attitude is my Mother's attitude. Many of the things Kin has said and will later say are things that my Mother has said to me about her ordeal.
It's true that my Mother was not kissing a guy 2 days afterward, but she did become romantically involved with a great guy fairly quickly. Her stance was that she felt like those men won if she was left traumatised. She felt that if she could beat the emotional pains that followed her around, she could consider herself stronger than her rapists and that felt very, very good to her. However, it wasn't easy and there was some inner conflict. The conflict that I'm now showing between Kin and her armoured alternate is a symbol of my Mother's inner conflict.
I'm not trying to say that Kin's/my Mum's handling of the situation is the best way and I absolutely am not making a statement about rape survivors who have not had as much success overcoming what they've been through. Everyone's situation is different. However, I'm going to have to disagree with you and others who have told me that I'm portraying the after effects of rape incorrectly, because this is in a sense, a true story.
I really appreciate your honesty in this email.
Once I learned about this event, I found it permeating almost everything that I did. Now my fantasies of having Spiderman's powers, involved having Spiderman's powers and finding those 4 guys. My fantasies about being best buddies with Optimus Prime, now involved Optimus and I, finding those 4 guys. That part in Pacman where you get to go after those 4 ghosts and kill them? Yeah. It was often those 4 guys. It was only a matter of time before I wrote about them. So they became Dellyn.
Please know that I'm handling this story arc with the utmost care because to water it down or trivialize it, would be to water down or trivialize what my Mum went through.
I should note that those 4 men that held my Mum captive were all med students. I'm sorry to say, they're all presently doctors.
I love you, Mum. However, I'm still not posting your email. Deal with it. :P
As always, thanks for reading.
Posted August 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm
Back in July, I mentioned that Goblins was up for two awards (a Dragon Slayer Award and an Aurora Award). Well the voting period for those two bad boys is coming to an end, so I thought I'd let you know about 'em one last time.
The Dragon Slayer Award
This one is super easy. Scroll down to the 'Notable Gaming Comic
' category and click on the little dot next to Goblins
(of course, you can click on other comics. You don't HAVE to vote for us). Hurry though, you only have until September 2nd to vote!
The Prix Aurora Award
This one is a bit trickier as it has a couple requirements to vote. Firstly, since this is Canada's national science fiction and fantasy award you kinda have to be Canadian. Sorry, non-Canadian Goblinites. Now you know how I feel when you Americans keep telling me that I can't vote during your presidential elections! Elitists!
Secondly, you have to be a member of the CSFFA (Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association); membership is $10/year. You can get your membership here
. Membership comes with a 'voter's package', which includes downloadable copies of amazing work from dozens of authors, totalling a LOT more than $10. The money goes toward supporting sci-fi and fantasy authors and artists throughout Canada. For this award, you've got until September 13th to vote.
To those of you who've voted for me... thank you. I know it's a little egotistical, but it's a really great boost that makes those all-nighters feel that much more worth it. Ultimately, one creates for the sake of creating, but everyone likes a pat on the back from time to time. So thank you so much!
And of course, thanks for reading.