Do you have any right to be pissed off at a free webcomic? "Spacetrawler" & "One Way" spoilers

There was this great webcomic by artist Christopher Baldwin called “Spacetrawler”. It lasted three years from 2010 to 1013 and was very clever, imaginative and entertaining. It was one of my favorites and I would eagerly look forward to it.

Then it ended and the artist started a new webcomic called “One Way” and changed his basic but effective drawing style to a new awkward look where everyone had huge goggle eyes. In the new story a group of depressive, dysfunctional misfits on a supposed diplomatic mission interact in boring, lethal and irritating ways and discover halfway out it’s a suicide mission to kill an alien species which has warned Earthlings to never attempt contact with them on pain of death.

Every new strip of “One Way” would be more pointless and annoying and depressing than the last. It was if the artist was saying “How do you like now Bitch!?” to his audience. There were many who thought there would be some big reveal or turnaround to save it, but no, it ended as terribly as it began with the alien species doing just as promised and killing all the survivors and sending one person back as a final warning. I was actually viscerally pissed off and disgusted at the author for a free webcomic offered to the public with no strings attached. “Spacetrawler” was so good how could “One Way” be so bad? No one made me pay or the comic or read it against my will but I felt somehow cheated.

Does a fan have any right to expect anything at all of an artist offering free work?

I feel your pain…

Ultimately, the audience has no right to quality entertainment – especially when it’s free – but we do have our expectations. When those have been raised by a really good product, then, heck yeah, you have every right to be disappointed. The guy was capable of something better, but slacked off, and foisted off something less than his talents warrant. Bummer.

All we can do is praise the good, pan the rotten, and help each other find good stuff.

(Do you follow “Freefall?” Very slow-moving, but fun and clever.)

(Speaking of free stuff…I was in a mall, and a guy was busking Massanet’s “Meditation from Thais.” Not a trivial piece of music, and he was doing it really well. I don’t usually toss money at buskers, but this bloke earned it: I dropped him a fin.)

Of course you have a right to get angry at a work. All sorts of art is free–even freer than webcomics which usually at least run ads. And, yes, you even have a right to complain. That’s just criticism, which has always been valid for art.

The idea that you can’t complain about free things comes from charity, I think. Sure, when someone goes out of their way to help you out, it’s rude to gripe and complain about it. But that shouldn’t apply to art.

At most you might want to try and be polite with your criticism.

Someone who pretends to be “famous” once told me off the record that, “Fans are Shit. Nobody gives a Fuck about the fans because they are Nothing but Shit.” :dubious:
Some artists feel that they only create true art when they make any audience that sees their stuff feel something. Its not pleasant, but that strip does make you feel something. In their book, that qualifies as art.

Feel Free to be as angry about their stuff as you want, but don’t expect more than a polite ‘thank you’ and an unspoken “It worked! I Told you I was talented. Yay!”.

you have the right to get pissed off at whatever you want.

What you don’t have is the right to make anyone take you seriously.

Right is a funny word. Perhaps you might say instead that you had understandable expectations (I really liked Spacetrawler too) but were sadly disappointed.

That way fewer people on the internet can say to you that you shouldn’t get all angry and nerdy over something free :slight_smile:

Sure, you have a right to be critical of it. Art and media don’t exist in a vacuum and you’re fully allowed to have an opinion on it. Remember the classic Simpsons episode:

The problem with that (or rather with fans who then took it as some sort of gospel) is that the entertainment wasn’t “for free”, it was designed to attract viewers to sell advertising so the studio could make money. If the viewers stop viewing, the piece becomes irrelevant. From the viewpoint of (a) the webcomic is running ads so you visiting generates revenue and (b) presumably the artist wants an audience which is why he’s not drawing comics and placing them in a drawer, you have every “right” to have a critical opinion of his work.

Now, of course, you don’t have the right to expect the artist to change just for you and it’s possible to have an oversized opinion on the importance of your own feelings but there’s nothing wrong with criticizing the work in general.

Consuming content is never free. At minimum, the consumer contributes time and attention.