Open letter to my haters.
Video version for those who prefer to listen rather than read:
Before you continue reading, I want to make something absolutely clear.
If you're someone who quote retweets my comics saying they're corny, unfunny, cringe, or just posting breaking bad gifs, that's completely fine. I posted the comic online, and mild criticism like that is to be expected.
But especially in the last two years since the pandemic started, I've seen an increase in far more toxic behaviour, so I wanted to take a moment to explain what I'm not okay with.
I honestly thought it would stop when I stopped posting meme comics, but people just found something else to hate, which I guess I should have expected.
1. Please do not post death threats, bomb threats, or threats of physical harm, whether they're meant to be jokes or not.
I get that most likely these are meant to be ironic and edgy, and not serious, but the volume of these kind of posts make me extremely uncomfortable. I don't know you, I'm not a part of your friend group. There absolutely are unhinged people in this world who target creators. One example is an especially deranged person who spent years stalking me online, harassing me constantly, because they believed my comics about turning things into anime girls was some kind of brainwashing tool to convince young people to turn trans.
You and your friends might get a laugh about saying something so serious about a comic, but I'm the one who is receiving sometimes hundreds of these posts from complete strangers. Please don't do that.
2. Please don't send me tweets saying you will kill yourself over my comic
I get that this is meant to be some sort of "joke" but it makes me very uncomfortable. If you want to joke about that within your own friend group, just take a screenshot of my comic. Don't quote retweet, or reply to it saying that.
It's hard to explain how it affects someone mentally to constantly be bombarded with these kinds of posts. When I was younger, I would probably never have thought I would be mentally affected by it like this, but it genuinely causes me distress.
I've muted words related to suicide, I've muted accounts, but it still shows up in my notifications. Please stop that, and just keep it to your private channels, if you have to joke about that.
3. Please stop believing and spreading rumors if you don't at least have some sort of proof of it.
It's rare, but I so often find people talking about me in such a strange way, citing rumors that have no basis in reality whatsoever.
- That I am some rich kid with millionaire parents that went to an ivy league school, and my parents give me money to pay artists to draw weeb comics for me
This is entirely untrue. I never graduated high school, and I worked a 9-5 sales job for years to pay for my hobby of writing webcomics. It took 5 years until I saw a single cent in profits. As for my "millionaire parents" my father was a taxi driver, my mom a Turkish immigrant who lost everything when she moved to Denmark. I'm not any sort of aristocrat or trust fund kid.
- That I target rookie artists and pay them with exposure
I don't "pay" anyone with exposure.
Also, our studio is a very close knit group of friends, consisting of artists I've known for many years. It is extremely rare for us to ever invite anyone to join the studio.
- That I hire SEA (south-east asian) artists so I can pay them less
First of all, many of our artists aren't from SEA, and the ones that are, are paid the same as our artists from Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and America. We pay very well, because that's how you build loyalty.
If we didn't pay well, artists would just leave. A lot of our artists have over 100k followers on their own, and fanbases of their own. If they wanted to leave, they could.
Just because an artist is from South-East Asia doesn't mean they're getting paid bottom of the barrel rates, and it's really weird to see people repeating this line, without even taking a second to think about it.
Years ago, I met several artists from SEA who used to be paid just a few hundred dollars a month for what amounted to 8+ hours of drawing per day, and it was very easy to just tell them I'd pay them 5 times as much to do chill webcomics with me. Believe it or not, most people took that deal, and many still work with me to this day.
The internet has helped the art community in so many ways, and a big way is to let SEA artists know that their art is worth just as much as artists from America or Europe, and to charge the same rates.
After spending 11 years writing comics on the internet, one thing I've learnt is that the best way to build loyalty, and get high quality art, is to pay people what they're worth. I never even try to negotiate prices down, for that very reason.
Artists always work best when they feel their time is being valued.
Something that all people generally agree on, is that the artwork in my comics is very good. That's because I've spent a decade trying my best to build strong, lasting relationships with some of the best artists I could find, through many means.
Some of these are:
1. Paying them what they're worth (as mentioned earlier).
2. Giving them lots of creative freedom.
3. Listening to, and using their ideas.
4. Letting them work only on what they enjoy.
5. Paying them even when they're sick or on vacation, or burnt out creatively.
6. Paying them extra when we get good pay from clients.
I'm sure many people read this, and think to themselves that there's no way that's true. Running a studio like that would be very expensive.
Hell yeah, it's expensive. But clearly it worked.
Because I was willing to go above and beyond and try my very best to create a very comfortable atmosphere for our regular artists, I now have artists who have worked on comics with me for 5+ years, who say they never want to quit.
And despite how expensive it's been, we are still profitable, because we've built a strong and loyal fanbase of readers.
I've made many mistakes in attempting to work with artists since I was a cringe 16 year old back on DeviantArt, but for every mistake I've made, you can be damn sure I've learnt a lot from it as well.
I always dreamed of getting to write stories great artists like this, and I remain grateful that I was able to achieve my dream.
I might not be the best writer ever, I just try my best, and I hope I can improve. But I have no doubts in my mind when I say I believe I run my studio well.