MONDAY AND FRIDAY BY JOE ENGLAND

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ZEBRA GIRL
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COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR

view Joe England's profile

25th Feb 2017, 8:08 PM

Joe England

Alright. So... there's a pretty big elephant in the room right now, at least from my perspective. He moved in last week and I'm not sure he's ready to leave. He or she. I can't tell elephant genders at a glance.

Heh, little joke there to lighten the mood. Heh.

Hm.

To the point. Over the past week many people have taken the time to let me know their feelings regarding the last page. Some were frankly disturbed, offended, or disappointed in me for the implications of panels seven through eight.

First, let me just reiterate that I'm grateful to everyone who provided feedback. I appreciate the care they put into articulating their thoughts, and I did my best to respond in kind.

However, merely explaining my motivations isn't the same as justifying what some felt was just a horrid little plot twist, a stain on the comic. And I'm not sure it CAN be justified, because I'm not sure the people who found it distasteful are wrong.

I could start again, listing my reasons, offering new ones, detailing my thought process, trying to make it seem as innocent as possible.... I'll encourage you to read through the previous week's comments, it's a heck of a saga. But by now I've said everything I can say, and at this point I doubt that I can change any minds. And maybe they're right, maybe YOU'RE right, if you disapproved. Maybe your minds shouldn't be changed. Maybe I deserve to feel ashamed. I've considered every argument raised, and I'm still not sure that good intentions outweigh the negative connotations. It's possible I fooled myself by painting over worse intentions with better ones. I've been given a lot to consider, and I might think worse of myself by the time I've digested all this food for thought.

I never thought that arguably the biggest controversy in the history of this comic would revolve around boobs.

But I can't take it back. It's out there now, and it can't be erased. For better or for worse, I wrote and drew the plot twist and now I'll have to follow through with my plan and hope that the eventual resolution to this latest wrinkle in the story will be satisfying. I hope you all can bear with me for a while longer, and if what I've done is beneath your approval then I hope you can forgive me for falling short of your standards. I never wanted to give you a reason to lower them.


So... that said.... Um, anyone wanna talk about a new page?

-Joe

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COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

25th Feb 2017, 7:28 PM

Vero

D: OH NO! I hope she doesn't get turned. She's cool. : (

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25th Feb 2017, 7:51 PM

Foxxycub

Yeah!! Shoot that a$$, um well, in the a$$. A$$!!

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25th Feb 2017, 8:17 PM

jonathan wint

They will save her.But its a great Sire Line.

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25th Feb 2017, 9:05 PM

Censored

It would be rather amusing if at some point a monster tried attacking some background character who turned out be something much, much worse.

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26th Feb 2017, 4:43 PM

NJNerdQueen

Ooh! Yes! I second this motion!

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25th Feb 2017, 9:12 PM

Hidden Elephant

Unfortunately, the police officer was the first black person in what is effectively a horror scenario for mundane people.

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25th Feb 2017, 9:17 PM

jonathan wint

but bright side it means she be around more. got remember around this crew humanity does not last..

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25th Feb 2017, 9:19 PM

jonathan wint

Still have high hopes they hear the gun shot and save her!

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25th Feb 2017, 9:44 PM

Migraine

Really- people who read a fantasy, horror, scifi comic are incensed because: boobs??? Not because people get eaten, dropped, turned, live in a weird little big town where horrifying magical, supernatural events happen?

Wow- just wow- but then I haven't read those comments yet- but dude, hey- Zebra Girl is top notch and you owe no one apologies for following your Muse, whoever it is.

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26th Feb 2017, 5:11 PM

Epsilon Rose

It's probably a matter of relativity. Objectification and sexualization are things people have to deal with in real life and how a piece of media relates to them can color and be colored by events that they are familiar with. Murder, vamparism, and all those other nasty things aren't. They lack the emotional immediacy required for outrage, despite being significantly worse if they were applied to real people.

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27th Feb 2017, 3:10 PM

Luposian

This comic started out... as a VERY quirky, SILLY comic, with a magician bursting into flames because they ticked off a newly created demon girl, known as... Zebragirl!

This entire comic has changed... it's become entirely serious and the art style has improved tremendously. For whatever reason "boobs" got interjected into the plot, seems rather silly and comical... a sort of ridiculous "bunny trail", if you will. I found it silly and pointless, not offensive. But if I were to apply my Christian values to comics like this (Should I? Shouldn't I?)... I wouldn't be reading them, period.

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4th Mar 2017, 7:02 AM

VeryTired

Old comment is old but to this argument I must bring up the fact that TIMES have also changed. What was funny back in the early 2000's is rather distasteful now and trust me, this isn't the first controversy this comic has had. I can't help but look at Sandra's early attempts at hiding herself and shake my head at it, for it seems rather juvenile now, even though at the time we all found it very relatable.

So if my attitude on that previous relatability can change, why can it not about "boobs" as well? Women are reaching a breaking point. They're tired of being sexualized and objectified and to do so now is in bad taste. (Though if you ask me, I've rather had issue with the blatant sexualization of Sandra ever since the Demon!Greg arc, so it's not like it's a new issue, just a rival of an old problem.)

Maybe he can work in a shot of Demon!Greg in a goth porn mag to make things even... Snrk. Oh man, I could so run with this idea. Like, I would write it so he even know about it. He's been recreated with CGI and is now an unwitting sex symbol in the gothic community. Oh if only I could draw.

(And before anyone says it, I know that sexualizing and objectifying a male character doesn't necessarily make things better/even, but it helps.)

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25th Feb 2017, 9:47 PM

A Retarded Space Poodle

Don't go kicking yourself over boobs, Joe. The naysayers always find -something- to bitch at, and if it's not boobs it will be something else. 'sides, demons are supposed to be those that tempt, so to have a body to match the mind... boobs work. I know of another comic that was "adult" for 80% of its lifetime, and when the artist began to go back and "clean" previous episodes, it completely turned the whole thing off for me.

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25th Feb 2017, 10:00 PM

Migraine

Now I went back and read some of those comments. I applaud you for the time and thoughtfulness that you gave each commenter, and what they had to say as well.

But in the end- this is a webcomic.You obviously have a large audience, and a greatly varied one. If you tried to avoid alltriggers' or instances and issues that might hurt someone's feelings or bring up bad feelings- well, you would never have started this comic and shared it- in the first place. You do a fantastic job- art work top notch, and a very thoughtful dialogue with a variety of characters with a lot of depth accrued over the years. Kudos.

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1st Mar 2017, 9:34 AM

that guy

I have to agree with migraine. Heck if they hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't have noticed...But I'm that guy that says Chekov was a fool. The gun doesn't have to do anything. It could be there just to make critics and purists tie themselves in knots. I always say "Chekov's gun isn't loaded kids, maybe it just gets used as a tent pole".

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view pkrankow's profile

25th Feb 2017, 10:00 PM

pkrankow

Dammit. Now I have to reread the whole comic from the beginning. Again. Because of comments.

LOL

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view pkrankow's profile

25th Feb 2017, 11:20 PM

pkrankow

Whoa! It has been a while since starting from the beginning and WOW has your art changed! I'll probably be up to present again in a few days.

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view Joe England's profile

26th Feb 2017, 2:10 PM

Joe England

Ah, yes, archive binging can be a treat. Reminds me of quite a few comics I've read!

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25th Feb 2017, 10:10 PM

Arty

Thank you for your comments and directing me to the azzie mumur conversion. I usually only look at the first few comments and felt like I couldn't say anything since everyone was just praising the boobs. It was such an uncomfortable page but I'm glad how you responded to everyone's criticism. Maybe sort comments by a ratings system not first come first served?

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26th Feb 2017, 12:00 AM

NoRAd

I think a rating system would have driven those comments down quite a bit, because "that guy" doesn't like to come out and put his name on comments putting women down, but he will totally anonymously downvote her.

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26th Feb 2017, 12:19 PM

Calling Out

It's pretty messed up and sexist of you to imply that any dissent or "downvoting" was going to come from mysogynist men.

It's an underhanded way of accusing anyone disagreeing with (a rather subjective judgement) of being anti-woman.

I cannot believe that you are doing that from any position except one that desires to silence or censor the opposition

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26th Feb 2017, 7:11 PM

JohnSmith

90% of the webcomic fandom is men, and it's mostly men who find the 'ehh, that's kind of offensive' comments worth downvoting. Let's not kid ourselves here or try to play ourselves as some kind of victims.

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1st Mar 2017, 5:43 AM

NoRAd

It's pretty messed up of you to call me sexist for pointing out the well documented prevalence of that type of person on the internet, specifically when they can remain anonymous.

It's an overt way of attacking anyone disagreeing with (a blatant example of) being misogynist

I cannot believe that you are doing that from any position except one that is convinced that there is a conspiracy dedicated to de-objectify women in media specifically to take away your fap material.

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view Joe England's profile

26th Feb 2017, 2:04 PM

Joe England

I'm not certain how that would be implemented, but I think I like the current setup anyway. Ratings can get messy, and keeping things listed chronologically has its advantages.

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25th Feb 2017, 10:15 PM

Isher

Don't let it get you down, Joe. I can't remember if I've ever said anything before, but I've been reading for a long time. I've always enjoyed your story, and all its twists. That said... I hope she shot that vampire in the FACE.

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25th Feb 2017, 10:40 PM

Rox

I've been reading for years, and I thought that bit in the last page was a fourth wall break? I found it funny. It's not like this comic doesn't use the medium/fourth wall as a device for the story—I've always thought of that as a clever use of the medium, like when one of Jack's spells involved the physical use of a word balloon.

That's just me, I suppose. I got a chuckle out of the page. I also agree with Migraine's comment somewhere up there: you can't please everyone all the time.

As for this page: Well, that can't be a good sign.

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26th Feb 2017, 12:36 AM

Kitty

It wasn't a fourth wall break, it was literally a thing that's happening, which is pretty much the only reason it bothers me and I didn't just write it off with a snort and an eye-roll.

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26th Feb 2017, 5:15 PM

Epsilon Rose

It's worth pointing out that, in this comic, fourth wall breaks are also things that literally happen, or at least they seem to be. Jack magically grabs word balloons and uses them for his spells or can sense what happened on pages not involving him.

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28th Feb 2017, 3:50 AM

Guest

If anyone were to do a fourth wall break, it'd definitely be Betty.

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26th Feb 2017, 12:57 AM

TomTomy

It's not just you. I found it simply funny too, but I've never been one to look much into the "fanservice".

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25th Feb 2017, 11:50 PM

Eoraptor

Anyone who took offense at a clothes-on boob joke is taking their comic reading way too seriously.

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26th Feb 2017, 12:44 AM

NoRAd

I think you missed the point. For the most part, it didn't seem like they were upset that the boobs were bigger, it seemed like they were upset that the characters were calling attention to their boobs, which was a major shift in how women were treated and characterized in this comic, and that it seemed to them to be a sudden change from the women being sexual beings to them being sex objects.

Sorry for mansplaining to men :|

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26th Feb 2017, 12:59 AM

Kitty

Pretty much what Norad said.

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26th Feb 2017, 6:04 AM

Morfos

Actually, if there's an honest-to-god on-plot reason for it happening, the women are indeed being treated as sex objects...by some agent in the comic. That's a valid, if weird, plot device. It would be an equally valid, if weird, plot device if men's trouser bulges started getting bigger too.

Unless Joe did that at this point in response to the comments. IMO, that would be disappointing.

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28th Feb 2017, 6:15 AM

pyrodice

I felt they were CALLING OUT the thing you seem to dislike, Norad...

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1st Mar 2017, 5:32 AM

NoRAd

I see what you did there, but also... what?

I have no problem personally with the change in art, or with the decision to have the characters address it. I do understand how some people WOULD have a serious problem with it, and they can be offended as they are or were.

That said, it was kind of jarring, and I assume it will flow better during an archive binge in a few months or next year.

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26th Feb 2017, 12:35 AM

Kitty

I'm one of the people that replied to youre request for feedback on the last page and while I'm not demanding you do anything because it IS your choice, I don't know why you think that this is something you can't undo. That is your choice, too. And it does sound sort of disingenuous to talk about how remorseful you are while not actually considering retconning something that isn't even a big deal to your comic.

Like, that isn't outside of your power to control. Again, I'm not saying you are obligated to, but talking a big game about how bad you feel about it while not actually considering changing your actions based on it kind of makes that remorse sort of meaningless. It's easy to say sorry when you aren't actually going to change your behaviour as a result.

Like, if anything that aspect of it is more frustrating than it happening in the first place - is you seeing where you could fix something you did wrong (or at least you seem to think you did wrong?) and acting like you can't. You are choosing not to take action, not incapable of it. It was just 3 panels. This isn't a medium like TV where any decision made was too late to change months or even years ago.

But of course, this page's comments seems destined to have a bunch of people come in and talk about how oversensitive the people upset were, while nothing actually changes.

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26th Feb 2017, 1:25 AM

Thor

Having people come in and take the polar opposite stance than the one just taken is part and parcel of the Internet.

And most people assume that because something is not a problem for *them*, then it isn't a problem for anyone. And the corollary of this is that most people assume if something *is* a problem for them, then it must be a problem for everyone. Empathy is _hard_, especially if you have never had an experience remotely like the experience of the other party. I'm just glad that Joe is considerate enough to hear constructive grievances about his work.

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26th Feb 2017, 1:48 AM

Jon

Okay. Straight up I agree that the moment in the last comic was jaring and I totaly agree that, that one pannel came off as trying to be humorous or titillation. But I feel you are being grossly unfair in underestimating the amount of work it would actually take to rescript reblock redraw and reink not just this one page but multiple pages both finished and in the future all over one bad panel. And it was just that, a poorly blocked panel. "word of joe" and betty's reaction in the final pannel (which was way to subtle which in my opinion and only caused the seriousness of the moment to be further undermined) all point to the idea that it wasn't intended to be funny it wasn't intended to be a 4th wall breaking titty time. It just came off that way and to derail the whole flow of a comic we both love over one bad panel just seems sad. Tldr: sometime good things have bad things in them and sometimes going back to cut them out just makes it worse.

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26th Feb 2017, 4:23 AM

Kitty

I know what context the comment was made in and I'm also an artist too who has drawn comics and therefore knows how long it would take to redraw three panels - that is, if he even redrew the whole thing. You seem to be missing the point of my comment, that isn't saying his only option is to change it, but that him acting like it isn't HIS DECISION to leave this in this comic is ingenuine. If it's a mistake that has the potential to seriously affect his self image like his reply suggested it is, it's not an action that is beyond his power.

If he chooses not to take that opportunity that's his choice. But it's a choice he should stand by and not act as if he has no control over.

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26th Feb 2017, 1:54 AM

Mika

I'm still not entirely sure why you're so upset over all this. some women in the company of other women talk about their boobs, it's kinda an actual thing we do, it's not sexual, it't just a thing. they're bags of fat, skin, and sweat glands that we're saddled with for the rest of our lives in a prominent position on our bodies. If you suddenly noticed someone had gone from oranges to canteloupes in the span of a few days, you're going to mention it to someone, and if you happen to exist in a world full of craziness like demons and shapeshifting magic you're possibly gonna check your own to make sure you haven't been affected. I would. I honestly don't see this as objectifying them I see it as a gag that is being way overanalyzed.

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26th Feb 2017, 4:25 AM

Kitty

If you don't understand then go back to the last page and read the comments. Me and other people have explained why it made them uncomfortable and it has nothing to do with whether or not real women talk about boobs.

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view Joe England's profile

26th Feb 2017, 1:49 PM

Joe England

Kitty, setting aside the difficulty of altering a page to such an extent (and believe me, it would be harder than it sounds), I'm going to state my reasons for not doing so. And I'm not sure they'll seem respectable, but please, hear me out.

For as long as I've been writing and drawing Zebra Girl I've had a sort of rule that once a page has been posted for some amount of time it becomes improper to go back and change it. I've bent this rule now and then, gone back and altered panels slightly, occasionally moved a word balloon, corrected typos, filled in a blank spot... stuff like that. But re-creating panels to excise a minor plot element would be a bit much.

For one thing, I think that art, once exposed, belongs more to the audience than to the artist. I made a video about this sort of thing. People have read last week’s page and accepted it as a step in the story. I don't feel I have the right to undo it anymore.

Secondly, Zebra Girl is a document of my progress as an author, and I want it to stand for what it is. Someone once told me they took offense to a line in an early strip wherein Professor Broadshoulders asks if Jack is “mentally retarded,” saying they hoped I changed the term when the books went into print. I told them that I can’t pretend I didn’t write what I wrote. It is what I made it, warts and all.

Thirdly, I’ll provide a nip and a tuck here and there, but putting different words into their mouths after said words have had a chance to resonate reduces the characters speaking. Like I said in the aforementioned YouTube video, altering a script lessens the presence which the cast has gained, makes them less living beings and more mere puppets.

And lastly… and I hate to say this... I'm not entirely sure that it's worth destroying those panels. I'm afraid that I might have done something wrong because of everything you and others have said. I've considered the points raised, and some of them have made me feel doubtful and ashamed. But I'm still not certain that what I put down can't prove to be innocuous. Part of me feels that maybe it’s not such a big deal, after all. And I’m only saying that to be honest, I don’t want to minimize your response, or disrespect you in any way. I’m not saying my perspective is more valid than yours. I care very much about your feelings, and I want to satisfy them, like I want to satisfy everyone who reads this comic. But I also want to move on, and see where this takes us. Maybe I can make it work. I’d like to try.

You can refute some of these reasons. Like Sam Spade once said, “Maybe some of them are unimportant. I won’t argue about that. But look at the number of them.”

And, if I can say one more thing in my defense... to the best of my recollection, that last page was the first time in over sixteen years that I've directly referenced breasts in this comic's dialogue. The first time since Sandra’s nipple ring was brought up. The first time in over a decade and a half that that facet of her anatomy has pertained to anything. And I know that doesn’t make it “okay,” maybe I went about it poorly, or in bad taste. But if so, I’d like to think that it can ultimately be a relatively minor misstep, and I can only offer to do better going forward.

Once more, I apologize if I’ve offended you, or anyone. If I’ve stumbled or been insensitive then I hope you can forgive my failings, and that when Zebra Girl’s finished you can feel that the good outweighs the bad.

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27th Feb 2017, 5:15 PM

Kitty

Then that's fine, and your decision then. It's honestly just frustrating to feel like someone is talking as if they are more sorry than they actually are, which is probably the case here. The only reason I said anything in the first place is because you sounded like you were interested in knowing.

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view Joe England's profile

27th Feb 2017, 8:49 PM

Joe England

I'm always interested in knowing what people really think, Kitty, and I'm grateful for those who speak up. And I mean it when I say I'm sorry. If I don't feel as strongly about the particular issue at hand, please believe that I feel VERY strongly about how it affects the people who read this comic.

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28th Feb 2017, 1:59 PM

Kitty

If you did, you wouldn't have asked us to come out and tell you how bad it makes us feel only to say "well nothing I can do about that!" and do nothing, as well as baiting a bunch of people to come in and tell us how stupid we are for caring in the first place. Apologies and remorse don't mean anything unless you actually plan on changing as a result. Otherwise, you're just putting on a show. "I'm sorry you were offended" is the most useless and condescending apology imaginable.

I can believe that you don't mean to hurt people with this, but if anything you acting like you're paying attention and then brushing it off while still claiming you're really sorry has made it far harder to maintain what used to be very high respect for you.

"I feel bad for doing this and I know it's hurting people and I've gone out of my way to hear MORE about how it's hurting people but I'm going to do it anyway because I feel like it." Does that sound like a genuine apology to you?

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28th Feb 2017, 3:13 PM

Coyote

Or... perhaps he asked for how people feel so he can tailor the plot/art in the future to not make those mistakes. That's what seems more likely.

This isn't trying to be white knighting, as Joe can certainly make his own explanation, this is just the interpretation I'm seeing.

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view Joe England's profile

28th Feb 2017, 6:16 PM

Joe England

Kitty, I'm not going to do nothing. Every piece of input influences what I do going forward. It's impossible for it not to. I can't undo what I did, and I've given my reasons. All I can do is work with what I have, and the reactions of the people reading are a large part of that.

I'll admit, I don't always let those reactions sway me from a plan. Sometimes I even make a point not to, because I want for this to be my creation more than anyone else's. But I'm not an island. I do contemplate criticism, I try to improve, and I examine potential mistakes. I can't compare what I'm going to do with what I might have done if I hadn't read your comments, but I can guarantee that they will affect my work over time. I won't promise that the result will be satisfying, and to be honest I can't even promise that your comments will change things to a great degree. But I can promise that they won't amount to nothing.

And for what it's worth, I mean it when I say I'm sorry. It hurts me to think that I've hurt people, and I don't want to do it again. I don't mean to condescend, and I definitely don't want to encourage people to be cruel when leaping to my defense.

Everyone hear that? No name calling! I appreciate being defended, but I also appreciate candid criticism. Both help me to better understand my audience, and what they need. But there's room for civility on both sides.

Because, cliche as it sounds, we're all on the same side. We all hope that this story can be fulfilling and fun. And I'm grateful to everyone for that, whether they approve or disapprove of the choices I make.

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26th Feb 2017, 1:27 AM

kaza

yeesh, vampires out and about and causing a heck of a lot of trouble!

i kinda like how the world starts bending to how zandra feels--she feels more sexual, the beings in her house start to look sexier (and look. i am so very much here for stories about zandra's sexuality and exploration thereof, im loving that). i bet if she were to get angry surroundings would change to reflect that, which would be interesting to see.

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26th Feb 2017, 3:09 AM

DemiserofD

I just wanted to say that I support your decisions and anyone who's going to freak out just because a character has slightly larger or smaller breasts can piss right off.

Look, there are limits; points where things get ridiculous. But those limits are WAY out there and nowhere near anything you've ever drawn. The fact that people are freaking out because your artwork is tending slightly more to one side of a reasonable continuity just proves that they're lily-livered squanch-sucking lemonballers the lot of them.

Do what you want to do and don't take any crap from anyone. True art comes from within, and the moment you start to question your inspiration is the moment you take your first step towards failure.

Be true to yourself. Everyone else can suck it.

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view Joe England's profile

26th Feb 2017, 2:01 PM

Joe England

I appreciate your support, Demiserofd. But I'd also like to say that I support anyone who feels like offering their honest impression, good or bad. People have been fairly respectful in voicing their criticism, and I can't blame them for their reaction to my work.

That said, don't worry, my inspiration has got me very well trained. Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoy what I've set down!

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26th Feb 2017, 3:25 AM

Van

While I do read your blurbs under the comics I've never really delved into the comment section before, so I was unaware of the controversy about the last page.

I did find the previous page to be a "Whoa, wait, what?" moment, it doesn't really bother me though. Overall it's not a major shift from the comic's tone and themes.

However, I am very upset about this new page! Nothing bad better happen to that police woman, I like her and I've been rooting for her!

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26th Feb 2017, 3:56 AM

Nestor

I've seen you posting in the comments for Raven's Dojo, likely he's a bad influence on you ;)

You should link the naysayers to the Dojo, that'd give 'em something to think about...

I'm always amazed to meet someone prudish on the internet, after all I've been here for the last 20 odd years and the place hasn't gotten any tamer... what internet have the pearl clutchers been visiting... AOL? Even on Facebook my relatives post risque stuff on occasion...

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26th Feb 2017, 4:32 AM

Kitty

Holy crap it isn't pearl clutching to be concerned about the way women are handled sexually in media. Or about how they are generally regarded in real life.

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26th Feb 2017, 4:57 AM

DemiserofD

And yet nobody complained when Wuffles showed up musclebound and in fetish gear.

The obsession with shaming anything related to female sexuality is revolting. Let the author do what he wants.

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4th Mar 2017, 4:12 AM

Not a dog

Except the problem wasn't about female sexuality, but about female objectification, presented in a way that was rather jarring and at odds with how they had been portrayed.
People aren't mad at the titties, or the change in drawing style. They were upset by the comic suddenly making it look as if the titties and change in drawing style were done for objectifying purposes/fanservice, and weren't simply a change in the artist's style or character designs.

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28th Feb 2017, 8:08 AM

Nestor

Unfortunately the pattern of ideologically policing friends and allies instead of going up against true enemies is one of the reasons we're seeing such a catastrophic pushback of regressive conservatism against feminism.

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28th Feb 2017, 12:54 PM

Nestor

On reflection, you're entitled to your opinion and Joe is a big boy wearing big boy pants who can take criticism, so I apologise for the pearl clutching comment.

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1st Mar 2017, 11:07 PM

Dae

The implication of your post is that people shouldn't have posted at all, and should just be grateful that Zebra Girl isn't more sexual.

But that isn't what Joe has asked for- he wants people to express their opinions on his work. And I know that criticism can ring you like a bell- he is by no means in an enviable position by stopping to listen to detractors. I totally get that you don't see a problem with the last page, but please don't lessen the accomplishment of having a truly open discussion space.

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26th Feb 2017, 7:09 AM

CW

Huh. And here I thought nothing at all of the previous page.

Reading through last weeks comments section, I suppose a couple of posters have legit concerns... Buuuut asking a writer to censor themselves, whether directly or by insinuation is, I think, completely wrong and against the spirit of creativity that drives ANY good work of fiction. If Joe were to hypothetically respond to this series of comments by never again addressing sexuality or whatever, the comic would be the poorer for it. Not for the lack of that content, but because it wouldnt be Joe's story anymore if he started worrying about what the readers might or might not find acceptable and wrote instead to try to please those readers.

Really, as a reader you shouldnt be associating the story directly with Joe, anyway. Taking it at face value as its own entity is a much more healthy approach, rather than trying to ascribe the author's intentions to whatever is going on.

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view euphewl's profile

26th Feb 2017, 8:37 AM

euphewl

Joe,

Dude, you rock. As you always do.

I read many webcomics, and as always, on Sundays I save yours for last, in the same sort of way you might eat a cupcake from the bottom up, and save the frosting for last. (YUM! Now I want cupcakes...)

*ahem*

In any case. This week's page is beautifully drawn, combined with a *very* entertaining story, unfolding in its deliciously satisfying way. As usual. I love the texture you give the shadows and I am seriously jealous of the way you draw hands! Very expressive.
I do hope that the police officer shot that dude right in the face and makes it out ok. *IF* shooting vampires in the face even works at all and doesn't just piss them off. Maybe it will slow him down long enough for some sort of plaid cavalry to arrive..? And as usual, you crafty devil, the action happens off-panel, and leaves me wondering what actually happened. By now I know you too well to make assumptions...! Can't ever be sure, so I'll have to wait until next week to find out :) SO worth it :)

And since it appears it was TOO MUCH to ask people to let last week's drama end - I will simply say this. I think you handled things very well, in a thoughtful and considerate way... and anyone who seriously expects you to change last week's page or the story line that's set up is being disingenuous in their demands. If they were honest with themselves, they would recognize that the readers don't dictate the work you create, and if they did, it would suck BALLS! Give me a break. Censorship is as distasteful from the general public as it is from any authority. I love your work because of the way you create it Joe. Don't ever change because others dictate you must.

NOW - after reading all that emotional vomit, I shall cleanse my mental palette by re-reading today's page, and pretend that all the comments I read never happened. Then, Imma go make me some CUPCAKES. Chocolate, with caramel frosting, just like gramma used to make. :) And I'll eat them from the bottom up. I'll save you one, Joe - come on by :)

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26th Feb 2017, 10:08 AM

Skili19

Wow, I guess all I can say to that is: AMEN!

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26th Feb 2017, 10:49 PM

morfos

An example of a comic where the readers dictate the content. It doesn't suck balls. Though it's nowhere near as beautiful as this one either.

http://www.all-night-laundry.com/post/2

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2nd Mar 2017, 10:56 AM

bigbadCreepyBen

"Censorship is as distasteful from the general public as it is from any authority"

TRUTH

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26th Feb 2017, 9:43 AM

Siansaar

Well, I don't get hubbub about the last page.

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26th Feb 2017, 9:59 AM

Voidbane

Nike SWOOSH~!

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26th Feb 2017, 10:04 AM

Skili19

I first didn't think much about last weeks page, but it seems to me some people took it a lot different and from what I saw in comments some people take it as if the art will stay this way forever. It may stay this way, but I don't really think so, just look at pages from 2 or 3 years ago, the art is a lot different, it is subject to a change over time, it evolves. I think year or two from now it will be again a lot different and not even Joe knows where it will be.
The other thing is that to some people don't think the characters reaction is right, that they just shrug it off as if nothing had happen. I'm not so sure about it, I guess it could be a bit stronger but at the same time they are at situation that requires their attention more than their bodies slowly getting curvier, I mean try to put your self in their situation, there are vampires and stuff up to no good and they need to be dealt with, so I think their bodies can wait for a little bit longer.
Well that was my two cents worth on this matter.
Please accept apology for my poor English it is not my first language

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26th Feb 2017, 10:51 AM

KingRidley

Joe, I'm a long time reader and first time commenter. I wanted to comment in light of the 'controversy' in the previous page, that I have really enjoyed your comic since I first started reading it a few years ago. I have trust in you as an author, and that you aren't going to just say "oh my God boobs" in a comic like this. I have ideas about where the increased bust size may be going (you've got a race of creatures that use lust as a hunting tool and can transfer powers to each other, and -shocker- women's breasts can change size in the REAL WORLD for a limited number of reasons). It's worth mentioning that I'm a straight male, but when I read the last page my reaction to it was not sexual in any way.

(I could see more displeasure being justified if ONE character was saying "hey girls, my boobs are getting bigger and I don't know why!" but for that to happen to ALL of them, simultaneously, makes me immediately think that it's part of the story and not just fanservice.)

I want to say this to reassure you that you took a risk, but you have fans (myself and others) who are interested to see where this goes for the story and the characters. I understand that many of the women who read this feel uncomfortable because a lot of artists don't think about their female audiences and just write/draw to a 'male point of view.' I hope those women stick around with me to see where this goes. Maybe some of the characters will echo your worries. I trust this guy to not just abuse sexuality/feminine traits as a plaything for my 'male entertainment' or whatever.

For the people who don't want to read anymore after this, that's okay too. I think it's worth asking yourself "Why does an increase in attractiveness mean that the character will have less value in regards to their character/personality, and how is that not also an objectifying point of view?" but I respect your choice to leave on polite terms rather than attacking Joe and trying to force him to change. I've had to leave comics that weren't entertaining to me anymore too.

And again for Joe, this is a great example that your audience is going to see what they want to see. Some people are used to seeing things that make them uncomfortable, justified or not. Some people trust you, some people don't care, some people like the idea of increased titillation. Whatever. You're the artist, it's your story. You unfortunately can't control how people will react to/interpret your story, but I like what you've created so far and I'm glad to see that others do too.

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26th Feb 2017, 2:08 PM

Joe England

Thanks Kingridley, it's nice to have reassurance. I appreciate the encouragement! And thanks just for reading! It's great to know you're there.

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26th Feb 2017, 10:55 AM

Ritterbush

Gonna start a new controversy.

This page is inaccurate, you show a police officer only discharging their firearm once.

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26th Feb 2017, 2:12 PM

Christopher

US Police Offier in particular. Then again, Miscelaneous ist not exactly your average american town.

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27th Feb 2017, 9:11 AM

Voidbane

Well, shoot!

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26th Feb 2017, 2:26 PM

Mr. Casual

There is absolutely nothing wrong with people voicing their opinions and their feelings. As long as nobody dictates to you that you must change it (which nobody did), and left the decision up to you, then everything's fair game. If people decide to stop reading because of their dislike of the content, or your reasons for it, then that's their prerogative, too.

I like your reasoning about keeping something in "warts and all". I've done similar things with my creative works, even when it's made things more challenging for me. You're obviously going somewhere with this, and once you wrap it up, you can take criticism on board and maybe handle it differently from that point onward. Or not, that's still up to you.

Everyone should still try to be respectful of other people's feelings, though, and not make them feel bad or wrong or guilty for feeling the way they do about how it pertains to them. Everybody's different, and so far everyone's been very respectful to Joe, even when they disagree with this new wrinkle.

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26th Feb 2017, 2:28 PM

Christopher

I still can not see the issues people had with last page.
It was just a funny, innocent little remark/4th wall break.
It will not reduce all the female characters to "having big boobs" cliches. And actually evolves how Zandra deals with the usual insanity/nonsensicality of a magically powered world.

Regarding this page:
The Vampire sounds a bit as if Wally caught his interest more then Crystall. Still trying to infect someone with a blood transmitted disease is not exactly considered proper behavior towards a women. Very poor if she is a cop and has a gun.

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26th Feb 2017, 2:28 PM

Mr. Casual

As far as the new page goes, if they just keep making more vampires, I hope we see more "good" ones that can help out Zandra or the gang.

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26th Feb 2017, 3:06 PM

Phuc Long

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq0ztaCwb-A

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26th Feb 2017, 4:39 PM

NJNerdQueen

Seriously?!?! The big boobs thing is a problem?!?!?! That was hilarious! I'm a woman, a feminist, and an owner of big boobs, and I believe that if you can't have a laugh at sex characteristics (primary or secondary), you don't deserve to HAVE any. Seriously: people who complained, I'll be stopping by your places with a chainsaw and a Ziploc gallon freezer bag. (Not really, it's a joke. Nobody get triggered.)

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26th Feb 2017, 5:32 PM

Snow

I never comment, but I've been reading for a while. (I remember a lot of delighted words when you discovered art markers.) I've watched your art change and grow. I started reading partly because your art is really different and I love it. You draw actual different body shapes and faces, you draw body language and suggest personality in posture and clothing. From a character design perspective, the face-blind artist thinks you're doing great.

The boobs thing. I understand it. Sometimes you just do something to appeal to yourself and it comes across wrong and...

And it sucks.

But it's not the focus. You keep your cheesecake tasteful.

Objectification is a problem. When you treat a character like an object, just a thing to make pages pretty or as a plot token, that's a problem. I haven't really seen you do that, even with ample opportunity.

I find equal opportunity eye candy to be helpful, too. Sometimes the big sticking point is the focus on women, especially when a man is drawing the women in question. I am far more likely to turn a blind eye when multiple tastes are catered toward.

But I've been reading this long, and I enjoy the plot, and I'm along just to see where this ride goes. So I'm sticking around, and you'll keep growing as an artist and a writer, and Zebra Girl will keep changing as long as you keep it up.

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26th Feb 2017, 6:13 PM

Cold Electrons

These are not the kind of comments I really want swarming around one of my more delcious tidbits of artistic fiction.

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26th Feb 2017, 7:24 PM

Blayzeing

Thought about commenting this on the last page, but figured not because I didn't think it was a big enough deal, but I think it's appropriate now.

Just thought I'd say that I didn't think the last page was "out of line" or "not what I'd expect from this comic", certainly not for a comic in which one of the main characters literally has "PERV" written on his shirt in the second page.

This is your comic, man. Your story to tell. Of course, it's up to you how much you want to weigh in different opinions and how much that drives your own creativity, but at the end of the day, we all came here because we saw your creation doing something we loved. We're just here for the ride really, and it's been a great one so far. I just felt I should say that.

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26th Feb 2017, 7:28 PM

JohnSmith

So, I didn't know there was a comment-based hubub until you posted this page, but I have to say I was one of those who did a double take. You've had plenty of at least slightly off-colour gags before and I've enjoyed them. This one just seemed off.

Some people are saying "ignore those complainers!" but I hope you do take the criticism as well and as calmly as your posts indicate, without dismissing it. You're an excellent artist and storyteller, and it would be a shame if your characters slipped into the flat characterization and pin-up designs that plague webcomics.

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view Joe England's profile

26th Feb 2017, 8:48 PM

Joe England

Well I assure you, Johnsmith, I don't ignore any comments. And I furthermore assure you that I have no intention of slipping into "pin-up designs."

With the possible exception of Betty. It's too late for her. And the Bloofer Lady, come to think of it. She's pretty "out there." And sometimes Crystal... okay, well, anyway. I hope you can trust me on this.

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26th Feb 2017, 8:41 PM

LupenTheWolf

I don't normally comment on webcomics, but I felt that this time I should add my voice to the discussion. Most of what I'd like to say has already been said. Some of it repeated to death, so I'll spare you another repeat and simply say:

I love Zebra Girl. I wouldn't keep reading it if I didn't and I would hate to see you censor your comic to cater to, what is likely, a vocal minority in the comments; because then it wouldn't be the same comic I've come to fall in love with. This is your art, Joe. Make it the way you want, stay true to your vision, and Zebra Girl will be all the better for it.

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view Joe England's profile

26th Feb 2017, 8:49 PM

Joe England

Thanks Lupenthewolf, and don't worry... I don't even know if I could censor myself if I tried.

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26th Feb 2017, 9:20 PM

The Man From DelMonte

Heavens, Joe. A lot of people get their knickers in a twist over not very much. Your narrative is fine and I greatly anticipate each instalment. Carry on young man

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26th Feb 2017, 10:51 PM

potato Jam

Love the comic.

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27th Feb 2017, 5:40 PM

CthulhuBeard

Haven't commented before, i don't think, and just wanted to say keep upthe Good Work Joe. This comic has been and continues to be one of my Favorites. Keep being you, and telling your Story how you see fit.

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28th Feb 2017, 4:42 AM

Joe England

Thanks, Cthulhubeard! I'll try.

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27th Feb 2017, 9:11 PM

Kaladel

Joe, I don't tend to write comments or anything of the sort, but I wanted you to know that I respect the way you've handled everything regarding the last page. I would have been happy to maintain my silence, but I wanted to weigh in since you're having some doubts.

I've been reading Zebragirl since the drama first started to pick up and Sam was just an important side character in a cartoon world. I love the way it's matured both in the art and the story telling. Yours is one of two comics that I show people when trying to blow them away with the art of webcomics. I've studied writing and gotten a degree for it now and your comic still manages to inspire me. I say that to let you know that I understand what you mean when you talk about the sanctity of a story and that the characters are alive in their own way. It's important that they not be treated as casualties in the whims of changing times.

It's actually because of that that I found the greater issue with the comic to be the unaddressed increase in character sexuality and curvature before the last page. Betty in particular (where design was concerned), but also Zandra and Bloo, served to distract me from the story with the noticable physical changes that were never dealt with. That said, this comic's art is always maturing, so I ignored it. Still, it was nice to have it mentioned on the last page. It made the characters more real, since they are cognizant of themselves and their surroundings. They're not just the toys of a perverted artist (not to say that you are particularly perverted, of course). As much as I appreciated it though, it was addressed in a way that broke the flow of the story and I think that that is a bigger issue. All the elements seem to be there to support that plotline. The delivery just put the breaks on the existing drama.

You've been very respectful in your responses to the critiques and I know that can be tough. I just wanted you to know that I could see nothing wrong with the way you've handled everything outside of one or two craft nitpicks. Keep up your good work. Zebragirl really is a gem.

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view Joe England's profile

28th Feb 2017, 4:32 AM

Joe England

Thanks Kaladel, that means a lot to hear. I'm very glad to know that someone agreed with my motives for the plot twist, if not the manner in which it was presented!

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27th Feb 2017, 10:20 PM

Novalyyn

Regarding the boob thing: I favor comics that include a variety of breast sizes, especially the ones that manage to include actually small boobs instead of making C's the smallest size ever. Giant boobs everywhere are distracting and, I think, honestly can take away from the story. Honestly, I think it'd be fantastic if they got tamed a bit in this one (but that's not something I'm going to claim MUST be done). That said, I don't think big boobs will totally ruin a story (for me, at least), I still very much continue to enjoy Zebra Girl, and I found the boob joke mildly amusing.

And as for this page, I worry about the cop lady (especially since the one vamp's previous comparison of turning to sex makes this a little extra rape-y), and I wonder if Bloo realizes she's making herself into a dictator by encouraging this and being the one keeping Zandra's blood.

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28th Feb 2017, 7:38 AM

Archone

I've been enjoying this comic since I first found it some years ago, and... I never even realized it had a comments section like this until tonight. And then I went looking at the previous page's comments. And...

...It's perfectly understandable for female readers to be unnerved by the "swelling boobs" effect. But this is a comic where demons and vampires and all other kinds of things run around. People get eaten. Really, REALLY disturbing stuff goes on. I've never even seen anything in this comic that could be considered suitable for sexual fantasies. It'd be like fantasizing about stuff from the Twilight Zone. This ain't Las Lindas here. (if you don't know, you probably don't want to. It's listed on the Bad Webcomics Wiki. With good reason)

To be honest, the "swelling boobs" seems less titilating and more deliberately disturbing. As in: something VERY powerful and quite strange is going on, and they don't know why. Is it because of Jack the Plaid? Or could it have something to do with the psychotic, perpetually stoned, vampiric anarchist? If I suddenly noticed my body was being reshaped like that, especially in the middle of a big supernatural incident, I'd be pretty damned worried about it.

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28th Feb 2017, 7:57 AM

h

there's a trend of eternally offended people whinging about everything that is even vaguely sexual over the last few years. some people are calling them neo-puritans, others call them social justice warriors, a satirical name playing on their intense and all consuming focus on small and mostly insignificant issues like the pronouns one is addressed with...

they are a small and vocal group of people who are mostly insane, don't let them get to you, it's your work, not theirs.

there's also politics tied up in this trend, so yeah, refusing to acknowledge them would be better, the last thing you'd want to do is fold to demands, because then they usually make more, they're never happy.

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1st Mar 2017, 11:14 PM

Dae

The world is not a perfect place, and no one is going to get anywhere by sticking their head in the sand and disregarding the opinions of others.

And maybe you should have faith in Joe- consider that he could actually take criticism in stride and somehow use it as fuel for his creativity.

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28th Feb 2017, 11:11 AM

Klikkat

I seem to be in the same camp as some other readers; I'd just presumed that the different designs were a symptom of a changing artistic style. After all, he's been drawing Zebra Girl for over a decade - your art is going to shift over time.

When Rebecca commented upon it, though, I was legitimately confused! The change has taken so many real-time years that I never even NOTICED that their bodies had undergone any shifts. I figured it was just that as the series went from 'supernatural comedy' to 'supernatural drama' that character designs would naturally alter to follow the needs of the plot. When it was revealed that no, people actually ARE having their bodies shift, I though I'd missed some big plot point that had been going on in the background.

So while I'm not sure I am totally happy with how attention was drawn to the issue in such a jarring manner, I AM happy to see that Joe is taking his audience's reactions to heart and is honestly trying to do right by them and the characters! It's refreshing to have an artist be so upfront about things like that.

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28th Feb 2017, 2:03 PM

Kitty

He's not trying to do us right, though. He just wanted to hear about how it was a problem so he could say "oh well!" and then do nothing at all.

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28th Feb 2017, 3:22 PM

COYOTE

If you're going to repeat, I'll repeat as well- have you given the thought that while he's not going to change his art as laid down this can certainly get addressed in future plot or art?

Or was that what you wanted, for him to go back and change the art and discard the plot in the first place? This is simple conversation, not an attack.

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1st Mar 2017, 1:54 AM

Jeffrey H Wood

Kitty, you are insulting and rude. If you don't like the comic, you can go somewhere else. Anywhere else. But you don't get to dictate to the creator what he or she MUST do. Grow up already.

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view Joe England's profile

1st Mar 2017, 3:39 AM

Joe England

Hey, now, it's alright. I can't blame Kitty for expressing her feelings, and I've definitely seen much worse behavior online.

Besides, what she thinks of the comic is more important than what she thinks of me. I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't think very highly of me at all, and that's their prerogative. I'm not saying I like it or that agree with everything she's written, but Kitty certainly hasn't said anything I find unforgivable. If she follows Zebra Girl, she's welcome at the bar.

I mean, so long as her behavior doesn't really worsen into genuine trollship, or something. I'm sure my grace has limits where this comic's comments are concerned, though I haven't met them yet.

I'd like to think that all we really need is a little more patience with each other. Hopefully with time she'll find less reason to object, and if she gives me that chance then it's only fair that she gets the chance to change her mind.

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1st Mar 2017, 11:24 PM

Dae

Kitty, as an artist, I have to say that telling people how to do their art always backfires. Maybe immediately, in a misunderstanding gone awry (see those joke photoshop requests for worst case scenarios) or many years down the line, when the artist is stuck in a creative block, unable to produce anything because they never truly understood why they did that thing that one time years ago, which led them on the road to now. And yes, with the tempestuous nature of creativity, it really can be those little things that get you in the end.

Just because Joe isn't doing what want, in the way you want, doesn't mean that he hasn't dosed his primordial ooze of creative juices with your input.

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28th Feb 2017, 11:40 PM

Sylver

Joe,
I'm not one to frequently post comments - anonymity of the internet or no - but I feel strongly enough about this that I have to weigh in.
I've been following your comic for years. (Not from the *very* beginning, but I caught up.) I've enjoyed watching the progression of your art style, and I've similarly enjoyed the evolution of the story from its lighthearted origins to its darker and more dramatic plot lines. One of the things that I have *especially* appreciated is that your story has always seemed very organic in its development. Nothing has every really felt forced or contrived, everything just always seems to develop naturally (inasmuch as a misunderstood demonic protagonist can ever be "natural", of course). I've always thought it was a well-balanced story, and that Zandra is a very strong and nuanced main character. (Honestly, I enjoy it so much that I *really* am going to start contributing on Patreon and stop just being a freeloading consumer of your artistic gifts.) I also find myself smiling over your interaction with your audience in the comments section, which has generally seemed to be a supportive and jovial bunch. It's evident you care about not just how ZG is received, but the audience as well.
That said, I would implore you to keep following your muse, rather than try to placate any particular vocal segment of your fan base. I'm not going to denigrate their viewpoint or dismiss their feelings on last week's strip; no one can truly know what another person has suffered, and there may certainly be justification for their strong reaction to last week's strip. In the greater scheme of things, though, I don't think that you intentionally offered any slight or insult, nor do I think the average person would construe one. Heck, if anything, last week channeled the whimsical spirit of the strip's origins! As a red-blooded male who is familiar with fan service in other venues, take it from me - you're not in ANY danger of straying into that territory. Your strip has always been very tasteful, which is why I think so many people find it so enjoyable. I sincerely hope you don't feel conflicted or badly about the negative reactions from last week, and I certainly hope you don't let it mute or censor your vision for the strip. As they say, you can't make everyone happy all the time - but this strip puts a smile on the faces of a lot of people every week, so please keep it up and take heart that your efforts are well-received, even cherished.

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28th Feb 2017, 11:55 PM

Obsidia

Just caught up! I can honestly say I'm enjoying every little twist and turn, and I feel the comic has grown in every way. Your experience is showing. ;) Looking forward to the next page.

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1st Mar 2017, 7:15 PM

Jadak

You have no reason to be ashamed at all. At the end of the day, this is *your* art, and it should be whatever *you* think it should be. Whether you decide to retconn the last page, or keep it as is, or go full on Rule34, it doesn't matter. It's good to listen to advice and criticism, but no matter what you decide you don't need to feel shame or embarrassment over it. Constructive criticism is one thing, actually shaming you over you artistic choices is something else entirely. Don't let it get to you when the latter tries to masquerade as the former.

You are wholly within your rights to take the comic in whatever direction you wish, that's your right. We get to decide if we like it or not, that's our right. A viewer who tries to use shame tactics to coerce an artist into changing their art is just as much an asshole as an artist who denigrates people as philistines just for finding the art not to their tastes.

We can like it, dislike it, think it could be improved, or think it should be scrapped entirely. But the thing we don't get to do is stand in judgement of you. Our personal opinions are just that: personal to us an only our opinion. You're free to ask us for that opinion if you like or ignore us as you see fit, but that's entirely your prerogative and you have no cause to be ashamed either way.

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2nd Mar 2017, 3:27 AM

corvuscorax

Hi

Just reading your comment about previous strips "scandal" and I'm shocked. I hadn't even realized there was one.

Granted, I assumed the "bigger boobs" twist was a slight 4th wall hack with characters realising that the authors art style has adjusted, which in turn would be a great jab at all the other comics out there where boobs keep growing as the art matures...


But none of the characters ever seems to notice...


But outcry ? Rage? Getting upset anout this? Really?

I think whoever posted these comments were a small but very vocal part of your reader base that
1. Didn't get the joke.
And
2. Have the wrong notion that political correctness should shackle art just to never offend anyone ever.


But most importantly, they are a few compared to a vast majority who simply found it amusing, maybe also a bit irritating, but not really worth commenting.

Art must provoke, right?

I think you have nothing to appologise for nor to feel ashamed of.

Carry on please, and keep in mind that whatever you do, someone out there is always going to be offended, and they might be the only ones who make a ruckus about it.

Its just noise.

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3rd Mar 2017, 12:54 AM

Miz Blkgryphon

How do u do? I'm a long time reader too i like your work woohoo!

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3rd Mar 2017, 5:10 PM

LilithxChan

Okay people complaining about the "fan Service art" can have a seat. So long as you aren't using it in place of good story telling, there's literally no problem with it. And really in the end, it's your comic. That you've been doing for years. If you want to update and tweak the art style go for it. Heck draw it in the style of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt and I will still happily read it every week.

my point being is, you are telling an interesting story, and if you feel the art helps enhance that story, or heck just makes it more fun to draw. Then you do you and we'll be here. I haven't been reading all these years because the art has always been amazing. To be honest you really grew into story telling and the art style. and it's been awesome to watch the progress.

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4th Mar 2017, 4:17 AM

Nat a dog

Since the subject of the other page isn't going away, I thought I'd ask:

Is the reason for the whole boobs thing due to Jack maybe writing an account of this event, or otherwise recounting it to others? He seems like the sort of narrator who WOULD say "so the vampire attacks began, and also everybody all had huge tits. Did I mention the tits? They are vital to the story."

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4th Mar 2017, 7:49 AM

Pirate Tom

NEW PAGE!

Also, DRAW AND WRITE WHATEVER YOU WANT. Authors have NO MORAL OBLIGATION to others, to advance their world views, or to conform to them. Authors have only the moral obligation to themselves to draw and write what they want. If other people do not want it, they do not have to consume it. If they want to step outside of THEIR worldview, and read YOUR work, that's fine. But they should not expect people to exclusively create content that conforms to THEIR worldview.

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6th Mar 2017, 6:08 PM

Treesong

One thing I don't think I've seen mentioned in this brouhaha is that not only has your art style grown curvier of late, but you actually mentioned it in a comment two or three months ago and nobody seemed upset. It seems that the complainers felt your lampshading of the change was squashing their faces into the characters' boobs.
I think they are wrong. Not oversensitive, wrong. This is not objectification, it's adding additional flavor to the world mix.
It seems to me that you're doing something clever and amusing: turning a style change into a plot element. Bravo! I don't think I've seen this done before, except maybe at the time of a total change in art, like arrival of a new artist.
And the people who talk of breaking the fourth wall are totally wrong. The characters aren't interacting with the readers; they're reacting to a real change in their world. Whether this change will fit smoothly into the pre-existing world remains to be seen, but based on your past performance, I'm not worried.
I can understand your being troubled at having offended readers, but you can't please everyone. And a few of the complainers, notably Kitty, don't deserve any consideration.
You rock. Please continue to rock.

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view Joe England's profile

6th Mar 2017, 9:14 PM

Joe England

Thanks Treesong, I'm very glad to hear you take it that way! I think that's pretty much exactly the reaction that I was hoping for. It's heartening to know that I pulled it off, at least where some people are concerned!

Although, I do have to defend Kitty, and any other detractors. I never asked for anyone to treat me with kid gloves, and all things considered, no one said anything I can't forgive. Even if they had harsh words for me, I'm grateful, because it only gives me greater insight into the feelings of my audience.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly hope that they change their minds! But if not, that's their prerogative. Either way, every reader deserves consideration in my book, regardless of their behavior. I'm already indebted to everyone who reads Zebra Girl, and especially anyone who takes the time to tell me how they feel about it. So thanks again, Treesong! Thanks very much, both for reading and for writing!

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30th Sep 2017, 1:23 AM

Dave

"I can't tell elephant genders at a glance."

Well, Mr. England, it's actually surprisingly easy to do! You just look between the elephant's hind legs.

If you happen to notice three feet of "Arrggh, why did I listen to the internet?!?! Now I'm scarred for life!" then the elephant is male. Otherwise, it's female.

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