In the name of full disclosure, I present to you the worst review I have ever gotten:
Marissa Sammy's review of "Old Man Winter" (click to read it)
I know I should expect emotional responses to my comics that deal with emotionally charged issues, but I didn't expect the amount of vitriol slung at me by Ms. Sammy. I'm accused of creating "ineffectual holier-than-thou guilt trips", "privileged , clueless pontification" and even racism!
The animal welfare comics she refers to are meticulously researched. The events depicted in both "Roadtrip" and "Circus" are firmly based in reality. The vast majority of our livestock in this country is horribly mistreated from birth to death. If this makes you feel guilty for choosing to indulge in animal products, congratulations - you're human!
As for the 'Circus' comic, it was directly informed from a visit to the wonderful Elephant Nature Park (a sanctuary for abused elephants) in Thailand. The traditional 'breaking of the spirit' of elephants involves removing them from their mothers, caging them and beating them for days on end until they are submissive. Shamans overlook the proceedings, rubbing poltices on the baby elephants and delivering beatings with sticks about their most sensitive areas. In a response to an email from me, Ms. Sammy says my depiction of the Thai natives is a racist shorthand. She is incorrect. The outfits shown are from recent reference photos of the traditional cruel domestication process.
The only point I'll concede is that the pranks in "Logging Sanjay" may well have been construed as racially motivated by his family. Obviously we didn't mean it as such, but kids (especially two white kids) don't always have the best sense. I was at the butt end of plenty of teasing from my good friends Matt & Sanjay, but this particular line of pranks (as I admit in the comic) went too far. That said, I find Sammy's suggestion that I'm framing Sanjay as violent by begging him, "Please don't hurt me!" after my confession ridiculous. If she knew Sanjay and my relationship (we're still great friends), she would realize her folly.
Anyhow, besides most people hating the cover art, this is the first negative review I've received. I will try to take something positive from it, but I suppose I won't be using any of this one on my review quotes page!