Scott Kurtz Gets in (Another) Fight

This is a few days old, but I saw this exchange between PvP‘s Scott Kurtz, and some other web comic guy I’ve never heard of. To me, the interesting thing isn’t that there’s a fight between some folks on the web, nor that it’s got to do with PvP yet again, nor that Gail Simone got involved. What’s interesting is that this is a total set up from a guy who is less famous than Kurtz to get attention, and everyone seems to have fallen for it.

I picked up this story through Lying in the Gutters.

It seems like we’re living in an era when people can manufacture an audience by being a jerk. I suppose if that’s the way you want to portray yourself, there is certainly precedent for that working. There are all sorts of examples of this in the comics blogosphere. Far be it from me to dictate how people choose to promote themselves, but if you post on a blog in connection with your work, you are promoting your work (see, I’m doing it right now). And if, in that blog post, you just randomly decide to heap shit on one of your competitors, instead of letting your work speak for itself, you’re either:

A) Really a huge self-centered jerk.
B) Consciously plotting to get attention through alternate means or
C) A deliciously unsatisfying combination of the two.

Finally, as I can declare myself the arbiter or all behavior on the internet, if someone calls you out like that, why in the world would you respond? Kurtz should be happy with his successful web and print comics, his new animated series, and his merchandise lines. That’s all you ever need to say. I think Kurtz is really talented. He’s also really funny whenever I’ve seen him on a panel or podcast. But he keeps getting sucked into this imbroglios. But then maybe, he does it on purpose.

Maybe I’m doing it on purpose.


  1. Did you look at the comic? Street fighting is the only way that dude’s gonna build an audience.

  2. I’m not defending this douche or anything, but he did seem to post an apology on his website about the rant.

    I’m not into his comic though–nor am I into PVP. I’m tired of comics that make jokes about comics. That’s my issue though and I won’t assail those creators about it.

  3. Post-Modernism: talking about the thing you’re doing, while you’re doing it. It’s easy, and fools people into thinking you’re smart.

    But I’m not sure what you mean about PvP making jokes about comics. It’s about folks who work at a gaming magazine. Sometimes the strips break out of their box, but usually not. I have to say that there are times when Kurtz has really impressed me with some of his strips. A lot of time not, but sometimes, yes.

  4. Eh, I should have been more detailed in my response. I’m really not into jokes about fanboy culture I should say. It’s too easy. Megatokyo is the only comic like that I enjoy, and that has really gotten very far away from the joke about comic/game/culture thing.

  5. UGH! (need edit feature) not into COMICS about the fanboy culture

  6. That’s good, cuz we make jokes about fanboy culture all the time.

  7. I hear yah, and to me hearing you guys riff on fanboy culture is different than reading a comic about it. Again, I’m not knocking those comics, my taste just doesn’t run there. I go to comics to escape corporate drudgery, not for industry self reflection/mocking. Again, just me.

  8. The case of plagarism with the praying kitty is much more serious. This was not only plagarism, but plagarism done by cultural snobs making big money. Many people associated with galleries (and I have walked among that set) are extremely snobbish when it comes to comics and pride themselves on using big words like “Post-Modernism.” That somebody should actually so blatantly rip off a web comic and then sell it on a gallery wall (probably for a price in the 3-4 digit range at least) among gallery people that consider comics and fanboys to be socially maladjusted nerds with childish tastes is scandalous in the extreme. Two guys fighting on the internet is just two low brow losers beating each other up for what they think is good publicity, while some much larger criminal makes off with the cash, among the snobby elite of the gallery set.

    “Post-Modernism: talking about the thing you’re doing, while you’re doing it. It’s easy, and fools people into thinking you’re smart.”

    By this definition, many of Shakespeare’s plays are Post-Modern, including Hamlet and Richard III being two examples where the monologue goes beyond just being the character addressing the audience (breaking the fourth wall), but also cite specific theatrical conventions as reasons for what they do in the plays. So no, your definition of Post-Modernism is…well, let’s just say incomplete. Start with what comes after the prefix, which is a definitly identifiable movement, then work backwards.

    I think the guy trying to get all the attention proved the old chestnut “any publicity (whether good or bad) is good publicity” is not correct. I think Scott whoever putting up a YouTube video that only shows him using a Photoshop brush tool as a “tutorial” is pretty lame. Not condesceding, just really lame. I think the whole controversy is lame, and that you are absolutely correct to point out the complete lameness of the entire fight thing, including Scott whoever making a point to get involved in it.

    I think this PvP person probably has to keep getting involved in fights because that’s the only way to keep his name mentioned, and no, I agree, if he is really successful, it was really beneath him to respond. But that photoshop draw tool thing was just lame. When does he do one showing how to use crayons?

    You guys keep doing what you do. You do good work. But I would wikipedia “Post-Modernism” before using it again. For starters, Superman is a perfect representitive of the “Modernist” ideal both when he was created (when Modernism was It) and in the difficulities they have had with the character in recent times, after the failures of Modernism.

    OK, Nick is saying I have to go off grid now. ’till then.

  9. Please don’t mistake my flippancy for ignorance.

  10. I think you’re being a bit unfair to Adam (the guy who does Drastic).

    You might not have heard of him or Drastic Comics before, but he’s a well liked member of the millarworld community where he (besides generally just being an allround nice guy when engaged in discussions) also frequently posts links to the latest installations of his web comic.

    He might not be big and famous like PvP and Kurtz but people obviously like his stuff enough to nominate it to an Eagle Award:

    The thing about Drastic Comics is that it’s Adam’s place to rant about things that upset him, whether it’s Starbucks, snobbish DJs who refuse to play The Jam, stressed out Christmas shoppers etc. This time he ranted (in his blog, NOT his comic) about a comic creator who is much more famous and obviously has a much bigger poss

  11. The whole story sounds a lot like exactly what it looked like from the outset.

  12. And the funny thing is that as I’m writing this I see PvP vol 2 in the Amazon ad at the top of this page.

    David and Goliath, apparently.

  13. You’ll note that I said nothing about the quality of his work. I’m not in a position to judge it.

    What I see is still a dude running his mouth off, and the bad thing seems to be that someone actually heard him.

    If I bash a book, or say a Mark Bagley sucks to our audience, I have to answer for that. That’s the law of the internet. (Maybe….I think we’re still making that up.) If Mark Bagley shows up here and gives me shit, he should, because, I started it. (This is a hypothetical, Senor Bagley!)

    But, if I’m Scott Kurtz, I don’t respond to this provocation. And I said as much above. But don’t tell me this guy can go and sling a bunch of stuff and not deal with the consequences. More flies with honey and all that.

    If Adam (who seems to be from Ireland, and that certainly earns him points in my book) wants to rant to his friends about something he doesn’t want anyone to know about, he should probably do it over email or in person. If he posts something on the web…fair game.

    Still, the only thing he’s gonna get from this is a chance at a larger audience.

  14. I don’t know if I agree that you would have to answer to Bagley if he confronted you. You being a critic legitimized by your podcast should sort of grant you immunity from that.

    And just like how I think it’s wrong whenever recording artists try to confront journalist who’ve given them bad reviews, or comic book creators insist on arguing with trolls on various forums, I think it was wrong of Kurtz to confront Adam.

    Because it’s really just David vs Goliath and David ain’t got a chance. As Adam wrote in his blog:

    “Drastic and PVP are in no way competitors. PVP’s daily readership?? 150,000. Drastic’s is around 400.

    Scott is literally LEAGUES ahead of me. There is no contest. Scott wins”

    I’m in no way defending Adam for bashing Kurtz. I think it was stupid and unnecessary. However, I do want to set the record straight.

    Adam did not do this to gain attention. In fact, he seems really embarressed about the whole thing and has sincerely apologized several times.

    I seriously doubt he’ll gain a bigger audience from this. What he’ll get is a lot of people spamming his site telling him that his comic suck and that he’s an idiot. The only thing anyone (outside his already existing readership) is going to remember (wrongly) is that he was that guy who tried to get 15 minutes of fame by picking a fight with Kurtz. And that’s just not what happened here.

    All I’m trying to do here is stick up for the underdog. Maybe I’ve read too many superhero comics and have this silly notion that you should stick up for the little guy when the big guy and his gang come knocking. Even when the little guy ran his mouth in the first place.

  15. All I’m trying to do here is stick up for the underdog. Maybe I’ve read too many superhero comics and have this silly notion that you should stick up for the little guy when the big guy and his gang come knocking. Even when the little guy ran his mouth in the first place.

    I’m just speaking in general, not in this case specifically:

    Sometimes the underdog deserves to get slapped down. If I walk up to a heavyweight boxer and without provocation smack him in the mouth, I am the underdog in this scenario. I also deserve whatever hellacious beating I am about to receive. Being the underdog alone does not make one right. Being right makes one right.

    Again, generalities.

  16. “Please don’t mistake my flippancy for ignorance.”

    I think you are highly intelligent. Therefore I hold you to a higher standard. Sorry.

    “With great power comes great responsiblity.”

    Here is a good question:

    If a podcaster, perhaps with less than 10% of iFanboy’s listenship but covering comics, totally went off on a rant about how terrible iFanboy’s Ron, Conor, and Josh and associated community were, would you:

    1) Ignore it (Beneath contempt, not worth the bother)
    2) Highlight it (Bet some free attention? Is this good attention?)
    3) Encourage members of this community to attack?
    4) Discourage members of this community to attack?

    I have seen absolutely nothing in any of the comments made by “Drastic” that are worth much attention. His rant was premature and childish and pretty ambiguous at that, his apology? Sincere, but sounding a bit desperate, on account of the reaction.

    HOWEVER, I really need to question, and I really need to wonder, why Kurtz and Simone felt the need to respond to this guy in anyway whatsoever, and why they didn’t just tell their fans: “Forget, I don’t really care, it’s no big deal to me who this guy is, he’s a small fry, so cool your jets, we need less Fight Club and flames on the internet, not more.”

    What would iFanboys Ron, Conor, and Josh do, not in Drastic’s position, but in Kurtz’s position? There’s a question worth an answer. I think Josh has already answered that, Ron would be too busy to care, and Conor would think it too “stoo-pid” to bother with, and he would be right. All three would. And all three would put out word they would not want anyone making attacks in their name. They might even go the extra distance to avoid conflict that was unnecessary, as they have in the past.

    Have I guessed wrong?

  17. Everything I was trying to say, Wally just said much more eloquently. The big guy has a responsability to behave better and not smash the little guy no matter how annoying or insulting he might be.

    And I think that Josh, Ron and Conor have already proven that they are indeed bigger men since such a hypothetical podcast DOES exist, and as far as I know the iFanboy team has rightly chosen to ignore it. And that alone makes them swell guys in my book.

    “Sometimes the underdog deserves to get slapped down.”
    You just made baby Dick Grayson cry… 😉

  18. Careful Richard, my smary, know-it-all, smart a** reputation has been going strong since the age of six (self inflicted), don’t want to add fuel to the fire. (I get it all the time from people I know everywhere, and I run from the tremendous responsiblity Ron, Conor and Josh have taken on.

    I think Conor’s comments reflect the kind of person he is — he is a very intelligent person with a good grasp of what I’ll call “strategics,” but is at heart a deeply ethical person who acts accordingly (hence the Batman love I share), as are Ron and Josh who like any human get a little irritable at times from overwork and no pay . This is the online behavior I’ve witnessed over the past 8 months I’ve followed iFanboy. (BTW, last iFanboy podcast was great — much tension, but the fact that you guys are paying serious attention to Forum members’s comments is wonderfully commendable, even if we have been “biting you in the ass” lateley).

    We all slip up, let’s be honest. I know I have, and there are witnesses here to prove that, and have rightfully called me on it with more good humor and friendly ribbing than ranting flames. I’d rant on more about the Purple Pussy plagarism thing deserving more attention that this silly online fracas, but I think it already has, and is far more deserving of attention than this little Scott Hurtz thing. The Hurtz vs. Drastic thing’s only significance is that online behavior is more flaming than constructive, this being one big case in particular. Hence the limit of the so called “information superhighway.”

    So there are podcasts that diss iFanboy? Whatever. Dissing is for people who don’t have anything of their own to bring to the table. I’ve been guilty of that. Like I said, there are witnesses here to prove it. Good thing I don’t have any reposposibility beyong getting up in time for work. “Say good night Gracie.”

    Going off grid now.

  19. Saw this whole thing on fandom_wank a few days ago. I don’t think it’s a publicity stunt or whatever you’d call it, as in I don’t think the guy in question is out to get attention. This is in his blog, and I know I’ve said some terrible stuff in mine. Frankly, I don’t understand why there was so much fuss over this. Yes, he was being immature but this is the internet, people.

    Nor do I understand why Gail Simone felt the need to get involved but whatever.

    The best part of this drama are all the PVP fanboys rushing in to flame this guy anonymously. I mean damn… anonymous lj posts take a whole lot of guts.

    At any rate, at least now I get what was behind Wednesday’s Penny Arcade.

  20. You’d have to join up if you wanted to leave a name on your comment.

  21. There’s a sort-of funny Scott Kurtz story on this week’s Lying in the Gutters, if it’s true.