Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Random Shots: Sometimes You Have To Let Go

  • I'm not going to go debate the situation with Penny Arcade. That's not what I'm here for. (If for some reason you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Scott Jennings's post at Broken Toys.) Instead, I want to say something to Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.

  • I understand what you guys are doing. I commend you for what you've built and going for your goals without reservations. Heck, I even thought the strip in question was funny, mostly because I knew what you were talking about. I don't think you should have to compromise your work.

  • There is something greater that you have set in motion. Sure, you can tell people not to read your strip. But it is also starting to effect PAX. The place that you specifically wanted to be as inclusive of the gamer culture as possible. The no booth babes thing, the anti-harassment policy, all of it. The strip is starting to overshadow that.

  • I found this quote by Mike from November 29, 2007:
    We're hesitant to connect Child's Play too much with Penny Arcade, just because there are certain hospitals and there have been hospitals in the past that are hesitant to work with Child's Play because of Penny Arcade. I mean obviously we're not a kid-friendly site and there's some questionable content on there. We try our best to really distance the two brands. If you go to the Child's Play site there's really no mention of Penny Arcade. There's no link, certainly, back to our site.

  • The precedent is set. You did not want Child's Play to be held back because of what you do at Penny Arcade, so you let it have its space. I think it is time to do the same for PAX. I'm sure this conversation is already happening within the walls of Penny Arcade. Listen to them. If you love PAX as much as I think you do, you know it is the right thing to do. Keep on doing what you're doing on the strip and the site, but don't let that hold back this great thing you've created. That would be a shame. And it would be a loss to us all.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. I'm not so sure that it would be as easy to separate PA from PAX as it was from Child's Play. CP was setup from the start as separate from PA, and I'm sure that part of that was because they knew their site wasn't child-friendly. PAX though is just as much about PA as it is about gamers in general. I've not been to one yet, but eventually I would like to go (just a matter of figuring out a wife-friendly plan). Half of the reason I want to is to meet internet friends IRL, but the other half is to meet Gabe and Tycho.

  2. I think that to be funny you need to be provocative, and that often means dancing around the edge of what people find offensive.

    The first few hundred Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics to me illustrates that even more clearly than Penny Arcade. A lot of them I find absolutely hilarious. However, a certain proportion of them do go over the line into what I consider bad taste, and I even find a few of them offensive. I'm willing to forgive those blunders, because I don't think the comic would be as funny overall if it didn't skirt so close to the line of propriety. However, I also have a hard time recommending it to anyone because I don't want to point someone towards a comic with some content that will in all likelihood offend them.

    More on topic, I'm glad they decided to not sell Dickwolf merchandise at PAX. I found the original comic to be pretty funny, but the follow up comic seemed like a pretty insensitive response to me. I can see where you are coming from, and I think you have a good point. But I also have to agree with Blue Kae, I think it's a bit too late to distance PAX from penny arcade.

    Supporting PAX does in some way endorse Penny Arcade, but I don't think endorsing something in general means you endorse it in it's entirety. I'm pretty liberal in my leanings on most issues, but find me a progressive commentator that I agree with all the time and I'll eat the hat of your choice.

  3. @ Blue Kae & Yeebo - No, it would definitely not be easy. PA is right there in the name and all. I don't expect them to abandon the show, but they don't have to be the public face of it either. I'm pretty sure Robert Khoo could figure out how to make it work.

  4. Catching up on some blogs in the past week. Interesting read on Broken Toys, this is the first time I've heard of the matter. As long as it's not done in malice, I don't think I've ever been offended by a joke, just find it not funny. While I thought the original strip was humorous, the spectacle they created afterward by not letting up was not.

    Regarding the PAX issue, perhaps there could be a way of separating by making it a subsidiary, much like how Disney Motion Pictures Group oversees major labels like Touchstone, or like DC comics and Vertigo. You can retain a name associated with child-friendliness but still create provocative and controversial entertainment, and vice versa.

  5. @ MMOGC - That is something like what I was thinking. They can (and should be) the stars of the show, but they can let it be run by an independent, but affiliated, company.