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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    Do you ever check Class and Level Geekery, not for rules conformance because I know you don't really care about it, but for continuity? To make sure you're not contradicting yourself?
    Yes, I have, but only really for spell lists.

    Quote Originally Posted by faustin View Post
    One of the themes in the comic is "Only living things can learn and change". Is it a wink to the Discworld ?
    No, not at all. I've never read the Discworld novels, so I don't even know how it would be. Further, that is not an intentional theme of OOTS; Malack certainly learned and changed over the course of his undeath, or else he would never have been able to manage the complex scheme that he started with Tarquin. Arguably, if Malack were incapable of learning, he would never have "learned" to underestimate Nale, thus negating the impact of his demise. Heck, Crystal just "learned" that Bozzok was bad for her and turned on him, something she never managed to do in her entire mortal life. Some of the characters may believe that only living things can learn, but it's not a thematic statement, or even especially accurate.
    Rich Burlew


    Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, a collection of five new stories about your favorite Azure City characters. Available now from Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs).

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I've never read the Discworld novels, so I don't even know how it would be.
    I've read nearly all of them and I don't know how it would be either. Both undead creatures and Death himself certainly learn and change in the Discworld books.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Yes, I have, but only really for spell lists.
    Even that, in its way, is kind of amazing. In a good way.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Question Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Something I've been wondering about for years...

    In the Introduction to On the Origin of PCs, you said "And in at least one case, I wasn't ready to reveal a history that will, in part, be integral to the main plot of Order of the Stick, so I chose a different scene from that character's previous life."

    Given that we're now many hundreds of strips later, maybe that reveal has already happened. If so, would you tell us what reveal it was and what scene you decided to cut from On the Origin of PCs? My guess for the past year or two is that it was something related to Elan/Tarquin...

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    If you asked a broad open-ended question, keep in mind that I am juggling several tasks at the moment and I am favoring questions that I can answer quickly and off the top of my head. I may circle back for some of the more "essay" style questions later.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoamingSorcerer View Post
    Of all the different editions and variations of D&D, what is your personal favorite?
    I'm not really one for picking an all-around favorite of anything; I'm more of a "right tool for the right job" sort of person. Every edition is the best edition if it's the one that serves my particular needs at the moment. That said, the needs I tend to have are best served by the Second and Third Editions, depending on the group and the goal—with extensive house rules either way, if I'm not playtesting anything at the time. I'm only just starting to get a handle on Fifth, though, and I do like what I see so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quild View Post
    OOTS contains quite a lot of references, do they come from your general knowledge that you use into your work, or do you sometimes have an idea and makes some research on how to make it work?

    For instance, #560 contains a lot of little things. Was your train of thought "They're on an isle, I've heard about this show that is on a island, let's google LOST to make references at it"?

    In the same idea, what about puns?
    Did #761 - Advanced (S)wordplay required a lot of work on dialog? Or is it really easy to you to write such stuff and why you did it?
    Well, I pretty much need to know what I'm looking for before I do any research. Most of the time, I come up with the joke or reference on my own and then search the internet to confirm that I'm not misremembering or otherwise getting it wrong. Sometimes, a reference has to be stricken from the script because my research reveals that I have it all wrong. In the particular case of #560, oddly enough, the research provided the punchline: I assumed that the two uses of foil were related until I researched it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sermil View Post
    Something I've been wondering about for years...

    In the Introduction to On the Origin of PCs, you said "And in at least one case, I wasn't ready to reveal a history that will, in part, be integral to the main plot of Order of the Stick, so I chose a different scene from that character's previous life."

    Given that we're now many hundreds of strips later, maybe that reveal has already happened. If so, would you tell us what reveal it was and what scene you decided to cut from On the Origin of PCs? My guess for the past year or two is that it was something related to Elan/Tarquin...
    No, anything involving Elan and Tarquin would have been when Elan was a baby, which was not what I was interested in depicting. I'm pretty sure I was referring to Vaarsuvius' spouse and children, since the existence of the children were kind of a shock reveal during the black dragon scenes. But I could be wrong.
    Rich Burlew


    Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, a collection of five new stories about your favorite Azure City characters. Available now from Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs).

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Rich, I wanted to thank you for those answers. I'll definitely be using Start of Darkness in my future syllabus.

    I had a few other questions come to mind, that I hope you don't mind answering.

    Three of the most visually striking strips prior to the new art style are 443, 750, and 887.

    I'm a huge fan of 443 for its composition. The page falls with Roy, and I was thinking particularly of this strip when I asked you the question about the webcomic format. The format on the web is substantially different, and I think better, than it is in print. Did you consider other options for print format, such as a sort of fold-out page? Perhaps that would have increased overhead costs on War & XPs, though. Did the process of transforming that strip into a print layout influence the shape of later strips?

    750 feels really innovative in terms of panel layout, and does an amazing job in telling several stories concurrently. I was wondering how you hit on that particular panel layout.

    With 887, it seems to me that this strip might not really be possible if you had done it pen and paper rather than by digital means. I couldn't say for sure, but I imagine being able to zoom, for instance, made it easier to get to the level of detail happening here. Could you tell us anything about how you designed this strip?

    In that vein, from an artistic/narrative standpoint, what are your top five strips? And if you had to say what strip you were most proud to produce, which would it be?
    Linguist and Invoker of Orcus of the Rudisplorker's Guild
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Im faintly amused that you cant remember. Anyway...

    Are there any scenes where you really wish you could go back and add more details to them? Or add an entire new scene if its really bugging you? I seem to recall you mentioning that you wished you had included the raid on the Grubwiggler's castle in the online comics in retrospect, are there any other areas like that?
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    You've mentioned Babylon 5 as an inspiration in multiple places.

    1. Have any favorite characters?
    2. Was
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    Elan's exclaimation in On the Origin of the PCs that he and Sir Francois had been "their last, best hope for peace" an intentional reference to the intros of the first 3 seasons?
    Last edited by Procyonpi; 2015-04-25 at 05:45 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    OK, a lot of folks are asking about regrets and do-overs and what I would change, so I'm going to basically answer this all at once.

    Generally speaking, I do not spend a lot of time stressing out about my past work. It is what it is, and I prefer to spend my time moving forward. As a result, I don't devote a lot of mental energy to thinking about what I don't like in the existing strips. To be totally honest, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about the existing strips at all. Once they're done, they're done. I get one more chance to consider them when I compile the book, since I can tweak a scene by adding new material, but once that happens I barely ever think about them as individual strips ever again. I think in terms of plot points and character arcs. I'll go reference a point of continuity when I need it, but I don't really reread my old stuff in bulk. If I did, I would probably be plagued by a constant desire to revise—which is why I don't do it.

    That said, I have four basic regrets:

    1.) That cold open with an in media res joke about D&D 3.5. Ugh. Hate it. Fixed it in the book.

    2.) The overly crappy art style at the start of the comic (as previously addressed on this thread). Have made many upgrades since then.

    3.) Unintentional sexism and/or insensitivity to gender issues. Doing my best to fix it going forward.

    4.) Representation issues. Doing my best to fix it going forward.

    That's it. I'm not going to go back and analyze one joke or plot point that didn't work as well as I would have liked it to. Those happen. There's always something to learn from them. The things that bother me are the things that could substantially damage how people engage with my work as a whole, such as the people who think I'm the guy who can't draw at all or the people who think I'm a closet misogynist. Those are the things that get under my skin, because I know I can do better than that.
    Rich Burlew


    Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, a collection of five new stories about your favorite Azure City characters. Available now from Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs).

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Ok, radically different track then. Do you find yourself with any bad habits when writing? besides any unintentional sexism/lack of representation, since you already covered that pretty thoroughly.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Haley said to Elan in cryptogramspeak, "It turns out I may not be exactly what you would call a--"

    Is there a yet-unrevealed secret at the end of that sentence, or was it a reference to her self-loathing or something less specifically decided?

    Is Aarindarius indeed an epic-level wizard who could kill an ancient black dragon without bothering to look at her, or was that the fiends deceiving Vaarsuvius?
    Last edited by Kish; 2015-04-25 at 06:10 PM.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Is Aarindarius indeed an epic-level wizard who could kill an ancient black dragon without bothering to look at her, or was that the fiends deceiving Vaarsuvius?
    Hyperbole on the part of the illustration; it's a callback joke to the panel in #630 where he kills Qarr without looking. The fiends never actually made any claims other than that he could "intercede."
    Rich Burlew


    Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, a collection of five new stories about your favorite Azure City characters. Available now from Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs).

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Could he actually have interceded in any meaningful way, or was that just something the fiends counted on Vaarsuvius not questioning, like Durkon being at the fleet and having a scroll of Sending?
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Could he actually have interceded in any meaningful way, or was that just something the fiends counted on Vaarsuvius not questioning, like Durkon being at the fleet and having a scroll of Sending?
    I have no idea. Clearly, V thought it was at least plausible. That's all that really matters.
    Rich Burlew


    Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, a collection of five new stories about your favorite Azure City characters. Available now from Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs).

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    First of all I just wanted to thank you. Order of the Stick and this forum have turned out to be a very important part of my life the past few years and I'm pretty sure I would be a different person without them.

    Okay, my question for the moment is: When you created the main and important secondary characters, did you think of their personalities first and roles second, or vice versa? Or did each feed the other? Or was it individual for each character?

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    How many of the Nine Sides have we met?
    Can the MITD cause rain?
    Last edited by woweedd; 2015-04-25 at 06:39 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Are there any little personality details (akin to V being a vegetarian) that other characters have? If so, what are they?
    Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking).

    Cuthalion makes great avatars. Like my Silver Dragon.
    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

  18. - Top - End - #108
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Is Aarindarius indeed an epic-level wizard who could kill an ancient black dragon without bothering to look at her, or was that the fiends deceiving Vaarsuvius?
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Hyperbole on the part of the illustration; it's a callback joke to the panel in #630 where he kills Qarr without looking. The fiends never actually made any claims other
    than that he could "intercede."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Could he actually have interceded in any meaningful way, or was that just something the fiends counted on Vaarsuvius not questioning, like Durkon being at the fleet and having a scroll of Sending?
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I have no idea. Clearly, V thought it was at least plausible. That's all that really matters.
    Well, I guess that answers the disagreement Kish and I had on the subject dating back to that strip! lol

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    When you began the strip, did you have any intention of the Order ever leaving the Dungeon of Dorukan to have adventures elsewhere and at at what point did you make the decision that the comic would have a long complicated story rather than being just a gag a day strip for D&D fans?

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Yeah, my thumb has the Mark of Zorro on it permanently.

    My hand is what is is. I don't have a full range of motion—the knuckle is very stiff, and when I work a lot it tends to swell and get even stiffer. I sometimes have to take a break from drawing to ice it. There's pain, especially after working but sometimes just because. It definitely limits the amount of time I can work on a single day, though I've mostly been able to work around the limitations on what I can actually do with it. Luckily, because I work on a computer, if I draw a bad line because my knuckle didn't want to bend, I can just undo. I can also magnify the canvas so that the curves I'm drawing don't need to be so tight. I would have a lot more trouble drawing if I needed to do it on paper.
    thanks for the answers you have given so far, and i hope your thumb eventually heals (mine did, and now is nothing but a constant memory not to toy with chinese-made swiss tools)

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Dungeonscape was the last thing I did for them. At some point after that, they asked all their freelancers what their availability over the coming months would be; I responded that I would be working on a new OOTS book (what would become Start of Darkness) and wouldn't available over the next few months. They never contacted me again, and I was off the freelancer list by the time Fourth Edition rolled around. Considering SoD is one of my favorite things I did—and a much better moneymaker than freelance writing, too—I don't regret the decision, but I'll admit I didn't realize I was burning the bridge at the time.
    And I'm glad you did. Dungeonscape is one of my favorite D&D splatbooks (I still mainly play and run 3.5), but Start of Darkness is one of my favorite books period. I'm glad I got more OOTS than anything you hypothetically would have written for D&D.


    Anyways, I have three questions:
    1. Are bugbears viewed negatively by other goblinoids in the same way Redcloak was prejudiced against hobgoblins?

    2. In SoD,
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    Three of the evil gods sided with the Dark One. In the time since, have they remained on friendly(ish) terms with TDO, or was their alliance temporary?


    3. On a less serious note, do you have a favorite of the 'silly forum conjectures' about OOTS? (E.g., predictions that various characters are Redcloak's niece, Haley being half-celestial, Durkon secretly being Trigak polymorphed, the entire comic being a dream of the Sleeping Goblin from strip 1, panel 1, Laurin being the spiked devil called by HPoH, etc.)

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    1. Where'd you get the inspiration for Tarquin?

    2. Did Malack name the vampire "Brother Thundershield"?

    3. Has Xykon yet to perform his greatest act of evil?

    4. To me, the vampire and Hel seem like underdogs; are they going to be sympathetic characters?

    5. Have you watched Steven Universe?
    Last edited by CaDzilla; 2015-04-25 at 08:08 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #113
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions.

    One of your answers (see below) left me with a question though:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    [...]

    I currently have no plans to include a transgender character because I think I kinda screwed up with the Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity story arc. I think I had my bite at that apple and don't think addressing the topic again would really solve anything. It's not as though I could have a transgender character without revisiting the existence of the belt, which may serve to trivialize their identities. However, if I later come up with a way to fit such a character in, I have no objections to doing so.

    I certainly intend to include transgender characters in future works I write.
    [...]
    I recently re-read that arc after remembering how awesome it was. And it still made me giggle a lot. Would you care to explain why you think you blew that Girdle of Feminity/Masculinity story?

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    Is there any character you wrote that you wound up actively disliking as you developed him/her?

    If so, did that dislike lead to you changing the way you treated/wrote the character?

    Also, thanks for making yourself available for these questions, it is greatly appreciated.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    What is the reason of the Dark One's purple skin colour?

    V's line in the first panel: Was s/he sarcastic? Or honest?
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  26. - Top - End - #116
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    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0484.html

    In Haley and Belkar's panel, what is the intended flow of dialogue:

    Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down!

    or

    *off-panel dialogue*
    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down! Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.

    ?
    THE SCRYING EYE AT THE END OF STRIP #698 WAS ZZ'DTRI'S (SOURCE)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gift Jeraff View Post
    elan: dad plz dont kill roy
    tarquin: ok
    Damn it! Now I have to rewrite the script for #917.
    One and the same.

  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Does Haley know V's gender and sexual preference?
    .
    -.____________________
    ./___________________()-------Ron Miel
    |...___________________--------sits down
    |..| |_________________()-------and starts
    |..|/__________________--------singing
    | ___________________()-------about gold

    .

  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mightymosy View Post
    Would you care to explain why you think you blew that Girdle of Feminity/Masculinity story?
    I might be able to help on this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Back when Roy put on the belt of gender-swapping, I went to a convention. At that convention, I met a man who told me that he had enjoyed the comic up until recently. I asked him what had changed. He told me that he, himself, was transgendered, and he found the inclusion of the "cursed" magic item offensive, that the idea of gender-swapping should not be used for comedy, and that it had permanently reduced his opinion of the comic.

    I was shocked, because it had never occurred to me that anyone would see it as any sort of allegory for real-world transsexuals. It was an overtly magical situation, based on a magic item that already existed in the source material, that was forced on a character with no inclination toward it. In the same way that I would not have expected that one of the characters being paralyzed by a ghoul would be offensive to people who are quadriplegic. But maybe it is. At any rate, the situation surprised me and has, most likely, contributed to my gunshy nature about LGBT issues in the comic.

  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    I might be able to help on this one:
    That feels kind of sad to me: there'll always be someone offended by something, rightfully or not, it shouldn't dictate or castrate one's actions. It's impossible to please everyone.

  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: Interview Questions For Rich

    If you were able to have a discussion with one of your characters, who would you want it to be?
    Pseudo-Luigi of the Solt Lorkyurg Fanclub.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgeo View Post
    So Vaarsuvius is an Epic Whatsit now. "Whatsit". I think I like that term.

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