This might seem like a weird topic… you know, celebrating UN-fan mail… but I’m in a weird mood today, so here goes… (this post was originally published with a different intro and headline)…
I was reading through some fan mail to pull a couple of funny quotes for a book I’m working on and I came across some really awesome hate mail. (I save the good and the bad.) Don’t worry, I didn’t get all of these in one week or anything, they span about an eight year time frame. The thing is, truly heartfelt hate mail is almost as meaningful as fan mail… it means people care enough about what you’re doing to write to you and complain.
After doing comics for twenty years I now have a much thicker skin than I used to.
Constructive feedback is always welcome. Comics can be a solitary endeavor. It’s easy to lose yourself in your work. Late nights, too much coffee, and going down some rabbit hole of a story line… and then realizing you’ve written yourself into a corner. Jane’s World has always been that kind of creative work. I made a conscious effort not to overthink Jane’s path, and to let her world organically evolve. I think doing that makes what ends up on the page authentic and unfiltered… or, at least, that’s been my goal. Which brings me to some of my most awesome hate mail. I’ve pulled a few of my favorites to share with you. These are all emails I’ve received, without edits.
This first one might be my favorite:
“Dear Paige Braddock,
My assessment of your ‘comic’ strip is that it is not funny. I accessed it through comics.com, it being recommended to me as something a regular reader of Pearls Before Swine might also enjoy. First, I don’t like comics, such as yours with a story line that must be followed daily so as to get it. Next, the three characters that I saw in your ‘comic’ strip are women and as just about everyone knows women have no or a poor sense of humor. How could you possibly make them funny? Here’s an idea, kill them off by having their planes collide in mid-air and replace them with just about anything else.
Best wishes, Mr. Edwards”
But wait… there’s more…
“Here’s the problem with you fags. You think you can do anything. If any other comic strip had a guy grabbing a chicks tit it would be banished. But a lezzy doing its OK. Right. Fuck you!” — J.
“I used to enjoy Jane’s World but I’m no longer going to read it because, frankly, you’re a flake. You disappear for months at a time and subject your readers to repeated comics during that time. Your website is sadly out of date. I found a list of publications elsewhere on your website that you claimed run Jane’s World. All the ones I checked did not run your comic. The one I didn’t check was because it was blocked by my antivirus for being a Trojan.” — C.
“You have a lot of talent and Jane’s World has the potential to be a great lesbian comic but you need to grow up and assume some responsibility.” — G.
“The phrase “painfully slow” comes to mind.” — J.
“WOULD YOU PLEASE GET THIS DAMN STORY INTO SOME SEMBLANCE OF CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER??? I CAN’T KEEP THE STORY LINE STRAIGHT. OR IS THERE EVEN A STORY LINE???” — H.
This is why sometimes it’s a relief to simply do jokes about missing socks. Take care, friends. And be kind to one another. I’m happy to report that for every over-the-top angry email, I get a hundred positive messages. Life is good and comics make the world a better place.