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This Could Be A Dangerous Precedent

After having what was probably intended as a joke land with a thud in this Comixpedia thread, DJ Coffman (who ironically drew the picture you see right up there) got into a sizeable flame-fight. We’ve seen this sort of thing before (and I’m not speaking solely in reference to Coffman here): pissed off people breed ever-higher levels of off-pissedness, which in this case Coffman felt compelled to continue in Lea Hernandez’s blog after the Comixpedia thread got locked. Coffman reports that the target of his original comment, Girlamatic editor Lisa Jonte, followed up with contact to Coffman’s to-be-publisher, Platinum Studios, bringing a real-world component to the Internet Drama. Just life in the modern age, right?

Maybe. Over at his site, Coffman has written a fairly lengthy apology for his behavior earlier in the week. It’s somewhat qualified in places (especially in the first paragraph, where Coffman says that he respects some [emphasis original] of the people in this little contretemps), but on the whole I think it reads as sincere, and hopefully he’s reached out to both Lisa Jonte and Lea Hernandez to personally express his remorse for (let’s be honest here) being a gigantic ass. With any luck, Coffman will think a bit more before hitting the “submit” button next time, which might even become habit for all of us who write things for public consumption.

As long as we’re wishing, I’d like a pony and a plastic rocket. But seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a mea culpa from a flamewar instigator, and while Drama helps to fill the column-inches, we at Fleen welcome this tenuous return to civility.

which might even become habit for all of us who write things for public consumption
Many of us in webcomics have lived under the illusion that there are no consequences for obnoxious or mean online behavior — in fact, in webcomics, it seemed for a while that you could only be rewarded for that kind of thing. I’m as guilty as anybody of stirring up the flames for the sake of drawing attention to myself or my projects. Dick and Fart Joke Column. Need I say more.

I’m learning, and hopefully a lot of us are learning, that now that webcomics is Actually Getting Real, and serious money is coming into play, courtesy and civility are likely to pay better dividends in the long-term than baiting and harrassment.

Let’s hope.


you know you make a lot of good points. especially the setting of a dangerous precedent. When a flame war spills over into real life, and people start trying to defame other creators reputations and names by calling employers, it could really start to have legal ramifications in the real world. Having worked in the illustration/print/advertising industry for the last 15 years, I’ve seen defamation law suits filed over FAR less contemptuous behaviour than what seems to have culminated from this possibly “misunderstood” comment by Mr. Coffman. In a day and age where the internet allows us all IMMEDIATE reaction and opinion, it seems that the standard way to resolve a conflict of interest, intent, or argument, is to start trashing and ridiculing someone else on a personal level, as opposed to trying to work things out one on one. I use the internet as a tool, for research, reference, networking, and information. I find entertainment in webcomics, however there also is an element of politics to it that I find childish. While it doesn’t taint my opinion on the genre, which is more varied than the standard comic book field, it does disappoint me to see it. It seems it all boils down to petty, jealous, irrational, and at times childish behaviour on the part of many. Maybe people would do better to take what’s written on line with a grain of salt, and possibly…..a bit more of a sense of humour. instead of letting everything get under your skin. In defense of Ms. Hernandez (or Mrs. if she is married) she has spoken her mind and defended her position. In defense of Mr. Coffman, he’s spoken his mind, put out that he intended his comments as a joke and eventually apologized for them. However it seems that Ms. Hernadez has fallen into that trap of coming across a bit childish by posting pics of herself giving everyone (or just a few) the middle finger. Maybe she should take your advice that you give for Mr. Coffman and the rest of us and think on some more judicious editing before hitting that submit button. It would also be a good idea for everyone to seriously reconsider taking things so serious they feel the need to spill them over into the real world. They just may one day find themself in a court of law.

Yeah, I think people need to realize that in skirmishes like this, there are no real winners.

DJ has felt the repercussion of having a flame-war on the internet tarnish his opinion to working professionals in the real world, and the Girlamatic folks have come off just as poorly to the internet at large. No one wins, everybody loses – and that is just dealing with the impact on reputation, rather than any more serious ramifications.

It’s true. Nobody wins. In a weird way, I kinda did, because I feel like my relationship with Platinum is even stronger now though.

But seriously, it’s no NEWSFLASH that I’ve been an ass in the past present and likely in the future too. I’m just forward. When I have a problem with someone like, say, Joey Manley, I can get to the bottom of it by just telling him WHY. Not that he has to answer me, but he has, and COMMUNICATION usually works things out. Or allowing someone to say what they meant and not twist it around and do some sort of political like mudslinging.

And when I feel attacked, or put down, I just come out swinging and foaming at the mouth. It’s dumb. And again, even here, if I said any words that were hurtful or people didn’t like, Hey, I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say about it.

There’s this weird thing in America where when something happens, (well maybe it’s all over the world) but when something like this happens, people start talking about lawsuits and crap. But I’m a firm believer in that things can be worked out just by being honest and open and talking to each other. The only way anything needs to go to those LAW levels is if someone is in danger of losing their ass or someone is out to destroy you personally or your character.

Hey, since the heat is on me, and people will likley be swarming for drama, allow me ONE plug to say I just finished the first chapter of my ORIGIN story. Give it a chance, it’s not like anything I’ve ever done before, and you MIGHT just know where I’m coming from a little better. ORIGIN is 31 pages so far:

I agree with you, except for one thing: you’re making a distinction between the Internet and the real world. I think it is more real than you might think, especially for those hoping to make a living using it. The people you interact with aren’t videogame characters; they’re not Sims you can manipulate or Covenant Grunts you can laugh at and destroy. They’re actually real people with real feelings. It’s too easy for some people (including myself in the past) to forget that.


I should mention that the above was in response to Mr. Myth.

Me and DJ? We’re cool right now. Cool as we’ve ever been, anyway.


See? It isn’t all HIGH DRAMA on the open seas. I can be rational.

I used to be very opinionated and very arrogant and insulting towards people. But as anyone with a brain can realise, petty arguments are pointless. Now I generally try to be as polite and diplomatic as possible, but I will sometimes indulge myself, because I’m an asshole at heart.

Well said, Joey.

I think it takes two to instigate a flame-war.

If I post here something insulting and degrading about, say, one of Joey’s long-standing contributors… And nobody else responds, then it’s not a flame-war, is it?

You’re right, Jeff, it’s not a flamewar in that hypothetical case.

It’s just a jerk mouthing off.

That’s what webcomics needs! More jerks mouthing off without being challenged!

Um. No.

Or more idiots twisting words around, then getting upset when someone calls them a name and calling their employers to complain? and then we need to add like, lawsuits and stuff where people get completely broke with court costs because they made DUMB decisions and took things too far. DUHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Why do you have to keep the fires burning Joey? You think you challenged this guy, sounds like they just angered him into calling them names and then they went and bitched and complained to me.


No fires are burning! Let me repeat: DJ and me, we’re fine. We’re friendlier right now than we’ve ever been.

Jeff brought up a hypothetical. I was pondering it.


I haven’t been around webcomics as long as many, about 2 years and change, and a lot this stuff, be it entrenched or new, well, it just befuddles me. Credit to all involved for moving on and being like Fonzie.

That’s right. Cool.

It’s amazing that all this happened over one joke that fell flat. Geez, we’re all too damn sensitive, people. Just too damn sensitive.

I read about Jonte’s complaint to Platinum, and that’s really way out of line. DJ made a bad joke, got in a flame war, and after he cooled off, he apologized. Why take it that far? I’ve been reading a lot of DJ’s stuff, and even had brief forum conversations with him here and there. He’s a decent guy, and didn’t deserve to be countered with what could have been a career-damaging “attack”. (I use that term in the loosest way possible.) To me, that was just petty. You don’t go after a guy’s livlihood just because of ONE bad joke. It wasn’t the smartest move, but it sure didn’t mean DJ was some sort of monster that needed to be stopped. In the end, though, this made everyone look bad. It’s really too bad. I do respect those people involved in this flame-war. We all gotta lighten up, that’s all.

Yeah, right now I don’t hold any ill feelings toward anyone personally. I do think it was sort of dicky thing to go and call Platinum on Jonte’s end, as well as MANY other people are puzzled by that move, and will likely take her less seriously now because of it– and if I wanted to take things further and do law stuff, I actually could, or so I’ve been told, but again, I think THAT is just taking it further and further over something ultimately STUPID on my part. And I’m willing to STOP THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE to save everyone from that unfriendliness.

I hope it’s a lesson to more than just ME though. I reckon that it is. Maybe not though, but who cares.

Amen, DJ.

[…] The recent debacle between DJ Coffman of Yirmumah and Girl-O-Matic has all but quieted down with this interesting comic posted at DJ’s site. Tell us how you really feel, DJ. […]

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