Well hell. If they're watching, I might as well give 'em something to chew on.
I write from the perspective of someone who is strangely fascinated by Goblins in spite of its many well-documented flaws. Here's a bit from Hunt's blog (I'm not using his asinine nickname)... something about "eight questions you were too polite to ask." The first four are about his nervous breakdown thing.
1) "Did you see a professional?” – Yes. I got myself a psychiatrist that I see regularly. He’s awesome and has helped quite a bit.
2) “Are you diagnosed with anything?” – Yes, I was diagnosed. I’m going to keep that diagnosis to myself, though.
3) “Are you on any medication?” – Yup, I’m on an anti-depressant. This is the third medication tried out on me, and this seems to be the one that’s got me able to, you know… live.
4)“Well, are you going to be acting all crazy now?” – No more than usual. None of my symptoms are psychotic, meaning that I’m in no way confused about reality. No hallucinations or bouts of paranoia, etc. What I’m dealing with is anxiety based. Here’s a beautifully portrayed example of what I commonly deal with. It’s a scene from Iron Man 3. Somehow, seeing Tony Stark going through what I go through, makes it a bit less embarrassing.
So all this is about his mental health issues which... yeah, well, sorry to hear about that. I never did quite understand the alleged reason for his breakdown... in his "I Quit" blog post was that he went crazy because he was acting like his fans were his "boss." So in what was supposed to be a life-changing revelation for him, he decided that a collection of random people on the internet weren't his boss. That seems fundamentally obvious stuff. Well done, I guess?
How about we stop talking about Hunt's mental issues and get into the questions about the comic itself...
5) “Is this going to affect the comic? Is Goblins going to be different, now?” – Yes and no. The entire story for Goblins was written years ago, so that’s not going to change.
Wait, what? Let's go over that first part again. "The entire story for Goblins was written years ago, so that's not going to change."
What is that supposed to mean?
It does not mean he scripted out every piece of overwrought dialogue and has it all written down on note paper somewhere, nor that each page has been storyboarded out far in advance. Nobody does that. So he could learn a thing or two about writing and at the very least tighten up his prose and pacing, even if he refuses to change the plot.
What he's saying with the "already written" statement is that he has an outline. Congratulations. Lots of writers work from an outline. But as any decent writer will tell you, outlines aren't perfect. Hell, any first draft a writer produces probably sucks. It's nothing to be ashamed of... pretty much all great writers generate shitty first drafts.
But Hunt is saying he's a slave to his outline. "The entire story was written years ago..." as if it came down off a mountain on stone tablets. What he's saying is that he cannot possibly have a better idea now than he had years ago when he made the original outline. It means he refuses to revise or review his storyline, because everything that dribbled out of his brain back in those whirlwind days of creating the precious outline is somehow golden and immaculate. It means he refuses to improve his writing.
Which makes him a pretentious little amateur.
Let's take the second part of that answer...
5) [continued] "But in the last seven months, I’ve been drawing things that are very different than Goblins and I’ve learned quite a bit about new techniques, etc. This is bound to create a bit of a leap in artistic quality. Aside from that, Goblins is still going to be Goblins."
Subtext: "My writing is perfect and wonderful, but maybe I could improve my art."
Well, I would submit that his writing could use a lot of work too, but there's no argument that a leap in artistic quality would be much warranted. So let's look at the first page of this bold new era.
We have a new logo that looks like someone sprayed purple snot all over it, rendering it barely legible. And it has more Photoshop effects. Not an improvement.
Looking at the comic, I see that multicolored snot effects are part of the new Hunt artistic revolution. Blood looks like red snot, the bridge looks like grey snot, Forgath-dwarf's beard looks like light brown snot or translucent strings of snot, and Kore-dwarf's beard looks like ropes of dark-colored snot. All this snot is drawn with a lot of attention to detail, but in such a way that reduces clarity.
We have a variety of confusingly-done motion effects. Very hard to tell what's going on, which has always been a trademark of Hunt's art. No improvement there... in fact, some steps back as he tries to use a lot of motion lines and clumsy translucency effects to compensate for weak composition.
Oh look, floating panels. How sophisticated. This is a layout gimmick that adds nothing--in fact, it eats away at a page's usable real estate. Several of these action panels are made smaller than they would be in a conventional layout so they can float over the background panel, giving him less space to draw a clear picture of what's going on.
This is the leap in artistic quality? For Christ's sake, if he wants to revolutionize his art, Hunt should spend some time with Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art. Practice composition and layout. Increase clarity. Added complexity is not always an improvement. In fact, simplicity works better most of the time. All he's done with this "leap" is add a lot of time-consuming new snot-rendering techniques that don't actually enhance anything. And the last thing he needs is to slow down his pace.
6) “What of the comic’s update schedule?” – I honestly don’t know. Although I’m still dealing with those “Tony Stark” issues, they are getting less frequent and I’m certain this is all totally temporary and there will come a time when all of this stuff is a distant memory.
Obviously he didn't create any kind of buffer for himself, because he's had one update and going on three weeks of dicking around with his unnecessary, self-indulgent artistic tricks while crafting the next (assuredly snot-intensive) page.
Oh and this thing about "Tony Stark" issues? Sounds like he's enshrining his mental problems as some kind of noble virtue here. I try to be understanding of people's health challenges, and mental health matters have all sorts of unhelpful stigmas attached to them... but Hunt so often comes across as a drama queen that it's hard to maintain sympathy sometimes.
7) “Isn’t Goblins your job? How have you lived this long without an income?” – I wield the sword of debt, brandish the shield of IOUs and don the armour of ‘Please Don’t Cut Off My Power’
But God forbid Hunt does anything to make himself better at his job. He spent a lot of time making a new website (which is awful and no improvement), a new logo (which is awful and no improvement), and a new artistic style (which is overly-complicated, ugly, addresses none of his real artistic weaknesses, and is more time-consuming). Well done.
8) “Do you have less readers after the hiatus?” – I’m certain that I have lost some amount of readers after seven months of silence. I’m not sure what that amount is yet, but I suppose we’ll see, after a few updates happen and some of those readers that (understandably) wandered off, decide to come back. But it’d be crazy to take this much time off and not expect there to be some damage to the size of my reader-base. We’ll see what the future holds.
That would be "fewer readers." Ahem.
Hunt has probably lost a lot of readers, but he does have a pretty sizable fan base. He's also have decided to indulge his worst artistic impulses, listen to his enablers ("You don't need to behave like a professional and stick to an update schedule! Take your sweet time, fragile genius!"), and give himself a free pass to update at whatever sluggish pace he can maintain between bouts of feeling heroically sorry for himself. At this rate, he may well dip past the critical threshold of readership that allows him to maintain this as a full-time job. Stay tuned for the probable Tempts Fate "please bail me out of debt" fundraiser.
But hey, look! On that latest page, Forgath is openly weeping during his battle scene. Hunt can still bring the SAD, baby! So it's all good.