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Apr 4 17 10:51 PM

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I've picked back up on my serious webcomic binging since my recent college graduation. I'll flip through Hiveworks, search for a gem in the topwebcomics standings, and sometimes be blessed with the occasional decent Imgur recommendation (that's another discussion I wish to bring up at another time). Even if I come across a comic I consider poor or mediocre, I've yet to bring anything up to the forums, as I'd rather bring something that I could present as review-worthy. This, however, I just had to share.

Digging into twc sent me to The Sanity Circus, a webcomic hosted alongside webcomics by other artists on the same website. A woman who goes by Windy is the author of this particular comic.

Sanity Circus starts the first page with the assassination a political figurehead, the second page with the main character Attley being apathetic about the situation, and the next 250 pages never mentioning this event again. There's all sorts of magic, anti-human beings called the scarecrow, anthropomorphic instruments, and, frankly, only one arc so far dealing with an actual circus. From my personal criticizing standpoint, I enjoyed the twists and such, and there was nothing that struck me close to objectable by the time I finished the archive.

That was until a few days later, when I noticed that the third author Q and A had been posted after the 14th chapter. One of the fan questions presented was "Who are all the lgbt+ peeps?" with Windy responding that ALL SEVEN OF THE MAJOR RECURRING CHARACTERS are one or some combination of sexual or gender orientation other than straight. 

Now, let me step back a little. From the perspective of one individual in the comments section (yes, there is a comment section):
"I'm really glad that these characters' genders/sexualities are just presented as traits of theirs, and that there doesn't have to be some big, contrived, dramatic in-comic reveal about them." - Bee

And that is something that I can definitely agree with. But at this point, SC is nearly 400 pages in. There is minimal romantic subtext, if any, throughout the entire comic that can clue you in on maybe one or two of the characters. Plus, there is no character section, which is something that should definitely be added, lest a new reader's mind be given the chance to casually misinterpret even a single character as a heterosexual.

Alright, that's as far as I'll go. Windy knows who reads her comic and cares about her audience, so beyond the title of the topic I won't fault SC any further. Instead, I'd like to get other opinions on this sort of situation. If I recall correctly, I know that some webcomics such as Computer Love and Floraverse were faulted for some percieved over-correction of diversity. Objectively, can an author be criticized solely on character traits determined, and if so, where is the limit?
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#1 [url]

Apr 5 17 6:13 PM

Characters are as much an element and tool of storytelling as anything else is. Poor characterization is a valid demerit from any kind of work. What the character does is more important than who the character is. A janitor and a physicist could be interchangeable in some stories. The idea that stories need main character ensembles to have specific biological and physical traits is a meme. The idea that characters need to be relatable is a crutch for the reader and the author. Characters serve to bring the plot into motion, thus if a characterization is counter-intuitive to the plot, or runs at a perpendicular to the other characters, then it is executed in poor taste. It has nothing to do with representation or lack thereof. I am reviewing, and think inconsiderably, of computer love because of its absurd setting and plot development. If Computer love's lack of merits only lied on the characters, that would be concerning.

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#3 [url]

Apr 8 17 9:01 AM

I think the question relies on whether or not they are good characters to begin with.

Like, a lot of series have some sort of "series bible" thing that is know only to the creators and helps write the characters, often without the audience ever knowing those details in the first place. Given the detail of the characters' sexuality in this comic was prompted by a question, and romance plays no role in this story, I think it is fair to give it a pass.

I mean, is not like the author is using LGBT+ issues to promote her comic despite having little impact with the plot. She just kinda answered a comment, I think...

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#4 [url]

Apr 8 17 4:32 PM

I mean, is not like the author is using LGBT+ issues to promote her comic despite having little impact with the plot. She just kinda answered a comment, I think...

Could still be a sellout.  Like when JK Rowling said Dumbledore was gay, though it was never indicated in the books.

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