Oh, wow. I have a BLOG? A place where I can write and say things that are on my mind and share it with the world? EXTRAVAGANT!
My comic, El Goonish Shive, is arguably very strange. In this age of the internet, what does and does not qualify as strange is a bit iffy, but I would still argue that my comic qualifies. It includes a lot of unusual elements and combinations of said elements that attract multiple niche audiences who read it less for the whole and more for specific aspects of it. After over eight years of EGS and time spent online, I have learned something about niche audiences:
Niche audiences can be very difficult to please, and not pleasing them can result in hostility.
I'm not saying this is true of everyone who read EGS because it fits a niche. In fact, I believe (hope?) that the vast majority are pretty easy going and friendly. As is the case with a loud man talking in a room full of a hundred quiet people, however, the demanding portion of the audience stand out significantly even if they are not the majority.
By very difficult to please, I mean there's a portion of the audience who are looking for very specific things, and my comic comes close to what they specifically want without actually doing so. This leads to frustration on their end, and sometimes to my receiving some pretty nasty and continuously negative feedback.
This leads to my own frustration, as the people I refer to are likely to continue reading my comic due to it almost being specifically what they want, them continuing to act with hostility because it's not specifically what they want, and me getting annoyed because it will never be specifically what they want due to what they want being so specific that I'd basically have to make a different comic altogether.
This doesn't just happen with my comic (boy, wouldn't that be weird?). There are people with very specific tastes in regard to many things, and that on its own isn't a problem. One can have very specific tastes without being pushy about it. I myself have some very specific tastes. The X-Files was a show I kept watching because it was almost what I wanted, and it was frustrating because it wasn't what I specifically wanted, and it never became what I wanted.
Heck, it only got worse. Remember when Mulder left and they kept going? I mean, what the hell, right? Scully was cool and all in a "oh my GOD you've been slapped by the paranormal HOW many times and you still won't accept it's real" sort of way, but Mulder was the heart of the show. Without Mulder, it freakin' wasn't the same show. What the hell were they-- Wait, where was I?
Anyway, for the X-Files to become what I wanted, it would have to alienate (PUN!) the majority of its audience. It would need a lighter tone, more humor, confirm the existence of aliens in season one, etc. I would have loved that. The show would've been canceled a few weeks later, but I would've been momentarily placated. The happy ending is that Warehouse 13 now exists, and it's pretty damn close to the tone I wanted. I think Pete is overly goofy to the point of being somewhat difficult to believe at times, but it's close enough, darn it!
Anyway, I don't know if I actually have a moral to this blog post. I mostly wanted to vent a bit about some of the continuous feedback I get from people who will never be satisfied with my work short of drastically altering it to the point that it would no longer be something I'd want to make. It also lead to me thinking about how I've been in that position, as I didn't sit down to write this with any intent of bringing up the X-Files, but there it is.
I guess if there was an ultimate point to it, it would be that if a creator is making apples, feedback on how to make better apples can be helpful and encouraging. Feedback to the same creator in regard to making better oranges and continually hoping said apples will become oranges, however, is ultimately frustrating and demotivational for all concerned.
...Wait, my web browser's dictionary doesn't consider "demotivational" a word? BAH! The interwebs has MADE it a word! Websters, get on that crap. Like, for reals. This toad won't fly.