You may recall my earlier post detailing my sadness upon learning that one of my favorite webcomics, Pictures for Sad Children, had been deleted by its artist and creator John Campbell.
Upon learning that he had a Kickstarter project involving the release of his comics in bound and printed form, I concluded that perhaps he didn’t want the free online version of his work competing with his professional work. Sadly, I have recently learned that the reality is much, much stranger than that.
As the bottom of that Wikipedia article indicates, in fact.
Campbell had gained a degree of notority for apologizing for purportedly “pretending to be depressed for money”. Which is quite peculiar, but not nearly as weird as it would become…
John Campbell recently announced that all of the Kickstarter rewards which were going to be sent out had been, and that nothing else would be forthcoming – regardless of what had been promised or what people had paid for. In fact, he released a video showing him burning printed copies of the book, one for each email he had received from people asking where their books were. Along with the video was… well, a rant.
This might lead you to think that Campbell is staging some kind of avant-garde performance art, which wouldn’t be incompatible with the style of his comic. Possibly the whole thing is being faked… except for the vast number of people who haven’t received the work that they paid for and are beginning to become angry.
The rant itself sounds very much as though Campbell were sliding into depression, or schizophrenia. Not quite at the word salad stage, but approaching it. Faked? Perhaps… not. It’s really quite disturbing. Campbell claims to have realized that he’s a transwoman, says that he has about $750 total, and has a lot of reasonably incoherent things to say about capitalism, society, and ‘privilege’.
Some people now claim they are working to scan the copies of the book and put them online.
I don’t know what the full truth behind any of this is, but one way or another, it seems to be the end of John Campbell’s career. Possibly the beginning of a number of angry lawsuits, although if the statement about the checking is correct I doubt there will be much of anything to win.