Penny/OtSoW 9 – 20

OtSoW: 9 – 20 (read in order).
There’s the first little foothold. More soon.

125 Responses to “Penny/OtSoW 9 – 20”

  1. Zinaida Says:

    Black pages with black text, right?

  2. admin Says:

    Black pages – all day every day.

  3. acriman Says:

    you’re hiding the PLOT under them, aren’t you?
    i’m on to you dan.

  4. Shish Says:


    (Seriously, whenever you post new stuff I get joygasms in my brain's art department :3)

  5. Jet Says:

    It will happen.

  6. Not One Of Us Says:

    Where’s page 20?

    WHERE’S PAGE 20?

  7. Zinaida Says:

    I know, brah! Naw, page one, is actually called page zero, so twenty is nineteen.

  8. couchfort Says:

    Oh Dan, I knew you wouldn’t abandon your all black pages roots! <3

    I can't wait for this to all actually make fucking sense, and stops feeling like Dan just posting random disconnected images. Either way… YAY MOAR PENNY!

  9. Aristagon Says:

    I sometimes think Dan should do an Animation Film like the old BLAME! Shortfilms. Experimental Slow pace storytelling.

  10. jesusdan Says:

    dan? dan, i’m ready for more fungus among us.

  11. jesusdan Says:

    マジで, ready…

  12. Jo-ou Says:


    It has come to this.

  13. couchfort Says:

    Weird mutant chicks and all black pages… Paper TWELVE!

  14. X Says:

    using images as narrative often works well … when you have a narrative.

  15. admin Says:

    Nar… ra… tive?

    It sounds… familiar… yet…



  16. iKo Says:

    Who are you?

  17. sp_ Says:

    I can’t understand what you are trying to say anymore. You obviously have a talent for this medium, but you seem to struggle so much with the format you force yourself into. I get the fusion of the japanese aesthetic with british fairy tale setting. The book-like meta text elements. It’s unique and fascinating. But you constantly paint yourself into a corner with the open ended exposition and ambiguities. There is a threshold where things get so murky that it’s impossible to say anything anymore. You have reel it in a little and start making sense.

    Pacing is another huge problem. This update was like 10 pages of a weird monster we don’t know anything about drawn from 10 different angles. Why was Endless 8 such a huge failure? Because after 3 episodes it’s an insult to the viewer, on a fundamental, conceptual level, no matter how hard the animators and voice actors might have tried to salvage it.

    One is art.
    Two is irony.
    Three is meta.
    Four+ is an insult.

    Well, I’m just a critic. I never tried to draw much of anything.

  18. admin Says:

    I think that’s a fair assessment and a legitimate grounds for complaint.

    Anyway, like I said in an earlier comment thread, this won’t be a descendent of the PXI-NNN line, though it may employ a few of the tools developed from that line. Penny should actually be fairly straight-forward (at least in large stretches). Whereas PXI and NNN could be seen as exercises in fragmentation (PXI looking out from the inside, NNN looking in from the outside) Penny could be seen as a violent ordering: something like taking a memory lasagna, taking it apart, and then making a pile of noodles, a cup of tomato sauce, reconstituting the zucchini, a block of cheese, etc. … the lasagna is still there, but not quite in the same as it was before. It’s unfortunate that, as you say, pacing is an issue here. The thing should be experienced as one solid block. At least, that’s my own take on things for the moment.

    Metal Fist will be a straight descendant of the Nana-Kanami line and should read like pretty much any other manga (except for the flexibility of variable chapter lengths).

    Since Metal Fist will be that straightforward, I wanted to make sure I have a project on hand to receive my artfaggotry.

    I hope that throws some light on the situation.

    That said, I think talk of an obligation on the part of the author for interpretive success is a bit of an overreach. There are lot of complicated issues and I’m not really certain on any of them, but from reading things like Davidson’s What Metaphors Mean in light of things like the indeterminacy of translation and Rorty’s thoughts in The Inspirational Value of Great Works of Literature it seems to me (at least for the moment) that to the extent that a piece of art strives to be Art and imagine something outside our literal, ordinary, everyday linguistic and social practices it must give up the idea of conveying a precise meaning, for having such a precise meaning must mean that the art is precisely described by our ordinary, everyday linguistic and social practices and so not be Art at all. The value of Art, like metaphor, lies in the provocation of the imagination

    Maybe you’re just being colourful with your words, though, and all you mean to say is something like: “sometimes when I consider a piece of work I strongly suspect [possibly for good reasons] that the payoff might not be worth the effort”. That’s just a personal judgement on the relative merits of doing one activity vs another in light of your particular goals at the time — I think that’s totally legit. You may also recommend to others this a good course of action. That’s a social, pragmatic thing and provided you can give good reasons, this is also legit. But what doesn’t seem to be a legit move in the justifying game is invoking the idea you’ve perceived a fundamental, unanalyzable concept and anyone who disagrees has simply failed to correctly perceive it.

    To see why, consider Endless eight: I found it instructive and useful and I appreciated it, I liked it, and it stimulated my imagination and it didn’t seem like an insult at all. Now, if I say I’ve come to see this judgement as correct due to some inferences I’ve made and/or behavioural responses I’ve had — we can talk things out and give and take reasons and identify causes and I could possibly change mind (by finding bad inferences or better reasons or applying different causes). But if I say that my judgement is correct because it’s based on the apprehension of fundamental, unanalyzable, conceptual content, what further moves are left in the game? This is too much like claiming a revelation from god or answering the question “I think it’s good. Why do you think it’s bad?” with “Because it IS bad.” or saying “X is the answer because it’s true that X is the answer.”

    Anyway, I’ve gone on too long, but I wanted to answer in a serious sort of way.

    Anyone can criticize, you don’t have to be a surgeon to criticize a botched operation. The quality of reasons provided by a surgeonvs non-surgeon critic may vary, but the pragmatic force of arguments may well be the equal in the most important cases (e.g, “he chopped off the wrong arm” vs “in procedure X technique A1 was used, but technique A2, which yields a 0.1% better outcome, should have been used instead”).

    I take criticism as seriously as I can and deeply appreciate it. I think the pragmatic force behind your criticism is quite serious and I’ll think it over. Thanks, sp.

  19. Reese Says:

    After reading both arguments, all I can think of is…
    Dan doesn’t like tautology?

  20. admin Says:

    I just don’t think that kind of answer moves the conversation forward.

    It’s something like the difference between:

    A1. Endless_Eight has properties {x1, x2, x3, …} (with xi not equal to artistic_failure)
    A2. x1 = has_>4_episodes
    A3. If Z has the property has_>4_episodes then is_an_artistic_failure(Z) = true
    –> is_an_artistic_failure(Endless_Eight) = true
    –> Therefore Endless Eight is an artistic failure


    B1. Endless_Eight has properties {x1, x2, x3, ….}
    B2. x1 = has_>4_episodes = artistic_failure
    B3. If Z has the property artistic_failure then is_an_artistic_failure(Z) = true
    –> Endless_Eight has properties {artistic_failure, x2, x3, ….}
    –> is_an_artistic_failure(Endless_Eight) = true
    –> Therefore Endless Eight has the property of being an artistic failure

    The term “has_>4_episodes” which appears in both in arguments A and B actually seems to name two totally different properties. Therefore the Endless_Eight named in each argument appear to be different objects. In order to even talk things out, we have to decide on which Endless_eight is worth talking about. I think Argument A is better since we can agree on A1 and A2 and discuss A3 while in Argument B everything is a matter of contention due to the definition in B2, especially if the answer to “Why assert B2?” is “Because B2”.

    Whew. I hope I’m looking at this right, I’m WAY out of my depth. Someone please help me if I’ve gone bonkers.

  21. Zinaida Says:

    Boom shanker.

  22. TheEFAF Says:

    All I know is, regardless of whether I understand what Dan is drawing/making or not, I enjoy it anyway. I like the way he draws things, and that is good enough for me.

    ….does that make me shallow?
    English class rather made me adverse to doing anything but taking what I am looking at straightforward. I hate the “well the author meant that the white draperies represented innocence…” bullshit. You don’t fucking know what the author meant, and I always felt a little cheer in Finding Forrester when Forrester said he stopped writing because people were reading so much bullshit into his work that he couldn’t stand it anymore. I felt the same way. So I just take things as they come. I guess that means I read things on a more shallow level by choice, but it’s very enjoyable that way and I don’t feel like I’m twisting the author’s words around into my own beast. Which, funnily enough, seems to be at odds with what Dan is trying to do in his more loosely narrated works. Haha sorry Dan I just don’t read stuff that way.

  23. admin Says:

    I like that a lot. I think readers ought to be able to do whatever they want with what they read. Authors can say what they meant, but we don’t have to believe them and we don’t even have to care. That’s one of the reasons I look back on the PXI reader’s guide as a massive failure on my part and a big trespass on the reader’s domain. : /

  24. Jo-ou Says:

    I think you’re both thinking this way too hard.

    Here’s what I suggest: stop reading. No, seriously. I dropped NNN about halfway through (I think it was when the text heavy sections started cropping up), because it was very apparent that reading it a couple pages every month or so just wouldn’t cut it. Later I got the book (you rock, Dan mah boi) and I enjoyed it immensely.

    This plodding release pace coupled with Dan’s particular (let’s not call it obtuse) style compounds your frustration, I think. Imagine if you had to read four pages of BLAME! a month. I find that it’s best to take Dan’s work once whole, so you can go back and forth at your leisure.

    I was hoping to avoid this for Penny, since this is something I have been anticipating for the better part of a decade, now (ho shit), but if he dies, he dies.

  25. sp_ Says:

    10 bucks says you watched Haruhi seaason 2 by torrent and not broadcast.

  26. admin Says:

    That is a fan-fucking-tastic idea.
    I love you, man.

    I watched it every week, once a week, during broadcast. It was torture, but delicious torture.
    I got a lot of enjoyment out of the /a/ rage threads, too.

  27. Doo Doo Doo Says:

    I feel like there’s a narrative in your work, but we never quite see it lift off the ground. Jo-ou pretty much got it down. It must be hard to have great ideas, but never see them put into play in full motion.

    Also, Dan: Have you played Skullgirls?

  28. Jo-ou Says:

    >Authors can say what they meant, but we don’t have to believe them and we don’t even have to care.

    This is something I can definitely get behind. I’ve put some thought into this, despite not being a creator of content, and I pretty much came to the conclusion that an artist may own the right to profit from his work, but he doesn’t necessarily “own” his work, if that makes sense.

  29. Jet Says:

    “I think the reason Ormuz always talks in riddles …. is that he has nothing intelligent to say!”

    Or so the argument goes. Because it’s been abused by some authors, some people are leery of really indirect narratives, or narratives where the author presents a “mysterious” story/narrative where it’s hard to tell what’s going on. The abuse is that some authors will do that, and once they get to the big reveal (whether uncovering the mystery, or whether just becoming clear enough about the setting that people can finally piece together a narrative), it turns out that nothing really remarkable is going on. Or worse, that they actually have nothing _at all_ to reveal, and they cop out with the “mask behind the mask” ending.

    Cardinal Sinner? The TV Series “Lost.”

    Whether you agree with it or not, all of human history across all cultures, even those without shared history, has consistently agreed that “mysterious presentation” = “profound thesis being delivered”. It’s why wizards, priests and professors all share a certain enigmatic quality, and a certain love of riddles. So if you’re being really enigmatic, and you don’t actually have something profound to say, a lot of people are gonna be rather ticked.

    Personally, I don’t really know what to think about this – it’s not a big turnoff for me, since a lot of works that fail at the long game of providing a good overarching story nevertheless provide a bunch of really good snippets of story or small stories on the way. I do think, though, that it really helps when something that’s playing the “mysterious” game really does have a great idea to reveal when they get around to it. I think it’s the difference between being, say, a neat story, and being a literary classic. Like, for example, even though I don’t think you’ve yet hit it out of the park with an amazing “core plot idea”, you’ve got piles of cool sub-ideas that keep me hooked as a fan.

    And getting a brilliant “main plot idea” can be hard as shit, because there aren’t fundamentally a lot of unique ideas out there (finite combinatorial space and all), and a lot of those ideas can often seem to be “taken”. Then again, the turnover as new generations are born, and the relatively small amount of exposure people have to literature’s back catalog when they’re, say, 15, means that new generations always tend to get virgin exposure to cool ideas in a different work than those before them.

    So yeah, I don’t know. I’m personally fine with whatever you do. (Not like I have any leverage to change your mind anyways, lol, but it still doesn’t hurt to say so.)

  30. TheEFAF Says:

    I certainly don’t mind mysterious, broken, or fractured narratives. I enjoy them if they’re presented well, and I liked the “feel” I got from NNN. It had a very nice atmospheric quality, and I’m all about stuff like that. Usually I read what Dan does in the piecemeal updates, enjoy them, read the whole thing together when it’s done, and enjoy it some more. Even if I’m looking at one finished square of a painting, I can still enjoy that square before seeing the rest take form.

    There seems to be two meanings people take on “pacing”. I take it in the narrative of the story itself: how fast things happen from page to page regardless of when it’s updated. Other people define pacing as “update schedule” which…in that case, I’d say use the term “update schedule” since that’s what you really meant. I mind bad pacing a lot more than bad update schedules, but Dan gets narrative stuff done in general. Most story updates have meat so I’ve nothing to complain about.

    tl;dr Dan, just keep on making stuff, that’s all. I like your art.

  31. X Says:

    Yeah, narrative, dan, the stuff you’re really good at when you put your mind to it.

  32. RGE Says:

    There. Done. I hope this won’t come up on the test. And that goes for the comments too.

  33. couchfort Says:

    @Jet: Weird, I literally JUST replayed Diablo 2 a few days ago.

    What you say makes perfect sense, and in the case of Dan, I’m not worried about the payoff. Because I’ve read Dan’s works the last several years so I know he can write. I am ALSO put off by people throwing down the art card, especially as a filmmaker and a writer myself, where they claim the interpretation is “open-ended” and you KNOW its because they don’t actually understand what they wrote themselves. But its usually clear when you’re reading/watching something that doesn’t have a full vision of itself and is just going to cop out with the ending. Or at least if you have the eye for it. Its why I only watched the first few episodes of Lost and never bothered following the rest of the series. Its why I only watched the first episode of American Horror Story (show is SO fucking bad).

    But again, this is Dan we’re talking about, and I trust his writing far more than most so-called “professional” writers. And like Jo-ou, I’ve also been anticipating for Penny since it was Penny Tribute, and that was four years ago. I’m ready to see where this goes at long last.

  34. jesusdan Says:

    i’m down with all the discussion as it’s really quite interesting, but it comes down to this for me…if we weren’t into what you are doing here, you’d probably know it. i’m not showing up here bitching for more every handful of days because your work is unfulfilling or too slow with updates or takes too long for a narative to come together, or “OMG, what does what i’m looking at really mean?!”. obviously everybody looks at, and takes away from any work of art or story, something different than the other folks experiencing it. when it becomes obvious that there’s no appeal, people will stop asking for it. end of story.

    that being said, moar please…you long winded fucker.

  35. iKo Says:

    (Just saying, guys, this has been one of the most interesting discussions to date. I guess y’all can really talk about these things in depth when there’s something there to actually discuss.)

  36. TheEFAF Says:

    I just want
    More facebirds


  37. Aristagon Says:

    Well I realy like the recent participytions on discussions, in the comments.
    On the otherhand the Board seems rather dead.

    Its weird, Clone-Army was and is still the website with the longest break in Updates or any Comicpages at all, but since more than a decade its the only site I frequent more than once a week. Maybe I am a Fanboy, but its always worth to check the site for a nice update, even when its waiting for months….

    Well for some good films, try:

    Synecdoche, NY & Primer

    Booth are well made films which could fit in the interest sheme of the average Cone-Army reader; which is on the last thought: WTF…????

  38. Jet Says:

    @Aristagon It is very helpful that people here are willing to have civil discussions; I half expected to try talking about something meaningful, and just get drowned out in a youtube-comment-thread-shitsunami.

    Which makes me happy because there are things worth discussing, about dan’s work.

  39. couchfort Says:

    When we’re not being cunts, we’re all actually very intelligent readers. Which makes sense, since I think you have to have a certain level of intelligence and a taste for the abnormal to understand or even appreciate Dan Kim comics.

    @Aristagon: THANK YOU! Totally forgot I wanted to look up Primer! I remember seeing the trailer and being really excited, then a classmate of mine saw it and said it was fucking awesome, and then I just totally forgot to actually watch it.

    Also need to look up Combat Shock, which was recommended to me by a movie collector I met at a punk venue sometime last summer.

  40. Aristagon Says:

    Dan’s structure in narration have always Remind me of experimental Film. And than with all the typographical stuff its getting something realy unique. Like a rollercoaster with hard breaks in the middle of Loopings, an unpleasent Ride but also with a certain thrill.
    Oh well i am also creating a small Clone-Army Parody and will Share it with your folks soon.

    By the Way. Do anyone Intent to go to the International Comic Salon Erlangen (Germany) this Year?

  41. maaya Says:

    kinda going with what theEFAF is saying: are the fungis girl-face related to the face birds =/?

  42. Aristagon Says:

    Its the home of the halfexposed Facebird Mother, I guess

  43. moe 21.0 Says:

    Whole buncha confusing stuff in this thread. Gotta get crackin’!


    >Dan, “Maybe you’re just being colourful with your words, though, and all you mean to say is something like: “sometimes when I consider a piece of work I strongly suspect [possibly for good reasons] that the payoff might not be worth the effort”. That’s just a personal judgement on the relative merits of doing one activity vs another in light of your particular goals at the time — I think that’s totally legit. You may also recommend to others this a good course of action. That’s a social, pragmatic thing and provided you can give good reasons, this is also legit. But what doesn’t seem to be a legit move in the justifying game is invoking the idea you’ve perceived a fundamental, unanalyzable concept and anyone who disagrees has simply failed to correctly perceive it.”

    I think the complication presented here between Danny Boy and sp_ is relatively very classical. It’s a case of over-blowing. sp_’s error in the artist-audience role is, as Dan said, that he’s arbitrating objectivism. However, since objectivism is normally considered mysticism, I think Dan has not just made a mistake in his method, but also that he’s mistaken to some degree the subjective role of the audience, and how he as an artist must compensate for that.

    But I’m very disconcerted that sp_ has made an arbitrary assertion, and has in some way tried to reproduce in his own words what the artist was trying to do. If you don’t get some art, then that’s your problem – but you don’t suffer, the artist does. It’s good that you voiced your opinion, but never reprimand an artist on his method; only on your reception of his work.

    >TheEFAF: “English class rather made me adverse to doing anything but taking what I am looking at straightforward. I hate the “well the author meant that the white draperies represented innocence…” bullshit. You don’t fucking know what the author meant,”

    Absolutely no aspect of knowledge is refined to the point of absolution. Interpretation is a method of observing the most graspable aspects of some model, or body of information. Because information is only suggestive, and cannot be facilitated with certainty, we can only strive for the absolute. What you learn in class is not absolute; it’s the best that the teacher’s course-reader’s got. Your problem is that you’re admonishing the system for claiming absolution when it’s clearly not, in addition to disenfranchising a science that has been developed for millennia and mastered in the last 500 years. Fiction is a service, whereby the author makes it easier for a wider audience to happen upon relatively profound paradigms. Never knock a suggestion, and never seek absolution; you’ll die friendless and lost.

    >Dan, “That’s one of the reasons I look back on the PXI reader’s guide as a massive failure on my part and a big trespass on the reader’s domain. : /”

    My philosophy is that you shouldn’t enter in an argument unless you know your opponent is wrong. I think you should specify and refine certain contestations you have first, or develop a better idea about what you actually wanna do. Like TheEFAF was saying, maybe you just want to paint pretty pictures. Monet did the same, and was laughed at in his early days. By the end of his life, his paintings were selling for over 80 million. So don’t despair; I project your discontent comes from a feeling of not having made a deadline or something, like you should have been better at this point. You should welcome any opportunity to be proven wrong or to spectate revulsion of your art – both are opportunities to improve.

    >Jo-ou: “>Authors can say what they meant, but we don’t have to believe them and we don’t even have to care.

    This is something I can definitely get behind. I’ve put some thought into this, despite not being a creator of content, and I pretty much came to the conclusion that an artist may own the right to profit from his work, but he doesn’t necessarily “own” his work, if that makes sense.”

    If you’re not willing to enjoy art, again, that’s your problem, but the artist suffers, since he doesn’t get attention. And of course he owns his work, are you huffin paint? People can come and go and take what they want from his work, but to claim they have any right to change it, and thus exert their ownership, is absurd beyond Carl Sagan’s zaniest pot nightmares.

    >Jet, “Whether you agree with it or not, all of human history across all cultures, even those without shared history, has consistently agreed that “mysterious presentation” = “profound thesis being delivered”. It’s why wizards, priests and professors all share a certain enigmatic quality, and a certain love of riddles. So if you’re being really enigmatic, and you don’t actually have something profound to say, a lot of people are gonna be rather ticked.”

    Frigging love this reference!! Take that, postmodernism!!! Anyway, the reason people love mystical presentation is because people are curious creatures. They love the idea of unraveling information (as you went on to say), rather than receiving it at face value. Of course, as you say, this 99% results in absolute disappointment, but due only to the oldest argument in Zen philosophy. Alan Watts loved the idea of enjoying the now, rather than reveling in prospect. The latter philosophy will likely lead to disappointment, because the future is uncertain. However, the senses cannot be wrong in their interpretation, as long as they do, in fact, interpret, and you (the audience) must very seriously consider whether the artist is at fault for letting you down, or if you’ve set yourself up for disappointment. Personally, I love Dan’s art, his messages, his style, and him. I don’t care how the fuck his comics end, and I’m glad you somehow share this callousness. I invite you to amplify it.


    Moe-kun, signing off!

  44. admin Says:

    moe 21.0

    … never reprimand an artist on his method; only on your reception of his work.

    Are you saying:
    (A) that an artist’s reports on his own method are incorrigible
    (B) When an audience member criticizes an artist’s methods, all that audience member can criticize (even in principle) is his own interpretation of that artist’s method
    (C) something else…?

    I’d agree to (B), but I reject (A). Why do I reject (A)? Because it seems to me that the artist has the same problem as the audience member: the artist can only report his interpretation of what he takes method to be. This may not be a big problem, though, because the audience and artist can talk back and forth and agree (as closely as humanly possible) which interpretation they want to talk about, and proceed from there to intersubjective agreements (which is what I was going on about with my argument about the difference between Argument A and Argument B in an earlier post).

    For that same reason (that I reject (A)) I agree with Jo-ou — or at least I agree with what I take Jo-ou to mean: that an artist may own the work (in the legal sense of having property rights) but we should not allow artist to exercise a tyranny of a very particular sort: that is, we should not allow artists (or anyone else) to get away with saying that there is an inference from “The creator of X says that U is true of X” to “U is true of X”.

    It’s for that reason that the PXI reader’s guide seems like a mistake to me. I should either have dropped it or prefaced it with something like “Well, here’s how I understand my own project at the moment…”. But I’m on wobbly ground on this matter — if people do in fact agree with Jo-ou, then there’s no problem leaving the PXI reader’s guide in, because people don’t have to believe my interpretation. Maybe it comes down to the fact that I now see the goal of PXI differently from I did back then, and the reader’s guide seems counterproductive under my new view — but this may change again later. This is the reason I’ve left the reader’s guide in, even while still thinking it a mistake to do so: this is a gesture of humility to the audience, as well as my future self: they, too, should be allowed to decide whether I’ve made a mistake or not.

    Anyway, I just want to say I’m loving this comments thread. I’m actually changing my mind on things and looking at some issues in ways I hadn’t before.

  45. moe 22.0 Says:

    I meant something most like B, but my point was that the artist is the one who possesses a method, and the purpose of the method is to entertain or convey a message, or both. I think the artist has to resist criticism on his method because if the audience has failed to grasp his message, they can’t possibly tell him how he failed to convey it. Capitulation to their suggestions would just be abstract. I’m basically saying that you should never act like you know exactly what an artist is saying, because their message may be more or less profound than you find it to be; also, you shouldn’t bar them from expanding profundity.

    The artist, who safeguards his or her own message, should rather edit the mechanics of his piece on his own terms. The audience can only understand to a certain extent, but will never perfectly grasp it. The artist, then, should depend on his own method of transgression to maximize the audience’s understanding, which is the purpose of the piece in the first place. Even the artist is a spectator to his or her own work; the simple fact that THEY are the one making the assertion through expression means that only they have any right to modify or refine the work in the assertion’s favor.

    However, I don’t object to argument A. The piece’s success depends on the audience’s reception. To claim authority over the artist’s methods is to lay waste the piece’s message, exchanging potential to refine and develop for convenience and degeneration in the audience’s favor. The impression of the piece is to be maximized in some way; claiming that one simply knows the intention of the artist is to leave no room for developing ideas that may be new or unforeseen by the spectator. Although an artist’s work is never done, one simply has no right to arbitrate the theoretical nuances of another’s mind.

  46. Jo-ou Says:

    You totally missed the point of what I was saying, but it wasn’t very clear so it’s okay.

    What I am trying (and failing) to say is that an author may have an opinion on what his body of work is, but it isn’t necessarily more valid than a reader’s (or consumer in general) interpretation.

  47. Jo-ou Says:

    …basically what Dan said, if I had bothered to read the rest of this discussion before rushing in and posting.

    You know me so well, Dan. Makes me blush.

    And moe, while there is some truth that the audience may not “truly grasp” what an artist does, one tends to fill the rest with one’s own mind and imagination, thus creating something special and unique to him. His vision of the work will be, then, more appealing to him than the “true” vision the author intends to portray.

    Because at the end of the day, intention counts for very little, methinks (as is evident by my routine failure at communication).

  48. jesusdan Says:

    i can say that as of this moment, i’m not “truly grasping” shit, ’cause the artist ain’t posting any updates to his current project(s). i think i recall having read something once by a somewhat renowned author…”it’s usually best not to think about such things”. which to me says, just keep on keepin’ on yo.

  49. Jet Says:

    @moe “If you’re not willing to enjoy art, again, that’s your problem, but the artist suffers, since he doesn’t get attention. And of course he owns his work, are you huffin paint? People can come and go and take what they want from his work, but to claim they have any right to change it, and thus exert their ownership, is absurd beyond Carl Sagan’s zaniest pot nightmares.”

    Actually, I’d agree with Dan on this one; there’s a certain view from the romantic era that art is an expression of self, and that the self is absolutely unique, and therefore no one else can express something intrinsic to a given artist.

    In contrast, I tend to think that most human ideas and experience have broad (sometimes complete) overlap, and that other people can sometimes execute an idea much better than the originator of it. Possibly the easiest nerdly example of this is star wars, which is owned and was originated by george lucas, but which he’s probably the worst possible executor of. CIP being how the best film in the series (ESB) was directed by someone other than him – I saw a documentary on this, and it included a whole raft of other ideas this guy was pushing for which GL shut down. (For one example, endor was gonna have wookies instead of ewoks – would this not have been the coolest plan ever?)

  50. Aristagon Says:

    By the way, one new Penny preview and a poor girl taken bloody doggystyle in his Twitter-Account. Not sure if others saw the new contents 😛

  51. couchfort Says:

    Wait, what? Not seeing that tweet!

  52. couchfort Says:

    Oh… oh God…. LITERALLY by a dog. Oh what the fuck Dan, what the fuck… you sick fucking bastard…

    Can’t wait for part 2 😉

  53. Aristagon Says:

    In this argumentation I want to mention Roland Barthes essay about the death of the Author. A work on itself can archive to a independent form which free it from the bounderies which we all assume to the author. A text or any work of art is in a transitional position which alter in the way its getting recepted, on which we as an audiance can react to again and again in every new generation.

    I think Dans work stands with or without his explaination to the plot. It itself is able to open up a complex world.

  54. admin Says:

    A link for others:

    That was a great read. Thanks, Aristagon.

  55. Aristagon Says:

    One fact here which keep me comming back to your website, is a weird transitional feeling. I am pretty sure to not be able to completely “read” through your more serious works, not on the easy way. Well, you keep on impressing me, and I am quiet an arrogant bastard at times, and dont confess this often. Fine-Art study and a whole bunch of Arthistorion/theorist books later I am comming back for the reasons of questioning myself:
    What are my standards, what do I want to archive, where to go? I know your site since nearly the beginning. I struggle myself of defining myself as an artist, a narrator, a comic maker, and many more. In the end there is less which withstand the crumbling power of time and devastation. I dont know, I guess I am 2-3 Years younger than you but on a crossroad to choose a way how to go on now. Its rather surprising to have such discussions here outbraking often in the recent comments. Well you have an audiance. Weird creepers like me 😛
    It is interesting to see some paths and crossroads you have taken on this decade, the change and progress, style and art. You dont talk much about those contents, but we all are in this time connected into an socialmedia-crossreferencing world which makes it harder and harder to distinct where we quote from. But I am sure for me, a cornerstone of some aestetics come from here, and my try to walk throught your works.

    Another nice read, just google it, is the essay about the film Dark City and the gnostic Paranoia. Also a good read is Foucault`s Textes on the theme of the Heterotopy. Booth texts are roughly about the perception of space and its rules. How we create a heterotop, a place with its own set of rules, which it pass on everyone who enters it. And what are the bounderies of reality if the world itself is a failed work of a blind and mad creator? The Platonian figure of the Demiurge, the mentioned failed creator, can be assumed an avatar of all artistic longings for perfection. Well this is a big jigsaw-puzzle.

  56. Aristagon Says:

    Here are the Links:

  57. Jo-ou Says:

    Shucks guys, I just look at the pretty pictures.

  58. Taichi Says:

    Wow, so many updates since I was last here, I’m not sure what to do! I very much appreciate the graveyard and design works, so thank you Dan.

    There’s sadly nothing I can contribute to these conversations but I’m perfectly fine with just reading because everyone is so smart and civil; the essays that Aristagon provided sound particularly interesting so I’ll try to take a look at them.

    couchfort, if you haven’t managed to already, you should definitely view Primer.

  59. Jet Says:

  60. sp_ Says:

    I’ve tried to write a response about 5 times now. It’s like a bad game of chess where I can see all the moves and countermoves. So here we go.

    1. If a restaurant serves me uncooked noodles, a block of cheese and a zucchini when I ordered lasagna, I’ve been abused. (Don’t anyone dare say cuisine isn’t art. I’m robustly armed with arguments of mass destruction to counter any such nonsense. And Dan has a store where he sells his work in print so asserting commercialism goes out the window too)

    1(a). If I sit down to watch a serialized anime, in the context of the conventions of that medium, specifically the nature of episodic installments, and a real person’s busy life with time constraints, showing me the same episode 8 weeks in a row with tiny variations here and there is abuse. It violates the contract between the artist and viewer; it’s an act of bad faith. Haruhi is doubly reprehensible due to the fact that the whole experiment was predicated on the popularity of the first season and the unfortunate fans’ good faith. There’s no excuse for tanking a show like this, and IIRC the director even publically apologized for it.

    Stretching convention is one thing. Completely breaking with it and bashing the viewer over the head with your experiment to prove how God damn clever you are is abuse. Even John Cage only went for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, and that was Art with a capital A.

    The fundamental concept I was referring to is this. It’s fundamental because the artist-viewer relationship is a necessary and requisite component of art. I don’t see how anyone with serious aspirations in the real world is going to argue about this, but give it your best shot if you feel like it. I didn’t even mean the part about Endless Eight as a specific comparison to your stuff, something I would only do if I wanted to denigrate your work in the strongest terms I could think of.

    3. I’m actually a professional translator, so it is literally my job to think about words and symbols and meanings all the time. At best, verbal communication is the mapping of a mental state into a space defined by the dimensions of the phonetic and syntactical gamuts of a language. If accurate communication is a goal, you could evaluate the value of an utterance by its efficacy in producing a mental state in the audience congruent to that of the speaker. This, of course, depends on the effort and aptitude of both speaker and audience, as well as the extent to which their lifetime accumulated experience is shared. When you look at it in abstract, something as simple as earnest straightforward communication can seem like a long shot. Yet our society functions, and we are capable of maintaining complex interpersonal relatinoships.

    One of the tenets of universal linguistics (post Chomsky) is that the relationship between words and meaning is arbitrary. Therefore, since even within one language, words are arbitrary and meaning is relative, a translation is sufficiently good if it is likely to produce a similar mental state in the audience to the native text. This is the best we can hope for, professionally. What is essential in translation, it turns out, is maintaining the register of words within cultural context and vocabulary to the greatest possible extent. It’s when you allow “annoyance”-equivalent to turn into “vexation”-equivalent that the mapping is no longer coherent, communication breaks down, and you have failed as a translator.

    4. What I said is that I don’t know what your message is anymore. I think after reading your response, and this is where our chief disagreement lies, that this is the result of you dutifully following a percieved imperative to abandon precise meanings. This is a fine choice and I admire your efforts. I’m saying you take it too far because I don’t even have a context or vocabulary to interpret what I am seeing. I’m basically saying that, far from merely discarding precise interpretations in the name of Art, the ambiguity and lack of structure in the work is on the verge of precluding any possibility of meaning (as I have defined it) at all.

    And I has a sad because the coherent parts are so very appealing to me. Wait, I mean, geez, its not like I like your comics or anything! Give me a break! Stupid Dan.

    5. So in review, maybe the only thing I really have to say is that I’m a smart motherfucker and I can’t figure out what the hell you’re trying to say half the time. If that’s your goal, then mission accomplished. There’s no hard feelings, and certainly no place for me to make demands. But if you were trying to show people something, I hope some reflection on my feedback will make you more successful. Either way, I wish for your success.

    Oh and since I’m a man of my word, I’ll be ordering NNN in paperback.

  61. sp_ Says:

    Damn it, I left out a main point. I knew that would happen. I’ll save it for if/when the conversation comes back around to me.

  62. Jo-ou Says:

    >I think once you publish something, you lose control of it. At worst, you inspire mockery and parody. At best, you become material for future work, because what you’ve made is successful, interesting, or relevant. Usually, it is both.

    From his link. This guy gets it.

  63. admin Says:

    What I’m seeing here is two equivocations. I’ll take them one at a time.

    (1) A three-way equivocation (or maybe just a running-together) between:
    (1a) the pragmatic force of reporting abuse
    (1b) the normative claim that the category ‘abuse’ should/shouldn’t be changed include a particular case [e.g. what is reported in (1a)]
    (1c) the factual claim that, given a particular normative rule about abuse, that the rule has been correctly or incorrectly applied.

    I think we shouldn’t equivocate between these and each notion is best taken separately.

    To see what I mean, imagine the following scenario: two people eat the same zucchini dish you’ve talked about. Customer A says “I’ve been abused!”, Customer B says “Yum! I was pleasantly surprised! Not abuse!”. I want to say that after both giving their arguments and agreeing on all facts, the following state of affairs is still a possibility:

    (a1)-Customer A maintains he was abused (1a) according to a norm N1
    (a2)-Customer B maintains he was NOT abused (1a) according to a norm N2

    (b1)Customer A asserts that B should accept norm N1 (1b)
    (b2)Customer B asserts that A should accept norm N2 (1b)

    (c1)In fact Ni is taken to be ‘the norm’ for ‘us’.*

    Now if Ni = N1, customer A is correct in the sense of (1c).
    Now if Ni = N2, customer B is correct in the sense of (1c).

    Now, given a particular Ni, there must, as you say, be a correct judgement on abuse (1c). But to the extent that Art makes the norm Ni a matter of debate (N1? N35? N265?) it’s of no use to claim that N1 is in fact the norm — if you want to engage with the question of Art**, you must address the normative question, should N1 be the norm? And after all, there is no necessary inference from “N1 is the norm” to “N1 should be the norm”.

    So I think this reduces our disagreement over Endless Eight to a question about (1b). If we could agree which norms we were talking about, we’d agree on everything. For example, I’d agree that if “if X is true of Endless Eight then it is abuse” is the accepted norm and in fact X is true, then I’d certainly agree that Endless Eight was abuse relative to that norm. But we needn’t go that far — I can already agree on X (if in fact X is true). The further step of adopting the same norms could be a bonus or a detriment, depending on our purposes and to the extent that such disagreements are harmless, they should be, I think, treated like personal religious beliefs (in the William James sort of way)***.

    Notice that this does not denigrate at all the right to report/claim abuse or correctness of a view — in fact, it depends upon both, for without that right (1a) can’t get off the ground and without a notion of correctness the very idea of a norm goes out the window and we can never get to (1b) or (1c)… so I embrace entirely the aspect of your view.

    So sum up, drawing the above distinctions would allow us to say things like: “I was abused according to norm N1, but I recognize N2 is the norm for ‘us’, and under N2 we don’t call what I experienced ‘abuse’. But still, I want to push for N1 to be adopted by ‘us’ and to do that pushing I need to make the pragmatic move of calling what I experienced ‘abuse’.” Hopefully I’ve illustrated the usefulness of being able to say such things.


    (2) An equivocation (or maybe just a slight blurring) between
    (2a) meaning as in the thing preserved by translations (“WTF am I looking at? A fungus girl?”)
    (2b) meaning as in significance or importance (“WTF, why is there a fungus girl there?”)

    All I can say here is that the fungus girl bit doesn’t have any additional meaning beyond its literal meaning (yes, this is just a scene of some fungus-girls are approached by a blurred figure in a white dress and a lantern — this could be translated into film or prose) but it will have additional significance in light of other parts of the book. All I can say is that it seems to me that (2a) is not a problem — you have successfully deciphered the meaning of the black and white splotches as monster girls. As for (2b), yes this I can see this being a problem — but hopefully this will be remedied as the rest of the book is completed. If I released the whole thing at once, maybe this sort of thing would be less of a problem. I mean, imagine 2001: A space Odyssey released 10 seconds at a time or something… the first three months of filled with nothing but footage of apes… people would throw a fit. : /


    As for the ‘fundamental’ artist-audience relationship, I don’t see what you’re getting at. You can’t mean that the relationship must be beneficial or respectful — even an attitude of rejection of a work is an attitude towards it, and so a relationship. Maybe you mean that what’s required is that art is experienced at all by at least an audience of one, but on my own view the artist is an audience member to his own work. And if you mean that maintaining a relationship of trust with the audience is “fundamental” to “serious aspirations” (I assume something like “success in the art-world”) then this is merely a contingent matter, and not fundamental at all (we can easily imagine a world where a tyrannical Super Hitler decrees that his paintings shall hang in all homes and has all other art pieces burned … or a world where showing off you art is like showing your dick — it’s something you keep private). In our world, it seems to me that the norm for success is up for grabs — and in any case we all have our own private ideas of what ‘serious aspirations’ ought to be as well as suggestions for the public norm concerning ‘serious aspirations’.


    Anyway, I’ll wait for your other main point.
    And thanks for the book order, but don’t feel obligated, your feedback is more than enough and I’m grateful to receive it. : )

    *: I want to resist saying that there is “The Norm” independent of any particular community but still talk about “the norm for ‘us'”, as we normatively construe “we” — possibly the widest “we” we can talk about

    **, ***: of course, I’m aware that this is itself a ‘merely’ a normative claim and a suggestion about a particular norm towards art that might be adopted. I think these are good, useful norms, but I won’t argue for these views here.

  64. Aristagon Says:

    Omfg…. They startet the footnotes.

  65. admin Says:


  66. admin Says:

    I am now realizing I’ve gone about this in the wrong order. I should have started Metal Fist first, got a few normal-ass chapters out, then periodically switched to Penny. WTF am I even doing?

  67. sp_ Says:

    Are you done editing?

  68. sp_ Says:

    am I going insane? I could swear your post just grew a section.

  69. admin Says:

    Ok, Done. Shoot!

    Sorry, I keep spotting mistakes and things I want to fix. But I’m finished, go ahead.

  70. admin Says:

    Also, it’s nice knowing that there’s a professional translator here to shed some light on this.

  71. Jo-ou Says:

    No. NO.


    You are not backing out of Penny now, you shitfucking cuntrapist. I will fucking murder you. Do you understand me? I know where you live. So keep making Penny.

  72. admin Says:

    I ain’t stopping now. I’m working on pages right now.

  73. Aristagon Says:

    Post some WIP from Time to Time to Feed the insane wolfpacks :p

  74. maaya Says:

    there’s too much math in these conversations- I’m just a dumb English x Psych Major D=

  75. Aristagon Says:

    Even with math and art mayors its Not easy )

  76. TheEFAF Says:

    “Maybe you mean that what’s required is that art is experienced at all by at least an audience of one, but on my own view the artist is an audience member to his own work.”
    This. Personally, when I make “art” it’s for me, and any thought to the audience is an afterthought. It’s why nobody gives a shit about what I make, but that’s okay. It wasn’t for them anyway.

    I think there’s different kinds of art for different things, and this confuses the argument somewhat. There’s art made for viewers, there’s art made for the self, there’s art that’s both….all sorts. Success and conveying messages isn’t necessarily important to all forms of art. Just because it’s put in front of viewers doesn’t mean it was made FOR viewers. The whole “it wasn’t for them anyway” thing.

    Which kind of comes back to my OTHER thing about interpreting authors/artists/etc. Nobody knows which art was made for which purpose.

    So I sit back and enjoy the ride…

  77. jesusdan Says:

    and then…and then…? jesus dan, c’mon!

  78. Stencil Guy Greg Says:

    This is actually one of the better debates on the nature of art I’ve ever read. Lemme go grab a bong and some popcorn so I can sit back and read all this.

  79. jesusdan Says:

    just to pass time.

  80. jesusdan Says:

    that’s not mine by the way. i’m not fully versed on the rules of internet sharing, so if i done wrong there, please feel free to revise and reprimand. i just thought it was cute yo.

  81. couchfort Says:


  82. Aristagon Says:

    I Support the demands of the Couch.

  83. admin Says:

    I’m going to release the next bit as a big chunk (~20 pages).
    I have to fly out to Ontario tomorrow for the manga award thing, though, and I won’t be back at my computer until the 8th of May. : /

  84. couchfort Says:



  85. jesusdan Says:

    you know i’ve heard they have these new contraptions these days dan…portable computers and what not…internets flyin’ all through the air. may be they’re just tall tales, i dunno.

    have fun anyway. we’ll be fine here. alone.

    sniff. sniffle.

  86. couchfort Says:


  87. admin Says:

    I’ll write some shorter strips while I’m away (T42R). No way to work on pages without a tablet, though.

  88. Doo Doo Doo Says:

    Yeeeah! Have fun getting awards, Dan!

  89. Aristagon Says:

    Congrats. Any chances you take Fotos from the Event into your twitter?

  90. admin Says:

    Posted some pictures to my twitter. : >
    I’ll post ’em on the site properly later.

  91. Shadow Folk | krazy kimchi Says:

    […] hungry like the fox ain’t easy. (Saw it linked over at Clone.Manga.) Rating 3.00 out of 5 This entry was posted in animation, nature, videos. Bookmark the […]

  92. acriman Says:

    congrats on the award dan! keep up the good work! who knows, might get the gold next time.

  93. Dzhon Says:

    I predict Penny will win all golds ever.


  94. couchfort Says:

    Yeah, in 2041 when Dan finally finishes it.

  95. Aristagon Says:


  96. couchfort Says:

    Either I’m JUST noticing now, or Dan really did just change the top pic to PENNY! 😀

  97. admin Says:

    I just uploaded that about 2-3 minutes ago… D:

  98. couchfort Says:


  99. Doo Doo Doo Says:

    NEW TOP PIC! It’s really nice.

  100. Not One Of Us Says:

    I’m guessing it’s signaling another PENNY REBOOT!

  101. Jet Says:


  102. Aristagon Says:

    Looks nice, I cant wait to See GREY pages now that He etablished Grey somewhere mid NNN. It gives a Lot more depth into His Images. Any chance ever seeing a timelapse drawing Process Video on such an image?

  103. Aristagon Says:


    How des it feels to continue the Penny line (NNN doesnt coint yet in my eyes) after 4 Years of Hiatus?
    We all know that you do background stuff and all behind the curtains but after the first decade of clone-army, its interesting to ask for a kind of resumee. How have this time been in your eyes? What are memorable moments for you? And how do you describe your quality approach at comics, hereby asking: What is the essence of Clone-Army for you, what makes you keep comming back and giving us blank pages?

  104. couchfort Says:

    “What is the essence of Clone-Army for you, what makes you keep comming back and giving us blank pages?”

    Both part one and part two of that question can be answered with “Our douchebaggery”

  105. Jet Says:

    What is the measure of an internets.

  106. Doo Doo Doo Says:

    ^About two pounds.

  107. couchfort Says:

    @Jet why? Did I win a few? 😀

  108. Dzhon Says:

    A new top pic? Can you release a more pixels version? I don’t want to have to put on my glasses.

  109. admin Says:

    There ya go:

  110. Dzhon Says:

    mmm…yeesss…. sssweet pixelsss

  111. Jet Says:

    @couchforts: All of them. Simultaneously.

  112. couchfort Says:

    Yesssss. Most excellent!

    But seriously though, DAMNIT DAN! MOAR PENNY!

  113. Jo-ou Says:

    It feels good to be back to the old updating schedule.

  114. Replica Says:

    Welcome to Comics Graveyard. Enjoy your stay.

  115. couchfort Says:

    No updates? THAT’S OUR DAN! 😀

  116. Doo Doo Doo Says:

    You need to take it easy, Dan.

  117. Jet Says:

    ;-; I miss the new dan.

  118. couchfort Says:

    HE HAST HEARD OUR VOICES AND BESTOWED AWESOME WEIRD WHITE ON BLACK IMAGES! YUS! Vague white on black is the new black on black.

  119. couchfort Says:


  120. admin Says:


    SEE YOU IN 2076

  121. admin Says:


  122. Doo Doo Doo Says:

    Woah, what the fuck.

    This level of immersion has never been available to me before. The comics are like, 156% more cinematic now. The controls handle like a dream.

  123. Taichi Says:

    Ooh, it’s nice to select everything from one list; makes it easier to see how large the graveyard section is in comparison ( ´,_ゝ`)

    Do you ever watch television or listen to energizing music while you work or must you delve into yourself the entire time?

  124. 6SF Says:

    Wow am I late to the art theory party. But here are my two cents if anyone is still interested.

    There is fine arts (or Art with a capital A) and there is commerical art. The “norm” or “artist-audience relationship” is different for each one.

    Fine art explores and pushes the boundaries of art of its given place in history. For example, impressionism eschews clear shapes and forms, modernism eschews the subject matter, etc. Since it’s the norm for fine art to challenge the norm or art in general of its given culture, fine art is often perceived as offensive and/or inappropriate (“impressionism” started out as a mocking term)

    Commercial art, on the other hand, seeks to deliver a message as efficiently as possible, be it a complex or simple message.

    A piece of art can be either fine art, commercial art, or anywhere in between.

    Under these presumptions, it is easy to see why Endless Eight garnered so much criticism: it stepped too far into the domain of fine art while being presented as a piece of commercial art. People expected commercial art, but instead they got fine art, thus they feel cheated.

    Dan’s serious comics, PXI, NNN are more fine artsy than commercial artsy, but webcomics and comics are dominantly commercial art media. Judging those repeated shots of fungus girl with the standard of commercial art is taking it out of context.

    Similarly, all those black pages for pacing are wonderfully fine artsy, but would be utter waste of ink if they were placed in any manga in Shonen Jump.

  125. gitarrenunterricht in muenster motet Says:

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