Robot 6

Randy Queen: ‘I reacted without thinking’ to art critiques

queen darkchyldeWidely ridiculed this week for filing copyright takedown notices and threatening legal action against a blog that criticized his artwork, Darkchylde creator Randy Queen now acknowledges his response “was the wrong one to take.”

“I have been having a very hard time in my personal life with the loss of my mother and my marriage having fallen apart and found myself in a very vulnerable and fragile state of mind,” he explained this morning in a Facebook post. “There were posts on the web criticizing my artwork that were brought to my attention and added to my stress. I reacted without thinking it through, but have now stopped, realizing my response was the wrong one to take. I am doing my best, each day, to get myself back on my feet and getting my life in a better place and realize now that I have just try to move on and get back to my art, the thing I find the most joy in these days. I want to thank those professionals, friends and family who have been giving me their support, understanding and love.”

Queen had taken exception to critiques of some of his Darkchylde work on Escher Girls, a blog devoted to examining the way women are depicted in “illustrated pop media,” including comics. He sent Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to Tumblr alleging copyright infringement in nine posts containing his covers. Entire posts, rather than just the images, were removed by the company.

When the blog’s administrator, Ami Angelwings, wrote publicly about his actions on Saturday, Queen attempted to have that post removed, and sent an email threatening to sue for defamation and “publicly challeng[ing] my right to protect the perception of my IP as it exists today.” He followed that Monday with another message accusing Ami Angelwings of defamation and “character assassination.” She provides a timeline of events on Escher Girls.

The story spread quickly online, with everyone from Techdirt and Chilling Effects to John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton weighing in on what was widely viewed as an instance of a creator using the DCMA to silence criticism. Ken White of Popehat even helped Ami Angelwings to secure a lawyer. But now it appears no legal representation will be necessary.

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Comments

36 Comments

Well…I’m sorry that he’s having such a terrible time with his personal life…but is that really an excuse to try and bully someone else?

@Sallyp The man has clearly admitted he made the wrong call and is apologizing for it and trying to move on. Why do you feel the need to keep trying to put him down and bury him? Who’s the bully now? The person who made a rash decision and now realizes they were wrong and is apologizing or the person anonymously slamming him AFTER HE APOLOGIZED? Grow up.

Sally’s remark was pretty gentle. No need to jump down her throat.

Cool Guy, what’s your damage?

It a canned apology we’ve all heard before from politicians who get caught with hookers or in drug dens, It’s not original and it doesn’t seem heart-felt.

Hey, A Cool Guy, that was NOT an apology from Queen!
Do you even KNOW what an apology looks like?

Not found in that apology: the word “sorry”.

What in the world is wrong with you people? He fucked up. He’s owning that. Leave him alone.

So did he take any steps to correct his mistake?

I would be more impressed if he hadnt cut and pasted his apology to her. However, that being said, it is good that he admits that he made a mistake and sounds like he wont be pursuing anything else.

An apology contains the words “I’m sorry.” This isn’t an apology, it’s an excuse.

Clayton Fitzgerald

August 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Cut and paste apology? No, it wasn’t. The guys going through a very hard time and he’s dropping his legal actions against the other party. He’s explained as much as he needs to. Yes, he could say sorry. That he should do, but give me a fuck in break. I’ve gone through that same shit and you don’t think straight. He’s done good in my book. No one can do shit without you parasites jumping down their throats looking for blood. Shut up already

None of you know anything about it. We don’t know what might have happened behind the scenes. Maybe he did privately apologize.

Either way he admitted he made a bad decision during a difficult time in his life.

Neither Sally or Cool Guy’s comments were in the wrong.

There is a lot of criticism against how women are depicted in all media, and a lot of it is uncalled for. Yes there are of course instances where they are depicted in a crappy way. Most women just see a half naked woman without knowing what the character really represents. They could be a strong and independent woman, but because they are half naked they are harshly criticized.

Anyway it doesn’t matter. In my opinion things are changing for how women are depicted, maybe a little slowly but it’s a good thing it’s changing.

I’m going to go a little radical here and suggest a modest proposal.

Randy Queen should be sued for issuing an illegal DMCA takedown request.

Yup, it’s a big deal, and it should be treated that way.

See, what Randy did in his own little way was contribute to something called “the chilling effect”.

Now let him reap what he sowed. Have the full weight of the Legal system fall on him and watch him become a cautionary tale against others issuing DMCA takedown requests that have no merit.

Shoe…meet other foot. Sorry that your life sucks right now, making other peoples lives suck is just bad karma.

I am a silly little socialist loving Canadian, and it amazes me how quickly Americans will roll over on the very founding principles of their country like “Freedom of Expression”, and the right to liberty.

“There is a lot of criticism against how women are depicted in all media, and a lot of it is uncalled for”

Well this was one of the most specious sentences I’ve read all day

Sorry but no, Queen. That’s not good enough.

This is the kind of apology you issue after having a Twitter meltdown and saying some things you didn’t mean.

This butthole actually went as far as sending legal threats and going SO FAR as to TRY to involve the COURT SYSTEM, to censor opinions and critisism, and if he hadn’t been called out for it, he would have continued, he would have pushed the court case, and he would have actually kept going until he ruined these people.

There is a point where your actions move beyond mere words and opinions into something that you can’t take back. This crossed that line, when he tried to send legal threats, get the court involved and put others through just as much, if not more “distress” as he’s had to APPARENTLY go through.

You sir, cannot simply make this go with a small apology. You tried to involve the court system to bully and censor free speech through fear and intimidation. You didn’t just have some kind of controversial opinion all to yourself that you can just declare and “oopsie” on.

You need to be held accountable, and no one should forget or forgive this as easily as he seems to think everyone will.

It’s EXTREMELY clear that Randy Queen isn’t sorry for what he did.

He’s sorry he got called out on it. That’s the fact, that’s what his post is clearly saying. He’s offering excuses but no actual remorse.

And if he hadn’t gotten called out on it, he would have pushed it until he ruined the lives of these people through threats, intimidation, and accusations of things that can’t be taken back this easily.

Especially not when he hasn’t properly apologized anywhere in this whining, self-centered, self-pitying load of bile and lame excuses for acting like a dirtbag. He deserves to be given a hard time for this. If you’re sticking up for him, you’re wrong. End of story.

I don’t care how sincere his apology is, so long as he refrains from using copyright law against critics, he can secretly feel however he wants. The important thing is that he realized that he turned a minor blog entry into a career damaging fiasco. I’d drop the complaining now. The “good guys” won. The whole story was the abuse of copyright law, now that’s done no matter how he really feels about it.

If he wants to be prideful and ego bruised, it’ll only damage his career further.

I think when people are going through some really hard times, like losing ones Mother, and then a marriage falling apart, that a person can over react and do something stupid/lash out and make a mistake. Everyone deals with depression differently. Sometimes these things are a misdirected cry for help. Sounds like these two people were his whole life. I cannot imagine what that is like.

I am not making excuses for his behavior at all, but I do have empathy, and in the end she said he sent her an apology letter directly to her and made this public statement. How others react to this is their business. I hope the two of them have come to an agreement. No one I know has not made mistakes in their life…and everyone deals with them differently. I hope he learned his lesson, realized his mistake and can move past this.

In the end, If Ami decides to forgive him, then I side with her since this happened to her personally.

You say you aren’t making excuses, but you and he both are. No excuses would be saying “I fucked up and did several bad things, I’m sorry”, and not giving us a laundry list of excuses.

To be entirely fair, the blog’s approach does warrant being considered libel in the sense that it comes off as malicious scorning and ridicule of the work and not just collectively in one post (as a feature on the artist) but rather done excessively post after post after post after post after post over time which can be seen as relentless targeting for the sake of a good laugh.

It’s sad how we only ever fight to defend “freedom of speech” when it comes to hurting the little person but turn a blind eye–or even find excuses–when it comes to oppressive corporations and government out of fear, even thought hat is initially the most fundamental reason freedom of speech was declared to be everyone’s right.

From Ami’s timeline of events:

“As noted in the above update, [Randy] has issued a statement saying he was wrong. The statement was emailed to me with the subject header: Apology, but otherwise, it was the same statement.

Since people have been asking me, he has not, to my knowledge, withdrawn the DMCA complaints from Tumblr or asked them to drop the complaints.”

He mailed her privately, but never actually apologized anymore than he did in the Facebook post. So no, I don’t think he’s sorry for anything except that he got publicly slammed for his rotten behavior. But the most important point is that he seems to be backing down. As satisfying as it might have been to see someone blatantly abusing the protections provided by the DCMA dragged into court to answer for it, that’s a lot of stress on both parties and I doubt either one needs it.

Anonymous Bosch

August 7, 2014 at 3:51 am

It’s obvious that Queen’s takedown attempts were driven by at best a serious misreading and at worst a intentional misuse of the DMCA — and it sucks that the default response of blogging platforms like Tumblr is to fold like an accordion and start obliterating content left and right w/o engaging in even a perfunctory examination of whether the takedown request has even the faintest legal merit.

That said, Escher Girls is engaging in ‘criticism’ in only the most expansive sense of the word. Most of the ‘critiques’ featured there are really just pretexts to put an artist they don’t like in their followers/sycophants’ cross-hairs, thereby subjecting them to a round of online wankery roughly equivalent to 1984-style ‘two minutes hate’. The written analysis has all the depth and integrity of a leaky kiddie pool, the quality of the ‘redraws’ makes even the hackiest of their targets look like Alex freakin’ Toth by comparison, and much of the art they’re attacking dates back 15 years or more.

And, man, these blogs *never* tire of beating dead horses. For instance, did you know that Greg Land’s art frequently falls victim to sameface/pornface? And that Rob Liefeld’s figure work isn’t quite as naturalistic as, say, Brune Hogarth’s? No? Well, here are approximately 77 million blog entries that will revisit both of these ‘shocking’ developments ad nauseam.

So is this kind of crap legal? Certainly. But the ethics of Escher Girls and its sister hateblogs (hawkeye initiative, comic art corrections, bikini armor battle damage, etc.) are dubious and douchey as all hell. I mean, fight, fight, fight for ‘social justice’ in comic books all you want, it’s a free country after all, but learn how stylization works (frex, J. Scott Campbell isn’t trying to render the human form in a hyperrealistic manner and critiquing him as if he is makes you look unforgivably stupid) and consider implementing a kind of ‘statue of limitations’ of maybe 5 years when targeting art/artists for mockery — dredging up art that’s 10, 15+ years old makes you look like a bunch of grudgey, entitled quasi-stalkers.

All in all, Queen’s actions were legally unsupportable, and way out of line besides, but the toxic, ignorant, and fundamentally infantile nature of Escher Girls and its ilk makes feeling good about their ‘victory’ here a fraught prospect at best.

@Anonymous Bosch

I couldn’t agree with you more.

Regarding Tumblr, I can imagine one not requiring a moment to hesitate when there are dozens of posts on just this one artist. That can easily be perceived / misperceived as malice.

Oh George C.,

You might want to go read up on what “libel” and “criticism” mean. They’re not synonymous. Saying someone got the anatomy of a character drawing wrong and showing how it could be corrected isn’t libel. Libel would be writing something like ending each post with “and that’s why this guy should be convicted for child molestation!”

This Politician’s Apology would mean more if he worked to reverse the damage he’s done.

I’m also not against the idea of him being taken to court over it since he’s essentially admitted that the DMCA claims were filed under false pretenses. I don’t know that anyone involved would be interested in putting resources towards making that happen, though.

Also, lol @ “hateblogs”

“the toxic, ignorant, and fundamentally infantile nature of Escher Girls and its ilk”

Yeah, fuck those people for making fun of shitty artists and their shitty grasp of anatomy. They’re the worst. Those critics are the absolute death of comics because they have the temerity to express an opinion!

Oh wait no. That’s stupid. Escher Girls provides an excellent outlet for the expression of frustration with the bizarrely hegemonic way of drawing the female figure in mainstream comics. Considering that the redraws of the brokeback figures almost always highlights the silliness of this style, I take Escher Girls as excellent criticism.

Heaven forbid women have an opinion, let alone express that opinion, amirite?

Why is no one dumping on Tumblr, the $750 million subsidiary of Yahoo, for caving without a fight?

Here’s the thing…
What he did was … in poor taste, to put it lightly… more accurately phrased is closer to what others have said, a dirtbag move to try and censor public opinion… BUT…
It doesn’t matter if he’s sorry. He doesn’t NEED to be sorry. He admitted he was wrong. He acknowledged through the context of his letter, that he knows he was wrong to try and censor public opinion through the use of copyright law and to THREATEN legal action for those purposes. He would have lost, he knows it. He hurt himself far more than he hurt a blogger online… he knows that.
He admitted it, gave context into why it happened.
Even if this were to go to court, a court wouldn’t expect him to apologize, an apology serves nothing in this case anyway. He didn’t hurt the bloggers feelings, he didn’t hurt her reputation or blog, and his letter could be used to submit to tumbler to have the DCMA request removed.
You people demanding an apology have no skin in this game. This is between him and the blogger, and anything beyond that is just a matter of consumers deciding whether or not they give him their business. THAT is your skin in the game, and I don’t think most of you buy his stuff anyway.
AND another person in this thread had a very good point about his ability to argue, if true, that the posts against him and his work went beyond a critique and bordered on bullying/excessive ridicule. Free Speech does stop being an issue of free speech at some point. You can be guilty of harrasment, even when expressing your opinion of someone’s work.
The bottom line is… it’s done. He acknowledged he was wrong. Time to let it go.

Anonymous Bosch

August 7, 2014 at 11:01 am

“Yeah, fuck those people for making fun of shitty artists and their shitty grasp of anatomy. They’re the worst. Those critics are the absolute death of comics because they have the temerity to express an opinion!”

First off, if you actually read/followed the blogs in question instead of merely white-knighting for them on the internet, you might’ve noticed that, along with pissing all over soft targets like Liefeld and Queen, Escher Girls also attempts to throw their cognitively-impaired brand of shade on masters of the form like Brian Bolland — a guy who has forgotten more about drawing comics than you, Escher Girls, and the rest of their ridiculous commentariat will ever know .

As for the rest, hyperbole much? At no point did I accuse EG & co of ‘killing comics’ or anything like that. I merely accused them of being a grudgey, vituperative bunch with no artistic insight or acumen whatsoever — and rightfully so. They won’t be the ‘absolute death of comics’, for that they’d have to a)have at least the slightest inkling of a clue and b)matter, neither of which is the case. I’m simply calling them out on their ignorance of the medium (and of the art/craft fundamentals of drawing and draftsmanship in general) and running a echo chamber-y hateblog characterized by dubious ethics, poor quality writing/analysis, and grade-school level wankery.

“Escher Girls provides an excellent outlet for the expression of frustration with the bizarrely hegemonic way of drawing the female figure in mainstream comics. Considering that the redraws of the brokeback figures almost always highlights the silliness of this style, I take Escher Girls as excellent criticism.”

The first sentence outs you as yet another clueless Frankfurt school fanboy, with a head full of intellectually bankrupt kulturkampf propaganda and utterly empty of anything resembling an artistic eye. Some of the artists the EG crowd likes to fling feces at might be legitimately bad (Liefeld, though even he has his supporters), while some are awesome by any halfway sane standard (Bolland), and others fall somewhere in the middle (Queen) — there’s not a lot of ‘hegemonic’ commonality to their work. If that’s truly your perception of their content, and if you truly consider the bilge EG spews to be ‘excellent criticism’, you’re well and truly blinded by ideology.

“Heaven forbid women have an opinion, let alone express that opinion, amirite?”

More reading comprehension fail on your part. I’ve said from the start that Queen’s DMCA claims were bogus and that EG has a perfect right to continue doing exactly what they’re doing. It just so happens that what they’re doing is grudgwanking and hateblogging in a particularly clueless and ill-informed manner. Given the dynamics of much of the tumblr crowd (and many of the comments in this very thread), there’s clearly an audience for EG’s brand of haphazard and venomous venting. Which is fine, sadly there are plenty of people who get off on that sort of thing — and I suppose they’ve got as much as right to be entertained as anybody else.

But to call EG ‘excellent criticism’, and to hold it out as some sort of noble endeavor is just absurd. It’s a poo-flinging hateblog, nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous Bosch

August 7, 2014 at 11:04 am

Oh, and one last thing: there are many talented comics critics/bloggers who just happen to be women — but Escher Girls and their tumblrina kin employ exactly none of them.

Using the word “hegemonic” outs me as a Frankfurt fanboy? Yikes. Your telepathic powers astound me.

A lot of sound and fury in your long tirade but nothing of substance beyond reiterating you don’t agree with their style of criticism. Which is cool, but to swing the thesaurus as some sort of scimitar in replacement of an argument is poor form.

Bolland is great! But that doesn’t mean he’s magically immune to criticism. Even the masters can stumble. Art is a dialogue after all. Sometimes the dialogue is nasty and loud but it’s still a dialogue.

PS, “blind to ideology” gave me a good laugh. As if there was truly one ideology! Lol.

You know, “white knighting” is like “politically correct” — if you see someone using the expression unironically, it’s very unlikely that person has anything worthwhile to say.

“White-knighting” always makes me laugh.

“consider implementing a kind of ‘statue of limitations’ of maybe 5 years when targeting art/artists for mockery — dredging up art that’s 10, 15+ years old makes you look like a bunch of grudgey, entitled quasi-stalkers.”

I agree only with the condition that that style of art is dead and buried.

As long as big publishers like Marvel and DC still make use of the style, then the criticism is still current. DC is particularly guilty of still using a lot of early Image-style artwork.

From @ami_angelwings via Twitter:

“Since yesterday, I’ve had private contact with Randy Queen. He’s apologized to me & I’ve accepted it. He is withdrawing the DMCA complaints.

If you’re a media outlet that’s been following this story, please update that he has apologized to me personally & withdrawn the takedowns.

I consider the matter over, and I wish Randy Queen well. Please spread this around if you also spread the initial controversy.”

Where’s the article on this?

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