PC Gamer Commits Vicious Attack on PA Cover Story ~OR~ Poor Form, Old Man

For once, I believe I can agree with Scott Kurtz.

The current issue of PC Gamer features five collector covers of Penny Arcade characters, highlighting the feature in the pages of that magazine on the upcoming PA game, Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness (or PAA: OTRSPOD). If you’ve ever read a magazine, you’ve seen an editor’s note or two and know that they usually expound upon some aspect of the cover story. What they don’t typically do, however, is bash the work or person they have chosen to put on their cover. Apparently, the EIC at PC Gamer didn’t get that memo.

For this particular feature, editor-in-chief Greg Vederman decided to instead reminisce about his boyhood love for Garfield and detail how his eventual discovery that the big, hungry cat just wasn’t that funny is directly proportional to how he doesn’t get the near universal worship the PA duo seems to garner everywhere they go.  Now, I’m fine with opinion pieces and a general speaking of the mind; heck, it’s what I try to do here.  But slandering a property after you choose to put it on your cover in order to sell magazines?  That is just poor form, plain and simple.

In his vitriol-infused monologue, Vederman notes a friend of his who has a near-blasphemous love for all things PA-branded and concludes his low-key tirade by hoping this issue of his own magazine undersells so he will be able to stuff it in his face.

“But can you imagine what will happen if my worst fears are realized and the issue ends up selling poorly?  That’s right, I’ll FINALLY have the ammunition I need to convince Josh that he’s delusional!  Wow, it’d almost be worth it.”

Almost worth it?   Sounds to me like Vederman is relishing, however silently, the idea of his publication failing to find its audience because of the lack of popularity of an intellectual property that he actively chose to put on the cover.  And that just sounds to me like a lack of class, not to mention bad business practice.  Stick to Livejournal for your personal vendettas, Vederman.  I’m sure your advertisers and fellow co-workers would thank you for that.

As for what we can do about it?  A boycott of PC Gamer?  Stern letters to the editor-in-chief?  Flaming bags of Inter-poo?  I think refusing to acknowledge his frat-bro mentality by calling him “The Vede” would be detrimental enough to the one thing it seems we can effect: his ego.

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12 thoughts on “PC Gamer Commits Vicious Attack on PA Cover Story ~OR~ Poor Form, Old Man

  1. I don’t agree here at all. the man has an opinion, to which he’s entitled to, that’s why they call it an ‘editorial’.

    Slamming the guy because you don’t agree with him is ridiculous. Webcomics need to grow up.

    For the record, slander and opinion are 2 different things.

  2. Mr. Midnight, you sir, are a bastard.

    OK, not so much a bastard but you’ve invoked my wrath. I was going to write this up last night but decided to give your other post some time at the top. Fortunately I’m completely on the over side of this issue so you and I can start a flame war against each other. You owe me a buck though ;).

    There are several issues to discuss here. But I’m going to be brief.

    I know I’ve played the “I work at a newspaper” card a few too many times. Don’t worry, it’ll phase out here before too long and I doubt I’ll replace it with the “I work at a document control software company.” It just doesn’t have the same ring to it. But let me indulge myself one last time and offer a little insight into the world of publishing and editors in chief specifically.

    Let’s do a little exercise. Everyone close your eyes. Think of an editor in chief. OK, got a picture in your head? Good. Now, how many of pictured Jonah Jameson from Spiderman? Strong-willed. Cocksure. A man (or woman) who doesn’t back down, gets his way by sheer force of personality and rule their paper with an iron fist.

    I’ve never met an editor like that. I’ve never known a reporter who worked for an EIC like that. I’m not saying they don’t exist, they’re just not as common as most people think.

    In truth EICs answer to a lot of people. They have to do a lot of things with “their” publication that they don’t personally want to. They may have to run something they don’t want to because of higher ups. They may run it because of public demand. Or they may just run something because they know, despite their personal feelings, they know the story is for the best of the publication.

    The EIC however usually has one small piece of print where they do reign supreme. Sometimes they use this editorial section to express their feelings. They are allowed to do. They should do this. I applaud them for doing this.

    So Vederman doesn’t like PA, big deal. He even admits that there are some PA comics that he does like. That’s more than a lot of critics would.

    Let’s focus on the fact that besides this one editorial, the publicity is all good. Let’s keep in mind that because of this article more people will read PA and a subset of those new readers will spread out to other Web comics. Yes PA is huge, but the gamer market is bigger and this will help.

    In conclusion, Vederman is not PC Gamer. He isn’t even the boss there when you get right down too it.

    The article is still out there. It will still shine and help PA and Web comics grow.

    I’m happy about it.

  3. Here we go again with the generalities! If it’s not, “F&%K webcomics” it’s “Webcomics need to grow up.” This is ME speaking, so if you think MY thoughts and methods need to see some improvement, don’t hesitate to call ME out on it. Leave webcomics out of this.

    As for the content of MY article, I’m trying to write more on the site and in doing so, you’re all going to have to learn with me; I write to learn and find meaning in things and this is very much the case with this opinion piece here. For that reason, I don’t apologize for one word I said.

    Given that, I’d say slander isn’t a fair term for the process of editorializing and no, being EIC is NOT a position I have any familiarity with. In that respect, I can certainly understand why Vederman would want to tell the truth and maintain his credibility.

    However, I still think it’s in poor taste for a magazine to present such a juxtaposition of content versus opinion, especially with a cover story. If the cover article went into detail about a division of fans for PA and included words from Gabe and Tycho on the whole issue, I’d be all for the editorial presenting a good springboard to such a feature. And truthfully, having not READ the article myself, I can’t be sure it doesn’t do just that. But if not (and I suspect the feature is largely based on the game) then the editorial by Vederman stands on an island all its own.

    Again, just a personal preference to have the editorial content somehow relate to that of the magazine. In my OPINION, if the story was about PA and all aspects of the empire, this editorial would be much more at home. As a primer for an article about a video game, it should have been relegated to some other forum. And if you can’t agree that (almost) hoping your very own magazine doesn’t sell to simply prove yourself right is patently WRONG in a business sense, then I will be quite happy to disagree with you.

    More tomorrow, whether you like it or not.

  4. Fucking christ… You Penny Arcade fanboys can be total retards.

    It’s exactly this sort of frothing-at-the-mouth, knee-jerk cultishness you’ve shown here that he’s speaking out against, not the Penny Arcade comic, nor the game, nor the creators. All of which he was rather positive about, if you and Scott would learn to fucking read properly.

    So no, he didn’t slam PA. He slammed you, and guys like you. So instead of calling for the head of the infidel, how about you and your ilk smarten the fuck up and stop acting like the geek Al-Qaeda all of the time?

  5. Fanboy? Hardly. I love PA, that much is true, but my problem isn’t with his dislike for the strip, but the context he chose to display it in. If he had chosen to do this about a strip I don’t really care for that had a video game in the works, my reaction would be the exact same. And again, after hearing what The Geek had to say about the EIC position, I now have some perspective on why or how he would make such a statement. Personally, I think it lacks class.

    This is more an issue of expression and forums for such, not webcomics, so we should end it right here. And I WOULD have if you hadn’t attacked me personally. Still, I’m glad I can be around with a public face and voice to represent me and my ilk so you are your ilk can get their anger exorcised once a month.

    Now would someone please get Mr. G his Ritalin?

  6. William,

    You will never, ever in a hundred-thousand-million-years EVER have a third of the success that Penny-Arcade has. And I hope that knowledge eats you fucking alive from the inside of your black bitter heart outwards until all that is left is a empty husk of piss and bile and shit and ash.

    That being said, you make some good points and I really appreciate the discourse.

    CHEERS!

    🙂 kkthxbai gg

    DING!

    p.s. Piss.

  7. Hm.

    I had heard some of the brouhaha, but I hadn’t actually read the article until now. IMO, he’s not bashing PA, but the ‘fanatical’ fans, as well as making public a long standing light hearted rivalry with one of his buddies.

    I enjoy PA and I am happy for their success. Do they have any more rabid fans than say, a Picard vs Kirk argument? Or American Idol’s Sanjaya? Or or or? Don’t know. It’s a mindset that is unreasonable and impossible to argue with, so why bother?

    It is kinda weird that he’d wish failure on his magazine. Although I took that comment as tongue-in-cheek, I must agree that for me it definitely pushed his otherwise acceptable and personal viewpoints as ‘poor form’. Ending on a sour note so that’s most prominent in my mind that it’s easy to miss his positive comments on the PA game, or that he states he does enjoy many PAs.

    No one can hit a home run funny everytime. And if Garfield’s success was built on the backs of grade 4’s, so be it. No one said a target audience had to be ‘everyone’.

    Later!

  8. Good points all around. But speaking as a rabid fanboi, I was a little taken aback by Mr. Vederman’s comments. No matter what his title or who he answers to, for Joe Shmo Comic Fan (me), his words represent the Magazine as a company. Anything they print, they approve of and what I read was not the ringing endorsement I expected to find in their pages. Granted the article was much less worrisome.

    And from PA’s side of the river, embarrassing as they are, the rabid fan-set is their bread and butter. You take digs at them, you take digs at what helps PA succeed. Kurtz had it right on that one. Any successful comic creator worth his t-shirt sales knows who’s buying them. Yeah they’re obnoxious, smelly, asshats. But they’re OUR obnoxious, smelly, asshats! You have to take the bad with the good. And If it were me in that article and I read “the Vede’s” comments in his editorial, I’d take it personally. Saying dedicated fans are annoying is like saying the media complex censors the news.

    It’s not news. So stop taking up my front page with it.

  9. I think it was Kurtz and Straub and I who talked about this whole “Fuck Webcomics” or Comics needing to grow up thing, and I totally understand what they mean. It gets to a point where all of this blabbering is really doing nobody any good, except maybe the people who want something to be an “enemy”. Or people who might have agendas and feel crapped on because they’re not making money off of cartoonists like they’d like to.

    Right now, the overall state of “webcomics” IS a bunch of high school kids in the cafeteria making their own cliques and groups to sit in. You have the artsy fartsy metrosexual kids over there in that corner looking down upon the more popular Animal House type table with the ‘Bluto’ Blutarsky’s, then there are the loners who sit writing secret hitlists of all the other kids they see as popular.

    But growing up, after highschool you either go to college and learn a trade, or go right out into the working world. Suddenly those cafeteria mentalities are completely meaningless when there are bills to pay, mouths to feed and people to bury. Comics, and the art of creating them, reading them, becomes the business of helping people escape from all the crap around them, and possibly have a chuckle or two or laugh at the trivial things.

    As far at the PC Magazine article, I just think it was downright unethical for the editor to be dissing people who ARE pretty much superstars in that scene. They wouldn’t do that to Blizzard or something, right? I mean would they put Starcraft 2 on their cover, then have an editorial inside about how much they don’t like it or hope the magazine sells bad so they never have to feature it again?? Nah. That’s just a dumb publishing move if you ask me.

  10. And look at that! We have FINALLY arrived where we started, on the topic of bonehead moves in publishing! I figured we’d be talking about the infancy of webcomics for at LEAST twenty more comments.

    And D.J. Coffman means I have completed yet ANOTHER webcomic comment hat trick! Kurtz, Coffman, and The William G (yes, THE William G) in the same thread!

    I’m so excited, I could use more exclamation points!!!

    !!!!!!!!!

    And stay tuned for more articles that may or may not devolve into a discussion of why webcomics suck.

  11. William G doesn’t really sit in the same category of fame and fortune as us other guys though, he’s more like the gum on the bottom of my shoe.

  12. I like PA, but I’m certainly no fanboy, so I look at it this way. Vede was happy to cover the game fairly extensively – the artice was about ten pages long – and had five covers made for the issue. It certainly seemed to be a big event for PC Gamer.

    Now, since Vede has to look at the business aspects of such a decision. PA has a huge following, and that issue WILL sell big. Is it really a good business decision to knock – not condemn – but politely knock the major subject of the mag right on the first page? What if they dedicated ten pages to Burning Crusade and then wrote up an editorial knocking WoW. (Note that Vede actually stated he didn’t get the appeal to that game, yet there was never an editorial knocking that, now was there?) What sense does that make? Obviously, it doesn’t reflect the implied enthusiasm you got from five covers and ten pages. It’s hardly genuine. Will that get other game companies on board for interviews and such? Maybe not, not after that. “We want to do a big article on your game, but we don’t really care for the material, and we’ll tell people that.” That’s what they seem to be saying; that’s what a lot of people seem to think.

    The Geek is saying that he’s not the face of PC Gamer; that’s just because he knows how the system works. The majority of readers don’t, though, and do see him as the face of the mag. So I think most people just aren’t going to see this as anything more than bad taste.

    No big sin; no grevious offense, but not necessarily the best time to print an editorial like that, not after devoting so much of the magazine to PA.

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