In the last few months several of our friends have said to us, “I do not know how you handle all of the crap you guys get on the internet.” Most of the time our response to them is, “We do our best to try to ignore it, but it is surprisingly hard.”
I’ll be honest. I was a nerdy kid and I was unpopular and picked on, but I’ve never been bullied the way I’m bullied because of Teahouse. And I’m not exaggerating that, we don’t talk about it much but it’s pretty brutal. I’m positive the same goes for E. And I think the worst thing is that most of it is relatively anonymous and incredibly personal.
We started Teahouse with a dorky sense of humor and an adoration of stupid melodrama. The comic exists because we desperately wanted something fun and different from our superhero gigs. The book was never intended to be taken more seriously than any other BL stories out there because Teahouse is basically our love letter to the BL genre.
We come from superheroes for Christ sake. We just wanted to do a comic about dudes fucking cause THEY NEVER DID IN OUR DAY JOBS. *cry cry*
Teahouse became way bigger than either of us ever expected it to. We had no idea it’d blow up the way it did and with that popularity came a number of incredibly unpleasant surprises.
One of the biggest casualties has been our ability to interact with people and fans. We used to be able to joke around and even engage in serious conversations (not confrontations) but we can’t anymore. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point people started taking everything, regardless of whether or not it was an obvious joke, seriously. So we hardly interact with people anymore and it super sucks because we used to enjoy it.
There’s this interesting culture of hate on the internet. I don’t know if it’s just that people are angry and feel a relief in releasing their anger online in the form of anonymous online “hate justice” but it’s rough on the receiving end of it. I won’t lie. People seem to think that ugly opinions are the same as constructive criticism and it’s not but there’s no arguing with them about it. They’re not looking for reasons to like you, they’re looking for more reasons to hate you.
I’m 90% positive that most of these people would never say any of this stuff to our faces. I don’t think that it’s because they don’t have the balls, I think it’s because most people genuinely don’t like hurting people. When you say something ugly to someone’s face you see the hurt that you cause. The internet makes it easier because you can do anonymously, over a computer, and feel guiltless. They don’t feel like bad people because they don’t see the results.
So the biggest piece of advice I’ve been giving people interested in web comics recently: “Minimize your response to negative people period. Don’t even try to reason with them. Just ignore it or delete, try not to engage.” Every once in a while we’ll slip up and let something get to us or joke about something that we think is minor (always blows up in our faces, someday we’ll learn) but at this point, that’s how we try deal with all the crap thrown at us. “Ignore, delete, try not to engage.”
These guys are amazing and I love their comic. Don’t let the haters get you down!