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IT'S OVER
February 28, 2014 12:16 PM   Subscribe

John Campbell, the cartoonist behind the webcomic Pictures for Sad Children, has ceased deliveries of the strip’s second hardcover collection to kickstarter backers and threatened to burn the remaining books if anyone complains.

Campbell posted a chilling kickstarter update yesterday with a video of him burning over 120 comic books originally made for backers. This comes shortly after a spat with another webcomic artist over what a young girl can expect from a future in the business, and earlier kickstarter updates where he satirically confessed that he had been faking depression for profit and afterwards confessed to only be pretending to fake depression.

Just a few days ago a tumblr user named Lauren attempted to summarize "what the hell's been going on with John Campbell".

KC Green, of Gunshow offered some thoughts on twitter: "john campbell made a video about burning her own books instead of shipping them out. i will go fuck myself... i havent gone thru the shit she has nor will I probably ever. i guess this is where we part. good enough. did our best. etc... i guess I dont like the way john went about deleting his work while still staying present online. it felt like a dis at being a cartoonist... Sorry John. I read the book you never sent me or 25% of other people and I liked it and still will. I will continue to re-read them... ive done everything she's asked of me (and everyone in general). stopped following her, stopped liking her, etc. so its all working out!... I remember when my car got towed in chicago and John and I walked for hours to find the impound place. John paid the money to get it out cus I did not have the cash on me at the time... John Campbell wrote in a way that changed my head forever. There was nothing like it before and never again."
posted by Alterity (19 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: I know this is in a webcomic/zeitgeist sense sort of a high visibility thing but it's also sort of just someone apparently in the middle of having a mental health crisis of some sort. Maybe if there's gonna be a post about it it can be a little down the line when things are less raw and unsettled and there's not as much of a sense of watching someone melt down? -- cortex



 
I read about this yesterday and I can't quite figure out where it falls on the "performance art vs. mental illness" spectrum.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:21 PM on February 28


Relevant info:

1,073 backers
$51,615 pledged of $8,000 goal
posted by crapmatic at 12:23 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Has JC actually collected the money from KickStarter?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:25 PM on February 28


Has JC actually collected the money from KickStarter?

I mean, I could be wrong, but I think that's the way it works, right? I mean, that he has collected the money.
posted by kbanas at 12:27 PM on February 28


I read this yesterday

it's... wow.
posted by rebent at 12:27 PM on February 28


The post suggests that he's flat broke, which certainly raises some questions about what happened to the money.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:28 PM on February 28


Kickstarter delivers the money via Amazon Payments, generally within a month (often sooner) of the completion date. Since this Kickstarter was launched in 2012, JC undoubtedly has received the money.
posted by clockworkjoe at 12:28 PM on February 28


This just seems like one of those shakespearean moments where a persons motives are sympathetic or understandable, but their ensuing actions totally aren't, and so now i just feel sad about "the human condition", or whatever you want to call it.
posted by DGStieber at 12:29 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


The most fun thing (which is not a fun thing) about the internet is that everything you do can reach a staggering number of people.

...in this case, it means you get to have a total breakdown in front of an audience of millions.
posted by aramaic at 12:29 PM on February 28


This is pretty common with Kickstarter. People underestimate how much money they need to fulfil their project, and go broke doing so. Or they just fuck around with the money.
posted by chunking express at 12:29 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


This kinda feels like gathering 'round to point and stare at the mental health crisis.
posted by echo target at 12:30 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


$51,615 pledged of $8,000 goal

I've been seeing a lot of "he just skedaddled with $50K" talk online over this and I really, really hate it whenever big dollar amounts for projects like this are brought up without context like that. He actually had printed and shipped a shitload of hardcover books. Regardless of what's happening now, after both printing the books and shipping 75% of them (and other assorted rewards) this ain't one of the numerous Kickstarters where the money just vanishes.
posted by griphus at 12:30 PM on February 28


My wife pledged to a friend once who was doing woodworking and had all these rewards with various things like boxes and cutting boards and things, and all I could think was "You are entering a world of pain". Needless to say he couldn't get all the work finished and we ended up just letting it go... it seemed like the charitable thing to do for a guy that brought a lot of pressure onto himself. This seems like that except an order of magnitude bigger.
posted by selfnoise at 12:30 PM on February 28


it falls on the "performance art vs. mental illness" spectrum

Either way, at some point disinterested people should consider disengaging. Campbell's friends may have a responsibility to figure out which, but the rest of us are probably just safe assuming whichever we'd like. Kickstarter backers who don't get a reward may feel like they are not disinterested parties, but in the scheme of things they really are.

Campbell's webcomics have always struck me as some of the most challenging and dangerous art on the web. If he needs help I hope he gets it.
posted by muddgirl at 12:31 PM on February 28


I read about this yesterday and I can't quite figure out where it falls on the "performance art vs. mental illness" spectrum.

Yes, I read it being generous to the performance artist side, and I hope that's where is coming from because I think it's actually pretty compelling. But he sounds really depressed, and that makes me scared for him.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:32 PM on February 28


Kickstarter backers who don't get a reward may feel like they are not disinterested parties, but in the scheme of things they really are.

well put.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:32 PM on February 28


As far as this being performance art vs depression...I hear he's having lunch with Shia later this week.

I'm sick of kickstarters backing out on their delivery.
I backed the "Yes and No Movie" and they are doing jack shit.
Tons of rewards, none happenin.
posted by varion at 12:33 PM on February 28


Why does KC Green refer to him as "she" and "her"? I'm confused.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:33 PM on February 28


She is trans.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:35 PM on February 28


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