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Penny Arcade's CGW Interview 68

Posted by Zonk
from the tycho-do-you-like-me-check-yes-or-no dept.
1up is running an interview with the Penny Arcade guys, originally done for Computer Gaming World. They talk comics, the industry, Harlan Ellison, and (of course) games. From the article: "Jerry Holkins: My favorite quote comes from this one strip where I say 'Fetch it, and gaze upon your ruined world.' I'm not sure that anybody else really pays attention to that particular comic strip, but it's called 'They Hailed From Canadon,' and it's just this...it starts out in this weird, Penny Arcade way, but it has these spacefaring dogmen that for some reason really do it for me. I don't know why."
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Penny Arcade's CGW Interview

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  • Slashdot PA Sidebar (Score:2, Interesting)

    by poena.dare (306891)
    Hey, while we're on the subject of PA. Would someone please fix the PA Slashdot sidebar? Or is PAs feed screwed up?
  • Dear Penny Arcade (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Radres (776901) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:34PM (#15150874)
    Why are your forums always down, and why does it take until 2pm central time each day to get the image up for the comic?
  • by XCorvis (517027) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:38PM (#15150907)
    It's actually "Canidon" and here's a link to the comic: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/05/21 [penny-arcade.com]
    • This is actually one of my favorite Penny Arcade comics of all time, I laughed so hard the first time I saw it. And it's exactly like Jerry says, something about this strip is just so funny and stylish in a distinctly Penny Arcade sort of way.
  • by tprime (673835) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:23PM (#15151323)
    Jive Magazine got an interview (and a custom magazine cover) with the PA guys a few months ago that I submitted but was rejected. Has some interesting stuff on the origin of their names. Check near a third of the way down when they explain how Mike became Gabrial after being called Deadly Peach....

    Here [jivemagazine.com]
  • No Ellison Schtick (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @02:23PM (#15151324) Homepage Journal
    So we went to this thing, and I didn't know what to expect. And we watched him sit in on a couple panels, and knew immediately that he was exactly sort of like us, in that he was an a**hole. [laughs] It's just that we're assholes in the comic, and not in real life. He maintained that shtick even to his fans, which I thought was sort of weird. A lot of times people will come to meet us at a show, and ask me to flip them off or something, and it feels weird. I try to be nice to people when I meet them. But Harlan, that's not his gig. And I told Jerry, I said, "You know, we're going to have to be onstage with this guy here in a little bit." Because we were co-guests of honor, I guess, if you can have that. And just having watched him for a couple minutes, I knew that he would not like that. I knew that once we got onstage, he would try to do something to belittle us. Somehow he would just have to take the spotlight; that's just the kind of guy he was.
    If these guys had known anything about Ellison, they'd know his assholedom is not a schtick. Everything he says or does is a melodrama, with him as the long-suffering hero. That's why I find his work unreadable, even though he's basically a talented and imaginative writer. And it's why the SF community is full of people who avoid his company at any cost. It's amazing that he has any fans.
    • If these guys had known anything about Ellison, they'd know his assholedom is not a schtick. Everything he says or does is a melodrama, with him as the long-suffering hero.

      To paraphrase Clark's Law:
      "Any sufficiently advance melodrama is indistinguishable from assholedom."

      Actually, I really like his work (though I haven't read much of his from after the late 70s), but he is truly irritating in person, though I had a friend who really loved that about him. I guess its the lack of caring for social convention
    • Everything he says or does is a melodrama, with him as the long-suffering hero. That's why I find his work unreadable

      I've known a lot of writers, and you can't judge the writing by the person. Some of the greatest jerks are very good writers, many very nice people are terrible writers. But the very best writers are usually secure enough not to need to be assholes. Harlan is obviously terribly insecure, he's done a lot, but was capable of much more, and he knows it.

      • by fm6 (162816)
        I've known a lot of writers, and you can't judge the writing by the person. Some of the greatest jerks are very good writers, many very nice people are terrible writers.
        Perfectly true, and not just for writers. And indeed, Ellison is basically a good writer. Unfortunately he abuses melodrama in his writing much as he does in real life. That spoils a lot of fiction that could have been very good.
    • I've met my share of SF writers (and some other writers in general). There were some good ones and some bad. For example, Robert Aspirin WAS (I stress was because its been a long time) a drunkard and a womanizer. He used his fame to get into women's pants as often as possible, and I find that horribly objectionable. Pat Elrod is a very sweet woman, but some people can't stand her which I don't understand. RL Stein seemed to be very nice and relaxed, but of course, I didn't really call him out on anythi
      • You cite one writer I don't care for, and two whose work I don't know. In any case, their work is all I really want to know about any writer. Let their private lives be private. I wouldn't care about HE's assholedness if it didn't taint everything he did: his editing, his TV ventures, and most especially his writing.

        One of my favorite SF writers is Robert Heinlein, who was arguably the greatest writer of the genre in his era, and who did a lot to define the conventions of modern SF. I never met the dude

        • wow! I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, I used to be a big fan of Robert Aspirin's work, and now I just can't bring myself to read it.

          I'm also a huge fan of Heinlein. though I have a feeling I'd get along very well with him. from my readings of his I find I share alot of his philosophies. (scary though that is).

          Ira
      • Robert Aspirin WAS a drunkard and a womanizer. He used his fame to get into women's pants as often as possible

        Dude, you say that like it's a bad thing.

        Seriously, what's objectionable? If it's consensual, what's the big deal?

        After all, isn't that what fame and fortune are for?
    • It's always annoying when you learn that, just because somebody is talented it doesn't mean they're a good person. I've meet some talented people who are great (Gabe and Tycho are two of them), and I've meet some real dicks.

      The funny (sad?) thing is, Ellison "friends" think the same thing. I remember talking with one (who I will not name here, but (s)he's *very* close to Ellison) who said: "He's a bit of a dick."

  • Harlan is a lot like me (and many other geeks), in that we can often be opinionated, blunt assholes who insist their current view is the right one, and will defend it with passion and vigor. It isn't because we don't think we could be wrong, but because we rarely offer opinions without some serious thought behind them. This turns off a lot of "ordinary" folks (and even some of the geekier ones), who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is s
    • by Rallion (711805) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @03:24PM (#15151865) Journal
      Did you read what happened, though? Harlan started it, not them. Asking somebody if they even went to high school (with the obvious intent of implying that the other person is a moron) up on stage in front of a ton of people isn't exactly what I'd call 'nice.'
      • Asking someone why they aren't putting on their jester's cap isn't necessarily nice, either. Oh, they left that part out of the CGW article, but it's on their web page:

        http://www.penny-arcade.com/2005/09/26 [penny-arcade.com]
        So Tycho and I are up in front of the audience with Harlen, and Hank (the con organizer) presents us with some jester hats ("Fool's caps"). Tycho and I put ours on because we are polite, but Harlen - who is apparently too cool for school - refuses to wear his. I turn to him and say, "Don't you want your
        • Ahh, it turns out I didn't read Harlan's second entry. Here's his further elaboration of the events: MY SECOND, AND FINAL, WORDS ON THIS MATTER What the surly teenager posted on his website as having happened, did NOT, in fact, transpire in that way. Like Mr. Tycho's "gut feeling" or "assumption" or "telepathic intuition" or whatever it was, everything the surly teenager posted was HIS perception of an interchange that lasted for less than two minutes. His assumptions and interpretations are his own, an
        • by SirBruce (679714) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:41PM (#15153246) Homepage
          Damn formatting:

          MY SECOND, AND FINAL, WORDS ON THIS MATTER

          What the surly teenager posted on his website as having happened, did NOT, in fact, transpire in that way. Like Mr. Tycho's "gut feeling" or "assumption" or "telepathic intuition" or whatever it was, everything the surly teenager posted was HIS perception of an interchange that lasted for less than two minutes. His assumptions and interpretations are his own, and he's entitled to them. Weird and sad and skewed as they may be.

          But for him, for Mr. Tycho, and for all of you, I am telling you they are no more accurate than MY understanding of the matter. I don't expect the surly teenager to pause even a moment to consider that his interpretations are wonky, he's incapable, I suspect, of assuming responsibility for ANYTHING he does, like some mook standing in front of Judge Judy. And he certainly isn't going to cop to fronting someone who meant him no harm, not in front of his worshipful gamer-tots. But this is the bottom line:

          I did not know them, I had no negative feelings toward them, and I was neither rude nor discourteous to them.

          Never insulted them. Never wanted to insult them. Didn't do it consciously or reflexively. Just didn't do it. ALL insults and disparagement came from the surly teenager. Mr. Tycho shouldn't be defending his associate's bad behavior; after all, Mr. Tycho was standing right there beside me.

          My assertion is demonstrably more accurate than what the surly teenager posted to arouse his adolescent admirers. As verified by the CHAIRMAN OF THE FOOLSCAP CONVENTION, Hank Graham, who has stated very clearly THERE WAS NO JESTER'S HAT FOR ME. If that is so, then all that follows in the surly teenager's memoir is equally as skewed, equally as misinterpreted, and equally as unfair to me.

          We were in each other's company less than two minutes. We were all four--Gabe & Tycho, Hank Graham, myself--on the stage in a small room. They were making "gifts" to the Guests of Honor. The first was an orange peeler. I did the expected "take" and looked at this small plastic kitchen implement with mock humor and confusion. I then got a SECOND one, intended for Kathy Roche-Zujko (my ex-secretary, who now lives in Bellevue, with whom we hung during the weekend, and who had picked Susan and me up at Sea-Tac). It was a thankyou from the ConCommittee for her good offices. With TWO of these items, I continued to do the aversion shtick, edging backward toward the audience, past the surly teenager, with one of the orange peelers behind my back and, openly to the entire room, slipped it to someone in the audience. Everyone laughed.

          I then returned to my place next to the surly teenager, as Hank Graham placed jester's caps (signifying "foolscap") on Mr. Tycho and the surly teenager. Mr. Graham then handed me a lined yellow tablet in a plastic sleeve--foolscap, in the classic meaning of the word--and said, "Here's YOUR foolscap." I am a writer. Getting foolscap was appropriate. I am neither a clown nor an asshole, as so many of the PA adolescents who have no idea of my fifty-plus years' work perceive. It was fitting and proper that I should get a pad of ... well ... foolscap.

          The surly teenager then asked me, not very loudly, "Don't you want to wear your hat?"

          As there WAS NO HAT for me, I pretty much let slide the gibe.

          Well, two aspects of the moment that followed:

          1) Someone in the audience said something to ME, DIRECTLY, that I now understand as not having been heard or linked properly, by the surly teenager. I can't remember what it was, but it was a remark made my someone I knew, in a jocular vein, and I tossed over my shoulder the pro forma fuckyou or gofuckyerself or whatever it was. It was no more serious or rude a fuckyou than a Bart Simpson bite me or eat my shorts.

          But it wasn't addressed to the surly teenager, who had already made snotty remarks at me, not once, but twice.

          If the surly teenager misheard and thought he was EV
          • Funny part is that he continues to refer to Gabe (Mike) as a teenager - he's the same age as Tycho (Jerry). Both are 28.
            • The entire story seems to be one part description of events, 9 parts "I'm better than them". Any respect he may win by clearing up the events that happened is surely squandered by childish self-aggrandizing and meaningless putdowns.
          • Is he trying to get the #1 spot in google for the keyphrase "surly teenager"? It seems like when someone freaks out at you because of a misunderstanding, a calm explanation of "No don't feel that way, I was talking to my friend in the audience." is in order, but instead this has turned into a who can shout the loudest wins contest.
          • This comes down to a he-said, she-said sort of thing. Harlan is a known prick with a gigantic ego. This gives his side of the account...but really, this guy is wrapped in a fantasy world where he is the center. He perceives himself as victimized...totally innocent which you know is utter bs. His whole account is riddled with insults towards the PA guys and their audience. He can't understand that plenty of intelligent, articulate people read and enjoy those comics (and playing video games). He believe
          • Well, now I understand where the "melodramatic" label comes from.
    • did you graduate college?
      did you graduate high school?

      did you RTFA? haha
    • Many SF writers are opinionated. None have quite as nasty a reputation as Ellison. I don't know why you got along with him, but you're definitely in the minority. And many SF writers who were screwed over by his mishandling of Finally, Dangerous Visions (and worse, by his inability to admit that he was doing anything wrong) utterly loath him.

      Since SF is something I read, rather than write, I could forgive his immaturity — except that it leaks over into his fiction. He's spoiled many promising storie

    • who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is so secure in theirs

      I'd rather be around someone who admits they are wrong than someone who blindly believes in their own infalibility.

      Or rather... I perfer people who take this view "I believe myself to be correct now, but given extra information or changes in stuations I understand and accept I could be horribly wrong in the future."

      Being an ass and strongly believing yourself to be correct... does
    • by PhoenixOne (674466)
      "Harlan is a lot like me (and many other geeks), in that we can often be opinionated, blunt assholes who insist their current view is the right one, and will defend it with passion and vigor."

      And now you know why you don't get invited out to parties.

      I have a lot of "geek friends" and, while I can normally deal with this, I can tell you that you're not turning off "ordinary folks" because *their* insecure. You're just coming off as an asshole.

      It's fine to have beliefs but, right or wrong, you're going t

    • This turns off a lot of "ordinary" folks, who are so insecure about their own beliefs that they can't really wrap their head around someone else who is so secure in theirs.

      No, actually, it turns people off because you're an asshole. It has nothing to do with how secure other people are or aren't. But it does have a lot to do with how secure you are (but not in the way that you think).

      And those people don't like to be shown to be wrong, either; it just makes them hurt and hostile.

      So, because you;re shown t
  • "...it starts out in this weird, Penny Arcade way, but it has these spacefaring dogmen that for some reason really do it for me. I don't know why."
    Perhaps it is because you like to pee on the carpet.

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