Real Names

posted November 20, 2003 by Jer


Okay, Most everyone who reads stuff here on Splurd knows that I am a huge fan of Web Comics. I love em all, from the utter crap to the glittering gold. There is one thing though, a common trend, that I don't fully understand and grows increasingly irritating the more I read. WHY THE HELL DON'T YOU PEOPLE USE YOUR REAL NAMES?!

If your story is semi-autobiographical, I can understand you giving the character based on you a different name. I can also understand you referring to yourself as that fictional name when you write newsposts and so on. However, It is becoming irritatingly common to see comics written under a pen name with no mention of anyone's real name. This serves almost no purpose. The only functions I can see if keeping your name a secret from your fans is to prevent stalkers and fanatics from finding you if you're insanely popular, or to prevent getting lynched or beat up if your comic is the crap of the crap. The first is not plausible, since most people know that "Piro" is actually Fred Gallagher and "Gabe" and "Tycho" are in truth Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, and none of the aforementioned big-shots complain of readers in the bushes outside their window. As for the later, if your comic is in fact the crap of the crap, no one's going to read it so why the hell are you worried?

Despite this, artists and writers of web comics are fiercely protective of their true identities. When it comes time for people like me to actually recognize such individuals for their talent, the lack of identity becomes infuriating. Examples of my frustration can be seen in my reviews of Silence by "Gigi" and "Dust Traveler" and Malakhim by "Aleph." Pen names are fine and dandy for the surface level, but if you want anyone to respect and appreciate you as an artist they need to know who the hell you are.