Pictures for Sad Children is gone

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Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Jorpho » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:03 am UTC

I really have no clue what John Campbell is thinking, and of course he's free to do whatever he wants with his creation, but at the moment it's been blown away completely. Even the archive.org backup has been shot down by robots.txt exclusions, which is even more of a shame, because even before the site went down some of his best work was only available there.

Maybe he's just protesting something and it will come back eventually and maybe even starting a thread about it is a bad idea. I dunno. But it's unfortunate; I've never seen anything else quite like it anywhere.

So I thought I'd at least ask: does someone perhaps have one of his old books that they're interested in parting with? There is a Kindle edition on Amazon, but he claims on his Twitter account that it is not his doing. Or maybe that's what he wants people to think.

EDIT [March 3]: Seems his final word on the subject is at his old Kickstarter page. It would probably be ironic to say that it deserves a trigger warning for depression.

EDIT [Mar 10]: 591 views and no replies? Oh well.

I thought I would point out that before you go throwing money down the mysterious Kindle hole, there's a Reddit thread with a backup of the comics. Owing to the legal and ethical concerns, seeking it out is left as an exercise to the reader.

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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby sje46 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:52 pm UTC

Well, kinda an asshole, that's what I have to say.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:54 pm UTC

I feel really bad for the guy, I know he's rather lost it. PFSC was always one of my favorite things. Darker than Buttercup Festival, but so simple. So worth reading when I was very, very depressed.
He has become his own art.
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I'm sad for the loss of the archive. It was pretty key for me to be able to send my favorite comic to people.
It was called 'start with what you can handle' or something to that effect.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:16 pm UTC

From the Wiki: Campbell also noted that he would be ending the comic, and expressed discontent with money as a concept and stated in part: "I want direct funding for my living necessities. I want to establish relationships with a group of people who can pay for my baseline needs like food and rent. I am looking for people who do not feel they need to see any “return” on their “investment.”

Everything I've read about this makes me feel bad for the guy but also convinces me he's just kind of a dick. What's the deal with the legality of ownership of things posted to the intertubes?
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Adam H » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:27 pm UTC

He just wants to live in a rich parent's basement and not have to do anything except what he feels like, is that too much to ask?
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Jorpho » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:23 am UTC

Adam H wrote:He just wants to live in a rich parent's basement and not have to do anything except what he feels like, is that too much to ask?
I kind of get what he's saying, and there's more to it than that. He doesn't just want direct funding for his living necessities; he want to find someone who's willing to provide that, and then let them provide that to someone else first – because he thinks basic human dignity deserves being provided with that much. It's a perspective.

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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:17 am UTC

[quote="Izawwlgood"
Everything I've read about this makes me feel bad for the guy but also convinces me he's just kind of a dick. What's the deal with the legality of ownership of things posted to the intertubes?[/quote]
Well y'know mental illness and being a dick are not mutually exclusive.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:21 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Adam H wrote:He just wants to live in a rich parent's basement and not have to do anything except what he feels like, is that too much to ask?
I kind of get what he's saying, and there's more to it than that. He doesn't just want direct funding for his living necessities; he want to find someone who's willing to provide that, and then let them provide that to someone else first – because he thinks basic human dignity deserves being provided with that much. It's a perspective.


Pretty much. What I gather from his screed is that he believes that in a world like this one you shouldn't need to produce constantly in order to earn the right to shelter and food. I can't say I really disagree with him.

He's just chosen a much more guerilla way of approaching that belief. Maybe that makes him brave, and me a coward. Or maybe it makes me practical and him mentally ill. Possibly all of the above.

I will miss his comic. I hope if he ever changes his mind and wants to rebuild what he's tossed in the fire, he has the backups to make that possible.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:27 pm UTC

There's a difference between saying everyone deserves food and shelter, and saying "I don't want to have to do anything to procure food and shelter, it should just be given to me".

I agree with the former, and find the latter to be pretty dickish. In conjunction with how he refused to give a substantial number of people the goods they paid him for, it doesn't sound like he's fighting for the poor, as much as fighting for his right to not have to work.

But then, there's quite possibly more to this all than has been conveyed in a handful of internet exchanges.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:32 pm UTC

The "and then I want to take those connections and transfer them to someone else who needs it" was where I was getting the idea that he was talking about more than just himself.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Adam H » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:53 pm UTC

Belial wrote:What I gather from his screed is that he believes that in a world like this one you shouldn't need to produce constantly in order to earn the right to shelter and food. I can't say I really disagree with him.

But someone has to produce so that everyone can have shelter and food, right? I mean, until we get a robot army to cater to our every whim. So who gets to not-produce? Is this the sort of thing I can call dibs on?

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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:11 pm UTC

The slogan is "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs", not "from each according to their stock of resources, to each according to their needs, and some people are happy producing I guess".

Now if mental illness has eroded Campbell's ability to produce, that's fine, they deserve their needs to be met through common taxation as a social security net. I wish them well and hope that local legislation where they are is as progressive as it can be. For my part, I will continue to advocate fair provision of a welfare security net where I am, and continue to produce according to my ability in order to provide value to a world that needs value in order to provide for those unable to produce value.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Jorpho » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:17 am UTC

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140305 ... them-alley :
Campbell said he successfully mailed 750 to 800 books, while another 150 were undeliverable and returned to him due to old addresses.
That would be enough to drive a lot of people to madness, I think. Can you just imagine all those books coming back after spending so much money to ship them in the first place, especially when you don't have that much money to throw around to begin with and you're handing everything yourself?

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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Adam H » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:50 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140305/wicker-park/kickstarter-fail-artist-raises-51k-publish-books-burns-them-alley :
Campbell said he successfully mailed 750 to 800 books, while another 150 were undeliverable and returned to him due to old addresses.
That would be enough to drive a lot of people to madness, I think. Can you just imagine all those books coming back after spending so much money to ship them in the first place, especially when you don't have that much money to throw around to begin with and you're handing everything yourself?
He already got paid for the 150 undeliverable books and IMO he's off the hook for them. It's the hundreds of others that he never bothered to try to send. What it means that he got 150 books back due to old addresses is that he now has 150 more books that he can sell! That's good news! Or he could be nice and try to find the 150 new addresses, but IMO he's not obligated to do that.

It sounds like he's just mad at himself and depressed that he failed to publish and deliver 2,000 books with a budget of $50,000, but it's easier to say "money is a huge joke" than "my budgeting skills are a huge joke".
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby sje46 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:55 pm UTC

I'm still wondering if it's wrong for him to have deleted all of his comics. On the one hand it's his property, and there are definitely many valid reasons to delete something you put on the internet. However, it was something many people loved, and he clearly was fine with all that content up before--I mean it wasn't like an embarrassing blog post or a nude pic or something that could compromise him--he was an artist who made a living off expressing himself.. He seems to have just deleted all of it as a "fuck you". I guess it'd be like if there were this world-famous painter who just decided to buy all his paintings back and burned all of them. I mean it's his right but it's still a dick thing to do, I guess?
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby poxic » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:34 am UTC

Depression seriously fucks with ones emotions, which fucks with one's ability to think clearly.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Jorpho » Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:00 am UTC

Adam H wrote:It's the hundreds of others that he never bothered to try to send.
You assume that hundreds of others were ordered. It was always the intention of the Kickstarter in the first place to obtain additional books that would be available later online.
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His last Kickstarter update claims he successfully shipped 75% of the orders. One might surmise that if that does not include the 150 unsuccessful orders, then only 100 more were never sent for some reason.

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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:06 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:I'm still wondering if it's wrong for him to have deleted all of his comics. On the one hand it's his property, and there are definitely many valid reasons to delete something you put on the internet. However, it was something many people loved


The idea that just because you love an artist's work they now have obligations to you is one of the ideas he was upset about.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:48 pm UTC

Artists don't work for us by default? Pffft.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Adam H » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:13 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sje46 wrote:I'm still wondering if it's wrong for him to have deleted all of his comics. On the one hand it's his property, and there are definitely many valid reasons to delete something you put on the internet. However, it was something many people loved


The idea that just because you love an artist's work they now have obligations to you is one of the ideas he was upset about.
Obligation is a loaded word. But I think that - for some weak definition of "obligation" - we all have an obligation to society to not be a jerkface.

He gains nothing from taking his art down (except maybe the satisfaction of being a jerkface), but he did it anyways, just to decrease other people's quality of life.

I don't think that what he did was wrong or unethical or that it should be illegal or anything like that. Just that he's a jerkface and it's justifiable to complain about him being a jerkface.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:15 pm UTC

It goes without saying that once you make art and put it in the public forum, to a certain extent, it stops being only yours. Take that as you will; I'm not saying what he did was wrong/right/understandable/monstrous.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:22 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
Belial wrote:
sje46 wrote:I'm still wondering if it's wrong for him to have deleted all of his comics. On the one hand it's his property, and there are definitely many valid reasons to delete something you put on the internet. However, it was something many people loved


The idea that just because you love an artist's work they now have obligations to you is one of the ideas he was upset about.
Obligation is a loaded word. But I think that - for some weak definition of "obligation" - we all have an obligation to society to not be a jerkface.
He gains nothing from taking his art down (except maybe the satisfaction of being a jerkface), but he did it anyways, just to decrease other people's quality of life.
I don't think that what he did was wrong or unethical or that it should be illegal or anything like that. Just that he's a jerkface and it's justifiable to complain about him being a jerkface.


Your weak definition of obligation is really still too strong to be correct. Humans don't have an obligation to not be a jerkface. The notion that we do is like some just-world crap. What he gains or loses by taking down his art doesn't remotely affect us. And if you don't think it was wrong, then why's it make him a jerkface? Because he removed something that he created from the public sphere?
He made art, he gave it away for mostly free. Nobody wrote anywhere that it'd always be around. Asking more of him is like looking the gift horse in the mouth.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby poxic » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:35 pm UTC

Removing the archive violated some people's unstated (or perhaps stated) expectations. That's about what it takes to be called a jerkface by someone. Whether that's correct or not depends on one's emotional stake in things. Fuzzy stuff, really.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:36 pm UTC

Gosh, that's such a jerkface way to behave.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Adam H » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:54 pm UTC

Fantastic Idea wrote:
Adam H wrote:
Belial wrote:
sje46 wrote:I'm still wondering if it's wrong for him to have deleted all of his comics. On the one hand it's his property, and there are definitely many valid reasons to delete something you put on the internet. However, it was something many people loved


The idea that just because you love an artist's work they now have obligations to you is one of the ideas he was upset about.
Obligation is a loaded word. But I think that - for some weak definition of "obligation" - we all have an obligation to society to not be a jerkface.
He gains nothing from taking his art down (except maybe the satisfaction of being a jerkface), but he did it anyways, just to decrease other people's quality of life.
I don't think that what he did was wrong or unethical or that it should be illegal or anything like that. Just that he's a jerkface and it's justifiable to complain about him being a jerkface.


Your weak definition of obligation is really still too strong to be correct. Humans don't have an obligation to not be a jerkface. The notion that we do is like some just-world crap. What he gains or loses by taking down his art doesn't remotely affect us. And if you don't think it was wrong, then why's it make him a jerkface? Because he removed something that he created from the public sphere?
He made art, he gave it away for mostly free. Nobody wrote anywhere that it'd always be around. Asking more of him is like looking the gift horse in the mouth.
I don't know what you mean by just-world crap. All I meant was that people should be nice to other people.

Thousands of people were negatively affected by his decision to take down his art, while no one benefited from his decision. That's just blatant disregard for the happiness of others and it rubs me the wrong way.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Belial » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:25 pm UTC

I mean, presumably he benefited by way of no longer having to pay for hosting.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:38 pm UTC

Campbell also set up the site so that it wouldn't appear on archive.org , which gets its resources elsewhere.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:49 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Campbell also set up the site so that it wouldn't appear on archive.org , which gets its resources elsewhere.

It's almost as if artists can expect to have exclusive rights to their own work.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby Jabberwok » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:32 am UTC

Now that I've read it, I find his last kickstarter post pretty interesting, as a candid look into someone's motivations. And having the benefit of not being a kickstarter supporter, it's easy for me to say that the people who pledged as fans of his work seem like they should be able to appreciate his actions and perspective to some degree. They may not have gotten the book they wanted, but they got a pretty interesting show in its place. Also, having followed a number of kickstarters, both failed and successful, I'm familiar with the absurd level of entitlement that some contributors exhibit, and Campbell doesn't seem the sort to respond positively to vibes like that.

The one thing that I lament is that he hasn't continued to keep his comics and other work available online for free, which doesn't seem to me to conflict with his qualms about money. If he can't afford to maintain a site, that's understandable, otherwise less so, to me. No judgement here, but the PFSC comics were a fixture of my life for a good while. And it's important that we differentiate between the attitudes of feeling an artist owes you something - which is silly - versus simply being unhappy that something that you like is unavailable to you, an understandable reaction regardless of the reason for its disappearance.

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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:20 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:It's almost as if artists can expect to have exclusive rights to their own work.
I was talking on an ethical rather than a legal level.
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Re: Pictures for Sad Children is gone

Postby apricity » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:06 pm UTC

I have a paper copy of both books but I don't want to part with them. PFSC has always been so close to my heart. John's Twitter was updated two days ago, interestingly enough. I wonder if she (she came out as transgender in one of her Kickstarter updates) is coming back to the interwebs.
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