I’ve read Penny Arcade pretty much every week for years. Sure, there have been some super-inappropriate comics, but I’ve appreciated the continual development of the artwork, the geeky humour, the occasional ode to love of literature. Their “reality TV show” Strip Search was, while at times certainly vulgar (not in the way you’d think, given the title!), a pretty fantastic web series about artists and writers.
The experience of a female gamer at Penny Arcade Expo, however, is far too disturbing and too serious to ignore. This sort of behaviour and this sort of mindset and stance towards abuse of any kind is nothing short of horrific.
And honestly, I should probably be horrified at my silent response to the initial comic as well. “Eh, it’s really not appropriate, but they’ve never been ones for super-appropriate topics…I’ll just move on. Tomorrow’s comic will be funny.” It was equivocating on an unequivocal subject, and I continued to support Penny Arcade, even donating to their Kickstarter campaign. I’m sorry.
In response to the renewed uproar this past week, one of the founders of Penny Arcade “clarified” their position (and yes, I appreciate that they have strict “booth babe” policies at events, that kind of respect at trade shows is hard to find).
But…they’re just sad people are upset. They still like the comic.
I don’t think I can or should be ok with that. Not any more.
It’s going to be a little weird not reading Penny Arcade tomorrow morning, and especially difficult given my obsessive nature (I watched all of Heroes season 2, for goodness sake, I just can’t leave something unfinished!). But…I’ll try to kick the habit, if for nothing more than the silent dissent of my own conscience.