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The Straw Man Argument by kevinbolk The Straw Man Argument by kevinbolk
This was the art for one of the slides for my "10 Things I Hate About Webcomics" panel I put together for Zenkaicon 2011. The idea behind the whole thing was to poke fun at common webcomics tropes, cliches, and/or bad habits and to help new creators recognize them and then either avoid them or exploit them (because anything, even tropes, done well can still make for good entertainment). This stuff can be applied to a lot of other media as well and I think most creators (myself included) have been guilty of them at one point or another.

This was actually the second part of the "Webcomic As Soapbox" slide. The first part covered the straight-up rant that features the author's avatar breaking the fourth wall to express his opinions directly at the reader for panels upon panels (which I have done myself so I just used one of my older comics as an example). This one is the slightly less obvious "Straw Man Argument". You will see it quite often in political cartoons and in auto-bio comics.

I really do my best to avoid these like the plague. It would be like beating a one-eyed dog at chess. It's way too easy and it kinda makes me look like a jerkass (especially in the eyes of people who don't already agree with me).

Not that webcomics can't or shouldn't express a point of view. I'd just like to see it done with a little more finesse.

::EDIT::- The purpose here is not to take stabs at fellow artists, which is why I was reluctant to post these outside the context of the panel in the first place. ~_~ Any direct resemblance to any particular work is completely and honestly unintentional.
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:iconeclipsecoldfire:
EclipseColdfire Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016
Juicy.
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:iconpwnerj:
pwnerj Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2016
*Follows situation 1 with well thought-out background research and citations, point out logical fallacy. Create ridiculous scenario involving opposition's solution in action.*
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:iconcoloumn:
coloumn Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
[insert literally any political web cartoonist name here]
Reply
:icondarkton93:
Darkton93 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
This goes beyond Tom Preston. This is stuff we see everywhere, like that Boardroom Meeting where the strawmen executives kill the guy with good ideas. I've made such a pet peeve out of sequences that start with "I can just imagine what the developers/producers/executives where thinking when they did this," and constructing arguments made out of straw. I can just imagine what they were thinking when they wrote it:

:iconguyplz: I am a strawman of a comic writer and I cannot come up with a solution to a problem. So, instead of using a logical thought process the creator was likely thinking, I'll instead use insane logical fallacies to make my argument. Also I'm 12 years old so as to appeal to childishness, thus making me easier to defeat.
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
plebcomics, gamergate life, tompreston, you fucking name it
Reply
:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 30, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
It's funny because plebby and gamergate life actually have linked examples to prove that Sjs are really that shitty. Tompreston, on the other hand...
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
and both plebby and GG life take their sources and blow them way the fuck out of proportion. their fans love to cry "but we have SOURCES" but that doesn't mean jack shit when the "sources" are essentially alternate universe fodder.
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:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
"blow them way out of proportion"
Please elaborate further on this, will you? And give me evidence, or I won't believe you.
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
gladly.

rationalsjdiscussions.tumblr.c…

^^^ the source of this comic expresses the opinion of an arab mestiza. she believes this "the world is your oyster, foreign countries are your playground of personal enrichment" viewpoint many white americans have is based in selfishness and racial superiority. plebcomics twists this by turning her into a white tumblrina stereotype and depicts her saying that traveling the world is literally racist - something the source never says.

plebcomics.tumblr.com/post/119…

^^^ this comic's sources are a calm, rational, musing article on the possible hidden message of a children's book, and a post on tumblr that is clearly written by someone with trauma issues related to having their boundaries/comfort zone tested. keep in mind i dont agree with the idea that "green eggs and ham" has anything to do with rape culture, although i give the sources credit where it's due - the way it displays its actual message disturbs me slightly, as someone who also has trauma issues related to having my boundaries tested (and outright ignored). plebcomics turns these sources into a raving, shrieking harpy running around calling little kids rapists for enjoying the book, something the sources never did.

rationalsjdiscussions.tumblr.c…

^^^ this comic's source depicted a college professor SARCASTICALLY, DISINGENUOUSLY, JOKINGLY, saying something controversial and offensive because he felt someone was baiting him into looking like the bad guy - thus he felt like he may as well give the potential troll what they wanted. plebcomics writes this situation as if he was 100% serious in his position that he thinks all white people should commit mass suicide.

now, feel free to ignore these as most of her obsessive whiteknights do, i'm well aware facts mean nothing when they come from an "SJW" :P go on and tell me what a brilliant satirist she is for strawmanning all her sources past the point of believability.
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:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Edited Sep 4, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
1) First off, if you've actually studied geography or social studies, you'll know for a fact that MANY countries rely on tourism for money. My country, Singapore, is a prime example of this. Singapore has no oil or any other natural resources. Our revenue is mostly earned through being a trading port, and also through being a tourist attraction to many foreigners.
www.guidemesingapore.com/incor…
Imagine if everyone agreed with you and viewed tourism as being based in "White superiority" and treating us "minorities" as playthings. My country's economy would be absolutely devastated. Many businesses would be shut, and the economy would be hit very badly. And by very badly I mean that Singapore's economy would definitely collapse overnight due to the lack of tourism if, say, another financial crisis hits us. Even without a financial crisis, thousands of people will lose their jobs, especially in the airport, hotel and F&B industries. Can you imagine how fucking quickly our economy would collapse? There's many more countries like the Maldives who are going to fucking suffer due to this bullshit, mainly because they're VERY reliant on the tourism industry. Scratch that, EVERY country in the world is going to fucking suffer. But the economies that are VERY reliant on tourism and the poorest countries are going to be hit the hardest. See how your SJW bullshit logic is going to basically fuck the entire world up?
Also, it's not just fucking whites who travel, idiot. Asians often travel to other Asian countries or to western countries. Muslims in the middle east fly to Mecca on holy pilgrimages. Africans also travel or even migrate to foreign countries. 
Thirdly, travel is a great way to learn about different cultures. Sure, some tourists are particularly annoying and terrible, but most, in my experience, go with an open mind and enjoy learning about the culture of the people there. As a Chinese person, I would greatly welcome anybody who wishes to learn more about Chinese culture. It's a way of connecting the world and erasing misunderstandings and misconceptions about the people of a certain culture, effectively quashing racism caused by ignorance. You are forced to adapt-to condition yourself to the culture you're being exposed to. Through this, you learn via experience.

2)So how is the source "calm and musing" when it automatically assumes that green eggs and ham=rape? I don't think anything that's "calm and musing" would automatically link a fucking CHILDREN'S book to something as graphic and terrifying as rape. Also, the person writing the source has COMPLETELY misunderstood the point of green eggs and ham. Green eggs and ham is trying to ENCOURAGE children to TRY NEW THINGS. Why the color green? Many kids hate vegetables, many of which are green, and green is a color we often associate with disgust. It's reasonable for the unnamed character to hate them based on appearance alone, as many kids do with vegetables.  But he eventually tries it and finds out he actually LIKES green eggs and ham, implying that the character has never tried green eggs and ham before, and hence further proving my point that the unnamed character is judging the green eggs and ham based on appearance alone. Through this, young kids will be more willing to be adventurous, especially with the dreaded vegetables. The book isn't about "rape culture", but moreso teaches children:"Try it, you might like it!" If the source was truly calm and musing, and the author wasn't paranoid, this would have been the conclusion that they would have come to, not "RAPE CULTURE!11!1!1!". 

3)Is saying anything "out of frustration" appropriate action for an esteemed professor, especially if it's something along the lines of "all whites should kill themselves durr"? I call bullshit. Just because he says it was somebody forcing him to say that bullcrap, or that he did it because he was angry, doesn't mean it's true. The person replying him on his tweet on slavery is in no way a "bad faith interlocutor" for asking a question in a neutral manner. The professor's might as well be a cover up or a half assed excuse that he doesn't actually mean. He may not genuinely sorry for his actions, he's more sorry that he was caught. The screencaps that the person behind "rationalsjdiscussions" used are also fucking fake. Notice that there's no "frenzied" in the slogan, and that there's no "one trigger warning at a time" bullshit to be found ANYWHERE. As your source is proven to have used falsified information to support their claims, Their critique and claim that the professor was being "sarcastic" and shit are invalid, as the integrity of rationalsjdiscussions has been compromised and your source is hence proven unreliable. Don't fucking try to lie your way out of this one-I have a screenshot:
file:///C:/Users/dummy/Downloads/The%20Social%20Memo.pdf
In short, you're fucking wrong. And ignorant. You rely on misinformed sources that rely on blatantly falsified claims to prove their points. You paint the bad situation to be better than it really is in a sad attempt to pull the wool over my eyes. Let me tell you something really quickly, missy: Lies can fool the ignorant, but never the observant.  Stop lying your way out and relying on bullshit evidence to support your fucking claim. You'll only get caught in doing so.
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
1.) i said that post depicts the OPINION of SOMEONE WHO IS NOT ME. your entire wall of text is nearly invalid, considering i have said absolutely nothing about your economy or about my opinions on that source. listen to what i'm actually saying before you start running your mouth.

2.) if you read the article, you would find that the person writing it is actually very calm. very musing. the article is contemplation, not "HOLY SHIT GREEN EGGS AND HAM IS LITERALLY ABOUT RAPE CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!??!11". just because the subject matter of something is drastic and disturbing, it does not mean the author's tone is as hysterical as plebcomics depicted it.

3.) he never said anyone forced him to say anything, he said he felt like the person he was talking to was /baiting/ him into saying something offensive, so he made a joke out of it. i think you're reading a bit too deep into this, and much too emotionally. also, dear - that screencap was not fake. rationalsjdiscussions proved it here. rationalsjdiscussions.tumblr.c… someone tried to accuse them of that same exact thing, "falsifying evidence", but the truth is, they screencapped the website before it clearly went through some kind of layout change.

you've misunderstood everything i was trying to say, you think i am defending the sources when actually i am telling you that plebcomics TWISTED WHAT THE SOURCES WERE TRYING TO SAY in order to make a hamfisted, unfunny strawman-fueled point. please read what i say before you start acting like this, and please stop making totally random accusations against people you don't like. :| nothing you have said in your reply to me makes any sense.

i am a white person living in north america, so i don't know how i personally feel about tourism on the spectrum of race discussions. i know that the OP of that post thinks that a lot of facets of tourist behavior [NOT TOURISM ITSELF, NOT TRAVELING THE WORLD ITSELF, they clearly stated this] are based in colonialist thought. i don't know how i feel about it, thus your big screaming fest about how i'm hurting your country makes no sense.

i read that article when you clearly didn't, and i realize that we can be big adults and talk about scawwy things like rape, and not be freaking the fuck out. thus your big screaming fest about how plebcomics depicted the article fairly (which she obviously did not, if you actually read the fucking article) makes no sense.

you randomly accused my source of falsifying evidence when one of the most recent posts on their blog is them debunking said accusations. that was what you based your entire argument on, and didn't think for even a second that you could be wrong - didn't even think to factcheck. thus your big screaming fest about false evidence makes no sense.
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:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
1) How is my explanation of tourism being VITAL to many world economies even invalid? I am debunking the whole bullshit about white people treating travel as an excuse to be racist "cultural appropriators" that YOU put out. We, the people of said cultures you are trying to "defend" NEED tourism to save our economies and to support our bloody livelihoods. We do NOT consider tourism racist. Please listen to us when we "POC" say that. Or take a damn economics class to understand why the tourism industry is vital for us.
2) This is stupid. Just really fucking stupid. Bottom line, that is a kid's storybook. How the heck will it ever be an allegory for rape? There is no excuse for that bullshit. Whoever wrote that article is definitely overthinking it, which is exactly what plebcomics is poking fun at- paranoid people making a mountain out of a molehill.
3) Regardless if my claim is wrong, still, said professor should NEVER have said that as a public figure, and that is final.
Please go back to sucking  rationalsjdiscussion's dick, because this is pathetic. You are basing your arguments from their point of view, and quite honestly, you need to wake the fuck up, and make your own damn decisions. Here's two bucks, now get a spine.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmelodyglow:
MelodyGlow Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow, this has tompreston written all over it.
-even the shirt
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:icondrronin-93:
drRONIN-93 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015  Student General Artist
People apply this to Plebcomics for some reason, even though she CITED HER SOURCES. 

Personally, I do find this to be the tone in the current state of Sinfest.
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
my dear sweet child. her "sources" are really just vague inspirations.

her recent comic about tattoos involved a woman screeching sexual harassment because a guy said her tattoos were cool.

the "source" actively said that complimenting tattoos is not sexual harassment - but creeps can often hyperfocus on tattoos in areas like the thighs or chest, which does count as sexual harassment. they're ogling areas on a woman that are often sexualized and telling her about it, according to the phenomenon documented by the source.

the comic and the source, like most of plebcomics' works, were only very very slightly connected. this comic is ALL about her.
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:icondrronin-93:
drRONIN-93 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Student General Artist
The source called it the "tatcall" and actually DID refer to it as harassment. 
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
from the source: "Of course, not every random tattoo compliment counts as street harassment. So how do you know if it’s genuine appreciation or a tatcall? In Fabello’s experience, it looks like this: “when you’re pointing at my thighs, nodding with a grin on your face, and giving me a thumbs up or an ‘okay’ sign.""
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:icondrronin-93:
drRONIN-93 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Pointing at the tattoo on her thighs and giving appreciation for the art.
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
so you think wordlessly pointing to a woman's thighs on the street with some smug shit-eating grin on your face, nodding and giving a thumbs-up sign is impossible to interpret as sexual harassment? there's a bit too much leeway given to the people who play with your suspension of disbelief there.

if you're interested in more plebcomics hypocrisy, read this and this.

her entire style of political comics is exaggerating to the point of flat-out dishonesty, ignoring facts and pretending that screaming "BUT SATIRE" will save her from criticism.
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:icondrronin-93:
drRONIN-93 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Nope, that professor's just pretentious, and who gets to decide that someone is "using the world as their playground" when they don't even know them or why they decided to travel in the first place? 

You realize this exchange is going nowhere for either of us?
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:iconking-homo:
king-homo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
1.) that's just, like, your opinion, man
2.) you didn't read the source for that post and it shows. you skimmed it and took what you wanted from it so you could defend darling plebcomics.

of course it's not going anywhere, it's because you're refusing to listen. plebcomics is a strawman comic artist and i can't believe that's actually a debatable point. she takes semi-reasonable sources and turns them into irrational bullshit because she hates "SJWs".
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(1 Reply)
:icondeadgamer1:
deadgamer1 Featured By Owner Edited Apr 21, 2015
Well the way i see it is, these types of comics are designed as a cheap means of keeping the issue to oneself, ensuring their opion/angle is the only one that's heard and considered.
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:iconjoshmoe93:
Joshmoe93 Featured By Owner May 15, 2015
aka poisoning the well.
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:iconaquaciana:
Aquaciana Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Plebcomics is a perfect example.
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:iconrockygems:
RockyGems Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Student General Artist
I disagree. Most of her comics are taken word-for-word from actual posts.
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:iconthetitanium:
thetitanium Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014
imgur
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:iconstuartrichards:
StuartRichards Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I was hesitant at first to even put politics in my comic, simply because I didn't want to fall into this trope. I'm still kinda edging into it; I'm finding it's harder to work into a comic in a non-preachy way than any other subject.
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:iconboneguy:
Boneguy Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2014
I'm going to make a wild guess: You have read Sshortpacked.
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:iconsetsune-w:
Setsune-W Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I used to love Shortpacked, and then this just started popping up over, and over, every time the creator got into a forum argument or something of that nature. 
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:iconboneguy:
Boneguy Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
Worse thing happened to Sinfest.
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:icontoaarcan:
ToaArcan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Looks more like SYAC. Note the gradient background and freshly-inflated woman.
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:iconsixgunshauna:
SixGunShauna Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Student General Artist
Oho!
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:icontoaarcan:
ToaArcan Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:bow:
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:iconohthehumanityplz:
Ohthehumanityplz Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a wonderful tutorial. Thanks for posting this so people can learn not to make these comics.
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:iconblueneonkid:
Blueneonkid Featured By Owner Edited Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Notice that in the More Like This section it's ALL Andrew Dobson's Comics!
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:icontheecuriousmonster:
TheeCuriousMonster Featured By Owner May 17, 2014
It's sad that people are still making these kind of comics. 
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:iconjajamola88:
Jajamola88 Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
*cough cough* plebcomics.tumblr.com *cough*
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:iconrwbsmasher:
RWBsmasher Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
If her comics weren't based on actual things that happens, that is. She even sources the events.
Reply
:iconblueneonkid:
Blueneonkid Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*COUGH* ANY COMIC ANDREW DOBSON HAS EVER MADE EVER WHATA*HACK*
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:iconcalvinfan:
calvinfan Featured By Owner May 3, 2014
TomPreston.png
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:icongargomon251:
Gargomon251 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
Where can I get glasses that disappear in the middle like that?
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:iconblueneonkid:
Blueneonkid Featured By Owner Edited Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Holy bawls! I thought those were his cheek bones...
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:iconcooldude104:
Cooldude104 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014  Student General Artist
A proper argument, while possibly heated, can still be sound, sane, and logical. The opponent must have a sound argument otherwise it just seems unnecessary, or that your argument can't stand on it's own merits. The point of a argument is to convince the other side of your ideals, to simplify them or make them seem just off will only serve to anger and drive away people from your point of view.

Shit I just ranted

And I can understand why you avoid these like the plague. Politics is a tough place.
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:icondekler:
Dekler Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I love how my sidebar that says "More from deviantArt" has nothing but Tom Preston webcomics. I like the guy but he tends to be guilty of this.
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:iconharu-daiki:
Haru-Daiki Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Professional Interface Designer
He "tends" to be guilty of this? Last I checked it's all he and his webcomics amount to, him feeling attacked and then defending himself with fallacies. To be fair, "last I checked" refers to like 2012.
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:icondekler:
Dekler Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Nah he had some good stuff here and there. Alex ze Pirate was 0% of this. It's a lot harder to do a strawman comic when you're not in it. 
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:iconfrohawkmaster:
Frohawkmaster Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013
Well no you spoiled the ending of around 80% of all shortpacked comics pages what am I supposed to read now?
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:iconransom922studios:
Ransom922Studios Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
DIS GON B GUD.
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:iconherokiller12344:
Herokiller12344 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013
Exactly, the opponent is portrayed as ugly, stupid and one dimensional, unable to comprehend being wrong, while the Author Avatar is always made to look somewhat attractive and automatically right.

Straw men are posion.
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