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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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MelodyGlow Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow, this has tompreston written all over it.
-even the shirt
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.
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.
Joshmoe93 Featured By Owner May 15, 2015
aka poisoning the well.
Aquaciana Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Plebcomics is a perfect example.
RockyGems Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Student General Artist
I disagree. Most of her comics are taken word-for-word from actual posts.
thetitanium Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014
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.
Boneguy Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2014
I'm going to make a wild guess: You have read Sshortpacked.
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. 
Boneguy Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
Worse thing happened to Sinfest.
ToaArcan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Looks more like SYAC. Note the gradient background and freshly-inflated woman.
MeetTheOutcasts Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
ToaArcan Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
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.
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!
TheeCuriousMonster Featured By Owner May 17, 2014
It's sad that people are still making these kind of comics. 
Jajamola88 Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
*cough cough* *cough*
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.
Blueneonkid Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
calvinfan Featured By Owner May 3, 2014
Gargomon251 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
Where can I get glasses that disappear in the middle like that?
Blueneonkid Featured By Owner Edited Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Holy bawls! I thought those were his cheek bones...
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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?
Ransom922Studios Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
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.
tehMatrix Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013
Why would apologize to fellow artists? If anything, they're the ones who should be embarrassed for making comics that do this. Deviantart is plagued by things like this everywhere thanks to them.
l-l-7 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is like every Doonesbury comic ever.
katelyn12345678 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012
Wow the girl is very fat . Lets not talk about that lets talk about your comic your comic is like world winds famous comics congrats you are now famous of the comic and the fat girl congrats famous guy or girl c:
Aerodeth Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
Extremely late witty comment that the author will never take a glance and will end at the very back of the comment chain and become unaccessible to see due to DA's glitchy comment sorter.
Windthin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
Seen this one all too many times, to the point where even if I agree with the author it's kind of grating.
EvaTehGrape Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Too true. I mean, if you're going to go to all of the trouble of making art to counter a point, at least make it look like it's a point worthy of your attention.
majicfrog Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012
So, so true. Unfortunately. I can think of a few comic "artists" who pretty much exclusively follow this formula, that's for sure...
LS-Jebus Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It is a really terrible kind of comic because it purposefully misrepresents opposing ideologies and attempts to associate that position with a lack of evidence or reason, while patting oneself on the back. I see this formula a lot when it comes to politics and religion.

For example,

Atheist: "religis peple r stoopid cuz dey beleve in dum shit with no evdadance"
Author says many scientists are religious, points out famous ones
Atheist rages because he apparently has a mental disorder
Author stays calm and rolls eyes

Far too many of those.
Mike-the-cat Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm guilty of this a lot, but I meet a lot of actual straw men who prove my point.
metagross111 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
"::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."

This is a good thing to add. If anyone thinks there are any resemblances to there own comics, it probably says more about them.
7disney7 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
i so agree with this! these kind of comics make me want to defend the straw man's pov, even when i completely disagree with it! there are better (and more entertaining) ways to get a point across.
BigDream64 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Student Digital Artist
socksado Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So ridiculously true~
Sophiekittenmeow Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2012  Student General Artist
so understand this except usually the person thinks theyre a geneous and pisses me off more... lol
sicherheitpolizei Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
lols, Tom Preston doesn't even know what 'strawman' means. But this comic illustrates it nicely.
monstermaster13 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Darla Dimple?
kevinbolk Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012
Oh jeezuz, a "Cats Don't Dance" reference? That takes me back. X.x
monstermaster13 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well she does look suspiciously like her.
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Submitted on
March 23, 2011
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