Explaining David Gonterman
This week's episode:
"Shock the Monkey"
This is one of a limited amount of collumns based on David Gonterman. This, like the Gonterman Shrine, isn't meant to insult David Gonterman. While The Gonterman Shrine is here to celebrate the campy wackiness, however bad as it may be, that is Foxfire. Many of the readers out there might simply dismiss and wonder why such things exist. Jesus Cantilinarian has been observing David Gonterman for a while, and this is his perspective on the matter. Jesus Cantilinarian is not a professional, but simply offers this opinion:
[Note: I suck. ]
"Sticks and Stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me..."
Words can hurt. Words can start wars or end rivalries. Words can express fond emotion or ravaging hatred. Words can start friendships that last decades. Words can change history. Words CAN hurt.
David Gonterman knows that words can hurt.
The reasons behind his online behavior, his overt paranoia and recent lethargic attitude all stem from word; more specifically, his attitude stems from criticism.
David, for reasons addressed, has low self esteem. He seemed to have no one to confide in. Most of his writings do not depict a positive father figure, nor any presence of a mother. It might prove that either he was quite independent of his parents, or he was forced to exist without any paternal support. Without the basic source of reassurance, David never had a fully developed base of confidence. Although the joke "My Mom thinks I'm Cool" might summon a chortle, not even David seems to have had the parents' unconditional support.
So, without the constant presence of someone to tell him that "things will be all right," David entered highschool.
Now, Highschool is tough on anyone, simply because the social structure is awkward, especially during adolescence. During that time, David was a lonely kid who kept to himself, didn't make any friends, and bred the kind of thought that saturates his work today. Being called gay in mocking tone by the school had him write about it in SM: AK. Having a teacher, who was black, express view contrary to that of David's "Not antiblack but pro-white" attitude (and the resulting failing grade from a paper, which probably expressed those views) had him write the "Piasa bird" story.
Writing, and then artwork, became therapy for David.
So, he went online. He found fan fiction and the Furry community. He wrote stories, and drew a story about a fur-suit.
People found out, and, through MiSTings or whatnot, decided to let him know that not all homosexuals carry AIDS and not all black people are evil. They let David know that they thought he was a bigot, a racist, and a homophobic asshole. These users let him know that he couldn't construct a sentence with correct spelling, let alone correct grammar. Over and over again, words told David that he didn't know that the concept of a woman, having been launched from Japan to Colorado, could not simply be caught, for the sudden jolt would break every bone in both her and the catcher's body, similar to what killed Gwen Stacy.
David read every flame, ever negative comment–and it broke him.
David never had any positive encouragement until he found the Internet. In the early stages, he was considered "good," simply because he had a scanner. This, along with the pseudo relationship with Emily Smith, gave David the love and support he was looking for. With the simple encouragement, he worked hard to create "Blood and Metal," "The Mobius Chronicles," and "Sailor Moon USA." Those pieces earned him the better amount of positive encouragement, but also the start of what would be a massive amount of hatred. He shrugged off the first few comments, considering them "flames."
Positive (Constructive) criticism doesn't seem to have an effect on David. The negative remarks have conditioned the child to believe that if he isn't praised, then the comment is harmful, and the person behind said comment is an enemy.
David's artwork hasn't changed dramatically over the last few years. As of late, he has incorporated the concept of curved lines and hips, but it still doesn't seem to have progressed much in the last few years. He hasn't "gotten" the idea of muscle tone or proper anatomy. All of his characters look overweight, and pudgy, as if they were made out of clay.
David doesn't seem to constantly receive positive remarks, because it would be reflected in his personal activity. When he started out, he received positive words of encouragement, and he continues to write.
However, when "The Piasa Bird" and "SM: AK" came around, David experienced criticism in its harshest form. But, he wrote something extreme, and you reap what you sew, as the expression goes. David, trying to express his views in his therapy, experienced a harsh backlash. People started calling him names and he realized that something like this would render his ambitions nullified, his dream of becoming a professional artist destroyed.
David had fallen into a state of depression. He doesn't have the naive vigor that fueled about 150+ comic strips and multiple stories. He now has a bitter tone with his every update. David hasn't been hailed as the new Walt Disney. He has encountered the lack of admiration and love that he was desperately looking for. No one has said that they live for his work, that "Fauna Force" or "The Rangers of NIHM" made them a better person. David hasn't been seen as a valuable person, but just another cartoonist.
"Just another cartoonist" is a heavy label for anyone to have. He is known by name recognition, but simply because his stories were so incredibly bad. David earned his fame through the nose, as people cringed instead of beamed whenever the name "Gonterman" was read, posted, or even said. The one person who cringed the most was Gonterman himself, for whenever he read his name, he knew that there would be at least five negative comments about his artwork.
One might wonder why David wrote what he did. Maybe he was subconsciously trying to write something extreme that would get people's attention? Probably not. David wrote a story expressing his views, expected it to garnish great attention and admiration, but instead of being hailed as the coming salvation for comics, he was simply crucified.
So, what did David do? He went across the Internet and had every site that posted his work take it down. David took Gestapo tactics, and attempted to erase history by actually erasing his presence from the web. "The Piasa Bird" is still not counted for at the time of this article, as well as other pieces of Gonterman work. The Gonterman Inquisition and resulting elimination might have removed a good chunk of his history, which is exactly what David wanted. Instead of simply taking the criticism on the chin and say "it was a bad story," David wanted to start over. David wanted another chance to be perceived as a comic genius, a man with talent and worth to offer the world.
However, David's inability to handle criticism will be his downfall. People DON'T forget. People will remember the Clone Saga, the electricity-based Superman, and other failed stories. However, the companies don't go out and try to destroy every physical reproduction of said stories; they simply continue production, reminding themselves that for every good story written, there are five hundred bad ones.
David doesn't seem to ‘get it.' First off, he posts artwork on the Internet under his real name. He doesn't passively exist, he comes out and proclaims himself better than everyone else.
"If, however, you'd have the desire to tempt the fates and refer wankering, unemployable, skanks to shadow my E-Mail with their mindless flames, at least do it for the right reasons. I have a title, Fauna Force, which is designed especially for the purpose to hit Archie and Sega where it hurts by taking their fans away. I beaten Ken Penders' work once with a black and white fan-comic once, and I'll do it again with a whole series."
David Gonterman, responding to the Portal Of Evil remarks.
Second off, when there is some positive criticism, he simply considers it a flame. Unless a message says "YOU ARE SO GOOD! MUCH BETTER THAN KEN PENDERS," he takes it as another person that's against him. It's sad, but because of the constant negative criticism, David can't seem to take any kind of constructive suggestions. He might write back, expressing gratitude, but it's ignored in the end. David has been "burnt" by the flames, so much that he just doesn't trust anyone unless they present themselves as an undying fan. Unless one is a trusted individual, who originally fell in love with his odd cartoons and incoherent writings, David won't listen.
David never developed a leg to stand on. His childhood forced him to block out everything, and hide in himself. He never developed any kind of courage, and simply takes down/deletes a post/story that could cause any controversy. With no one to cheer him on, or at least tell him that he was doing well, David wandered along by himself. Whenever a problem arises, he walks around it and not acknowledging it and hoping that no one else will remember that he misses a step. David simply wants to eliminate his problems without confronting them, simply because it's the only way he knows. Even if the words are meant to help, David will block them out.
To David, words can only hurt.