Fame is a strange beast. Hardly news, but the past few days have been a series of reminders of this fact.
I spent the weekend at Further Confusion, a convention where I had previously expected just about everybody to know who I was and what I’ve done. After all, Suburban Jungle was in on the “ground floor” of webcomics, was one of the most high-profile furry comics for years, and ran for a decade. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been going to FC (and AnthroCon) every year for most of that time — and yet, when asked “Do you/have you read The Suburban Jungle?” most of the people who came by the table either hadn’t heard of it, or had heard the name but never looked at it. This has radically changed my view of my status in the fandom … but I am still processing it.
Meanwhile, the navel-gazing loonies at Wikipedia continue their irrational crusade to convince the world that webcomics don’t exist; T.K. Dye was hit rather hard by his discovery yesterday that Newshounds had been declared “non-notable.” Now, Suburban Jungle fell to that particular axe long ago and after two or three put-it-backs and take-it-down-agains, I frankly got tired of dealing with the whole mess and stopped arguing about it. I’m much more interested in being talked up at TV Tropes, where the SJ article is rather sketchy compared to the Newshounds entry, on the grounds that TV Tropes is a place more likely to be frequented by people interested in my work.
Finally, in a much more micro-level, this morning had an odd happening on FurAffinity. Graveyard Greg, who is like the Aaron Spelling of the internet, pointed people to another user by the name of Kadath, whom I’d never heard of. Looking at Kadath’s page on the site, however, I discovered that he had over 10,000 followers.
This immediately led me to two burning questions: 1) how the heck did this person get 10,000 followers, and 2) how is it that somebody could have 10,000 followers but I’d never heard of them? It’s … flabbergasting.
Nothing against Kadath, he’s a fine artist; but unless I’m missing something major, he’s not somehow worlds above plenty of other artists I know. Does he just really know how to work the social media? What’s he doing that hundreds of other just-as-good artists aren’t? I’m not comparing him to myself here — my relationship with FurAffinity has been one of reluctance and so I consider myself lucky to have the ~135 followers I’ve got. But I am thinking of somebody like Chad Krueger, who is GOH of the upcoming MegaPlex and a great artist, but only has ~500 followers. I mean, wow, 10,000? That’s more people than attend AnthroCon.
The second half of the question points to a thought I’ve been wrestling with for a while now, which is, “How are people hearing about these things?” Certainly furry art, like anything, has trends — you can’t go to a con without being hit over the head by Blotch at the moment for instance — but I always feel like I’m the last one to hear about them. And with 10,000 followers, one has to assume that Kadath is well-known is some circle or other — but not well-known to me! So where? Who? I don’t remember seeing any ads or hearing any W-O-M references, and until GG’s post the name “Kadath” to me meant Lovecraftian Dream Cities, not furry art. So where are these 10,000 people hanging out that they all know him?
Obviously, as a producer of comics and art, I want to get my own stuff out there and talked about, but that’s not all there is to it. I’m also a fan — who would put up with all the baggage if they weren’t? Who knows what kind of cool stuff I might be missing, just because I’m not anywhere that it’s being talked about?