Recently, I began posting pages from the first Chadhiyana comic on Newgrounds.com, in my renewed efforts to give more attention to a website I’m unexpectedly quite visible on (especially in comparison to every other art and social media site I’m a member of). Last week, I posted the first page of Chadhiyana’s first story, “A Saviour in the Dark,” which produced some fairly strong reactions. Some found the page powerful, whilst others were completely appalled by the scene it depicted. (You can see the page and read the reactions on Newgrounds.com here: http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/jmdesantis/a-saviour-in-the-dark-page-1)
Now, to be perfectly honest, I’m not surprised this particular page stirred up these reactions. The second panel of a woman getting slapped in the face by her abusive husband, so hard as to draw blood, was a brave and controversial decision on my part. It was supposed to be a slap in the face, both literally and figuratively. I chose to go with that image so as to immediately pull people into the story and get an extreme reaction out of them. After all, as I think the comic makes clear in two short stories, though Chadhiyana’s tale is, I hope, going to be a compelling fantasy, there are going to be very raw, dark and controversial elements to it.
However, I don’t understand why these reactions came out on Newgrounds.com and nowhere else I’ve posted or displayed pages from these stories before? Especially considering the content of Newgrounds. I’m not one to judge another’s art or to make a call for censorship, but, let’s be honest, there is some very controversial material on Newgrounds. Certainly there’s enough of it that I would have thought only people who are prepared to see this sort of thing would have a membership on the site.
This isn’t at all a complaint. I’m actually very pleased that first page is getting such strong responses. It’s just surprising that the first page of “A Saviour in the Dark” has been visible since mid-September, before the comic was even published, and it was a recent posting of the page on Newgrounds that finally stirred up the emotional responses I had intended (or at least it was the first time they were put into words and said–or written–to me). I am pleasantly surprised. It’s just another reason why I shouldn’t underestimate or make too many assumptions about the Newgrounds.com community. After all, right now, they’re the ones giving my work the most attention.