I believe that not all art is for everyone, either by taste or age-appropriateness (or both).
I also believe that, when properly aware of what is responsibly available to them, everyone should be able to decide what art they want to see.
I make a big distinction between a Rating System and Censorship. A Rating System, when done right, gives people some sort of idea of what is available to them, allowing them – or those responsible for them – to decide if an art work should be viewed. It should allow for both freedom of the artist’s expression, and the freedom of responsible adults to search out that which inspires them.
Censorship, on the other hand, is about taking that freedom of choice away from the artist and the patron. It inherently says, “This is bad.”
As you may have read before, Exiern – in any form – cannot exist without the funds provided by our ad service. Recently, old pages of Exiern that had been altered to remove the nudity have been pinged as remaining “inappropriate” under a very strict reading of the user agreement.
A strict reading that, in my opinion, has crossed into censorship.
I have worked hard to try and make sure the ad service cash flow is not interrupted, but given the nature of many of Exiern’s past story lines – and some perfectly reasonable events to come – I’m certain that eventually I will reach a point where there is simply no way to adhere to the requirements now imposed on me and maintain a readable comic.
As I dealt with this I also thought, What the hell is actually objectionable here? The pages that are being pinged are the ones that involve female upper body nudity. Not sex, not violence, just implied PG-13 nudity. And part of me is really angry that what this censorship is saying, essentially, is that this part of a woman’s body is bad.
And that is, simply, bullshit.
I don’t have a choice about this right now. As things stand, losing these ads mean I’d have to start deciding between Exiern pages and utility bills.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t find another solution.
If you head over to the Patreon page, you’ll find that the goals have changed. It is now my goal to fund Exiern exclusively through Patreon. There are a few goal levels, from doing weekly updates to twice a week updates (if we make more than what is listed we could certainly see more), which will allow me cast off the ad service and begin posting Exiern without any censorship (although I will find a way to make sure anyone who isn’t old enough won’t see something they shouldn’t see).
I’d also be happy to go back and replace the old altered pages with the unaltered ones.
I also want to hear from all of you about this. What would a worthy Patreon reward be, and at what levels? If 600 people all signed up at the $1 level, I could take the ads off in June. The only two things I won’t do is “early post” any part of Exiern in Patreon (because I don’t want to splinter the readership), or create a reward that’s going to mean significant additional cost (unless we really get a deluge of support).
I love Exiern, and I have plenty of plans for Tiffany, Peonie, and the rest of the gang. And if there is any way we can get the story told in a method best for all readers, please let me know.
Thanks as always for your support,