What the hell is this page?
It's an archive of sorts devoted to the works of one David Gonterman.
Who makes it?
Tricky question. It's created, run, maintained and designed by a guy named JSP. The works are sent in by some wonderful people all over the place. They are created by Mr. Gonterman, who does not know, to date, that this place exists.
Who is David Gonterman?
David Gonterman is a St. Louis-based cartoonist who is known for many things - for one, his massive ego; for another, his immense paranoia - as soon as any of his works garners negative reactions, he pulls them off the web; for another, the fact that most of his characters either belong to other people or are ripoffs in some significant way; also the fact that he considers himself the Internet's most Dangerous Cartoonist and will, if something bothers him, make a story about it and then declare that he won the war - most notably he has done this against Ken Penders (who apparently draws the Sonic the Hedgehog comic, or writes it, I really don't know) and Vince McMahon, billionaire owner of the World Wrestling Federation - neither of whom, in all likelihood, even know Gonterman exists; additionally the fact that all of his comics have a protagonist who is a not-so-thinly disguised "self-insertion" version of Gonterman who without fail saves the world, is admired by many people who also tell him how great his art is, and sticks his weiner in some hot girl; and finally, and perhaps most importantly, Gonterman is known for his seemingly preternatural ability to fail at more or less everything he tries to do. He doesn't just fail, though - he fails in a way that the observer cannot help but watch. His art and writing are the best example of these - they are spectacularly bad. All of this is neatly capped off and kicked into overdrive by the fact that, as of this writing on March 1st, 2001, David Gonterman is thirty-one years old.
(Regarding Ken Penders: The following clarification was sent in by Jen White. The works referred to either can be found here or will be up soon: "Regarding the FAQ - Ken Penders (a writer for the Sonic comic - I don't believe he's an artist) does indeed know about Gonterman. I've spoken with him at The San Diego Comic Con. The story he told me was that when Sally appeared to have died in the comic, Gonterman went ballistic. Really freaked out. The Sally Acorn Protest Comic and STH:TMC 1 are only the surface. Penders sent him advance copies of the next few issues showing how the story line resolves, and never heard back from Gont again. The impression I get is that Gont accepted Ken's "apology" and forgave him...grudgingly... but wouldn't actually admit that he was wrong.")
Wait, so this page is here so you can make fun of him?
No. On the surface I'm sure it seems that way, but nothing could be further from the truth. This page is a celebration of Gonterman's works - to get a little deeper into it, it's a celebration of the spectrum of human experience and condition. To be honest, Gonterman, to me anyway, is more entertaining than most people I know that are actually trying to be funny. Maybe it's the element of human tragedy at work there, or the fact that, despite his ego, you really can't vehemently detest someone like that. I am fascinated by the man - apparently I'm not the only one. I hate to give a name to a fandom, but the unofficial term is GONTERMANIAC - someone who has been caught up in GONTERMANIA. I think if he would loosen up he might appreciate that I, and lots of other folk, genuinely love him for the absurdity he brings to the table. Unfortunately his ego creates this problem - he wants to be liked for a reason, and it's not what he is, on the whole, liked for. Which I suppose makes sense - no matter how famous it would make you, no one wants to be famous for being terrible.
Think of it in terms like this - if comics were movies, Gonterman would be Ed Wood. It's almost like a cult thing, but without the stigma that cult icons usually have attached.
So no, the idea here isn't to make fun of him - I imagine he gets enough of that, really. Here, we love him for his flaws. Without them he'd be just another fanboy.
Well, won't his feelings be hurt if you tell him his work sucks?
Probably, yes. But that's not what this page is about. In fact, some steps have been taken to ensure that he doesn't even find out it exists. I'd really appreciate it if you didn't email him, for one, and for another, all links to his page don't actually go there but to another page on another domain, which has no association with this one, that will then bounce you to Gonterman's page - this is to eliminate this page being discovered through referrer tracking.
Wouldn't it be funny to email Gonterman about this stuff so he gets all pissed?
Not really, no. Again, this page was made so his earlier works could be, uh, enjoyed by people who may never have seen them, and to collect them all in one place. While admittedly Gonterman's reaction would be entertaining in all likelihood, the certain repercussions mean it wouldn't be worth it. He'd freak out, he'd pull a lot of his work off the Web, he'd probably email us with threats of roboticizing and God only knows what else. I guess what I'm trying to say here is - please just look at this page, look at Dave's page, and leave it at that. Don't email him, don't post in his forums, basically don't bother him.
To get a little deeper into it, this page is here for his works, and for the amusement they provide, and not to make value judgments on the worth, as a human being, of the person who made them. Do his works suck? Yes. Are they easy to laugh at? Yes. Does David do boneheaded things a whole lot? Yes. Is he a bad person? This page has fucking comics and stories about Sonic the Fucking Hedgehog on it - we're not really qualified to say one way or the other. I'd say no, but who am I. Anyway - look, laugh, share Gontermania with your friends, but consider it a Prime Directive of sorts - we are here as observers only.
What exactly is David's problem, specifically?
To be honest, I couldn't even guess. All I can say is "Clearly something."
Does this stuff violate copyright laws?
I'm pretty sure that this stuff is covered under Fair Use - even if it isn't, David Gonterman very often portrays copyright lawyers as anal-retentive and thoroughly unpleasant. It would be pretty hypocritical if he played that card, don't you think?
Is that a mullet?
It would certainly appear so.
Do you accept submissions?
When I originally laid out the roughs for this site, the answer would have been no, at least as far as original content - I couldn't really see a need for anyone other than Gonterman having work up here. But after the overwhelming reaction to this page, and the fact that I find myself with a high volume of work to catalog and archive and code (mostly code), yes, this page accepts submissions. What we DO want is: articles about Gonterman (factual please), accounts of past experiences with him, interviews with people who know, or knew, him - things of that nature. If you'd like to write annotations (endnotes and the like) for one of his comics, that's cool too, although I don't know what direction I'm going in with that just yet. What we DON'T want is: New MiSTings of his works - I realize it seems hypocritical to say I don't want MiSTings when I make footnotes on his comics, but the notes tend to leave the work itself untouched, whereas a text MiSTing breaks up the text and kind of detracts. Also the aesthetic is more the idea that Gonterman's works are a huge archaeological find and we are processing them and making notes about them for posterity. Also as far as submissions go, we don't really need articles about "D00D GONTERMAN IS HELLA GAY AND FUKKED UPP SOMEONE NEEDS 2 KICK HIS ASS." Anyway - if you have something you think this page could use - send it off and if it's used you'll get credit and, um, that's all, because I'm poor.
This FAQ is mighty long-winded.
I know. Sorry. There's a lot to cover. It's supposed to be more informative than amusing, if that helps.