An open letter to Rich Burlew

The Order of the Stick - On the Origin of PCs

Dear Mr Burlew,

I am a regular follower and fan of your Web comic The Order of the Stick. Although I don’t have a Role Playing Game background, I have been exposed to just enough of it to understand most of the humour relating to desktop gaming, and find the comic very funny and charming overall.

As a Christmas present, my wife bought me On The Origin of PCs, and it is concerning this that I wanted to write to you. Specifically, I noticed that after the first introduction to the book by the character Redcloak, you included “second introduction” as yourself, explaining some of the background behind this book.

While it is a funny piece overall, it was towards the end when I became a little bit sad that the behaviour of some “fans” must have made it necessary for you to explain why you did or didn’t include certain things in the book. In another time and age, an artist might have had to defend his work, but to explain it so plainly would have been unheard of – the interpretation is as significant a part of the piece as the piece itself. Nick Usborne wrote in his book Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy along the lines that the Internet has enabled the consumer to become an active participant for the first time in history, and maybe some simply cannot resist the temptation to make their own personal interpretations heard, and to force it onto others (including the artist) hoping to influence future outcomes for their own personal gratification.

Therefore, I admire you for your choice in continuing to use the Internet as your preferred medium for OotS; salute your commitment to your art in spite of whatever setbacks you may face with your health, demanding fans, Intellectual Property theft and other issues unique to the Internet; and thank you for your integrity in creating the comic purely as a product of your own wonderful imagination.

Caesar Wong