I’ve been following Shen’s comics (originally branded as owlturd) for a while. Unless I’m missing something (which is entirely possible), this is the first “incident” involving them.
Personally, I would be more upset about my stuff being stolen (referring to the bike from the comic, which is still online as of this post), and it looks to me like many (if not the majority of) Facebook commenters agree (at least in that regard).
I strongly disagree that it’s as simple as “turning your frown upside down” when you’ve been slighted. Some people can (or they say they can) and that’s great if it works out for them. However, insisting on “letting go” as the appropriate response to everything creates (understandable) resentment—even discourse. That’s when “positivity” crosses the line. This mentality says “you do not matter“, and can be psychologically damaging.
That said, I don’t understand why Shen has so suddenly felt the need to step back from making comics, and as much as I disagree with the message of the comic, I don’t believe it warrants so harsh of a response that it would drive them to that—certainly not personal attacks.
Yes, there are memes using their bike comic as a template because they want to point out “flaws in its logic” (or whatever), but comics get deconstructed (and turned into memes) a lot. Artists—people in general—don’t usually up and take mental health breaks unless something is either happening behind the scenes that we—the audience—are not aware of, or they feel like they’re being personally attacked.
Not saying that I’m against criticizing or deconstructing art—and from the way Shen’s hiatus message is written, neither are they. Some artists do confuse (valid) criticism of their art with personal attacks. In my experience, these artists get vocal; they make accusatory statements about their audience because they see it as returning fire.
Shen’s comment is a friendly and polite acknowledgement that their content touched a nerve, and promises to reflect upon that.
The timing of all this has me believing there may have been disproportionately personal criticisms, unless there’s something incriminating on another social media platform I haven’t seen.
Until Shen comes back with an explanation, we don’t know anything for sure, though.