A popular webcomic artist has come under fire due to his personal beliefs regarding the sensitive topic of abortion.
In February of 2019, author and cartoonist Nathan Pyle debuted a brand new web comic on his Twitter account titled Strange Planet. The strip focuses on a group of space aliens as they attempt to parse and understand human culture, often times stating things in a literal sense (such as calling a sunburn ‘star damage’) or pointing to how absurd some concepts of human life may seem to an outsider (in one strip, the aliens refer to the act of blowing bubbles as ‘trapping carbon dioxide in ephemeral spheres’ and question the purpose of such an activity). The inoffensive and humorous comics quickly went viral, with Strange Planet becoming a social media sensation:
Joyful Emergence Day to ~0.3% of the beings pic.twitter.com/gzHlVhiyJj
— Nathan W. Pyle (@nathanwpyle) April 5, 2019
— Nathan W. Pyle (@nathanwpyle) April 2, 2019
— Nathan W. Pyle (@nathanwpyle) April 7, 2019
However, as is sadly growing to be a custom of the times, some fans began to dig through Pyle’s social media for anything that may be considered controversial or ‘offensive.’ This search discovered a single Tweet made in 2017, wherein Pyle, who is a practicing Christian, offered up kind words regarding The 2017 March for Life event due to a personal connection towards the march’s pro-life message:
— Nathan W. Pyle (@nathanwpyle) January 27, 2017
Pyle’s tweet was brought to the attention of the general public by Twitter user ‘Anarcho-Pavlovist’, whose initial tweet has over 8,000 retweets and 10,000 likes:
oh yikes, the cute alien comics dude is anti abortion https://t.co/1YcuW2DmmQ
— ⚑⚧ Anarcho-Pavlovist ⚧⚑ (@anarchopupgirl) April 8, 2019
Despite the absence of politics and controversial topics in Strange Planet, some users were quick to respond by taking to social media, advising others to avoid his work and condemning Pyle for his personal beliefs:
I hate to be a killjoy (mainly because I enjoyed those comics a lot), but the guy who makes the Strange Planet comic is pro-life and doesn’t want people to be able to get an abortion. I’ve got no tolerance for people like that, and will be unfollowing all his work. https://t.co/8QDuxa4bes
— Owl (@UglaStefania) April 8, 2019
He has posted about supporting the March for Life, which goes far past “personal opposition for abortion” https://t.co/AxP2Jr9ZDb
— Martha Smith (@mostlymartha) April 8, 2019
Gotta admit I am pretty bummed to hear the guy who draws Strange Planet is anti-abortion, and more bummed that this probably means he’s holding onto still more opinions that would make me sad.
— Cassandra Lease (@Themiscyra) April 8, 2019
well the guy who does those strange planet comics is anti-abortion/pro-life (@/strangeplanet @/nathanwpyle) so that’s another bit of the internet that is tainted. let’s go support illustrators who support reproductive autonomy!
— king bee (@wobblybee) April 8, 2019
Pyle was also targeted by the media, as Nylon pompously declared that “we should be careful with what we’re sharing” in an article titled The Guy Who Makes Those Cute Alien Comics Has Really Bad Opinions on Abortion:
“When looking at Pyle’s personal Instagram, though, it’s clear that we shouldn’t have been surprised that he has such conservative views. The first line in his bio is “I follow Jesus,” which should clue you in about his religious leanings.
Though you may not have followed Pyle’s account, you’ve no doubt seen his drawings re-posted by others on social media, and maybe even shared some yourself. Finding out about Pyle’s problematic views serves as a needed warning to make sure the content that you’re sharing was created by someone who views you as deserving of autonomy over your own body.”
However, not all of Pyle’s fans were quick to turn on him, with many expressing their support of Pyle and speaking out against the concept of ‘ideological purity’:
So apparently it is _possible_ that the dude who makes Strange Planet (the little blue alien comics) is pro-life and this apparently means he must be shunned
not sure how not reading a wholesome, if uninspired, comic will make any difference wrt to abortion but you people do you
— Pedro Castilho (@p_cstl) April 8, 2019
Maybe it’s cause I grew up around a lot of christians and I kinda expect they are all anti-abortion, but I like things regardless of the author/artist/actor beliefs. It’s impossible for me to only like things made by people who agree 100% with me. (Re: Strange Planet)
— miscellaneous marilyn (@miscmarilyn) April 8, 2019
okay here’s a good example. the guy who does the Strange Planet cute alien comics is against abortion. I would get an abortion in a hot second if my IUD failed and I got pregnant. He can’t do anything about that unilaterally and I still enjoy his art so 🤷♀️ https://t.co/GFhnwysTO0
— 🤖 Sonya Mann 🎀 (@sonyaellenmann) April 8, 2019
Pyle would respond to the outrage mob in a single tweet on April 9th, stating that while he holds his own beliefs influenced by his Christian faith, he supports the separation of church and state with regards to American politics, as well as the Democratic party:
— Nathan W. Pyle (@nathanwpyle) April 9, 2019
Pyle would write:
“My wife Taylor and I have private beliefs as they pertain to our Christian faith. We also believe separation of church and state is crucial to our nation flourishing. Our votes go toward the Democratic Party.
Additionally we are troubled by what the Republican Party has become and do not want to be associated with it.”
What do you make of people targeting Nathan Pyle? Do you think his response was appropriate?