Monday, November 24, 2008

The Impostor

We've all encountered sites where people assume false identities to mess with other people. A recent case involving a webcomic is so weird it stands out.

Tera Forming is a 100-page, finished comic hosted on Drunk Duck. It's basically a diary strip, the autobiography of a teenage girl. It's signed by "Tera," and she is known to enjoy long, personal chats with other DD members online.

Here is what she looks like in real life:

At least according to the Duck members and staff who outed "her." It appears that Tera is actually storyboard artist and cartoonist Sean Pendergrass, who does Bird and Worm on DD and lists cartoons like Rugrats on his Wikipedia bio, which reports he currently works for the Cartoon Network.

People who enjoyed chatting with "Tera," are aghast and feel betrayed on a highly personal level. I imagine it feels like emotional rape. The manipulation of power balances reminds me of characterizations from books I've read about the behavior of serial killers and other violent criminals.

Here's the most recent Bird and Worm posting:

Congratulations to the alert members at Drunk Duck who put an end to the charade.

Further reading: Discussion between DD member and moderator (click to enlarge text)
Thread from Truth and Beauty Bombs