Here is how I responded:
Fuck toxic people. KICK THEM TO THE CURB. In reality, they're only a handful of assholes and hold NO SWAY on what you do and who you are. Who you are is an artist who creates, right? CREATE. No permissions. No apologies.
Draw because you have to. NOT because it's cool or will bring you fame and fortune. Because, most likely, it won't. And, besides, fame and fortune shouldn't be the engine that drives your art.
When I was young comix were NOT COOL. And, despite the often negative response towards the medium ("they're power fantasies for 12-year old boys" / "comic books are not literature, they're stupid" etc./etc.), I drew comix anyway. And, little by small comix proved themselves worthy because creators -- throughout the years -- DID THE WORK. We won. The hard part of being excepted globally as a serious medium has happened.
For me, comix is a calling. And that calling is how I discovered my personal pals and peers who stuck with it, too.
And as much as the internet can be a gross version of a popularity contest (and trust me -- I am NOT a popular cartoonist -- I do it because I have to -- I show up to my own party), it shouldn't dictate your creativity. There are long stretches of time where no one will respond to your work. Don't let that discourage you. Keep at it unless you decide it's not for you. And, that's okay, too. I know many people who pursued one career just to abandon it and go on to have three other fulfilling careers.
Making comix shouldn't be mentally draining to your soul. It should be something that revives you. If it doesn't, quit it. No harm. No foul.
Eventually, your work -- IF YOU WORK HARD EVERYDAY -- will find YOUR friends, YOUR allies, and YOUR fans.
Now go draw. Find your posse. Learn from each other. Pave a new path. Make something that means something. Have a blast.