Lots of speculation about (FWT)Death Toll’s powers, and there have been several correct guesses, but I won’t say which ones (but those should be further reinforced by this page). Those people get to say they called it, and hopefully the actual reveal will still be worth it, but first I need to show the characters doing a little work to get there.
Not too much else to say about this page, other than Sydney’s armband is suspiciously bereft of content. Let’s assume she’s locked out of many of the usual functions until she is trained on using them. That’s one of those things I would have put a lot more time into designing if I still had a job where I was bored at work for long stretches. But that’s fine, I’ll have time to spruce it up at some point and if it looks radically different I can use say Sydney is using a different theme.
<— If you enjoy the comic, consider supporting it via Patreon so I can continue to food. Or buy something via the Amazon referral link, which I really appreciate cause I know it’s like one or two extra clicks, unless you just have that referral link bookmarked, but it’s fun going in to the report and seeing what was purchased through it. I can’t see who bought what or any details of the transaction, just what was purchased. I’m not the NSA over here. (Someone bought a Fender Stratocaster through the link once! Thanks!) Here’s something I saw on the list – I know nothing about this but it looks cute. A Centaur’s Life.
Jiggawatt’s telebot (arc jump?) is her big hit, but it’s also sort of a high commitment attack, especially against an unknown like (FWT)Death Toll. Punching him sure doesn’t work. It’s not clear if she saw him zap Anvil either, otherwise she might not have tried to lightning him.
Some people in the comments are starting to piece Death Toll together, and this page will obviously fuel more speculation. We’ll see if the team figures it out before Sydney does.
Part of doing this comic involves tapping in to my nerd knowledge to drop in some pop culture nods or sneak in an obtuse reference to something. I’ve put in references everything from Thundercats and Krull to Invader Zim and Phineas and Ferb. Keeping my nerd cred current can be a bit tricky. I can watch Netflix or whatever while I draw, since that’s 90% listening and glancing occasionally at the screen when some actor says “look at this amazing thing which you have to see to understand and which I’m not going to describe verbally!” I am a bit down on my anime consumption since most of it is subbed and I can’t draw and read subtitles at the same time. The most recent thing I’ve watched is the first 8-12 episodes of Attack on Titan, since from about a year ago you couldn’t go anywhere on the internet without seeing some reference to it. Cartoons in general, even if they’re in English (dubbed or native) are harder to watch while I draw cause they tend to move along faster than sitcoms or other long form TV shows like your CSIs and Person of Interest or whatever, and that makes me glance up at the TV more often which slows me down.
I play about 10% as much video games as I used to as well, which is fine since most everything is sequels or remakes these days. I’ve played all of an hour of Minecraft, but that’s all you really need in order to get it. I don’t like MMOs because of the heavy time requirements, also the total lack of player agency. It’s hard to feel like you’ve accomplished anything when the boss you just beat respawns 15 seconds later and on your way back to town you pass 30 people on their way to kill the same guy. Nope, give me single player, co-op single player, or straight up multiplayer, deathmatch and fighting games and the like.
Most recently I made the mistake of installing DOTA2, since I had never played a MOBA before. I get why it’s so popular now, so mission accomplished, but holy crap am I awful at it. One game I played ended with almost everyone on my team being twice my level. I know, there’s a lot to learn and there are a million guides and early game tutorials out there, but again like with MMOs, the time commitment would be enormous. I’m glad I played it, the game world seems like an environment Dabbler would be comfortable in. I could totally see a Dabbler hero in it, but I may have to uninstall it before it sucks up any more of my time.
Comic was broke but now it’s fixed. I’m just testing the admin function really.
Well that’s concerning.
Anvil doesn’t run on the kinetic energy she absorbs, but she’s never had anyone just yank it all out of her at once like that. The shock was like a sudden drop in blood pressure which is why she passed out. She had a lot of it power saved up at this point in the fight too. Seems like a waste but you know, battles are chaotic that way.
I know it’s come up before, but superhero battles in real life would likely be super deadly. A regular human punching another has a minute chance of killing them. A trained boxer or martial artist or powerlifter or whatever has a better chance, but only marginally (unless you’re intentionally targeting the throat or something.) It’s still meat and bone connecting with more meat and bone, but with super powers, there is such a potential gulf between the damage that can be dealt and what can be absorbed. If Gigaton Punch sees an unknown villain battling police, and all the cops’ bullets are bouncing off the guy, he might think he’s pretty safe using his low level Kiloton Punch to start off with, but then the guy explodes like he was crushed in between two colliding cement trucks. Turns out the bullets weren’t bouncing off him because he was super armored, but because he had a super accurate pinpoint forcefield generator that was perfect for bullets but nothing else. When the scale goes from 1 to 1 million, misjudging someone’s defensive ability by 10% could be catastrophic. Luckily this isn’t that sort of comic, but that’s still why Anvil decided to start in with a grapple instead of, as she said, risking punching his head off.
If you are in a mood for a significantly more violent Superhero webcomic, check out Vanguard. It’s not to say Grrl Power won’t ever have some good ‘ol proper violence in it, just that it won’t be a feature. I could totally see Dabbler bisecting zombies or something, but guts are a pain to draw, even though personally I do enjoy reading ultra violent comics like Ricky-Oh/Fist of the Northstar and good macabre stuff. That link (which is now fixed) goes to a manga about creepy spirals. I know “woooooooooo, scary.” No seriously, it’s creepy. Uzumaki is da man. (Whoops, Uzumaki is the name of the book. Junji Ito is the man.) It’s also $20 for 650 pages hardback… well shoot, I’m going to buy that for myself. It’s uh, comic research for when I have to draw creepy stuff in Grrl Power.
Here’s an art tip. When you see a hand in the comic that’s as well drawn as the one in panel 4, there’s a good chance at some point I was gnarling my hand up in front of my webcam for reference. Seriously my webcam folder is like 25 pictures of my hands and a few shoes.
Reader Outrider created a 3D animation of Sydney’s Orbs’ skilltree. It just spins around it a few times while it rotates but it looks all professional. :)
Well, again, the back end failed to post the comic on time, which is just not acceptable. I’m going to look into this with godaddy, but if they can’t offer any help I’m going to have to sump their hosting and move somewhere else.
Lost power at the house so I had to go to extreme measures to get this comic posted. By which I mean leaving the house with the laptop.
Really the takeaway from this page is that Anvil was a good choice to deal with Atomic Bombshell since her bombs are pure kinetic force for the first fraction of a second before they ignite the air and do all the cool looking fire stuff. That’s the technical term for roiling clouds of flame. Cool looking fire stuff. Since they’re just energy bombs, there’s no shrapnel to hit Anvil either. She can suck most of the kinetic energy out bullets and shrapnel and the like, but they move fast enough that her power can’t totally sap them, so she’s not totally immune to that stuff. She has minimal resistance to energy attacks like fire and whatnot. If Bombshell had thrown her bomb into the ground right in front of Anvil, then she would have been in trouble, but Maxima noticed she went for center mass every time. Obviously Bombshell never played much Quake.
I was planning on drawing Anvil’s clothes ripped up much more, down to boots, bra and a pair of bike shorts that she had the foresight to wear under her skirt, but I didn’t want to get too gratuitous. Well, I wouldn’t mind drawing that, especially when it makes sense. After all, she’s melee only (thrown objects nonwithstanding) and it’s not like she was wearing a kevlar shirt. Jokes about the size of her chest aside, it is realistic to consider that she might be wearing a “combat bra.” Something that’s going to have a better chance to survive some super powered melee and preserve her modesty – or at least the safety of those of you who read this comic at work. I wonder how tough you could make a bra and it still be comfortable. I assume kevlar is scratchier than cotton or silk. I guess something with multiple layers would be in order.
I’ve been wanting to draw more stuff happening in the backgrounds so that I could resolve several fights at once, but I don’t think comics work too well that way. The extra dialog playing out in the last few panels of this page I find to be rather distracting, so I suppose it really only works well with a long shot and multiple action scenes playing out, not multiple conversations.
Sydney’s genre savvy may work against her one day, but not right now. It was a lot for Atomic Bombshell to hope for anyway, but at least it looks like the bad guys are starting to use some teamwork. It may be too little too late, but they could always turn it around.
Maxima does seem to be operating on a whole other tier, but she does have her limits. Bombshell could definitely hurt her if she caught her flat footed, but right now she’s just hovering up there with her power pool pumped into armor, making her about as tough as Supermanonium.
I’m doing enough double pages lately it really makes me feel like I could almost put out 3 pages a week, but then I go and have bad art day or it takes me a few hours to warm up and I wind up redrawing a bunch of panels and it feels like I can barely get two regular pages out. But overall it seems I’m speeding up little by little. Well, at least while the backgrounds aren’t changing all that much. As soon as we get past this parking lot and I have to start doing a bunch of new interiors. :P Actually what I really need to do is stick to the two pages a week and any extra time I have left over use that to learn Blender or UE4 or something when that comes out so I can make 3D sets and cars and guns all the other stuff I don’t like drawing.
That was weird. I scheduled the comic and it didn’t post. There was a message in the WordPress backend that said “Missed Schedule” which isn’t helpful. How about you keep trying until the post goes live dummy? Oh well.
I’m quite pleased with the name Atomic Bombshell. She was another character who was briefly in Arc-SWAT as a secondary heroine, but not for long. At some point I realized I would actually need villains for the comic and I set her aside for that roster. After all someone whose only power is blowing stuff up surely makes a better villain than hero. Not that she couldn’t find work in the private sector easily enough. On the flip side, the name “For Whom the Death Tolls” is sufficiently awful. I’m sure it will just be abbreviated to Death Toll, which is a fine name for a villain, but I suppose he’s trying to be erudite.
Did you know there’s a Grrl Power subreddit? I didn’t until I tried to set one up. Someone beat me to it. It’s possible they told me but I then promptly forgot. Anyway it lives here, I’ll start posting comic updates there, and I would suggest it might not make a bad forum-ish thing if people want to carry discussions on longer than the lifespan of one post cycle.
It’s telling that I consider not being behind the same thing as being ahead. I only had to spend about 3 hours on the comic on Sunday, so I spent some much needed time unwinding with a video game called Crypt of the Necrodancer. It’s not the sort of game I usually get into. It’s a Roguelike-like I suppose, which is to say the levels are randomized and when you die you start over from the beginning. Normally I think that’s a waste of time, but this game has a few hooks that got me. One is that there are persistent unlocks which help make progressive runs easier like armor, spells and better weapons, but the real hook is that everything happens on a beat. You have to move and attack in time to the funky dance soundtrack, and so do the monsters.
Well Jabber’s turncoatism didn’t last very long did it? If Pangolin Style is her high damage with medium armor and speed style, then Crusader Style is her high armor and damage style with low speed. Her powers obviously take her beyond what’s possible with regular martial arts, otherwise those pinballs would have hurt a lot.
Martial arts are a lot better when the moves have cool names. Jump off two walls before kicking someone in the head? That’s cool and all, but call it a triangle kick and now you’re cooking with evil gas. Heck, even call a regular punch “The Tooth Rattler” and it sounds more intimidating. That goes doubly when you move into fantasy martial arts. In fact I think it’s a requirement. Swords bounce off your skin? That’s the Iron Robe. Firing balls of ki from your hands? The Wave Fist, or you know, hadouken. Of course yelling out what you’re doing or about to do in a real fight is a good way to get a broken face, but in comics it counts as battle banter.
I think the RSS is still broken but possibly not? I tried one thing and I have to post something to find out if it works now. If it’s still busted I’ll mess with it this weekend.
Why would you wear a fishnet tanktop to a fight? Especially if we consider that Jabberwokky might be Suicide Girled up all over if you know what I mean. Piercing wise. Well it worked out so good for her.
This was definitely planned as two pages, but I’m always wanting to move things along so despite the extra work I stitched them together. It gives me a little more flexibility with the panel layout so that’s fine. The page presented a minor challenge for me coloring wise. Normally I stick to a set palette because otherwise I’d wind up doing much more dynamic colors like we see in the shadows under Jabber’s jacket. It looks great but it does take longer. Originally my plan with the art in the comic was to do it Tony Wong style. Or Wong Jan-lung if you’re nasty. He’s a Chinese artist who does epic kung-fu comics like Mega Dragon and Tiger, The Legendary Couple, Weapons of the Gods, etc. I reference him because his comics are good “production” level art, but then every few pages, he’ll have a big splash panel where he goes all out on the art. I’ve tried that a few times but I need to speed up more before I’m able to do that.
Speaking of colors, the eagle eyed amongst you (or at least those of you who aren’t mutated wolves with thumbs who read my comic) might have noticed that Dabbler’s stripes go all pink when she’s putting the sapphic whammy on Jaberwokky. Originally Dabbler’s skintone was supposed to reflect her emotions. It would go red if she was mad, pink for randy, etc. Like a lot of other things I refined that idea before she debuted in the comic. So now her stripes change color, but not in response to her emotions, but rather as an indicator of something she’s doing. They have turned another color in the comic before but I don’t recall anyone pointing it out in the comments. It was a busy few panels though. :)
To be clear, I’m not picking on mutated wolves. They could probably tell hot pink from luminous green, but probably not luminous green from aqua. And now that I’ve typed that I can only imagine what percentage of the comments will be about color perception and animals. I’m sure it won’t be the last time it comes up in the comic.
The RSS is still broken I think? I messed with the page a little last week and it seemed to start working for me again, but I keep getting people telling me it’s broken. Unfortunately fixing it starts with eliminating possible sources of the error which means turning off all the plugins I have on the page and seeing if they’re responsible, so if you see the page blowing up real good sometime late Tuesday or Wednesday, that’s probably why.
I’m rather fond of this page. I think it’s a pacing thing, especially that middle panel where the two of them are just watching. I also like how the guy in the fedora is totally nonplussed by Sydney standing next to him. I mean the more recent North American definition of nonplussed, which is to say he is unsurprised or unperturbed by it, and not the original meaning, which is so surprised or perturbed that you don’t know how to react. So it’s a word that means the exact opposite of itself. I guess that qualifies it as a contronym, like oversight can mean oversee and also overlook, or left can mean depart or remain. (The artists have left, the writers are left.) So. Those are handy.
Maxima told Sydney that the yellow orb was to remain classified. Obviously Sydney took that to mean the truesight function of the orb and not the illusion function. If she’s wrong about that there may be a lot of pushups in her future. There are anyway, but you know, extra.
Huh, this page went up early. Must have clicked the wrong day. Oh well, have at it! Also, I know the RSS feed is broken since the new hosting. I will endeavor to have it fixed before the next comic goes up.
Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots fame will be stopping by Zeus Comics in Dallas this Saturday, (Aug 2) which is my regular comic shop BTW. From the looks of it on her website, it’ll be from 4-8pm, and Randy Milholland from Something*Positive will be there as well since he’s a Dallasite and they’re buds and all that. I will definitely stop by and hang out for a bit since I need to pick up my comics anyway.
Yes, Dabbler has a plush toy that eats radiation and even makes cute “nyom” noises while it’s doing so because why wouldn’t she? I made some assumptions about the nature of energy/dark energy annihilation (that’s a good word isn’t it? Annihilation.) and assumed it wouldn’t cause a massive explosion, since the particles are much more loosely packed in a lightning bolt, there’d be like 1/1,000,000th the chance for a chain reaction to occur. Apparently even in dense matter like Uranium 235, only about 1% of the matter actually chain reacts. Dabbler just had to react to the not inconsiderable amount (I assume) of gamma radiation the lightning/darkning reaction was generating. Oh, and here’s what made me pick on Garnier.
I found a new webcomic to read, you’ve probably seen it as they’ve had a banner up here on and off for a little while. It’s called 3 Minute Max. It’s pretty good so far. Less humor and more violence than Grrl Power, but it’s… technically in the superhero genre. Maybe very near future sci-fi action. I’m not sure, I just started reading it, but it has a pretty good premise. I suggest reading it at least until you understand why it’s called 3 Minute Max (about halfway through the second book.)
Armando Valenzuela who does Atomic Laundromat dropped some random Sydney fan art on me. She’s super adorkable! I can only imagine under that skirt she’s wearing opaque leggings or heck, just some sweatpants. I’m not sure she even owns any skirts to be honest. Well, no, I bet she has some from a cosplay outfit somewhere in her apartment.
Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots fame will be stopping by Zeus Comics in Dallas this Saturday, which is my regular comic shop BTW. From the looks of it on her website, it’ll be from 4-8pm, and Randy Milholland from Something*Positive will be there as well since he’s a Dallasite and they’re buds and all that. I will definitely stop by and hang out for a bit since I need to pick up my comics anyway.