I thought I should preempt up any confusion and say that Sydney isn’t singing in that first panel (my wife thought she might be.) She’s basically going “Yeah, my subconscious designed that. It’s pretty rad in here.”
I put Heatwave in an orange flight suit partially out of deference to the variety of costumes you normally see in a superhero comic, but… I don’t know, I think it makes her look a little like an electrician or something. What do you guys think? Should I make it black like Peggy’s? Actually I kind of think all of the field uniforms could use a redo. I like Maxima’s green and brown leather jacket, but it looks weird for a whole military police force to be wearing them. I’d like to put them in something much more akin to proper SWAT looking gear, but all those pouches and straps. I know it doesn’t sound like a big thing, but every little piece of detail adds to the time it takes to draw each page. No idea why Liefeld is so in love with the thing. Plus I want them to look a little superheroey. I’ll have to think about that and maybe have a page where “the new uniforms are here” or something. That’s obviously not ideal to rebrand the team right after they’re unveiled, but I know Arianna is planning for them to be in the news basically nonstop after today.
I’ll mention it again since it’s two weeks away: I’ll be doing a panel at A-kon this year, panel “Humor-Based Webcomics 1 – Humor in Story” I won’t have a table in artist’s alley or anything since I have nothing to sell yet, but if enough readers show up and there and interest, maybe we can organize a group lunch or dinner.
And if anime has taught us anything, it’s that Leon is trapped in that locker with a girl. And they’re both naked. Well you know, certain kinds of anime. BTW I know the word is “bosom,” I just think it’s funnier sounding with the extra “s” on the end.
Speaking of anime, I’ll be doing a panel at A-kon this year, panel “Humor-Based Webcomics 1 – Humor in Story” where hopefully I’ll have something more poignant to say than “Think of funny stuff and write it down.” Here’s a link to the page with the webcomic panels. I won’t have a table in artist’s alley or anything since I have nothing to sell yet, but if there’s enough readers there and interest, maybe we can organize a group lunch or dinner.
This page wasn’t planned originally, but one or two people mentioned that they’d like a little fair play since we got to see into the ladies locker room. However with the addition of the imagined shower scene the girls remain ahead by one. Still, I think the page came out pretty good. That Hiro guy can’t seem to keep his shirt on can he? After I drew him I thought that guys are probably required to wear undershirts when decking out in their military finery, but that would interfere with the point of this page, so I guess Hiro will get his shirt tucked in and his belt buckled before realizing he forgot it.
Thanks for all the superhero book recommendations. (In the comments for the previous page in case you missed it.) There seems to be quite a bit of material out there but Amazon does a poor job of categorizing superhero novels together. I’ll have to come up with another post and review them after I’ve gotten through some of the suggestions.
Also, there’s a new webcomic app out, currently only for iOS, called Comic Chameleon. It lets you read panel by panel which is a good solution for tiny phone screens, and it’s the first app to my knowledge that works with artists and pays them some portion of their ad revenue. Due to the added effort of setting up the comics for panel by panel reading, they’ve launched it with only 25 comics, but are working continually to add more, so I encourage you to pester them to add Grrl Power on their twitter or facebook accounts, as well as any of your other favorite comics they don’t already have.
Poor Sydney, it’s hard to make friends when your mouth tries to sabotage it. Peggy’s pretty resilient though, she’s probably had to deal with a lot worse, and from people actually trying to be mean about it.
Up until I drew this page, I hadn’t decided if it was her right or left leg, and I just drew it without really thinking about it, so now I guess it’s her right. Let’s hope I don’t forget that too often.
Let’s see if we can do one last push for Rebecca Cohen’s bid at the Netroots Scholarship, which basically means she can attend an otherwise expensive conference and hobknob with other feminists and bloggers. Rebecca’s comic GynoStar is something I’ve linked before, so stop by and give it a read and if you’re so inclined, throw her a vote.
Instead of recommending a webcomic for you, I thought I’d suggest some books I’ve been reading. Superhero novels specifically. Unfortunately there doesn’t really seem to be a ton of them – it seems like an underserved genre, unless Amazon just has terrible recommendations for that subcategory, in which case I’m happy to hear your suggestions.
The Wearing the Cape series by Marion G. Harmon is the first one I read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Coming off a bunch of very dense novels like Dan Abnett Warhammer 40K stuff, Wearing the Cape was an easy read with good characters and a somewhat more realistic take on superheroes than most comic books. The series consists of Wearing the Cape, Villains Inc., and Bite Me: Big Easy Nights. Bite Me is an extension of the universe with one of the characters from the first two novels, and doesn’t have as much superheroey stuff in it. It’s not as good, but I still enjoyed reading it. There’s also a short digital novella called Omega Night. It’s like a stand alone chapter, but after investing myself in the universe I was eager to read more.
After that I read Soon I Will be Invincible by Austin Grossman which is from the bad guy’s point of view. Then there’s Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey which strays the furthest from the typical superhero setup. I recommend Playing For Keeps by Mur Lafferty, it’s a great read about a bunch of “Third Wave” heroes with lame powers drawn into a conflict between the Thors and Magnetos of their world.
Lastly there’s Confessions of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer, which is one of my favorites. I’d put it up there with the first two Wearing the Cape books. It’s another one from the villain’s point of view as you might have guessed from the title, but it’s also set in a world with characters complex enough that behind the scenes, it’s sometimes tough to differentiate between the good guys and the bad. It made me think I need to work on the back stories, motivations and complexities of my own characters more. In fact I enjoyed it enough that I looked for more work by Bernheimer and wound up reading a book about 13 year old girls riding unicorns. So yeah. Rider: Spirals of Destiny was quite good too. Fortunately Bernheimer is planning more books in both series.
If you have recommendations for me and everyone else in the comments, I have a few things on my wish list, primarily Ex-Heroes: A Novel, and Worm, which is a long running story in blog form. I think I would enjoy it but it would be a lot easier to read if I could figure out how to do it on my kindle. A long time ago I read some of the Wildcard books, but I’m don’t really enjoy anthologies that much. I prefer a single author’s vision.
This is one of those pages that suffers from the weekly format. The “…what?” isn’t supposed to some dramatic cliffhanger, the end of this page just happened to be a good place to break the conversation, but having to wait a week to see what caught Sydney’s eye will make it far more dramatic that was intended.
In the meantime, marvel at Peggy’s incredibly spartan workbench which also happens to take a lot less time to draw than if she was a big slob. Don’t worry, this is just the tinker bench in her room, she has a proper one down in the armory.
For anyone wondering, they have a machine shop down in the vehicle bay and a… fabric… fabricator… is that just a tailor? A seamster shop? Whatever it’s called they can drop a design into a machine and it makes a sleeve they can slide over one of the choker blanks which is how they came up with Sydney’s so quickly. As soon as Arianna said “Halo” she was thinking of color schemes, icons, t-shirt designs and how you’d incorporate those orbs into action figures.
Rebecca Cohen who does the fun GynoStar comic I’ve linked before is trying to get a Netroots Scholarship, which basically means she can attend an otherwise expensive conference and hobknob with other feminists and bloggers. Stop by and read her comic and if you’re so inclined, throw her a vote.
I probably could have skipped some of the last few pages and gotten on with the press event already, but then we would have missed out on this page and I’m sure we can all agree it was absolutely necessary. Well, maybe half of us. :)
This page is a little interesting besides the world building hidden amongst the cheesecake is that this page is a redraw. When I was gearing up to do the comic, I started drawing scenes that I knew would eventually happen. Since I wildly underestimated how long it would take me to actually get to this scene, it didn’t occur to me how much my art would change in the interim. Also, some of the circumstances of the scene are different, like the eyepatch. You can see the (slightly more NSFW) old page here. (It has a few girls in the shower but you can’t actually see anything.) Look how skinny Heatwave’s (the redhead’s) hips are. Yuck.
For those interested, I have three other old pages like this that will need to be partially or entirely redrawn. Two of them are from Dabbler’s… well, not backstory, but “so what were you doing right before you came to Earth?” I decided to skip over them during her introduction around page 100, but they’ll eventually get used.
Since coming up with the superheroes on the bathroom signs gag, I’ve been informed that was also used in City of Heroes, so call it an unintentional post hoc homage I guess.
I originally started writing another page that extended the previous scene in the den, but like you I’m antsy to move on, so I cut it and will fit the jokes and whatever else was on that page elsewhere. This page could have been a little tighter, but I wanted to get the X-ray sign in and start the conversation about how the supers are actually physically different than regular people. It’s been alluded to previously, but mostly it’s been discussed in the comments, so I wanted to be sure it was actually said in the comic.
I didn’t get a chance to update the vote incentive, but I haven’t forgotten about Dabbler’s Science Corner. There are still several questions to be answered about Harem and her powers, plus I have an Anvil pinup in mind, plus several others. Just need to find time to draw ‘em. :P
Since I haven’t recommended another webcomic lately, here’s a cute one. It’s… I think it’s semi-autobio, or probably just “inspired by life.” It’s called Curtailed, and yes, it has anthropomorphic characters in it, which I know some people get bent out of shape about, but it’s the Sabrina Online / Freefall / Sequential Art sort, (all of which are great comics as well) not… the other sort.
Edit: Fixed Sydney’s blue eyes. Also fixed the X-ray girl’s ribs so it looks more like she’s leaning forward.
The List started out as a throwaway joke, but the more times it comes out, the more I think about what’s in it and what it takes to actually get in it. (Besides anything that falls under the rule of funny really.)
Of course, understanding “3 moves ahead” and employing it in a fight are two entirely different things. Just cause Sydney’s now familiar with the idea doesn’t actually make her some sort of indomitable fighter, though it probably doesn’t make her any less dangerous either. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s something you hear a lot in relation to anything that involves strategy. Chess, boardgames, RTSs. Basically it just means thinking ahead of your opponent’s reactions to your actions and always working to outmaneuver them. Deploying it in a fast moving fight is yet another skillset entirely, and it’s a fair bet that Math is thinking quite a bit further ahead than just 3 moves. In fact as soon as someone takes a swing at him he probably knows how he’s getting home after the fight and what he’s having for dinner.
I didn’t get a chance to do a new vote incentive this weekend, but I found an old picture of Max that I hadn’t posted to the DA page, so I figure I’d throw it up for now. It’s not bad, and you get to see a little of the evolution of her outfit in it.
The name “Anvil” should serve as a reminder to me not to give my characters temporary names. They tend to stick. Luckily Maxima’s original nickname, “Gold Babe” was eventually replaced. Anvil isn’t a bad name necessarily, but in the realm of superheroing, it’s hardly original. Granted, neither is Maxima, but at least that name really feels like it fits her. After spending a year or more as “Gold Babe” there was another good year where she was called Ultima. I knew then that she was going to be riding the top of my power scale, and the name Maxima went to a skinny weed of a girl who had a combination of zero range telekinesis and zero range gravity control, giving her essentially unlimited lifting strength. She could lift an aircraft carrier with one arm, the only challenge for her would be the size and inertia of the thing, its weight was irrelevant. The problem was I kept coming up with scenarios where “Ultima” was thinking “I need to max out my strength/speed/armor” (if you didn’t know, Maxima has a power pool that she can use to drastically boost her power.) Eventually I decided to swap their names, Max got the first name Maximillia and started coming together as a character a bit more, and Skinny-but-can-lift-anything-Ultima got retired into the vault with all the rest of the heroes who didn’t quite make it. Don’t worry, she’s not lonely. At its height, my own personal superteam had something like 20 members, and no one who appears in this comic was on it. I imagine some of them will show up though, in radically updated forms.
Unrelated but impressive, Fred Perry, who does the comic Gold Digger that I’ve cited several times as my favorite comic and one of the inspirations for my comic, has achieved what may be a first. He’s done 200 comics over the last 20 years. There are a few of the early color issues that he had someone else doing the coloring, but other than that, he’s written, inked, penciled and colored them all by himself. One of the things I like about Gold Digger is the consistency. Unlike mainstream comics where the creative teams swap out every dozen issues and it suddenly feels like you’re reading a different title. He’s got a special signed edition he’s putting out… obviously jumping in at issue 200 is not ideal if you’ve never read it but I’m assuming there are a few fans of the comic here that may not know about this special issue.
OMG So many word bubbles!
Again, my inexperience with writing/presenting something in a sequential fashion is showing here. I thought I would get through all this first day content long before I built an appreciable audience, so I didn’t think to make this a “reveal” of sorts. It would have been fun to have everyone join in with suggestions in the comments, but oh well, lesson learned.
I had the idea of orbs that grant powers floating around someone, but the rest of the character never really coalesced, partially because the name never did. A lot of the stupid names on this page are things I had thought of over the years. Not seriously considered obviously, though I do kind of like Nucleus. Sometimes I build a character around a cool sounding name or power set, sometimes their look or personality comes first. In Sydney’s case, despite her, let’s say… personality concentrate, the power set came first. I have a oooold drawing or two of someone who had the orbs, (which I’ll probably save for a vote incentive or bonus material for the eventual book) but she was older and Indian. Also she was named Nike, after the goddess of victory, not the shoe company obviously. I never really liked that since the name is ubiquitously tied to shoes now. I bet most of you didn’t even know there was a goddess named Nike. In the very early days of this comic, I was planning on using that character in Sydney’s place, but I dropped the idea because when it comes down to it, I don’t really know enough about India to do a character justice, certainly not a main character.
I’ve broken my own rule here by adding characters to the Who’s Who before they were properly introduced in the comic, but I also have Hiro and Stalwart hold an extended conversation on this page so best to add them. I’ll have to give them an actual intro soon.
Thanks to everyone who voted in the ComicMix tournament, we made it to the sweet 16 but couldn’t keep up with the deluge of votes from Ava’s Demon. Not bad for the comic’s first showing. Next year we’ll have to strive to get to the quarterfinals at least.
And so Sydney finally meets Anvil. Hopefully people aren’t too disappointed in how this turned out. After posting the previous page I saw a lot of speculation and some good ideas. Part of me wanted to incorporate a few but I had already drawn the page (yay one page buffer!) I decided it was best to stick with my initial idea – I’m sure a lot of people wanted to see Sydney wipe the floor with Math but if she can crush the best fighter on the team when he’s actually trying, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for her to grow. At least one suggestion from the comments made it on the page after next though. :)
Sydney didn’t get hit in the shin all that hard. It was more her overreaction that made her kick her leg over her head. Tomorrow she’ll be feeling those splits a lot more than the bruise on her leg.
This page does answer the question as to whether or not the orbs would ever hit Sydney. If’ they’re floating above her, trailing behind her of being called to her hand, the answer is no, but in this case she was making them fly wildly around her.
And for the ComicMix tournament… we came in 6 votes short of Order of the Stick which is seriously impressive, so seriously, thanks for all the votes. I’ll have to wait till they post the next bracket to see if we made it though. I know of at least two people that donated to the Hero Initiative and put their votes to Grrl Power, so it’s down to if anyone did the same for OotS.
We’re in! Down to the final 16, so please vote! We’re up against a comic called Ava’s Demon, which I had never heard of before this tournament, but they’ve done really well in the tourney so far, and the comic has gorgeous art. So check them out if you like and vote!
Oh, and the regular vote incentive is updated.