In case you’re not clear what the Hammerspace thing is about, check here.
Sydney’s patented non-sequitur questions were supposed to be a running thing, but I kept cutting those jokes for other content. It is not clear at this time whether they are a result of her ADD or if she’s just being impish. This one feels half and half.
Tangential to Sydney’s power greed here, I never understood why heroes or villains never tried to hoard powers and super gadgets/artifacts. Why doesn’t a bad guy who captures Hawkeye take all his arrows and figure out how to replicate his explosive arrowheads and have a pocket full of massively powerful-smaller than a golfball sized explosives? Or why heroes don’t confiscate bad guys superweapons and add them to their arsenal. Sure, sometimes they’re evil artifacts or there’s some other reason why that would be a bad idea, but sometimes there would be no possible downside to adding the bad guys’ stuff to your bag of tricks, other than it would make the hero OP and create writing challenges. I still think it would be fun to read. The bad guy has defeated a whole team of heroes, and the one guy, lets call him “The Hoarder” cause that’s what everyone else does, he shows up with Excalibur strapped to his back, Mjölnir on his belt, Star Emperor’s comic bracelets, the Chartreuse Lantern’s pinky ring, Apollomese’s boots of fleet footedness, a dozen things in his utility belt copied or stolen from the Trixter, the Trapster, the Tripster, the Flipster, the Flapster and the Candlestick Maker – all that on top of his own suite of powers and the bad guy’s just all “Oh COME ON!”
After drawing Sydney’s slightly baggy jeans and Maxima’s cargo pants, I tend to forget that women’s jeans often to contain way more elastic than mens, which is what makes them so much more “hey look at my ass.” (Also “hey look at my pantyline” and/or “No pantyline? Time to play guess if I’m wearing a thong.”) I drew Dabbler standing there next to Sydney in panel 5 in baggy pants and couldn’t figure out what was off about the picture until I remembered this fact and gave them the vacuum seal treatment. Incidentally, the “Hey look at my ass” factor is why women’s pants as often as not don’t have back pockets (or front). Yes sir, comfort and utility are a distant second and third when it comes to women’s fashion. As a guy, I admit that generally works to my benefit, but if I was a gal I would be massively irritated all the time at clothing that doesn’t have pockets. I won’t even buy pajamas that don’t have pockets.
<– If you enjoy the comic and have a dollar or more to many each month (I assume that would be a tax thing) and would like to support the comic, Patreon is there for you.
I’m actually sure that Sydney could belt off a dozen examples of superheroes getting sued for property damage or wrongful death, the obvious example is The Incredibles, but that’s something that might happen in one out of a hundred titles. It’s basically a non-event, when in the real world being a superhero would probably be nearly impossible from a property damage lawsuit standpoint. I also want to be clear that I’m not bagging on comic books or setting my comic up to be all about courtroom procedure, I just like poking a little fun at the genre tropes. In case you hadn’t caught on to that yet. Also, I would like to see a comic where a super lawyer goes after supervillains.
I’ve always found hitting people with cars a curious strategy. Sure there are some cases where that makes sense. If you’re fighting someone tough but not strong, like a Diamond Jill, dropping a car on them makes sense cause you can pin them under it. If you’re one of those mid range strong guys like Sunspot or Spiderman, there’s a decent chance that hitting someone with a car could hurt more than just punching them, but if you’re Superman? Compared to his punches, hitting someone with a car must feel like he’s wrapping you in a fuzzy blanket. Which, granted, immediately explodes, cause, you know, comic book physics, but still. Superman is called the man of steel, but he is demonstrably way god damned harder than steel. Nutronium could take lessons from him. So if he hits someone with a car, he’s just being a dick to the owner of the car.
So, about the mosaic effect in panel three… I’m still trying to decide how violent I want the violence to be in the comic, the thing is, in addition to liking everything from slapstick comedy like Dragon Half to cute stuff like Azumanga Diaoh, I really like dirty humor like Ebichu or Archer and really over the top peak violence/gory stuff like Fist of the Northstar, Ricky-Oh, Gantz and Parasyte. Those are hard to mix, though Onepunch Man blends slapstick and violence pretty well. It’s funny though how characters tend to write themselves, and with 35 pages of only Sydney as the main character, this comic slid squarely into the cute, slapstick and lighhearted arena fairly quickly. I’m fine with that, and I think it might be a bit of a bait and switch to start going nuts with the gore all of a sudden, so you don’t have to worry about Dabbler bisecting anyone with her sword any time soon. As usual I’m not sure where to draw the line though. Scratches? Bloody nose? Sure. Bullet wounds? Someone getting stabbed? Eh, I think if it’s used sparingly that’s ok too, but a bloody stump, I thought it didn’t quite jive with the feel of the comic, even though it would have only been 20 pixels tall and is imaginary and used for (dark) comedic effect. We’ll see where I wind up going with that, but you don’t have to worry about limbs starting to fly off on every page.
I would like more dirty humor in the comic though. Dabbler will provide a little of that in a few pages. :)
Edit: Oh, I forgot to mention, I made the women’s locker room X-Ray poster into an actual poster in case anyone is interested.
<– Patreon is the new social media crowd funding additional buzzwords kid on the block! Go steal its lunch money, or give it yours.
The guy Sydney is shooting though in panel 4 is called “Nyah Nyah Can’t Hit Me Man.” It briefly said that on his chest but I thought the target symbol was better and it was too busy to include both. He can phase, teleport, can throw his image a dozen feet in any direction, and has danger sense and the agility of Apollo. He doesn’t actually commit any crimes though, he just shows up during battles and annoys everyone. And I’m this (–] [–) close to making him canon.
Panel 6 was inspired by some Fantastic Four comic I saw 15 years ago where exactly what I drew was happening. The Human Touch dogfighting some guy over New York and it occurred to me that the death toll would be in the thousands. According to the 1st edition Marvel RPG, his fire beams do WAY more damage than a tank round.
I generally don’t pat myself on the back in the comic comment here, but I giggle at “Scraps of Hope” every time.
Alternative Target names:
D’Awww!: Petting Zoo and Kitten Kennel
A Delicate Future: Endangered Eagle Breeding Program
Museum of Angry Gods Sealed Away in Brittle China
Make a Wish Hospice <- Oh god why would I even think of something like this?
<– Patreon is a thing! Just check it out man, you won’t get hooked.
Another randomly double tall page because I couldn’t get the right sense of scale when I tried cramming Phenomenal Cosmic Star into itty bitty panels.
This Mitchell and Webb skit is directly responsible for the title of this page. BTW if you’re not familiar with them, there’s tons of Mitchell and Webb on youtube, whole episodes I think. They’re all quite good. They have another show which is on Netflix called Peep Show which I also recommend, especially if you like the sort of show where the characters are occasionally really horrible to each other a la It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The hook of Peep Show is that the camera is always the POV of one of the characters, complete with internal dialog like I was wishing for in the post under the previous page come to think of it.
If you haven’t heard enough of me blabbing on about comic stuff, I was also a guest on the Webcomic Alliance podcast, which is primarily a podcast for webcomic creators as they spend most of their time asking and answering questions like what’s the best way to attract people to my booth at a con, how do I grow my audience, all that jazz. This particular episode is mostly a Q&A with me about Patreon.
<– Speaking of Patreon…
As a fellow ADD sufferer, I’ve always been terrible about remembering people’s names. They tell me what it is, and in that same instance I’m thinking about that scene in Dune where the guy says “Mua’dib” while he still has his weirding module on and he winds up blowing up the doorway or something and there’s that close up of Paul while he thinks “My name…. can kill…” and then I’m thinking that more movies should use internal dialog presented in whisper form or at least have a second audio channel as an option on the DVD that has what everyone is thinking or maybe word bubbles on a video overlay like Pop Up Video and more things should have a pop up video option with all sorts of factoids because those are really interesting and what was that guy’s name? Probably Paul. I remember thinking Paul recently.
The simple way to avoid that is to just train yourself to repeat their names right after you hear it, either internally or make yourself say “Hello Mike.” instead of just “Hi.” Of course you have to remember to do that instead of thinking about Batman.
My point is that probably the most unrealistic thing about my comic where superheroes exist, are militarized, recruit some maniac nearly sight unseen and put her on national TV with a few hours of meeting her is that Sydney has remembered everyone’s name so far. Well NO MORE!
BTW in case you missed it, go back a page if you’re looking for a scanable version of Leon’s QR code.
Flaky Pastry recently just posted their 500th strip. This is a comic I highly recommend if you like Grrl Power. It pushes a lot of the same buttons; Female leads, humor, zaniness, etc. It’s not super heroes but rather “basically D&D” meaning it’s somewhere between Tolkien-esque fantasy and WoW.
The TGT interview is up. We chat about the comic in general, characters, writing, Patreon, etc. About 47 minutes in I show one of the finished pages and go through the art process a little. Hopefully I didn’t forget I’m on video and start picking my nose or anything. Man I talk fast. Apparently I say “but, um” and “you know” a LOT. Geeze, I need to work on that.
I’ve been told that girls actually do this with last names sometimes. Sydney’s reversing it obviously but you see it in sit-coms all the time where a woman meets an attractive guy and she introduces herself by blurting out her first name followed by his last name. I’m sure most girls have either never or rarely do this, but still, as a guy, learning this was anything more than a sit-com gag this kind of blew me away. As far as I’m aware, guys never meet women and imagine them with their last name until after they’ve been dating them for 3+ years. Still, I thought it would be amusing to see Sydney subvert it a little since she’s asserted that whoever she marries will be taking her last name.
It may be a while within the comic before we actually get to meed Sydney’s folks, so hopefully this page will give you some idea of what they’re like. Guess which one Sydney takes after more. Unrelated, I don’t think I drew Leon tall enough in relation to Sydney. He has bad posture though so I’ll blame it on that.
Spelling tip of the day: while writing this I learned that blond is for men and blonde is for women. Also for some reason Evernote’s dictionary flags blonde as misspelled. It also thinks that “Evernote’s” is misspelled. I don’t understand why spellcheck dictionaries are so flummoxed by apostrophe esses. I assume Evernote shares dictionaries with Chrome or there’s a Windows one they all use. Whatever the case is, it seems curiously deficient with a lot of fairly common words.
I had planned on using the QR Code gag back on this page, (when Leon’s shirt was green, whoops) but it wound up being too small to scan, so I just sat on it for… almost exactly a year. Wow. Apparently I’m patient.
I’ll be doing a live interview this Saturday, Feb 22 at 10 -11am CST on Google Hangouts. I think it will just be me and Kurt Sasso from TGT Media on the video call, but people will be able to live chat with us during the interview and we’ll definitely take questions. I’ll update this space as I get more details. link! UPDATE! I originally posted this as 11am -12 but it’s 10-11 am CST. Stupid timezones.
<– Forgot to add this last post. I really need to add it to the Tip Jar page.
Remember how last page I called myself a a big dummy who likes spending an inordinate amount of time on a single panel… I think this is everyone I’ve introduced over at Archon so far. Achilles is behind Max, Jiggawatt is absent though that’s intentional. It feels like there should be a lot more though. Of course the base isn’t left empty, there’s tons of support staff and lower level people manning the fort. I guess Maxima is getting them a Fajita Friday or something.
The Valentines Day Sex Drive thingy is up. Check it out, throw me a vote over at TWC then hit the DeviantArt page for the regular and the “sans camo” version in wallpaper size.
And speaking of linking things from DeviantArt, I only realized recently that Fred Perry of Gold Digger (and Action Time Buddies) drew a thank you Maxima for me linking to his webcomics, the aforementioned Action time Buddies. If you haven’t already, check it out. The best way to describe it is Adventure Time meets My Little Pony.
Kyle Maxwell does a slacker superhero webcomic called Honey Badger and Friends and is a long time fan of Grrl Power. Maxima guest stars in his Valentines Day strip, and it doesn’t go well.
Boy Sydney’s just full of mysteries lately isn’t she? Don’t fret, this one at least will be resolved relatively soon.
I knew whatever gross combination of flavors I tried to come up with, there’d be some Scandinavian or Asian country that would be all “Hey, that’s our national dish!” So I apologize beforehand. I’m sorry your national dish happens to be the sort of thing that someone would come up with if they were trying to invent an awful combination of flavors for comedy purposes.
I thought about this after I laid out the page, but there’s really no way that Harem would sit with herself like that. She’d divide and conquer and be part of 5 different conversations at once. But no I wanted to draw her all sitting together in one panel, because I’m a big dummy who likes spending 3 hours penciling a single panel. I suspect she’ll drift around the table once the appetizers arrive. Still, I’m pretty pleased with the art on the page, so I’ll go ahead and say it was worth it. (And yes I know I need to go fix Strawberry Blonde Harem’s outfit from the last time we saw her as she was still in her Thing 1 shirt. When I drew this page I decided she’d swap out which one of her was in uniform.)
<– And I’m still doing this. Also don’t forget to check back Friday for the Valentines Day Vote incentive.
I struggled over this page mostly because it’s just a bridge from the previous pages, and also it seemed a little expositiony… well, no, exposition isn’t the problem. At some point in the past decade, I’m not sure when, I’ve developed a bit of a pet peeve where exposition between characters who already know everything that’s being said bugs me more and more. It’s one thing for Data to remind Picard that the phasers are routed through the warp core (something Picard would obviously know) if he’s leading into a larger point, but when Capt. Bryant is telling Deckard that Replicants have a four year lifespan to prevent them from developing emotions, that’s just bad writing in my opinion. There is NO WAY a professional Replicant hunter wouldn’t already know that. My problem with this page is that Arianna already knows what Arc-LIGHT’s function is, so having Max spell it out explicitly is really just for the readers’ benefit. Still, I don’t think it’s as egregious a case of exposition as the Blade Runner example, because when people argue they can get locked into a narrow point and need to be reminded of the bigger picture.
I guess what I’m complaining about is called the “As you know” trope, (Warning! TVTropes is a black hole level time sink) where the only party learning new information is the audience. My pet peeve is when they don’t even have the courtesy to drop the “as you know” in there, or at least have Deckard roll his eyes and tell Bryant not to patronize him.
Also, when you’re telling a story, not every page will have All The Jokes on them, and the primary gag of this page is just a visual reference that maybe 8% of readers will get right away. I’m sure someone in the comments will eventually explain it.
Friday is Valentine’s day and I’ll again be participating in the Valentine’s Day Sex Drive, which is mostly an excuse to draw nude superheroines, and is what got you the Harem spread last year. (Not linked directly since it’s NSFW, but it’s in the DeviantArt gallery) This year will feature a certain one legged sniper, so those of you who wanted to see more of her tattoos should be pleased.
Also also, I’ll be recording a podcast with the folks over at Webcomic Alliance, which if you make or want to make webcomics, is a pretty good resource. We’ll be talking about the Patreon campaign and just talking shop about webcomics in general. I’ll link that when it gets posted.
Also also also, Patreon.
So remember this page is coming off of the previous one where Arianna was about to suggest somewhat more adverse effects of Maxima’s challenge. Had I planned the page slightly better I would have grouped them differently and had those yellow narration blocks with Arianna saying stuff like “There will be those taking your challenge… as a challenge / looking for revenge / weaving you into their plans.” Or something like that, but coming off the previous page I think it makes sense without that narrative nudge. If today is the first time you’ve seen the comic and you’re starting with this page, then it may be a little confusing.
If you happen to be able to read Arabic, I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh out of whatever Google translate spit out, compounded by me trying to hand transcribe it. It probably reads like the Arabic onomatopoeia for static now.
If you enjoy the comic, please consider supporting it over at Patreon.
Patreon is like Kickstarter for microtransactions. Instead of funding one off projects, Patreon is for giving ongoing support to independent artists you enjoy. It creates a steady source of revenue they can come to depend on to help support their projects or even just pay their bills so they can concentrate on making more of what you love. Thank you!