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Artifice Page 19

102 Comments on Artifice Page 19

Hmmm…. I wonder what’s going through Maven’s head on this page….

And hey! This is an extra bonus page I’m posting early thanks to generous donations from readers like yourself! Let’s please give a hearty thank you in the comments to Anna P., Sasha K., Shaniqua C., Howard S., Melody P., Kristina K., Betsy O., Nicola O., Jonathan D., Lauren S., Cody B., Aubryn G., Lorena M., Paul D., Michael W., John L., Marina T. and Jamie D. for their generous donations to this project!

Special thanks to Alicia S., Marcin W. and Judith W. for multiple donations and to Larisa V. for finally putting us over the top on Saturday!

These awesome folks are making it possible for me to continue this comic and they are super rock star heroes! A big hug from me to all of them! 😀

(And… I’ve now reset the donation counter below so any further donations will go to posting up a new bonus page. Anyone want to help us get started with that? 🙂 )

If you particularly enjoy any of these pages and use Facebook, please click the Like button on that page. It’s useful to know what’s working and it helps me get the word out!
  • This was a great page to get as a bonus. Look how hopeful Deacon is in the middle panel! And how worried he is in the bottom left!

    • I’m really glad you liked this, Alicia! Thank you very much for your support! 🙂

  • I see a little squint in Dr Maven’s eyes after Deacon’s relieved response. She looks very calculating, like she’s figured something out and is cautious to approach the topic without tipping Deacon off. Either way, it’s nice to see Deacon make a happy face finally. He has a nice smile. 

    None of these pages disappoint, they all have a little jewel of a moment that was worth the wait. Yours are the best comics I have read in a long time. Thank you for all of your, and your team’s, hard work.

    • Aww, thank you, Sigmund! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the comic—and Deacon’s smile!

      (And yes, something’s going on in the good doctor’s head here… 😉 )

  • Danielle Charman

    Ooooh, I love how he exposes his emotions with that relieved/hopeful? smile, but then tries to hide and smother it right away. It seems he’s gotten over that anger somewhere along the line to have such an expression. I wonder how this changed? You can see he hasn’t fully  got ahold of himself with with the way he’s playing with his hands in panel 6, more worried than he wants to let on… I love all these small, subtle gestures that go into the comic. I think Maven has him sussed!

    Still so intrigued! I really want to find out more of what went on between those two on the station, and also to find out the story from the long-haired guy’s (sorry, I don’t remember if he’s been given a name) point of view! Great work, I am SO hooked.

    • Hey Danielle!

      Glad you’re enjoying the body language. That’s some of the most fun parts to write—and really, really fun to see how Winona brings it to life. And I think you might be right about Maven. Or at least, I imagine she thinks she has him sussed…

      Very happy to hear you’re hooked! Please keep letting me know what you think! 😀

  • Wow, that look she gives in panel 5, is like “I wonder what’s really going through that head of yours.” And “I can’t wait to crack this one” lol. Love it.

  • Patrick Bremhorst

    yes !!!

  • I loved the way his face softened at the thought of the guy surviving, it’s this twisted mix of relief, hope and almost a little deviousness! Dr. Maven has certainly piqued my curiosity! I can’t wait for the next page! Great work as always! 

    • Thank you very much, Aspen! (And the next page is this Saturday!)

  • ithilloke

    I love her glasses. I’ve never seen that level of translucence before. Wonderful!

    • I think Winona does a great job with those glasses, too! Just enough so you know it’s there and feels real without blocking the face. 🙂

  • Diseasedface

    He’s glowing with happiness. Quoi? I don’t have words any more to express my excitement. just sounds.

    STRANGE SOUNDS! ~insert some here~

    I’m also starting to wonder what Deacon will look like in colours besides…GREY? ahahha. Rainbow tuxedos are in order! bwahahaha!

    and sidetracking from the men in this story, i’m  growing found of the woman in pink or is that mauve? Very conniving and devilish looks on her face. Ha! I wouldn’t mind reading a story primarily about her alone. hohoho.

    • Hmm. Deacon in a rainbow tuxedo? Sounds like a good inspiration for fan art. 😉

      And I’m glad you’re liking Maven. I kinda like her too. Especially her devil face. 😀

  • Ditzite

    Dare I say Deacon seems worried about his little “enemy” Jeffy? I love the expressions in this one and particularly the body language we see in the normally stoic deacon. I suppose my expression must be similar to Dr. Maven’s in the last panel. Muahahaha!

    To work for a group of such caliber as NoNeCo where their efforts to create such realistic AI to the point of emotional cognizance is truly impressive. I shall continue to check in for openings in the sector you mentioned so I may aide in the creation of a better tomorrow today!

    • You might dare say that. 😉

      And please let me know when you submit your resume; I’ll be happy to fast-track it. NoNeCo could definitely use someone with your insight and go-getter attitude!

  • Ewan Haggarty

    Getting thoroughly drawn into the story – wondering where the otherwise ‘perfect’ Deacon has his weaknesses… Also, we are only seeing the events recounted from Deacon’s POV – are we going to see the obviously parallel Survivor interview, and what condition will he be in?

    I can’t help thinking that Deacon has a resemblance to John Barrowman – ‘Captain Jack Harkness’ from Torchwood – Miracle Day, which will be hitting the screens soon.

    • Really glad to hear you’re getting drawn into the story. And it’s interesting to hear whom Deacon reminds you of—we don’t have a consensus yet. (Though John Barrowman is definitely a cutie…)

  • Deacon’s expressions on this page are amazing! Especially panels 4 and 6.

    • Agreed. This was such a fun page to get from Winona. She totally nailed really subtle expressions here.

  • singerblooming

    NOOO— I was hoping for a continuation of that flashback D;
    But I got over that quickly when I saw panel four. I mean, look at THAT FACE! Deacon look like an eager puppy that’s just heard his owner walking through the front door! 😀 And Maven did NOT miss it either. Then Deacon messing with his hands lkahflkdhasljkdlkad He looks so CUTE ;D I fear for Jeff(that’s the kid’s name, right?) though. I’m guessing the poor guy isn’t sitting on a soft couch just talking ): I wonder what Deacon would do if he knew that ;D

    Sorry for the spazz moments! I just forgot about the extra update so when I saw this in my email I was like YUUUUS. XD

    • Really glad you’re enjoying what you see! And yes, Maven seems to suggest that Jeff might be having a rather different experience…

      (And I like your puppy analogy—I had a similar thought when I first saw this page. 🙂 )

  • He’s alive!  And Deacon’s FEELINGS are showing(literally squeaked when I saw the 4th panel, excellent job, Winona!)- and is he wringing his hands?  I hope Jeff’s ‘interview’ is nice and un-traumatizing (given that Deacon was unsure of his survival, so SOMETHING must have gone down).  I really love this comic, it’s so intelligent and realistic, and it’s incredibly thought evoking.  Even if most of those thoughts are 2001: A Space Odyssey references…

    Also: Maven is rocking the predatory ‘Gotcha!’ look.  Like a stylish, amiable velociraptor with glasses.

    • I’m really glad you’re liking the comic, Laura. 

      And “amiable velociraptor with glasses”! I love it! 😀

  • Dex X.

    her expressions in the fifth and seventh panels are so SHREWD and CALCULATING. aaaagggh. D:

    • She’s even better at this than us–she noticed he was all gleeful, too.  XD

    • Indeed. Very little gets past our Dr. Maven… 🙂

  • Am I the only one to notice his body gestures change. He started to rub his hands. A sure sign that he’s kinda worried about the brown headed boy. But I could be wrong 😉

  • Kyoki Hinote

    It wasn’t until the up-close happy-face panel that I realized his eyes were green! Maybe my brain just processes his normal :|-faces with duller brown eyes. (I can say that because I have brown eyes.)

    • And a rather pretty shade of green, no?

      • Ditzite

        I admit! I thought he had awesome color changing mood eyes. Thanks for dashing my dreams! *runs off in a big dramatic burst of crying* XD

        • Well, I would never underestimate any of Deacon’s capabilities. 

          And mood rings! I haven’t thought about those forever. I used to love mood rings. Why are there no more mood rings?! I think now all of my androids will need to have mood rings for eyes…

  • Robert Duggins

    I absolutely adore the subtlety in your artwork.  When I read this comic it feels like I’m actually watching the story unfold in real-time, and being able to pick up on nonverbal cues in the characters allows for a richer understanding of them and what they are thinking and feeling and is indicative of the refreshingly quality style of this comic.  Thank you for all your hard work! 😀

    • The subtlety and precision in the body language and expressions of the characters—the “acting”, if you will—is just one of the reasons why working with Winona is an absolute dream for a writer like me. Thank you for the kind words! 🙂

  • Rissicat


    SQUEEEE~! That is the first time we’ve seen Deacon’s expression open up, and lose the guarded cynicism and neutrality that’s been his stock-in-trade up until now.


    So. Worth. It.

    • Very glad you found it worth it. Thank you so much for the support and putting us over the top! 🙂


  • The twisting hands also killed me dead; such a shocking change in demeanor. 

    • And we might even see some more changes in the coming pages… Just maybe… 😉

  • THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED! As someone who couldn’t donate, I’m very appreciative.  :3  Also, I loveloveLOVE Deacon’s reaction to finding out what’s-the-face is still alive!  You can see him getting all gleeful and anxious and it’s SOOOOOOOO cute!

  • yellowrock

    She’s going to say he’s being tortured or something and Deacon is going to be all “DEACON SMASH!” and rescue him.  :3

    Also, it’s nice to see him showing some sort of positive emotion.

  • hm… that expression in panel 4. XD An interesting expression choice to go with learning a person you blame for killing your friends is alive. OH but the flashback is conveniently cut short. 

  • My first thought after realizing it’s FINALLY wednesday, was “Oh no, Deacon! Don’t let her see that eager look on your face!” I got a bad feelin the Doc is gonna be all over that slip of emotions like a fan-girl on yaoi.  *sigh* It’s so cute though, especially with the hand twisting in panel 6!

    • That’s just the reaction I was hoping for, actually. 🙂

  • Is it just me, or does he look…happy in the third panel? Hmmm…

    • In the fourth panel? I don’t think it’s just you. 🙂

  • evil witch. bet their torturing Jeff. =( 

    But awe, i agree with everyone. Deacon just perked up so happily at the mention of Jeff being alive. ^^

    • She does look rather evil in that last panel, doesn’t she? 😉

      • yes, everyone has a point, to. I get the feeling she’s either a scheming villain or a cunning possible ally (maybe even a closet yaoi-fangirl? xD). Either way, if I had to pick an animal that best fits her…Fox. xD

        • I think Maven would like that choice of animal for her…

      • I think she looks the most sinister when she says that Jeff is alive, looking at Deacon over the rim of her teacup with narrow eyes and raised brows. I can just feel the quality of that “yes” by looking at that face.

        I think she is intrigued by how Deacon perked up…and her choice of words in the last panel– she’s definitely probing for something (totally baited Deacon by dropping information about Jeff), or maybe just trying to get a rise out of a robot?

        Probably the former, The latter theory is too emotional and unprofessional.

        She strikes me as being so precise. She could live her whole life without using a word out of place. And here, she’s at work, and she’s very professional. Plus, she’s probably on the corporate payroll, in some way.

        Deacon’s change of tone is actually very drastic now that I look at it. In the beginning, he’s reporting like a soldier, and at the end, he’s almost victimising himself!

        Will we ever know what happened on Da Vinci Four!??

        • Maven is definitely on the corporate payroll. And you will know what happened on Da Vinci Four. At some point. 🙂

  • Love the expressions, and the “acting” as you say, Alex. Winona is amazingly talented, does she have any other work out that I/we could look up?

    Maven is wiley. I think she’s probably dangerous. Deacon…has an incredible physique. And he looks ten years younger when he gets all happy like that

  • ArtemioRivera

    It’s interesting how Maven’s suit, nail polish and even eyes are color-coordinated. She’s a very mauve-person all over. Except her brain, I’m sure. I feel like she’s much more saturated and vibrantly colored behind her eyes. Fascinating character. I feel like she’d be the delightfully un-bland person you are shocked to find at a dull suburban luncheon. She would be devastatingly witty.

    Because I like her so much, I’m rooting for Maven being a devious-seeming-slightly-amoral-characters-that-is-actually-one-of-the-good-guys. Whatever those are called. Can’t wait for the post-flashback intrigue!

    Wait, yes. Yes I can. Because of all the during-flashback intrigue. Involving nudity, hopefully. @.@
    You know how Wallace from Wallace and Gromit shakes his arms when talking about cheese? That was me at panel 4. The ever-so-slightly upturned lips combined with the starry-eyed effect (not overdone, thankfully) killed me so dead, and I loved it.

    Also: first time commenting, yah! I found you guys through Starfighter’s links. @alexwoolfson:disqus after reading your bio on one of these sites and reading the whole “intellectual-AND-action-packed-sci-fi-stories-that-happen-to-involve-hot-man-on-man-action” I was like “Yes, please!” because that, exactly, is what I’ve been looking for! Bravo!

    • Well, I’m really glad you found us, Artemio. 🙂 That’s a very thoughtful comment and I share your love for characters like Maven and for similar reasons…

  • ErrorTime

    So Deacon relieved his anger by bashing Jeff’s head in but he was happy when the doctor said that Jeff was alive? Hm…I can’t wait to see, if there’s going to be, more flashbacks. That sounds a little strange to me. Anyway on a side note, Deacon looks so cute with his smile 4th panel ~

    • I promise there will be at least one more flashback. 🙂

  • Patrick Bremhorst

    Deacon’s cute expression is both promising and exciting

  • Tharsonius

    When I first started reading I felt like the artwork was sort of ‘minimalistic’, having relatively little penwork compared to other comics I read, and I kept reading mainly because of the intriguing story concept. But with this page, seeing how soft Deacon suddenly looks in the fourth, I realize I really enjoy Winona being able to be so subtle and convey totally different emotions with relatively few penstrokes. Yes, I’m really slow at noticing such things 🙂 Your comic starts to feel like a good whiskey when revisiting earlier pages and checking the artwork again. 

    And I can’t help but thinking of your earlier comment that NoNeCo Industries is a firm believer in good breeding. I bet that shrewd Maven is seeing some possibilities in being the first to present the world a human/android hybrid! Sure, it’s a bit more difficult to achieve with two males than with a male/female couple, but then again, Deacons android qualities make him able to go on and on. And on. And on. At some moment it should succeed! The idea of the two guys locked up in a tiny room and Maven watching the monitor + speaking through an intercom made me grin 🙂 “No success yet. Keep working on it! Again! And no pouting, don’t think I didn’t see that!”

    Got me hooked, Alex 🙂 Thanks!

    • Heh. I sense some fanfiction in the making. 😉

      I’m very glad you’re enjoying the comic and have a new appreciation for Winona’s art. It’s interesting to hear that you like more complex linework. Who are your favorite artists? Are you a fan of P. Craig Russell’s work?

      • Tharsonius

        I’ve always admired the work of Grzegorz Rosinski. Russell I didn’t know, but he’s definitely awesome, especially in his black/white art! Some of it is really stylized too, a bit like Alicia Austins old black/whites or even a bit Quinton Hoover-esque – another turn on. I can’t draw more than stickmen myself so making fanfic is a sort of unfertile endeavour, since it’s far less fun when it’s just plain text. Copy/pasting Robot Chickens ‘Humping Robot’-animations next to the text probably won’t do either. So I better stick what I’m good at – really enjoying talented people’s handcraft 🙂 

        • I thought you might like Russell’s work. 🙂

          For me, I tend to prefer linework fairly simple and clean, but after looking up Rosinski’s work on Google, I’m now intrigued. So, I’ve just ordered Thorgal Vol. 1 from Amazon. Thanks for the tip!

        • Howdy Tharsonius!

          I’m not sure if this will ever get to you, but I’d like to use one of your comments in the upcoming printed version of Artifice. Could you please contact me using the Email Alex link at the top of this page?



  • Just one question: is there a link for “latest page of comic” like other webcomics have? It’d make it easier to bookmark.

    • Alas, no. Being someone who is very spoiler-phobic, I elected to go with showing the first page of the comic on the home page, not the latest—there’s not a way to have both options.

      But you do have a few options. 

      You can bookmark the Archives page:

      (That’s what I do for many webcomics. Especially because I always like to read two or three pages before the latest page, so I can enjoy the latest page in context.)

      You can hit Shift-Right-Arrow from the main page (that will take you to the latest page.)

      Or you can sign up with one of the subscription options:

      I always link to the latest page when I update.

      I hope that helps. And thanks for your interest in Artifice!

  • Yaminox

    adorable 4th and 6th panel…Haven’t noticed Deacon had green eyes!
    in the 6th he almost looks like he’s pouting.
    what exactly survivor-guy did to Deacon for him to look like a lovesick puppy?
    and that’s something! made an android act like a lovesick puppy!
    Maven strikes me like someone who would tease Deacon because of the 4th panel’s expression…She looks amused, to say the least

    • She does look amused, doesn’t she? 🙂

      • “Awww, do you LIKE the survivor?” 😉
        “I never said that!” D:
        “You didn’t have to! Your eyes lit up like it was Christmas!” XD
        “No they didn’t!!” DX
        “Deacon’s gotta cru~sh!” 😀
        “Shut up! No I don’t!!” DX<
        LOL and that's how that conversation would go!
        Speaking of puppies (lovesick or otherwise) I notice as well that Deacon's head is EVER SO SLIGHTLY tilted in panel four. He really did perk up like a puppy-dog didn't he?
        (Also, I am totally DIGGING how that jumpsuit highlights the muscles of his chest and arms. YUM <3)

  • eleutherios

    “Ve haff vays of making him talk…”

  • …I just noticed. Deacon has the -tiniest- little smile in panel four. He’s happy that the man is alive? I’m intrigued…

  • ZombieCrow

    Wow, those are beautiful eyes of yours, Deacon!
    I love how delicate the coloring is, and their expressions are just perfect. The Doctor definitely saw what she wahted, and that hands’ movement is a well thought out detail. It looks like Deacon isn’t really used to controlling his emotions yet, because he hides them worse than my friend’s 5 years old brother 😀 Which also makes Deacon look kind of cute, opposed to what we saw in the previous pages.
    I’m enjoying this story very much so far, thank you for your hard work!

    • That’s a cute analogy you’re making—and definitely in line with what we were intending on this page. Very glad you’re enjoying the work! 😀

  • 4th panel needs to be an icon… cutest smile ever period

  • 4th panel touched my heart

  • So the only emotion he’s shown during this ENTIRE interview was when he found out that the little human is still alive. ^__^

  • oh my, how intriguing… Not only did he respond warmly but I’m sure he well soon reveal concern if the doctor make it seem he’s in danger

  • Lauren Pittluck

    I have to say…the hands. Especially- having poured over this comic a few times to catch more of the subtleties (which there are many amazing ones!)- seeing the latter pages, and maybe seeing just a glimpse of how much he might actually know his friend’s ‘interview’ may be less civil. Just his expression in conjunction with that subtle gesture; his mind has wandered, and even though she has coyly…eluded that the interrogation is not quite the same, I can’t help but feel he might be aware of that.

    Amazing comic! Just stumbled on it today, and I will be adding this to my short list of regular reads. 8)

    • Yes. You’re definitely picking up on all the right things. Thank you very much for your kind words. I’m delighted that you are giving our work such a close reading—and that you’ll be sticking with us! 🙂

  • I like this comic soooooo much !
    I don’t trust Maven. I’m sure she’s a cold bitch and gonna be a pain in the ass >.>

    • Very glad to hear you’re liking it, Ariane!

      (And as for Maven, well, we’ll just have to see… 😉 )

  • Zed123

    I’m a bit worried about what’s happening to Jeff right know…..

    And yes, I’m re-reading it every other week or so… ^^ I just love it! ^^

    BTW I’m also Hungarian, so if the translator(s) need any help, I’m willing to help!

    • Glad to hear you’re loving it! Thank you! 😀

      (And in terms of the translations, let me check if we need any help with that. I’ll let you know. And thank you for the offer!)

    • Hey Zed123!

      I just heard back from the person who is currently translating the pages into Hungarian and they would be happy to have some help. Please send me an email (using the Email Alex link in the menu above) with your contact information and I’ll get you set up.



  • Yushan Cong

    man, this comic is definitely not skimping on the subt-text! Love it.

  • Saberri

    You can see the feelings in his eyes… ;-; Oh Deacon, what a sweetie.

  • the subtlety of their expressions is truly remarkable 🙂 

  • Oh. My. Goodness. The awkward way he’s wringing his hand. That is adorable. Deacon, stop it. Stop being so adorable.

  • Uh…I don’t like the look she had when she mentioned the other guy’s interview…@.@ she just creeped me out.Me thinks Deacon has a crush…god did he have to slam his head against the wall?