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Artifice Page 22

90 Comments on Artifice Page 22

More dialogue!

(And even a little hand holding… 😉 )


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  • classic_bear

    AHHH water cooler talk and what a gentleman! I love this! Im so glad i stayed and camped for this! haha

    • I’m glad to hear it. Thank you for camping. 😉

  • I kept coming back every 30 minutes to see if there was a new page :3 Awesome update, I love how he could quite possible have a soft side. 🙂

    • Very cool. I’m really glad you liked it. 

      (And there are many sides to our friend, Deacon… 😉 )

  • Loooooooooooool @ the hand-holding.  I will be giggling all week.

  • Hee, I love Deacon’s expressions in the 2nd and 3rd panel. It’s almost got a child-like curiosity to it. <3 I wouldn't say he's got a softer side quiet yet.. but I can definitely see it developing over time.

    • “Child-like curiosity” is a good description for it, actually.

  • His hands are purty and soft arent they? xD
    Love the random dead guy in the last panel

    • Yes, that dead guy does remind us exactly the situation Jeff is in…

    • So glad you mentioned that! My optimistic little brain just whooshed right over that morbid little detail.

  • Well, torture is hardly going to stop him from crying is it? A nice glass of water and a false sense of security however…

  • Deacon’s one-man ‘good cop bad cop’ routine is kind of hilarious. Poor Jeff.

    • Hehe. It is a one-man “good cop bad cop” routine. Also well-put. 🙂

  • KBatty

    Deacon is unintentionally hilarious (and honestly a little unsettling) in this page. Hey goes from Captain Killface to “Hey Bud!” in the blink of an eye.

    You’d think Jeff would have something useful stored in all those pockets he’s got. A strong magnet would be really useful right about now. ;]

    • You’re getting to see a bit of Alex humor between these two. There will be more where that came from. 🙂

      • Jeffrey Ouyang

        Ah, Alex humor. Think we can bottle it and try to export it to the UK? It’d sure beats the pants off of Monty Python. =) Also, you’ve never tried to pull this off on an unsuspecting paramour in real life, have you?  If so, what’s the result?

        • Heh. Comparing me to Monty Python, that’s quite a compliment. 🙂

          And I have indeed tried using my sense of humor with unsuspecting paramours. Usually there are not tears.

          • Jeffrey Ouyang

            Hey, can’t help but flirt a bit when the guy’s cute and brilliant. But, the modifier of “usually” before the proclamation of tear-free humor makes me a bit nervous. Also, quite curious. Exactly how/did exactly you manage to make a paramour cry?

          • Heh. There’s no need to be nervous, Jeffrey. If you’ve survived 22 pages of my comics, it’s unlikely that my sense of humor would provoke tears. Or head-scratching and calling the proper authorities, which is the usual reaction. 😉

          • Jeffrey Ouyang

            Me? Nervous? Why would I need to be nervous? Or, am I among the pantheon of your paramour now? 😉 If so, a #slurp is in order. Plus, I doubt there’s anything I’d need to call the authorities, Lestat.

  • I’d LOVE to see how Deacon developes feelings for “something”. They are incredibly cute in this page! Awesome update 😀

  • Falling in love with this story more and more every week ^^

  • Gah, want more now. 😀

  • Finzz

    Kind of random, but I really hope Jeff is a briefs guy; he seems like it.  The last panel made me laugh 🙂

    • You actually will get the answer to this question in a future page.

      (And I’m glad you got a chuckle out of that last panel. 🙂 )

  • Jeffrey Ouyang

    Hmmm. Just noticed something: Is it me, or does Deacon actually sort of look like Alex, but less eloquent and more of an aber-clone? 

  • Dex X.

    Lol I feel like the reply should be somewhere along the liens of “No…. this is the other way to get you to stop crying.”

  • Firekitty

    o.o Oh god, I really hate the face Deacon’s making in the first panel. That’s not a criticism of the art, it’s a reaction to how well the expression of ‘I’m about to hurt you very much and possibly enjoy it’ is conveyed there.

    On the other hand, his face and pose while offering the chair is really cute <3.

    • Yep, sadism and chivalry. A winning combination. 🙂

      • Jeffrey Ouyang

        Sadism and Chivalry is a winning combination? Sounds like you’re either describing medieval jousting tournament or perhaps the latest flick from Marvel Studios, not a good boyfriend candidate. Although, who knows, maybe Jeff is into the whole collar and whip thing. After all, this Jeff can certainly entertain the notion at times… =)

  • Man, Deacon looks so…cold. What a stark contrast to his wide array of sympathetic expressions in the therapist’s office. It reminds me very much of his expression when he choked that security guard, and that makes me a little sad because I know he has the capacity to care about something.

    • Yes, Deacon seems to have the capacity for both warmth and darkness—which direction he chooses is a big part of what Artifice is about.

  • Maybe he suddenly realised that breaking someones hand is NOT a good way to get them to stop crying. Though he may still try to waterboard him with a dixie cup next…hmm, somthing about Deacon torturing someone with a 5oz floral patterned paper dixie cup…

  • I like the relationship between them for some reason… I love the expression on the robot’s face. His reaction is priceless.

    • I’m glad you’re liking the relationship so far. Please let me know what you think as it develops.

  • I absolutely adore this comic, the dark humour in particular! It has a cynical twist to it that just reminds me of Blackadder, for some reason, this sort of awareness that hey, the whole situation shouldn’t be funny but it bloody well is.

    I freaking love Jeff’s expression in the fourth panel, and the way he’s clutching his arm and holding it steady so he hurts himself less. It’s sort of heartbreaking, and then a total inversion of the situation! Oh Deacon, you really don’t understand people as well as you think you do.

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the dark humor. There’s a lot more where that came from. 😉

      I agree about Jeff clutching his arm—that’s a great, realistic touch that Winona added in there. One of the many reasons it’s so awesome to collaborate with her on this. She takes the crazy things I’ve written and makes it feel real with lots of brilliant little details.

      And yes, Deacon does not, in fact, understand people quite as well as he thinks…

  • God, Deacon’s expression in the third panel. xD Almost like he’s silently thinking ‘this guy is really letting me do this?’ ‘really?’ ‘maybe I’m not reading this human right?’ ‘…hmm…no. Damn! He really IS going to let me do this!’ ‘I wonder if I turned off the stove after baking those cupca-ooooooh…that’s why the ship blew up.’ ‘better think of a good cover up in case I’m interrogated about this mission later.’ *giggles some more*

    Yes, can you tell this page amused me?

    But seriously Deacon, removing the dead corpses lying in the pools of their own blood might help Jeff stop crying. Though the cup of water is also a nice touch. How about a hand massage. cause that’s what i kept thinking about when looking at the placement of the hands for both of them. xD

    Deacon: Deep-tissue or just the basic Swedish?
    Jeff: …….wait, what? O.o

    Ok, I’ll stop….or end up turning the above thoughts into little fanart comic strips. xP

    • Hehe. I enjoyed reading your interpretation of Deacon’s inner dialogue and I’m looking forward to seeing the fanart comic strip. Hoping there will be exploding cupcakes…

  • Ditzite

    3rd panel Deacon is such a doll peeking up from under his lashes! Also is he trying to use pressure points?! Simply adorable especially with how freaked out Jeffy is with the tossing of his hair.

  • ErrorTime

    I think Deacon was only bluffing. Since he needs the human in working condition, and a broken hand/arm isn’t good. But I wonder if Jeff was with ANY OTHER robot, if they hadn’t blown up, would they have done the same thing…. I love this page, just becasue of the sudden change of Deacon’s mood XD.

    • If the other APs hadn’t blown up leaving Deacon, Jeff would not be alive to have this conversation.

      Glad you’re liking the page. 🙂

      • ErrorTime

        lol true, and I always enjoy an update of this comic. I throw a little party in my head when ever it updates XD

  • actually my first thought was that he liked holding Jeff’s hand and wasn’t sure what to think about it. You know that staticy tingly feeling you get sometimes or I guess I could be imagining things. Love the expressions on Deacon’s face though 🙂

  • LINCARD1000

    Intriguing – it is quite enjoyable to watch (in the flashbacks) Deacon becoming more of a fleshed out, less one-dimensional character.  Obviously something happened due to his reactions in the interrogation, so seeing him become more, well, animated for lack of a better word, is quite neat 🙂

    Alex, can I ask how you work with Winona in story-boarding this as a comic?  Do you have a fairly full/complex story laid out that you let Winona loose on, or just brief snippets of what you want to see in each panel for her to work to?  I’m quite fascinated with the process of how you both turn a story-line into what we see here as the finished product.

    • For Artifice, I wrote a full script of the entire story from which Winona created thumbnail sketches. Post-thumbnails, there are three more stages of art work for each page of Artifice—pencils, inks and colors. For each stage, Winona creates awesome art which she then revises based on my notes. For Artifice, we are working in 22 page chunks, and finalize each stage completely before moving on to the next chunk.

      While there was a time we could discuss pages over dinner here in San Francisco—which was a lot of fun—now that we are living in different cities, new pages are shared via FTP online, notes are shared via email and we talk about them on the phone.

      That’s sharing mostly my side of it. 🙂 For more on Winona’s fascinating art process of each page, please check out this blog post.

      • LINCARD1000

        Very cool – thanks, Alex – I appreciate you taking the time to respond 🙂  Going to bugger off and do a bit of reading up now!

    • W Nelson

      Alex has extemely in-depth scripts.  They’re the most detailed I’ve ever worked with or seen.  In some cases, one panel will have a multi-paragraph descriptiion for me to parse into a deceptively simple drawing.  Usually, in addition to the dialogue the character is delivering, he describes a completely different line to imagine the character is thinking so that the expression will have subtler, layered emotions going on.  It’s intense.  He’s still very open to me suggesting different solutions when I think there’s a better way to lay something out though.  I think there have been a couple pages where once I was drawing out what was in the script, we realized the visual storytelling would be stronger broken into two pages or combining a couple panels or that kind of thing.

      One thing that makes it possible for Alex’s scripts to be so well laid out and yet work really well visually is that Alex comes from a film background.  Other writers may not have enough experience seeing their writing translated to film or comics to be able to write as detailed as Alex does, and if they try it might not work visually.  He’s also used to directing actors, so some of the writing techniques are the type of things you’d say to an actor *playing* Deacon or Jeff.  It’s a really unique and interesting script to work with because Alex *does* understand visual storytelling and especially acting thoroughly, so he gives me wonderful direction 🙂

      When I’m working from Alex’s script, I draw page layouts at about 1.5 inches tall (yes, tiny) in the margins of the script and scribble in the panels just enough so I have some idea of how the page will be laid out, how to place the characters, what kind of angle the shot will be from, etc.  Then I do a bigger version around 4 inches tall and do a really loose cartoony version with enough visual information to be able to show it to Alex and have him understand what’s going on in each panel, including really cartoony faces to show the acting.  From that point on, we share and discuss every panel of every page, up to 3 rounds of revision in each step, pencils, inks, and colors.  It’s a very close working relationship so that the storytelling will be perfectly streamlined and tight and have those little details that tell an even deeper story than the first read.

      • Well I would like you both to know that the amount of work you put into this comic REALLY pays off. It is AMAZING. It is clear in each panel that these characters have independent thoughts going on behind what they’re saying and doing, and a lot of the joy for us readers is when we spot tiny details like how the characters look when they’re not being directly observed, or hints in their body language.

        Although I would LOVE to have access to a running monologue of what Deacon’s thinking at any given stage of the interview or on DaVinci 4. NoNeCo probably has a transcript of it too, but I’ll bet those files are encrypted and on a secure server. TT_TT meanies.

  • I’m so addicted to this story. Really wonderful.

    • I’m really glad you’re liking it, Emily. Thank you for letting me know! 🙂

  • Fazzey

    Poor Jeff….His emotions & opinions are probably just like a yo-yo right now. Deacon is not really helping him figure out what to do.
    And yes, Deacon, his reactions are quite normal. That would defiantly not stop the waterworks, just add to them with pain fueled tears.

    Keep up the awesome work. I’m quite looking forwards to the next installment.

    • Very glad to hear it, Fazzey. I’m looking forward to your next comments. 🙂

  • I’m really loving this comment so far! I finally signed up today and I’m reading the other free comics you’ve posted, and I’ve got to say that I really really respect and admire your work. The internet is full of gay webcomics ((mostly it’s just from fangirls of yaoi, honestly) but you rarely see one that has such purpose as yours do. Yes, yours are great entertainment but the underlying messages are fantastic and I think it’s so great you’re doing this 🙂

    • Thank you, Vanessa! It’s great to hear you’re liking what I’m trying to do here. Hope you keep letting me know what you think. 🙂

  • Cheshirecaticus

    Ahah, he sounds oddly like a waiter… Minus the ‘I’m about to do some kind of Vulcan pinch on your hand’ thing.

    I like the use of angles in this, makes an otherwise sparse room interesting.

    • I’m glad you’re liking the angles. I gave Winona a pretty hard task with Artifice, because Da Vinci Four is supposed to look drab and uninteresting. But this is still visual storytelling so the visuals do have to be compelling. Her use of cinematic angles really helps with this, I think.

  • T Tran

    The order of how he approached the human seems abit odd.
    But lol.

    • When faced with a new challenge, it’s best to try to tackle it by starting with what we know best. 🙂

  • typhonblue

    I think Deacon’s trying to induce Stolkholm syndrome. 

    Amusing mood whiplash! 

  • Diseasedface

    Erratic emotions!~ Delightful!

    I’m also really curious as to how Jeff will look when he is in a calm, loving and cheerful state! Only have seen him crying, distressed, angry and in pain, really makes me wonder. Hmm. sleeping Jeff also?

    Sorry, i love facial expressions. And your descriptions and Winona’s ability to capture, them intrigue me the most about your story. That and the plot of course. but GAH those facial expressions ! ^_^


    • I promise you’ll get to see Jeff in at least one more mood after this page. 🙂

      • I wanna see sleeping Jeff! 😀

  •  I’m not sure what “Your reactions are normal” means. Did Deacon expect an abnormal reaction for the torture to work?

    • Deacon expected that the threat of torture would get the result he wanted and he was willing to follow through on that threat if that would work. But he is designed to evaluate and adapt his tactics based on what he observes.

      On this page, Deacon realized that Jeff’s tears were the result of genuine, overwhelming distress and truly outside Jeff’s conscious control. On one level, the “Your reactions are normal” was a statement of this new evaluation of Jeff’s mental state and his new awareness that his current tactics would only make things worse. But there was likely also a bit of self-criticism here—that he should have understood this from the start coupled with the realization that he is jeopardizing the mission by indulging in his own, darker emotions.

      (Now, had Jeff been faking his tears—which was a possible explanation for why he was crying— Deacon most likely would have continued.)

  • Do you guys accept fanarts?  I’m not as good as winona but those two make me itch to draw them 😀

    Another beautiful page. Their dialogue is so smooth and natural, even Deacon’s abrupt about face because he realized he’d read the situation incorrectly. I love that he’s smart enough to adapt his game plan when it’s not working 🙂

    • Hey Mewta,

      Yes, we definitely accept fanart. I have a fanwork policy in the FAQ but if that seems too complicated and weird just let me know. When it’s done, please post it up on our FB page or here. I’d love to see it. 🙂

      And very glad you liked this page and are feeling the dialogue is smooth and natural. That puts a big smile on my face!

      •  Awesome 😀 Linkage!;

        I can’t post it on facebook, since i don’t have a facebook account :p

        • Hey! That’s awesome! And super sweet! 😀 Thank you so much for sharing!

        • W Nelson

          OMG the first fanart!  Thanks so much, this is so fun to see 😀

  • Interesting. Deacon, don’t start with his hands! You don’t know how long you’re going to be stranded there & you need his hands intact to work with the scanner so you can charge! But why DOESN’T he just start torturing Jeff? Does he realize that if he wastes time with that, he could run out of power before Jeff gives in? I don’t think he’d give the little guy that much credit though…

    • Ah. I should have read through the comments for a bit of clarity on that statement. Yeah, that was my reaction too: torture will only make the guy cry HARDER. It would take a lot of pain before he becomes totally numb to it in order to stop crying, and Deacon doesn’t have that much time. But for crying out loud! XD He was NOT designed with guile in mind was he? His motives and emotions are so painfully clear that it’s FUNNY! Like how he couldn’t hide his joy from the dr. AT ALL.

      • Hehe. Yep, in many ways our little Deacon is an innocent. 🙂

  • classic_bear

    No way am i going to sleep with out seeing the update!

  • Ryn


    Jeff seems a bit more resigned to pain being inflicted than seems normal, been abused in the past has he?

    • Good analysis. And it is true that Jeff has not had an easy life.

  • his hair is such wow