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Artifice Page 28

108 Comments on Artifice Page 28

The first rule of therapy with Dr. Maven is “You don’t mess with Dr. Maven.”

Anyone care to guess what the second rule is?

Next week we return to Jeff and Da Vinci Four! 🙂

Special thanks to Micheal B., Merete R., Daniela F., Melissa M., Elyse B. and Jose H. for their generous donations this week!

Please note: I’m going to be changing my webserver on Monday. I’ve never done this before, so we might have some downtime for a couple days. But hopefully not. And no matter what, there will be a new page on Saturday! Wish me luck!

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!
  • Ahahaha! Even android men fear a pissed off a woman!!! XD I didn’t think I’d ever see Deacon jump like that!

    • Hehe. Yep, he seems to definitely have been caught off-guard. 😉

  • Wow, I didn’t think Deacon could be surprised like that.  Maven’s pretty shocking!

    • She is not someone you want to mess with. That’s for sure. 🙂

  • Way to backpedal there, Deacon. I’m sure Maven sees right through your bullshit.

    That said, panel 2 has me barking laughter out loud at 3 in the morning. Good job!

    • Yay! Glad I could get a laugh out of you, Jessica! Winona’s art there makes me chuckle too… 😉

  • Hyperminimalism

    Wowie!  Certainly don’t want to get on Dr. Maven’s bad side, though there seems to be a fine line.  And poor Deacon jumping in his seat at her outburst.  What a hilarious reaction!

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    So Maven’s evil AND unstable.  Good to know…

    • Evil and unstable, huh? Maven has let me know that she would be eager to explore these ideations with you at a time that’s convenient for you both. Her scheduler will be in touch…

      • SteveMcSheffrey

        I had better therapists than her for lunch and that was before I was even sixteen.  Bring it on, Maven!  Lavender power trumps red word balloons any day!

  • Holy hand grenade…Maven is so badass she can form red rings around her own speech bubbles. D8

    Tell us, Alex. Is…Is Maven God? O_O

    (On a more serious note xP, I love Deacon’s expression in the bottom panels. He looks so much like a child pouting after getting lectured. xD Still, if Maven gets that attitude about him sympathizing with Jeff, I fear for when he gets to the smuttier parts of the tale. xD)

    • If she is, then so is Jeff. 😉

      And yes, I wonder what Maven would think of such things…

      • hah! I barely noticed that before. But for some reason, Maven just made the red around her bubble stand out. xDD maybe cause of what you made her say. ah well…Maven and Jeff are gods. It all makes sense now. Deacon’s just trapped in an artificial dome getting his life broadcasted for the amusement of the masses. =P

  • Rule No 2: Never try to lie to Dr. Maven. (although you can try, because this way she’ll understand you better…)
    Rule No 3: Dr. Maven will not help you if you do not want to help your self. (reverse pshycology….) and she doesn’t tolerate resignation!

    🙂 The first panel is very pretty. Also…looking forward to the next pages…

    • Thank you, Sophia! (And those sound like good rules to me.)

  • Sandra Virgínia

    Wow, she´s scary. Deacon, be careful, don´t try to give a smart. The second panel is funny, I never expected to see him surprised and I loved watching his facial expression in the last panel.Good luck on your webserver change. 🙂

    • Hehe. Yes, I love how Winona drew him there.

      (And thank you very much for the luck!)

  • KBatty

    I’ve been reading; I just haven’t been commenting.

    This week I have no choice. I have to say outright that Maven’s got a crazy streak in there and I’d officially rather be shot than be in the woman’s office. Short fuse.

    (and they think Deacon’s the dangerous one)

  • Um…I don’t care that Deacon is a crazy android that has killed hundreds of people…Dr. Maven scares the HELL out of me lol. Give her a knife and people will be running in terror. 
    Awesome page though, as usual 🙂 Can’t wait until next week…

    • Knife or no knife, Maven would definitely be a formidable opponent.

      Thank you very much for the props, Thomas!

  • I don’t comment much but I must say that I just fell in love with Maven all over again! Deacon’s face is priceless! I loved how she can sound totally badass and crazy, so much that not even Deacon can keep his cool! Oh, God!

    (Eek, I hope my English is understandable… Not being a native speaker can be hard sometimes…)

    • You’re English is awesome. Totally understandable. 🙂

      And I’m glad to hear you fell in love with Maven again. I agree—she is bad-ass!

  • HarmHarm210

    I’m really anxious to find out what happens to them both, aaahh the updates seem to come so slowly! >_< A week feels like a month or more when I'm waiting for updates on this comic, but at least it isn't longer, and the wonderful art and story. Every page feels like a cliffhanger to me, and I'm just waiting to see more of the story and art.  I believe it's been said before, but the facial expressions and body language… it really brings you into it. I can almost hear Maven screaming when I read it. xD
    Poor Deacon, if he's scared I know I'd be… and how he sort of stammers when he begins to talk again – still after the third panel and Maven's calmed down he's still pretty shaken by her sudden anger towards him.

    • Hehe. When I was writing this, even though I didn’t originally envision it as a webcomic, I tried to make it so that at the end of each page, you’d want to turn to the next one. It makes me happy to hear when I’ve been successful at that. 🙂

      And yes! Winona’s art! Her facial expressions and body language totally rock. Especially important for a story with so much sitting and talking. 😉 I feel so lucky to be able to work with her.

  • Well, that was professional of her.

    • The doctor works in mysterious ways…

    • typhonblue

      She’s not actually a therapist who’s mandate is to heal someone, though. Her mandate is to extract information out of Deacon. She’s more like a police interrogator except with a PHD in psychology, in that respect. 

  • Rissicat

    Innnnteresting… In animal terms, Maven just re-established pack order, and that she was alpha over Deacon. (Not unwarranted, since Deacon has started showing signs of trying to push her a bit.)

    Maven’s meaning: I’m the shrink, here. Not you!

  • C’mon boy, admit you have feelings for him!

  • ithilloke

    I’m wondering why Deacon is bothering with such transparent excuses. Is it somehow wrong for him to display vulnerability?

    • It would certainly not be seen as an asset in the perfect soldier…

  • All his expressions in this are amazing, the last two honestly make me want to hug him. He looks like a little boy who’s just been scolded by his mother. The jump between him picking his nails in the top lefthand corner and then his reaction to Dr. Maven is really effective and definitely made me smile too.

    • Yay! That’s awesome to hear! Thank you!

      (And yes, he is rather huggable in those last two panels, huh?)

  • Reign

    Good luck changing hope everything goes smoothly for you!! Deacon is just too cute for words…he knows he is so busted 🙂 I just hope in the end that he and Jeff can be happy. I can’t wait till they are reunited!!

    • Thank you! 😀

      (And while I can’t say what will ultimately happen with Deacon and Jeff, you will get to see them together again next Saturday…)

  • JLJones

    Oh man.. that last panel… If I didn’t know these pages were already queued well ahead of time, I’d say you and Winona were taunting me with that pretty face =O  Bone structure… BONE STRUCTURE.  *fawn*

    Ah, we have learned a lesson here today, dearest Deacon.  Do NOT provoke a woman. Ever.  You risk disembowelment, at best, my friend 😉

    That being said, props to Maven for not taking any of his bull.  Snarky, flippant responses?  Not in THIS office, young man!

    Heee… Okay, I think caffeine overdose has now been confirmed.  Back to waiting for next Saturday in the most depressing fashion possible =)

    • Hehe. Indeed. Snarky, flippant response will not be tolerated. 🙂

      (And yes—bone structure!)

  • ErrorTime

    His face when Maven screamed at Deacon was priceless! She’s on to him.

  • Dex X.


  • Ryn

    *falls over laughing* oh god, Deacon’s face! hee, he’s fidgeting with his hands again, she really rattled him. funny how Maven yelling freaked him out but Roy didn’t even make him twitch.

  • Hahah~ That middle panel made me giggle hysterically for a while. Deacon’s oh-my-god-I-definitely-did-not-expect-that face is great. <3 And then he even stuttered, making me smile again.

    Second rule of therapy with Dr. Maven: Mess with her and die. Or at least be shocked into jumping a foot out of your chair. xD

    'Kay, I'll shut up now and wait for the next page. 😀 <3

  • LINCARD1000

    Have to compliment you, Alex – Winona’s considerable artistic talents with the characters aside – the script-writing (and scripting) you have done for this so far have been very, very impressive.  Dr. Maven’s character is really rather nuanced and believable – definitely not your typical “shrink”.  Not quite sure what to make of Deacon yet, though – he’s quite the curiosity, however I am guessing as the story progresses he will become a more fleshed out, so to speak 🙂

    But definitely kudos on the depth and complexity you are giving the characters through your writing, and with Winona bringing them visually to life with such a deft touch.

    Hope your web server change/update goes smoothly tomorrow.

    • Gosh, thank you, LINCARD1000. I’m glad you’re enjoying the writing—and Maven. 🙂 

      (And it actually makes sense that you haven’t gotten a complete bead on Deacon yet. Neither have Maven or Jeff—and some of the fun of the story is figuring out what’s really going on in that head of his…)

      • LINCARD1000

        🙂 I figured you were still developing him as a character, Alex – early days in the storyline so far.  So he’s a one-of-a-kind (after the demise of his comrades) prototype with complex emotional capabilities… actually rather curious as to why a corporation would imbue its (warrior/soldier?) creations with complex emotions; emotions would have the possibility of interfering with the commands that are built into them in certain situations that would be very likely to occur in a combat situation, I would have thought?  Especially when it sounds like they intend mass-production of what effectively amounts to servants or slaves, where you definitely wouldn’t want emotions, just in case they lead to… complications, read: uprisings or malfunctions if the emotions conflicted with inbuilt orders.
        As for Dr. Maven… as an emotionally invested reader of yours, I don’t so much *admire* her, as *respect* her ability to play Deacon emotionally like a second-hand fiddle 😀  Poor lad, he’s not quite the cool, in-control cucumber that he likes to think of himself as :-)So, looking forward to seeing where you and Winona take this fantastic little tale.  I am well and truly drawn into the story and characters, damn you!  And I’ll re-iterate the desire for a trade-paperback version of this in dead-tree format sometime as well 🙂

  • Lorescien

    Ahhhhhhh!!! Deacon is so gorgeous in the last panel. And his ‘psychiatrist’ is nuts. Completely bat-scat crazy, lol. I’m lovin’ this whole thing. <3 Already can't wait for more!

    • Bat-scat crazy, huh? Hehe. Glad you’re enjoying the work, Lorescien! 🙂

  • Aww poor Deacon got spooked! xD

  • eleutherios

     Mood swings, eh?

    Deacon: “Eep!”

    • Mood swing? Or calculated tactic? You make the call!

  • Is it professional for the psychiatrist to yell at the patient? But then I guess it’s a unqiue situation ^ ^

    • I imagine Maven would say “If it’s what the patient needs at that moment, it’s completely appropriate.” 🙂

  • Krondor2000

    This lady reminds me of Dr. Laura. She is definitely not a kind psychiatrist. She said it herself, she will judge Deacon and decides if he lives or taken offline.

  • Rocket

    (totally irrelevant) Is that a lake outside?

    …Anyway, Deacon sure does have alot of facial expressions, being artificial and such. Is  Dr. Maven doing it on purpose, to see like, get diff responses out of him, or she just mad?
    Hm…I want Jeff back XD

    • Yes! That is an artificial lake providing a lovely centerpiece for the NoNeCo Main Campus. The NoNeCo Facilities Team is deeply committed to creating a healthy, productive and aesthetically pleasing environment for all employees and contractors. 

      And not only is the lake a beautiful piece of landscape art, you will I’m sure be happy to know that it provides a home for many endangered species of aquatic wildlife who would otherwise have been lost to humanity decades ago. 

      This is yet another way that together, we are manufacturing a brighter tomorrow.

      • Rocket

        I love how you had so much to say about the lake alone XD

      • Ryn

        guh, fake beauty is fake. no doubt the endangered wildlife is humanity’s fault to begin with. NoNeCo dresses up problems and puts a pretty bow on it. *gags*

        • Hello and thank you for submitting feedback on the environmental enhancements we’ve added to our Main Campus. While we at NoNeCo are delighted to hear when we’ve done things to enhance our customers’ lives, we are also keen to hear when we’ve hit a false note.

          After reviewing your recent media purchases and public psychiatric profile, I will admit I find your aversion to “fake” beauty surprising. Would you not agree that one can find quite real beauty in the sweet face of a comics character, even though “he” is nothing more than the artful but “fake” arrangement of light and pixels?

          But that is no matter. What matters is that we have created the impression in your mind that we at NoNeCo don’t perceive the very real problems of this world with the seriousness they deserve. Please allow me to assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. And, as a token of our commitment to solving humanity’s problems, I’d like to offer you a 10% off coupon for BeneTeddy, our fully owned subsidiary non-profit which allows you to donate a fully-interactive plush teddy bear (with cuddle-inspiring pheromones and real humanely-grown panda bear fur!) to a disadvantaged child of any ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation of your choice. And included with every donation at no charge are subspace cameras in the bear’s eyes which will update your mobile account with high-definition video of the child’s joy every 20 minutes for the life of the Bear. That way you can be assured that your generous donation is having a very real impact on the very real problems that so clearly move you.

          It is my hope that by seeing the light in a young child’s eyes whom you have made happy through the tax deductible gift of a lifelong friend, that you will see how together we are manufacturing a brighter tomorrow.

          Michael Snow
          Customer Care
          NoNeCo Facilities and Tours

          • ;A; But did you guys HAVE to tether the swans to the lake?

            (seriously, there’s a place near my home called “Swan Hill cemetery” or something like that. They have a small decorative pond which is the only place in town where I’ve ever seen swans, despite the fact that the town in built over a river with a lot of tributaries and geese and ducks are EVERYWHERE;the two swans are ONLY at the place with ‘swan’ in the name. They’re not fake, I can see them moving when I drive by. I’m beginning to suspect the land owners…)

  • it would seem that she means to keep him off balance so as to receive honest responses. It’s kind of a guerilla tactic for such a polished psychiatrist, but it’s certainly effective.

  • Rebecca Simpson

    The second rule is, DO NOT MESS WITH DR. MAVEN! : )

    I’m loving this comic so far… I didn’t think I would, since I’m not really a sci-fi kind of person, but I was wrong. It’s great! 

    • Bingo. 😉

      And thank you, Rebecca! I’m very glad you’re enjoying it!

      • Rebecca Simpson

        No big. I seriously love the artwork! I’ll be waiting for another update eagerly! : )

  • eva

    Aww poor guy!XD

  • Laymanterms303

    Ha! How much do I love that second panel? Let me count the ways:
    1. First and foremost, Deacon’s “Oh shit!” expression.
    2. The as of now unflappable Dr. Maven putting Deacon firmly in his place. (I guess we know who’s wearing the pants in this session! So to speak.)
    3. Deacon, the stoic android, who has killed who-knows-how-many people and is probably programmed to show no fear, seems to express genuine concern for his safety. He goes from calmly examining his (no doubt spotless) fingernails while being somewhat condescending to “Duck and cover! She’s going to blow!”
    4. And then the go back to normal, with Deacon only having a slight stammer to show for it. Basically the entire thing is made of win.

    (I don’t know why, but my other comments show my old gmail address. I fixed it now though.)

    • Very nice analysis, Layman. Yep, that’s it. 🙂

  • melinda stumpf

    holy shit right when she yelled at him made me think of my physical therapist.

    • Yikes. Now, I’m concerned for you with your physical therapist…

      • melinda stumpf

        well when you don’t want to move your leg they have to yell at you to move

  • Yaminox

    it looks like Winona uses the “big green eyes” technique.
    he somehow looks more vulnerable when we actually /notice/ his eye color.

  • The second rule is “If in doubt, refer to rule number one.”
    I had a painting teacher like that. I worshipped her.C

  • Everyone is so emotional here.  I suspect both are trying to be sneaky to try and get the result they want, but since they’re both trying, i’m getting lost.  I mean, this seems out of character behavior for the Deacon i’m understanding.  I’m beginning to wonder how much of what he’s doing is really an act and, furthermore, which part is the act. 

    If it were just about anyone else, i suspect he’d smack them around and be done with it like with the guard, but since they both want something, they know they’re going to have to play it differently.

  • Laymanterms303

    In other news, I have just discovered the “like” button. It is probably criminal how much  fun I am having with it.

  • I actually think Maven is pretty. Don’t kill me.

    • You’re not the only one. 😉 More than a few readers have referred to her as “hot”.

  • Jessica_Palmer

    Howdy! I’m new here, and after reading everything from start to finish — why is this strip listed as “the Gay Sci-Fi Webcomic Artifice”?

    I’m assuming from the title that our protagonist and the human colonist wind up being lovers. So what? The important things are the plot, the characterization, and the art, and Artifice has all of them and more. This strip is a great strip, and it’s noteworthy not because of the fact that two of the characters will be having sex, but because of all the aspects of a good story.

    When I saw this listed as a “gay webcomic,” I assumed it would be about sex, because by saying it’s “gay” you’re saying that the topic of same-gender sex is what the strip is about day to day — and that’s limiting! It’s like saying The Dreamland Chronicles is “the Heterosexual Fantasy Webcomic” because it has a boy and a girl doing the kissy thing with each other a lot.

    Okay, maybe the sexuality will be graphically portrayed in Artifice at some point. That still doesn’t make this a “gay” webcomic. People are past that. It’s simply a “webcomic” that has gay characters — and a damn good webcomic at that.

    The quality of this comic is so great that the sexuality of its characters is natural, no matter what their leanings might be. This comic is about people, both organic and artificial. This comic will someday be, I expect, about love — and that’s something that crosses all boundaries.

    I remember years ago when I worked at my college’s radio station. I remember going through the vaults and discovering a great album by an awesome hard-rock group called “Resurrection Band,” and I wanted to play it during my shift. Why hadn’t I heard of them before? Why had nobody else? Because they were labeled as a “Christian” band, and all their stuff was put on the shelf next to stuff by the Bill Gaither Trio and Amy Grant. Yes, Resurrection Band is made up of Christians, and they sing about their beliefs — but they didn’t take anything away from their greatness. Unfortunately, however, by labeling them as “Gospel” in an attempt to reach a particular market, they were missed out by the very masses they were attempting to reach with their message. (FYI, I’m not Christian, and I’m not trying to validate their religion. However, not only was their music awesome, but Resurrection Band also sang about a lot of things important to the world, from the trauma of domestic abuse to the apathy of modern culture, and I think it’s a major shame they’re only known to such a small audience.)

    I’m sure the comparison isn’t lost here. By labeling this as a “gay” comic, you may attract more people looking for homosexual love themes, but you might lose the chance to attract the more casual reader who is simply looking for great science fiction — which is what Artifice is. Actually, by calling it “gay,” you may also annoy people who come here thinking it’s “just” a sex comic (like Oglaf, which is hilarious for what it is, but is definitely something unlike Artifice. *smiles*).

    So my advice is to not only keep up the incredibly excellent work here, but take down the “gay” label — because you don’t need it. Artifice ranks up there among the best dramatic webcomics out today, and I hope it someday gets the recognition it deserves.

    Thank you.

    — Jessica

    • Your story about the Christian rock band reminds me of a band from the 80’s that I really like called The Call. They were another Christian band that focussed more on social justice issues and serving God’s people than just mass-producing “7-11” songs (repeating the same seven words, something along the lines of “Jesus is great, I worship him and you should too!” eleven times), and were largely misunderstood and/or ignored by Christian rock fans of the time. A really good example is a song they did called “Turn a Blind Eye”. Sorry if this is a tangent or doesn’t quite fit in with what you were trying to say, but I’m kinda drunk right now… :p
      BTW, I consider myself a Christian and agree COMPLETELY with you about love crossing all boundaries. After all, that’s what Jesus taught us, right? (Whether he was really divine or not is another discussion for another time…)

  • Jessica_Palmer

    P.S. Okay, I saw and read the FAQ about two minutes after posting my last post — but I still stand by what I wrote. I mean, look at strips like Girls with Slingshots — it’s got both straight couples and lesbian couples, so what should it be called? The Straight/Lesbian Feminist Humor Webcomic? Of course nobody calls it that — they just think of it as Girls with Slingshots, and it’s enjoyed for what it is. *shrugs and grins*

    • Hey Jessica!

      You bring up interesting points and do so eloquently. And it’s true that to label something as anything does two things: it makes it sound more appealing for some people and makes it sound less appealing for others. Part of my role as creator and steward of Artifice is to be a good “marketer” of it. And a lot of marketing—a term which applies even though Artifice the webcomic is free—is trying to find the best labels and descriptions to attract the audiences who are mostly likely to enjoy the work.

      Now while I have put some thought into this,  I’m actually not married to having the word “gay” in the title of these pages. Among other things, it makes things a bit extra wordy which, aesthetically, is not my preference. But at least for the moment, I think it is doing a fairly good job of attracting those folks who would be mostly likely to enjoy the work while weeding out those most likely to react… unpleasantly to the “hard” R-rated romance we’ll see in the coming pages.

      I could be wrong. I might change my mind around that. Maybe it does give readers the wrong impression and limits my audience unnecessarily. Feedback from readers like yourself certainly will help inform that decision. But I think I’m going to wait until the love story is further along before I decide that the best audience for Artifice are mainstream sci-fi readers instead of fans of well-told same-sex romance. 

      And there is one thing that I’d like to challenge you on and that’s the equivalency you seem to be suggesting that “gay = sex” in most readers’ minds, particularly the readers most likely to enjoy  Artifice . It is true that gay people do have sex (if they’re lucky!) and that there are those who choose to define gay guys like myself exclusively by (what they imagine to be) our sexual interactions. But just as few thinking people would define a woman’s experience solely based on her secondary sexual characteristics, I’m not convinced that calling Artifice a “gay sci-fi comic” automatically makes people think this has to be porn. (I think that my “Yaoi 911” label is more likely to do that! LOL)

      But again, maybe I’m wrong. It would be interesting to hear what other people thought. Does calling Artifice a “gay sci-fi comic” create the expectation that it’s going to be all about sex?

      Because if it does, of course, then that as you’ve seen would be mislabeling. And could lead to disappointment. 🙂

      Anyway, thank you very much for all your kind words and your faith in the universal appeal of this story. I hope you’ll keep letting me know what you think!

      • Amelie May

        Busting in on your conversation lol, I think I can see what Jessica Palmer meant by her comment, that labelling it ‘gay’ could be taken as limiting it just to that and nothing else, like nothing else about their relationship matters.

        But then again, I agree with you more; it’s a keyword that attracts viewers who enjoy same-sex romances and warns off those people who’d react badly to it. 
        And I don’t think that’s at all a bad thing – okay, a lot of the fanbase of the ‘yaoi’ genre are… immature (well. Underage, in a word. Though I’ll admit not all underage readers are immature– just like not all overage ones are mature!) and just out for “oh, this says ‘gay’ in it! It must be plotless sex, hurrah!” which is obviously not true and actually, potentially a bit objectifying (speaking as a member of the alphabet soup community myself). 

        But definitely the popularity of comics like Starfighter (I followed the link to here from there and it was this month’s best decision) has shown that older and more mature fans of same-sex romance stories are crying out for more complex stories that, while they’re accessible, don’t pander to the underage readers like a lot of other comics in the genre. I think this webcomic came at the perfect time, a wonderful example of the kind of comic that there’s a dearth of and many older readers desperately want to see, and the addition of ‘gay’ in the page titles does a lot to attract those kinds of readers and establish a loyal fanbase in them.

        Anyway I am dreadful at trying to communicate my opinions, I keep thinking of new things and derailing myself. So in other words, I support your decision to have it in the page title. It draws the attention of readers who enjoy– probably are used to and more comfortable with– same-sex romances, and keeps around those who are longing for a challenging, mature and interesting story. And that’s a pretty large section of the community– just one too often shouted down by the less mature fans who give the stereotype to all of the others. 
        And probably keeps those who are just waiting out for the gay sex around, too. Added bonus nonetheless, right, more readers are always good. Who knows? They might be influenced to keep finding challenging and mature works in the future and move on from the immature, sex-is-all-gay-people-do ones, meaning more people wanting good stories and more excellent webcomics for us all. Win-win.

        I hope I didn’t off-track and meander too much for that to be readable. :I

      • Amelie May

        Haha, I just thought of a much more concise way of putting it than that monster block of tl;dr:

        Those readers who are mature enough to thoroughly enjoy this story know the reasons for putting ‘gay’ in the title, and understand. They’re grown-up enough to enjoy the story on its own terms regardless of labels. As for those who just stick around for the assumption that ‘gay = sex’– they’re still readers who support the comic whatever they’re here for.

        That’s better, lol.

  • Careful, he tends to enter attack mode when threatened!

  • ToryKasper

    Hello, I’m also new here, I just wanna say I agree with the author’s decision; I don’t believe the word “gay” is as limiting as many would believe it is – and limiting only matters if the Author is wanting to produce it on mass scale anyway –  in fact, I only found this story because of the “gay” premise; and not once did I think it was mindless porn.  Perhaps that’s just my take though, since I’m not a fan of porn without plot I tend to take things with a grain of salt.  

    The world “gay” never makes me think of porn, that is, as the author said, the word “Yaoi” haha, because that quite literally translates into a genre that is by majority porn. Of course there are exceptions, but more often than not that’s “Shonen Ai.”  I digress, haha. 

    My point is, “gay” may come across as a label, but in some instances, labels are not as bad as we try to make them out to be.  In this case, it’s a clarifier. Artifice is a comic where the plot centralizes around two men, this is, by today’s definition “gay.”  That does not mean sex.  Gay men are just as capable of loving, and having plot as any other individual, and I feel it is a great insult to proclaim that “gay = sex” because that is subjectifying an entire group of individuals to a biased and misleading paradigm.  That is not fair.  Gay is simply what it is – at least in my opinion. Men who are attracted to one another – this does not have to be just sexually, romance is not only sex, love is also a good thing to remember.  I believe that the clarifier for this comic is a good idea, it keeps away unwanted individuals who would end up for lack of a better world “trolling” the comic for no other reason than they are angry that they “stumbled” across something so abhorringly against to their specific ideology (this saves everyone a lot of grief in my opinion – keep the haters away, haha), and it also allows for readers – like myself for example – who enjoy homosexual literature, to locate and enjoy this comic the way it was meant to be without confusion – because it’s right there, in the title. 

    Forgive me if anything I am saying is at all confusing, I’m trying to be clear, but as others have mentioned about themselves: I am also terrible at relaying exactly what I mean. 

    In summary: I believe that including “gay” in the description/title was actually wise, it is not the author’s fault what people may automatically “conclude,” that is their own problem, and if they are disappointed that this is plot based and not just smut – well then they can go hang out on Y!Gallery, or read the thousands of other explicit webcomics on the internet.  


    • Shinashi

      I was going to say something along those lines, but, yes, I agree. To be honest, when I read ‘yaoi’ I don’t get that instasex impression either. it’s just another word for gay, for me. Well, Japanese anime gay. When I see Gay Sci-Fi, I see, oh, homosexual men, proooooobably by an American, Englishman, and so on and so forth.

      If it didn’t have gay in it, I wouldn’t read it. Would this comic be that much different if Jeff was Jane, uuuuuh… Oh, wait, duh, yea! What reason would Jane be not with the other colonists? Anyway, you all know what I mean… I’mma shush now…

  • WandNCritic

    Second rule: Don’t fucking mess with Maven?

    In this case we trully see why Maven is the villain and a good one… She’s batshit crazy and good at concealing it… Wait, a craaazy psychiatrist? oh the irony!

    Though of course, her demeanor could be a method of shocking him into honesty, feeling weaker and less confident, thus less inclined to lie and more so to blurt out the truth.

  • scary lady!

  • I just noticed something… Why is the cyborg examining his fingernails? Deacon is a robot, though an extremely advanced one; did his creators program him to act as any human would, to the point that he unconsciously examines his fingernails in certain situations, or is he doing it on purpose, just to emphasize what he’s saying? I’m keeping an open mind, but he has been programmed with extensive knowledge of human behaviors and thinking processes.

  • DarkFeanix21

    … Dr. Maven is kinda scary. Also, I literally laughed out loud at Deacon’s reaction face when she shouted at him.

    • Kyletin

      I am glad I am re-reading this comic and your comment, because I managed to glide right past that reaction without noticing. It is HILARIOUS. 😀

  • Connor Selinske

    As much as I hate to make my first comment on this awesome comic a negative one: Mr. Woolfson, you sometimes have your characters reach emotional states that are not explainable within the framework you have set up. What I mean is that, sometimes, your characters will skip the appropriate response to a situation and go straight on through to overreaction. Dr. Maven, in the second panel, should have been, at worst, mildly disgruntled/frustrated with Deacon, not yelling at him, especially seeing as she is a professional therapist. I’ve seen it happen more than once in your comics, and it’s frustrating for the simple reason that, in every other regard, you are so much better at writing than I am. 

    The only thing I’ve found that’s helped me keep the emotions of characters in check is to review scenes where the characters show particularly strong emotions, and see if I would react in this way to the stimuli provided.

    Please, please don’t be angry or take this as anything other than a desire to help. If it does anger you, please know that I did not intend it to do so, and that I apologize.

    • Howdy Connor,

      Of course I’m not angry and I appreciate the time you’re taking to write such thoughtful feedback.

      Before I respond, I need to make one thing very clear. IMHO, the reader is always right about their own experience of my work. I am by no means infallible and thus it’s not only possible, but likely that folks will be able to find flaws in my writing. I say this to make clear that I’m not pushing back on your (or anyone else’s) criticism of my writing. The only reason I’m offering an explanation at all is because you let me know that you are a fellow writer and so it’s in the spirit of discussion of writing in general that I offering an alternative perspective on this interaction here. Understood? Cool. 🙂

      I very much agree that a very good way to check the realism of a character’s reaction is to put yourself in their position and ask if you’d react the same way. This is particularly good to avoid the trap of things like The Idiot Plot Device. It’s something that I often will do throughout the entire process of writing.

      But there are times when people display emotional reactions that would not be the ones we think we would feel in their shoes. Of course, one reason for this is that they are radically, nigh incomprehensibly different people or are impaired in some way (crazy, drunk, high, etc.) But, to be honest, IMHO those are rarely satisfying reasons for a character to behave differently than we would and so I rarely use it.

      A much better reason has to do with motivation and, in particular, motivating and influencing others as a tactic. Look at how quickly Maven recovers from her emotional outburst on this page. This is a comic, so we can’t be sure how much time passed between those two panels, but if I’ve done my job successfully, you shouldn’t think it’s more than a second or two. One explanation for this quick change of mood could be that Maven’s crazy and thus subject to wildly irrational mood swings—I’ll let those who have finished reading this story decide if that’s the most likely explanation. But can you think of another reason why Maven, in her role as therapist/interrogator, might have engaged in this display when facing off against the smug, snarky and oh-so-cool-and-composed Deacon? Would there be any benefit in having her subject think she might be a little crazy or irrational?

      I’m not sure if what I’m suggesting here will apply to the other spots in my writing where you’ve seen “over-reactions”. But subtext is very important to me as a writer. And characters behaving contrary to our expectations can be a sign that there is more going on that we, as readers, are aware of at that moment. As a writer, you have to be very careful in your use of these—you have to pay them off later or what you did really was no different than having your characters act implausibly. (And ideally also offer subtle some tip-off at the time that the characters are putting on a show like I’ve tried to do here with Maven’s quick recovery.) But if you can pay it off later, in my experience, you’ll develop a relationship with your readers where they will examine your writing and your character’s actions much more deeply, which I find very satisfying. 

      Hope this helps!

  • Sakura 黒

    I may already hate therapist and kind of doctors in general but this lady is no doctor and she certainly not a therapist!
    crazy bitch, wonder if she got her awards through money

  • eeee this doc seems unstable

  • cybil certainly scared a natural borne killer!

    yikes !!