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Artifice Page 51

172 Comments on Artifice Page 51

Actually Deacon could, but that would at the very least add a rather unromantic note to their pillow-talk…

We have new Fan Art from long-time commenter EmperorMeiji, who wished to be credited as the “founding member of the Clarice Maven Appreciation Society”. And his art got me to laugh out loud. More than once. (Even my use of red outlines on the word balloons gets lampooned.) So you should totally check it out. 😀

Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Karen H., Brian d., Danielle D. & Kelly R. and new supporters Ciana C., John H., Tajuana M., Mary P. and Diane G. for their generous donations over the last few days bringing our donation bar up to $153. (And as I mentioned on Wednesday, thanks to those who donated previously, there will be a bonus page this Wednesday, November 23rd—page 52!)

And as I also mentioned on Wednesday, I’m going to have a table at BENT-CON on the weekend of December 3rd and 4th, where I’ll be selling our first ever Artifice prints, including a canon scene involving Deacon and Jeff that’s too steamy for this ad-friendly webcomic. (And it’s also my first time ever putting up a table, so I sure hope some of you will come and say hi! 😀 )

And finally, I just have to comment on Winona’s fabulous art on this page: Panel 1 has one of my favoritest Jeff/Deacon poses: it’s super sexy, super-intimate and super-sweet all at the same time. (And she totally nailed one of my tougher expression requests: “Deacon, looking up at Jeff, matter-of-fact and pedantic, but the humor doesn’t escape him.” Making that happen is like asking for a recitation of the Gettysburg Address from memory while juggling flaming bowling pins. She is such a rock-star!) And then that laugh in Panel 2! So awesome!

This was another one of those pages that, as a writer, felt so amazing to get the pencils of. And even now, as I look at it, I stop being “Word of God” or whatever I’m supposed to be and instead am simply another reader like you all, just enjoying the romance between these two. With the opportunity to connect with such thoughtful and insightful folks like yourselves and the opportunity to collaborate with such an incredibly brilliant artist like Winona, I really do feel like the luckiest comic creator on the planet.

Just saying. 🙂

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!
  • Is it possible for people who can’t be at the CON and can’t quite risk having explicit material at home to still somehow get a look at that way-too-steamy scene?))))))

    • If I make it available for online sale, then I’m sure I’ll post up some kind of preview image with the too-steamy bits removed in some way to make it safe for this Web site. 🙂

      • Yes please 🙂

      • Heheh, I was thinking more of purchasing it to have it dropped in the email inbox, like the PDFs you send to the sign-up memebers. It’s just I really can’t have anything like that at home, but want to be part of the party too :))))

        • Ah, yes, a PDF version would be cool. But part of the issue is that some of the services I use, like PayPal, are cool with me selling physical goods that are for adults but not “digital” goods. Why? God only knows. But hopefully, the preview image will be fun enough. You’ll have to let me know. 🙂

  • Jennie Yates

    Adorable~!!! That’s all I need to say.  Time for bed~!

    • Glad you liked the update, Jennie! Sleep well! 🙂

  • I feel completely unashamed about saying that, after that first panel, I then proceeded to look exactly like Jeff for some time, though I suspect my guffawing was louder.

    Geez, Winona!  Stop being so awesome!  You’re spoiling me for other art!  By which I mean, in actuality, PLEASE KEEP BEING AWESOME.  I know you understand 🙂

    This has got to be some of the cutest banter between Jeff and Deacon yet!  Their tete-a-tete has never failed to gain me a chuckle, but outright guffawing?  Rarer, though unexpected phrases can and have gotten me to laugh rather loudly.  How sad and sweet, though, to see them confronting the universal problem of relationships (well, the universal problem for everyone but Vulcans); not knowing what the other person is thinking.  Part of me very much wants to tell Jeff to stop sweating the small stuff and enjoy whatever he can, but the larger part of me is VERY happy to see him attempting to talk it out.  Is it sad that Jeff and Deacon are actually one of the more successful couples I have known, even considering that one isn’t human, just for the fact that they’re facing the communication problem head-on?

    …the other part of me, the pure fangirl, would also like to take the time to say that Deacon’s posing in the first panel is so damn sexy that, if I were an android, my circuits would have fizzled out from the sheer hotness of that pose.  Ditto with Jeff.  I may be actually glad it is apparently going to snow tonight, just so my blushes will get cooled.

    /wall of text.  

    Thank you for the early update!  It made my Friday much better 🙂

    • Thank you, Summer. Writing romantic banter between guys is one of my favorite things (just check out Chapter 2 of Tough ) and between these two I’m able to combine the fun with some serious undertones.

      Glad to hear the early update made your Friday much better! 😀

      • I totally loved Tough.  It’s sitting on my laptop ready to read at a moment’s notice 🙂  It did improve my Friday, though it had already been going well.  There’s just something about knowing I don’t have to go to work for the next couple of days that makes me smile.  This page made me smile bigger.  And also guffaw.  But you knew that.

        • TGIF! I totally understand.  Glad we could make that smile bigger.

          And I’m also glad you enjoyed Tough and that you keep it at the ready? Hehe. That’s awesome. 😀

    • W Nelson

      Eeeeheehee!  I’m so glad you’re enjoying everything so much!  If you do get snow, play outside in it for me; we don’t get as much on the East Coast as I did growing up in Minnesota and I miss it!!

      • No snow when I woke this morning; must have happened at different elevations.  I can live without it though!  I am a desert girl born and bred, and though I’m living in a watery wonderland now, the white fluffy stuff scares me!

  • Jacqi Smith

    also i lol’d.

  • Ok nope! Too much awesome for my brain to handle. Winona I shall be back tomorrow afternoon to make your scalp all tingly with praise again. Alex just you wait till I get to an atm tomorrow!~ X3 But seriously I live up in Oregon and started looking up plane and train fares to see if I could make it down for the con but I would have to miss work and would only be feasible if I could make another friend come with me…. I shall start asking around! XD

    Also the fan-art…. made me laugh like a cracked-out hyena I enjoyed the parody bit that much! XD

    • Do it! Do it! Come say hi to me! 😀 (So long as you don’t get in trouble with work, that is.)

      And yes, EmperorMeiji’s parody—much, much fun. 😀

      • Sadly I think it will be too short notice for me to get the time off. XP But you! Next time you plan to go to a con post earlier! I already have cons scheduled through the year so I need a little more notice than 2 weeks to go gallivanting off for fun! XD

        • Sorry about that. It was sort of a last minute leap. But if things go well, I’ll definitely do another con. 🙂

          • Glad to hear it! Also if sales go well for the pretty pic you should definitely make it available for sale online…*gets twitchy fingers thinking about the pretties* XD

  • No, Deacon, wrong reaction (again)! You were supposed to say, I Love You.

  • shinashiasusual

    First off, Emperor Meiji’s fanart is hilarious. Also, Deacon is hilarious, and, lastly, Jeff is sooooooooooo cuuuuuuuuuuute. I like how they want to get into each other’s heads, too. I always think that digging into one another’s brains is essential to a healthy relationship.

    • Hehe. Agreed on all accounts—except maybe the digging into brains part, but then I tend to be old fashioned in love. 😉

  • Aikka

    I overslept for the update o_o”[yes, i usually try to wake up earlier so i can be here when the page is added *sigh*]

    Anyway, i’m here now and…

    There is just something about this page i love, really o..o””

    Hard to specify though, probably a few things at the same time. ^-^”

    Both: Their interactions and art (Winona, are you sure i can’t kidnap you? *-*)

    Sorry if i do not make sense here, need to wake up more ^_^’

    • W Nelson

      Pretty sure, but thanks for asking ^_^  My services are needed by people all over the world!  Stand with OWS and share the wealth!!  XD

  • Darby Roorda

    Deacon is just too damn cute for words. He’s what I want for Christmas!
    Fabulous page, same as always! This kind of work is far beyond words!

    • Thank you, Darby! I’m really glad you’re liking the page!

      I’ll check in with marketing to see if NoNeCo can’t run some kind of holiday discount on the ASOs. I’ll let you know if they say yes. 😀

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    Imperial Stormtroopers aside, does it seem that the problem being foreshadowed is that neither is secure about what the other is feeling and thinking?

  • The last panel is adorable. The whole page is really cute and sweet but I like the last panel.

  • grinsekatze

    the whole page is awesome again, but what i really really love is the last panel. they seem so comfortable with each other and so at ease… the chemistry between these two is undeniable and just plain beautiful.
    i don’t how i will cope until wednesday!;-)

  • The whole time I’m reading these flashback panels I can’t help but think about what may be happening to Jeff! A few pages back, Maven said he was being questioned in a different room with different methods entirely, and she had a sinister look upon her face. EEP! This comic is REALLY keeping me on my toes.

  • KBatty

    Jeff’s face has changed. The eyes, perhaps? I may be reading too much into it, but I get a sense of emotional maturity that wasn’t there before. Perhaps the realization that sex isn’t as big a deal as people would lead a virgin to believe has given him a chance to focus on other things, which would bring me to think this is why he’s looking for an emotional attachment to Deacon now instead of just a physical one.

    That, and he certainly doesn’t seem to have really taken the time to grieve for the people of the colony. I know he was alienated by most of them, but the whole ordeal still had to have a jarring effect that, if internalized long enough, will wear out a person. Even though Jeff has come to trust him, Deacon was still one of the ones sent to help wipe out the colony, and that’s got to weigh on Jeff’s conscience a little, too.

    Either way, he’s looking a little less like the naïve and confused boy we were introduced to, and more like a grown man trying to find his footing.

    • Yukiness

      I was about to type an extensive comment until I read this and realized that was exactly what I wanted to say.

      Oh, that and that if panel one was person, I’d marry it. It’s so awesome.

      Sorry to piggyback KBatty.

      • KBatty

        By all means, piggyback. I give great piggyback rides! =P

    • W Nelson

      Ahhh you guys are so good we couldn’t have asked for a better audience.  SO attentive and sensitive!  And so appreciative!!  Everything one could ask for in a relationship ^_^

    • Yes. You’re thinking about this in just the right way. 😀 When writing this scene, I was definitely thinking about that transition that happens once the finally-having-sex/finally-finding-a-relationship hurdle has been crossed and then you learn that that wasn’t really the big deal after all—that really it’s learning to truly connect with another person on this deep and scary level where the stakes are much higher and the means/goals are much murkier that is the real tough/important stuff. It was something that defined a particular time in my life and was something I wanted to try to capture here, at least a part of it. It’s very gratifying that you all are picking up on that. 🙂

  • AnyOtaku

    OMG! This is my favourite page so far! All this romance and atmosphere… Leave me breathless… All the panells are awesome: the first with Deacon looking up at Jeff, then that incredible laugh, THAT chin catch (i don’t know how if it’ correct) at panel 4, Deacon next to jeff at panel 5, then THOSE amazing eyes an THE expression of jeff at panel 5 ( let’s jut say I want to hug and cuddle him really much , and then GOD that little game with the gun-hand is adorable!
    How I wish i could go to Bent-con but it’s so far… And I hope you give the opportunity for those who can’t come to see that so steamy picture of Deacon and Jeff, please! =D
    You are the reason why I’m happy at wednesday and saturday! Thanks for doing it to both of you!

    • You’re very welcome, AnyOtaku! Reading through the comments and hearing from readers like yourself makes it all worth it. It’s especially nice to read panel-by-panel comment. 🙂

      And I want to see how things go with these prints at the con. But if things go well, I’ll definitely be making them available online and so there’d definitely be a (somewhat censored to keep my ad-providers/PayPal happy) preview image. 🙂

      • I’m really curious why you are holding back so much with posting something more risque. 

        In terms of the adds I see, I’ve got:
        -Some fully revealed side boob; the only thing hidden is the nipple
        -And erect manhood being manipulated, albeit behind some text that only slightly obscures it

        I know I really don’t understand the exact situation with your add providers and any paypal issues that I guess could potentially arise from posting something more graphic, but there are also other webcomics that I follow that do post graphic material with no problems as far as I am aware.

        Maybe its because they have their own domain and you are hosted by yaoi911?

        I really don’t want to sound like an entitled fan, its probably one of my biggest pet peeves when fans behave that way. I’m just genuinely curious why you seem to be holding yourself back when it seems like you would like to post some more graphic pages.

        Finally, even if you don’t end up posing the more juicy stuff, I would love to see them as like special bonuses included in the comic if you ever decide to publish.

        • Well, part of the challenge here is that the rules are very murky and arbitrary. Both my ad provider, Project Wonderful, and PayPal have rules prohibiting explicit content on the websites that use their services. But even Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously had a difficult time defining exactly what that would mean. Is a fully-revealed side boob “adult content”? If not, how about two boobs? A boob-and-a-half?

          The folks at PW have been wonderful in terms of being open to engaging with me in a dialogue about this, but PayPal is notorious for just letting the axe fall seemingly at random and for arbitrary reasons. (Even trying to find the “rules” about what is prohibited took me literally an hour of searching on Google. And even there the rules seem arbitrary and hard-to-understand. While selling digital images of adult content is forbidden, selling “physical goods” of posters and DVDs is totally OK. Um, why?)

          So, I have to try to guess at what is “too much” and because the stakes are so high, I prefer to err on the side of caution. I can understand if that is frustrating for readers. The lack of clarity is certainly frustrating for me.

          That said, I do want to make it clear that I am still creating and sharing with you all the kind of comic I’ve always wanted to read. You’re not likely ever to see hard, uncovered weenies or spurting fluids in a Yaoi 911 comic—as I mention in another reply on this page, that’s just not my flavor. And even the “steamy” image I’m talking about above isn’t porn or X-rated; it’s just “harder” than what I feel safe putting up here. I get that it’s frustrating, though. All I can do is hope readers like yourself will understand. 

          But I think you’re offering me a good suggestion about including material like that in the printed book. That’s a good idea. 🙂

  • fujoshifanatic

    I just woke up, and before I even wiped the sleep out of my eyes I hopped on the computer to be greeted by this lovely page! Alex, I am the biggest fan of smut there is, but damned if I’m not in love with the way you and Winona have made this page funny, intimate, intriguing and so, so, sexy (panels one and four–unf!) without having to use any raunchiness at all.

    This comic has truly benefited from you being the writer Alex, as opposed to a woman. As talented as the female writers of other yaoi comics are, you have the advantage of understanding exactly how romance works for (and in the minds of) guys like yourself. And you have the fantastic talent of being able to convey this beautifully through the action and dialogue of this comic without skimping on the characters’ emotional development in order to get to the dirty parts, which I see entirely too much of (ironically) in the ones written by a lot of women comic writers. I daresay that it’s because of this that I get just as much enjoyment and, er, excitement from Artifice as I do from any of the more explicit comics I read, which is a true testament to your talent. 😀

    And Winona! Thank you for loving these beautiful characters as much as we do!!! The way you draw them with such attention to the details of their own unique charms (like the difference between Jeff’s physique, just blossoming into manhood, and Deacon’s, which is in full, masculine bloom–swoon!) takes my breath away with each new page. From their engaging expressions and funny physical quirks to their nosebleed-inducing naked times, you are the purveyor of some powerful eye candy, Winona, and I get more hooked with each update.

    Thanks so much as always, you guys! 😀

    • W Nelson

      <3  You made my scalp all tingly with all those nice words ^_^

      Really it always amazes me how much it's like you all are right there in the story; you see every tiny change and detail so well. And you care as deeply about them all as we do. It's wonderful to read your experiences and thoughts as the story's not new to us anymore, but seeing it again through your eyes is really a treat.

    • ::blush:: Thank you so much, fujoshifanatic! While I do personally think that a woman could have written this story just as effectively—the right woman, anyway 🙂 —it’s so gratifying to hear that you feel I’ve done a good job of conveying how guy-guy romance actually feels from the inside. While there’s a lot that’s the same no matter what the genders are when people are in love, there are some things that are different when it’s two guys, above and beyond the physical mechanics. (At least in the gender-defined world most of us live in. Who knows if it would be true if gender didn’t matter so much culturally.)

      In particular, for me, there’s a certain energy in the banter, certain particular challenges in terms of intimacy and some other qualities I find harder to put words to that I’ve always wanted to see in stories involving two guys in love and so rarely do. It’s really gratifying that you’re seeing that being done successfully here and enjoying it. 🙂

      And it always tickles me when someone who defines themselves as a “fan of smut” tells me they love Artifice in spite of its lack of “raunchiness”. I’m making the kind of comics I’ve always wanted to read, and for me, less is usually more in terms of explicitness when it comes to turning me on. (What can I say? I’m a writer; I like to use my imagination. :D) And more importantly, it leaves more room for character development and emotional interaction which is what I really need to get my motor running. If I don’t care about the characters, the sex scenes will leave me cold. But if I’m invested, if I believe in their love (or at least their interest in each other), then hoo boy! I’ll be in my bunk. 😉

      After looking at what else was out there in terms of yaoi webcomics, I was concerned that folks wouldn’t much care for this comic because it didn’t show everything. And of course I know it won’t be for everyone. But reading comments from folks like yourself makes me feel that what Winona and I are creating is really connecting with some people. And that feels awesome. 😀

  • What excellent comments – I’m not sure I have anything else to add!  I am just blown away by Winona’s art.  Wow.  Just, wow.  My favorite panel on this page – which is HARD considering how awesome every single one is in its own right – is the fifth.  As KBatty commented, there’s something different in Jeff’s eyes.  Maturity, seriousness, yearning…  Wow, this makes me SOOO curious to know what’s going on in the “present”!  Deacon, why are you wasting time with Dr. Maven??  Break your sweetheart out of prison, now!!!!

    • W Nelson

      I’m really glad you like it so much XD  I love when you guys catch the tiiiiny tiny expression changes, I agonize over getting that right so it’s very satisfying to see it reads plain as day to you ^_^

  • timeaesnyx

    In a real sense you never get in the other persons head. You just have to trust and judge by their actions.

    • W Nelson

      True, though I can predict very accurately when my boyfriend is about to drool. Which he does often.  It’s adorable ^_^

      • LOL, Winona!

      • Now there’s a sign of true love:P

      • timeaesnyx

        That made me laugh, thank you. 

  • Erica

    the first panel is probably the best i’ve ever seen so far. lol its such a great angle cuz it oddly captures everything…. not to mention i like positions like that. [not for myself mind you. i don’t get any action nor do i plan on it yet lol] and jeff’s laugh! it’s so loud looking! lol but i think i really like how Jeff looks in the 5th panel.  AHH he’s sooo… so much older looking haha definitely evolved from when we first saw him haha so so great. can’t wait for wednesdayyyyyyyy ^ .^ we should reach another bonus so we can get one monday…  > _ > lol

  • Syanana

    awwwww<3 seriously love Jeff's laughing face. so filled with Happy ;w; <3

  • Reign

    This page is so beautiful!! Panel one made me melt…they look so good together 🙂 I love Jeff and Deacon together…want them to be a couple sooooo bad! Much love to you Alex and Winona for a breath taking page!!!

    • Thank you, Reign! I’m so glad you liked it! Much love back! 😀

  • krissdevalnor

    EPIC page! 😀 Starting to get a tiny bit addicted to this comic. I actually prefer panel 3, because Jeff is touching Deacon and not the other way around. Winona did an amazing job with this page. It all seems so fluent and realistic and úber cute 🙂

    • I’m glad you like that panel where Jeff touches Deacon. In real life, power dynamics are rarely static and it was fun to play with that in this scene. 🙂

  • Jeff has beautiful teeth.

  • They are such an adorable pair I can’t evennnnnnnnn

    • and panel  5, I could totally feel Jeff’s sadness and doubt there 🙁

  • I can’t even decide which panel I like best in this!  It’s all soooo amazing.  You and Winona really outdid yourselves this page.  Last one too.  Like favorite two pages thus far.  Those were amazing.  I’m pretty sure angel’s descended and embedded themselves in Winona to make this page’s art so wonderful!  So so amazing. <3 <3 <3  This page's artwork and lines just killed me.  Through and through.  All so beautiful.  (And Decon, you're avoiding telling Jeff what you're thinking.  Open ups? Please?)

    • I’m really glad you especially enjoyed this page, Deanna—it’s one of my favorites too. I love writing banter between guys and between these two—considering their different life experiences—it’s especially fun.

      And as I said above, I love what Winona did with the art here too. 😀

  • Oh, good gravy.  Winona made panel 1 out of THAT request?  She really IS a rockstar!  XD Also, Jeff’s face in panel 5?  So much love.  As always, you two are rockin’ it out!

    • Oh, yes. Winona had her work cut out for her with me. 😉 Luckily, she was more than up for the challenge. And once I figured that out, I asked for the moon and got it every time. 😀

      Glad you’re liking the update!

  • danigirl921

    This is just so darned adorable. And beautiful. 😀 

  • Wish I had thick, fluffy hair like Jeff’s.

  • I love that laugh. that was so cute. and Deacon just plays the perfect (for lack of a better tem) straight man. (for those unaware of that term its the one in a comedy sketch that doesn’t get the joke.)

  • Sarah W

    Fabulous page as always! Bent-Con? I live in LA, how have I not heard of this before?! I need to get out more, and the admission fee is only 10? I’ll definitely be there, and I’ll be sure to drag a friend along as well. I’m really looking forward to picking up your comic (how much is it going to be btw?) and just so you know, I’m  going to bug you like hell for an autograph.

    • Hi Sarah!

      That’s awesome that you’re going to be able to make it! I can’t wait to meet you (and your friend!) 🙂

      Just to make it clear, though, I’m going to be selling prints—13″ x 19″ posters—not the printed copy of Artifice. (We need to finish the story first for that! :D)  And I’m not sure how much I’m going to charge, but my instincts are to follow the Teahouse model , because CC is like a million times more brilliant than I am. But I’ll probably decide once I get there and see what other folks are doing…)

      As for an autograph? Your wish will be my command. Just be warned: 3 year olds have better handwriting than I do. Years of keyboarding have taken away anything I ever learned about penmanship in school… 😀

  • iamlingy


    ALSO JEFF’S FACE IN ALL OF THESE PANELS. THEY ARE SO PERFECT. He looks so cute and happy and blissed out and I just CANNOT HANDLE IT AAAAAAAAAAH

    • Shelby C.

      Well your commenting sure lives up to your avatar, Pinkie Pie 😛

    • I’m really glad you’re enjoying the new updates, iamlingy! Your comment and kind words have put a big smile on my face. 😀

  • B’aaaaawwww, this is so sweet! I don’t know why but I love pillow talk in fiction (and only in fiction XD)! This page kind of makes me want to hug my tedbear. Or my boyfriend. Maybe both.

    As always the art is astounding! <3

    • I say hug them both! At the same time! The world needs more sweet, yaoi-inspired hugs. 😀

  • They are so cute it kills me ewe

  • Jeff looks so handsome in panel five! I totally understand where he is coming from too. Even when one has sex “for fun” there are still some sort of expectations that come along with that. I assume Jeff is feeling like he is sleeping with a speaking prop. Like some advanced sex toy with no true feelings or motives rather they be positive or negative. I would think that would become very uncomfortable after a while, no matter how good the sex is.

    • I keep deleting all the answers I’m writing to you because they are feeling spoilerish. But for me, personally, I’d need to believe my partner was capable of feeling something for me before I could even have “good sex”. I’m glad you can empathize with Jeff’s questions. 🙂

  • I think this is my favorite page… It’s so sweet with the dialogue and warm expressions. You can definitely feel the strong connection and feelings for each other. The way they play makes the heart flutter because we know that this sort of playfulness is usually displayed between lovers.

    • I’m really glad you like the update, Sawyer—and for the reasons you like it. 🙂

  • Fangirly

    I REALLY REALLY REALLY want them to kiss already! Please??? 

    I’ll bake penis shaped cookies and post pictures of them if I can just get a Deacon/Jeff kiss!!

    • Hehe.

      Tempting. Very tempting.

      But the power of the penis-shaped cookie will not make them kiss. They will only kiss if it is what they would actually do. 

      That said, I’m certainly delighted that you would want them to. 😀

    • I saw someone do that one Y!gallery once! Actually the cookies were shaped like men going at it in various poses and I’m surprised they came out so well. (Came out. *snicker!*) Since my cookies always end up as more or less shapeless blobs.

      Remember to dunk the tips in frosting if you make penis cookies! Bonus points if you put sprinkles on the balls. >.<

      • Fangirly

        Sprinkles on the balls, that’s brilliant.  I like the way you think!

  • Ryn

    Beautifully done as always. : )

    eep, looks like Jeff is starting to get emotionally attached.

    • Thank you, Ryn! I’m glad you liked the update! 😀

  • David Boccabella

    The more we see on Jeff and Deacon the more of an ethical dilemma I see arising.  At what point does Deacon cease to be an ‘intelligent goal seeking automation’ and becomes a sentient being with all of the rights that entails.
    I sincerely hope that when we reach the stage of making ‘Deacons’ we will have resolved that issue, in the positive.
    Beautiful work as always. I also loved the fan art too.
    Many thanks for all of you sharing your talents with us.

    • You’re very welcome, Dave. I’m delighted you liked the update and that it’s prompting you to ask such interesting questions.

      What do you think? Do you think NoNeCo has crossed that line with Deacon? Should he be considered “a sentient being with all the rights that entails”? Or do we need to see more before we can make that call?

      • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

        As an emotional being, I don’t consider him a meat droid. I’m one of those people who saw Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and thought “how can you do that? How can you make living, breathing, thinking beings fight for your rights while you sit at home and give them no rights?” I think he should be considered a sentient being with all the rights, and responsibilities, that entails. He has previously shown himself to be self-aware, an important thing in determining whether something is sentient. But I also think he’s much more than sentient, I would say he’s most likely sapient as well, he’s a lot more complex than ants or worms, for example. In fact, so far, he’s shown himself to at least be on par with African grey parrots as far as emotional response, reasoning skills, and ability to adapt and learn new things goes.

        As a fairly logical technician, I would say I need more data. I’m fully able to admit as a human being that I could be attributing human-like qualities where there are none. As an engineer, I’ve occasionally questioned the sentience of my computer, since it has an uncanny ability to select songs at random that fit precisely what I’m doing or how I’m feeling, despite choosing from a library of thousands of songs from many different styles and musicians, as well as the fact that threatening to throw it out of a window often seems to speed up the process of unfreezing things during a freeze. (It’s not sentient, and it doesn’t understand those threats, but sometimes it approximates behavior and response that makes it look that way.)

        • That brings up a question to me that I’ve tried looking into with no success. “Do non-sentient things have souls?” It’s unanswerable though since we have no way to prove definitively that WE even have souls.

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            That’s the kind of question that used to keep me awake all night when I was younger. As a spiritual person, I know what my answer would be, but that spirituality really doesn’t have a basis in logic. It’s faith, and faith by necessity makes a few assumptions that you simply believe to be true, even lacking evidence to prove what you believe. Lack of evidence isn’t evidence of lack, though.

            I will say you wouldn’t ever catch me using teleportation like they use in Star Trek or Doom. Those things scare me. We can’t prove we have souls, but I can’t help but shake the feeling that deconstructing and reconstructing your constituent atoms probably won’t preserve what makes you who you are: your experiences, your thought patterns, every mental process that truly makes you who you are (which to me, is basically your soul).

            Enkidu, Alex, David, I want to thank you all for giving me yet another science fiction story to write! I haven’t finished my first one yet, and you’ve all given me another one to write.

      • ithilloke

        Yes and yes.

  • crimsonkiss22

    Panel 5 Jeff: Never seem him looking prettier. *w*
    Jeff is, yet again, trying to spoil my good fun with his relentless logic.

    • Stupid relentless logic.

      • poor kid doesn’t wanna get hurt. 20 years of being oppressed and left behind by narrow minded bigots… life would be easier if they never found that chromosome because then a lot more people would be around… (course they’d probably all be killed by androids….)

  • My word…..  This page, this comic, this wonder… I am in love… 

  • CommodoreZelda

    Oh, Deacon’s face in the first panel… *swoon*

  • Dex X.


  • Lorescien

    D’awww, they’re so damn cute together. ^_^ It just makes me all warm and tingly inside.

    • Hehe. Just the reaction we’re hoping for. 🙂

      • mikakitten

        Agreeeeeeeed!! <3 fuzzyness inside is had here <3

  • mikakitten

    Awww!!! 🙂 I love these moments!! I’m a little gutted we missed the smex, but this makes up for it…I hope they kiss… <3 I can undestand how Jeff feels…smex without love is fun…and he's got more reason then most to be cautious…but….d'aaaaaaaw!!! They seem happy enough!! I hope they never find them…even though I know they do…just want them to be together forever! <3

  • panel 3 has made my life.

  • ladyaoi

    r they going to kiss? …i know they just skipped to doing the “deed”… but r we gonna get to see them lip lock?….that would be a nice touch…4 me anyway!

  • They should totally kiss.

  • Yukiness

    Now that I have regained my mental bearings, I can now say just a little more than the awesomeness that was summed up by KBatty earlier.

    I love the pillow talk here. It isn’t too sappy or very predictable. Even though Jeff does make an emotional comment down in the mind-blowingly beautiful panel 5, it doesn’t come off as cliche. Deacon’s reaction to him is very natural also. You’d think they’d been having sex for years and are just enjoying each other’s company like if that were just a regular tuesday afternoon. Stuff like that makes me hug my computer monitor with joy.

     Winona, your art is so, well, “winona”, that I’m running out of vocabulary words to describe your art. I’m just going to settle calling every awesome piece of artistic wonder I see from here on as “something Winona”.

    And I sincerely hope you put that special addiotion comic on sale over the internet for us fans who do not live anywhere near California (and are too broke to catch a plane). Your New Yorker fans love you guys too.

    •  Adding that to the official dictionary of words created by Artifice readers.
      Also! That fits in with an old query that I like to pose to my friends: if your name was a verb, what action would it be conveying? Use it in a sentence.

      • Yukiness

        Yukiness: Act of spontaneously generating an analogy with no clear meaning and whose origin is only known to thyself; to measure everything on an epic scale

        Ex 1: I cannot comprehend anything you just said within that yukiness moment you had just now.

    • I’m really glad you’re enjoying the pillow talk, Yukiness, and that you’re finding it believable. Comments like yours make me want to hug my computer monitor with joy.

      And yes, if I’m able to figure out the logistics of mailing, etc. I think I will make the print available online. I love my New Yorker readers very much.

      • Yukiness

        *reads later reply*


        *hugs computer monitor*

  • oscar4life



  • Silentwisher


  • Hes so cute for an AI :3

  • Vanessa Trepanier

    I have mixed feelings about this page. On the one hand it’s great, intimate, and funny, but on the other hand…Jeff’s look changes so much! Panel 3, 4, 5 and 6 are very different from each other. Panels 1, 4 and 6 look like the Jeff we all know and love, but it’s almost as if there was a guest artist for the other panels :S

    • W Nelson

      I was hoping no one would notice, but I had my cat draw those panels.  He’s good but not great hehe!  (What can I say, I hope the other pages don’t disappoint you!)

  • ViSovari

    Nnnts nnts nnts! *jives into room*

    Hold up, guys, let me just squeeze on in between you delightfully naked boys.

    -The End-

    Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my Artifice fanfic. It’s entitled:

    I Swear to God I’m Going to See Deacon’s Penis if it’s the Last Thing I Do.

    I’ll plan on a sequel called “No This Isn’t A Camera…”

  • Michele M.

    I <3 Panel 1. I want to turn it into a HUGE poster and tape it on my ceiling. *nosebleed*

    OR if I could pull Deacon out of the comic and…  😉

    Love the comic as always, Alex & Winona!

  • Since Deacon has had sex with a man, would he now be interested in trying it out with a woman? …Did I mention that I am woman? xD

  • eleutherios

    Fifth panel: he has never looked so beautiful.


    • Michele M.

      that is too weird…it really does look like Jeff…..

      • that is the freaky part. Jeff’s real!!!

  • Lynn Keller

    Ahmygash, why do I love boys with long hair soooo much? You know, I think that’s the whole reason I found this comic. “Hey, is that a well-drawn boy with long hair? I need to check out this comic!”


  • He COULD if Jeff just had a usb port of some kind!

    • Unrelated: I’ve been listening to “Please, please, please, let me get what I want” by The Smiths (I just discovered them. I am so lame) non-stop while working on fan art of Jeff and Deacon.
      The song really fits them, I just can’t tell which one of them.

      Also, I’m almost done!! Hey others post there NaNoWriMo progress, I’ll post my fan art progress!
      Man I wish I didn’t feel so artistically inadequate whenever I look at these two! Darnit Winona! How did you get so awesome?

      • I’m really looking forward to seeing your next fan art, Enkidu. 🙂

  • karmelion

    Wow!! Jeff looks so sensual in panel 5. I think it must be his lips and cheekbones. Whatta Knockout!

  • Alor_Laneau

    20 years of oppression and hatred by narrow-minded backwoodsy bigots = totally worth it for Deacon.

  • I love this comic, and I love how hard you’re trying to sell it/link it on other webcomic sites.  My professional suggestion is though, to wait till you have about atleast 2 more weeks comics in the history before you advertise anymore. You want people to read several, and get hooked, not a few and get intrigued.  Save them up.  You’ll get more fans later.

    • Hello Renee! I’m very glad you’re enjoying the comic. 🙂

      And thank you for the professional suggestion. But I’ll admit, I’m a bit baffled. I have over fifty pages of comics up and every day the ads I’m running on other webcomics are bringing in a bunch of new readers who read through each of those 51 pages and then seem to stick with us. Are you suggesting that 51 pages of a webcomic are not enough to get folks hooked vs. intrigued? What makes you think that waiting 2 more weeks (and the 2-4 pages those weeks would add) would make a difference?

      • You also have a hardcore fanbase. I came in … when? On the first page of DaVinci 4? The big two-page spread.
        I immediately showed it to a friend who was all “Meh, when there’s more archives to read.”
        She must regret that now, because I do NOT have an internal spoiler-filter in my brain. If you have not read a story or seen a movie well before me, then too bad. I will gush out the ENTIRE THING. I think she reads every Saturday, just because as soon as I get online I will not shut up about the newest post.

        • Hehe. That’s a great story, Enkidu. I always really enjoy your comments and I’m really glad you’re liking Artifice. 🙂

    • I was hooked when the archives were but half of what they are now and that was through a chance advert… I really don’t see how cutting exposure for two weeks is going to make a difference. The readerbase is large and dedicated enough for as many pages and it can only increase as time goes on.

      I agree with Alex and would love you to explain a little more. I am branching into helping a few other people I know with their advertising so… yeah I’m not just whining this time xD

      • JM

        I understand what Renee is getting at, though I also don’t see how waiting another 2 or even 3 weeks will change things. I admit that I first saw this comic when it was less than 10 pages in and didn’t bother to add it to my feed, because I knew that the waiting would be painful, and that I wouldn’t be hooked after such few pages anyway. That’s how I normally role with new comics – I prefer to bookmark them and return after a few months when the story has developed so I get a better first read. I came back when Artifice had about 20 pages and was super into it from that point on, and Alex and Winona are excellent with scheduled, frequent updates so I’ve never been disappointed. This comic has definitely gotten deep enough into the story to have dedicated fans that visit the page at 11pm on Tuesdays and Fridays to see if there’s a new page (cough, cough, me) – so if people aren’t into it by now, it’s not their thing. 

        • Ryn


          I think i started back on page 11 or so. though i didn’t start commenting till later. all due to the fact that NoScript was blocking Disqus and i couldn’t figure out how to comment. lol

          • That’s interesting about being blocked by NoScript. I never thought of that, but those kinds of plugins would present a challenge! 🙂

        • Mitani & JM: Thank you. I find it really interesting to read about how and when you started to get into Artifice. And I agree, if a reader isn’t into this story after 50 pages, it’s probably not their thing. 🙂

        • I was the same I think, I check in on newer things every so often… now Artiface is on my regular tab list (opening up every time I open my browser) so I can read past pages and see it when updates happen. I look forward to reading when every update is due. I love re-reading every time there’s a new page.

    • I’m not sure if your advice is applicable to ‘Artifrice.’ I believe it’s intended to be about short story length and is past the half way mark in terms of available story. If people can’t get into it with the amount that’s up now, I doubt they’ll get into it at all.

      Now, if you’re talking about a work that’s intended to be larger in scope, that involves larger-scale world-building and more then three characters I’d agree that marketing should probably wait till the archive is well past 50 pages. 

  • I’m late to the party, I can’t believe I’m been so busy I ahven’t had time to check this page out.

    So worth the wait. I mean ridiculously worth it. I’m thinking the naked boys help 😉

  • Taliel

    I just realised we haven’t seen Jeff and Deacon kiss yet. What’s up with that?

  • melinda stumpf

    I’m a live my computer was down so I’m looking at this on my wii with HD tv and now I can’t wait until tommarow I will be 20 and a page will be up for me and Erica

    • I hope it makes for a Happy Birthday for you both, Melinda! 😀

      • melinda stumpf

        Thanks Alex

  • gingersnapped89

    “I just wish I knew for sure what this was about for you.”
    “I can’t get into your head.”

    So you’re attempting to reach it by burrowing through the other side. I knew it.

    •  That would be why he’s failing. I can’t think of a longer route to get to someone’s head. -.-

  • Aww they’re so comfortable with each other and so laid back and I’m loving how this is just not awkward; how it just feels totally natural in their relationship.

    • Ryn

      and then the retrieval team shows up, something bad happens, and their cozy little arrangement is busted into so many pieces. should make their reunion interesting though. : )

  • Over 21K on NaNo, had a scare at work (not my fault), and finally home and getting rained on so hard I’m considering breaking out my speedo and goggles.  Camping because it’s sane and nice here…

  • geneticsgirl

    I’m so in love with this story, art, mancandy…. I’m impatient. camping….

    • classic_bear

      Camping! wooooo!

      • W Nelson

        Heeehee I love campers 😀

  • Sequinn

    Racing back and forth between two camp sites…Teahouse and here!  Phew!

    • I hope you’re supplying us with chocolate for the smores, because I’m out already!

      • Sequinn

        Will do.  I must warn you though, being from Australia I have no idea how to make smores.  So how ’bout I bring the chocolate and you can show me how to make them.  😉

        Please note: I’m sure there are Australians who know how to make smores…I however am not one of them.

        • I’m an American who constantly screws them up, so no fear, we’re in the same boat.

          • W Nelson

            Don’t worry, I’m originally Midwestern, I can authoritatively administer marshmallows in any recipe.

          • Thank God, because I sure can’t!

  • QUICKLY! Before the next page comes up, I have to ask: how much does Deacon weigh? Does he weigh about what you would expect a human man of his proportions to weigh or is he significantly heavier?
    I’ve priced robotic servants from rival companies and they seem to have a hard time keeping the weight down while simultaneously making them sturdy enough for everyday use. I imagine in combat, the emphasis is more on ruggedness. 

    • …oh my god…I’ve been wondering this too!

    • W Nelson

      Noneco’s manservants’ specifications are still on need-to-know basis and I’m afraid I’m only privy to the aesthetic considerations.  Our technical expert will have to weigh in on this.  Mr. Woolfson?

    • Thank you for your question, Enkidu. I am well-aware of the limitations of our competitors offerings and I am delighted to tell you that our soon-to-be-released ASO, while extremely resilient and capable of super-human acts of strength, is certainly well within the upper limits of what you would expect of a mesomorph human of their height. There were several reasons we worked hard to make this happen—usefulness in covert operations and versatility in terms of operating human-class vehicles and equipment being chief among them. And thus I can assure you that you would in no way know that your ASO was anything but 100% human based on his weight—even if he were directly on top of you!

      I hope that answers your question! Please let me know if you’d like to place a pre-order for the latest D-model ASO (currently planned for a Sprint release)—our available slots are running out fast!

  • Dear Alex; I love this page!  However, the only way to navigate to the update is changing the URL manually!

    • Sorry to hear that. I was having a few server issues. If you refresh this page in your browser, do you still have that issue?

      • Not any more 🙂  Thanks! 

  • senselesslosers

    Hehe, the hairs on Jeffs chest that Deacon loves so much are shaped like a heart! 

  • AllyssaC


  • Justin White

    he really is fascinating