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Artifice Page 58

73 Comments on Artifice Page 58

Dr. Maven returns! And yes, she missed you too. 😉

We have new Fan Art from long-time friend of Artifice, ~ksiazeAikka, which was “inspired by a conversation in comments which ended with [the] conclusion that it would be hard for [Deacon and Jeff] to get a proper date.” And it’s adorable. Thanks, Aikka!


And it’s the 13th bonus page in as many weeks! Holy cow! (And hmm… The 13th bonus page in a row and Maven appears… Coincidence? Or fate? You make the call!)

The donation bar for the next bonus page is now at $179—$177 of which was donated in just the last few days! O_O! Special thanks to long-time supporters kataline d. & Virginia H. (both making their 3rd donation in a row! Thank you!) & Micheal B. (who has now donated for the 15th week in a row! You are amazing, Micheal!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow to new supporters Robbie E. & Josephine K. for their generous donations since Saturday’s update!

Big hugs go out to new friend Greg C. and to long-time friend Jennifer B. for their super-generous $25 donations!

And warm, humbled, super-grateful and can’t-stop-grinning android-strength hugs go out to Artifice superheroes Andrew R. and Andrew T. for their amazingly generous $50 donations! You guys are awesome! (And this makes the third hugely generous donation from Andrew T. in as many weeks! And it’s his birthday today! Let’s all please wish him a very happy birthday!)

Thank you all so, so much for your generous support!

And… while I love seeing Jeff and Deacon kiss, I have to say that I think Winona did just stunning expression work on this page, especially with Maven in panels 2, 4 and 5. Totally nailed the very subtle (and not so subtle) emotions she’s experiencing here. 🙂 And I’ll also say that this page and the next have a couple of my favorite Maven lines of dialogue. She really is so much fun to write. 😀

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!
  • Aikka

    Maven is back.

    Why i’m not angry or suprised? o_o

    and my fanart yay *-*
    i wonder if you remember these comments or just quote what i said Alex.. XD

    • Aikka

      Ok as i have some more time to comment now xD

      i was worried i won’t be here for the new page, something happened to electircity yesterday and i just got it fixed… an hour ago xD i did not expect it to be done so early xP but i’m happy i’m back here now “XD

      I was telling my friends yesterday to not say anything about the new page today, i was scared they will talk to me and i won’t be able to see it first ;–;

      Anyway “XD

      I like Maven here 🙂

      lt seems i did not add much to my comment other than i like Maven here…  o-ok -__-‘

      • I’m glad you’re liking the return of Maven, Aikka. She’s certainly fun for me. 😉

        Thank you again for the great fan art! 

        • Aikka

          ^^ *hugs* you’re welcome, and you know that it’s not the last one right? :> For sure there will be more fanart from me XD

          and i wanted to say hi just now on FB but suddenly FB chat stopped working for me ^_^ -_- FB is agaist me ;-;

          • I’m looking forward to more Fan Art! (And just as well to talk to me here—I’m not in a place where I could FB chat anyway. 🙂 )

          • Aikka

            I already started that’s why i’m so sure about it hah “XD but probably i won’t finish it soon ><

            And i just saw that green dot near your name meaning you are there so wanted to -literally- just say hi xD

            *just tries to not be forgotten XD*

          • I would never forget you, Aikka. 😉

          • Aikka

            Awwww *hugs*

            Unless there is some hidden meaning behind it, that’s just such a sweet reply to start a day with ;-;

            [and i demand a hug, lately you do not hug >..<]

  • Krondor2000

    I think we are in for a long and dangerous session.  Hope Deacon can keep it together, for Jeff’s sake.

  • crimsonkiss22

    Awww, Deacon… You look so cute and helpless in panel three. Kind of like a confused puppy. “AROO? *tilts head* BUT I SWEAR, I— I WAS TOTALLY ON TASK THE WHOLE TIME”

    Not the first time I’ve wondered what this little therapy session is all about. No doubt the company wants to know what caused such an “error” in one of their designs that resulted in Deacon annihilating the retrieval team. But somehow I think Maven is keeping Deacon distracted while terrible, terrible things are done to Jeff ;A; 

    Waaaaah. D:

  • melinda stumpf

    I think the Doc just became a yaoi fangirl

  • Yay it’s Dr. Maven again!

    Yeah, I figured she was pissed at the avoidance attempt rather than at the gay sex.  She already said it–Deacon represents a considerable investment, but it’s the company’s investment, not hers.  Not her fault if he likes buttsex, so no skin off her nose.

    Hell, from that fourth panel she might even be getting a little kick out of it. >3

  • Lucy0in0the0Sky

    Noooooo! Curse you, crazy doctor lady! Always interrupting the best parts *mumblegrumblewhinebitchandmoan*

  • fujoshifanatic

    Aaand Dr. Maven is back! I daresay while I was gushing over the last scene I was wondering how she was processing this information. I think now that the initial shock has worn off (loooved her facial expressions in panels one and two!), she is now going to have some, “fun,” with this new information.

    Buckle up and hang on Deacon; the rest of this “session” is gonna be a long, bumpy and most likely ugly ride! I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the sun again through the window before it’s over. Let the mind games begin!

    Poor Jeff; he’s probably not being treated nearly as nicely during his interrogation, since he can’t destroy dozens of people at a time with his bare hands. 🙁

  • Pervertida Pensante

    I hate her.

    *Go go Deacon, you are so lovely*

  • Yukiness

    Wow, they have been in there for a long time, so long that Maven needed coffee. is it strange that out of all the marvelous things happening with the page, I’m attracted to the cup of coffee the most in terms of time elements?

    Also loving the fact that there is another company building in the background, which makes me believe that nearly all of those buildings there are affiliated/are possessed by that company. That being said, I guess you could say that both Deacon and Jeff are in the midst of the base.

    It is very early and shit just got real for me here.

    • Hehe. I like the coffee too.

      And you’re right. We’re actually at the NoNeCo Main Campus. Good eyes. 🙂

  • timeaesnyx


  • Yay more Dr. Maven! <3  For some odd reason, I really love her XD  And I love how Decon feels the need to tell her he didn't plan on falling in love, lol.  He's adorable.  I can't wait to see how Dr. Maven continues to react now that she's been hit with everything!  I also really, really wanna see where Jeff is now, if he's going through interrogation, by who, sit down and talk or torture, and the whole works!  (I thought I saw a page of him being torture interrogated, but I'm pretty sure I saw that in the same way I wrote my paper this morning, that is to say, had a very convincing dream.) 

    • I’m delighted you love Maven. As I’ve said, she’s a lot of fun to write. 

      And I agree—Deacon totally cracks me up as well with his need to say that he didn’t plan on falling in love. Sometimes these characters take on a life of their own… 😉

  • shinashiasusual

    I was looking forward to Maven’s reaction. But I disagree with her, I do believe there was a lot of higher brain functions at work, unless he only angsted in his free time. Well, there is that possibility, yea, but I like the idea of Deacon being worried in the middle of sex. c:

    • I think you make a very good point here, shinashiasusual. And one I would agree with.

  • Andrew Thibeault

    Zwoot! Bonus page!!

    • Yes! Thank you again for the super generous donation. And…


  • Michael Chapman

    Is no one going to mention how entirely ADORABLE Deacon is in the third panel?

  • Ryn

    damn, i was hoping for more shock from her. Kinda smarmy about it isn’t she, the sarcasm coming from her is both disdainful and (i can’t thing of the right word, lol), Maven looks like she’s starting to enjoy herself. Deacon’s scrunchy neck is funny, just like a little kid betting berated by an adult. Man up dude! she’s using your body language against you!

    • Yeah, I think Dr. Maven is beyond being shocked at this point. Or so she thinks. 😉

      And I like that scrunchy neck too. 😀

      • Ryn

        Oooh, more tablet dropping in the future? Eeexcellent…*strokes cat*

  • thisboybroken

    Deacon is so adorable in panel 3. I almost forgot that he was in a session with Maven. This page makes me not hate her as much though. The art is amazing as usual. Alex I love your work! And Happy Birthday Andrew T.

    • Aww, thank you, Mark! Glad Dr. Maven is not so hateful here. 😉 And I agree, Deacon is quite the cutie in panel 3!

  • Winterlove

    And here comes the part where the evil dragon lady uses poor Jeff, or hurts poor Jeff or does something horrible to Jeff just to get Deacon to do what they want ToT
    Oh no…Please prove me wrong!

  • HermeticallySealed

    I think Maven is merely trying to provoke reactions from Deacon. I think she’s probably genuinely curious about what he is experiencing, like an experiment which suddenly took a completely different direction than expected. I have a feeling that much of what Deacon has done defies what he was programed to do, kind of similar to Andrew in Issac Asimov’s The Positronic Man.

    • wasEnkidu

      I agree. And as a serious student of both human and AI psychology, this is an unmissable chance for her to learn how this even comes about between a man and an AP.

  • Erica

    OHHH i knew Maven was gunna come up next. haha I’d be stunned if i were her too. I mean come onn, an android professing his love? STRANGE. but you know, its completely fine. completely completely. lol i definitely can’t wait to see what’ll happen in the future. absolutely cannot wait <3

  • Dex X.

    Dr. Maven is secretly a yaoi fangirl. :/

  • CommodoreZelda

    Maven is my home girl.

  • wasEnkidu

    Deacon looks adorable. He’s not looking at her in the first panel and the way he’s hunched down in the last… he is totally being reprimanded. ;P
    He’s so embarrassed! How do you keep coming up with fresh expressions for him to show how awkward it is? D:< *gasp!* do you secretly have an AP tied up in interrogation somewhere to use as reference!? Shame on you Winona! You know that violates the tenative AI Rights laid out in the Centauri Convention of 2325!
    Don't make me go all space-cop on you!

  • Bien Batol

    Man, the way that Deacon fiddles with his hands is adorable.

  • Alyssa Victoria

    Awe, Decon really does look like a little kid with his hand caught in the cookie Jar!

  • I can’t get enough of Dr. Maven. She makes my day brighter and better, she does!

  • yellowrock

    I love how interested she looks.  I bet she’s a closet yaoi fangirl at heart.

  • I’m really entertained by how shocked she is.  Stunned, really?
    Ok, so you have this sentient being.  Artificial, yes, but still decidedly capable of experiencing both the emotional and sensational scale.
    This being also has a dick, and identifies with the male gender.
    Common Sense’s fourth law of ‘Everyone Who’s Gone Through Puberty’ CLEARLY states he’s going to try sticking aforementioned genetalia ill-preparedly into someone at some point, and then get appropriately emotionally attached.  C’mon Maven, I thought they taught you these staples of robo-psychology at BA University!
    Also, here’s me twiddling my thumbs and just waiting for Deacon to flip his shit and go to find Jeff.  Having established that he’s basically a human being, except instead of being made up of organic tissue he’s constructed of more hardy stuff, I think it’s safe to say that NOBODY who refers to their significant other with possessive pronouns (I clearly remember a distinct ‘My Jeff’) and says things out loud like ‘with Jeff being completely under my control’ (Page 37, anyone?) is going to actually be as chill as Deacon is pretending to be at knowing their boyfriend is in another room being interrogated.
    I mean, he’s never really had anyone view him as worth his own salt as a free-standing, intelligent being, much less someone who’s entire WORLD revolved around him based upon this conclusion- I might be projecting what I’d feel there, but that sounds like a formula for Majorly Possessive Android Boyfriend.
    I’m actually kind of inclined to dislike Maven, smooth as I admit she is, but am holding off if only because I feel she’s wily enough to turn this into something good for the boys, even if it’s for her own gain in a roundabout way.
    Imagine if she brought Deacon, who I imagine is illegal hardware on account of his being a KILLBOT, or at least illegal on the grounds of how flawlessly homo-sapien they’ve made him, into court with proof of his distinct romantic attachment to Jeff.  I smell a human rights-esque case! She could be his defender in a futuristic Dred Scott Vs. Sanford, although hopefully with much better results!  Android revolution, anyone?  Not to mention how dazzlingly famous it’d make her.
    Yeah, sorry I’m gushing Alex, this comic just makes me THINK so much in such a good way.  Also, I’m kind of out of my mind with excitement to see Deacon wrecking that retrieval team like a pissed off guard dog.  My Jeff!

    • God, I love how thoughtful your reply is, Megan. I believe I have the smartest readers in the world and it’s a huge compliment that you’re putting such careful thought into this. And fun to read. Thank you! 😀

  • Jennie Yates

    Men never do see any risk when the engage in that sort of activity… XD

    • Ouch. 😉

      • Jennie Yates

        All In good fun, Alex~!  I mean it in the best way possible… ^__^

  • I like Maven so much. She’s so much like my Mom. lol

  • Marbutt Face

    Maven should have my babies. She’s just so great.

  • Dr. Maven looks excited. Did this story tickle your fancy, ma’am?

  • Michele M.

    Am I the only one that really dislikes Dr. Maven??

    • grumpycakes

      lol nope, not the only one

  • Whitewingtip


  • My dear Dr. Maven; you are every bit of the alpha-bitch I myself aspire to be.  Your attempt at not-sarcasm has been noted, logged, and shall now be competed with.  I thought it would be the gentlewomanly thing to do, informing you of my intent.

    …now for something slightly more serious.  She has GREAT shocked faces.  Seriously.  I also have to wonder how long it was into this intensive debrief that she finally seemed to have realized that she’s dealing with a sentient being.  This pages clinches it for me that she now sees Deacon as another person.  It’s implicit in her language use; instead of saying “pathways,” she said “functions.”  People don’t refer to things in other peoples as “pathways” unless they’re talking neurological disorders, but I don’t think love is one of those things.  Also, does anyone else get the feeling that she’s actually talking to him like a mother would talk to her son?  “You knew the risks, but I bet you weren’t thinking with the head on your shoulders” is the breakdown of what she’s saying to him in less…shrink-like terms.

    Thank God for you and Winona, Alex.  I found out today that a relative passed away, and this page was just the thing to distract me from my obsessive flight searching; going to one coast from the other is understandably difficult, not to mention my rather restrictive flight dates.  So, well, thanks 🙂

    • Hey Summer, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your relative. If this page made your night in any way a little easier I’m glad. I hope that your travel goes as smoothly as it can under the circumstances and you’ll definitely be in my thoughts.

      And I like you analysis of Maven here. Her view of Deacon is definitely evolving as this conversation continues. I like the way you’re thinknig about it. 🙂

  • elijah elquest

    yay detailed insignia!

  • grumpycakes

    I really hate disliking female characters.  It seems unfair and weird considering how few there tend to be in comics and also that I don’t like women in stories when I am one.  So I try so hard to like them.  That said I’ve really been off-put by Dr. Maven and I think I’ve finally figured out why. 

    She’s not treating Deacon like a human (let alone an adult).  For all her pretense of being a caring smart doctor she is still caught in the mindset that he really is technology, property, not human and therefore less of a thing.  Or maybe just a thing.  Yes she needed him to tell her the truth and get the information of what really happened but it made me really uncomfortable the way she dragged it out of him.  This page is no better.  Now she’s acting like he’s some freakshow, science project when he’s clearly shown and elaborated on the fact that he feels he doesn’t belong and that he hasn’t been treated too well.

    So while I respect her moxie and her strong sense of power, I don’t like how she’s handling it. 

    but then good stories sometimes make us intentionally uncomfortable 😉

    Lovely story, so happy to have found it.

    • I’m glad you found it, too, grumpycakes. As a writer, I had some mixed feelings about making Maven a challenging character, for just the reasons you mentioned—positive images of strong women (who aren’t overtly sexualized) aren’t well represented in Western comics. And yet… to not go there… just because she is a woman… or to change the character into a man for those reasons… Well, sometimes writing what one hopes will be a good story can take you to an uncomfortable place too. I had a really strong vision of Maven as a character and she would not be denied. So here she is. 🙂

      Thank you very much for the props. I hope you continue to enjoy Artifice, and the occasional intentional discomfort it provides… 😉

      • swallowinthetwilight

        I’m sorry my first time commenting isn’t a gush on how great this comic is (I’m currently rereading it!) but I just wanted to say that I actually really appreciate Maven and what you’ve done with her, despite the fact that personality-wise I also strongly disliked her at the start (and now have mixed feelings, given the latest).  She *is* a strong woman, likeable or not, and since the desire to please is so strongly ingrained in women, it’s kind of nice to see a female character who doesn’t really care (not that anyone in her position might need to, but she is a therapist…) and isn’t afraid to call your BS.  As readers I think we dislike her because she’s being harsh at the protagonist we’re set up to like, but for me that dislike was never ‘absolute’–more of a grudging respect.  And in fact, ‘strong’ and ‘dis-likeable’ might actually be BETTER than ‘strong’ and ‘likeable’; the latter might unintentionally imply that if you’re a woman, it’s okay to be strong AS LONG as you don’t push any buttons (the same way a storyline with a strong, dis-likeable woman who gets put down would send the same message).  

        TL;DR  Yay for strong, not-out-to-please female characters!

    • Ryn

      Deacon isn’t a human, but he is a person; which i find a step up btw. 😀

      I’m not to big of a fan of Maven either, but she doesn’t inspire the raw need in me to see her hurting like Roy did, either. I don’t think she harbors the extreme prejudice as Roy, but she doesn’t really accept him either. Has anyone considered maybe Deacon’s brothers were the odd ones? We didn’t see much but I found them to be really flat in the expressing of themselves, Deacon still managed to pop out at you even with him pulling the “i have no emotions” face. But i’d would still prefer the APs’ company to a humans, they feel cleaner somehow. And you know at some point when they are massed produced they(and humans on their side) are going to be demanding rights for them. Human they are not, but definitely people. Maven and everyone has a lot to learn. heh…

  • metisofarabia

    It’s funny to see the shift in Deacon’s mannerisms from when he’s with Jeff, to being interrogated by Maven.

  • Anna Squirrel

    I love her eyebrows, they make me happy~! <33

  • krissdevalnor

    Great page :D! Love his expressions very much on this page – so real (and cute!)

  • Anthony_D

    Ok. I just discovered this webcomic, and it may be the best one I read so far. Bravo !

  • Anna Froese

    Winona does stunning work on every page.

  • I camp, therefore I do.

  • xarratha

    Is anyone else excessively amused by the logo on the building in the last panel? It’s just so… cheerful. I imagine it saying, “Liek, OMG, Maven is liek, totally baAAAack!”

  • leyu02

    ah after so many pages of this…and still the facial expressions impress me! what a wonderful job 😀

  • Oh, God, his face goes from ‘shit shit shit what’s she thinking?’ to the scrunched shoulders of awkward explanation.

  • Kabbalist

    Definitely beautiful work with facial expressions and body language, and I appreciate attention to details like having the lighting outside of the window look as if it’s getting later in the day.