Skip to content

Artifice Page 63

176 Comments on Artifice Page 63

So, some readers were looking for a little “killbot carnage” on this page. Any other New Year’s wishes? 🙂

We have new Fan Art from long-time commenter KBatty! I see it as a sign that Artifice has finally arrived and it made me laugh out loud. “Occupy Da Vinci Four.” Do check it out.

We are now at $187 towards our next bonus page. Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Gabrielle R., Anna Z., Katie P. (who has now made their second donation in two weeks!), Kenya F. (who has made their second donation in the same week!) & Brian d. (who has just made their third donation in two weeks!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow to new supporters Karina N., Jamie C. and Vanesa W. for their generous donations over the last few days.

Big hugs go out to Artifice superhero Larisa V. who has now made their thirteenth $25 donation to this webcomic! O_O You totally rock, Larisa! 😀

And mondo-sized, android strength hugs go out to new friend of Artifice Daniel K. for their super-generous $50 donation and also to long-time friend of Artifice Andrew T. who with his $50 donation has just made his fifth super-generous donation in as many weeks! (WOW!)

Thank you all so much! Your generosity is a huge inspiration for me and Winona and is deeply appreciated. You are all my heroes! 😀


DING! DING! DING! DING! Saturday, December 31, 1:00 P.M.: We have hit the donation target and thanks to your super generous donations, in addition to the regular update next Saturday, there will be a BONUS UPDATE this Wednesday, January 4th—Page 64! You all rock! Thank you!

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!
  • Hyperminimalism

    Wow, poor Jeff.  You don’t ever fully get over witnessing an android ripping the limbs from a human being off. D:

    BUUUUT, I digress. I am really digging the emotions Deacon is overwhelmed with in panel two. Beautiful, really.

    • Jeff is seeing first-hand a different side of Deacon—but then, he was fairly aware of his handiwork when they met… 😉

      And yes, that Panel 2! Winona totally nailed the “rage” I was looking for there and indeed made it beautiful. I loved getting this page from her. 😀

  • Wow, this page came out fantastic. I just love Deacon’s explanation, which shows (more than anything else) just how much he loves Jeff. Who needs flowers when you have a bloody limb, lol. Seriously, “That for the world to be right Jeff needed to live” is one of the best lines in the comic. 

    • Thank you, Kristin. Really glad you liked the dialogue. (And “Who needs flowers when you have a bloody limb”—LOL. So true…)

  • Ohnoes, someone became the HULK.

    This page is absolutely awesome and action-packed.
    Deacon is so protective of Jeff, I hope they get to see each other again. D’8

    • Thank you, Doomy. I’m glad you liked it! (I was a little concerned that the violence would be off-putting for my readers, so I’m glad that it seems to be working for at least some of you. 🙂 )

  • Whitewingtip

    give into the Dark side, Deacon… yes… let you anger consume you!!

  • Woah Decon, you go android! Way to kick corporate ass!  I love how we see his angry face, and then almost a look at the fighting machine Decon as he drags Jeff into the ship, looking the same way he might if he were just leaving to kill a colony, mission focused.  And poor Jeff!  I love his expression too as he gets dragged along/runs for his life.

    Amazing job you two!  Can’t wait for more! <3

    • Thank you, Nan! (And yes, that focussed look on Deacon’s face in Panel 6. Unlike having to deal with all these messy emotions, now he is in his element and is all business. 🙂 )

  • SarahTratch

    Happy New Years!!! You are awesome and your comic is amazing! <3

    • Happy New Years to you too, Sarah! Thank you very much for your kind words—and the share on Facebook. Both are very much appreciated! 😀

  •  Happy New Years! 🙂 Looking forward to more Artifice awesomeness in 2012!!

    • Happy New Years to you too, Noah! I hope it brings you much love and joy. Thank you so much for sticking with us! 🙂

  • Aikka

    That’s so… sweet *-*

    Ok comment like that may look weird under this page but…
    you know what i mean… right? ^-^”” or no *hides*

    • KBatty

       Translation: “I would be so flattered if someone went into a murderous rage for me. Teehee!”

  • Awesome page :D!!!!!

    • Thank you, Christina! I’m really glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Takemaru Fujoshi

    WHAT EXACTLY did that uke do… 

  • Emily Hood

    Nothing says “I love you” like ripping off an enemy’s arm and then beating his friend over the head with him.
    I know it’s a little inappropriate but I laughed a lot longer than I should have over that. 

  • AnyOtaku

    Nothing like a new page of Artifice could be better to end up this year, beause although it was really violent, it shows that Deacon cares a LOT for Jeff.
    Happy New Year and see you in 2012!

    • Thank you, AnyOtaku! So glad to have had you with us in 2011. I hope your 2012 is filled with success and love! 🙂

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    It’s small comfort to the dead and their families but the corporation did this, Deacon was just the tool.  They created a machine that could feel and didn’t educate him on what feeling meant or could lead you to.  I don’t think we can blame this on the mattress mambo either.  Just spending weeks and getting to know Jeff probably would have had Deacon kill to protect his friend.  Now if only the company had given its shrinks the ability to simulate human emotion we might be guaranteed a happy ending…

    • Amerou

      Actually, the more I think about it, the more I believe that Maven is intentionally provoking Deacon in the worst ways possible, in order to test the range and depth of his feelings.

      I mean, here, think about this for a second: You have an android, which is essentially a very expensive computer program in a synthetic body, that is able to simulate human emotion. I get the impression from the comic thusfar that Deacon’s ability to feel *is not* the norm among androids – he may be the ‘breakthrough’ specimen for his kind, a Subject Zero, if you will, and therefore not only left uneducated in what feelings mean, but at the same time could be viewed as a very highly valuable research example and a possible threat, because he’s a wild card they clearly don’t completely understand. It’s quite possible the corporation doesn’t have any infrastructure in place to deal with this eventuality, because Deacon is a new evolution of his kind. And, well, any good company is going to test and experiment and quality-check and see if a new product or invention is going to cut it on the market, in the real world.

      What’s the best way to test out an android with emotions? Throw the hardest bitch in the galaxy at it and have her poke at him hard enough.

      • Margaret O’Connell

        Maven better hope that codeword/variation on the Three Laws of Robotics that’s been forcing Deacon to obey her holds up under pressure. Otherwise, NoNeCo could end up paying a big insurance settlement to her beneficiaries…

      • Very nice analysis, Amerou. (And your “What’s the best way to test out an android with emotions? Throw the hardest bitch in the galaxy at it and have her poke at him hard enough.” totally got me to laugh out loud. :D) 

        • Amerou

          Author kudos made my day after a particularly harrowing shift at work. 😀

          And while I got your attention – ever thought of raffling off background appearances in Artifice? I’m sure there’s a ton of commenters here who would love to have Deacon kill them. (Me, I’m holding out for Maven having a receptionist. 9_9)

          • Yay! Glad to help turn around your day, Amerou! (And sorry to hear that you had a rough day at work. I hope next week is better!)

            And that’s a great idea to raffle/offer appearances for my readers in the comic. Unfortunately, all the linework for Artifice is already finished. (Winona is on the final coloring stage now.) So, adding in new folks would not be possible, but it’s a good idea for a future webcomic. Thank you!

          • Amerou

            That is at once both great (there is a definite sense of reassurance knowing the comic isn’t either going to stop in the middle or never finish) and kind of worrisome (there must be less left than we all hoped!) Still, totally going to be following works from now on for a chance at said raffle. XD

        • Adam Black

          ..”and have her poke at him hard enough.”
          Thats what she said…..
          ( thats my first time using that)

  • Gares H.

    ZOMFG!!! I wat my own protector android too *~* i lime how he shows his wrath :3

  • Saberri

    Love makes you do crazy things… like kill people and stuff.

  • KBatty

    NOW it’s starting to feel like a scifi. Yessssss.

  • More carnage! More angry Deacon! 

    Although I have a doubt… The retrieval team had only humans on board or some of them are like Deacon?

    • Deacon is currently the last remaining of his model. The members of the retrieval team are all human.

  • Amerou

    Been playing TOR for the last couple weeks, so this page said DARK SIDE POINTS DARK SIDE POINTS all over it to me. XD

    Also, am I the only one in love with the rain spatter on Deacon’s shoulders in panel five? Cos I so am.

    • Virginia Hull

      +100 Dark Side points, +40 affection from companion Jeff. Fuck yeeeeeah 🙂

  • kmumaisang

    Panel 1 and 2 are my favorites but the whole thing is exciting!!

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the update, kmumaisang! 🙂

  • catyra

    I’m sure he has a lot of bottled up anger, I’d be ripping arms off too if I got pissed for the first time in my life :p Starship hijacking time! Happy new year everyone 🙂

  • timeaesnyx

    Of, course he needs Jeff to be alive for the world to be right, it’s called love. :lol 

  • KBatty

    And oh god. I can’t believe that’s in the fan art section. *facepalm*

    • It’s in the Fan Art sections because it is awesome. 😀 But if you’d like me to remove it, just say the word.

      • KBatty

         Naaah, it’s fine. There are much lamer things on the internet from the likes of me. 😉

  • Dex X.

    LOL OH GOD. Second panel, he totally went hulk. Green eye-d monster and everything xD. I love how Jeff is just being dragged behind like “omgomgomgomg” xD

    • KBatty

       I’m also a pretty big fan of panel three, where he rips off one guy’s arm and uses it to hit another guy. lmao

  • The power of love~… Ahh. Thank you again for creating such an awesome, epic comic, Alex and Winona! I wish you a wonderful 2012 filled with love, hope, health and inspiration! (And yes, I wish you inspiration out of selfish reasons. 😀 I’d love to enjoy your heartwarming and -breaking comics in the new year, once more!)

    • You’re very welcome, Dauwdrupje! Thank you very much for your kind words (and your Fan Art in 2011!). I wish you all the same things. May your 2012 be filled with love and success! 😀

  • Wow, all hell breaks loose!!

  • Reign

    As always thank you Alex and Winona for this awesome page my day is always complete when I get to read another page 🙂 I knew Deacon would save Jeff!! I think they are now bonded and Deacon won’t let anything happen to him. I just hope he won’t be in trouble for his actions. I don’t want anything to happen to either of them.

    • You’re very welcome, Reign! I’m delighted that the Artifice updates add to your day. 😀 

      As for whether Deacon won’t be in trouble for his actions here… Well… I guess we’ll have to see about that…

  • Wow, this page is FULL of incredible detail, this one must have taken 3 times longer than a normal page to produce~!  *_*

  • GlassShard


  • Yukiness

    Seeing Deacon beat the shit out of those guys with their own limbs is something I myself would have drawn (if given twenty-four hours with the blessed hands of Winona). Seeing this makes me imagine what Alex described to Winona for this page.

    • Hehe. This was a fun script page to write… 😀

      • Yukiness

        I can only imagine. Although I must give Winona props for pulling such an image(s) from text. I’m the type of person who write exactly how I speak (TT_TT) so trying to describe what it is that I see in my head can be a challenge when read by another. Sometimes what makes sense to you make no sense to anyone else.  So I commend you both on your level of synergy because…


        This page is amazing! Look at it!

        • Winona deserves all the props in the world for translating my scribblings into something so beautiful and compelling. She has created art better than my wildest dreams. It is perfection. 🙂

  • the donation bar is still full…does this mean this is not the donation page or the bar is just not reset.  i want to donate more!  

    incidentally, i totally love this page.  i could imagine myself reacting similarly, although, i wonder how effectively i could knock someone into the air using another person’s body as a bat of sorts.  

    • Hey Daniel! Sorry about being slow to reset the donation bar. (I’m fighting a little winter cold here and slept in until after noon. O_O) It’s very sweet that you want to donate more—thank you!

      And thank you very much for your kind words! (As for knocking someone in the air using another man’s body part? Deacon says “It’s all in the wrist…” 😉 )

      • well, i better start practicing my wrist motions, can’t let such a little thing hold me back!

  • C K

    I know today’s strip is mainly Deacon’s show, but I’m a little proud of Jeff for immediately covering his head and crouching.  MAKE YOURSELF AS SMALL A TARGET AS POSSIBLE AND COVER YOUR VITALS!

    And, on a slightly facetious note: Jeff, your every concern about Deacon’s real feelings for you have been answered in the most bloody, nightmarish way possible.

    Anyhow: I am very, very happy that Jeff is out of the line of fire for now, though I am still getting a very strong “we are not headed for a happy ending” feeling.  Because, truth be told, I did wonder if the endgame would be Deacon breaking away from Maven’s office, rescuing Jeff somehow, and comandeering a ship out of there.  Except, as we’re seeing here, it wasn’t a likely plan when it was just them vs. the ship, and I can’t imagine their chances would get any better if it becomes them vs. entirety of corporate headquarters.

    If there *is* a happy ending,  I imagine it would have to be facilitated by Maven and the higher-ups from corporate.  Which, given what we’ve seen of Maven and the high body count Deacon’s caused already, I feel like that may not be likely.

    TL;DR: THIS COMIC IS FILLING ME WITH MANY EMOTIONS.  And I can’t wait for Wednesday!!

    • Robert Endicott

      well if he were to rescue jeff and escape he may have easier time taking a ship that is docked with no crew

      • C K

        True, but they’d still have to deal with whoever the corporation’s got on the ground of headquarters first.  And even if they nabbed a ship, the corporation could also send other ships out to try to reclaim the one that Jeff and Deacon had taken.

        • yeah i agree – running from the corporation will be bad.  they require a different solution.

        • All well reasoned here, y’all. And all true.

          One thing I’m not sure is 100% clear is that part of Deacon’s concern in the last panel is the combination of being far out and being able to be tracked. They would have no time to get to another planet and escape/hide before they were intercepted. 

          This isn’t meant to be any kind of tip-off for the ending—it’s not—but when reading this page over last night, I was puzzled for a moment trying to remember why he would say both those things and had to dig a bit into my memory to recall his reasoning. 🙂

          • C K

            That’s good to know!  I did kind of wonder if the statement was a sort of Chekhov’s Gun line that would come back later on if an escape attempt did wind up happening.

    • if i was the corporation or maven (which seem synonymous) i would hold jeff alive and well and ever in close range while allowing deacon access but basically keeping jeff alive so that deacon is motivated to comply with me and my orders. 

      • C K

        That’s what I’ve been wondering, too, if Jeff might be a hostage for good behavior.  But Maven mentioned earlier that the corporation was trying to see if Deacon as still salvageable — so maybe they’ll decide it’s too much trouble and just get rid of Jeff and wipe Deacon.

        The answer probably depends on, in universe, how difficult it would be to make a new set of Deacon-type machines (since all the other ones got wiped out earlier).

        • i don’t know – an independently thinking a.i. could have incredible value in complex and demanding situations where, say, the unit has to complete a long-term objective with no input other than the initial mission briefings and thus powerful emotional responses might be desirable.  for example, if deacons emotions function more to facilitate than impair action, having a strong emotional investment in the outcome of the mission could grant a significant and beneficial edge.

          i still think that if i was maven, i would keep jeff happy and healthy and blah blah blah whatever – such that deacon would be motivated to cooperate with me and the corporation.

          since it’s pretty clear that deacon is an anomaly, i would be much more interested in preserving and utilizing deacon if at all possible, and obviously, i think it would be completely possible and feasible to continue using him.

    • Adam Black

      As much as I hate to do so, I’m defending Maven….Sure, shes been a cruel version of a therapist, But she’s had to deal with a smug, lying, defensive, wily, homocidal artificial person whom she’s been charged with “fixing”.  A task that seems near impossible given the human level of complexity his sentience has developed and his ability to find loopholes in every control placed on him.  Even with  having near absolute mental control over Deacon he’s been self-deluding and evasive with just telling the truth. 
           From what we have seen ( in her office ) its painfully obvious that he has evolved past both his initial programming and any controls over it.   She is relying far more on psychological intimidation that ACTUAL control over a mass-killing homicidal “machine” with an attitude problem.  If not for Deacons desire to please, she’s be in deep trouble…
           This all being clear, Maven doesnt seem the type to suffer fools gladly, and if she has been straightforward, then its a foolS  task she has been given— and must know it…
           Its also safe to assume she is being recorded…( do we actually know Maven is a Human? ) She is also creating FACTS ON THe GROUND if you will, demonstrating Company loyalty without actually incriminating herself.  A plan, which so far, has worked perfectly and will do so —UNLESS she pushes Deacon too far,   ( harm to Jeff) he rebels and murders the base —AND THAT ISNT HER PLAN…
           This all being Clear, we cannot assume we know what her true  loyalties are.  Exposing the company and establishing sentience for artificial humans could both be career-boosting moves….Her ability to hold her own against Deacon could also make her career, provided she can add it to her resume….
          Besides given the companies clear priorities of dollars over human life, its must be obvious that DEACON did the company a favor!!  The entire retrieval team of Humans would now be a massive security risk Deacons team would not.  That and they became accomplices in a mass murder initially  committed by artificial persons….If the company would murder a whole colony of Humans, they would just as easily kill the retrieval team of Human accomplices…
          Keeping Jeff as a comfortable prisoner, maybe even giving him a job, seems like the best company  solution to keeping their investment and Keeping him under control.  Its is arguably safer than having a new model that might also outgrow its programming and constraints…Deacon might be in line for a promotion for todays events.   It wouldnt take much reasoning for Maven to see that keeping the Company from Killing her might be a harder task than Keeping Deacon under wraps…..
         All-in-all it would short-sighted, perhaps delusional to take Mavens motives at face value.   There is even the possibility that there is a level of unreliable narration by Alex.  If the company wanted EVERYONE DEAD, it becomes useful to have a single machine as a fall-guy, both for Killing the  colony and retrieval team!  It then seems extremely convenient that Deacon survived, and with one human.   Can we be certain Deacons memories haven’t changed ? or that Jeff is real? ( he could be an image in Deacons software  or a bot himself )
          Does Word-of-God want to make any comments on the possibility of unreliable narration, or the ‘realness’ of the visible characters?  …. after BSG and blade runner, you just cant take these things for granted…
         Whats Mavens up to should become clear when the “fixing” part of the therapy starts….until then we just have to wait for the promised “Shower Scene”

      • Very well reasoned, Adam.

        And Word of God says you should trust Word of God. Always.

        And get him cookies. 🙂

        • Adam Black

           I cant tell if you are denying the possibility of any “tall tales” mixed in the plot, or just being funny…
              So either you are actually being coy, or you are not, but you are being coy about being coy…sneaky, sneaky…
          Unlike Maven  I dont have your “command codes”…
          Do you have a cookie Preference?
              I could be all ” Listen Alex, none of your funny business,
          ive got your gay Cookie control codes, and rest assured I’m well trained in how to use them”…it only gets dirtier from there…
          man I wish I could draw me some fan art of this!!
          Any artists want to help me out?! write me…
          AdamRocketBlack@gmail:disqus .com

          …Thx for the compliment…Alex
          conclusion to my reasoning: If Maven isnt a prime investor, or a govt plant, her life will likely depend on how well she can control Deacon, and keep the source of that control hidden…It’s Dr Maven who needs to bust Jeff out and form her own Ginger League… She knows what happens to those who “know too much” of the companies secrets….and Happy New Year

          • Robert Endicott

            if setients wasnt an intended function of deacon that may make them have to consider him unique as a artifical lifeform and no monger a tool as i am reminded of datas trial in startrek next gen  

          • Maven isn’t a prime investor nor is she a government plant.

            And I find a hot, moist chocolate chip cookie a thing of beauty. 

            Happy New Year. 🙂

      • C K

        Just writing to say I definitely agree with your views on Maven — while I definitely am Team Jeff/Deacon, her motives and frustrations have been entirely understandable so far.  She’s not evil, she’s trying to do her job, and is having to deal with someone who (in her view) has been acting incredibly dishonestly, destructively, and selfishly.

        That said, the idea of Jeff not being real would actually be a pretty brilliant twist on events, but would also make me sad — our emotional investment in Deacon and Jeff would be based on a lie 🙁  But we’ll see what happens!

  • ThisLittleOne

    This. <3 This was amazing. But can we please get Jeff some new clothes? He wears the same thing every day. D: 

  • wasEnkidu

    This should be entirely new to Deacon. Reading the comment (… here my phone mangled what I was trying to say and I can’t remember what it was.) to use a full-grown man in combat gear as a BAT and yeah, what did they THINK would happen?
    Oh I have been looking forward to this page almost as much as the kissing! >:D
    And am I the only one tickled by how Deacon uses a rifle like a handgun? Gangsta-style, no less! And he's STILL coldly accurate with it, even though he's fully enraged!
    Here's to 2012! I, for one, WELCOME our new gaybot overlords! *frightened twitch*

    *EDIT* A friend of mine who is my go-to gun person told me that that is, in fact, the accurate way to use an automatic rifle when one-handed. The kickback from the gun always makes the muzzle pull UP, so if you hold it on its side it will be going to the left with each shot. That way you can spray bullets from right to left without really needing to re-aim after each round.
    (Cue the "More you know" music)

    • I’m glad you’ve been looking forward to this page, Enkidu. I have been a bit concerned that the violence might be a bit much for some readers, but it was important to me to show this side of Deacon. For a lot of reasons. 🙂

      And yes, total Gangsta-style! (Which, as we’ve seen on Mythbusters, is quite tricky to be accurate with.  :D)

      May your 2012 be filled with nothing but hot gaybot overlords who use their power to fill your year with delight!

  • leorising


  • Wooooooow!  Way to go, Deacon!

  • Vanessa Trepanier

    I love this page! So much rage and Winona drew it beautifully!

    • Thank you, Vanessa! (And yes, Winona really knocked it out of the park, huh? Sort of like Deacon, actually… 😉 )

  • Bailey Carswell

    Jeff is going to need a loooot of therapy for that

    Happy early Valentine’s day hun?

    I feel almost bad for all of those soldiers… None of them died half as quickly as would be preferable, since from what I know they’d all just be lying there bleeding out either externally or internally.

    Miss Winona, these are some great angles here! I’ve always admired how you do them but these are extra spectacular! I always pay very close attention to how you angle… It makes all the difference when I’m drawing my own comics!

    • Ryn

      and he’s about to see five more guys be pulverized. unless he hides in the hallway, but he can’t block out the screams…

    • W Nelson

      Thanks!  This was a fun sequence to draw 😀

  • Guest

    This is a truly awesome page! 

    It’s okay Deacon, we’ve all had moments where we want to rip off a person’s arm and hit someone with it. We just aren’t capable of it. O.o

  • This is a truly awesome page! 
    It’s okay Deacon, we’ve all had moments where we want to rip off a person’s arm and hit someone with it. We just aren’t capable of it. O.o

    • Thank you, nakitsura! (And may such moments be few and far between for you in 2012! 🙂 )


  • Amy Ruiz

    I absolutely adore Deacon’s expression on the second panel. I know I have gotten that face when things just seemed so horribly wrong and out of place; as if what they were doing was completely barbaric. 

    I’m on Deacon’s side completely on this!

  • Adam Black

    2 words… movie…screenplay…
    I’d really like to see this acted out,
    talk about an emotionally fulfilling blodbath action scene…


    • I had originally conceived of this as a movie, Adam. One I would direct and produce. But I’m very happy that I re-envisioned it as a comic. Working with Winona has been perfection—everything a writer could hope for. 🙂

      But who knows? If they start up the Outer Limits series again, I could see this making a fine episode. 😀

      • Adam Black

         Its better than that…( outer limits )!— besides syndication would probably erase teh gay…You could probably get a bidding war just over a “Brokeback Mountain meets Blade runner”  treatment…
           Youve got non-linear story-telling, hot gay romance, retrospective psychological thriller, and now terminator style action movie sequences
        ( its funny to compare how non-engaging the action in the first scenes were to now….( that we are Psychologically invested )…
            I imagine I’d have felt a lot differently about my own sexuality growing up, if i saw this movie, instead of say terrible ABC afterschool specials where i learned coming out was when the world learned who you were , so  it knew who to and hate you….

        • From your lips to God’s (or Hollywood’s) ears, Adam. 🙂

          And what you said in your last paragraph was a huge motivation for me making this (and my other) comics. I grew up reading and watching stories of gay guys as victims. I desperately wanted to read and watch stories with gay guys as heroes. And if you want something done right… 😉

  • Ryn

    *cackles* the arm rippage and subsequent beating of another guy with it is soooooo awesome. i love how Jeff is crouched covering his ears, no doubt has his eyes squeezed tight and singing lyrics in his head.

    i had a bit of a grocer’s lobster tank moment on that last panel. ya know when you look at them and think “you all gunna die~”. though i tend to taunt them out loud >.>

    oh yes…there will be blood.

  • Superjenny

    Deacon got angry!

    And you won’t like Deacon when he’s angry…  Look, green eyes!

    GREEN EYES!  He is the fucking Hulk!

  • yellowrock

    I had to laugh at the panel with Deacon using an army dude as a club to beat other army dudes with.  DEACON SMASH!

    • Ha! You took the words right out of my mouth. 🙂

  • Robert Endicott

    love to see a option to download the whole comic as a pdf file

  • qu_gon_robot

    One word: EPIC.

  • Robert Endicott

    im thinking it can lead to an escape to a ship via help from the doctor  or not  and maybe a space chace similar to farscape picking up maybe a few more allies along the way

  • crimsonkiss22

    Nothing more degrading than getting smacked in the mouth with your buddy’s arm. Except maybe getting smacked in the face with your own arm. lol

    Excellent! 😀 Love the action scenes here. Also, awww, protecting his Jeff. Hooray! o/

    • Hehe. Not that Deacon would every do that. More than once or twice during battle…

      Glad you like the new scene, crimsonkiss22. Thank you for letting me know! 🙂

  • Brittany Brain

    Oh my o.o Love is a dangerous thing XD
    I love the second panel. Deacon’s emotions are just exploding everywhere.

  • CommodoreZelda

    You go, Deacon! Protect your man!

  • Erica

    holy shiet, damnnnnn i LOVE the face change!! absolutely LOVE IT. his anger is so well drawn. SO WELL. AHH wonderful >:D
    and screw the rules. Comandeer that shiet, and say “deal with it.” lol

  • Oh my friggin’ god!! he ripped pff an arm an beat  someone with it! thats friggen hard core!! That was friggen AWSOME!

  • Etycis

    As badass as Deacon is, am I the only wimp here that rubs their arm after seeing Deacon rip someone elses off?

  • Lorescien

    Epic expression is epic in the second panel. 😛 And happy new year, guys! 🙂 You do great work!

    • Thank you, Lorescien! Happy New Year to you too! 😀

  • Ayella

    Happy new year everyone! May at least one of your heart’s desires come true in 1012. (Like an Artifice movie. Yeah!)

    • Hehe. I like the way you think, Ayella. Happy New Year! 😀

  • Angry Deacon makes me flip out in the best way. *w*

    Oh man, shit’s going down.  He’s beating people with their own body parts. <3 <3 <3 (If liking this means I am a little disturbed in the head, so be it. ^_^)

  • fujoshifanatic

    Woot! Finally de-hangovered from yesterday’s festivities (hope everyone’s New Year is happy so far!), and am able to fully enjoy the latest page! 😀

    You know, I was worried that I would have a problem with the this and maybe the next few pages because of the graphic violence (I am a total lightweight for gore, which is why all modern horror movies and even some action movies are off-limits to me, much as I enjoy them in the written form). I have abandoned many a comic I was getting into because the artist was a little too obsessed with gorn (gore bordering on pornographic levels) for my taste or stomach, but Alex and Winona are handling these action sequences as beautifully as they did the intimate scenes — depicting just enough to excite, but not so much to turn off the more gore-viewing challenged like me. 🙂 I actually laughed at the panel where Deacon rips the arm off one soldier and uses it to club another, which is a first for me! 😀

    Plus, the visuals in panel two (Deacon SMASH!) and the narration in panel five (for the world to be right, you BOTH need to live, Deacon!) were both inspired pieces of epicness that make this comic such a pleasure to read! Alex and Winona, you two are truly a dynamic duo of storytelling goodness, and I am soo looking forward to future collaborations with you both.

    As for the current tale at hand, yes Deacon, unleash your full wrath upon these Jeff-murdering mooks…and Jeff honey, keep staying low and close to Deacon!

    • Thank you so much, fujoshifanatic. I really appreciate your thoughtful response to this page. I too am no fan of gore (or torture) porn and I’m glad you’re finding the way Winona and I are showing this to be tasteful instead of exploitative. I will warn you that the next page has one more rather “gorey” panel but that’s about as hard as Artifice is going to get gore-wise. It was important to show just how devastating Deacon could be—both to understand his character and the reaction of other characters to his actions—so I did write this scene to be astonishingly violent. But as I’ve said many times, I’m looking to tell the kind of story I’ve always wanted to read and that would not include a story with gratuitous amounts of gore. 

      (Which isn’t to say that I, like yourself, can’t occasionally appreciate the humor of over-the-top moments. I do have a certain affection for the Evil Dead movies, after all… 😉 )

      I’m very delighted that you are enjoying the work that Winona and I are putting out. I couldn’t ask for a better collaboration. 🙂

      Happy New Year!


  • michael worthy

    First Deacon was all like, “Chill out broski.”

    then the retrieval team was all like, “STFU machine.”

    Then Jeff was all like, “Oh noes!”

    And now Deacon is all like 

  • mikakitten

    GO DEACON!!! YOU RULE!! 😀 <3

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    did he rip that guys whole arm off??? THAT IS SO AWESOME!!!!

  • ithilloke

    I find it mind-blowing that Winona can draw anything! I mean, c’mon…most people good at people, OR buildings, OR animals, etc…but she’s tremendous at everything. Wow! You two are truly a match made in, well, somewhere really amazing! Kudos to you both. Next page, please. 🙂

    • Thank you, ithilloke! And yes, Winona really can draw anything. (And paint anything, for that matter.) It’s one of the reasons I’ve been so looking forward to share this scene with you. It just shows this completely different aspect of her amazing chops. 🙂

      (And it’s fun to have a little sci-fi in my sci-fi story, y’know? 😉 )


  • kara Uke

    i can’t close my mouth….damn
    Go Deacon, go!

  • That arc of blood….glorious <333

  • Kittery Brazelton

    I really, really hope that this makes it to print at its end – hard bound, oversize please =D

    • There does seem to be interest, so I think there will likely be a print edition for the readers. I’ll probably go soft-bound to keep things affordable, but this was always intended to be printed at 8.5″ x 11″, so you’ll definitely get super-size pages. 🙂

      Printing is very, very expensive, but I’m thinking of trying a Kickstarter campaign similar to like what E.K. Weaver did to be able to print The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ & Amal

      I’m not an artist (and Winona is super, super busy), so I’m not 100% sure what special incentives I should offer. Additional sketches don’t seem like a realistic option. But Kickstarter seems like a smart way to raise funds for printing while making sure the hardcore fans get copies of the book. What E.K. did here really impressed me. (Especially her video—and I edit videos for a living!)

      • Kittery Brazelton

        “Making of” documentary rather than additional sketches?… hah, as if that is hypothetically less work =D

        • Hehe. Like a video?  That would play into my skillset, but you’re right. It would probably be biting off more than I could chew. 🙂

      • KBatty

        Pre-ordering (or something similar) may work as well. That would also give you an idea of how many you need, and whether you should go digital or offset. Many digital print-shops offer soft-cover perfect binding these days, but the printing process is entirely different and therefore so is the product.

        I work in a digital shop myself currently, and I’ve got some offset experience. If you have questions, I may be able to help, or at least point you in the right direction, so feel free to come asking questions.

        As far as bonuses go, if Winona’s hand can handle it, extra art is always good. Excerpts from the original draft of the story would be interesting. Changes in character design. Personal commentary on what it was like working on the project and hurtles you faced or expected to face. Possibly additional merch if the budget allows (a NoNeCo patch/poster/keyring) or a special, autographed edition for a different price with signatures.

        Just a few early-morning thoughts. Possibly more when I’m fully lucid.

        • I think that’s one thing I like about the Kickstarter idea—that’s it’s a way for readers to “pre-order”. Outside of Kickstarter, there isn’t AFAIK a good, formal way to do that. (When it comes to offering pre-orders and charging folks’ credit cards, etc. there are specific laws that must be followed that are for everyone’s protection. Because Kickstarter is offered through Amazon, all those bases are covered.)

          Thank you for the offer to help! 🙂 After my experiences with digital printing (through print-on-demand), etc., I’m definitely going to print the book off-set.  I’ve been talking with a couple printers for some time now. So I think I’ll be good to go once all the art is finished.

          Extra art is always good.  But Winona is super, super busy, so I don’t think I’d be able to offer that as special bonuses for the larger Kickstarter donation levels. But notes and work-in-progress material will definitely be included in the printed book. 🙂

          Good thoughts. Keep ’em coming. Thanks, KBatty!

      • I always enjoy reading the comments along with each comic page… especially the ones where Alex is in character as someone in marketing for NoNeCo… I thought it would be neat if those could be included with the printed comic somehow.

        oh oh oh! Or while I’m dreaming, maybe a “commercial” set to 1950’s/60’s “space age” music all about NoNeCo and how they are making modern life better with all their latest products!

        But… that may only be funny to me… 😉

        • That’s a very good idea, bobbyjoeguy, and one I was thinking of having as a “special feature” for the book—gathering up all my NoNeCo comments and putting them in one place (with, perhaps, a couple more that I never posted because the original commenter changed/deleted their comment before I could respond. 🙂 )

          • KBatty

            Actually, I rather like the idea of a NoNeCo FAQ/responses and/or public statement release(s) from the corporation.

          • wasEnkidu

            I second that most heartily!

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            Thirded! I love those!

      • wasEnkidu

        As for special incentives, I would love to see a few selected pages in their script form. I’ve been dying to know what it looks like to have the layers underneath the character that are expressed, but not spoken. Like when Deacon is being all smiley all of a sudden after threatening to torture Jeff not moments before, what was on Jeff’s mind?
        Also, you could include some of the pencils like from Guys in their Underwear.

        I suddenly became very sad that the print version will not be able to include all of US: the comment-herd. In fact, when Artifice ends, I’m going to miss you all! (Especially yellowrock who always makes me laugh)

        • That’s another good idea, Enkidu. I’ll definitely include some script pages in the printed book!

          And as for our community, I agree, it is something very special.  I hope at least some of you will stick around for my next webcomic. It’s a different genre than sci-fi, but hopefully one you’ll still find entertaining. 🙂

      • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

        Maybe you could get permission from your fan artists to include their work too? Share the writer/artist love around? 🙂

        • That’s an interesting idea. But I’m not sure how that would work legally. Posting up Fan Art here where I’m not charging for it and where an artist could, in theory, ask me to remove it is a bit different than putting it in a printed book that will be made for sale. But definitely an interesting idea. 🙂

  • Robert Endicott

    i hope the end of the comic isnt for years to come tho    way too many yaoi web comics end shortly

    • Thank you, Robert. I’m delighted you’re enjoying Artifice so much. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in the comments, this comic has a definitely end and taken as a whole, this comi is on the shorter vs. the longer side. I wrote it this way because I wanted to make sure that I could deliver a webcomic that would actually finish. (My experience with some yaoi webcomics isn’t that they are too short, but rather that the creators lose interest and they never finish.)

      So, while there is quite a bit more story to Artifice, there is not years more. 🙂  But I am already hard at work on creating the next webcomic, which will hopefully be able to start before Artifice wraps up. And that yaoi webcomic, while also having a definitely end, is quite a bit longer. One might even say years longer… 😀

      • Robert Endicott

        well can hope for sequals after then

  • mwxl

    Awesome page! Winona is such an awesome artist…love the details down to the rifling in the barrel. Even the blood spray is unexpectedly convincing. It must be quite a task to draw such complicated rifles from so many different angles!

    I suppose the second frame is a nod to the hulk? Green eyes / face / “I got ANGRY” ? If so (or even not),  I like it!

  • molo284

    This page is beautiful!

  • Lusidicious Milk

    I LOVE THE GORE AND RAGE, absolutely exquisite.

  • Ferris_Ahiru


  • …is it bad of me to admit that the reason I haven’t commented on this page when it first came out was because I had a highly prolonged fangasm?  I have been looking forward to a scene like this ever since I realized that Deacon was going to have romantic feelings for somebody in this wonderful webcomic!  It delivered 🙂  My vindictive little soul definitely approves of Deacon opening up his can of whoop-ass!

    This also somehow smacks more of the romantic to me than the admission of mutual love.  I’m a weird person, I guess, but the fighting to survive side-by-side thing just gets to me on a gut level.  GREAT WRITING!!!!!!!!

    Winona, I LOVE Deacon’s Hulk-smash face!  It is “teh sex.”  The details are…honestly, it looks so realistic that I want to sign up for any martial arts class Deacon teaches, just so I can try out those moves 🙂

    • W Nelson

      Haha!  He does have a graceful way of disarming an enemy, doesn’t he?  DisARMing, get it?!  Haaaaaaaaaaa!

      • He’s so disarming he’s disJOINTED the opposition 😛

  • Robert Endicott

    i do feel we are coming to the end of the flashbacks and gonna see more what will happen beyond

  • Gares H.

    Let the camping begins!!!! >:3

    • Robert Endicott

      i got the hot dogs

      • wasEnkidu

        I’ve brought condiments and graham crackers. Let us hope someone comes with the ingredients for s’mores.

        • Hot cider anyone?

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            I’ve got the marshmallows and chocolate!

  • Kittery Brazelton

    For a super elite killing machine, Deacon has ridiculously sexy eyes.  Not a complaint =D

    Hope the luckless would-be killers appreciated them, hehehe!

  • no pg 64 yet? 🙁  

  • strangeangel24601

    At times like this, I can hear my dear sainted mother’s words of wisdom, “You kids settle down before I tear your arm off and beat you with the bloody end!” *sniff* Now I’m homesick…

    • Heh. 🙂

    • SolrSurfr3

      LOL! Your mother sounds like a woman after my own heart. 😀

  • m0th

    “That for the world to be right, Jeff needed to live.”

    Machine is a poet.

  • The angry green eyes… that was a reference to Hulk, wasn’t it?

  • Shasarazade

    Funny thing is, I can imagine Deacon’s voiceover of this scene as a completely calm, rational voice juxtaposed against the violence and chaos. Somehow it makes the scene funny to me. I’m weird.

    • Chris Hartwig

      no you’re not