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Artifice Page 74

123 Comments on Artifice Page 74

Gosh, sure sounds reasonable to me… 🙂


The twenty-first bonus page in a row! And you’ve now contributed $145 towards the next bonus page! You all rock!

Special thanks and a warm welcome go out to new supporter Justin M. for their generous donation made this Saturday!

Big hugs go out to new friend of Artifice Milena P. for their super-generous $25 donation!

And a very warm and very humbled, ANDROID-STRENGTH hug to new Artifice superfriend Bryanna G. for their amazingly generous $100 donation!

Thank you all so much!

All right. 🙂 I’ve really been enjoying reading all your thoughtful commentary over the last couple pages. So… would you give Deacon this second chance?

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  • I know its great that Deacon is refusing to give Maven a straight answer, but at the same time his vagueness is driving me crazy! Deacon, what’s going on in that metal head of yours?!

    Edit: And of course Maven is catching on. She’s too smart to be given the run around. Nothing a well timed blow to the head can’t fix…

  • Ayella

    Great page! I love Maven’s expression in the second panel! Her ever so slightly raised eyebrow. Hmmm. (She still creeps me out, though.)
    And in answer to your question:

    Well, in Maven’s shoes: definitely not! Having been told what he just told me, I would be convinced that even code commanded to do the ‘right’ thing, this android who has managed to go against his initial code commands (not to hurt company workers) because of love, would find a way to do so yet again.

    In my own shoes, on the other hand, I hope Maven is stupid enough to allow Deacon near Jeff.

    • Thank you, Ayella. 🙂 And you’ll find out very soon if Deacon will get his wish…

  • Erica

    i’d give it to him… but me personally would hate it…. if he did go with what he was saying > _> lol Maven is no dummy but neither is Deacon. I really really wonder what’ll unfold. ahhh. SUCH MYSTERY. 😀 😀

  • tom1988

    The last time he was a good soldier he killed about nine men.

    I believe him for now. I believe, however, that he will renege as soon as he sees Jeff, if he really isn’t scheming already.

    Don’t trust him Maven! Keep Deacon in the box!!!

    • Hehe. I’m very glad Maven has a friend in you, Tom. 🙂

  • Myrtu

     If Maven were playing the ball-under-the-cup game, where she has to keep an eye on the cup with the ball, she would easily be able to keep track of it. And this feels just like that. I don’t know what the ball is, or where it is, in Deacon’s words. But Maven certainly seems to. So excited~~

  • LeiseFlustern

    P-p-p-pokerface p-p-pokerface!

  • Kayla

    Fuuuuuck, Maven why you gotta be so smart?

  • No. No. No… Nah. Nope. No. Nuh uh. Don’t think so. No. Nata. No way. Nope. No…. no. No…. NO. NO! NOOO!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  • What puzzles me is why she doesn’t use his affection for the guy? After all, she have him by the balls now. This proves that this model can go astray, and that it could happen to others. That uncertainty is now a fact.  But here, they have the advantage of having control over something that Deacon cares for, and which will comply him to obey for certain. If he kills his lover, it would only prove to me, that he’s even more unstable, and that I have no certain means of controlling him, because everything I can conjure up, he might free himself of – be it money, loyalty, love..

    • ErykaSoleil

      Maven works in Mysterious Ways.

      • And Maven finds your comparison to the Almighty very… gratifying. 😉

  • Sammi Demaris

    All my feels. ;-;

  • Ability to give a crap fading….faaaading….zzzzz

  • It looks to me like Maven is intrigued by Deacon’s apparent survival instincts. I’m inclined to say they’re playing mind games with each other. Kinda funny, actually. So I’m going to guess she’ll push him until he cracks and breaks down over his feelings into misery, just to see if it’s possible, and then maybe allow Jeff to live and put Deacon under super surveillance because hey, who would have thought an android would have such emotions? Yeah, I’m guessing they drag Jeff into their little game of experiment and observe Deacon, and it’s a fight for rights and freedom. C:

  • Aikka

    I was so scared in the morning that i won’t read the new page today because since yesterday had some connection problems ;—; but it works now *—*

    Of course Maven wouldn’t believe it so easly… who would after hearing all of the story *sigh*  though i am curious what is his plan and her plan here… o..o

    And no new fanart today..? o_o
    *sigh* if i only knew i would try to make something… ;-;

    • I, for one, would love to see more of your fanart, Aikka. 🙂

      • Aikka

        I’m a little busy lately but of course will try to make something ^-^

  • ErykaSoleil

    You guys are stressing me out, but in a  good way. 🙂

    To answer your question: If I were in Maven’s shoes, absolutely not. I’d be curious as all get-out to see what he would do if given such a chance, but I think my interests in self-preservation would win out.

    Unless my prior theory of Maven being a resistance fighter/undercover agent is actually true. In that case, I would get him as angry as I possibly could and then give him a gentle push in the general direction of whatever I felt deserved the blunt force of android destruction.

    • Building on your idea…

      New Theory: The office is bugged. Maven is just acting the part of another soulless drone of NaziCorp. Maven will tell Deacon that she’ll only let him kill Jeff if she can “observe his behavior” while he does so. They’ll walk to Jeff’s cell (during which Maven will explain everything) and Maven will lure the guard inside and taser him. Deacon will free Jeff, and Maven will use her credentials to get the three of the out of NaziCorp.
      They will then go to Maven’s place where she will debug Deacon of any of NaziCorps less savory programming. They will then pack, change their appearance, and go to some distant planet where Maven will get laid and finally chill out.

      The End

  • Another point for Maven’s genre-savviness.  She continues to not disappoint.  In her shoes, all I would be thinking is “If he’s willing to kill someone he claims to have been overwhelmed by love for, what would he do to someone he has every reason to HATE, such as the people forcing him to kill his lover, IE, me and/or my superiors?”

  • DOVE

    quit talking and get on with it, the saving, not the killing. i’m not donating again until i see jeff!!!

  • fujoshifanatic

    Well, I think that Maven is intrigued here, and as a scientist she cannot resist the opportunity to experiment on what could possibly be the most fascinating subject she has encountered in her psychiatric career, an artificial mind that is as seemingly complex as a biological one. I believe she is still mulling over her ability to control the variables involved.  Deacon has already demonstrated his ability to override certain code-commands to lie, kill, and, er, satisfy certain needs, and to adapt to a situation quickly to serve his ultimate goals.

    Maven must weigh these factors against her scientific and sadistic curiosity (you know she was the type of kid who would pull half the wings off a butterfly just to see if it could still fly) to see if it’s worth the risk to grant Deacon’s request to prove himself. I’m hoping she is feeling just smug enough right about now to take the chance, but I guess I’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out. *sniff*

  • I seriously don’t believe you, Deacon. And I think Maven doesn’t as well, but she’s willing to see where you’re going.

  • This is one nasty psychologist. I consider myself old-fashioned in that I don’t believe in fighting women, but I would make an exception for Maven. I want to punch her in the face right now.

    Sorry, but I do. She’s too smug and she chaps my hide.

    • ErykaSoleil

      And then you will learn that Maven is a Ninja SuperFirst Class. 😉

  • AJTheShifter

    I think he is going to kill himself.  He will appear before Jeff and explain everything and then kill himself.  Or Deacon will obtain the codes, or hopes too, and tell them to Jeff and escape.  Will they let him think he has obtained the codes? And then he kills Jeff anyway, without freewill to do so?  Or is Jeff involved in some kind of experiment, when the moment he met Jeff, his codes did not let him kill Jeff? And is Jeff continuing to participate in this experiment? Is Jeff the head of these experiments, to build a feeling machine? I do wonder.  *Wide grin* Anyway, the Doctor is calling him Deacon again.

    • The horror! THE HORROR! Seriously AJ, that is one of the scariest theories I’ve read so far.
      *Deacon and Maven walk up to Jeff*
      JEFF: Deacon, thank God! Did they hurt you?!
      DEACON: Jeff, they want me to kill you.
      JEFF: What?! What are you talking about? Why?!
      DEACON: To prove I’m still a good soldier.
      JEFF: *is afraid and confused*

      And next either this happens:
      DEACON: But I won’t!
      *Deacon kills himself by ripping/crushing something vital and collapses*
      JEFF (screaming): NOOOO!
      MAVEN: Interesting…

      Or this:
      DEACON: I’m sorry, Jeff. I need to be a good soldier.
      *Deacon kills Jeff quickly. Jeff never even had a chance to process Deacon’s words*
      MAVEN: Interesting…

      And let’s not even get into the mindscrew of if Jeff is part of some elaborate experiment.

      • AJTheShifter

        I’m a writer. I can see plots and subplots blindfolded in the moonless night. 😉

    • ErykaSoleil

      Oooooo . . . I like it! If Jeff IS involved in such as experiment, do you think he’s doing it in cooperation with the the company, or as part of some rogue group of scientists (resistance, independent group, whatever)?

      • AJTheShifter

        Just part of the everyday. 😉

  • so. all of this happened because Deacon was given the ability to feel love but never allowed to get laid . . . hmm.  is that really a mistake on his part, or a mistake on his creators’?

    • ErykaSoleil

      Unless his creators have been messing around with the idea of adding emotions to their androids for some time already, and wanted to see what would happen “in the field”, so to speak.

      And there is always the possibility–dare I say it?–that Deacon is simply so unaccustomed to the feelings that he’s confusing a crush with love (like we do when we’re really young and inexperienced with our own feelings).

      • but that’s my point.  be it crush, love, whatever, if his creators had exposed him to it, he probably wouldn’t have gone rogue (or what could be considered rogue).

        Deacon was given a sex/”love” function–for whatever reason–and never allowed to act on it.  if his creators didn’t expect Deacon to have a situation where it could come into use, why equip him or program him for it?  that makes no sense.  thus, this whole thing is not Deacon’s fault and he shouldn’t be on trial for it. to my way of thinking at least.

  • Vague

    It’s a trap!

  • C K

    I love how genre-savvy Maven is.  Every time the comments section explodes with a reaction of “I BET [X] WILL HAPPEN!” Maven is already ahead of us.  But considering her line of work, it makes sense she’d suspect Deacon was being deliberately manipulative.  (To answer the question posed: *I* would be sympathetic to Deacon, but if I were *Maven*?  I wouldn’t trust him for a moment.)

    See, now I’m wondering: considering this comic seems to have a habit of subverting out expectations, I wonder if Deacon *will* hurt Jeff.  Maybe it’ll be deliberately non-fatal and he’ll fix him up later, or — as other commenters have theorized — he’ll somehow “save” Jeff’s consciousness and stick it into an android body.  I’m feeling more and more uneasy with my predictions of where this is headed.

    If he does shoot Jeff, I will cry *endless buckets of tears*, however.

    • I actually hadn’t heard the term “genre-savvy” before—thank you to you and @yahoo-ODTYRNLPDTIZWUVMJBCDAFY27E:disqus for introducing me to it. 🙂 When I was writing this comic, it was important to me that I not short-change Dr. Maven’s intelligence, that she would be at least as smart as I would be in her shoes (although with some different motivations and character traits informing her actions, of course.) And in that regard it felt important that Maven ask all the questions that she would really ask—at least the important ones—to dot all the “i”‘s and cross all the “t”‘s as it were.

      Of course by doing that, I knew that I could be testing the patience of my readers. And even more so by releasing Artifice in webcomic form. As a graphic novel, even if a reader were to feel at this point “C’mon, get on with it!” (instead of a more ideal “Gah! What’s going to happen?!”), it would be a frustration of a couple minutes at most. As a webcomic, though, this conversation is taking weeks of real time—which, as you can see from some of the other comments, is feeling a bit much.

      Should I have compressed this interaction? Maybe so. As a writer and editor, I tend to feel that less is almost always more, especially when it comes to talking in a visual medium like comics. There’s still a lot for me to learn as a writer and what I learn from releasing Artifice as a webcomic will certainly inform my future work.

      But then, as I’ve said many times, I am creating the kind of comic I’ve always wanted to read. And as a fan, I love “genre-savvy” antagonists. (And “genre-savvy” heroes, for that matter.) While I can certainly understand why the enfolding of this scene might not work for everyone, I am glad that folks like yourself can find things to enjoy in it. 🙂

      • ErykaSoleil

        “Genre-savvy” was a new one for me, too, although I was familiar with the concept. I’m so glad to see a writer actually doing this with a webcomic antagonist. 🙂

        As for how the scene is taking so long to unfold, I don’t mind it. Yes, it makes me anxious to see more, but I grew up reading regular ol’ comic books (my mom has been a HUGE comic geek since childhood); waiting a few days to see the next installment is -nothing- compared to the agony of waiting a month for the conclusion of a cliffhanger (sometimes just to be rewarded with another cliffhanger–argh!). It also gives me a chance to go back and re-read some of the preceding pages and refresh my memory on little details. If this were a TV show, we would wait quite a lot longer between the ending of one season and the beginning of the next; in the meantime we’d be driving ourselves crazy trying to figure out how they’ll wrap up these loose ends, or solve that problem. I would much rather see a storyline take its time and explain things well, than to have it jerk around and not really make any sense beyond looking pretty and having a generally good idea.

        • That’s a good way to think about it. Thank you. 🙂

      • C K

        I’m going to echo Eryka in saying that I don’t mind the strip’s pacing at all.  I’ve enjoyed the comic 100% so far, so I have faith in where it’s headed — and I also know that demanding instant gratification isn’t the way to write or read a good story.

        And heh, I’m glad to be one of the people to point out Maven’s genre-savviness.  🙂  I think that’s probably one of the most compelling things about her — she comes across as smart as she’s supposed to be.  And it makes the stakes feel real — this hasn’t been a webcomic that’s pulled punches or made things easy for our mains, which is why I think the vast majority of us have been on the edge of our seats these last few weeks.  Maven feels like a credible threat and it keeps us anxious.

        As for the criticisms re: the pacing, while I would certainly take them into account, don’t forget how many commenters are still as eager for more as ever 🙂  So don’t stress too much about the pacing.

        • Thank you, C K. I suppose I do fret a bit about this scene because it is a bit “talky” and there’s even one more beat after this page that I felt I needed to hit before we could… move on to something else. But reading your kind words does help reduce the stress for me. It’s a very useful perspective. And saying that Maven “comes across as smart as she’s supposed to be” is something I take as a big compliment, so thank you for that too. That Dr. Maven would be a “credible threat” when facing off against someone as formidable as Deacon was something that was important to me.

          I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know you’re still enjoying the ride. 😉

  • Ah, Maven, you are a wonderful character. 
    I no longer love to hate you – I just love to love you. :’D

    You won’t take Deacon’s obvious crap, and instead dish it back on him – without seemingly like a bitch, in my own opinion. You are clearly an educated woman who isn’t a pushover, a frigid bitch, or ditzy, (which seems to be scary for a few of the readers on here), and a rarity not only in gay fiction, but all fiction.  

    And a number of people DISLIKE HER FOR IT. The irony is palpable. No wonder the stereotypes of women have persevered for so long.

    Also, hell no I wouldn’t trust Deacon. xD He’d be going to the scrap heap if it were up to me – or else I’d wipe his android memory, primarily that pesky personality part (A robotomy if you would) and just keep his unit running, after removing a few of his anatomically correct features to prevent this from happening again.
    Then I’d make a mantelpiece of it. 

    As for Jeff, I would strongly advise, if it weren’t already being done, that every test known to man be run on him, to see if his genetics were of use to the company… IE, given he was a natural birth, he may have an immunity to some disease previously unknown. If nothing was found, I would simply give the strong recommendation to have him eliminated. Given I’m not sure how much pull I’d have as Maven with the Jeff situation, I worded this in ‘suggestion’ format. xD
    Oh yes. I am MUCH worse than Maven – unless of course she’s just leading him along. Which she might, just for a little more insight.

    Go girl!

    • I actually agree with you about Deacon, if I were Maven. As far as she’s concerned, is malfunctioning company property and she’s doing her job. His “love” is just an interesting anomaly.
      But then you’d have to consider the ethics of taking this feeling away from him. Deacon is self-aware and experiencing emotions. Does she have the right to give this “robotomy” or destroy him. I’d like to direct people to TVtropes “What Measure is a Nonhuman:

      As for Jeff, it has already been established that WeHaveNoSoulCorp has some dark corporate secret. They’ll want to ensure that Jeff won’t talk by killing, bribery, or whatever. I don’t see what his genetics have to do with anything.

      Anyway, the strong dislike Maven is getting is because she is the antagonist and is keeping our heroes apart. I’d be the first to admit that Maven is a great character. She isn’t evil (as far as we know), she seems brilliant, and she’s just doing her job. Though she is displaying a surprising lack of ethics for a psychiatrist/psychologist.

      I think its amazing that this comic is so engaging despite only having three characters (not including that chump guard in the beginning). It just go to show how important it is to have depth in your characters.

      • Thank you for the kind words and thoughtful analysis, Alex. And for the tvtropes link—gave me a good half-hour of fun wandering. 🙂

        • I swear I could write a paper on this comic, and a fanfic or two. Did you know Artifice has a page on tvtropes? And you’re a fellow troper?! *high fives*

          • I did know those things. The page has a small inaccuracy on it, but I’m far to flattered by the existence of the page to want to make any change. 🙂 It’s pretty awesome to see that up there.

            And yes, I am definitely a fellow troper. *High five* back. 😀

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

       Robotomy. LOL

      If I were in Maven’s place, I’d fight tooth and nail against NoNeCo to keep Deacon alive. Imagine what studying Deacon’s development of personality could do for the world of sociology and pyschology. You’d be able to compare him directly with a non-anomalous D-model, and could then solve some of the more difficult questions the subjects both pose.

    • 🙂

  • JM

    LOVE Maven’s sarcastic response in panel 2. She knows exactly what’s up. I don’t think she trusts Deacon for a second, but she will definitely give him his chance. After all, she’s curious as hell – if not, why didn’t she just leave the room after making her decision? She sat back down because she wants to be talked into this, but she’s not stupid either.
    I think Deacon knows he can’t just be given access to Jeff’s whereabouts and save him. He has to have another plan, if he really does intend to save him at all. I just want to see Jeff already!!! Where is he?

    • That reaction in Panel 2 is one of my favorite Maven reactions… 🙂

  • Winterlove

    There has to be more to this >_< Deacon cant just go kill him!!! T_T

  • Between the suspense and being sick all week I am going to die by the time I figure out what Deacon is up to!

    • Syanana

      you and me both.

    • Won’t be long now. 😉 And I’m sorry to hear you’re sick, Kate. I hope you feel better soon!

  • I might cry if deacon kills jeff… cry a lot.

  • Enamoril

    New Crazy Theory. Deacon kills Jeff and loses his anomaly in love in the act, thusly Maven cannot study him for it. On a corporate level experiment they decide to clone Jeff and introduce him back to Deacon to see if they could recreate the situation previously and reattach Deacon to someone who is Jeff but without the memories or the special situation that made them bond; perhaps to even see if there was something about Jeff that allowed the anomaly to occur…

    I’d ship it. :p

  • Oh good god I am so waiting to see how this turns out, because I am not sure how it will go but it’s gonna be insane.  And might make me cry.  8D <3

  • Lithekitty

    Nice screen saver!

    • tom1988

      Lol yeah I just noticed the logo (the cute smiley face I mean).

      NonSenseCorp – A Brighter Future with Corporate Slavery,

      Because we care about the end and it justifies the means.

      • LOL, Tom.

      • Lithekitty


        That’s certainly how it seems to be.

      • ErykaSoleil

        I would wear it on a t-shirt. 🙂

  • This talking back and forth is getting tiresome, you should flash to what going on with another character, and break up the long text with some excitement.

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      That’s how it’s been working so far. Talk a bit, then some action, talk a bit, then some action. Have some faith, I bet we’ll get some great action scenes soon, since we’re caught up in the present and Jeff -might- still need saving.

      I must admit it has occurred to me it’s possible Jeff isn’t alive at this point (remember, Maven hasn’t said specifically since the morning scenes that Jeff is still alive). NoNeCo might have gotten what they needed from Jeff, and disposed of him; as they originally intended, until their plan to silence Da Vinci Four went FUBAR. Maven may intentionally be keeping that secret from Deacon so she can continue getting what she wants out of this. It would certainly be an interesting psychological study to keep Deacon clinging on to hope, then to confront him with Jeff’s death. If the Inhuman can love, can he grieve, and how will he react if he can grieve? That’s a question Maven doesn’t have an answer for yet, I don’t think.

      I hope that’s not the case though, I hope Jeff’s still alive.

  • Brittany Brain

    This is weird but
    I like how Winona draws eyebrows.

  • would i? no, i dont trust him. do i want him to get a second chance?  FUCKING YES! O_O 

  • Mark Locy

    So, longtime reader, first time caller. Heh. I’d like to go on record and say, I like Maven. Yes, she’s kind of a hard-ass. Yes, she did say she wants to have Deacon dissected. I don’t like that. I want Deacon to live and be reunited with Jeff.

    But here’s the thing, Deacon killed a bunch of people he wasn’t supposed to, ON PURPOSE. Yes, his purpose is love and joy and humanity and all that. But, I doubt Maven sees it that way. She sees, at best, a soldier who turned against his superiors and killed them. That’s bound to get you court marshaled and worse. At worst, he’s a killing machine gone awry that needs to be destroyed because it’s a danger to society.

    Yeah, she’s a villain-ish. And her corporate superiors are probably up to no good.

    But, she’s doing her job, and she’s doing it well. She needs to evaluate Deacon and determine whether or not he is capable of being a soldier/killing machine that they can use. Because he went on a murder spree earlier.

    On that note, I think code-commanding Deacon to kill Jeff wouldn’t prove anything to anyone. If you can code-command Deacon to follow any order, there’s no reason to question his usefulness as a killing machine, hat rack, butler, or any task you set him to. And, you don’t really learn anything about his usefulness as an autonomous agent. If you’re trying to determine whether he’ll follow orders without being code-commanded to do so, you need to give him orders that aren’t code-commanded.

    • Hey Mark! Glad you decided to comment—and with a really thoughtful analysis! I like the way you’re thinking about Maven, her role and Deacon’s usefulness as an autonomous agent. 🙂

  • Bella A

    I’ve been reading for a while, but this is my first time bumbling over to comment. 

    I have to say, I really like Maven; much as she stands as a villainous sort of figure, she’s also very human, really. Like Mark Locy pointed out, she job is to assess a machine that killed a number of people, and while he has surpassed his programming expectations, that makes him still more of a potential threat.

    I personally find her really interesting and can’t wait to see some more of what is going on with her. Her position seems like a complicated one, I have to say she’s definitely one of the better female characters I have seen around anywhere for a long time – she’s tough, intelligent, has a sense of humour, and doesn’t fall into any hideous stereotype. 

    • Hi Bella! Glad to see your comment! And also glad that you’re finding Maven to be a compelling character. I know not everyone is going to like her—she is playing the role of the antagonist right now—but I’m glad you can appreciate her… and her sense of humor. 🙂

      • ErykaSoleil

        “Right now”, eh? Is that a hint of things to come, Sir? 🙂

      • I can just hear her sarcasticness in that second panel… “OH!  Of course!  By my amazing skills you are miraculously changed.  In a matter of minutes!  From about to murder me to docile innocence!  Mmhmm… I’m soooooo touched. DO go on…”  XD She does tickle my fancy every now and again.

  • My dislike of Maven has nothing to do with her being a woman. It’s because she is in a position of power and is relishing it. She is enjoying torturing Deacon. I hate that.

  • Little Miss Perspicacious

    He never directly said he wasn’t going to try saving Jeff…
    You’d think Maven would be able to program him more directly, but maybe, since he is clearly sentient, that would be impossible.
    I’m finding it very difficult not to see her as a young, blonde Susan Calvin (from Isaac Asimov’s universe, a robopsychologist). I like reading about robots that don’t follow the three rules of robotics, (also Asimov) so much robot science fiction includes them. Woo for robots that kill!

    • Hmm … I like the comparison to Susan Calvin. Maybe I don’t hate her.

  • hmm, I can see something coming in the distance…what’s this? A new character…? Give or take in the next 4-6 pages…i believe a new character may emerge.

    awesome comic, forgive the psychic intrusion. I shall be keeping my eyes on this one.

    • Thank you, Jake. Your “intrusion” is most welcome. I hope you continue to like what we’re putting up. 🙂

  • Wow, I like this comic so much I think I actually might make some fan art for fun :D. and I -never- do that! I always tell everyone it’s dumb XD. I’m such a hypocrite!

    Getting out my charcoal pencils right now ^_^. 

    • That’s awesome, Amanda. I look forward to seeing it! 🙂

  • Subtle, Deacon.  Very subtle.  Very good.  “I, like any other PERSON, deserve a second chance.”  You may in fact be weaseling your way into Maven’s theoretical good graces (theoretical because I sure as hell haven’t seen them), but in advancing your obvious cause, to see Jeff, you’re advancing the underlying theme, that you are, in fact, a sentient being worthy of respect and dignity.

    Not to mention the fact that by flattering our good doctor outrageously (but truthfully), Deacon may in fact cause her to become complacent and FORGET to code-command him not to try and save Jeff.  I’d like to see Jeff.  Hopefully alive.  Also hopefully in better fitting clothes.

    Also, seriously, Winona…your hand draws people and they look ALIVE.  It’s spooky, spectacular, and seriously stunning.  I’m feeling the alliterative love for what you can do!

    • ErykaSoleil

      Maven forget something? Nonsense!

    • I really do like the close reading you’re giving to what Deacon is saying. Nice. 🙂

  • I just noticed something. Maven has purple eyes! Could it be that our favorite head shrinker isn’t quite human herself? Or can people in the future alter things like eye color?

    • Kayla

      Or maybe she just likes wearing purple contact lenses hahaha

    • Maybe she has Hazel eyes and they are reflecting her blazer?

  • krissdevalnor

    so puzzled. Can’t figure him out!!! but it’s super exciting! thank you for another great page^^

    To Winona: I think the perspective in the 4th pic – the one where Maven asks about his intentions- is great! The depth in the room makes it look very realistic. thumbs up!

    • You’re welcome, krissdevalnor. Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • OMG WHERE ARE THE OTHER PAGES! btw this comic is the best thing i have EVER read <3 EVER. xxxx

    • Wow, thanks, Ellie! ::blush:: I’m so glad you’re enjoying the comic! 😀

  • gumboluvr

    I see a lot of people are for killing off Jeff.  But I sure hope not.  I think that if Jeff is killed off, I’ll probably stop reading.  🙁  My hope is that Deacon is lying (subterfuge – AI robots could be programmed for that, and there’s also the fact that he’s already overridden some of his programming) in order to find a way to rescue Jeff.  I could see him walking in on them torturing Jeff in some way, which causes his internal circuits to flip out once again….maybe even burning out that code-command failsafe. *hopes Jeff is not dead and is rescued by Deacon and there’ll be a HEA ending*  🙂

    • ErykaSoleil

      I don’t think we’re so much -for- killing Jeff, as much as we’re thinking on possibilities and recognizing that he could very easily be dead already or soon. I hope he lives, but who knows what’s going to happen (besides the creators)?

  • qu_gon_robot

    Nooooo Q_Q

    P.S: Deacon is striking in the last panel. Evil, yet so pretty 🙁

  • qu_gon_robot

    I wish I had your super powers!

  • qu_gon_robot

    My reply was misplaced and now  it’s totally out of context bawwww.

  • Am I the only one who noticed that mega-bitch has a happy, shiny sun as her screen saver on her computer in the last scene, behind Deacon’s head?

    • Kayla

      That’s the Noneco logo.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Nope. We were discussing it below. 🙂

  • ErykaSoleil

    This may have been discussed on an earlier page somewhere, but if so I haven’t seen it yet: Would Deacon be able to pass the Turing test?

    • Hmmm… interesting question. Do you mean whether Deacon can pass for human? I’d say not so much now. After all, he’s seems to be just now learning what emotions are. Keep in mind that I’m no expert (I just wikipediaed it), but I would predict if Deacon is given time to experience emotions and live life, he would eventually be human in every perceivable way except biological.

  • I have a crazy theory! Dr McBlondie over here is actually testing decon to make sure he’s good enough for Jeff! …. Am I close?

    Also, whats the news on “no kissing”? I can’t wait to see what happens!

    • I like your theory. There’s actually a fan art that’s along the same idea.
      But I doubt it’s the case. Maven seems too unfeeling (excluding the anger when Deacon tries to manipulate or hide things from her) to be emotionally invested in this.
      Anyway I think the more wild a theory is, the better. God knows, I’ve read (and offered) a few that are unlikely but entertaining. Expand on your idea and join the fun.
      So yeah, I’m going to sleep now and maybe I’ll make more sense in the morning.

    • Hey Alyssa! I wish I could tell you that the next chapter of Tough is right around the corner, but the art is still stalled and I haven’t been able to get it restarted. But it’s certainly not forgotten. I’m going to do my best to get that next chapter out this year—that story is important to me. And I’m glad to hear you’d like to see more. 🙂

  • aquadrago

    The artwork and writing here are awesome. Maven is a well crafted and beautifully drawn character, or she wouldn’t be so easy to hate. Monsters have always been mutilated and blown to hell and then get revived for a sequel when there was more money to be made. The traditional method was a lightning strike, but cloning would work for this demonic M Diety, as would storage of memories and replacement with a D-model.

    The priorities of the plot seem disproportionate. Jeff has appeared with Deacon on 32 pages of the comic, Deacon appeared with only minor characters and/or dead bodies on 10, frames with Jeff mixed with frames showing the doctor compose 5 pages and Deacon and the snide, judgemental Maven appear on 27 pages. Yes, someone is keeping score.

    The conflict with Maven and with the corporate cluture are a central element of the plot, but isn’t it overworked?  The first 12 pages of Jeff are spent developing the conflicts among Jeff, Deacon and the coproration. Not until page 38, Jeff’s 13th page do we see Deacon beginning to flirt with Jeff who is wearing boxers. Their intimate relationship in the weeks of isolation is only developed in one flashback sequence. Didn’t Deacon hatch a plot for survival during those weeks? Isn’t this the story of Deacon and Jeff confronting their enemies and their own demons together?

    Could we get more Deacon/Jeff flashbacks witn a minimum of Mavenscowl?

    • ErykaSoleil

      I would say the priorities of the plot thus far are proportionate to what is necessary to tell the story that needs telling.

      In my mind, counting pages to determine what’s most relevant or important is akin to counting the number of lines a character has in a movie to determine their importance to the plot. Jeff may not have actually made an appearance recently, but he’s still a key issue being discussed by Maven and Deacon, even now.

  • karmelion

    deacon looks so young in the last panel!

  • Camped out.  No idea what to snack upon.  Perhaps popcorn…

    • Kelli Zielinski

      Cookies? Chocolate? I still have a lot of steak from last time. And erm, I have some wine. Ohhh wine! My coworkers tried to get me to drink scotch at work today, but I didn’t because well I was at work, but it was one of those weeks. So erm, a comic would make my week feel better. Yeah, that’s it. 😀 (holy moly i’m hyper)

      (and more hilariously, I appear to have misplaced my username, and logged in with my super secret… uh, ok not really, actual name! OH NO)

      • Pleasure to know your real name 🙂  If it comforts you, my name actually IS Summer, so now we know each others’ super-secret actual identity! 

        As for the snack…I had a slice of bread with nutella.  I have recently discovered nutella.  Woe for my waistline.

        • Good to see you all here. Page up shortly. 🙂

        • Kel Z

          Oh man nutella is the shizzle. We’re eating ravioli at my place (yeah, I’m having lunch and dinner at the same time, after midnight, doh)

    • Kel Z

      Oh hah that’s the one I used. It must be Friday!

  • I was going to go to bed but then I remembered the UPDATE!

  • finally put my kid to bed, way too late to camp! 🙁  can’t wait for the new page though!! XD

    • Glad to hear it, Noah! New page should be up now… 🙂

      • wow, that was fast! 😀 

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    I just noticed, you can see the faded stripes where his badges had been…the attention to detail is amazing.

  • I’m smelling some I, Robot skullduggery afoot with the way Deacon is acting.