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Artifice Page 78

202 Comments on Artifice Page 78

Man, I wonder what’s going through Deacon’s head right now…

We have new Fan Art by qui-gon-robot, which confirms many of your suspicions that Maven is truly “like a boss”. Thanks, qui-gon-robot!



The twenty-third in a row! And we are now at $132 towards next Wednesday’s bonus page! Woot!:D

Special thanks, a warm welcome and a grateful bow go out to new supporters Kelsey H., Bernard S. and Madeline B. for their generous donations over the last few days!

An extra-grateful, android-strength hug goes out to Artifice superfriend, Bryanna G., whose $75 donation marks their third amazingly generous donation in as many weeks! You totally rock, Bryanna! Thank you!

All right. Very sleepy now. Time for bed. I look forward to reading your thoughtful comments in the morning! 🙂

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Edit 2/24/12 8:15 AM: You’ve done it again! The donation bar has hit $250 which means that in addition to this Saturday’s regular update, there will be a bonus page (page 80!) this Wednesday, the 29th! Thank you so much—and hope to see you there!

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!
  • This scene almost makes me cry… Poor guys. I’m looking forward to see what will happen next, but I fear it at the same time…
    Thank you so much for your hard work, Alex! Good night! 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, Dauwdrupje. Awesome readers like you make it all worthwhile. So nice to wake up to your comments. 😀

  • Erica

    AHHHHH OH MY GAWDDDD, JEFFF’S FACE!!! ; ^ ; omg… im so scared as to what’s gunna happen next! AHHH so scaredddd > __< breatheee breathe…. phewww ok… i am definitely looking forward to saturday omg. Deacon's face in the 3rd panel and Jeff's in the last! So….ahhh it pulls at my heart strings! i love it! worth staying up till 5 in the morning for!

    • Worth staying up until 5 am for? That’s a lovely compliment, Erica. Thank you. 🙂

      • Erica

        of course!! 😀 I mean i ended up waking up 2 hours past my usual time but whatever! XDD It’s coming along so wonderfully. I fear for the end D: ah ha ha

        • Well, again, thank you. 🙂 ::blush::

          • Erica

            so very welcome =)

  • I am so not liking where this is going…

  • Awwwwwwwwwwwww!!! Jeff’s so cute!!!

    Maven is incredibly annoying – standing on the sideline making commments. *wanna strangle her* Damn woman! it’s already hard enough as it is for Deacon.

    I have no idea what will happen now. The “self-destruct-after-a-last-goodbye-theory” is still on my mind, but I hope he chooses another way.
    Love the little comment about the quality of Maven’s work. That’s a pissed Deacon!

    To Winona: Excellent job with the skin in panel 3  – especially around the eyes 🙂 wanna learn that. Actually I think you do a great job with all the pages. I just like to point out the parts that impress/interest me the most.

    • Even though I know full well how sad this is, I actually find Jeff totally cute in that last panel too. Winona just nailed what was needed there. 🙂

      • Feverfew_M

         Exactly. When I first saw him lying there, I barely recognised him with all the cuts and bruises and shorn hair; but the moment he woke up, there was so much of the old Jeff again, it nearly made me cry.

  • AnyOtaku

    Oh god!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t, I just can’t… Seeing Deacon looking at Jeff with those eyes and Jeff! I wasn’t expecting him to speak… That caught me by surpise. Oh and he looks so weak… Now my eyes are wet T_T WAAAAHHHh!! What is going to happen next? I can’t wait… I hope everything goes okay… 

    Now Deacon should go near Jeff, catch his hand and whiper in his ear: “Don’t worry, everything will be okay” sniff

    As always, excellent work and thanks for working hard to upload it today! You are awesome!!

    • You’re very welcome, AnyOtaku. It really is my pleasure. Thank you so much for your kind words—and for sharing your experience reading the page. I love reading that. 🙂

  • Yukiness

    There’s alot I could say about this page and how heart wretching it is but I don’t have the words for it right at the moment. Judging from the x-ray in the corner in panel one and the blood crusted gauze on Jeff’s shoulder in the fourth panel tells me that his surviving Da Vinci 4 was a significant blow to whoever ordered it. Bones may or may not have been broken. Seeing as it took them a while just to get back to the NoNeCo base offices I’m sure alot of those injuries are somewhat old.

    Panel three makes me tear up just by glancing at it; it’s a face that begs for his love’s embrace; that is the face of a man whose guilt just sank in like a ton of bricks.

    Jeff being conscious right now makes this bittersweet but also the worst. He’s already been physically and mentally tortured (and god knows what else), so being killed by the same person you haphazardly fell for (who also caused mostly all your problems at this point) is no more than getting selsun blue washed into your eyes. There being an audience for it is no better.

    I like Maven, but her captain obvious comment would have earned her a pimp slap if I were in Deacon’s shoes.

    Awesome page, now off to the math final!

    • Thank you, Yukiness, for the props and the thoughtful comment. I’m crossing my fingers for you for that test! 😀

      • Yukiness

        .:update:. I passed my final exam by the way. Thanks to this, I was sittle in from of the math problems like,”If I can pass this test than Artiface could end happily! To the Uncanny Valley!” which warranted an odder look from my Professor. Thanks again.

        • Yay! Congratulations! I’m delighted to hear that, Yukiness! You rock! 😀

  • B_u_b

    4th panel… deacon’s face … heartbreak 

  • grinsekatze

    I almost started crying when I saw Deacon looking at Jeff for the first time after everything happened. He looks so sad it’s breaking my heart. And poor Jeff… He certainly feels that sth is off. I really reeeeeally hope that Deacon has a plan to escape. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t handle it otherwise. 

  • Aikka

    I knew it, all this waiting and page appeared when i was not here *sigh*
    but i’m not much late…

    now about the page…
    i know i promised to comment but but… *sigh*
    it won’t be a long one as i simply can’t put in words what i want to.

    I am simply worried and sad…
    panel 3 Deacon…
    last panel Jeff… ;-;

    it’s just so emotional…
    even when not much is being said.

    The more scary thing:
    I actually smiled while reading this and previous page.
    That’s the other side of me that simply wants to know what will happen and is enjoying the whole situation.  brr i do not like that… >….<

    it took me too long to write just that short comment.
    I will end for now or i may never post it… o_o

    • Thank you, Aikka. Even though you might not like doing it, I’m glad to hear the last two pages made you smile in spite of the emotions. That’s very gratifying to hear. 🙂

  • RustAndStardust

    I barely recognize Jeff without his hair. In some ways, that detail really solidifies the fact that he’s debased and sad right now. 🙁 Alas. Hopefully, more kisses soon.

  • Mike W

    That third panel is as brilliantly executed as it is heartbreaking.

  • Kayla

    Deacon, your faaaace. T_T

    As a side note, is that a surveillance camera, or a death laser? OR IS IT A CAMERA DEATH LASER?

    • Everything in the future is multi-purposed. It’s a swiss army camera!

    • It’s a surveillance camera. 🙂

  • C K

    Oh Christ, and I thought my heart couldn’t break any more.

    If Jeff had died quietly in his sleep, unknowing how it happened, it would have been horrendously sad.  But this is a real punch to the gut.  I want to say I can guess a way out for them but I honestly don’t have a clue.  I *want* there to be one, but considering this is supposed to be the last scene, there is a gut feeling that says there isn’t.

    As someone pointed out below, even if Jeff did fall for Deacon, *all* of his troubles in this strip’s timeline can be traced back to Deacon and the other corporate drones.  The guy hasn’t had a single break and none of it is his fault or has anything to do with him.  And now not only is he a battered wreck, he might very well be killed off by “the best thing to ever happen to [him]”.

    I’m *really* hoping Deacon turns this around — the strip is all about his discovering human emotion, and I think he just got smacked with “regret”, “horror”, and “uncertainty”.  But we’ll see.

    • I always got the idea he learned “uncertainty” from the time he chose to have a relationship with Jeff. Maybe not, though.

  • Krondor2000

    This scene is just heartbreaking. And Maven is heartless! I know this is only a story, but it just makes me mad that Jeff is treated less than human. It only reminds me of real-life stories of hate crime victims. And the way some fans commented the other day saying they are glad Jeff’s hair is cut off just makes me a little annoyed. Alex, you sure know how to push the emotional envelope with this scene. Hope you enjoy it.

    • In real life, I want nothing but happiness for my awesome readers. It is very gratifying, though, to read how much folks care about what’s going to happen. It’s part of what makes all the hard work of creating this comic worth it.

  • fujoshifanatic

    I waited until morning to check this page considering my last reaction, but it wasn’t much better. 😐 I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with a way these two poor souls can get out of this, but…*sigh*

    I don’t know if it was fortunate or just cruel that Jeff came to during this scene, but I do think it’s just evil that Maven is opening her mouth at all in panel four, let alone that she is trying to be “understanding?” “sympathetic?” more like manipulative by saying what she says to Deacon.

    Panels three and five are breaking me in half right now with their lovely, expressive artwork–awesome job, Winona! And you can just feel the tiny spark of hope in Jeff’s faint voice in the last panel; a classic example of less being certainly more on this page. Oy, after this, I’m going to have to go watch about a million “It Gets Better” videos and hope for the best (and maybe possibly happy?) outcome for poor Jeff and Deacon.


    • I recommend looking at cute animal videos on YouTube. Try 

      • Your comments are cracking me up today, Alex. Thank you for the good vibes. 😀

  • I call her bluff.  The button, it does notzink.

    • qui-gon-robot

      Except bomb the Russians…

      • strangeangel24601

        Aha, so *that’s* what Maven meant by “terminate the target”!

  • The perspective of the room and expression on Deacon’s face in panel four are lovely. Do you know what scale Nelson draws the pages at? The details are really clean. Does she hand draw the lines?

  • Curious… What if Maven and Deacon will both work together, and ambush the guards and save Jeff..  Is that look on Deacon’s face in panel 4 of sorrow for Jeff             *about to die *, or love as he’s about to be saved? I love the suspense, and ambiguity… Very nicely thought out Alex and Winona!  Your comic is ‘A #1 First-Rate’… (^_^)

  • I can only see a dark ending here… but that might be a stronger reflection of me than anything else. xD

    I’m actually really glad that you’re ending it – not to say I didn’t love the story and wouldn’t love to read more, but you’re doing a true service by not drawing out the story into some undignified, endless soap opera. When it’s right, it’s right, and I think whatever conclusion you come up with here will be right~<3

    • Thank you for the vote of confidence, Topsy! 

      And I will admit, I myself am not a huge fan of work that goes on so long that it has to descend into soap opera (which for me means either rehashing themes or, even worse, hitting the reset button on character development that was well-earned earlier). As a fan, that’s something that drives me bananas…

  • oh noes! Jeff has woken up! what will happen to him and Deacon!  I have to confess, I’ve given up hope that anything good will come of this, so maybe I’ll be surprised with a plot twist.  otherwise, i sense a tragedy about to unfold…

  • Lorescien

    D: JEFF IS SO DARN ADORABLE AND HELPLESS, DEACON! If you kill that boy, I swear I’m gonna figure out how to get inside this comic and wring your jerky neck. And Maven’s, too. >.>

    I’m actually seeing a little bit of a reflection of God’s test on Abraham to kill his only son back in the Old Testament. Then He stops Abraham from killing him, saying that it was only a test of loyalty, and that he truly was a follower of God to the end of everything! I hope that’s the twist you’re trying to do… because I’m not too sure my laptop can handle me blubbering all over the keyboard if you’re not doing something kinda like that. ._.;

    •  Yes a test of will!
      That’s what I’m hoping for too! ;~;

      *fingers crossed*

    • strangeangel24601

      That would be quite a twist, and Maven *did* say that they didn’t plan to kill Jeff… Although I’m not so sure Jeff would be very keen on getting back together with someone who just tried to kill him.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Is it good or bad that we’re seeing God in yaoi?

  • So much emotions in this page.
    Also I am loving the angles and backgrounds.

    I can’t believe this is the last scene for the comic. I really don’t want this to end but at the same time I want to see what kind of ending it will have.

    Poor Jeff, I hope things work out for him… I also want Deacon to go hulk on everyone or something like before, haha. But that’s just wishful thinking considering their situation.

    Can’t wait until the next update!

    •  Forget “everyone” Start with Maven and work around the room ….Cold Bitch.

  • I don’t believe for a second that Deacon is capable of hurting Jeff…especially after looking at the third panel, that’s not the look of someone who’s here to kill his lover…

    • strangeangel24601

      Do I even want to ask how you know what that looks like…?

  • *whimper*

    Can’t even think of anything constructive to say.  Brain is going ‘nooooo noooooo noooooo noooooo nooooo’


  • ithilloke

    Odd how he looks like a Deacon-twin.

  • Feverfew_M

    Aw, it’s heartbreaking to see Jeff so battered and helpless. And Deacon’s pain feels so real in panel 3.
    But Deacon’s responses are so carefully worded, that I still think he has some sort of plan up his sleeve. I hope it’s not a tragic one…

  • that makes me want to cry

    • *internet hug* Don’t cry!

  • ARGH

  • Well given the fact that I couldn’t care less about Deacon considering the 900 years it took to get him and Bitchy Mcbitch to finish their talk spree, at which I had any care I may have had as to what happened, and what would happen, to Jeff completely drained out of me I find myself…perplexed. I know this is supposed to be very heart tugging…but it just isn’t.

    Clearly the only way to salvage this that Godzilla needs to show up and kill everyone.

    • HermeticallySealed

      I’m kind of perplexed why someone who seems so disinterested in a story continues to follow it.

      • When certain people aren’t satisfied with something, they somehow feel obligated to let everyone around them know. As for why Yoko continues to read, I’m guessing that his subconscious knows this comic is great so he keeps on reading even though he “doesn’t like it”.
        *Nods* My logic is irrefutable.

        •  Question Alex….are we a Vulcan today or God help us a Borg? …Resistance is futile. (smiles) then goes back to crying for Jeff.

          • Live long and prosper? Lol, I’ve only seen a few episodes of Star Trek and that was when I was a kid.

            \///<–Lame Vulcan salute attempt.

          • ErykaSoleil

            Alex S, that makes me sad. Star Trek is awesome, for so many reasons (through Next Generation, anyway . . . everything after that is just kind of unappealing to me).

            I saw you comment yesterday about your Aunt Leena, and I’m curious where in Alaska she lives (I’m in Fairbanks).

            And yes, I am female. I gots pictures and hospital records of kids to prove it. 🙂

          • Anchorage, according to my brother. Keep in mind that he used to think Alaska was right near Hawaii because that’s how it is on US maps.

            I’ve recently gotten into Doctor Who if that helps balance out my geek cred.

          • ErykaSoleil

            I thought Alaska and Hawaii were right near Cali when I was a kid, because of those stupid maps. (Now I prefer the Cahill projection).

            Doctor Who redeems you if you go back and watch the really old ones too. Kind of. 🙂

    • AllyssaC

      Why are you reading if you aren’t into it? This seems utterly pointless.

  • qui-gon-robot

    By this point the only thing missing in my opinion is some shots of the world they live in; Is it a sleek futuristic metropolis, or a dark apocalyptic wasteland? It’s been killing me since page one! T_T

    And thanks for including my fan art 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, qui-gon-robot. Thank you for making it! 🙂

  • Momo Javrotsky

    Jeff’s helpless face just killed my heart

  • I’m scared 🙁

  • Rozhinkes

    NOOO. ;_____;  Why did you have to wake up, Jeff? Whyyyyyyy… That makes this situation so much more terrible. I can’t stand looking at his face. ;~;

    Well, it seems that we won’t be getting any sort of happy ending now, so all I can hope for is that they die together sharing one last kiss… or something of the sort. ;___; *sappy*

    Urghhh, I’ve run out of ice cream to eat and nails to bite on… This is just killing me. And of course my iPod has to play “How it Ends” ( right when I’m reading this page, too. Thanks a lot, scumbag iPod. ;___;

    (And I apologize for disappearing off the face of the Earth for a while, there! Rest assured that I still thoroughly enjoy this comic — PolSci thesis paper just ate up my free time for a while. You and Winona make an awesome team!)

    • Great to see you again, Rozhinkes! I’m glad to hear you’re still enjoying Artifice. I hope the work on the thesis went well!

  • Oh dear lord NO. I CAN’T HANDLE THIS. 

  • Winterlove

    Dammit…I dont like this T_T

  • That_Cheshire

    After this page, gah. I feel so sad.

    DON’T DO IT. GAH. DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR BABY *whimpers* I think I’m going to cry. Jeff looks so weak and in need of protecting. BE THAT PROTECTOR DEACON, BE IT!

  • brb while I pull my hair out waiting for the next update.

    • wasEnkidu

       You’ll look like Jeff come Saturday.

  • AllyssaC

    I’m crying.

  • Alex S’s Newest Theory:

    Winona dusts her artwork with crack. This makes everyone emotional and wanting to come back for more. Just skimming over the comments I lots of T_T, ;__;, ; ^ ;, and one ;~;. Never before have I seen so many semicolons/underscores in one place. And let’s not even get started on the CAPS LOCKS!!!
    Everyone, myself included, is torn between “OMFG WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?!” (notice the caps lock) and “I don’t know if I want to know what happens next! POOR JEFFY!”*random sad emoticon*
    And I’m panicking because I’m dying to know what happens next, but each new drug sprinkled page brings us closer to the end.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Don’t forget the table flipping.

      • ┻━┻ ︵╰(°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

        • ErykaSoleil

          I should get a small table and keep it totally clean except for a little sign that reads, “IN CASE OF EXTREME STRESS, FLIP TABLE”.

          • Yes! Unless you live in an apartment. The sound of you flipping tables may make your neighbors flip tables, which will create a chain of table-flipping tenants that can only end in mass eviction.

          • ErykaSoleil

            I live in a house, fortunately. But I will have to explain to my children that they should only flip tables during hours when normal people are awake and usually at work, for when they go to live in apartments (or we have to move to one in the future).

          • Kel Z

            Man, I always figured bubble wrap worked just fine… I’m not hardcore enough for tables!

            (I did receive a new computer at work that had epic amounts of bubble wrap, though; I’m bringing bubble wrap to the Friday camp out!)

          • ErykaSoleil

            I’m holding you to that promise, Kel Z.

    • Yukiness

      I don’t think she dusts it, I think she speands that stuff like jiffy peanutbutter

      • ErykaSoleil

        Or mixes it judiciously in with her paints.

    • Kel Z

      That’s why we have to camp out early. You have to get in the early snorts before everyone else gets to it and you have to resort to licking to pick up the leftover bits. And then you might end up with tongue on your monitor. Which is just plain annoying to clean off.

      At least, in theory. Yes. Licking stuff on my screen is a theory, not anything I’ve ever done.

      :: whistles and goes off to lick a window ::

      • ErykaSoleil

        So the campers here are like the higher-ranking wolves? Sweet.

  • Syanana

    Jeff is awake, Maven;s being all… *smirkity smirk* And Deacon’s torn expression. It hurts! RIGHT HERE! *grasp heart area* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOoo

  • OK, just sayin’… whether I end up sobbing my eyes out even more, or cheering with joy… *damn*, Mr Woolfson, and Ms. Nelson… you both have amazingly powerful voices and gifts to make so many people CARE about two people who aren’t real. You’ve made us happy, you’ve made us sad, and you’re now bringing us all to the edge of our seats, almost to a one begging for more time after time. Now that… THAT shows just how good you are. ::getting back on the ride:: Thank you for this amazing trip.

    • Wow, thank you, Anne. That’s… well, that’s a really, really nice compliment. ::blush:: Awesome readers like yourself make it all the hard work totally worth it. 🙂

    • wasEnkidu

       I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Kel Z

      I have to put it out there – Anne Staszalek from Arrows Online many years back? (let’s see if my memory is failing or not, heh!)

  • Oh good god, my heart…

    Deacon’s face.

    Jeffs face.

    Just…ow. 🙁

  • I don’t want Jeff to die! Not by Deacon’s hands. Please NOOO!

  • Oh crap, I just had an idea! I kept on reading about how everyone is so sad that Jeff had his hair cut (I personally like guys with short hair, but to each their own) and I got to thinking. I can think of only two reasons to shave a prisoner’s head:
    1. For humiliation/conformity. This doesn’t really seem apply here because Jeff is the only prisoner (that we know of) and HeartlessCorp doesn’t seem invested in emotions, whether good or bad.
    2. They implanted something in Jeff’s skull! They captured Deacon and Jeff days ago. They didn’t cut Jeff’s hair, they shaved it! They put a chip in there or something and what we see now is Jeff’s hair growing back. Augh, I’m going crazy not knowing!

    • Feverfew_M

      Or they just cut it to have better access to the injuries that were covered by hair (see panel 4).
      … injuries they put there themselves. Rrrr!

      • Exactly. That could be the area they opened up.

    • Little Miss Perspicacious

      Hmm, Deacon has short hair… How difficult would it be to turn a human being into an, as Deacon refers to himself, inhuman? That would be an interesting twist, if a slightly improbable one.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Like I said before: the guards were trying to be nice and trim his split ends, and they went a little overboard. Then Jeff was like, “Aw, heck. Just shave it.” And then he fell down some stairs. 😉

      • Right. And those colonists on Da Vinci all had spontaneous “sport injuries”.

        • ErykaSoleil

          No. They fell too.

          • They really should have been more careful. Maybe put up signs “Watch your step”.

          • ErykaSoleil

            They should have bought that “health insurance” they were offered. Just sayin’.

    • fujoshifanatic

       Well, ya know, I did notice the scabby kind of wound towards the middle of his head…you might have something there…

      • ErykaSoleil

        Bad set of clippers?

  • Bailey Carswell

    I just…too many feelings…why are my feels getting beat up today…cry

  • Matthew Keevil

    OH GOD, It’s like Banquo’s death in Goodbye Chains all over again.

    • That made me cry so much! Oh man, that was the saddest thing. I couldn’t believe it and then when you see that it’s so real it’s horrible. Incredibly moving though.

    • qui-gon-robot

      I think there’s a trend…

  • wasEnkidu

    It’s amazing how much emotion is packed into the wordless panels.

  • No me gusta!!! :'(

  • Oh hell… Jeff is awake..

    This is just going to be too hard… I don’t even know if I can physically bear this.
    If he really does go through with it… 🙁

    Please… God, I’m actually begging you… PLEASE don’t allow Deacon to end his life…
    I don’t think I could cope if he did… 🙁

  • mikakitten

    ;_; ho my god!! POOR JEFF!!! Hug him Deacon!!!! T_T … I want them to be happy again…this is just too sad… he looks more like Jeff to me in the last pannel but I miss his pretty hair… hooooooo!!! I hope this has a happy ending! Will break my heart otherwise!

  • Awwwwww

  • Omg the hair is gone!

  • So that …. psychologist … won’t even let him touch Jeff? Rage moment.

  • ErykaSoleil

    Did you guys hear that sound? That was the sound of an android quietly overriding all commands given in the last week, and gearing up for severe killbot mode.

    Guh. I need an emoticon for scrunching up my face and pounding my fist on the table in frustrated anticipation. Alex and Winona, I have a habit of absent-mindedly clenching my teeth when I’m really stressed, and I’ve caught myself doing it a couple hours before each update lately. You guys are killing my molars. :p

  • Fabiana Nonato

    So many emotions! 
    *sob* *sob* Deacon, don’t kill him! 
    *go to a dark coner of the room*
    *sob* *sob*

    • <__> *dumps a bucket of internet hugs on Fabiana*

    • ErykaSoleil

      Breathe! Slow, deep breaths . . . don’t forget to exhale, too! Now find some nice pictures of puppies and kittens to look at while you calm down.

  • CookieMonsterer

    Jeff baby…They beat the crap out of him x.x Severe rage moment DEACON! DO it! Sadeface >.< Please, for the sake of your robot 'heart' Dont kill him Deacon! D':

  • Lemuthrae 8D

    D-d-d-deacon! I wonder how are he is going to get around killing him…

  • Why is it that every story I read anymore ends up with a sad or bittersweet ending. Is it too much to ask for SOMEONE to get a happily ever after?

  • Alex B.

    If he’s gonna kill Jeff, I hope he can at least have a last touch or something.. Jeff looks so pitiful : 

  • Kel Z

    Now there’s our Jeff in the last panel!

    Having read some of Alex’s other comics, things have managed to work out so far (so we know that happy endings are, indeed, possible!). If anyone hasn’t read them, you should get on the mailing list so you can read the goodies!

    Now, this trend could suggest that things will indeed be okay, and that we are about to see an amazing turn where everything is revealed and we dance around high fiving each other.

    Alternately, this could be Alex throwing a massive curveball, and we’re about to have our hearts ripped out. 🙂

    Either way, I am still loving the comic and will continue to do so! I’ve loved the story so far, and even if things don’t turn out how I’d necessarily want them, I do trust Alex to deliver an ending that will be well plotted, thought out, and worth waiting for. I’ve seen “uhappy endings” that felt pointless and contrived (aka writers being “cheap” for the sake of “plot” or “character development”). Based on what I’ve seen so far, this won’t be the case here. Love it or throw something at the wall, I know it will be a good read, and I can deal with that. 

    I’m looking forward to how Winona portrays Deacon’s expression on the next page; I love the grasp she has over drawing him in those moments that are conflicted or sad. Third panel being again another notable example.

    Today’s random observation – I love the subtlety of color and texture used in this comic!

    I’ll continue chew my nails and continue to camp out on late Friday and Tuesday nights (with Summer and others :D). I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the story plays out, however it ends!

    • Well said. I completely agree with you on the ending. With all this build up, both in the story and with our investment with the characters, the ending is bound to be huge. I’ll see you around the campfire tonight.

    • Thank you, Kel—for the kind words and the vote of confidence. 🙂

  • …Deacon.  Kindly do some smashing.  And for the record, I don’t mean on Jeff.  This is monstrous.  Who’s supposed to be the humans here?

    • Kel Z

      :: hands over some bubble wrap for stress relief ::

      I confess: I’d love to see some smashing. We know Deacon can smash for Jeff. But on the other hand… we know he can do it. So it could be that we see Deacon handle this differently.

      One thing that stands out is what he was thinking when he defended Jeff before, that he thought that he could maybe take Jeff and just go far away. He realized that wouldn’t have worked, and knowing that, his solution could be formed around the knowledge that just busting out of there would likely end up in being tracked down and deactivated anyway (or in Jeff’s case, killed).

      No idea if that’s relevant, but it popped into my head, so figured I’d throw it out there.

      • ::pops bubble wrap::  Thanks.  Also, for the record, how did you know this is one of my favorite activities?  No joke either.

        I would like to see Deacon handle this situation differently, yes, since we all know that he’s strong enough to take out a platoon all by himself…but DAMMIT!  I cannot ABIDE torturers!

  • AeeDee

    The art here communicates such wonderful expressions, and nuances. I love Jeff’s expression when he realizes it’s Deacon. Like he wasn’t really feeling alive at all, until he sees him, and he has that small spark of hope.

    What a tough position for Deacon to be in. He wants to save his own life, but at the same time, Jeff’s the only person that treats him like a human being. So what kind of life would he be living, if he continued on, to only be treated like a machine for the rest of his existence…

  • Ryn

     ohgodohgodohgod. >.*

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    *gross sobbing* His hair!!! It’s all gone!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! 

  • Oh! Jeff’s question on page 53 is still unanswered, even now, at the ending of the story. “I just don’t get why they’d design you to feel anything for anybody” – and Deacon’s answer didn’t satisfy me. It makes me wonder….

    But here, I trust Deacon. ESPECIALLY in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s just gut instinct. I was rereading the beginning of Artifice again and it’s nice to have a boost of faith in Deacon’s ‘creative interpretation’ abilities from the very beginning – remember when he was in the charge of those two security officers? And code commanded not to harm corporate employees? He still gave Roy one hell of a choking.

    Though it’s much harder to creatively interpret when instead of being given a command of “DON’T do x” you are told “you can ONLY do x”. At the end of the day Deacon might not succeed in evading his ultimate task – killing Jeff. But let’s not forget that Deacon has a hundred generals in his head – and tacticians are always creative and strategic. I wonder which sleeve is hiding the ace. Artifice is just delicious mindfood. … And eyecandy.

    Oh! I suppose this is the first comment from a longtime lurker here. Gosh I joined the party late. Better late than never, I guess. I’ve been an avid reader from the start and I know the climax of this will not be forgotten anytime soon. I’m so excited for the next few pages! Alex Woolfson I tip my hat to you sir. This is a rollicking good read and Winona Nelson? Amazing, beautiful work. Artifice is brilliant! ♥

    • Thank you, Christie! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and for your kind words. “Delicious mindfood”—I like that. 🙂

    • I was having problems with other sites leaching off my bandwidth (which got very expensive for me), so you can’t directly download images from my Content Distribution Network (which “” is). But you should still be able to see the page when you load from my site.

      What happens when you use instead? Are you able to see the page in Firefox?

      Are other users having trouble with viewing the pages in Firefox?

      • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

         I’m using Firefox, and I’ve got no problem 🙂

        • Aikka

          No problem here either o.o

      • The URL above is what Firefox tries to load for the main comic image file. Because of this broken cacheing, the entire page is rendered incorrectly. IE 8 on the other hand renders it correctly. Session cookies are enable for both, ditto JavaScript. Also, this problem started around page 75 and has affected every page since.



        • Hmm. I’m not sure what would have happened around page 75 to do that. I don’t think I changed anything with my caching then.

          And I assume you’ve cleared your browser’s cache and all that?Hmmmm. I’m also not sure what to do if other Firefox users aren’t having the same trouble. (Glad to hear that it’s working for you in IE. The pages also seem to be fine in Chrome and Safari.)I guess I’ll wait to hear if there are more reports of problems from other users. So, for now, please let me just say thank you for the heads up. 🙂 Hopefully the next build of Firefox will fix this!

  • DoktorNauk

    Jeff looks so sad, it makes me want to cry.

  • I check back here every couple of weeks, but I’ve been grossly disappointed so far. And here this was quickly becoming one of my favorite webcomics. It wasn’t as though I was hoping for some happily-ever-after, but something other than death and depression would’ve been nice, and looks anything but possible as far as things go right about now.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Things can’t look up until after you’ve been down, now can they?

    •  You don’t know what’s going to happen, unless you see the future, you can only speculate.

      • “…and looks anything but possible as far as things go right about now.” That was my speculation, not hard facts. I was simply stating my opinion, that’s all.

  • It’s not over yet so I’m crossing my fingers for something good to happen or something! I just hope it will be a good end, happy or sad.  And for all of you who are complaining about the ending, why not wait for it to actually end before you complain. I mean…it could happen…

  • HoneyThistle

    HoGawds I am on the edge of my seat…  what will he DO…???  DX

  • fiazoe

    now it’s like twincest o.o with the same hair

  • So many what-if scenarios flying through my head.

    Many of them I don’t want happening. D8

  • fujoshifanatic

    Hey guys!

    Check out this great review of Artifice:


    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

       Yay! That’s a cool review of three of my favorite comics. And the reviewer touched on the reasons why each of them appeals to me. They’re all very different in approach, and all in ways that are thoroughly enjoyable.

      I will say though, of the three, only one stands out as having to rely on the sex and relationships to keep it going.

      TJ & Amal reads a bit like a buddy comedy, and that’s really enjoyable for its own sake.

      Artifice reads like good, hard, sci-fi.

      Teahouse reads like what it is: yaoi. And that’s cool too, but it just feels like if you took the romance and sex out of it, there wouldn’t be anything left.

      • ErykaSoleil

        Hahaha. I read Teahouse too. They have very lovely art, and they’re interesting (and funny) enough for me to keep going back; but I don’t know what they’d do without their love hexagons. 🙂 I’ll have to check out TJ & Amal sometime.

        • fujoshifanatic

          Do check it out; it’s so worth it! 😀

          • Agreed. 🙂

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            TJ & Amal is full of win. I LOVE the art style there, the drawings are full of motion and emotion, it really captures those little every day motions very well. If I can do half as well with the comic I plan to work on, I’ll be very pleased with myself.

  •  If he does kill Jeff I’m sure it’d be the humane way. Quick and painless. Unless Deacon has learned to teleport or intends on killing everyone in the room, I don’t see how he’s getting out of this one with Jeff. Alive. However, I’d LOVE to be proven wrong. 😀

  • Fulgin

    *rolls out tarp, inflates air mattress*

    • *brings ice box and lights campfire*

      • ErykaSoleil

        Is there any beer in that ice box, by any chance?

  • ErykaSoleil

    I just couldn’t stay away from it any longer. I know the update’s still a while away, but I started twitching. :p And all day, I’ve been seeing a scene from The Upside Down Show in my head; the boys ask Mrs. Foil what she’s doing and her reply is, “I am CAMPING, boys!” Heehee.

    • *wonders what The Upside Down Show is*

      Edit: *Googled it and got scared off by the images*

      • ErykaSoleil

        It is AMAZING, is what it is! Unfortunately, Nick Jr. has moved it to around 4am. 🙁 Fortunately, I bought the limited-availability Region 1 DVD set. 🙂

        • So that means I can watch it at the perfectly respectable hour of 8am?

          • ErykaSoleil

            Before we cut cable, Nick Jr was adjusting their show times so that each time zone would have the same start times (i.e., Upside Down Show was running at 10PM in every time zone, before they moved it). You can check your local listing by going to the Nick Jr site and clicking on their “tv schedule” tab (make sure it’s on Nick Jr, and not one of their other channels). If you have DVR, you can use that too.

          • Damn, you’re right. Here I was all ready to make fun of the poor Alaskan for being stuck in the past.
            Anyway I found this on youtube:

          • ErykaSoleil

            That video was actually really funny. 🙂 But a better representative of the show would be this one (which is actually from the show):

          • I’m digging the puppet. And is that Lex Luthor?

          • ErykaSoleil

            Haha. No. That’s Shane. The one with hair is David. I forget, did they show Action Fingers in that clip?

          • Lol I have no idea what “Action Fingers” are. But you do have me shipping those two. Congrats.

  • ::passes out girl scout cookies, lights fire:: Okay, now we’re camping.

    • *comes over from Fulgin’s campsite* I think Fulgin feel asleep on their air mattress. *brings out ice box* I have soda and ice cream.

      • ErykaSoleil

        Where is Kel Z and the promised bubble wrap? WHERE?!

        • Dunno. *passes a beer and makes a root beer float* *Steals some thin mints from Summer and sprinkles on float* Okay I’m ready to camp.

          • Okay, you’re seriously surprising me here.  How did you know they were thin mint?

          • ErykaSoleil

            Because everybody knows Thin Mints are awesome and addictive? Of course, Girl Scout cookies in general are like that . . .

          • What Eryka said. If they weren’t, I would’ve had to leave.

          • How true…thanks!  I was a little scared for a minute, thinking you were reading my mind or something.

        • Kel Z

          OMG I just realized I missed the bubblewrap yesterday!

          I was working backstage at a show. Helping people take off their clothes. OH YEAH. But I have more bubblewrap still! And Tuesday night I won’t be stripping people for the heck of it!

    • It’s 3:00 AM. Must stay awake! *puts hand in fire* AAAHHH!

  • HannahDJA

    I REFUSE TO CLOSE MY EYES UNTIL I SEE THE NEW PAGE. -tapes my eyes open- Come on! 😀

    EDIT: *Is unconscious.* xDD

    • *gives you eyedrops* Good luck.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Hahaha. Before I read the part about the tape, I was thinking Clockwork Orange.

    • *peels tape off then calls hospital*

    • Hey! *pokes Hannah* Get up! The next page is up! *stares then shrugs and goes off to look at it*

  • Camping camping camping. <3

  • GAH! Isn’t it Saturday yet?! I die a little inside every time I come back to look at this page and see Jeff in the last panel. *sobs*

  • i think Maven is a sick, evil bitch.  she’s nasty, cold, heartless, and seems to get a fiendish satisfaction out of toying with people’s lives…it would be nice to watch her die a miserable death. 

  • Is is just me that noticed the halo effect on Jeff’s face in panel two? Or am I seeing things? 

  • SolrSurfr3

    Oh, Jeff, please don’t wake up. He shouldn’t have to be conscious for this! T-T

  • Stahli

    What’s going through Deacon’s head right now? Hopefully it’s 0101010101010101010101010101001010101101010101010101010101101010110101010101010101101010101010- 0h snap can’t c0mpute—-error/ error…………………fuck.

  • Noriam Gutierrez

    *currently crying*

  • Quilava10552

    Ohhhhh goooooood
    Tiny letters, weak speech auuughhhhh