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Artifice Page 82

203 Comments on Artifice Page 82

Gah! What? What, Jeff?! Surely you saw there was only six panels on this page—spit it out!

Phew… All right… Deep breaths… Back to my regularly scheduled page notes… Let’s see here…

Hey, we’re at $181 towards the next bonus page!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Bernard S. (who just made their 3rd donation to Artifice!) & Mark L. (who just made their 5th donation to Artifice!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporters Paul E., Egor S., Desiree E., Hailie F. & Ammon T. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to new friend of Artifice Rebecca K. and also to long-time friends of Artifice Jenny K. (who has just made their 2nd super-generous donation!) and Larisa V. (who has just made their 8th super-generous donation!) for their super-generous $25 donations!

Thank you all so, so much! (This continues to be a rough month for me and your generosity and support helps me more than you can even know. 🙂 )

And OMG—I did it again! I dropped another page-break while Jeff was mid-sentence! You know, when I was wrote this scene, picturing it to be read all at one time, the pacing (to me anyway) felt suspenseful, but not crazy. But releasing this as a webcomic, this update makes me feel just a little too much like Dr. Frank-N-Furter:

(I love that eye thing that Tim Curry does right before that first cutaway to Susan Sarandon. Genius…)

Well, I promise, on the next page, Jeff will get to finish his sentence!

(But I suppose we should be at least a little patient with him, considering the circumstances. I mean, what would you say to your android-lover with his finger on the button that will kill you?)

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Kristi & Fabiana and pre-HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Alis! I hope you all have wonderful, fun-filled days and nights!


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!
  • AAAAHHHHH!!!! The suspense! Jesus, Alex, do you have some sadist tendencies?!

    If I had an android-lover with his finger on the button that would kill me, I would move it (the finger). Either that or I would set off an EMP blast that would deactivate him.

    I really like how Jeff looks so adorable all beat up and bruised. Geez, maybe I’M the sadistic one.

    Happy birthday Kristi, Fabiana, and Alis! And as always the donors rock!

    • Hahaha. No, no, you have it all wrong. That he looks cute is just your sympathy! People just want to protect cute/weak things. 🙂 

      • That’s true; let’s go with that.

  • ErykaSoleil

    -Screams and dies a little inside.-

    I’m sure that when this comes out in print, we’ll all be amazed that it isn’t -nearly- as stressful. 🙂

    And happy birthday to Kristi, Fabiana, and Alis!

  • ErykaSoleil

    Hey, wait a minute . . . why can’t we see the people behind the window anymore?

    • Sudden bathroom break. *nods*

      • ErykaSoleil

        Here I was thinking maybe they had just all realized that something awful was about to happen to them. :p

    • So we stop making jokes about what Cherl, er, the woman in purple is looking at and thinking about?
      Seriously though. It’s so the focus stays on our leading men. 🙂

  • Oh my goodness… this is just… WOW!

  • Happy birthday to us! Woooo!

    Anyway, I was thinking of how there was so much talk before about how Deacon is not programmed to be much more than a soldier. Then I read the list Alex supplied in the comments of possible uses for Deacon’s model.

    One of the ideas listed was companionship and help for the elderly, the disabled physically, and mentally disabled (etc.). However, Deacon suggested none of the other androids were very social.

    I wonder if the company that makes the androids gave up on the idea of them being used for anything but battle, but Deacon is proving them wrong?

    • ErykaSoleil

      Good point. Maybe somebody noticed Deacon trying to chat with his fellow D-Models (who weren’t chatting back), and decided to set this up as an elaborate test to see if he was what they were hoping.

  • Jenny Blue

    happy birthday all!… EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKK!!! I’m in love with this comic!

  • Alex.  You’re a wonderful guy.  Standup, creative, and all that jazz.  But I beg you, STOP with the midsentence breaks!  This is going to make us all nuts!  We’re going to STRESS-EAT to get through until the next update!  Didn’t you SEE the spread we had going?  Lamb-potato pie (which I think I’m going to try to make at some point), Ghiradelli chocolate, lemon curd, the muffins I made just now, grapes…DUDE.  That and MORE will be consumed waiting for the update.

    Unless, like Alex S suggested, we all go for a run.  Still, STRESS!!!  Great update, though.

    • Jenny Blue

      we’ll get plenty of exercise jumping up and down squealing about artifice!!! ^_^  …or crying…

    •  I think I gained 5 pounds just thinking of all that delicious-sounding food.

    • That spread did sound tasty, Summer… Y’all made me hungry… 🙂

  • Erica

    damn you. damn you jeff. lol damn you deacon. damn youuuu circumstances. >:U lol i wanna know what the hell he’s gunna sayy!!! and that was a good example. I love RHPS XDD

    • Me, too. I saw it for the first time when I was quite young and wasn’t sure if I liked it or not—until I got to that line.  And maybe it’s a old joke, but I hadn’t heard it before and when he said that line and I found myself feeling exactly like Susan Sarandon’s character in that moment with just one pause in the middle of a word, I was very impressed. Who knew that you could create a tremendous feeling of anticipation just by pausing in the middle of the word “anticipation”? Magic!

      And thus was young Alex sold on RHPS. 🙂

      • Erica

         my dad wouldn’t let me watch it for teh longestt time. when i finally saw it, i wasn’t at that age where it’s “disgusting” you know? lol it was just purely magical. Tim Curry is a a very fabulous and awesome man for taking on such a questionable role. I don’t think n e one could’ve done it better. [not to mention he had some hot legs. lol]

  • Jeff spoke the key code!! Now beat their asses off Deacon! XD – I wish~ 😀
    Again, another cliffhanger! But it makes me want to read more and more of it~ ^3^

  • The midsentence breaks are hard for some to handle. Still, It’s so much fun to fill in the rest of the sentence. Artifice madlibs!
    “Deacon… LOVE of mine… make me a grilled cheese sandwich.”

    •  “And then choke on it. D<" XD Oh god now you're going to have me mad-libbing every mid-sentence pagebreak in every comic now.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Part of me was actually a little disappointed he didn’t take the UNNNNNICOOOOOOORN! suggestion from the last page’s comments (which is -still- making me giggle).

    • That’s awesome. I think I’m going to have to use that. 😉

    • Andr913

      “Deacon…love of mine…I never loved you. I just said that because I knew the readers would have to wait for another page and I wanted to fuck with them a little.”


      And the fourth wall is broken.

  • Cydalima

    Damn cliffhanger! ;_____; </3 

  • I stayed up for 3am for even MORE suspense?? You’re killing me, you horribly wonderful  writer, sir. ; x ; 

    God, Jeff’s expression in that last panel breaks my heart. So twisted and bitter…

  • melinda stumpf

    god damn it Alex quit it with the suspense all ready your killing me here

  • Haley Weigman

    officially marked my guess down in my journal, can’t wait to see saturday’s page!

  • The suspense, Alex, the suspense!! It’s insane and cool at the same time (you can see we’re exploding here in excitement), as everyone is saying, great update!

  • Maven’s in on it too! Why else would Jeff ask her “permission”?

    And I’ll only be able to read the update Saturday at noon, dam you social life!

  • ErykaSoleil

    ” . . . Havoc.” (to release the android of war)

  • Aikka

    For a moment i felt like if i was watching some kind of soap opera… xD
    -every small thing can take many episodes in them-

    Alex, i see you really like to torture your readers 😛 

    With all the suspense i start to be ‘afraid’ that maybe we won’t get a clear ending either … o_o and you simply planned something that will make us think how it ended… forever o…o

    and happy birthday Kristi, Fabiana and Alis ^-^

  • Oh look…nothing happened. God damn it man….

    I do hope Jeff lives, he’s kind of an idiot for trust Deacon and not killing him when he had the chance (Hey its what I wouldn’t have done. But I am of course, extremely defiant) but he doesn’t deserve things like this.

    Everyone else in the room though? God I hope they die.

    Especially you Mavin…you wordy, annoying bint.

  • after seeing that page I am now convinced Jeff reprogrammed Deacon and he’s the only one to know the new word to stop him definitely…and as he said in the first panel : it’s only switching off a machine after all…

  • Saamie

    Please, please stop messing with me, it’s driving me insane waiting to find out what happens.
    Alex I love you and your story to pieces, but come on!

  • Mother of cliffhangers! Okay, here it comes! Next page you better tell me something conclusive.

    Didi ya hear it? SOMETHING CONCLUSIVE!

    I’m past the point of caring if Jeff will die or not, I just wanna know what will happen! GAH!

    (okay, I do care about Jeff.)

  • Oh, please! :’O the next page better not be stalling >< I can't stand all these cliffhangers! I seriously want Jeff's upcoming words to sting really badly<3

    "This is supposed to be a test" wtf?

  • Just in case this comes to pass, I need to be able to link back to this page and say I TOTALLY CALLED IT.

    Jeff is going to de-activate Deacon.

  • C K

    Is it bad that I really like ClearlyPissedOff!Jeff?  Because, seriously.   I think I outlined my reasons why I’m glad he’s angry in the last strip and I’m glad he’s not just quietly accepting his fate and making it easier on Deacon.  Deacon *should* be called out on what he’s doing, android or not, and really, if you’re in a position where you’re mid-murder already, what have you got to lose in telling him *exactly* how awful he’s being?

    Also: *love* the little nod to Maven.  Because really, when you’re about to be murdered by a corporation that never gave a crap about you *and* your (ex-?)boyfriend, are you really gonna be as mad at the corporation?  At least they *never* gave a shit about you or had reason to.  This is all just business as usual to them — it’s Deacon who needs to be reamed out.

    I, uh, should probably emphasize that I do still love the strip even though I’ve spent my last two comments cursing out one of the leads. Hehe…sorry about that.  Though I am really truly looking forward to what Jeff’s got to say.

    • C K

      And on a less virulently-angry note, I still totally picture Maven as that one really strict mother that was huge on discipline: “You can talk to him all you want, DEACON NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THE CONSEQUENCE OF WHAT HE DID. >(  AND THEN HE HAS TO GO RIGHT HOME AND DO HIS CALCULUS HOMEWORK UNTIL HIS HANDS BLEED.”

    • Thank you, C K. I very much appreciate the love—and the thoughtful analysis. 🙂

  • I don’t even know how to feel about this page, seriously.  On the one hand, this seems like the natural conclusion of all that has occurred in the story thus far.  On the other, I don’t want Jeffycakes to diiiiiiiiiiiiiie!  ;-;  And unrelated to anything at all, I love the way the guards, all with their guns pointed at Deacon (Very genre savvy of them) look at Maven when she talks.  Nice.

  • fujoshifanatic

    Everybody’s raging over the cliffhangers and mid-sentence breaks, but frankly now I’m cool with it, knowing that this is the final scene of this comic and I kind of want it to last as long as possible. This has been one of the best webcomic experiences I’ve had, between the story itself, the lively interaction between commentators and the wonderful responses from the creators.

    For the last year, it truly felt like a cool little geek confab I could go to where we would all hang out and talk about this great comic. For once, then twice a week, we could allow ourselves to forget about the outside world for a little while, giving me the chance to recharge and then go back out to deal with what for me turned out to be a very trying, sometimes depressing, but ultimately a very pivotal and transformative time in many ways. So for that alone I hold a special little place in my heart for this comic, no matter what the denouement to all this suspense.

    So throw as many cliffhangers as you want; I do want to see what ultimately happens, but I kind of don’t want this experience to end. Does that make sense?

    At any rate, love the RHPS reference–it’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and last Halloween I went to a participation showing of it for the first time in almost 20 years (boy did I date myself there!) and I loved it! I would love to do the Time Warp and keep this thing going forever, but I gotta know what Jeff says, so onward to Saturday…

    • You’ve got me grinning here, fujoshifanatic. I too feel like the community we have built here has been something very special and it’s been a great place for me to “recharge”—and to learn!—as well. Every time I think about y’all with your thoughtful comments and reactions and your incredible generosity and it’s like this little balloon just fills up and lifts my chest from the inside. 😀

      For the ways this last year has been a challenge for you, I send you my biggest hugs. And for the ways this comic and its community has made this time easier for you, I am truly gladdened. Your comments have certainly been a bright spot in my last year as well.

      And I certainly hope to see you stick around for the next one. 🙂

  • CottonCory

    Hehe, what Maven said in panel 3 actually made me laugh out loud. Also, I hope whatever Jeff will say is the truth and not something he says to spite Deacon.

  • Can’t wait 🙂 I like that it isn’t rushed, but that they carefully choose their words (at least it feels that way)

  • SigmundReimann

    It’ll either something sweet (and perhaps ‘commanding’) like “Be free” or something bitter like “Burn in hell.” I’m just guessing, hmm.

  • I’m sorry, but I have to say this. I feel like this is a cheap way at throwing in a “bonus” page. If I’d contributed to the donations, I’d be really upset about it. I’m not a fan of filler pages in a comic book that I pay $4, so if I gave $25 to a webcomic for a bonus page and got filler for it, I’d probably want to punch my screen.  I’ve enjoyed the story greatly so far, but the last few posts have just been dragged out far too much and it’s really not fair to those who’ve donated.

    Just my two cents.

    • Kayla

      Well, the beauty of donating for an extra page is that the viewers don’t necessarily know what they’re going to get until it gets uploaded. Donations are not required to read this comic at all, so even if people donate they can’t really be angry with the recent pages – the donations are purely their choice.

      • SH_Marr

        Maybe, but it does kind of feel like he’s leaving intentional cliffhangers so that people will be more inclined to give him money for a quicker update.

        • W Nelson

          Hi SH_Marr, I’m sorry you feel frustrated!  We don’t change what’s on each page based on whether it’s a bonus or not.  The whole comic was scripted out (quite meticulously) long before we started producing the pages.  It was indeed based on reading it all at once, so the pacing gets kind of stretched here, but please don’t think our intentions are impure.  It’s not possible to put the pages out faster, since each page takes me days to draw and color, but we are always on time and never miss updates or take breaks.

          The payoff is worth it, and it’s coming very soon!

          • SH_Marr

            If this isn’t annoying on purpose, it’s really something you guys should look at fixing for next time, then. It just doesn’t work in this format; after a couple of weeks there’s no more suspense.

          • ErykaSoleil

            When I have this problem with a tv show, I simply wait until the end of the season and then watch all the episodes at once. Maybe you could try that with Artifice?

    • Nothing to be sorry about Mark. I imagine other folks have wondered if a desire to fill time for more “bonus pages” was a motivation behind a page like this, so it’s good to talk about it.

      I can’t speak for my donators’s feelings about this or any other page. It’s my hope that they are enjoying the comic and that they feel their support is worth it. But I actually don’t come up with specific bonus pages after getting enough donations, I merely post the page we already created (and would normally post on a Saturday) early.

      The script for this entire comic was written before any art was created. All the line art and a good chunk of the coloring was complete before the comic was launched as a webcomic and thus long before a reader offered that wonderful suggestion about posting pages early when donations reached a certain level. The donations are a huge, huge morale boost and very significantly help to make it possible for me to afford to do this (and prepare the next webcomic as well)—but they do not influence the number of pages or what happens in the story in any way. 

      I pay all my artists for their work on my comics. And each page involves hours and even days of work on both our parts to create. In terms of financial expense and effort, there is nothing “cheap” for me about a page of this kind of comic, bonus or otherwise. This isn’t a complaint—the work is often joyful and obviously Winona’s gorgeous art is worth any money I pay a thousand times over. But I have limited resources so it does mean that when I was working on the script and even when I was working on the line art with Winona, I was constantly asking myself “Do I really, really need this page? Really, truly? Or can I get away without it?” A comic like this costs thousands of dollars to make, I’m just a regular guy and I had no idea that anyone would donate anything to this comic—if I felt I could get away without a page, I’d cut it.

      So, every page you’re seeing here is one I felt was so essential, I was willing to go into debt to make it happen. It was my belief that the pacing of this scene—when read at one time—felt right for the feeling of suspense I was hoping to create. As a webcomic, perhaps it’s a lot less successful. I can certainly take that note. 🙂 I still think I should be writing any comic I create to be primarily enjoyed as a standalone complete story instead of sacrificing that pacing to make it more palatable as a webcomic, but it might not be a zero sum game. As I’ve said all along, this webcomic was an experiment. There might be more successful ways for me to balance the suspense in both worlds and, now that I’ve decided to make another webcomic, I’ll certainly be thinking about that as I’m writing that new comic’s chapters.

      So, in short (TL;DR FTW!), this is a learning process for me, I have no illusions that my writing is without flaws and it’s quite possible that the pacing of this comic overall or in any specific scene has been done poorly. All I can say is that I did my best to create scenes that I believed were compelling and would hopefully make someone want to keep reading and eager to find out what happened next. 

      And while I might be very wrong about this, when I’ve read this scene as a whole, this page hasn’t never felt like a filler to me. It’s always felt like a page I needed to include and thus worth the costs to me and Winona in terms of time and expense.

      So, right or wrong, that’s why this page is here.

      I’m glad that you’ve “enjoyed the story greatly” and I very much hope that when it’s complete that you still feel it was worth your time. 🙂

      • ErykaSoleil

        Alex, I love Artifice anyway; but when you post a thoughtful response like this, I am even more in love with your work. 🙂

      • Thank you for the reply and explanation. I apologize for my…well, my outburst. I knew even as I wrote it that since I had never contributed, I really shouldn’t complain. I know this sounds like a sad excuse for my words, but it’s been a horrible week. The first thing I do when I wake up on Wednesdays is come straight to my read to look for an update to the story. It always makes my day. After the last page, I was really expecting something huge, and I just felt let down today. 

        Now that the day is over and I’ve had a chance to deal with some things, I’ve reread my comment and can honestly say that I feel like a heel. I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, kind of afraid to, but before I do, I wanted to apologize to you, Alex, for being so snotty. Thanks for all your hard work, and I really appreciate you taking the time to explain your process.

        • And I really appreciate you saying that, Mark. It means a lot to me. There are certainly no hard feelings. As I said, I imagine there are others who wondered something similar. And I’m flattered to hear that you would look forward to an update of Artifice so much.

          I sincerely hope that your week improves—and that future updates to this comic give you much pleasure. 🙂

    • fujoshifanatic

      Actually, since you stated that you *didn’t* donate to this comic, I don’t know why you are making such snitty remarks. I did — repeatedly — and others here even more than me. And you know what? I didn’t have a problem at all with the pacing, and I never felt like any page in this story was *filler.*

      Maybe you are part of that instant gratification generation that wants to *Twitterfy* every half-decent story that comes along, but some of us enjoy waiting for a story to develop at its own pace, and are not afraid of a little suspense before we get the big payoff. And we are willing to put our money where our mouths (or keyboards) are with that support.

      Since you are not, you are quite free to patronize the many other comics out there who will give you pages upon pages of violence/gore/smut/whatever it is that turns your crank for “action” with no substance, and leave us paying fans here to enjoy Alex and Winona’s stellar work.

      *Hops off soapbox*

    • ErykaSoleil

      If you’d like more influence over how a story goes, I highly suggest choose-your-own-adventure books, and this webseries:

  • This has officially been drawn out long enough.
    Like, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost all suspense now. I’m just bored, and waiting for the next page =

    • leorising

      I agree. I feel like the momentum fell apart several pages ago. This will all be fine when it’s done, because we can skip quickly through the boring parts. Pacing is hard in any story, worse so in sequential art. I think this one lost the pace somewhere in Maven’s office.

    • SH_Marr

      It doesn’t help that suspense is hard to accomplish when we have to wait days and therefore have ample time to stop caring about the “drama” of the story because we have other things to do. No one is just sitting around waiting for Jeff to finish his stupid sentence.

  • AH!!!! Get on with it! *pop a blood vessel* 

  • YangYueLan

    Gah! You you! Evil. Now I have to wait till Saturday. *pouts*

  • *whimper*  Evil Alex!

    C’mon, Jeff, don’t make it easy on him; I know you won’t.

  • yellowrock

    Deacon could totally knock Dr. Maven out before she got the kill phrase out, and in the chaos take out the guards too.  I mean, he’s a cyborg with super human strength and reflexes.  I think they’re just trying to distract her now, get her engrossed in the emotions of it all.  Deep inside of her closet yaoi fangirl mind she’s probably screaming “JUST KISS HIM DAMMIT!”.  :3

    • Leigh Nelson

      Actually, he’s an ANDROID; not a “cyborg.” As a long standing sci-fi and comics fan, I MUST tell you there’s a difference. Think Deacon vs Vic Stone – Deacon is an adroid, he is a computer throughout, he was just PROGRAMMED to have human equivilance. Cyborgs, however, are originally humans who have technology embedded into them, giving them computer-like abilities and reflexes that a regular human body cannot withstand. Essentially, they are opposites. Sorry, but details like that drive me insane. Not trolling, I just have problems like that, just like when people say that Batman or Iron Man are superheroes. No, they’re vigilantes, Superman is a superhuman, and good, thus he is a superhero… 

      Anyways, I should say that I’ve become obsessed with this comic and I have never commented because everyone else has been much more colorful about it than I could ever dream. But this is driving me insane, I honestly think Deacon is trying to prove himself and I’m so afraid that Jeff will actually die, but I’m waiting for an, “Oh haha! Idiot-robot, the red button was just a little painted plastic decoy! How did you not see that coming? I mean…really? Really? Just…hah! We had you soooo good!” Jeff can’t die! He just…can’t, and man your reminder about how the comic is ending so soon all the time just makes me want to cry because it sounds like you’re telling us that Jeff is as good as dead. With the story ending, Jeff isn’t needed, the whole  story could just be a warning about the whole transhumanism movement taking over, or more likely a warning about how humans will always be so heartless and cold that we might as well just become “things” with enough emotion, but not enough to have a real conscience. I DON’T WANT THIS! I WANT JEFF TO LIIIIIVE!

      OR OR OR It could be that Jeff WILL live, and this is just saying that as long as we still have these “malfunctions” like Deacon, like all of the readers of this comic, as long as there are the few that want and need love, we will slowly survive? The colony was a target because it was a symbol for emotional freedom, and Jeff is a surviver because Deacon and Jeff came together to prove that there is good in love. THERE IS GOOD IN LOVE DAMMIT! Now ending my ridiculously long explication…soorry it wasn’t supposed to be like this…

      • Lorescien

        Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalm yourself, dear… it will all end well! 😀

  • Cristina Cornejo

    you sir, are a troll. like the meanest of them all ;3; this is torture. 

  • peanut5507

    Oh, you tease. -___-

  • Ryn

    oooh, Jeff, that expression, the bitter sarcasm…  I can’t decide if i like him wounded and weepy or hard and cynical. But he does suffer so prettily.
    I have a feeling Deacon is going to get emotionally bitch slapped in the next page. i mean, i like deacon and all, but he’s just on this side of stupid enough that i want to see him get smacked around for it.

    • W Nelson

      I’m partial to the angry-wounded-pretty myself.  These pages are fun ones for *drawing* Jeff even though he has his shirt on ^_^

  • Chaucer59

    Jesus Q Christ on a Back to the Future hoverboard, DO SOMETHING, Deacon. Screw Jeff’s sentence. Just get to the mayhem, already. This is starting to read like a sanitized Quentin Tarentino script.

    • ErykaSoleil


  • GAH

  • AnyOtaku

    I’m just going to say: Jeff.

  • Jeff had better say something so heartwarming, heartbreaking, and endearing that Decon goes berserk and kills everyone and saves him.

  • The suspense isn’t even fun anymore. Now it’s just annoying. 

  • Lorescien

    I was gonna complain about Deacon being an ass, Maven being a twat, and poor Jeff being rightfully angry at Deacon… but after seeing that you posted a clip of RHPS, my day was automatically brightened! XD Keep the awesome pages coming, guys!

  • Lorescien

    Also, ignore the angry, silly comments of some of these readers. They’re just instant gratification hounds and don’t see the beauty in slower development and the extremely RIGOROUS process one goes through to make a masterpiece like this. You guys are doing wonderfully, just fyi. (Also, sorry for a second comment… I hope it’s not bad that I did, lol.)

    • Thank you, Lorescien. It’s not bad at all that you posted the second comment.  While I firmly believe that “the reader is always right”, both Winona and I have put a lot of work into every page. So it’s certainly nice to hear that the comic is still working for some people. I very much appreciate you taking the time to let us know. 🙂

  • ithilloke


  • I’ve really enjoyed reading so far, but as said before: I kinda feel sorry for those who donated and expected a quicker solution of this all, but it’s drawn out to no end.
    Well, in an actual comic book, where you can read it all at once, it won’t get boring, but with 3-4 days between every page it really makes me wonder, if it won’t be better, if I come back in 3 weeks to to read a whole bunch of pages at once.
    Even if I appreciate the effort, because hell – I know such a comic is a whole lot of work and very time consuming, I was never a fan of donating for “online projects”.
    If you print this out and sell an actual book, I’d happily pay up to 20 bucks for such a comic. But donating without knowing what to get – not gonna happen :/

    • geneticsgirl

      It is too bad that there is no “Dislike” button here.
      I love how they’ve drawn out the story. The depth of character development is what makes for a great story. If this story had ended after 30 pages, I’d be left wanting.
      I have not yet donated, but I have respect for those who have. I dated a “starving” cartoonist and appreciate the love that goes into these books. I too will be buying this once complete.
      And if it was a book, you would pay for it without necessarily knowing how it ends. So complaining about the option of donating seems pointless, especially since the story will eventually be published online regardless.
      Much love and props to Alex and Winona. Keep up the good (and deliciously suspenseful) work!

      • ErykaSoleil

        ^ This.

      • Thank you for the love and props, geneticsgirl. Both are very much appreciated. 🙂

    • Ambler

      I sort of get what you’re saying, though. Because for the people who have donated, they’re donating to see an extra page, and it probably seems like a waste of money to them to see another six panels of suspense instead of an “Oh my gawd, Jeff is a badass!” or “Oh my gawd, Deacon is an ass-hole!”

      BUT, a lot of the people donating are also probably just doing it to show their support, so it’s not all for nothing. If I had any money to my name, I would too. It’s true, artists starve way more than they should. They provide us with beautiful half-naked men rubbing up against each other, and all the while their tummies are rumbling…

    • llbutters

      You must be new here, welcome to the internet. Can I introduce you to the concept, “webcomic”?

  • samae

    RHPS <3  my favorite scene, i thought the same thing as i read lol. Cant wait til saturday, i must see the plan these 2 have come up with for getting out of this situation.

  • Syanana

    -flails horribly- YOU DID NOT! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU CUT JEFF OFF MID SENTENCE AGAIN! -FLAILS- But.. you are forgiven due to the video :I

  • While admittedly, I am sitting here, wishing desperately that we’d gotten further in this page, mostly because I want to know whether I’m going to be mourning or exultant, what seems to be annoying a lot of people just is not bothering me. My wife laughed at the page, jokingly calling it visual “noodling” to make the wait worse, and I laugh at that, but the fact is that this is all a SCENE… if it was live, each page would be less than a minute of real time. 

    DO I want to know what is going to happen? Um, YEAH. If I was employed, would I be sending in cash for this? Um, YEAH. I personally intend on saving for a copy of this when it is printed, and hoping we can get it signed by both artist and writer just because it DID make this much of an impression on me. But if I have to wait through some more “noodling” (to use my wife’s words) to get to the end that WILL be here all too soon, and this noodling is done THIS WELL? Then noodle away 😀

    • Thank you, Anne. Your patience and your kind words are very much appreciated. Hugs to you and your wife. 🙂

  •  What to say? Nothing. Except… I have a feeling there will be table flipping. VERY. SOON. 0_0

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    ……..*flips all the tables due to extreme frustration*

    i had a dream that Deacon and Jeff discussed what they would do in case this happened between their sexy time. and this is all part of a plan that they have. but that was just a dream. 

    • ErykaSoleil

      But dreams come true! Haven’t you ever watched a Disney film? 😉

      • Araceli Rodriguez

        i would kind of be freaked if in this case my dream came true….. but i’m still hoping.

  • I get the feeling Deacon gave Jeff his command codes just in case something like this happened, and Jeff can use that to override Maven’s control on Deacon.

    • that’s what im thinking too! like and override command!

    • coyoteconscious

      That’s what I was thinking after today’s strip. Perhaps they’d already been given in advance. But I’m ready for a surprise.

    • AllyssaC

      Or a Trash bin.. that would be a lot worse!!

  • mikakitten

    Hahah!! Tim Curry rocks!! 🙂 he was amazing in Riddley Scott’s – Legend!! I actually thought that he was what the Devil looked like! I love his voice!! Saw him live in ‘Spamalot’, made me shiver!! 😀 excuse the pun!  

    Poor Jeff ;_; …I have a feeling he is going to say something terrible – can’t blame him…but awwwww!!! I gave Maven a chance…I don’t think I like her anymore now…

    Don’t do it Deacon!!

  • Rozhinkes


    I’m dyingggggggggg hereeee… This has GOT to be considered cruel and unusual punishment. D’:

    (Great work as always, you two! You may be cruel… but the pain is well worth it. :'()

    • Thank you for your patience and the props, Rozhinkes. I’m glad to hear you’re finding the journey, painful though is may be for now, still worth it. 🙂

  • qui-gon-robot

    Jeff:..May you be recycled in to a toaster.

    • Ambler

      And if ya can’t take tha heat, stay outta tha kitchen…

  • Ambler

    Okay, seriously, Jeff’s face looks A LOT like Deacon’s still. As an artist, I get that most facial structures are similar depending on your own style, but its really close. Skin tone, eye color, and bruises seem to be the only difference…

    • ErykaSoleil


      Jeff is another D-Model!


      -Scurries away.-

      • Ambler

        True dat, yo. True dat…

        It’s gonna happen.

  • geneticsgirl

    Alex! You are so awesome handling the destructive comments with grace. Love you lots.

    • Thank you, geneticsgirl. That compliment is especially gratifying to me.

      And, in the end, my readers and this community have been so thoughtful and generous to us for this entire journey, it’s easy to respond in kind. 🙂

  • ErykaSoleil

    I’ve finally figured out what’s been rankling me about the comments people have been making about bad pacing and such: There is a difference between constructive criticism and complaining. Some of the unhappy commenters, to their credit, have been offering suggestions on what could be improved. But most of the nay-sayers just seem to sit there and complain.

    It’s fine to say you don’t like something, but why not offer praise for things done well and critique what you don’t like in such a way that you offer advice on how to make it better in the future? Simply saying, “I don’t like the pacing, I don’t even like any of these characters anymore!” is not nearly as helpful as, “You know, I really like the story. But if it were me, I would cut pages X3 and 42F. And panel 15 on page 6T is just totally unnecessary, but the art is so wonderful.” That way, you’re potentially helping the creators make better stuff down the road, instead of just being mean and proving you don’t know how to cure your own boredom.

    Short version: If you don’t like anything about it, go somewhere else. If you see great promise in it, but want to see one or two things tweaked for particular reasons, then please offer suggestions of how you would change things for the better.

    • coyoteconscious

      What bad pacing?!? The anticipation is indeed driving me crazy, but it also drives home a point, and it’s _supposed_ to create emotion. Imagine how charged those few minutes must seem to the characters.

      • ErykaSoleil

        I agree. That’s partly why the complainers bug me–I’m old enough to remember when a 56K modem could get you on the internet (what there was of it), and if you missed an episode of your favorite show, well, you were just out of luck (talk about suspense!). I’m thrilled to have a comic that updates every few days, even if it’s only one page at a time. I have the opportunity to think on new developments, speculate about what might happen next, and exchange comments with fellow fans in the meantime.

        But if you’re going to complain, you should at least put in a little extra effort to make it helpful criticism.

        (Totally dated myself with this post . . . )

        • Image: Wrinkled old woman with white hair in a tight bun. She has thin bifocals and a hooked nose and a smile revealing missing teeth. Old!Eryka is sitting in a rocking chair and wearing a thick purple robe. She is waving a cane at teenagers and yelling.
          OLD!ERYKA: “When I was your age, we had to walk to the store and buy our internet a week’s supply at a time.”

          • ErykaSoleil

            “AND GET OFF MY LAWN!” -Shakes cane even more.-

            (I was in a bad mood until I saw your comment, and then I was giggling and laughing. So thank you.)

          • Sure thing. I was going to add that the rocking chair was on a porch overlooking your lawn, but then I decided that an old woman had no business being outside in the frozen tundra wasteland of Alaska. And I wasn’t sure if a wasteland qualified as a lawn anyway.
            Funny enough, I was kinda in a bad mood too. I was actually avoiding coming back to the comments because the tone of some were ticking me off. But then I decided that I wouldn’t let stop me because I was really enjoying myself here. I’m just going to skim them and skip the self entitled ones.
            And then I was on my deviantart and a talented artist was being bashed for tolerating furries.

            TL;DR: Alaska is cold and the internet turns people into jerks.

          • ErykaSoleil

            Well, it’s not a wasteland for the three months of summer. :p

            Are you on DA? I’m on there:


        • leorising

          As one of the people who has indulged in some criticism, please allow me to defend myself.

          I will date myself even farther back, because I have been reading sequential art since the early 1960s. Back then, you had to wait a day (newspapers) or a month (comic books) to get to the next chapter. I’ve been on the Internet for 17 years, and I have a couple dozen webcomics I read on a regular basis.

          Yes, I believe the pacing has faltered. I have been specific in stating that I feel the momentum was lost somewhere in Maven’s office. I will be more specific: in this last turn in Maven’s office (the time after the flashback action stopped,) we’ve had a lot of dialogue and little physical action. All of the dialogue has been the outer thoughts of the actors, and none of their inner thoughts. There is an opportunity for character development that I believe has been lost, there. I also believe the dialogue without the inner revelations became redundant and, frankly, kind of boring. I understand that the author is trying to build suspense so that we can see Deacon’s development in hindsight after the Big Reveal, but I think that decision has caused the timing to falter somewhat.

          None of this is a personal attack on Alex Woolfson. I’ve complimented this work with gusto in the story’s earlier days, and once I even pledged a small amount to the donation fund. I have enjoyed this work and look forward to the ending and the Big Reveal. I stick with my opinion that it could be tightened up, though.

          My criticism also has nothing to do with Jeff’s unfinished speech. I can wait for the next page with the best of ’em. I’m just no longer terribly interested in what Jeff or Deacon have to say. That delicious feeling of waiting on tenterhooks has deserted me, and that’s disappointing.

          This is a good work, yes. I think it could be even better. That being said, I’m glad others are still feeling that wonderful feeling of suspense. I’ll be with you all at the end, even though I’m feeling somewhat left out of the loop at present.

          Warmest regards and best wishes to Alex and Winona for an awesome and fitting finale, and thanks for all their hard work.

          • ErykaSoleil

            That’s about how long I’ve been on the internet, too. 🙂 I will admit that you have me beaten when it comes to age/experience, though.

            Thank you for the expanded opinion, but just fyi: You are not one of the people who came to mind while I typed the above comments.

    • The pacing would be correct if we were reading this all at once. Those who are used to reading serials like comics deal with this anticipation.

      I have been engaged since I found this comic — well written and beautifully drawn. I can handle waiting for the artist and writer to finish their work.

    • AllyssaC

      They also shouldn’t complain considering just how much Alex and Winona actually update.. I mean, it isn’t exactly for free for all of them, but still. They update A LOT. 
      I’m chill with the sentence cut-offs.

  • Gaz Hawkins

    hummmm… it’s a hospital room, three guys have guns and we have at least 1 android (possible 2) there must be a 10001 ways Deacon can either get a weapon or turn that hospital equipment into a weapon and make good their escape – it’s all part of D&J’s plan, thought up whilst they awaited the pickup.

  • “Love of mine…” -*Clutches heart dramatically*

  • Emily Hood

    I am predicting that they had some sort of code reprogrammed into Deacon before the recovery team showed up just for this reason. And now Jeff is about to say the codeword that overwrites his programming and allows them to bust out of there! Because I can’t make myself believe that this will have an unhappy ending. It just doesn’t seem right…

  • Yukiness

    GAH!! Midsentence again!!!! You made me throw my hands up and spew out bad spanish Alex. My god, I love the suspense but the tension is so thick on this site you could draw a bow across the monitor and play the fucker like a violin.
    However, if this means that saturday will finally end this damn sentence, I can wait. Excellent page you guys. Happy Birthaversary to Kristi and Fabiana! *breaks out the smexy cake shaped like Deacon’s chest*

    • Thank you for the patience and the props, Yukiness. And I promise: this Saturday, Jeff will get to finish his sentence. 🙂

  • AllyssaC

    I’m gonna cry again.
    Because of how angry and betrayed Jeff is.
    …. 🙁

  • xenie

    I am DYING over here!  I can foresee Jeff saying a code word so Deacon can bust them out – but I see Deacon dying in the process.  I cannot wait to see the end.  I want it to be happy – but I am feeling a Joss Whedon type twist coming. 😉 

    • peanut5507

      Wash. :'(

  • Brittany Brain

    I’m hoping the people thinking that Jeff’s gonna say some special word that breaks Deacon’s coding are right. Either way this ends though, I’m gonna cry.

    • elijah elquest

      OH. DUDE. 
      didnt think of this.

      • LukaTisus

        Neither! Good gawd. I hope Jeff and Deacon had come up with a ‘Plan B’ should this situation arise.

    • Guest

      THE WERD IS LOOOOOOVE……*grooves*

  • Becky

    Can I just say that those three guy seem REALLY into the possibility of getting to shoot Deacon in the head.  They are READY.

    • YangYueLan

      I am kinda worried that if they do shoot Deacon the bullets will just ricochet off him and kill the guards… That may be the plan now that I think of it…

  • chirachira

    I finally took the time to catch up on a LOT of pages I let stack up over the past couple of months! I absolutely am enthralled and loving everything. I wish I waited one more week because the suspense is killing me.

    • Jayd! Great to see you here! 😀 And thank you for such kind words! (We’re nearing the finish line so I promise you won’t have to wait *too* long. 😉 )

      And BTW, congrats on your Kickstarter success! Y’all rock! (And deserve it!)

  • elijah elquest

    new theory: totally a plan between them. flashback- deacon and jeff talking about the end. i’ll plead humanity, if that doesnt work, i go to kill you, we stage an ‘i kill you’ scene, you spent your whole life building an immunity to iocaine powder, i get a job and body dumper, ect ect.

  • Note panel 4.

    All the guards look at maven as well. 

    • ErykaSoleil

      Oh, wow. I just pictured Maven as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, saying the above-mentioned line . . .

      • If the comic ends even remotely like the movie, Alex is going to have a lot of ‘splainig to to!

  • llbutters

    Suddenly, I’m not sure if this won’t end tragically. D:

  • I’m so excited I just read the entire comic again… Which makes it the third time…

    The suspense is killing me o.o

    I just really hope that Deacon didn’t just lay on the floor, crying, the three days it took for his energy charge to run out. He could have made a plan at that time. He could.

  • RivreX

    Omg, this is the biggest cliffhanger yet; Y U NO COMPLETE UR SENTENCE?!

  • Woolfson, you’re a murderer. Not of Jeff, no. He’s fantastic, but his possible death isn’t the point here. You’re murdering my /sanity/. I might die in the time it takes you to post the next page. The suspense. THE SUSPENSE, MAN.

  • xuu

    have anyone else noticed how much jeff looks like monalisa in the first panel,,,,,

  • This comic is giving me an ulcer… But I will love the ulcer and NEVER press it’s death button…. EVER. 

    • 🙂

      • Lol There should be an Artifice Clinic- where faithful fans can receive free medical treatment for all the anxiety/heart attacks and ulcers that you cause. 

  • Guest

    gaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  • Oooooh, please tell me he knows some sort of codes to deactivate all the holds maven put on deacon!! I want their love TO LIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!

  • tonton101

    I  chanced upon Artifice through an article written by Andrew Wheeler over at and my god am I thankful for my good fortunes/divine providence/aligned stars or whatnot. Read all 82 pages in one sitting and am absolutely love-struck (or I might say moonstruck because of that agonizing cliffhanger!). I was very surprised by the depth of the story-telling in both prose and visuals — the existential dilemma raised by Deacon and the breadth and subtlety of emotions captivated by Winona’s simple yet delicate pen. My biggest joy, though, was delighting in how you wove Artifice into a classic sci-fi tale. Thank you for sharing your work and I hope a sequel is in the pipeline! 

    • mikakitten

      It’s not finished yet!! New page tommorow! 😀 look forwards to it!

    • ErykaSoleil

      Welcome! Come camp with us tonight!

    • Thank you, tonton101, for such a wonderful, kind comment. I’m delighted that you found us—and that you’re enjoying the both the bigger issues raised by the story (I love exploring ethical ramifications, etc.) and the yarn of the story itself. You comment put a big smile on my face. 😀

      And the next page is up now… If you’d like to take a look. 

  • rayrayravona

    kdfksdjf;sdlf I don’t think I can wait until tomorrow!

  • eleutherios

    And Jeff begins to curse, curse as only a betrayed lover can, calling on fate to send Deacon pain and grief and bitterness all his days.

  • mikakitten

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH! MUST HAVE NEW PAGE!!! NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!! Poor Jeff… ;_; …I still miss his hair…

  • HoneyThistle

    ….so…much…tension…  Dx

  • Saberri


    • Lynn Keller

       Saturday? No. But’s it’s always CATURDAY SOMEWHERE!

      • ErykaSoleil

        Actually, it IS Saturday in several places (like Afghanistan). But it’s not Saturday -here-, sadly.

  • ErykaSoleil

    -Pulls up to the camp site in her truck and proceeds to unload fire wood, a huge ice chest, and comfy lawn chairs.-

    • I shall help you as I unload my own stuff 🙂

      • wasEnkidu

         *Sighs and brings out drinks* I got sodas mostly. What does everyone want? Whose turn is it to make the sausages. Because at Yaoi-camp we can only eat hot dogs and sausages.

        • Guest

          *Grabs the marshmallows* So, We gotta get sugary all up in here waiting for the next page? And I’ll take a soda, this is a SERIOUS thirst for another page.

          ((Facebook post? WTF?!))

          • littlartistan


        • ErykaSoleil

          I don’t have sausages, but I do have roasted eggplant and mostly-homemade pizza (bought the crust, because I’m a bit of a cheater sometimes). I’m also going to be cooking up some mostly-from-scratch egg rolls later (I can’t make the wrappers, sadly, so those are pre-made). Anybody want some?

        • I didn’t make sausages or anything (don’t eat pork), but how about some nice juicy pickles?  Still appropriately phallic enough for a yaoi-camp, just without the meat.  Or I can try making phallus-shaped steaks…

    • Kel Z

      I’m taking a break from my all day long video game spree to come plop down a chair and run around the room before going back to the video game spree. Camping will go faster this way. 😀

    • qui-gon-robot

      And I shall pass out the illicit drugs >:D
      So…Does anybody wanna buy my shirt? …I’ll trade you my shirt for a grilled cheese!

      • ErykaSoleil

        That depends. What kind of shirt is it? (And don’t say, “The fabric kind!”, either.)

      • Kel Z

        … wait, what kinds of drugs are we talking about? If there’s cheese involved, I’m all over that…

        • qui-gon-robot

          Ones that will make cheese happen! mushrooms would be a good start, no forget it I said NOTHING, You heard NOTHING, did someone say something, because I said NOTHING.
          BOOM! Do Deacon’s pores look bigger to you? Next thing you know, we get Mozarella betraying Parmizan to evil yogurt dudes.

    • Fulgin

       That better be local fire wood…don’t want to spread the Emerald Ash Borer.

  • Jose Hernandez

    Since I’m a bit against the poor writing, bad choice of words for an on page comment, a purely villianess therapist represents there can be only one solution. Her plan: force the AI to break mastercode in a trans-humanist attempt to create god out of the machine. No really I think this entire setup, even forcing D. to consider killing his lover in an attempt at self preservation and code execution, is in itself an attempt to create a truely human artifact. Coarse I wouldn’t be only three feet away when that happens.

  • Jose Hernandez

    A note on paceing. Stories take a certain amount of time to read and a certain amount of time to create. Usually when we  get a whole episode of information that has a beginning and end even the cliffhangers feel not so bad honestly I read the archive today in an hour. Trust me paceing is fine even a valley in the rising action is meaningless if it last the time it takes to read a 3-4 comic pages. Seriously read a novel valleys in the rising action can last chapters. Even near a climax a contemporary novel can have a pov change. Go with the flow and reread once the story has ended. Finally if you think this story has paceing problems with 82 pages don’t read homestuck’s 6000+ and counting.

  • wasEnkidu

    Jeff looks so pissed-off in that last panel. I think he’s going for either passive-aggressive or he’s going to try and GUILT Deacon about it. If I’m dying, you’re going down with me! Well, you’re going to feel really REALLY bad about it.

    • littlartistan

      Guuiillllt triiiip~

  • Hey all! I might miss camp tonight, sorry. It’s been a long day and I’m beat, If I wake up in four hours or so, I’ll check in. *leaves leftover Ghiradelli brownies*

    PS: Eryka, sorry for the comment spam on your DA (I’m Layman btw). You have some cool stuff.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Aw, it’s not spam. It lets me know you care. XD

      And thank you. 🙂 (-Slides a brownie away from the stash and begins to nom.-)

    • Kel Z

      You are here in spirit mah dear! I WILL EAT DEEZ BROWNIES FOR U. Ok?

      • Kel Z

        I wonder if Alex W will come through here and start yelling “get off may lawn” one of these days when we’re all out here loitering so randomly.

        • Actually, Alex loves campers. So much, that I think I’m going to post early tonight…. Maybe even a couple hours earlier than I usually do…

          Just because you are all so awesome and seeing you all here makes the page prep into light work. 😀

          • Kel Z

            … you’re gonna need a bigger lawn! :: snicker ::

            You know all we all feel about early updates. We are allllll about the early updates.

            All the silliness aside, looking forward to it! I had today off today so my brain kept thinking yesterday was Friday and today was Saturday, and I thought oh hey maybe there’s an up? No, it’s Friday. :: facepalm ::

          • Early updates rock my socks 🙂

          • Kel Z

            :: waves socks in tune to music :: In turn, this is my socks rockin’! 😀

  • Gah…you…cliffhanging bastard! Oh well, just gotta wait until tomorrow. O_O

  • rayrayravona

    So what time does it normally update?

    • I normally update at midnight PST. 

      But tonight, for my awesome campers, the page will be launched in the next ten minutes… 😀

      • Wowza!  Thanks!  I didn’t have time to eat too terribly much as the anxiety peaked 🙂

  • I have my Ameretto and Milk (shut up, it’s delicious), my older dog is asleep, my younger as asleep as he gets, working on crap for my next convention, Supernatural repeats in the background….I am set to sit here and refresh between working on constuff for a least a few hours….bring it on >:)

  • Justin White

    this is really jacked up on the companies part

  • Justin White

    and i really hope there some type o f plan i’m not seeing