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Artifice Page 84

270 Comments on Artifice Page 84

Oh, snap!

All right. Two VERY EXCITING bits of news:

First, it’s been a crazy last few days, but thanks to your amazingly generous support, the Kickstarter goal was reached—in less than 48 hours! O_O That means ARTIFICE WILL BE PRINTED! Woo hoo! Thank you all so, so much!

Now, the Kickstarter campaign has still got 25 days left and so that means it’s still running and new folks can still back it. And that’s a good thing because 1) you can still pre-order books through it and 2) it allows me to create some “bonus goals”—targets that when reached would mean I could afford to commission Winona to create special Artifice pin-ups and additional short comics in the Artifice world (including, potentially, an additional romantic flashback scene on Da Vinci Four which would answer some more questions and, of course, show the kissing and stuff y’all wanted to see more of. 😀 )

I discuss the “bonus goals” here, but let me say a couple things about pre-ordering Artifice books through Kickstarter. First off, backers in the U.S. get free shipping which is something special I’m offering to Kickstarter backers as a way to say “thank you” for taking a chance on me. Secondly, if you want a book sooner rather than later, you should pre-order through Kickstarter and if you want a book signed by both Winona and me, it looks like you’ll need to order through Kickstarter (at least for the foreseeable future).

Signing and shipping out these books for backers will be a huge push, so I won’t be offering the books for sale on my Web site until ALL backers have received their books (and then probably not until a few months after that when I’ve recovered…). Also, Winona lives across the country from me. That means I’m flying her to San Francisco so we can sign these books together—and she’s very busy and in-demand, which means there’s a limit to how many books it’s realistic to ask her to sign with me. I crunched the numbers and came up with a maximum amount of signed books that we could do together in a reasonable amount of time and figured it would still be more than enough to cover interest. Heck, I figured there would be a bunch of extras left over! Well, things have been going just a wee a bit better than I expected (we’re at 163% funding!) and right now—if all you want is a book signed by both of us—there are just 48 left of that reward and they are going fast. So, please, if it’s really, really important to you to get a book signed by both of us

Pre-Order Books Through the Artifice Graphic Novel Print Drive Kickstarter Project

Now, please, please don’t worry—if you can’t afford to do it right now, I absolutely will be making these books for sale through other means, most likely in early 2013. And if you just want my John Hancock alone in the book, no problem! I can do that anytime! But you are my faithful readers and I want to make sure you have first dibs on anything I put out. 🙂 And things are happening with the Kickstarter project A LOT faster than I expected…

(And in that vein, I want to offer android-strength hugs to everyone who has been helping me get the word out. On Monday I had four times the unique visitors and page views to this webcomic I’ve ever had. Quadruple! And I owe it all to your kind words on Facebook, reddit, Tumblr, Twitter and your favorite forums and blogs. As always, you just astound me with your generosity and support. 😀 And there are still those 25 days left to the project so if you can please keep recommending the comic and the Kickstarter project to your friends, I’d really, really appreciate it!)

O.K.! And the other news? It’s even more good news!

Today I’m launching the follow-up webcomic to ArtificeThe Young Protectors!

Now, there are still more pages of Artifice to go, of course, but I really love the community we’ve built here and I don’t ever want to see it end. So, I’m hoping that if I start this early, then maybe some of you would be willing to give the new comic a chance, and I’ll have some familiar faces and friends on this new journey. 🙂 Now, it’s a different genre—superheros—and it starts off a lot lighter (and with more yaoi) than Artifice did. But I did my best to make it into a fun time and, since this is me, I promise we get to some dark and serious stuff later on. 😉

I’ve just put up the first 3 pages to get us started and while Artifice is running, I’m going to be updating it on Mondays. (I’ll move it to Saturdays once Artifice is complete.) I really do hope you’ll give it a chance. It’s called

The Young Protectors

Please check it out!

And, last but not least…


And in addition all to your generous backing of the Kickstarter project as well as blowing well past the last donation target, we are now at $82 towards the next bonus page!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporter Nicholas H. (who makes their 4th generous donation to Artifice!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporters Sandra B., MASAYA K., JAMES E. & Roger R. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to Larisa V. who has just made their tenth super-generous $25 donation (and their third in a week and a half!) A big thank you with that big hug, Larisa! 😀

And finally, especially grateful and humbled, android-strength hugs go out to long-time superfriends of Artifice Wayne W., gregg H, & Jennifer M. (all making their 2nd amazingly generous donations!) for their amazingly generous $50 donations! Holy cow, y’all! You ROCK!

All righty! There’s lots more I have to say to you, but my usually pithy note has now turned into a small Russian novel. So, once again, please let me say how deeply, deeply grateful I am to you all. I’ve loved reading your comments on the last page. Winona and I couldn’t wait to share that page with you—and to have such a big reaction to it… Well, that’s dream-come-true stuff for us. Thank you so much for being the most awesome readers in the world! 🙂


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!
  • LostResolve

    Loving this comic more and more as days go by

  • Hyperminimalism

    I don’t like the way that guy’s head is turned in panel two.  Looks like he’s got a case of the broken neck.  As always, great chemistry here between Deacon and Jeff.  I’m terribly interested in how they intend on getting out of the facility.  Surely, that’ll be the FUN part. 😀

  •  This page is SO great.

    Yes Deacon, don’t listen to anyone except for Jeff.
    I’m so glad the two get to finally be together.
    But apparently the danger is not over yet.

     Ahhh. Can’t wait till next update.

  • RustyBurrell

    I swear these days I only know what day of the week it is by whether or not there is a new page of this up. Best thing I’ve read online in ages. Wonder what happens to that B-word Maven now…

    • Aikka

      Haha, week looks like that: Wednesday, Saturday, and “these days between them i don’t remember names of”

    • That is an awesome compliment, RustyBurrell. Thank you.

  • Sneaky plans are sneaky.  Jeff, I now have even more reason to love you.  And Deacon too, naturally 🙂

  • ChopstickChick

    Hah bitch got what was coming to her that’s for sure.
    Is there a link available for the new comic anywhere? My friend and I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

    • The link for the new comic is coming! I’m just finishing up a few things with it! But soon! 😀

  • I swear each page just gets better and better. I may feel a smidge sorry for Maven but I’m too busy cheering about Deacon and Jeff to care!

    Brilliant page guys.

  • fujoshifanatic

    Ha ha! Lovely play on the title here, Alex! Glad to see the Deacon/Jeff humor is still there, even after all they have been through. I’m assuming Maven is still alive as a hostage/bargaining chip to get out of there; that should be interesting. Well, this made my hump day; now looking forward to the weekend and another page of Artifice (and the new comic once it’s up!)

    • Hehe. I was wondering if anyone was going to comment on the title in relationship to this page. 🙂

      Glad you’re enjoying the work!

      • ErykaSoleil

        I admit: I had to go look it up to find out I didn’t have quite the right meaning in my head. Very clever, Mr. Alex, Sir.

  • 😀 So awesome-sauce-tastic. I love everything right now. 

  • Are you going to post a link for Young Protectors? You caught my interest with the words ‘super heroes’. I’m a HUGE Marvel and DC fan, and more recently became a fan of the newer, younger generation of supers (New x-men, Young Avengers, Runaways, Young Justice, Teen Titans, and Avengers Academy). The title, Young Protectors, made me think of those. Are they similar? I can’t wait to read your new comic as well as continuing Aritifice! 

    EDIT: Oops! Sorry! Should have read the earlier comments about you posting the link. Lol. Either way, I found out!

  • Erica

    :] im so happy about what’s happening. Deacon!! no more following orders from n e one else but jeff!!!! >:U hahaha
    That uhhh bruise on maven’s neck just looks terribly severe O _:U IT SHALL!!!
    *throws cup on floor* totally irrelevant action, but whatever.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Disemboweled? Are you talking about the guy Deacon shoved his arm through when they came to retrieve Jeff and Deacon?

      • Erica

        yep yep so delightful.

        • ErykaSoleil

          Oh, o.k. That isn’t quite how I picture a disembowelment, that’s why I was confused. :p

  • Last panel Deacon= badass to the tenth power.
    If you weren’t already swamped with stuff, I’d suggest a figurine of Deacon dual wielding handguns.
    So now that Jeff is “rescued”, I’m wondering how they’re going to escape. They’re in a sealed room in the center of LetsPlayGodCorp. Jeff is injured (I’m still ticked at them for that) and it has been established that there are many armed guards. Maybe they can use herr Doktor as a bargaining chip?

    And a spin off? With superheroes?! *can die happy*.

    • Petra Lipar

      Isn’t Deacon just perfect there? 😀

    • A figurine of Deacon like that would be fun, wouldn’t it? I love that pose too. 🙂 And glad you like the idea behind the new comic!

      • ErykaSoleil

        Artifice figurines would make an awesome Kickstarter campaign, I think. 🙂

  • AnyOtaku

    It’s so great to see them talking together again! I though that this day eould never come hehe I found interesting the fect that although Deacon is on Jeff’s side, he makes Jeff tell the code because he nows that if someone ordered to kill Jeff he wouln’t be able to resist.
    Btw, new comic sure it’ll be amazing! Can’t wait to read ir!

    P.S: last Deacon sentence is really cool but when I see Maven’s face in the same panel i feel kind of sorry… But it only lasts some seconds

    • I definitely have sympathy for Maven. And that’s one of the things I like about how Winona drew that last panel. We get Deacon having his win, total bad-ass. But Maven is a character (some of us) have grown to care about and we should feel for her too. Nothing is totally black-and-white in this world. Nor should it be.

  • Now he can make him that grilled cheese sandwich, right?! 😀

  • I am super excited about the new comic. Of course I’ll keep reading, regardless of genre. Science fiction isn’t even my first choice in genre (I rather like 20th century fictional pieces, myself), but I’m happy to get into anything with nice characters and writing.

  • Flashback comic… with… all the sexy parts?

    • I’d love to be able to do it. I know exactly what scene I’d write… 🙂

  • This is such an epic page! ♥ I love how they are all happy and loving and together again. Aww. And I’m looking forward so much to read this new comic, too! It’s sounds awesome! I usually don’t like sci-fi, but you even got me adoring this webcomic, so no matter what else you create, I’m sure I’ll love it 😀

    • Thank you, Dauwdrupje! It’s very flatterig to hear that you got into Artifice even though you’re not a sci-fi fan. I look forward to having you with us for the next one! 😀

  • I love you so much this manga is awsome!!

    • ErykaSoleil

      I’m just curious: what makes this manga, as opposed to just a webcomic with really nice art?

  • ErykaSoleil

    It really makes my heart sink to see that the door is shunking and the observation window panel is whirring; this does not bode well.

    I’m glad Maven isn’t dead, but -ouch-. That neck looks horribly painful right now, in that I-wouldn’t-wish-it-on-anybody way. Considering that he only needed to silence her, though, it could have been much, much worse.

    And finally: Oh, noes! Cheryl is dead! How will Maven go on after this? 😉

    • She’s just unconscious, isn’t she? ISN’T SHE?!

    • aquadrago

       Maven has never looked better. She, and you, will survive, because without conflict, there is no plot.

      Hopefully the maven monster will have huge permanent scars

      • ErykaSoleil

        Ah, I see you’ve read my earlier comments where I argued how boring the story would be with no conflict.

  • OK! There are some bugs still to work out. *sigh* But I finally got the first pages of The Young Protectors up. Please check it out!

    • Aikka

      Bookmarked a link and will be checking for the updates 🙂
      Right now it’s a little to soon to say if i  will like it or not, but for sure will give it a chance, as i have good experience with your comics Alex xP

  • grinsekatze

    uh I just LOVE it!!!!

  • This page gave me the biggest smile ever. =] 

  • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

    It looks to me like Deacon and Jeff better hurry up if they want to escape Noneco HQ. They’re going to steal a ship, if they can, I just know it!

  • Aikka

    I noticed i still didn’t post a comment so..
    what can i say…

    i love the page <3

    reading it made me smile and happy ^-^

    Really good to see them together again ^_^
     (and not when one is told to kill the other)

  • Yukiness

    That last panel is just too awesome. Also love the bruising and discoloration of the skin. I’ve seen other yaoi where they make it look like mad dashes without giving it some tone (this includes the more S&M yaoi too). Subtle details are refreshing.

  • Oh my god I love these boys.  Knew they had something up their sleeves! <3

    Sorry, Clarice. *grin*  Better luck next time.

    And congratulations, Alex and Winona, on making that Kickstarter goal!  I can't wait for October! 😀

    • Thank you, Meghan! I’m really excited too! I can’t wait to get the books, hold them in my little paws and ship them all out to you! 😀

  • I have a feeling the end is near. I really love Artifice, I want it to last forever and ever and ever…  but all good things come to an end. It makes them all the more precious. On a side note, I’d like to see Jeff’s hair again.

  • *flail*  What–is this–I don’t even–I AM UNABLE TO CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!  I did NOT realize Deacon was such an excellent actor!  I wondered where the poking the dragon personality of his went once he hit Maven, but I’d assumed that Maven freaked him out.  I have to redo my theories on EVERYTHING!  Also, why do I feel like there was significant conversation about just this type of event and all of this crap was planned, in detail, by Jeff and Deacon?

    Also, Maven is going to be utterly INCAPABLE of being a therapist ever again, because she’s never going to have faith in her patients again, which is bad for a therapist.

    Lastly, I wanted to be one of the backers, I really, REALLY did, but I don’t know where I’m going to be living when you send out the physical copies and I don’t actually want a digital copy, because shite happens to those.  ;-;  I’m sorry~!  But at least you have good things happening from other people who CAN contribute!

    • Aikka

      <- Alex's reply to someone who asked similar thing.
       Maybe it would help you 🙂

    • Hi DivaLady! Hehe. You’ll have to let me know what you think after you revise your theories. 😉

      And yes, if a concern about not knowing where you’ll be is holding you back, don’t worry! Amazon actually doesn’t send me your physical address when your credit card is charged. Instead, they send me your email address so I can ask you directly (through a “Kickstarter Survey”) and I’m not going to send those out until just before I print, just for that reason. So, no worries, so long as you keep your email address current with Kickstarter, those books will find their way to you! 🙂

  • yellowrock

    I knew he could do it.  :3

  • I did not realize Deacon did that much damage to Maven’s throat I thought he just punched her voice box really hard so she couldn’t speak for a bit…I feel bad.  I also feel that Maven at one point did have some genuine sympathy for Deacon, for just a brief second, but in the end we all have our own will and our orders.  🙁  I was hoping that she would change and join them.  These boys will be on the run for a long time.  *_* 

  • Happy place achieved ^_^ But honestly, I must say that I am on the verge of tears at the thought of this ending. I know you said there are a few more pages to go, and I’ve already skimmed ahead and read all the available pages of The Young Protectors (which is interesting so far!) but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I’m sure you’ll keep us all equally happy with your new work though. But allow me to mope a little when this officially ends. I can’t even remember what else I was going to say, so I’ll leave it at thank you for sharing your stories and art with us guys, you’ve made this little corner of the world a happier place. 

    • Paige Kuplinski

      I have to say I feel the exact way. I will probably follow and read everything they make but I can’t say for sure if it will have the same magic and chemistry of these characters, that said, I would most certainly love to be proven wrong

      • I totally hear you. But you want to know what’s funny? When Jeff was introduced, lots of people hated him. And I was warned again and again: “I’ll never believe a love story between these two!” Even with these characters, the magic took a little while to, well, work its magic! 😉 

        So I’m very glad to hear you’ll be willing to give The Young Protectors a chance! I don’t know if I’ll prove you wrong, but I’ll try my best! 🙂

        • Hate Jeff!? I was not aware that these mythical creatures existed. 

          But seriously, love is funny that way; you never know who you will fall for. It could be a stranger, a best friend or a supposed rival. It all depends on perspective, and how your wants/needs change over time. That and being stuck with one person for fifteen weeks can be an incentive to get along with that person for fear of going absolutely bonkers…not that an “inhuman” individual could go insane. Is that possible? He has emotions, and….hmmmm. 

          I have to rethink my theory now.

          • ErykaSoleil

            I admit that when I found the comic 29 pages in, I wasn’t totally sold on it. I read it from the beginning and thought it had great potential, so I gave it a few more updates to win me over, and ended up hooked. Honestly, I was mostly afraid that this would be some lame yaoi where the dominant guy subdues the prisoner, etc., etc. I’m so happy that’s not what it turned out to be, and I’m glad I decided to give it a chance.

    • Thank you, Mandy. I’ll miss putting out Artifice too. The only thing that makes me OK with it ending is the thought that at least some of you will stick with me on the next one. 🙂

  • Flo_over

    Good story telling is not just in one idea.  It’s in the presentation and the desire of the author to make the best they can make.  You seem to honestly desire to create quality stories, so I’ll be along for the ride in the new comic.

    • Thank you, Flo_over. That is absolutely my intention. I’m delighted to hear you’re planning on coming along for the ride for the next one. 😀

  • The worst thing about checking updates first thing in the morning; you have to wait that much longer for the next one. Really well done. Clarice is a sympathetic villain, but a villain none the less, so while I’m glad she’s not dead, I’m also glad she’s been put in her place. I do understand that she is simply following orders and is doing her job to the best of her ability, but she seems a bit too maliciously manipulative in some panels that make it really
    easy to cheer. I’ve been following since page 70-something-ish was posted and have been glued to my computer since. This is everything I could have dreamed of and more. Thanks so much for putting a scifi twist in gay literature (yes it still counts as a comic).   

    • You’re very, very welcome. Thank you so much for your very kind words! 🙂

  • First time poster..And I can’t help myself.
    I love this style, I love this story, and in the words of fellow friends of mine..


    That was the best twist ever. I look forward to future pages. <3

  • Everything’s turning for the better~ XD  Disabling Maven’s ability to speak’s enough, Deacon.  I hope he doesn’t kill her or anything.. She may have been an antagonist for the most part, but she’s just doing her job, and her evilness is quite delectable~ 😀

    Time for the great escape then~

  • Silentwisher

    Awesome! 😀 I love this! Im going to donate as soon as I can! I want a hard book copy so bad!

    • Thank you, Silentwisher! I look forward to sending you a copy! 🙂

  • Last panel = epic. Love the look of shock on Maven’s face and her fucked up neck LMAO! (hated her so much).

  • Ryn

    in the future: hospital gowns have pants.

    okay, i doubted Deacon a little too quickly. I must say the pair of them are quite the actors. Since Jeff’s the ‘resist till you’re dead’ type i found it weird that he was so subdued. The two of them must have found some way to get in contact with one another.

    •  I think that’s just the sheet, sorry to say.  This future may be more advanced, but i doubt it’s civilized enough to give its patients the dignity of pants.  xD

      • *examines panel* no, those are definitely pants.

        • W Nelson

          Yup.  Pants.

      • SteveMcSheffrey

         Look closely,  That’s definitely pants.  Ugly pants so it was probably not being more dignified but them hoping the fashion offense would make sure a gay android would get extra murderous…

    • ErykaSoleil

      Some hospitals will let you wear pants if you’re staying overnight or longer, as long as it doesn’t interfere with treatment. Or maybe the pants were part of his prison garb?

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    Honestly?  I had to stay away for three updates.  I was reasonably sure where it was going but the thought that Deacon would kill Jeff was bothering me so much I couldn’t bear even the slight possibility he’d do it.  The art and writing was too well done for me to take for granted I was right.  However, the throat punch to that malicious bitch made my wait worthwhile.  Thank you!

    • You’re very welcome, Steve. Glad to have you back. 🙂

  • Awesomeawesomeawesome comic! <3 

  • May I just say Deacon is looking incredibly sexy in that last panel.

  • Fulgin

    Alex, Winona – great work here.  Pulliing off “the big reveal” is expected, but making the page after the big reveal count – really count – well, that separates the master from the journeyman.   Deacon’s dialogue, for example, reveals three distinct layers of meaning, all of which reverberate nicely.  And despite the drastic changes in Jeff’s physical appearance, his body language is spot on.  Wonderful, wonderful work.

    • Thank you, Fulgin. Those are really wonderful, gratifying compliments. You’ve put a big smile on my face. 🙂

  • Hrilmitzh

    oh wow oh wow! love it! This comic is so fantastic 😀

  • Yeeessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!

  • i love how Deacon’s shadow in the second panel seems to be terrorizing Maven in to the corner while he’s busy being awesome.

    • ScreamingFurby

      And I like how the shadow of Jeff’s head is on Deacon’s crotch in panel 3. Yay, for subliminal Shadows <3

      • LOL

      • W Nelson

        Heeeeeeehehehe!  I knew someone would notice XD

  • Sam

    Yay for being blown away 🙂

    It’s so nice to see them together and smiling again, though it looks like they’ve got a tough time ahead of them getting out.  

    Also, I’d be willing to bet Jeff will “order” some sexy time once they’re safe, heh.  Though since Alex is offering a special “Happy Ending” print as one of the bonus rewards, part of me is worried they won’t get their happy ending in the comic…  The cover art for the book worries me as well, since it makes me wonder if it’s supposed to be abstract and symbolic or if it’s something still to come…  I really hope those thought processes make no sense and are wrong 🙁

    • I thought that also, but I’m gritting my teeth and repressing the image. Far too many stories with a gay lead turn out to be bittersweet or tragic. I’m hoping this is NOT what Alex has in mind. 

      The cover art seems to be symbolic, maybe even surreal, showing the struggle they endure to be together as the corporate soldiers symbolize society in general. But this is only a hypothesis. 

      • Sam

        I’m inclined to go with that hypothesis as well, though the harshness and urgency of the image is what makes me wonder otherwise :

        I’m sorry to say I’m not familiar with many stories featuring main characters who are gay, but I also REALLY don’t want a tragic or bittersweet ending to be the case for this story.  Yes, perhaps it could be argued that tragic/bittersweet endings might more accurately reflect “reality”…  But reality is changing.  It’s been in the works for a long time, and there’s still a long way to go, but reality is changing, at last.  I hope this comic will (continue to) affirm that change and, in giving Deacon and Jeff the happy ending they deserve, help to advocate it 🙂

  • imageist

    As happy as I am to see Deacon and Jeff pull through (so far), I can’t help but worry over the fact that the door and observation panel window have been security locked, but the looks of it (took a while to figure that out: the whirring is something going down, closing the window, and the “shunk” is the door shutting on itself).


    • Ambler

      Deacon doesn’t seem too concerned about it. He’s shooting out the lights, so maybe he’s expecting a team to come in, and then he’ll ambush them in the dark…

      :O Some Rambo shit going on up in here.

      • ErykaSoleil

        Actually, I think that’s the security camera he just terminated.

        • Ambler

          Oops. My bad.

          Okay, more like ‘Bank Job’ shit then…

  • Although I’m incredibly happy for how things turned out… I can’t order the printed comic book 🙁 I live in Perú, not the U.S.

    • Hey Ana! International orders are just fine, actually. You just need to pledge a little bit more to cover my additional shipping expenses. 🙂 It describes what you need to do on my Kickstarter page.

  • Last panel — Deacon takes a level in badass.

    • wasEnkidu

       Bringing him up to… what? LVL 20 Epic Badass?

  • Jenny Blue

    yay!!!!!!!! happy surprise! I didn’t think there’d be a page up but there it is! and it’s freaking awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! and Alex launched another comic!!!!!!!! BEST DAY EVER!!!!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!! my reaction as I looked at this page: omg a new page! aww how sweet…. goooo Jeff! his long spiel=you’re mine forever!!! aww jeff looks so cute. ‘good doctor’ heh. *wince* ouch poor jeff 🙁 O.O omg is he gonna kill maven!?! …then I read Alex’s post and I was like …A NEW COMIC!!!!!!!! OMG!!! gimme! …anyways yeah, and congrats on getting all your funding/donations Alex!! ^_^ yay!!! (and yeah I know I use too many ‘!’s, 😛 ) XD

    • Thank you, Jenny! Glad you’re enjoying what we’re putting out here! 😀

      • Jenny Blue

        oh I don’t enjoy it Alex, I Adore it! 🙂

  • I am SO happy for you Alex 😀 And for Jeff and Deacon too. That he is the only one who can give Deacon commands is super romantic somehow! <3

    I'll go read The Young Protectors as soon as I'm done being cuted out by this page.^^ I'm really relieved that I can keep on reading yaoi from you. Yours are the best!

    • I find it romantic too, actually…

      And thank you! I hope you’ll stick with me for the next one! 😀

  • wasEnkidu

    Would the bonus comic stuff be available outside of the pre-order push? I start my new job at the end of the month so until then, money is tight. But I really want to be able to see the bonus comics.

    • Hmm. I haven’t thought that far again. It will definitely be just for Kickstarter backers at first, but maybe in 2013 or 2014 I can create something that would make them available to a wider audience. 🙂

  • Oh man, the victory I feel on this page is so intense, especially with the first panel, with them kinda smiling at each other, and a little Deacon humor to go with it.

    I’m kinda half and half on the last panel, feeling very happy for Deacon and Jeff and actually almost a little bad for Maven; she seems like a hard lady to dupe, and when she gives a guy a break he goes and karate-chop-stabs her in the hyoid.

    I’m gonna have to stay happy for our boys, though.

    Congrats on Kickstarter! I may have to go and see if I can’t pre-order. Follow up comic, what :V That’s incredibly exciting. As a long time reader here, I’m positive that I’ll be enchanted with this next production. Thank you, Alex and Winona, for all your hard work.

    • Thank you, Kristen, for the congrats and the vote of confidence. You’re very welcome to all the hard work—wonderful readers like yourself make it all worth it. 🙂

      (And I too feel a bit mixed with that last panel, but ultimately also choose to be happy for our guys. 🙂 )

  • C K

    Oh man, I’ve been so excited to read this all day, but I didn’t think reading a yaoi comic would fly well on my work computer….

    First of all: SO EXCITED that the comic is being printed and I am absolutely going to order a copy.  And I’m also thrilled that you’re doing another comic series!  Which I’m sure I will follow with the same religiousness as this one.

    Secondly: SO HAPPY with this comic.  I take back my two weeks of cursing out Deacon.  While I am always scared that seemingly-happy endings will go badly, I’m so happy that there’s this good moment here and that this was all planned to begin with.  And I continue to adore Jeff so so much.

    While I was, for a while, on Team Maven Is Just Doing Her Job, I’m honestly looking forward to seeing some karmic payback here.  Not really for her treatment of Deacon so much as nearly pulling the plug on someone she knew was harmless — and all for some good old-fashioned mindfuckery.

    Also: that last panel, with Deacon’s arms braced with a gun in each hand, and the shadow along his abdominals?  That’s a gorgeous shot, especially contrasted with Maven’s oh-shit face.  The art for this series is amazing.

    • I agree. I love the pose Winona created for Deacon in that last panel. Much fun. 🙂

      Thank you for the vote of confidence for The Young Protectors! As I’ve said, it’s different from Artifice but even more fun in some places and pretty much just as much Alex, for better or worse. 😉

      And thank you also for such a thoughtful comments. I really enjoyed hearing what emotions this page evoked for you… and your take its implications.

      I look forward to getting that copy of Artifice out to you! 😀

  • Fabiana Nonato

    Yeah, I really loved this page…
    GO Deacon, go Jeff!
    Anyway, I’ll goin to read the young protectors now!

  • Cydalima

    Okay, I’d like to say so many things about this comic but I just can’t express myself the way I would like to in English. So when I find the right words, if I do find them, I’ll come back. For now, I just want to say that I really love this comic and that this page is absolutely gorgeous!


  • Erica

    you know, i just read over the whole webcomic anddd i thought
    this is kinda like a Castle in the Sky moment… When Sheeta told Pazu about the forbidden spell that her grandmother said to never use. They used the spell to destroy Sheeta’s actual home [which is the castle in the sky called Laputa]. So that’s what I felt like happened when Deacon was taking to Jeff those times before being found. like…. Deacon saying “You know, when we were being made I heard my creator talking about certain emergency codes to use when one is in danger blah blah blah” iunno lol just saying

  • geneticsgirl

    I love how the last page was so kick-ass/take-names, and this page is so calm. They seem like they are just having a regular conversation even though there are guns and doors/windows shutting and a therapist with a bruised neck. And is it just me, or can you guys see Deacon’s abs through his jumpsuit?
    OH – and don’t get me started on how Maven’s nails are the same color as her earrings and dress suit.
    Those kinds of details make me feel like these characters are real people. Too bad Deacon is spoken for. and gay. and in-human. and a figment of Alex’s imagination…

  • lolabola1

    All my mind can think is AAAAWWW YEEAAAAA

  • Lorescien

    This. Is. PERFECT.

    Also, Deacon’s body in that last panel… mmmmmm. Jeff’s a lucky man! 😛

    You guys are so awesome for making this comic! I love you, Alex and Winona for making my life just a little bit brighter with this! 🙂

    • Thank you, Lorescien! It really is our pleasure to make your life a little brighter. That’s what it’s all about, y’know? 🙂

  • Saberri

    So… Is Maven choking on her vocal cords? Is that even possible?

    • ErykaSoleil

      I don’t know about the vocal chords per se, but a badly-injured trachea can certainly kill you.

  • Alright. I got tired of reading the “Deacon looks great in the last panel/look at those abs/is that crotch shaded” comments and not being able to see it properly on this blasted laptop. I had to tilt the screen at the right angle in order to see what everyone was talking about. I wasn’t disappointed. XD

  • eleutherios

    Two words: AW YEAH!

  • Epistasthai

    whoo yeah! I’m so happy Jeff and Deacon got to have a real conversation!  But they still have to get outta there. And what’s with all the shutters and doors closing down? These last two pages have been such a rush to read! Thanks!

  • Ahhhhhh!!! Oh my GOd! I was too busy being sad for Maven in the last panel to notice the details D:

    The last two sentences that flowed out of Deacon’s lips sent sub zero chills down my spine. Even tho Maven was awfully mean, and Jeff was going to die, I can’t help but feel sorry for her still. It was her who got thoroughly used. On the page before, I was kinda praying (even tho I hate her too) “Oh merciful author, please spare her ignorant ass” hoping Deacon simply punctured her jaw. But I hella stared at the obvious wound on her brittle hyloid bone. It seems like she’s definitely gonna die out of all the unconcsious bodies everywhere. And the conversation revealed the even more emotional damage that Maven is hearing as she tries to hold on to the last of her life. The irony is making me I hella pity her ):

    Great great writing tho 🙂

    • Thanks for the props, Jeff. And I definitely have sympathy for Maven too.

  • Ambler

    Man with two guns = automatic badassery. Being a robot with the body of a Grecian warrior just keeps on addin’ points…

  • Vinctia Valentine

    “I simply needed someone to believe in me.”

    …That was a verbal slap to the face. Well said, Deacon. Well said.

  • HoneyThistle

    Wow, he screwed up Maven’s throat worse than I thought!

  • I just noticed something new about dear old killbot’s skills.

    You see, the average person looses accuracy when wielding two guns. The best position for a person to stand in while aiming a rifle is supporting the weapon with both hands. Deacon, however, has super strength and accuracy, and can hold both pistols with equal stability.


    • Yes. Deacon loses no accuracy while wielding two guns. Or really any other weapon. Or object.

  • Sam

    I keep coming back to this page for 1) Jeff and Deacon just being together again and 2) Deacon’s crazy badass pose in the last panel.  It’s all really making me want to see him and Jeff sporting some classy suits, for some reason.  If only I could draw 🙁

  • I…I just…
    I fucking love this comic. T^T

  • Antonio Delgado

    Just so you know, I’ve spent the last two hours reading it all. Superb, though a little light on the details, as you say. The art is magnificent!! The expressions are grrreat. If this were a monthly comic (make that bi-weekly, I couldn’t wait that much), I’m sure it’d be a HIT!  So… thanks!!

    • You’re very welcome, Antonio. Thank you for all the kind words! 

      I hope you’ll stick around for The Young Protectors.  🙂

  • Words cannot express how happy I am XD OMG Yay!!

  • HOLY SH*T! I wasn’t sure about this comic in the beginning but by the end, I was completely captivated. In love with this comic and you have a new fan here <3

  • Deacon’s crazy badass pose in the last panel just got me all bonner omg lmao

  • Anyone else notice the door closing and that “whirring”?

    Also notice how Deacon had actually knocked down a lady in the next room by having knocked that man through the glass (presumably a two-way mirror?).

    • Snarkyred

       I think the door closing and the screen coming down over the window is from Deacon securing the room.

    • Ambler

      I noticed the lady in the window.


    • Kel Z

      Yup, I noticed it, too. The whirring makes me nervous. 😛

    • ErykaSoleil

      I noticed the window and door. I’m not sure if the people behind the glass were taken out by the guard being thrown, or if we had a lapse of a few moments between the last page and this one, during which Deacon reached in and pummeled them.

  • I only just found this story, and I wanted to complement you on producing such a compelling story with still believable characters. There’s never enough well written gay-fiction out there. My brother came out a few years back, and I love being able to send him cool stuff like this. Thank you again! Cant wait for the next installment!

    • You’re very welcome, Sarah. Thank you very much for all the kind words—and for helping to spread the word (that’s always helpful!). 

      I agree, the world could use more well-written gay fiction—particularly great genre fiction. 😀

      I hope your brother enjoys it. And I look forward to seeing you on the next page!

  • I just found your website tonight, and have stayed up way too late reading Artifice.  As a long-time fan of comics and sci-fi, I had to let you know how much I enjoyed this.  In just 84 pages, you got me to fall in love with a killer android.  I was definitely NOT expecting that last twist–I think I actually said “Yay!” out loud when Jeff freed Deacon.  I always love it when a writer can surprise me, so thank you!  

    Also, I have to comment on Ms. Nelson’s artwork–it’s absolutely beautiful.  The emotions come across realistically and believably, and her character designs are fantastic.  I once again find myself crushing on sexy comic book dudes, which I thought I’d grown out of.  Thank you for proving me wrong, I guess?

    I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    • ErykaSoleil

      Welcome! 🙂

    • Hey, thank you, Josh, for sharing your experience of reading Artifice for the first time—and with such lovely specific details. Very much fun for me to read! And thank you also for your very kind words.

      Welcome to the site! 😀

      (And yes, crushing on 2D guys. Something I did as a kid. And still do quite a lot of, actually… 😉 )

  • JLJones

    Personally, I still LOVE Maven.  I love her character, and what she represents within that role.  She’s the front man for the corporation, which is evil.  Eeeevil!  I was secretly thrilled when that was shining through in her, with those evil smiles in her office, and the way she taunted Deacon as he saw Jeff for the first time.  Her mistake was in the classic Evil Genius style – taunting the Heroes at the cusp of victory.  Maven, you really need to read more comic books 😛  That broken throat could have been avoided!!

    Anyway, I’m also happy to see that this ending is starting to look a little brighter =)  They’re still deep within the corporation, so escaping will be tricksy, but I’ve obviously learned to not underestimate Deacon XD  And with Jeff being his apparently permanent “master” for lack of a better term, I’m quite looking forward to seeing the destruction he leaves in his wake.  Let it be a lesson to all at NoNeCo… do NOT screw with people’s emotions and loved ones!  Even if those people are artificial!

    At the edge of my seat again, Alex (though technically that seat is my bed, seeing as I’ve been grounded to bed rest due to my back wanting to murder me in my sleep.)

    • ErykaSoleil

      Sorry your back is trying to kill you. 🙁 Hope you recover quickly.

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

       Aw… sorry your back’s trying to kill you, I know how you feel. Argh doesn’t even cover my own backache. Here’s hoping we both are on the mend soon!

    • That’s a very good lesson, JLJones. 😉 And I’m delighted to give you a small distraction from the back trouble. I know how that can be. 🙁

      I hope you feel better very soon!

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    how did i miss this update? holy corrupted minors batman! i LOVE it!!! *screaming*

  • Consider me camped.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the tent sleeping until sometime tonight…


    • littlartistan

      Hey….aren’t you supposed to be getting firewood!? We’re going to freeze!

      • ErykaSoleil

        I have firewood. Because I live in Alaska. :p

  • jmo

    Jeff is pretty lucky to have a boyfriend that will follow his every command. 🙂

  • So…
    Is the bitch dead?

    •  gasping for breath, she’s no longer a threat, I don’t see Deacon feeling the need to kill her.

  • Kel Z

    I haven’t replied yet for two reasons:
    1) Life = crazy
    2) Every time I go to answer, I’m struck by how AWESOME it is to finally see Maven on the floor and Deacon look so badass in that last panel.

    Love it! You guys rule! :: hugs Alex and Winona ::

  • ErykaSoleil

    -Sing-song.- Friday, Friday, Friiiiiiiiday! Friday, Friday, Friiiiiiday!

    Seriously, I woke up this morning and was all, “Yay! It’s Friday! Artifice update!”

  •  Again….YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!  LOVE CONQUERS ALL!  One thing that’s been burning at me though….why was Jeff’s hair cut?

    • darbanville

      They may have cut it just to make caring for him simpler, especially if he was in a coma or kept sedated. The nurses that tended to him probably didn’t have time to tend to all that lovely hair too, unfortunately.

  • I just ordered my KickStarter copy and I can’t wait! Thanks so much, Alex, for providing such excellent yaoi to us all!

    • You’re very much welcome. Thank you so much for backing my Kickstarter project! I can’t wait to get that book out to you! 😀

  • Camping with tea, pop tarts and 70 degree weather in March… yeah. *taps out beat to final countdown*

    • ErykaSoleil

      70 degrees? Man, I’m pretending to be where you are tonight. :/ (It’s currently about 5 degrees here.)

      • It isn’t usually. In Michigan there is usually snow still. I know your pain/numbness. 

    • Do you have the cinnamon brown sugar kind? *puppy eyes*

      • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

         I do! Here! *gives*

        • Yay! Thank you. *stuffs face*

      • Yes, actually. Two whole boxes. *Gives extra box* They are not my favorite. 

        • Oh yum! *hoards for later* Thank you!

          • Jenny Blue

            UO.OU (< datsa puppy btw) can I haz some? pwetty pwease? 

          • Sure *hands over a few packets* I filled up on ribs anyway.

          • Jenny Blue

            yay!!!!! *noms a pack* yummy!! ¡Me encanta poptarts! 
            ¡gracias! heh, I Googled that. it means ‘I love poptarts! Thanks!’ 😀

  • made my day

  • Camping here.  Not much in the way of foodstuffs, but my fridge shall be your fridge, if you so desire!

    Also wishing it were tomorrow so (1) we’d have our lovely new page 🙂 and (2) so I can call my landlord and ask about the funky smell coming from a neighbor’s place that is invading mine…

    • Cristina Cornejo

      camping here too

    • ErykaSoleil

      Your neighbor has obviously killed someone, and is stashing the body in his/her house until they can drag it out to the woods and bury it in a shallow grave filled with cement.

      • *edges away from Eryka*

        • ErykaSoleil

          What? COME BACK.

          • *flees*

          • ErykaSoleil

            Didn’t you ever watch “The Last Unicorn”? NEVER RUN FROM A PREDATOR. 😉

          • You SLAY me, Eryka. Wait…

            That was a bad choice of words!

          • ErykaSoleil

            Glad I’m entertaining–I’d hate to kill the mood.

          • ^This lol

      • Huh, possibly.  I don’t know if it’s that or some form of smoking, because I have no idea what they smell like :

        • ErykaSoleil

          They smell -awful- once they start decomposing, but the average person generally convinces themselves the smell must be a sewage leak.

          • ^She writes from prison.

          • LOL.  It doesn’t smell like a cadaver.  They don’t smell like skunkweedy grossness, or whatever it is :

          • ErykaSoleil

            :p Both of my parents studied under Dr. William M. Bass.

          • Seriously? *stops fleeing* I’ve heard of him. Bones is my all time favorite TV show!

          • ErykaSoleil

            Seriously. -Grins.- And forensic anthropology has been a study hobby of mine since I was about 12. So as long as you don’t go thinking Bones is how things really work 100% of the time . . .

          • You mean that not everyone working on gruesome murder cases is incredibly attractive with genius level IQs? And the interns aren’t really quirky and tend to match the case? *sighs* As long as the FBI agents look like David Boreanaz that’s all that matters.

          • ErykaSoleil

            . . . -Coughs.- Um . . . I’m sure -some- of them do . . .

          • Right. And the ones that don’t, look like Eddie McClintock.

    • Free fridge, sweet! *takes*

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      Camping too. Chicken or cookies anyone?

      • ErykaSoleil

        -Raises an eyebrow.- What kind of cookies?

        • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

           Peanut butter, or white chocolate macadamia nut. I could go bake up some mocha cookies too, it’d take about fifteen minutes start to finish 🙂

          • ErykaSoleil

            I am totally sold. I will take one of each, please.

            For now. 😉

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

             You got it! 😀

      • Cookies. Vegetarians are usually left to survive on desert. Oh, what a cruel world us vegetarians live in. ;-D

        • ErykaSoleil

          Hmmm. Are you vegan, or lacto-ovo?

    • Kel Z

      … I’m much more concerned about #2 than #1. Because that could become really creepy really fast. Dead bodies? Meth lab? Angry cats? RUN AWAY.

  • Jenny Blue

    I have Iced tea and Barbecue Ribs if anyone’s interested, they’re reeaaaallly Yummy! 😀

    • ErykaSoleil

      O.O  Homemade barbecue, or store bought?

      • Jenny Blue

        bought the barbecue sauce at the store, bought the ribs from a friend who raises his own cows, and cooked it at home! It’s delicious! 

        • ErykaSoleil

          Sweet! I haven’t had good ribs since leaving the South. :/

          • Jenny Blue

            aww…. how sad 🙁 when’d you move? We moved from Fl to Ky two years ago and I LOVE Kentucky!

          • ErykaSoleil

            We’ve been in Alaska about a year and a half. I really miss catfish fries, too.

          • Jenny Blue

            ooh! Alaska! I’d like to visit there, and Canada, and Ireland, and England, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, basically everywhere 😀 I’ve never had catfish fries. are those like chicken strips, but made out of catfish? I have tried gator-tail though, it was yummy.

          • ErykaSoleil

            No, catfish fries are when a big group of people get together and fry up a huge batch of catfish, and just chill. Yummy and fun. 🙂

          • Jenny Blue

            aaaah… I see now, catfish fries as in a party, got it! lol 

    • *TACKLES* OMFG I love ribs!

      • Jenny Blue

        *evades Alex’s tackle* whoa! patience Alex! there’s plenty of ribs, you don’t need to break one of mine! ;D 

  • So, I have pesto hummus and pumpernickel bread chips to camp with. Help yourself!

    • ErykaSoleil

      Pesto hummus, huh? I’ve never had that. I shall have to try adding some pesto the next time I whip up a batch of hummus.

    • Oh bread chips! …I swear I don’t have the munchies.

  • DOVE

    Hello, first time camping for Artifce. Where can I set up?

    • Anywhere where there’s room. Snacks all around unless Alex has eaten them all. LOL JK

      • *munches on Kristi’s bread chips* Whatever are you talking about?

    • Pick a post, any post. Preferably one with food.Keep in mind that Eryka may or may not have killed people. Just FYI. *is kidding*

      …*or not*

      • ErykaSoleil

        Hey, everybody here is alive, right? So I’m obviously not -too- dangerous.

        • Come to think of it, we haven’t heard from Summer in a while. Not since you were talking to her about bodies…

          Run, Mrs. Sorrentino! Don’t follow her!

          • ErykaSoleil

            I knew you’d point the finger of blame at me . . . you really should be nicer to me, Alex. We have ravens here, you know . . .

          • …I’m not dead yet….(circa Monty Python)

          • Shhh! Who asked you? ; )

          • DOVE

            Ok, i’m terrified, not sure i’m ever coming back here again….

    • ErykaSoleil

      Welcome! We have a nice group over here. Follow me . . .

  • I think the next page is just about ready to be taken out of the oven…

    • Jenny Blue

      yay!!!! can’t wait!

    • Kel Z

      And I’m ready to get a slice of the fresh pie that is the next page.

      … er wait that actually might sound a little bad…

      … oh whatever. 🙂

    • Hooray!

    • *witty pun about hot images*

      • Refreshing the page a lot. do dah. do dah. Brand new page is nice n’ hot. Oh do dah day!

    • Up in 5 minutes. 😀

      • Kel Z

        :: refresh ::

        :: refresh ::

        :: dances in a circle ::

        :: refresh ::

      • Jenny Blue

        waiting with bated breath!

  • jmo

    Jeff is pretty lucky to now have a boyfriend that will follow his every command. 🙂

  • Oh god now i just realized he’ve literally pierced through her skin and right into her throat. That must suck big time. 

  • Thanatopia

    …is it wrong that I kinda want to sing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”?

    I don’t HATE Maven, but it still seems like the appropriate inappropriate thing to do.

    • SolrSurfr3

      If you don’t, then I happily will. 😀

      • Kristin Wilcox

        and I’ll happily make it a duet

  • Did he just kill her with a fist to the jugular? That is some bad-ass class right there.

  • SolrSurfr3

    WOOHOO! Plot twist! 😀

  • So I recognize that I’m tres late to this party –

    BUT, is there any way I can get in on ordering not only the print version of Artifice, but those bonus goal stories? 

  • Ree

    Eeeee this page is so exciting 😀 Everything is so exciting 😀

  • The Young Protectors did some mighty fine cross-pollinating as it’s thanks to them that I discovered Artifice, one of my new favorite gay sci-fi comics of all time (right up there with Starfighter). Keep up the great work! I’ll be getting my printed copy ASAP!!

  • Noriam Gutierrez

    Daaaaaaammmnn. Her neck. Holy shit.

  • Hee hee hahaha YESH!!!! Permanent override WOOT!!!!

  • Justin White

    is she dead?