OK, before we get into the usual general notes, let me just direct new readers to two very important things:
– If you’ve enjoyed this webcomic, there’s now a beautiful print version and you can buy a your own signed, jumbo-sized Artifice book from me directly at my store or order a copy right now at amazon.com!
– And if you’ve enjoyed this webcomic, I’ve got another one! It’s a multi-chapter superhero story called The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy. Please check it out! We’ve developed a wonderful community on this site and I’d love to have you join us there!
OK. That said, moving on! I wanted to answer a few questions here that I anticipate some of you might have. Let’s get started!
Is this some kind of cliffhanger ending?
It’s certainly not intended to be. When I wrote the script, I got to this point and was faced with the question of whether to write another scene after this one. But when I thought about what it would be—Deacon kicking ass with lots of violence and smarts leading to them getting out of the Noneco Campus to share yet another kiss with Jeff at the end—it just felt like more of the same. We’ve established that Deacon can kick serious ass and also that Deacon is smarter than Noneco anticipated. Perhaps I was wrong about this, but I felt tension could be achieved only if I created some new jeopardy for our heroes which would mean essentially beginning Artifice 2. Something that definitely has an appeal to me, but not exactly any more of an “ending”.
The arc I set out to achieve between protagonist and antagonist—Deacon and Maven—has been resolved. Deacon won. The “artifice” of the title has revealed itself. Artifice was always intended to be a shorter story and a single arc. And that arc has reached its conclusion. Kick the door down and exit stage right!
So, do they get out alive?
Yes. Word of God, they escape from the Noneco campus. There might be fun details to explore later, like how Deacon would get his hands on a ship. But in my opinion, those are just details. Fun for geeky guys like myself, but we know Deacon is the kind of guy who would have already figured it out. Deacon and Jeff had weeks to plan their escape and Deacon’s a very good solider.
Could Deacon really defeat all the security of Noneco’s main campus?
A whole army of Roys and Bobs? Yes. Absolutely.
How do you feel now about the choice to end it here?
The main arc is fully resolved and this scene has reached its natural conclusion so I still feel this is a fine place to end the story. But if I had to write it all over again—especially incorporating what I’ve now learned about writing for webcomics—I’d include a happy ending denouement. We’ve formed quite a community here and I think after our journey, it would be nice to see a scene of our heroes happy and together and well clear of Noneco, if not forever, then at least for a time. I would have written a coda. So, I’m excited that the Kickstarter campaign will help me afford to do that. (And that it has also made it possible for me to commission a canon “Happy Ending” pin-up.)
And for The Young Protectors, I am incorporating what I’ve learned here and I am telling a much longer story, so there will definitely be a much fuller resolution. I’m looking forward to that.
Does Maven die?
Maven is too cool to die.
Can I get a printed copy of Artifice?
Not yet, but soon! I had a very successful Kickstarter project to raise money for printing Artifice, so there will definitely be a trade paperback! Once printing is complete, I’ll need to ship out books to Kickstarter backers first (and then probably take a little break—I’ll be sending out 850 books!), but once that is done, I’ll be making the books available for sale here on this site. Look for them at the end of this year/early 2013.
Will there be an Artifice 2?
Boy, I’d love there to be! I even have a fairly good idea what story I’d want to tell. Maven would be in it, of course. There would be some fun exploration of what a human/android relationship would really be like. And it would be about Deacon trying to free himself and Jeff from Noneco’s attentions for all time.
But no script has been written. Winona, as you can imagine, is a very busy, very in-demand artist so she might not be available and I really wouldn’t want to do it without her. As for me? This year will be spent getting Artifice printed and fulfilling Kickstarter backer rewards (and putting out The Young Protectors, of course). But next year… well, we’ll see what Winona and I are up to then.
(A request, though: if you’d like to see Artifice 2, by all means let me know. But please don’t ask “When will Artifice 2 come out?” When a reader asks me a question, I feel compelled to answer it and the answer will be the same every time. “There are currently no plans to make Artifice 2 but when there are, I promise I’ll make tons of noise about it! “)
What’s next for you two?
All right! So hopefully that answers some of your questions! Let’s jump onto the standard Artifice notes—one last time!
First off, we have awesome new Fan Art by Mitchell R. and Lance! Mitchell has created some beautiful close up portraits of Deacon and Jeff while Lance stuns us again with gorgeous 3D art entitled “Moral of the Story”. You absolutely should check them out!
Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Alicia H., Nina D. & Thomas M. (all three making their 2nd donation to Artifice) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporters Samantha S., Neil M., James N. & Beth K. for their generous donations over the last week!
Big hugs go out to new friend of Artifice Cynthia W. for their super-generous $25 donation!
And extra huge hugs go out to new superfriend of Artifice Jennifer M. for their amazingly generous $50 donation!
And finally, very warm, grateful, heartfelt, humbled, android-strength hugs go out to all of you. I started this webcomic as an experiment a year ago, not really expecting to get much of a response. And through it I’ve met the most wonderful, thoughtful, brilliant, kind and all-around most awesome readers in the world. There is a certain satisfaction as a writer in getting a chance to share a story that matters to you, but what has meant the most to me has been the honor of sharing it with you. Winona and I couldn’t have dreamt of a better community to share our work with. And it’s very much my hope that you will stick with both of us as we move on to what’s next.
You are what has really made this journey awesome. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. You really do rock.