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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 29

463 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 29

Preach.

My second-ever radio interview has just been posted online. Interviewer Rodger Nichols, in addition to having an awesome radio voice, really did his homework and asked questions no one else ever has. Great experience all around! It’s only about 20 minutes long so if you got a moment, check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, we have new Fan Art from Jeremy Thew, a spicy little riff on the Prologue and what the others might think if they knew. Do check that out too!

Now for a big announcement:

As you know, through the generous support of literally thousands of Kickstarter backers, I’ve been able to raise enough money to afford a print run of the first volume of The Young Protectors (which will include the Prologue, Chapter One and the Interlude.) As you might or might not know, one of the “stretch goals” that backers earned during the Kickstarter was the inclusion of a 27-page Bonus Comic in the printed book, focusing on the characters of Spooky and Commander. So, the book can’t be printed without it.

When we launched the Kickstarter project, Adam, Vero and I fully expected to be able to complete all the Kickstarter rewards while at the same time keeping up with the currently updating pages here on the site. And while Adam has been working very, very hard on the Bonus Comic during any free moment he has over the last months, it’s become clear that penciling a second comic while trying to maintain a consistent pace with our current webcomic updates is very difficult. With consistent bonus pages on the site (we’ve had over thirty in a row with this latest run), both he and Vero are having to deliver two new high-quality, fully-rendered comic pages every week. And while both were very enthusiastic about being able to work on all the Kickstarter rewards on top of their webcomic commitment when I launched the project—and both are still willing to work very long hours to try to do both things at once—creating two fully-rendered pages a week is pushing them to close to their limits.

I’ve done the math on this and if we continue at the pace we’re going at, the Bonus Comic won’t be completed until the end of the year. And then, it’ll take another three months on top of that for the books to get printed and shipped back to me once I send the files off. At that rate, the book won’t be printed any sooner than 2015, which is too long to expect the Kickstarter backers who pledged in 2013 to wait and, frankly, anyone else to wait. So, it’s time for a new strategy.

I’ve considered different options:

  • I could choose to not include the bonus comic in the printed book. This is the least acceptable option to me. Including the comic in the printed book is a stretch goal the Kickstarter backers earned and, frankly, it makes for a much better book. Not really an option as far as I’m concerned.
  • I could pause the webcomic completely for some months while Adam and Vero worked on the bonus comic exclusively. This also isn’t really a great option. Not only would this be frustrating for current readers, but many of those current readers are also Kickstarter backers. I’d be “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
  • I could stop allowing bonus pages for the webcomic until the bonus comic is finished. Still not a great option. Not only has the money from bonus pages become fairly essential to my ability to produce and pay for the comic (I’ve had to take more and more time off from my day job to work on The Young Protectors), at best it only gets us a page ahead with the bonus comic each week. With a 27-page comic, that’s still a lot of weeks before it’s finished.

So, after considering all those different possibilities, none of which are awesome, I’ve come up with a fourth option: Once the currently running scene in the webcomic is finished, I’ll pause the current webcomic chapter. But, in its place, I’ll start posting up the Spooky/Commander Bonus Comic on the site.

Here’s how that would work: No matter what, once the current scene is finished, I’ll post up a new page of the Bonus Comic every Saturday, just like with the regular updates. And if y’all want to continue to support our work by donating for bonus pages, I’ll also post up a second page of the Bonus Comic on Wednesday. (But no matter what, Adam and Vero will continue to produce two pages a week of the Bonus Comic behind the scenes.) These Bonus Comic pages will be available to read for free on the site until all 27 pages have been posted and then they’ll be removed and the regular Chapter 3 webcomic pages will resume. (And if Adam and Vero are able to actually get ahead of the pages we post on the site, then that just means I’ll be able to send the files off to the printer that much sooner.)

While it’s not a perfect solution, I think it’s the best one. For one thing, I know no matter what that Adam and Vero can produce two high-quality pages per week without working themselves sick, so I can be sure the Bonus Comic will be finished as fast as possible while maintaining excellent quality. (It’ll be completed in a few months instead of a whole year.) And not only will it mean I wouldn’t have to pause page updates on the site, it’ll also mean my Kickstarter backers, who collectively pledged over $100,000 to this project, will get to enjoy a reward immediately—they’ll get to read the Bonus Comic pages as they are finished, no waiting. And, finally, it’s at least somewhat timely to share the bonus comic at this point in the overall current webcomic story, since questions are just now being raised about Spooky’s past and the Bonus Comic directly deals with some of those questions.

This wasn’t how I originally wanted to do things, but this Kickstarter project got pretty huge—much bigger than I expected—so I suppose it’s not surprising I’m going to have to re-think things now and again. Ultimately, I am responsible for making sure my Kickstarter backers receive every single one of the rewards I promised and that those rewards are awesome and delivered in a timely manner. I also feel responsible to the loyal readers who show up twice a week here not to put the whole Web site into mothballs for months while I work on the Kickstarter rewards. I take both responsibilities very seriously. And, in this case, being responsible requires me to realize when something isn’t working and to take action to get things back on track. Hopefully, the solution I’ve come up with seems reasonable and maybe even a little fun for y’all. You can let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂

We had our thirty-third bonus page in a row on Wednesday. And in between updates y’all triggered another bonus page! That means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates, a bonus page (page 30!) on Wednesday, March 5th, and bonus pages on Wednesday, March 12th, Wednesday, March 19th, Wednesday, March 26th, and Wednesday, April 2nd, there will now be a bonus page for Wednesday, April 9th! February still isn’t finished, and you’ve now triggered bonus pages through the second week of April! You are AMAZING!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporter Saxon B. (who makes their sixty-seventh generous donation to The Young Protectors!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporter Kenneth M. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to long-time friend of The Young Protectors Robert B. for their super-generous $25 donation, their fifty-sixth super-generous donation to this comic!

Superhero-strength hugs go out to long-time super-friend Christopher D. for their amazingly generous $50 donation, their forty-eighth amazingly generous donation to this comic!

And finally, ZOMG!, deeply, deeply grateful hugs and deeply humbled bows go out to long-time mega-friend Antonio C. for their stunningly generous $100 donation and also to long-time mega-friend Jeff S. for their jaw-droppingly generous $200 donation! And this makes Antonio’s second and Jeff’s fifth mind-blowingly generous donations to this comic! Thank you so, so much Antonio and Jeff! You both are total, galaxy-class ROCK STARS! 😀

Thank you all so much for your generous support!

So! Now we know what it is that Spooky wanted to tell Kyle. Will our red-headed hero be able to take that lesson-learned in? Or will he continue to view himself as twice-damned, and thus condemned to walk this Earth as a simple monk?

Tune in this Wednesday to find out! Hope to see you there! 😀

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Edit 3/3/14 12:48 PM: FASTER THAN A LOCOMOTIVE! You’ve done it AGAIN! You’ve yet again tipped over the donation bar! That means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates, a bonus page (page 30!) on Wednesday, March 5th, a bonus page on Wednesday, March 12th (which will be the first page of the Spooky/Commander BONUS COMIC!), Wednesday, March 19th (page 3 of the Bonus Comic!), Wednesday, March 26th (page 5!), Wednesday, April 2nd (page 7!), and Wednesday, April 9th (page 9!), you’ve now triggered a new bonus page for Wednesday, April 16th (page 11!)! We haven’t even started it yet and you’ve triggered bonus pages that’ll last us nearly halfway through the Bonus Comic! You all are such ROCK STARS! Thank you so, so much for your AMAZING SUPPORT! 😀

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!
  • stickfigurefairytales

    Did I actually just-?!

    • Yup 🙂

      • stickfigurefairytales

        I almost feel like it shouldn’t really count, since Adam told us it was up.

        • Holly

          Adam passed up on the Virgin. It still counts love ^^

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Yay!!!

          • Your comment popped up just as I was about to click send. When I finally refreshed (I’ve been texting with people) I was sure I was late, so didn’t scroll down. And then I did and there was no comments until I was gonna click post – and yours came first xD

            So close despite not hunting at all *lol* Congratz on your first V.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Thank you! o/

          • Adam Black

            I gave it up, because i saw a way better one!

        • yeah.. but it WAS you who wrote first. Share it with him 😉

          • stickfigurefairytales

            No! It’s all mine! It came to me, my own, my precious!!!

          • Thata girl!

    • Go You!

    • Holly

      YAY STICKY ^^

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Yay!!! I’ve got my first ever virgin!!!

    • Congratulations!

    • b3nc0

      I’m waayy late but it seems you-!!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        But what if we–?

        • b3nc0

          There is still time for-

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Unless they’ve had a chance to-

          • b3nc0

            Erm, I don’t get what you-?

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Well, I was just-

  • My love for Spooky spiralled.

  • Holly

    The page did not load for me when I refreshed it. Then I saw Adam say the new page was up. Still did not load. I was going to call him a liar. So I reloaded the page again a few times. And it came up. *sigh*

    Anyway, I LOVE SPOOKY so much more after this. And i really hate how much Kyle is beating himself up over all of this. I have to say Paul probably made it worse. Poor Kyle, I am torn between hugging him until it stops hurting and SMACKING SOME SENSE INTO HIM.

    • Adam Black

      I am *SHOCKED*

      Here I gave the Virgin for you. I would take it back and give it to @Sapho but now its dephiled

      • stickfigurefairytales

        🙁

        • SofiaT

          Hey there. You just shot down your first virgin.
          No regrets!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Yeah! You’re right!

          • Adam Black

            I have no regets you got it.

            ( I was aiming for the super-virgin, in a Virgin land no one even knows about )

            You ( gender neutral ) guys are welcome to the conventional one. You can fully expect, i will be offering it again. You can Count on it.

            Should I tag anybody ?

        • Adam Black

          You can keep it,
          It really wasn’t the virgin i was planning for. I had a special 2-1 virgin plan but reality…

          • stickfigurefairytales

            My virgin is the best virgin (in my heart, at least). I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

      • Holly

        sticky got the virgin Adam…and she did not dephile it

        • Adam Black

          thats terrible

          @stickfigurefairytales:disqus HUrry up and Defile it already

          • stickfigurefairytales

            We’re just gonna talk and get to know each other a bit first.

          • Adam Black

            Sex toys make as great conversation starter

          • stickfigurefairytales

            We could make Excel spreadsheets to track how we feel about various kinks!

          • Holly

            FLOW CHARTS ARE A KINK…apparently. People are weird.

          • Adam Black

            eh, Do you go with The flow,

            wink nudge

          • Adam Black

            Spreadsheats are out, ( Hmmm spread- sheets )

            Infographics are where the sexy is at

  • Sapfo

    Bad things are happening in my life right now.
    I will be back in the comments soon I hope.
    Love Sara

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Oh no! I hope that things get better for you, love.

    • silibub

      I’m sorry to hear that. 🙁 I hope things get better for you soon!

    • SofiaT

      Be strong and best of luck.
      Hope you’re back soon. xx

    • *Giant hug* My best for your situation right now. I hope the situation is better than it was earlier today. You know you can contact me at any time.

      • Sapfo

        I will most likely know more today.
        You will most likely hear from me.

        • Adam Black

          Let us know what heppens

    • So sorry to hear that! My thoughts are with you. Hugs!

    • I hope things get better in your life too soon, Sara. Love (and strength) back!

    • Heart is with you Sapfo! Hugs surround you. xo.

    • fujoshifanatic

      *hugs* Sorry things are not going so good for you right now. I hope it gets better for you soon.

    • WarGoddess

      Nuuuuuuu to the bad things!!! Bad things need to just buzz off!!!! *positions fan to blow at Sapfo* Hopefully that’ll help. Sending you happy thoughts!!!

    • Adam Black

      That doesnt sound good.
      Be strong

    • jreed3842

      Never let bad times overcome the good times in your life.
      I wish the best for you, and I hope the bad things end quickly.
      *Over the internet hugs*

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      Oh Sapfo, I’m so sorry. **hugs** I hope whatever it is that’s going on gets sorted soon, and with an end result you can be happy with 🙂

    • Elrohir

      Wishing all the best for you Sapfo. Big hugs.

    • Librarican

      You will definitely be missed Sapho. Hurry back once your life is better. Sometimes you need that breather.

    • Feverfew_M

      Hope everything will turn out well for you! *hugs*

    • *hugs Sapfo* Love you sweetie! It seems it was a bad day/night for quite a few of us yesterday/last night/this morning. I as having an off day and decided to keep myself away from the camping so I wouldn’t alienate people. I think I am still recovering from that dream I had.

    • b3nc0

      One more armful of hugses (っ˘_˘)っ
      this ain’t much cheerful but as Doki said there is some curse on us

  • SofiaT

    Direct. Short. To the point.

    Yep, Alex delighted me once more with this page! 🙂

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Spooky is an amazing person (I feel like we are all going to be saying some variation of this, but it bears repeating). I love his line about how “If the world ends, it will be because a selfish son-of-a-bitch was a selfish son-of-a-bitch.” Because that’s the truth of the matter, and it’s a very important thing to recognize.

    • Klaus

      Kyle: “Yes, that is what I am.” Spooky goes on to say that it was the Annihilator he meant, but I think that Kyle’s first reaction would be thinking of himself.

      • b3nc0

        That could have been his first reaction hadn’t Spooky began by saying Kyle was «one of the kindest, gentlest guys he has ever met»…

  • silibub

    Now let us join hands in a prayer of thanks that someone finally fucking said it, unambiguously — this is Duncan’s fault, not Kyle’s! Say it again and again until Kyle internalizes that truth.

  • DC

    I’m with Spooky on this – “the Annihilator is a monster”.

    • silibub

      The Annihilator, sure, but I wonder if Duncan is when all is said and done.

    • WarGoddess

      A sexy monster.

  • Listen to Spooky, Kyle. Being used and being cursed are two different things.

  • mogoskier

    Did anyone else notice Kyle said AT LEAST half-demon. Meaning he doesn’t know who his mom is and that he has always been an orphan or something happened to make him forget his past.

    • SofiaT

      Very good observation!

    • Cydney Sabin

      He did mention being in foster care, so it was kinda hinted at before that his parentage might be unknown.

      • mogoskier

        Yes but that could mean he could have known who his parents were. This tells us that he never did.

        • SofiaT

          Or at least he could have thought he’d known.

          • mogoskier

            OHHHHHHHH

          • Klaus

            If it comes to that, very few people know with absolute certainty who their father is. And even with your mother, you know only what you have been told.

        • Cydney Sabin

          Almost. It implies that he never did. Personally, I won’t say yea or nay over it until Alex or Kyle specifically say so. I just love being Devil’s Advocate.

          • As long as he pays well. I hear the job is hell. 🙂

          • Cydney Sabin

            Quite the opposite actually. The job is fun. The pay is zilch. He runs everything on “volunteer” work.

          • HA. Excellent.

            Never has the term “pro-boner” meant so much to the legal system.

  • WarGoddess

    Spooky: It’s the Annihilator’s fault.
    Kyle: But I’m half demon–
    Spooky: Kyle, it’s his fault.
    Kyle: I gave my consent–
    Spooky: Listen to what I am saying. He took advantage of you.
    Kyle: But I ended the world–
    Spooky: He’s to blame here, not you.
    Kyle: But I–
    Spooky: Shhh!
    Kyle: But……
    Spooky: Shhh! Hear the words coming out of my mouth. It. Was. His. Fault.
    Kyle: ……………….
    Spooky: ………………..
    Kyle: ………………
    Spooky: ……………….
    Kyle: Are you su—
    Spooky: DAMMIT KYLE

    • stickfigurefairytales

      This is gold.

      • WarGoddess

        I only forge my comments from the finest materials. 😀

        • Adam Black

          I copypasta mine, from the used twitter bin.
          @theCamaignBook

          • WarGoddess

            Lol. On the internet, my comments are 100% mine, but in real life, I get all of my jokes from 9gag. 😀

          • Adam Black

            🙂

          • b3nc0

            Yeah, I remember reading this one…

    • Holly

      EXACTLY!!!

      • WarGoddess

        I know, right? Poor Kyle doesn’t know when to quit putting himself down. He needs some chocolate, a big group hug, and a huge supervillain beat down to cheer him up. 😀

        • mogoskier

          Well like Spooky said he kind and gentle, meaning he the type that never wants to see people in pain. If he thinks at all he the cause of the pain… well.

    • Torke159

      I wish I could ‘like’ this one million times XD

      • WarGoddess

        If only it were possible…..:D

        • Torke159

          Seriously, that comment so true it hurts XD

    • Becky

      Very Good Will Hunting. They should definitely hug. ;D

      • Cman65

        and kiss 😉

  • Xalun K

    Thank you, Spooky, for telling Kyle straight. It’s what he needs to hear, and hopefully start preparing to be an awesome and kick-ass survivor and hero, regardless of any demonic ties. Annihilator is an ass, and DON’T YOU FORGET IT, KYLE. YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG.

    In other news, my 15y/o’s braces are gonna cost me $750 upfront, and it’s getting harder for him to eat with as messed up as his jaw is. Stupid capitalism. Stupid money. Stupid braces.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      That sucks so much, Xalun! 🙁

      • Xalun K

        Yah it does, boo. 🙁 Thank you <3

    • WarGoddess

      My like was for the first comment, not the braces. Braces suck and I’m sorry you have to pay that amount upfront for them. Healthcare sucks so much nowadays. Sending happy thoughts your way to make your mood improve! 😀

      • Xalun K

        lol I figured. Thank you, and thank you. <3 Us poor people are just stuck with yucky teeth, I guess. I have no idea how the hell I'm going to come up with $750 before, like… next YEAR, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. 🙂

    • fujoshifanatic

      I feel your pain. I am about two months away from the end of my particular case, which cost me two orthodontists, two sets of braces, two wisdom tooth extractions (which turns out weren’t necessary) one dental implant (which was very necessary, as the missing tooth was right up front), more than a decade of wearing braces, and about $17.000 before all is said and done. :-

      • Xalun K

        Geez. That’s awful! I had a lot of extra work done when I had braces too. I guess I’m lucky we only have to put out $2k with 750 upfront. I just…. don’t have 750. lol.

  • fujoshifanatic

    Yeah Spooky, you drop some truth on our poor little red head! Oh Kyle, you’re sure having a hard time letting go of that guilt, huh? I wonder if you were raised Catholic? At any rate, please let Spooky’s words of wisdom sink in so you can get over yourself and focus on the task of stopping the monster that made this mess.

    Much as I like where the story has been going so far, I will gladly take a little break to enjoy some Spooky/Commander side action! Especially if that means I get my Kickstarter stuff sooner! Thank you Alex, for always being so considerate of your readers; I can totally see where Kyle gets his kind, gentle nature from. 😉

    • Thank you, fujoshifanatic! I really appreciate your understanding. 🙂

      (And I suppose there’s at least a little of me in all these characters… Except maybe H&K… But give me a rocket launcher and who knows?)

      • silibub

        You’d have to shelve your AlexHumor though…rocket launchers are great and all, but I don’t think it’s worth the trade-off!

      • Bwahahah.. the images I just got in my head. Oh my goodness xD

      • You know……now I kind of want to see that…

      • purplefoxglove

        Wait, does that mean you’re planning to show up on the doorstep of some of your unsuspecting readers on their birthdays to perform a ritual that enhances pleasure when reading your comics, thus forever binding them to your wickedly captivating and enchanting stories?

        If that’s your objective…you job is nearly done 😉

    • Feverfew_M

      I dare say, experiencing real fire in such a moment is even more effective than the threat of eternal hell-fire…

  • Adam Black

    good dialogue

  • Alex, Adam & Veronica… This is going to be great fun…

    Another amazing page, that will require thought and sleep, as it clearly speaks to my heart. I shall return with musings and ponderings anon.

    Thank you all for the effort you put out for us. It means a great deal! Thank you.

    • You’re very welcome, Chris! Thank you very much for your kind words, good vibe and awesome support! 🙂

  • Xalun K

    OH, and Alex, I’m totally cool with you pausing after this storyline is complete and doing your thing with the bonus comic. Anything to make Adam and Vero more comfortable.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I agree! Option #4 is my pick as well, Alex.

      • SofiaT

        I’m not a backer but I think for the rest of the community too, that is the best idea -and the less disruptive of the fandom.
        It has no affect on us really, other than meaning the rewards will be available for everyone sooner as well 🙂

        • stickfigurefairytales

          I’m sadly not a backer either, because I first found this comic literally *days* after the Kickstarter ended. I was so upset! But I’m a lot happier knowing that I will eventually get the chance to buy my own copy of the book after all.

          • SofiaT

            Same with me! I discovered this comic a couple of weeks after the Kickstarter had ended. I would have loved to have supported Alex in it because it’s a very worthwhile project (if for nothing else because it’s daring to do what mainstream comic-book publishers won’t do) but I know we will get most of the rewards available in the store, after the backers have received theirs, so it’s all good.

            The only thing that saddens me is that I missed The Annihilator Dossier and the probability of that being available for sale later is low. 🙁

    • Thank you, Xalun! (And stick! And Sofia!) I really appreciate that!

      (And, just as an aside, I too had a thing with my jaw as a teen that needed braces to fix. And it also made it difficult for me to eat. It took me years later, but it felt very good to finally get it fixed. Sending you and your family lots of good thoughts and I hope a good solution presents itself.)

    • b3nc0

      I’ll be the selfish party pooper, here (like I was when Alex brought Artifice books to a convention before the backers get theirs *sigh*). So, seeing the bonus comic here to just ANYONE to read sure doesn’t make me happy, understandably *resigned sigh* ;°)

      • Yep. There are lots of things I’m proud of with the way I handled the Artifice Kickstarter campaign, but not the way I handled that. Even though those were a small number of Advance Copies sent to me by the printer, and so not enough to start my mailing to the backers, I shouldn’t have done that. I justified it because they were just advance copies, because I needed the money to pay for the convention and because I was dying to know if anyone would actually buy one of my books outside of the Kickstarter, but regardless of whether I was in a position to actually mail books off to backers at that time or not, it was the wrong thing to do.

        Yes, for the most part, both at the time and after, the response from backers for me doing that was positive and understanding, but that doesn’t make it OK and it’s certainly not “selfish” for you to feel that I let you down there. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t do it. It’s one thing for Kickstarter backers to get their rewards at the same time as non-Kickstarter backers, but for other people to get them ahead of time just isn’t cool, regardless of the context. And so, for The Young Protectors, I might use the Advance Copies the printer sends me to send to book reviewers, but I won’t sell them, at conventions or otherwise.

        While I do feel that what I’m doing here with the Bonus Comic is a bit different—in particular, because it’s the only way that Kickstarter backers will get their books in a reasonable amount of time, so my ultimate goal is to serve the Kickstarter backers with this choice—I do hear that this choice makes you unhappy and that saddens me. Making my backers unhappy is the last thing I would want. This was the best solution I could come up with, but I hear that I’ve let you down again. Hopefully, you’ll still find the Bonus Comic an enjoyable and worthwhile reward despite it being temporarily posted on this site. But, of course, I’ll understand if under the circumstances you do not. And in the ways I’ve failed you here with this, I am sincerely sorry and I’ll do my best to learn from what happened here and avoid this sort of problem next time.

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and for your Kickstarter backing.

        • b3nc0

          Oooh, Alex, you’re way too kind for giving credit to my lil’ bitter rambling (though I had been miffed back in the Artifice affair but quickly understood your reasons) here is just joking matter, hence the winky emoticone.
          but as i’m not that joking you’d want & consider a different artists team for the bonuses thankyouverymuch ~‿◠

      • Xalun K

        I can understand that, but he did say he was going to completely remove it when the workload was lighter, so it will still only be available in print.

  • Cydney Sabin

    And here I was hoping for a declaration of love. Oh well…

  • Kyletin

    Your voice is great for radio also, Alex! Very natural. (Accidentally posted this to the older page on accident. /lame)

    • Adam Black

      My dad used to tell me I had a face for radio. He was kind of a jerk.

      • Klaus

        Well, my voice is perfect for ballet.

        • HA!

          • Klaus

            It is common saying in these parts. “With a voice like that, you should go to the ballet.”

      • strangeangel24601

        In my family, we use this joke amongst ourselves from time to time. We all know that we love each other, so it’s okay.

      • Kyletin

        Bwahahah! I am going to keep that one in mind and tell my father that. I think he might get a kick out of it. He’s the essence of “dorky dad”.

        • Adam Black

          He would also remark that i was “good— when I was sleeping”

          • Kyletin

            We always got “You were so cute…. what happened to you?” but I feel like that’s a weird universal thing? Or at least I hope everyone’s parents say that. v.v;

          • Yeah… I got that one too.

    • Thank you, Kyletin! You’re a sweetheart! 🙂

  • Soubi

    Spooky and Kyle need to end up together, for real.

  • ikeamonkey89

    Is there a way to order an autographed copy of Artifice?

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    BTW, “the Commander:” is also Kurt Russell’s character from “Sky High” (the Disney superhero movie). Meanwhile “the Annihilator” is a Chinese superhero created by Stan Lee (and movie in development, maybe as a vehicle for Wang Leehom). There are several Tsunamis, including a member of the All-Star Squadron. Strangely, there doesn’t seem to have been any superhero or comics character named Fluke yet (he should really be the underwater guy), although there was a 1995 movie about a man who turns into a puppy named that. Anyway, I wonder if any of this affects the trademark situation?

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      As long as the characters are sufficiently different from the originals, I don’t see why it would affect much of anything – even if it did, it’s easy to challenge a trademark/copyright to a name that is a word used in common language, especially considering the frivolous suits filed by various big-name, well-known companies with a history of corporate legal bully tactics that went in favor of the little guy – precedents like that are what the world needs more of 😉

    • Lady Mania

      The Commander is also a title they use for Shepard in Mass Effect. And a thousand other video games, stories, movies. The Annihilator is a RPG in Saints Row 2.. and used for several other things in video games, stories, movies. No one can really claim those as their own as long as they aren’t blatant knock-offs.

  • jreed3842

    Ahhh… I hate that I missed camping, but this is a good page! Words of wisdom, Spooky.

  • Klaus

    Oh my indeed. That is a great picture, Jeremy Thew.

  • Klaus

    Oh no. “Terrible things happen with me and sex.” That is not going to be easy to get over.

  • Leon

    I’m starting to ship it!!! OMG. >_>

  • KuroBakura

    I need to do fanart for this comic.

    I ship Kyle and Spooky. Why? I have no idea but they just sound adorable together. :3

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      Yeah, I’ve been thinking about doing a fanart too – I got this amazing Kyle pinup idea in my head, and it won’t go away. Now if only I were more of the superhero artist sort, that image might not end up being the challenge to end all challenges for me.

  • I’ve said this before along the way, and will probably say it again later, but I have now found my favorite pages of the comic so far 😀
    Despite the seriousness of the page I really, really like it – and if I hadn’t already been a Spooky fan through and through, I would have been it now.

    Sometimes it’s amazing that Spooky is only 20 years old in all his wise words but then again, spending a year in hell must have felt like a lifetime. I hope Kyle is ready to listen to sense, and not let his guilt and doubts run his mind, because he couldn’t have been told the truth in a better way.

    Kyle will not change to be the evil spawn just because he now knows his paternal side. He can’t let one shocking piece of news have the power of him that it will change his whole view of himself.

    Sure, he tried having sex again after being celebate for 6 years because of what happened the last time, but even being very eager to try again, he only went with it when he knew it was somewhere safe. He still thought of the safety of others.
    If Anni hadn’t turned it into a horrible experience everything would probably have gone well. Another thing he needs to realize.

    Personally our biggest enemy is self doubt and those inner voices that just doesn’t shut up. Sometimes they can be ignored or overrun by reason/common sense, and sometimes it’s a fight to lower the volume of them long enough to let others tell you the truth in a way so you listen.

  • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

    Alex, I think that’s a fantastic solution that will keep your regular readers and Kickstarter backers happy – I for one greatly look forward to reading the bonus comic, especially as I didn’t have the moolah to put into the Kickstarter project, so for me, this is like a super-duper bonus, all my Christmases and birthdays all at once!

    • Thank you, Sharon! Very glad to hear that it’ll work for you. 🙂

  • Kiri

    It makes sense that Spooky knows this from his own experience, and I’m so glad that he’s telling Kyle this – because he is getting good advice, I’m hoping that Kyle will remember this for later when he can process it. He’s a kick-ass TYP. And I also love that he reminds Kyle what he actually is – Kind and Gentle, and caring for others. Kyle is more than just a superhero, he’s a great human being. I hope he remembers that. Spooky is very, very cool and is my out and out hero.

  • Becky

    [Crass joke about “the best parts of” Kyle.]

    • Feverfew_M

      [dirty chuckle]

    • Klaus

      At first I thought this refered to the Wolf’s post above, but now I see that it does not. Either way is fun.

    • b3nc0

      ◡////◡

  • Uhm.. small random thought that suddently hit me…

    Kyle’s powers card (from the KS previews) told his power focus is his hands, feet and genitalia (involuntary). I don’t know deliberate this was, but the fire pattern on Kyle’s suit suddently seems really fitting xD

    Flames on his hands and one big starting at his feet and working it’s way up to end just above his butt and a big flame in the front. Yup, it sure fits well *lol*

    • Ha!

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      Haha, I hadn’t thought about that! Well noticed Danish!

    • Feverfew_M

      Ha, you’re right!
      And it’s also around his eyes! There’s the red mask, and he also started leaking fire there!

  • Mary Klemzak

    Wow how sweet! If people didn’t love Spooky before, they sure would now! What a cool guy!

    Would love to be able to read his backstory, which I think is what will be posted, according to the explanation? He’s been referencing stuff that may have happened, and it would be nice to see and understand. Apparently, it wasn’t good, but Spooky is a better person because of it, and he’s able to share some encouragement with someone who really needs it.

  • Cman65

    Nobody with an arse that hot is cursed

  • I know Spooky’s clothing are somewhat baggy and very very comfortable looking. But I must say I am extremely grateful that he doesn’t low-ride his pants. It’s a ridiculous standard to hold, but my esteem for him is greater for this small fact. So I thank you for that, Alex.

    • LOL! I swear, if you were to meet Spooky IRL, you’d totally crack him up with that remark.

      Yeah, the low-ride-pants is not SpookyStyle.

      • Wayne Lunkwitz

        I am older , but I must say that low riding pants would be 1 of 2 things….either a subliminal invitation…..OR a totally immature fad.

      • HA!

      • Well it’s so rare these days to see a young man with his pants in the proper place. So I definitely appreciate Spooky’s SpookyStyle™. 😀

  • Vincent

    Remember kids: “Don’t have premarital sex. Otherwise, you will open a portal to Hell and a Demon Overlord will enslave all humans.”

    • Klaus

      No, it is okay. They are not going to marry, so it was not premarital sex.

      • Vincent

        Depends on what State they’re in, haha!

        • Klaus

          i don’t think so. There is no way Kyle is going to marry Duncan after what he did. (Besides, even if the shippers get their way, they could just cross the border to get married.)

          • Vincent

            I feel like I should point out a couple things. The first is I am being facetious, and the second is that “premarital sex” does not imply that either people involved have the desire/intention of getting married; it simply means sex before marriage.

          • Klaus

            Exactly. So if Kyle is not going to marry, whatever sex he has is not premaritial.

          • Vincent

            You seem to still be missing the point. Whatever, I don’t have time for this and I am so not getting into a conversation about what a fictional character will or will not be doing in their fictional future.

          • Klaus

            I am not missing the point. The point is that “premaritial sex” is a misnomer.

          • Vincent

            Not in this context it isn’t.

          • Klaus

            “Premaritial” means before marriage. If you never marry, nothing you do is premaritial. Yet some people insist that sex is “premaritial” anyway. Thus a misnomer.

          • Vincent

            I would point out the glaringly obvious fallacy of that statement, but I can tell when arguing is pointless. I’m sticking with premarital because it is correct, and you’re welcome to believe whatever you like to the contrary.

          • And with that, I’m asking that you both bow gently to each other and move on without further comment on this. Thank you.

  • TwilightDreamer

    <3 You tell him Spooky!
    It's true, Annihilator is a monster (though at least he admits to it), and he's a pretty darn good actor…I could never truly tell if he was being honest or not.
    I hope Kyle can forgive himself for this, Because Spooky is right; this isn't his fault 🙁

  • Klaus

    “If the world ends, it will be because a selfish son-of-a-bitch was a selfish son-of-a-bitch.”

    Just what Kyle himself was thinking.

    • Wayne Lunkwitz

      The only problem with that is this: Kyle is blaming himself , NOT the person who did this to him.

    • Oh that’s good… well I’m glad Spooky is there to fix that!

  • Toli Bera

    Look out guys! Spooky’s spillin the T all up in here. *Washed away in a tidal wave of Truth Darjeeling.*

  • Love you buddy <3

  • Librarican

    Some folks have complained about the lack of whizz boom pow over the last few months of strips. And yes, I also feel impatience sometimes when dealing with the cliffhangers and start yelling at the screen “spit it out already!” when it’s been three days and a trout still hasn’t been finished.

    But for Spooky and Kyle, this is real time, and it takes time to come to grips with these emotions and traumatic aftermath. And I really appreciate that Alex, Adam, and Veronica are taking that time to confront these issues of guilt, self blaming, and remorse. My guess is, it’s going to take Kyle a lot longer to get to the point the Spooky and everyone else (both here and there) want him to be at. We are all saying “pull yourself together” and I am glad that Kyle is not a Marvel or DC superhero who could be flung against the wall and bounce back up to defeat the bad guy, and we find out later he did it all with three broken ribs And if Anni is the manipulator that he’s been sown to be, we probably haven’t seen the last of his guilt trip ways. It’s not a far step in my mind to go from “don’t you trust me” to “you had a hand in this.”

    Lots of you gush about your favorite strips and the artwork and dialogue, and I think this is mine. Spooky’s face goes from sincere to serious to sympathetic within the span of the first and last panel. Kyle’s face is perfect for panel three, and if he was a Kylie instead of a Kyle then he would be crying buckets right now and if Spooky was Spookette right now they would be probably eating ice cream out of the container and hugging each other for all it’s worth. Also, Spooky’s hand in panel four is perfect. It’s a cross between stop right there and don’t even think that. Kyle’s friends are all going to be out for blood because of what Anni did to him, and that’s how true friends are supposed to be.

    • Librarican

      And I have a brand new appreciation for those of you who routinely post longer comments, because discuss kept crashing and stopping me from editing. Last time I checked, this was not Twitter and we do not have a character limit!

      • Ugh, feel with you. Been there several times in the last 3-4 years. Been in the end of what I call my ‘mini essays’ and it froze on me, causing me to lose it all. Several comments of mine has never been posted because I refused to try and write it again in annoyance xD

      • Saxon_Brenton

        Disquis doesn’t often eat my postings – but it has happened enough that I tend to compose the longer ones in notepad or the equivalent, and then copy’n’paste into disquis.

        • SofiaT

          “Disqus doesn’t always eat my comments. But when it does, it eats the long ones.”

          • LOL!

          • Librarican

            It doesn’t so much eat them as stop me. Since we all like food here, it’s like I’m building a sandwich and I put the meat on and the lettuce and whatever else and I go to stick the toothpick in and it’s too short for the olive. So I remove a layer of meat thinking I can then add the olive and the toothpick has been cut. So then I try to re-add the meat and say skip the olive, it still won’t let me and now I can’t put the top slice of bread back on because it got lost in the process with all the toothpick holes I’ve attempted. And all I want to do is finish my sandwich so I just stop there and eat an opened faced sandwich with less meat. Less filling, but at least I have something to show for my effort.

    • Thank you for the thoughtful (and longer! I appreciate you persevering with Disqus!) comment, Librarican! I’m glad you’re finding spending this time worthwhile and I always love to hear panel-by-panel reactions. 😀

  • Feverfew_M

    I totally agree with Spooky about Kyle having been used and that Duncan played him by taking advantage of Kyle’s insecurities and his tendency to believe the best of people.
    What I don’t agree with is his take on The Annihilator as a ‘monster’. The way he describes ‘monsters’, it is just their nature to do monstrous things. But Anni is very much human, he made a decision to act the way he did. He knew what it would mean for Kyle, he didn’t like it (at least I think so) but weighing the options, he decided to do it anyway. And I’m still not even convinced he did it only for his own personal gain.
    Therefore, I’m very curious how this will influence the clash between Spooky and Duncan. And (which is probably a bit strange) I’m also quite pleased that I don’t agree with Spooky on everything.

    • SofiaT

      While I don’t see Anni as a monster, I can completely understand where Spooky is coming from. The guy caused a traumatic experience and some serious emotional turmoil (that is nowhere near finished yet) to his best friend and he made a deal with the devil that could potentially end the world as they know it.

      I would have called anyone who would have used and discarded my best friend like that something a lot worse than “a monster”.

      Also, the fact that Anni chose his actions, probably means to Spooky that he’s more of a monster than the demons who can’t help but do what’s in their nature to do. :0/

      • Feverfew_M

        I think it’s because Spooky didn’t have the opportunity to observe Anni’s actions as closely as we have. And right now, he is way more focussed on assuring Kyle that he is not the bad guy, here. From his perspective, Anni surely must look like a monster.
        I do wonder, though, if his time in hell has left him with a somewhat black and white outlook on good and evil in which bad guys are just inherently bad. But I’m really not sure about that.
        Interestingly, with the tale about the scorpion and the frog, Anni has pictured himself as kind of ‘evil by nature’. Im not quite sure that he himself thinks he is really human anymore. Maybe in the end it will take Kyle to show him that he is indeed human because no one else, including himself, can see anything but a monster in him.
        Heh, I’m missing Anni and I’m afraid it’s showing…

        • SofiaT

          *pats back* You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I miss him too. *hugs*

          • Feverfew_M

            *hugs back* Hot chocolate? 🙂

          • SofiaT

            Yes please. Do you have any tiny marshmallows to drop in it?

          • Feverfew_M

            You bet! *hands you a mug*

          • SofiaT

            Thank you! Nothing better than a mug of hot chocolate before bed 🙂

            (Although I wouldn’t mind snuggling to one of those Anni body pillows…)

          • Feverfew_M

            Now that would be nice! I can at least cuddle my Anni-Amigurumi. 😀
            Sleep well, then, on the other side of the world! 🙂

          • SofiaT

            Your Anni-Amigurumi was awesome and makes me wanna learn how to knit just so I can make one for myself!

          • Feverfew_M

            To partly quote Bilbo: “It’s crochet!” 😀
            And it isn’t really hard to learn. Give it a go?
            Sadly, Anni insists that he would prefer snuggling up with Sapfo’s Kyle…

      • Someone separated out Anni and Duncan.

        It may be foolish because you well know I don’t disagree with Spooky at all. Actions are actions… but I do like being able to store the bits of “Duncan” I liked in the “Duncan” drawer and then toss the rest of the monster in the “Anni” drawer.

        It may not make much logical sense, but it does make it easier for me to tidy this whole mess up. LOL.

        • I do that, seperate Duncan and Anni.
          I can’t explain it, but somehow depending on how I describe him and the angle of it, I call him either or. In the beginning I didn’t notice much that I did it, but it became obvious to me during the start of Duncan’s monologue in the end of chap. 2.
          Like you said, it somehow tidy things up.

          • SofiaT

            It’s like inventing the concept of 0. It did wonders for mathematics 😀

          • Did the Greeks invent zero? 🙂

          • b3nc0

            Johnston McCuley invented zero! ;°p

          • He’s Greek? 😛

          • b3nc0

            Sorry, I made a typo in Google: I search who invented Zorro orz

          • SofiaT

            No, I believe that was the Babylonians.

          • Darn Babylonians are always trying to steal the credit for all the best inventions. Meh…

          • b3nc0

            My brother, who had his good times in school, & happens to be with me tonight & keeps bothering me (where are you pretending to have a life, now? are those all your other aliases you use to reply to yourself? Ha-ha, funny guy) anyway, so, my brother tells me the Babylonians used zero as a symbol in astrology when there was an empty space on a map…

        • SofiaT

          It makes perfect sense! We separated Duncan from his Annihilator persona long time ago and had a long discussion about it but you were in the “I wanna hate his guts” camp at that time so you weren’t paying attention 😛

          • Are you telling me there are TWO versions of that bastard I get to stab now?

          • SofiaT

            No, they’re 2-in-1.
            Like a shampoo/conditioner package.

          • Ha! I swear you two crack me up. 😀

          • 🙂 I’m still holding out for a pitchfork cameo in the comic!

          • b3nc0

            & that cameo would do wonder in the next Ducan-Hell confrontation as it is a strong demoniac artefact?!

          • b3nc0

            So we get to stab (t)h-i-m twice?

        • Elrohir

          Actually, it does make sense. That very tricksey Wizard Woolfson sold me the Duncan is a basically good, misunderstood character who grew up in bad circumstances and who’s redemption only lacks the love of a good person thing hook, line, sinker, rod and reel. I bought it every bit as much as Kyle did. Though I was still holding out for Kyle to partner with other characters of this fine cast. So the betrayal struck me very hard and I confess I did not see it coming. 🙁
          I haven’t had your luck with compartmentalizing though. So at the moment Duncan is very lucky I don’t have the capability to put him on the event horizon of a black hole for eternity (I did fill out the requisite paperwork but Alex won’t sign off on it).
          For what it’s worth, in the tech world there are people I like quite a lot who are very intellectual but not very “people smart” and more or less have the social graces/skills of a vehicle out of control. And I try very hard to compartmentalize my interaction with them making allowances for the occasional interesting interlude. However, nothing they have ever done holds a candle to the betrayal that Duncan committed. And in my eyes, it WAS Duncan who did it, not Anni.
          That said, your reminder and Sofia’s staunch beliefs bring me back to the old saying:
          “Redemption has to be open for everyone, or what’s a heaven for?”

  • lordavon

    This was great to see. It’s easy to forget that Kyle is barely of age, and the Annihilator is clearly an adult, and that this is the reason we don’t let teachers date students. (Okay, not the summoning hell thing, but because children don’t know better and it can have drastic consequences on the child or teenager’s life.)

    The Annihilator set out to entrap Kyle, to use Kyle, and then left once he’d gotten what he needed. That is utterly a situation of abuse, and cheers to Spooky for making sure to talk to Kyle now, and plant these seeds now.

    • JozefAL

      Sorry, but your “we don’t let teachers date students” analogy is ALL sorts of wrong. It’s NOT because of the AGE discrepency; it’s the POWER imbalance. The teacher has power over the student’s very academic life–the old “well, you know, there are ways you can get a better grade; I’m sure we can work *something* out to get you that better grade.” Of course, it may be rarer but a student can hold the teacher’s professional career in his/her hands; the student gets what he perceives to be a bad grade and threatens to go to the administration if he doesn’t get a better grade. (It’s worth noting, though, that this ONLY applies when the teacher is actually the student’s TEACHER. In most cases, universities are more willing to be lax about “teacher/student” relationships as long as the student is not in the same class the instructor is teaching.)

      The reason for the “teacher/student” prohibition is more akin to why businesses are reluctant to permit inter-office romances, especially a “boss/subordinate” one. It’s why the military puts a kibosh on “fraternization” between officers and non-coms (even relationships between different ranks of officers or non-coms is frowned upon).

      Adults and “barely of age” relationships have happened for years. Hell, it was SOP in Victorian era marriages; the woman had usually just become “available” for marriage, and her parents (especially in the upper-classes) would look to marry her to an older man, especially a military man. Read some post-Civil War histories. Hundreds of stories of young women (many not even considered adults by today’s standards–talking 15 and 16 years old) would marry men 20 or even 30 years older than they were. Hell, we’ve got the current kerfluffle over Tom Daley’s announcement that he’s involved with Dustin Lance Black. (Daley turns 20 this year; Black turns 40.)

      If you’ve got problems with “intergenerational relationships” (and your comment suggests you do), you need to work them out somehow. But don’t confuse “age differences” with “abuse of power/authority.”

      Let me just posit this: Would you be as upset had Sircea seduced a straight Kyle? Would you be as upset had Annihilator been just a couple of years older than Kyle? Both scenarios would’ve worked out with the same end result. The former wouldn’t have raised as much ire (especially in today’s “cougar” culture) and the latter wouldn’t have created the intergenerational hang-ups you seem to have.

      • Jozef — you’re making some interesting points here, but the confrontational you-statements, particularly with assumptions of “hang-ups” on the OP’s part and what they “need to work out”, are not addressing another commenter with “a tone of respect” and are thus outside the bounds of our Comment Policy.

        Let’s please keep it about the ideas and leave any judgments about other commenters out of it. Thank you.

  • Eisheth

    I can’t wait to read the Spooky comic! No complaints here.

  • Satyr Ryder

    Alex, as one of the Kickstarter backers I think you came up with a great solution to the dilemma you found yourself in. I look forward to the Bonus comic pages.
    Also, the interview was great!

    • Thank you for understanding, Satyr—I’m glad you think it’s a great solution. 🙂 And I also glad you liked the interview!

  • Nichelle Haliday

    Kyle’s situation actually reminds me of a situation I read once. A man was so in love with a woman that he allowed his soul to be consumed by evil and nearly destroyed the world. After he found a way to fix it, the woman he loved left him and he was murdered by the brother he loved. In his afterlife, a wise man gave him the advice that I think Kyle desperately needs.

    “Life is messy. But life isn’t about learning to forgive those who have hurt you or forgetting your past. It’s about learning to forgive yourself for being human and making mistakes. Yes, people disappoint us all the time. But the harshest lessons come when we disappoint ourselves. When we put our trust and our hearts into the hands of the wrong person and they do us wrong. And while we may hate them for what they did, the ones we hate most is ourself for allowing them into our private circle. How could I have been so stupid? How could I let them deceive me? We all go through that. It’s humanity’s Brotherhood of Misery.”

    I think that block of text really sums up what Kyle needs to hear.

    • Librarican

      I’d like to know where that is from. It’s beautiful.

      • b3nc0

        ‘Time Untime’ by Sherrilyn Kenyon if I Googled it right…

        Edit: Nichelle’s post was referred there too ^_^

  • Midwestmutt

    You are the amazing one Alex. I don’t think any other web comic has fans who are quicker to shell out hard cash donations than they are to vote for free on TWC. C’mon people! The first day of the month and only seven votes so far by noon my time?

    • Kenneth M.

      I hadn’t heard of TWC, but now that I know about it, I voted. I think #115 for The Young Protects is way too far down the list. I wish I had a better social presence to help change that.

  • Melinda Maddolin

    I’m starting to seriously ship Spooky and Kyle. See what you’ve done?

  • Alex your notes kill me. Now I keep picturing The Reverend Monk Kyle, who has turned in his spandex for a simple brown robe and is chanting with the monks on a secluded mountainside…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwBmkYJzDp8

    If only Kyle realized that, even hidden away in a monastery, in all good B-movies, this is when his buddies track him down to help them save the world. So, now he has to choose between a life of penance and peace and doing his duty. Alex your note shows me you are clearly keeping the best tropes in mind for the future. Bravo! Chuck Norris would be so proud. 🙂

    • Elrohir

      And here I thought Chris was going for the Ace Ventura: Call of the wild recall from the monastery. 🙂

      • Ye of little faith…. 🙂

        • Elrohir

          Funny…my best friend from HS used to have a longer version of that line. He’d give me one of those pained (mostly faked…I think…) expressions and say:
          “Oh ye of little faith, no class and lesser mentality.”

          • I have a friend who will turn on the ‘BIG sincere eyes’ and say,

            “My you be treated as your upbringing, behavior and station in life… cause you to deserve.”

            By the time I’ve really figured it out, he is always long gone… DAMN!

          • Elrohir

            **grin** I use something similar with management sometimes when they offer an idea or direction that clearly indicates they haven’t been paying attention:
            **Hmm…I shall certainly give your suggestion all the consideration it is due.”**
            Honestly, I think I pretty much stole that line from the original Star Trek series…Spock I think…

          • As long as you have the eyebrow to go with it. 🙂

    • Elin Gregory

      I’d watch that film Chris. 🙂

  • Starfighter just updated.

    • Denise Cruz

      Yeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssss! Thanks! 😉 (Going there)

    • Melinda Maddolin

      8D

  • Adam Irving

    I applaud your solution to a most vexing problem. Congratulations on having such a huge response from the Kickstarter campaign (I’ll have to remember to keep my eyes peeled for the next one!!). Thanks, too, for giving us a very interesting interlude containing back story to keep us occupied here. I’m very curious to see them! I’m sure a few months from now when chapter 3 gets going, I’ll be all like “oh hey, that’s right, the story proper…”

    @chrisdangerfield:disqus, the monk comment made me smile too. At least that monastery wouldn’t have to worry about who would be responsible for lighting the candles…

  • Darkflame173

    Perfect idea! I look forward to it! 😀

  • Elrohir

    There has to be at least a couple, wouldn’t you think? I hadn’t considered that until just now. Nice.
    **Can’t help wondering if it were you, would your line be: “Good night Kyle, sleep well. I knew you were gay all along. Doesn’t matter. I’ll probably kill you in the morning.”? 🙂

  • Pamela Cunningham

    I still find it strange how their are still people who are making excuses for both Duncan and Kyle. Both of them are to blame for this situation Duncan more so then Kyle.
    1.First who does Duncan think He is to decide the fate of the world. Even if Duncan knew about this so called crisis who said He’s the best one to deal with this crisis .
    2.I would have respected Duncan more if He hadn’t made a deal. For youth and immortality for him his son and platinum priestess.
    And Kyle I don’t feel that bad for not once had Duncan claim to be anything then what He was. The most powerful super villain on earth. Just because Duncan treated Kyle special he willinly
    forgot who He was dealing with which led to him being tricked by Duncan.
    3. What piss me of about Kyle was that when fluke say’s to Kyle this is the the most powerful villian on earth He’s killed people. And Kyles response is but He hasn’t killed anyone in a long time and I’m thinking What!
    4. I understand where Spooky is coming from but I feel that what happened in Kyle’s situation are different. Spooky couldn’t help what happened to him but if Kyle hadn’t been so blindly trusting in Duncan even when He knew better. He probably could have avoided what happened I feel that Spooky is doing a disservice to Kyle by not telling him yes you do have some blame in this even thought is was tricked by Duncan.

    new

    • Librarican

      Not that I’m condoning Kyle’s trust in Duncan, but I equate this situation with the hunt for former members of Hitler’s SS. Please hear me out, I’m not comparing the severity of the crimes, only the attitudes involved. Some people would say “it all happened 70 years ago, and you are locking up an old man who has led a peaceful and productive life, give it a rest”. Others however would “he killed people, they deserve to be revenged and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.” Kyle is in the first group, with Fluke in the second group.

      Personally, it takes a lot for me to vilify someone, but once that bridge has been broken, I’m not making the effort in building it back up. From my standpoint, that broken trust hits close to home, and whoever broke that trust, it is their fault. I’m not a shipper (I always thought the relationship was too convenient and I’m not comfortable with large romantic age gaps) but from how I see it, Duncan could have had his chance at a new life, but he didn’t take it. Duncan placed Kyle in this position, so he is largely to blame in my mind. Kyle has ignorance and naiveity on his side.

      • Pamela Cunningham

        Librairican I do get what you’re trying to say I’m not trying to rag on kyle .I understand that Duncan used Kyle I mean Duncan knew exactly what to do what to say to Kyle to make him drop his guard . What I’m saying is despite all that even knowing Duncan’s reputation Kyle still chose to trust Duncan .I just think that He should ha e been more on guards against someone like Duncan .And yes Kyle is young and inexperienced and Duncan is older and sophisticated enough to dazzle any kid all the more reason to be on guard.May be unrealistic considering who Kyle was dealing with.

        • SofiaT

          It’s Kyle’s own heroic nature that blinded him to the danger. He always sees the good in people and he chose to see the good in Duncan –because he’s a hero, not in spite of it.

          • Elrohir

            I’m with you on this one Sofia. I think it is his heroic nature which leads him to see the good in people. As Spooky says above, “you are one of the kindest, gentlest guys I have ever met”. Plus, hello! He was not quite 18 when they met. As I remember myself I was quite the believer in heroic notions at that time in my life (okay…still am…never really outgrew it).
            Yes, one can encounter very adult teens in the world. And teens who have learned to be cynical about everything (which I personally find sad, I think they are being cheated out of experiencing some of the most glorious mistakes life has to offer). Personally, I hope he still has the capacity to expect the best in people, even after this event.

          • I agree, and think that Duncan made it even easier for Kyle to see that good. Saving Killer, protecting children, wanting to wait until Kyle is ready: all that makes Kyle think “Well, he may not quite share the same value system as me (yet), but there’s clearly raw goodness there in his heart.”

          • “Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.”
            — Mr. Rogers

          • STAB.

          • HA.

          • SofiaT

            lol!
            I like your dedication to your art.

        • Librarican

          That I will agree with Pamela. Knowing he was a vilian, knowing he killed people in the past, knowing he still maintained questionable contacts in Sirecia (I can never spell her name right, sorry Alex!), Kyle still took a chance and went with Duncan to an abandoned warehouse without backup or telling anyone where he was going or what he was doing. If Kyle was your best friend or your child, you’d be shaking him by the shoulders saying “What were you thinking? You could have gotten killed!” That was the stupid part, and he should be more careful in the future. And actually, since Kyle fights bad guys for a living, I think he would be more street smart and gone into the situation more carefully, but then again I’ve never been a horny half-demon teenage boy. But being unaware that Duncan would burn him (pun unintended) that badly by using I’m as a spell portal, that’s not his fault.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      You may be forgetting that Kyle is a horny 18 year old and unable to have sex with anyone, even afraid to masturbate!
      The Annihilator got him interested right away with a kiss. It seems to me that Kyle desperately wanted to believe that the Annihilator had changed his ways because he saw him as his only chance to have a sexual/romantic relationship with someone. There aren’t that many gay fire-proof men around for him to choose from.

      • Pamela Cunningham

        You’re absolutely right that’s why Lust is one of the deadlines sin. And we all know that at that age guy’s are only thinking with there pants.

        • Adam Black

          Pamela you are missing something very large about the male psyche.

          Duncan gave him a series of bait and switches. The spell wouldnt have worked without trust.

          It was trust not lust , that allowed duncan to use him.

          If it was just a hookup it wouldnt have worked.

          when a mans libido is suppressed or misdirected in turns into Romance. If you are going to condemn the lust, ( which I saw little of ) then you are going to have to condemn the romance, affection, and the trust with it.

          If this was just a good wholesome clean hookup, hell ,wouldnt have opened up. Tagline says ‘its complicated”, go with that that.

          • Jakk Anthony Guzman

            Adam, I have to disagree a little bit with you. Yes Duncan needed trust for the spell to work, but Kyle did want to have sex with someone too. It was the possibility of having sex/a romantic relationship with someone that got Kyle interested in the Annihilator in the first place after the kiss.
            Even Laampros says on Chapter Two, Page 36: “So it was LUST that allowed a creature such as yourself to use his power”.

            You say: “It was trust not lust , that allowed Duncan to use him.”

            But that trust came about because Kyle was interested in having a sexual/romantic relationship with someone in the first place. And he wanted it so bad that he allowed himself to be convinced by Duncan.

            There is nothing wrong for an 18 year old (or anyone for that matter) to want to just have sex. Kyle doesn’t need to want to have a relationship or get married to have sex, just wanting to have sex is normal. He shouldn’t be condemned for it if that’s all he wanted out of the relationship. Although I see Kyle more of a romantic, he probably wanted more than just sex with Duncan, he probably wanted a relationship too.

          • SofiaT

            Laampros may have said that is was lust but “the human heart is actually a bit more complicated than that” http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch2-page-37/ 😉

            Lust is a base instinct Laampros can understand.
            The longing to belong to someone and have someone belong to you, isn’t something he can understand on the other hand.

          • Jakk Anthony Guzman

            That’s true Sofia. My point was that we shouldn’t condemn Kyle if all he wanted was just to have sex with Duncan. He’s got raging hormones and because he’s never had sex before is bound to be very curious about it. He probably wanted more than sex with Duncan but even if that was not so, he shouldn’t be blamed for wanting just sex.

          • Adam Black

            “But that trust came about because Kyle was interested in having a
            sexual/romantic relationship with someone in the first place. And he
            wanted it so bad that he allowed himself to be convinced by Duncan.”

            Actually, No, that is not what happened
            . Cause always precedes Effect.

            You are engaging in a reverse-cause fallacy by seeking “a reason” for what happened and turning an effect into a cause.

            He allowed Duncan to trick him which caused him to trust, and allowed himself to want it. I do think hes partly respsonsible as he is a hero and being in the closet allowed him to get used.

            But no, you cant reverse the order of events to justify them. That isnt how logic or causality and is how Victim-Blaming does work.

            Nor was it his fault he was Vulnerable to Duncan, Duncan ambushed him and defeated him and won his trust by not harming him.

            but No, we already know a mere hookup would not have worked. It is totally irrelavant that Kyle open to a hookup because Duncan couldnt use that . He needed his trust for the spell to work, and did extreme things to get it: the fire, Hunter and Killer etc. Thats why you cant reverse causality. Kyle did Not trust Duncan enough initially for the spell to work. Kyle willingness to hookup was merely incidental and a tool that Duncan could work to gain his trust. It could have been baking cakes or skydiving. It doesnt matter.

            and what @disqus_P2huBPd9nS:disqus said …

          • Adam Black

            Thats 50% of what was about to say…

    • Jack

      Please don’t victim-blame here. It’s difficult for a closeted man in a restricted and unfriendly environment to find a romance at all, let alone with someone in his circle, and someone who could handle the physical ‘uniqueness’ of his situation. Duncan was everything he’d wanted for himself, and it’s not as if anyone could have guessed that this was going to happen to him. We were all as charmed and wooed as he was, all hoping that it could work out, despite their differences. Please don’t blame Kyle for any of this.

      • Pamela Cunningham

        Jack I’m sorry that you think I’m blaming Kyle . It seems that a lot of readers not all are more interested in the romance aspect of this comic .Or maybe because I’m a older reader and I tend to take in the whole story not just the sexual parts. But I do understand how difficult it was for kyle not being able to come out to his friends about his sexuality. And here come Duncan a older good looking gay man who seems to understand what kyle may be going through. Someone Kyle can relate to Duncan is suave sophisticated take’s Kyle on a world wide romance .Duncan even hinted that it was possible for them to have a serious relationship. He did everything to dazzle and blind to knock him of his feet something that Kyle has never experienced before .It was romantic sexy Duncan made Kyle feel like He was important to Him but then again Duncan never excused the fact that He was the most powerful super villain on the planet .So tell me this what do you think will happen to Kyle when the world find’s out about his role he played in the hell there forced to live in .Their not going to care that he was manipulated and betrayed by the guy that he fell for .

        • flame821

          But by the same token, if Kyle is a known good guy and Anni a known bad guy, WHY would anyone take Anni at his word? He could tell you the sky was blue and you’d have to check for yourself just to be sure Anni hadn’t pulled a fast one on you. And yes, it does sound like you are victim blaming especially considering Kyle’s youth and naivete. If it were a situation where a significantly older man had groomed a vulnerable young girl would you still be blaming her for being trusting of someone who had researched her past and knew each and every button to push? Knew every weakness, every cut that was never allowed to heal?

          • Pamela Cunningham

            Flame821 I do get what your saying and I do understand what your trying to get across. But to quote what you wrote if Kyle is a known good guy and Anni is a known bad guy .Why would anyone Take Anni at his word EXACTLY especially a SUPERHERO. Even if Annie has a legitimate reason for what he did who’s going to believe him . WHO’s going to trust him for that instance who’s going to trust Kyle . People might even wonder if they can trust any of the superhero’s that’s left on the planet. Which going to make their job so much harder where there’s broken trust.

        • Duncan did try to excuse or lessen the fact that he was a supervillain. Everything he did/said was to lessen that.

          He put it to Kyle that: his wicked ways are now limited to naughty things like tax fraud, that lots of non super villain rich men do. He regretted his past actions. He doesn’t harm children. In fact he goes out of his way to protect them from other supervillains. He courageously saves the life of a vicious bounty hunter who was trying to kill him moments ago. He has deep, sensitive conversations with Kyle about their pasts. He tells Kyle he wants to make sure their first time is special and that Kyle is ready.

          That’s a lot of misdirection there aimed at a teenager. Now he comes across not as a supervillain, but as a repentant rogue with a heart of gold.

          • Pamela Cunningham

            David Rose you are absolutely correct in everything you have stated. Duncan did everything in his power to make himself seem like the ideal man . To the point where Kyle’s judgment was seriously impaired .

        • b3nc0

          Maybe we were mislead by the “Both of them are to blame” at the top of your first comment…

          • Pamela Cunningham

            b3nc0 you may be right and I do remember that when Duncan caught Kyle outside the gay bar . He did threaten to expose him as being gay and Kyle begged Duncan not to . At that very moment I believe that’s when Duncan knew He had Kyle and ran with it .

    • Klaus

      He also says that he never killed anyone on purpose. That does not make it OK of course, but it does make him less of a monster.

      And why should he not trust him? What could go wrong? If the Annihilator wanted to kidnap him, he could just have grabbed him. Kyle would not have been able to offer effective resistence. I do not blame him for not seeing the trip to hell coming.

    • “3. What piss me of about Kyle was that when fluke say’s to Kyle this is
      the the most powerful villian on earth He’s killed people. And Kyles
      response is but He hasn’t killed anyone in a long time and I’m thinking
      What!”

      That’s grooming at work. Duncan manipulated Kyle to perfection. Everything he said, and did (even saving Killer) was designed to get Kyle to trust him and see him as a loveable, reformable rogue with goodness in his heart, instead of a murderous supervillain.

      Let’s not forget we’re talking about an experienced 50 year old + supervillain and an extremely vulnerable 17 year old boy. A boy who spent his early life in foster care and was rejected by his foster family for what happened when he was 13, who since then has been virtually resigned to celibacy, not even daring to touch himself. A boy who is afraid to come out to his friends and so also doesn’t have anyone to confide in about his feelings.

      Duncan offered Kyle the only opportunity Kyle could ever see in his life to experience pleasure, and all his encounters with Kyle were calculating to make Kyle trust him. What was Kyle expected to have foreseen, anyway? Duncan had plenty of opportunities to kill him earlier, or to take him as a hostage for ransom or some other evil purpose, and he didn’t. Duncan even indicated in Tokyo that he wanted a long term relationship and that he wanted to wait a bit so that their first time would be special (Page 58, well, it was that, all right).

      Duncan played on Kyle’s extreme loneliness, his fears about hurting anyone (the emphasis on the remote, fireproof location), and of course Kyle’s willingness to see the potential good in someone. Kyle stood no chance.

      “I feel that Spooky is doing a disservice to Kyle by not telling him yes
      you do have some blame in this even thought kyle was tricked by Duncan.”

      Spooky doesn’t want to victim blame. What point would it serve anyway that would be worth reinforcing the self-hate spiral Kyle is already in? He’s hardly doing Kyle a disservice here, he’s being the best friend Kyle ever had.

  • Steel_Man

    Poor Victim Kyle. Annihilator rules!

    • Klaus

      He wants to rule, but we’ll see about that.

      • Steel_Man

        To be frank, he’s a far more interesting character than the redhead, here. Think about “gay culture” and its obsession with youth. Once a gay man reaches a certain age – and weight – he becomes invisible. He becomes a non-person and someone that is often the butt of the joke where he used to be the one telling it. Would it be any wonder, then, that youth and vitality would be a goal for someone older? Even if Duncan is far more attractive than the fiery twink-boy? I think there is a gold mine in the Annihilator. From “Young Justice” to “Young Avengers” (note the titles?) we’ve seen this angsty teen thing before. That said – I’m still on board because there are twists and turns a-plenty here! I’m anxious to see where it goes and I’ll keep putting my money down as long as the story doesn’t get stale! 😉

  • amanda

    love you spooky but I am still in love with kyle and anni!!

  • Abbi Orenstein

    I’m loving these boys. I am. I gotta hug the 4 of them.

  • Bianca Simone

    President of the Spooky Fan Club, right here. I feel like he is me. Always goofing and such, but when it comes to serious business, it’s alllll srs bznss.

    Dear Alex, Vero, and Adam: THANK YOUUUU for all your hard work on this lovely comic! It brightens my day to read it every time. Even when it’s all cliff-hangy! I do read some other stuff when it gets cliff-hangy (ex: I re-read Artifice in one night sometime between the end of Jan and beginning of Feb). I don’t have to step down from President of the Deacon Fan Club to be President of the Spooky Fan Club, do I? 😉

    <3
    Bianca

    • You’re very welcome, Bianca! I’m so glad to hear it brightens your day!

      And I think Spooky will understand. Just as long as he gets equal time with any Fan Art you create. 😉

    • SofiaT

      I believe you can be President of both Fan Clubs at the same time as there’s no conflict of interest. XD

      • Actually, I don’t think Alex has WoG’d regarding who Noneco Corp. based the first version of the ‘Deacon’ model on yet? It could very well have been Spooky. We have to remember that Alex is a young author, and in a hundred years, or so, he may yet explain all this in a cross-over tale. 🙂

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I am intrigued by your organization and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • purplefoxglove

        I second that 🙂

  • Anna Calloway

    I’m a little sad that the comic’s going to be paused, but I completely understand why it’s necessary. I look forward to the bonus comic, though! Good luck!

  • Kalynn Osburn

    Spooky I will have your babies.

    • b3nc0

      Are the ovary-uteru-thingies, I heard so much of, a prerequisite to perform such a glorious task?
      Anyway I’d still vomunteer though @^◡^@

      • Kalynn Osburn

        No no. A uterus is not required. Well I mean I suppose it is at SOME point along the way. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still be raised by you and Spooky and still be YOUR babies.

    • I was gonna say that too, but then I remember I don’t have a uterus and then I also remembered that I think Spooky shoots Chinese dragon demons involuntarily out of his genitals. (Partly why he understands Kyle’s issues so well).

      I still think having his babies is a good idea. Just a friendly FYI.

      • Kalynn Osburn

        *Reads dragon demons out of genitals comment*

        *shrug* Hey man we all got kinks.

  • vessto

    With every page I respect Spooky more and more. It seems the false first impression he makes has its roots in his bitter experience in hell.:(

    About the comic issue imho it is the most fair decision in the current situation. I wanna add I’m very sorry I can’t donate, my life situation is difficult. I’m so grateful that I can read this wonderful online comic for free!!!

    Oh, woah, this fanart is like take from my wet dreams!XD

    • Thank you for understanding, vessto—and I’m really glad you’re enjoying reading the comic! (And the Fan Art! 😉 )

  • Librarican

    There are so many news stories here in the states about gay rights, it’s astonishing! Between the formation of a homosexual free version of the Boy Scouts to the ongoing fight for marriage rights to the debate regarding legislation allowing businesses to withhold services to homosexuals. I’m glad Kyle doesn’t have to deal with all that too… He’s got enough on his shoulders.

    • vessto

      Sad.:(

    • I wrote a bit on a discussion having to do with the two lesbians who simply wanted a wedding picture to commemorate their upcoming wedding. Something very emotionally important to them.

      At the same time, Arizona was trying to push through legislation to allow businesses to refuse to do business with gay’s on religious grounds, in spite of our supposed ‘Separation of Church and State’.

      So I shared the following thoughts. I think it’s applicable here also, for anyone who can’t empathize with what it is like to spend one fifth or more of your life with your most fundamental self repressed and hidden.

      ~~~~

      What some of this discussion fails to realize is that the population that religion currently feels most comfortable demonizing is “gay.”

      It used to be socially acceptable (almost expected) that women (original sinners that they are), blacks, jews, foreigners of any kind, ohhhhh… and the poor, could be demonized. For surely they must have done something wrong in the deity’s eyes not to be rich, white and male?

      Now we have whittled away at the us and them’s and it’s very hard to find a good population that one can still feel righteously good about publicly demonizing.

      Perhaps some wonder why the two lesbians would bother to get their photo from this bigot and why not just go elsewhere.

      Well I offer up, as one who knows, that when you spend the first seventeen years of your life in isolation. When you KNOW that your sexual heart doesn’t operate in the same way as your father’s, mother’s, sibling’s and best friend’s do. If you don’t live in an urban center or (in today’s world) have the infinite access to the internet. You may have nothing and no one for all of your formative years to help you understand why you feel broken and cursed. All because your secret heart operates so differently from everyone else’s around you. You’re often not even allowed to know why. Not allowed to talk about it without fear.

      Kinsey scale or what-have-you, it’s never simple for anyone.

      So when one finally reaches the age of self-awareness, the strength, the fortitude to trust someone of the same sex and — like everyone else — take the almighty risk and fall in love… dreaming of happiness.

      Well, to have some small minded person who has been taught that you are the last bastion of a safely demonized population refuse to take your picture and celebrate your love? All because this person has been taught it’s essential that they feel better, righter, holier than ‘someone’ because, honestly, that’s why they give their preacher money each week.

      Hey? A business model is a business model.

      Well, for those two lesbians in love, it just might be the fuse that finally get’s lit and helps them decide it’s time to fight bigotry. So, it’s not just ‘a picture’ which celebrates their love, it’s a life time of feeling broken, bad and wrong that’s ending and most certainly… that is worth fighting for.

  • Lindsey Amethyst Hampton

    THANK you, Alex, for making Spooky, and for making him So Fucking Wonderful.

  • Maus Merryjest

    Oh, Spooky, I love you! <3

  • Jill Whitten

    PREACH, SPOOKY. GOD DAMN.
    Thank you.

  • Here are the sunset pictures from last night, sorry I was late in getting them up. Towards the end I zoomed in as far as I could to try to show that the sun was behind the mountain, but the only really good ones of that are when over half of it is already gone. *sigh* : I really don’t have the money for a professional camera……maybe I could trick V into teaching me tricks….

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/118082431292164101352/albums/5984101548727026465/5986290907139620578?pid=5986290907139620578&oid=118082431292164101352

    • There are no pics for tonight due rain….at least I think it is rain?

  • Rashel Izro

    What Spooky is saying is very important. Brought a tear to my eyes.

    Also, While youre considering your options…if I may..If it’s okay, I want to add my 2 cents. I would hate to have it pause all together and I’m sure everyone would send they’re support regardless(I will too once I get a new job xp) so I think the third option is a good idea. But if you are considering stopping for a while then finishing this chapter then going on a hiatus of a few months to preapare is also a good idea. Good luck,a nd I’m sorry we love you all and this comic co much.

    • Thank you for your understanding, Rashel.

      I did also consider waiting until Chapter 3 was over before doing this, but Chapter 3 is a long chapter so that could still delay the book’s release until 2015. Also, Chapter 3 ends on a big cliffhanger, which might feel a bit more reader-hostile to take a break on, whereas moving to a Spooky/Commander Bonus Comic at the end of this scene feels at least a bit on topic because folks are particularly curious about Spooky right now. It’s not how I originally planned things, but it feels like the best balance over all to me.

      That’s my thinking about this anyway. But I appreciate your 2 cents. And never feel sorry for loving this comic! LOL It’s your love and kind words that make all the hard work so worth it! 😀

      • I just want to applaud Alex for taking the “break-point” into consideration. This (as we’ve all viewed) is emotionally charged stuff. I think Alex clearly knows it would be seriously hard to break off for a few months at an overly critical moment.

        Alex, it can’t be easy, no matter what, but thank you for keeping us all in mind as you navigate this mine field. It means a lot.

  • Elrohir

    I had something nagging at the back of my head, based on a comment that Andy Diehl (sp) had made about the idea that perhaps the lack of control on orgasm was a birthday related event. I was thinking about it because Kyle mentions above that he “let myself have sex…” and I wonder if Andy didn’t have something there. I’ve mentioned before that, (okay, mostly based on my own youth and having talked to enough other friends about theirs) I find the concept that Kyle went 6 YEARS without an orgasm highly improbable. Mind you, I’m making assumptions here based on my perception of Kyle’s physiology. Since he looks/behaves very much human I’m going with the concept that the modifications have to do with his fire powers (nervous system, power channels, etc.) and not, for the most part, with what appears to be an exceptional human physique (e.g. Nobody freaked out when he was naked so I doubt he’s sporting the DDFH Demon Dong from Hell…trademark freely assigned to TYP to go along with that butt/awesome torso/awesome whatever-I-left-out).
    So he could have been having more or less normal wet dream cycles and it’s only the dire “sex/orgasm on birthday” events that have scarred him with their spectacular power. Just a thought…but it’s been nagging at me because he certainly seems to have an otherwise 18yr old libido. 🙂

    • mogoskier

      We actually had a discussion about Kyle wet dreams somewhere in chapter 2 and Alex word of god it that Kyle didn’t have any wet dreams. So he went 6 years without an orgasm, but the birthday orgasm theory is still interesting. Would the portal have open without it being his birthday?

      • davefragments

        I think there are two things operating to open the portal – first the Annihilator’s magic spell and second Kyle’s 18th birthday. I think the bad guys needed both to happen.

        We don’t know what was done to the warehouse in preparation for the portal. Perhaps the warehouse’s location played a part, too.

        There is also some time required to activate the Keys To The Kingdom on both sides of the barrier. Spooky said there are several places that might be possible.

    • Interesting idea… so that’s a NO on birthday sex? So, in this case it’s best to get your Kyle-boyfriend drunk the day/night of… and let him pass out.

      Safer anyway. Then go for it in the morning? Hmm. Will ponder. 🙂

  • Thank you, Torkwase. 🙂

  • Muse

    Omg where is there a link to this kick starter??? I would love to contribute!!

    • DoktorNauk

      The kickstarter is over.

      • Muse

        Damn well thanks for letting me know

    • The KS was last summer. It’s the after-work going on next to the comic now 🙂 We who were a part of it are getting updates along the way.

  • Jac

    Spooky, I love you. Too many feelings over here.

  • Yep this may be the page I’ve waited for throughout the last five months. Thank all three of you for making it a thing of visual beauty and full of the best kind of emotional truth.

    Both page 28 and 29, while shocking to a few people, were to me things I’ve said, wanted discussed, and thought about, since the hell-date. I feel like what is being discussed here is what I was so upset in thinking that people who stated they loved Duncan, didn’t understand about the damage he did to a very vulnerable and closeted Kyle.

    Now, of course, time has passed and I understand with greater subtlety how different readers managed their relationship to the characters and the material. Back then, it just hit me too hard. Way too personally. Sofia is not wrong in her note below. I was just in a grand grump. I was Kyle and Kyle was me (seriously). I was alone and then betrayed, not taken to hell, but it felt like it at the time.

    So, while it’s taken a while to find perspective, it’s a truly lovely thing to witness Kyle get some tough love and honest help. I envy him and am happy for him at the same time, if that makes sense, and I can soak up the rightness of the feeling on the page and even years later it does me good and makes me happy.

    This is the classic trial of reading something so dramatic in a serial format. If I had read Duncan’s betrayal of a naive young gay boy with the graphic novel in my hand, I would have kept frantically turning those pages (yes even at 3am) until I got somewhere else. Such as here.

    It’s that very old joke: “If you find yourself in hell… keep walking.”

    I think one has to read this page WITH the prior page, 28.

    Spooky’s prior line, the one that triggered a few of people, IMHO was in no way gratuitous. It was designed to work hand-in-hand with this page and let Kyle know that Spooky truly does understand the raw painful sexual component wrapped around Kyle’s whole trauma. He does understand the infuriating shame of being ‘used’. Spooky DOES understand being inexperienced and in a situation where someone or something can ‘mess with your head’. Those of us who have had the misfortune to have been there… know this truth well.

    This page is exactly the right artistic and textual followup to Spooky’s prior line, “Anyway, I’m going to tell you something I wish someone had told me when I got back…”

    Yes, yes, yes… Sex is that confusing for all of us. However, when it’s gay and there’s a lifetime of secrecy, repression and complete inexperience and a world of naivety that goes with it, then this is exactly what everyone needs. I needed it. Kyle needs it now! Clearly. It makes me so happy to see him get it and if he doesn’t understand it all just NOW… 15 minutes after it all happened. With time and reflection, he will.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Right away, the framing and staging is phenomenal. Notice that all of Spooky’s very direct and on target statements are framed clear and clean and he’s clean head-on with Kyle.

    The only panel that’s not is #3, Kyle’s moment of confusion and pain. Even the sky behind Kyle isn’t there, there is nothing to distract from his painful expression. His eyes are closed, he’s looking down and his panel is open. To me, it speaks to the fact that, in this moment, Kyle is still expressing that he’s still truly struggling. How now?

    The backgrounds are stunning. Panels #1+2 are amazing. Long and horizontal with that amazing mountain range behind them. Again the sense of vast space that puts our travails in balance.

    Could Spooky look more honest, caring and earnest as he tells Kyle that he’s a “gentle and kind” man? Or more honest and serious when he talks of the Monster. Jeeze with that face Spooky could sell me a car. I WANT A WISE BIG BROTHER LIKE SPOOKY! Alex I want a Spooky-droid available at your store tout de suite (erm… please).

    Then in panel-#2, the switch, and Spooky looks at Kyle straight on. That, more than anything tells us, this is a message directly from the heart of a MAN WHO KNOWS.

    I love that Kyle reveals himself and his deep seated fears and doesn’t even realize what he’s said. He fears all sex for him is bad and bad things happen when he has it. That is classic messed up American puritanism at its best (ok, at its most twisted). Sure in super-hero land, Alex has given Kyle a reason to believe it true beyond the classic American “my church told me so.”

    First, lava-producing genitals may require some ocean-side masturbatory practice, but there ARE solutions, just maybe not ones Kyle’s teen brain has easily discovered yet. Maybe now that his terrible gay ‘secret’ is out, he’ll get help in solving his problem. Hey, this “kind and gentle” man deserves love in his life. I don’t believe that even an over-heated penis will prevent love forever. Love will win out. I’m counting on Alex to solve this problem.

    I can’t speak to the thematic messages that Alex is intentionally weaving in to this story, but I see this as no different than the question of, ‘Is love possible for an artificial human?’ in ARTIFICE?

    I love love love the down-shot in panel #4. Look at the body language. Kyle slumped and yet Spooky will NOT enable him in his self-condemnation. Spooky’s stance is so firm and mature.

    Whether Kyle understands this message yet, or not (and Spooky references that too on page 28). All this may take a while to sink in for Kyle… and Spooky knows it. I love that he says, “This monster took advantage of the best parts of you so he could get what he wanted. End of Story.”

    YES YES Duncan did. He took the best parts of Kyle (love, trust, hope). Thus my extreme upset five months ago. That monster took Kyle’s innocence, his desire to love (which was extreme), his hope, and most of all his trust in human beings. No matter what he’ll never be the same.

    Adversity, I get it. Ok, I do know we’re swimming with the super-heroes, let’s hope it makes Kyle STRONGER and HOTTER.

    Fortunately no matter how many times Kyle has to hear this, I have a feeling Spooky will be there to slap him back and say NOPE… you don’t get to blame yourself. We are not playing the Stockholm Syndrome Game here. I hope Spooky warns them all and I’ll just bet that Paul and the rest will be very happy to slap Kyle around (metaphorically) and make sure he doesn’t backslide into pity-problems for faults that are NOT his.

    “You were USED. It happens.”

    Long ago, I had my moment when I needed Spooky to give ME this speech. I can tell that many other readers had their moments when they needed it too. I think the magic of the story is that even after however many years… it feels good to see it presented on the page so beautifully. How much better for the next generation when they have a copy of this book in their hands WHEN they need it. Gosh that’s a nice thing to think about!

    That is hope. That is what art is for. Thank you Alex! Thank you Adam and Veronica! Thank you all for rounding a critical part of a story line that, while hard, is beautiful and seems worthy of ‘that comic with a super-hero who just happens to be gay’ goal. I may be old but I suspect I’m going to be keeping this book on my nightstand next to ARTIFICE. Some books you just have to keep close. Thank you for supporting every moment of triumph and angst with artwork of only the very best quality. Together you three give us amazing presents.

    (?) Oh, is it Wednesday yet? (?)

    • Elrohir

      Chris, I have to say I really enjoy reading your discussions. You write in a way that really feels like a conversation, as opposed to a lecture, and that’s not simple to do. Really good job of tying the art discussion to the storyline. I think your perspectives really help add to my understanding of the scene. But you manage to engage verbal images that really help me see farther into the situations. I suspect from a broader personal experience, but no matter the source, helpful.
      I had been thinking that I would make my post and head to bed. But Disqus told me there was a new comment and now I’ve spent the last 30 minutes re-reading your post 3 times. Nicely written. Thanks!

    • Librarican

      “First, lava-producing genitals may require some ocean-side masturbatory practice, but there ARE solutions, just maybe not ones Kyle’s teen brain has easily discovered yet. “

      SNORT
      ….. Sorry, continue.

    • Another really lovely, thoughtful analysis, Chris.

      You’re right in seeing the connection between this page and page 27; the reasons why Spooky chooses to share that with Kyle at this time. And it makes me happy that you’re seeing the more universal application of the lessons Spooky learned. Thank you for all the good thinking on this. 🙂

      I’ll talk to Spooky about modeling for that Spooky-Droid for you…

    • Well stated, Mr. Dangerfield. A muffin and a grande coffee for you! (because you were good you see)

      So many of us did indeed need a Spooky. It’s too easy to shut yourself away after something like this, but I hold GREAT doubts that Spooky will ever allow Kyle to do that. Yup, we all need a Spooky when we’re taking those first tentative steps into dating. I want one of those Spooky Droids!

  • Elrohir

    My perception of…well…perception. So I’ll caution you in advance that this is going to be a bit of a ramble. But I have been meaning to write this for a little while now and then in a recent post Danish made mention of the fact that her view of Duncan/Anni has dependencies. That is, at different times she sees the duality in different ways. That’s sort of core to the discussion that I want to have and it’s appropriate, I think, to the current page as well.

    If you look at Panel-1 there is clearly a perception stated on Spooky’s part as to Kyle’s qualities and Anni’s shortcomings (if shortcoming is not too bare a word to use for the descriptor “monster”). Spooky’s expression, even in profile, is open, honest and emotive, right up to the arch of the eyebrow. Kyle’s reaction is clearly one of puzzlement, lowered eybrows and furrowed forehead. He doesn’t see himself in the way that Spooky is describing him. This sets up the dichotomy that I’ll tackle in a bit. That of self-perception versus external perception.

    In Panel-2 Spooky’s expression has moved to the no-nonsense declaritive mode. Including the infamouse single arched eybrow. The firmness of the expression brooks no discussion of the declaritive statement that Kyle should not assume the current situation is what is “destined to be forever”. Cleverly Alex leaves us room to decide if Spooky is addressing Kyle’s sex life, romantic involvements, heritage, or his apparent belief that he is destined to be alone forever. Clearly Spooky has a definite read on the situation, one that is probably (IMHO) informed both by his additional time as a superhero and his time in Hell.

    In Panel -3 We find Kyle’s expression one of complete denial and confusion. I attribute this in part to the discussion we were having a couple of pages ago based off of something Saxon Breton had said. And I said that I could imagine an internal monologue in Kyle’s head that went something like: “Why can’t they just understand I’m not safe to be around? Demonspawn?!?! Who could love a demonspawn? Who would want to? I just end up hurting the ones I care about…or the ones I try to help…no wonder…the source of my power comes from hell…no good can come of that…why can’t they see I’m not worth it…the only person who wanted to date me is an arch villain, and even he didn’t want me…he was just using me…my first sex and it opens a portal to hell…why can’t they see the danger?…they don’t know…if they really knew they couldn’t love me…they are better off without me…” And I think you see that coming to the surface in his speech. That he’s part demon, maybe worse because he doesn’t know his parentage. That despite knowing that his powers are unstable during orgasm he “let myself have sex” with the clear connotation that he now expects bad to happen EVERY time he has sex. Talk about negative conditioning. And that in so doing he may have enabled Hell to take over the world.

    In Panel-4 Spooky drives a spike into the heart of the monologue. His expression now has a tinge of almost anger to it. Anger that is not, I think, directed at Kyle (though some frustration there I imagine) but rather at Anni for the damage done to his brother, for clearly he sees Kyle as family. But the statement puts the blame clearly where it needs to be. Anni took advantage of Kyle’s youth and nature to his own ends. The resultant damage has only one owner; Anni. I believe this. If somebody asks me for the loan of some money, which I give them because of my generous nature, and then uses that money to evil purpose that injures or kills someone I do not see myself as culpable in the crime simply because that person used my nature to acheive an evil end. As Spooky says, “End of Story”.

    In Panel-5 Spooky moves back to the open expression and declaritive statment of expertise. He tells Kyle that based on his expertise Kyle is not cursed. Not consigned to a life of constant evil and only a danger to all he loves. He gives him the summary that at one point Kyle may be able to accept. “You were USED.It happens.. This I believe is the key message that Spooky wishes somebody had been there to tell him.

    Now if you are still with me at this point I applaud your stamina. And I’d like to beg your indulgence for a little bit longer while I offer some thoughts on the original topic of perception. Hopefully this will not be too difficult to follow, but I caution you that we are again entering the extremely clutterd attic which is my mind. So traveler take care.

    Some years ago it occured to me that for most humans the challenge of self perception is one of distance. I happend to be lucky enough to be on holiday with my brother and his family and we had taken an afternon at the Musee d’Orsay to wander the expressionist exhibits. It came to me that the reason people don’t see themselves clearly is that they are too close to the situation. An expressionist painting may be hauntingly beautiful at the proper distance. But if you attempt to get too close to it, to analyze it, the data becomes a jumble of dots of color. Important, critical, interwoven, interdependent but incapable of being deciphered without the perspective that distance offers. This, I believe, is what Chris was referring to in his statement a while back that it’s easier for him to help others with their problems than to see/solve his own. And so Kyle is too close to be able to see that he is not, in sum, only those things that his inner monologue tells him he is. Nor destined to the miserable fate that they would indicate to him. But to see this he needs the help of a distanced perspective (as do we all) and that is what his friends and family will provide. Not perfectly, for no mirror gives an absolutely perfect view of oneself, if nothing else the image is reversed. But his friends and family will provide that mirror. They will do it in the caring and regard and love that they show him. Even in quiet companionship that is sometimes the heart’s greatest balm. To be in the company of people/family that you know love you, and that you need not speak a word to be certain of it. This is priceless. This, I feel, is the gift that Spooky and the rest of TYP will bring to bear for Kyle. And in time, he may trust it. He will stumble. The voice in his head will not go away overnight, nor will the hurt that Duncan caused him in his betrayal (yes, I am purposely calling up the duality that Danish and others were discussing). But I believe he will heal. My hope for him is that Alex will find a way for him to “find his way home” to the level of healing and self worth that Spooky seems to have found, as i think Chris mentioned a while ago.

    To the discussion of external perception, to how others see somebody I have a different mechanism in mind for explaining it. How is it that so many people can look at the same individual and have such varying viewpoints. Or how even the same person can view an individual at different times and have different and sometimes confusingly conflicting views of the person? After all, they are all looking at the same person, are they not? Why then this variance. This concept came to me in university while studying crystaline structures (yeah…strange are the pathways of the attic). I think that is not unlike the way people perceive each other. You and I may be looking at the same crystal, but not necessarily at the same facets, or from the same angle at the same facet of the crystal. Nor necessarily in the same light. The angle and the light that you see the crystal at may show you some flaw or inclusion that is hidden from me. Or the angle and the light that I see it in may cause it to glow from within. So even though we are looking at the same subject, our viewpoints are modified by our particular perspective of the crystal. And I think that sometimes we ourselves may be the light source. For I have known people to behave in very different fashion based on the company they are in. This too alters perception. Thus it becomes a constant series of revelations rather than an absolute statement. I’m probably not doing this concept the proper justice, and I suspect that there are others here who could state it more clearly, but I think you get the gist. No person observed by multiple people is ever viewed in isolation from a single perspective. Though sometimes the correlation can be close (as with my desire to put Duncan on the event horizon of a black hole for a few of his “immortal” millennia).
    My thanks to anybody who actually made it all the way through this. As ever, comments, corrections, embellishments, criticisms and sympathy for the wanderings of an errant mind are welcome.

    And so, having tested your stamina and strained your patience there is just one more element I want to include here. And in part it’s something that I said to Alex in a smaller venue. He had made the comment that he hoped that what he was creating was not just escapist literature but would be helpful to people in their lives in some way. I hope that Alex won’t mind my sharing the exchange, because I think that sometimes it’s difficult for the author/creator to trust their perception of the impact of their creation. My response:

    I was trained that the best teachers entertain. Some of the best lessons/concepts/ideas I have learned in life have come from “escapist literature”. I believe that is true of what you are creating. As you’ve said many times, you want to create what you would have liked to have read as a teen trying to find your place. That place is not gender or orientation constrained in my belief. You are creating heroes, who set prime examples of love, concern and family. Some of them happen to be gay. But the story stands regardless. That Kyle will rise to the occasion not because of his orientation or worse, in spite of it; but rather because he is a good and decent soul who will do the right thing. That Spooky, Paul, Mitch and the rest will do the same and exhibit the characteristics of friends/family/loved ones is an awesome part of the fabric of the story. But the example stands. And people will learn from it, maybe all the better because at the same time they were entertained by it. I don’t know. But they will learn, and it will help. So I believe. And so do many others.

    So Alex, in this I think you have to trust this community to be the mirror. Does the story touch people? Yes. Does it instruct? Yes. Does it help? Yes. Does it enterain? Oh, gods yes! How else would you explain the involvement and attention of so many in such detail? Or the level of passion? And I doubt much that mine will be the last voice you hear say it.

    It’s good work Alex. And I would argue it’s needed. So again, my thanks to you and Adam and Veronica for what you have created. Well done.

    • Librarican

      Stands up and starts clapping.
      Attempts to do the finger whistle and fails miserably.
      Continues clapping.

    • Elrohir, I’m a sucker for discussion of body language and character interaction so I could read this stuff all day. It’s rare that a verbal artist/writer is also a visually deft director who can communicate his goals dramatically and in such a unified way to his artistic team, such as Alex does (so dignified I’m sure).

      Alex (bangs once on wall next to him and hollers thru hole): “Vero, order in: I need a horz star-scape on blue for pan-2?”

      Vero (bangs twice on wall and shoves flash drive through hole between them): “Render UP! Stars on a blue-lat, good to go!”

      It’s not that Adam ‘couldn’t’ or Veronica ‘couldn’t’. It’s that Alex brings them all together and thus their amazing skills are all supporting the SAME story.

      That’s what I’m always maundering on about. So, of course, I would enjoy a good ramble in your mental attic about ‘perception’ and body language and how it supports the emotional communication between these characters. I truly enjoy your rambles as you find a “way in” to the page that is your own and share that with us.

      But that final italicized quote is quite lovely. In addition to being open regarding gender and orientation it speaks to the lovely idea I very much agree that Alex is pushing toward.

      Super-hero’s are a genre with infinite types and infinite power sources and all of us can wonder what we would do with such power. That really is the genre’s purpose. I do love how your quote speaks to the idea that what Alex is really doing is creating HUMAN BEINGS, and then letting us see ourselves through them, as they decide what they (we) will do with all that power.

      And indeed, for those of us with a past or present hurt, or a want… hopefully we will learn from it.

      Great post. Thank you for sharing.

    • And thank you for your very smart and thoughtful analysis as well, Elrohir! (And for all the kind words!) And yes, the level of passion and detail folks are leaving in the comments here is a huge morale booster for for all of us and definitely helps us to feel like we might be doing the right thing here. Thank you for taking the time! 🙂

  • grimsister21

    God… You know what I’m seeing here? Spooks having a great case of character growth. In the best way possible.

  • Have not had a chance to read these obviously excellent comments yet but I did want to say to Alex:

    Thank you for the Kickstarter notification about your 4th option. No problem. I’m happy to follow you…wherever you decide is best. I trust you and really appreciate how you keep us informed (all of us, not just the Kickstarter backers).

    Oh yeah, have another donation too. Gotta run! Time to go to work.

    • Thank you so much for your understanding, Gryphongirl (and you’re generous donation!) I will do my best to be worthy of your trust and will continue to do my best to keep all of y’all in the loop. After all, the book wouldn’t even be possible without you, so we’re all in this together!

      Thank you for letting me know that you think I’m doing an OK job of handling things, even when challenges arise. That means a lot to me. 🙂

  • SpookyDomme

    That…is spot-on. Spooky just became my favorite.

  • Valja

    That fourth option is great! 🙂 Thanks Alex! (can…can I call you Alex? I know I’m being quite informal here, sorry ^^”)
    As for the page… I’d love to have every single sentence pronounced by Spooky framed and hung on the wall of my bedroom. The guy overflows with wisdom and straightforwardness, he’s saying exactly what’s needed to be said, what Kyle needs to hear right now – and, I bet, what most of us would have wanted to hear at least once in our life, since not only demons and super humans can be “monsters” (and I think that’s basically what Spooky means here). Many of us have probably experienced the “being used/manipulated by someone who’s behaved like a monster” thing.
    By the way, Spooky’s carefree attitude with which he dismissed the ‘hell topic’ in the previous page, that “it was nothing personal. They were monsters, they did what monsters do”, is toooootally badass!
    Kyle, how can you still not believe him? 😉

    • Of course you can call me “Alex”. 🙂 And I’m glad you’re liking that fourth option.

      And yes, I think there are times when we all could use a little Spooky in our lives. And if we don’t have that at a particular time, hopefully we can be that for ourselves. 🙂

  • Klaus

    Another bonus page aleady!

  • Ένα Ding το πρωί είναι μια χαρά όλη την ημέρα.

    • SofiaT

      Your google translate skills keep getting better and better! Very well done.

      • I can be taught. 😛

        • SofiaT

          Well, to quote Darth, your skills are complete.

  • K.r. Bartelheimer

    This page. Holy crap. Wish I’d heard this several years ago, would have saved me a lot of anguish and maybe some therapy.

    • No fricking kidding.

      AND, even if you DO donate a few dollars to the extra pages it’s like a jillion dollars less than normal therapy. In addition, Alex doesn’t have little round spectacles, an accent on his podcasts, a funny pointy little beard… and NOT ONCE has he replied to one of my posts with, “Ahh… yes… but how did the page make you FEEL?”

      Awesome! I’m with you 100%.

      • Elrohir

        I think he’s more subtle than that. By creating such a marvelous combination of story and art…or perhaps, story AS art?…he gets you to tell him exactly how the page makes you FEEL. Tricksey Wizard.:)
        **Doffs his metaphorical hat to Chris who got him laughing twice today, once with a description of Alex treating Veronica like a short order cook and now with the whole Freud comparison…nicely done**

        • Thanks. I left out the part about sometimes a BIG DEMON PHALLUS is just a BIG DEMON PHALLUS

    • KryX

      4:30pm every Friday, 50 minutes with Dr. Violet for 3 years myself.

  • b3nc0

    WOO-HOO‼ It seems everybody is as eager to read the bonus pages than the regular history thread.

    • Elrohir

      Well, say rather equally eager. Since Alex managed to find a Solomon’s choice to fit the schedule and the work we need to make certain that the “Spooky and Commander” effort gets sufficient support that we maintain the two pages a week. I mean, seriously, who could survive on 1 page every 7 days? 🙂
      **Struck by and idea, I wonder if a sufficient number of readers claimed stress to their hearts from having to wait for the pages we could get Alex to borrow the TARDIS from Chris and make it Wednesday already? Purely as a remedy to the clearly critical medical emergency of course!**

    • Saxon_Brenton

      [hums Robert Palmer’s ‘Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to Dings…’] What? That isn’t how the lyrics go? Oh well.

      [counts on fingers, ’cause I don’t trust my numeracy when I’m excited by important things] And we’re up to seven banked pages now. Well done, everyone. And I hadn’t realize the scene change that would cut to the bonus comic was so soon. Now I’m beginning to sweat on how I’ll look in the cameo appearance.

      • Good song choice for the subject. Be warned, Robert Palmer is aging, although The Huffington Post is having a grand time arguing about how stretched Goldie was looking and how acceptable Bette looked and, most of all, how all the sharks having the most fun discussing the plastic surgery chum in the water… were women… and why do men seem more often to accept age as the inevitability it is? The fun thing about Arianna Huffington is that she enjoys letting women be as foolish as men (and that can be pretty foolish) and she enjoys letting them make the public effort. So today there are about 5 billion women on face book dissecting how the women looked, it’s pretty funny. Oh… and Donald Trump, but he’s kind of his own sex these days. Ya know?

        (Sorry, but wow did I digress…)

        Back to Saxon and Palmer. Yes, “Addicted to DINGS.”

        I did have the same mixture of panic at how soon the cut-off point is coming and yet relief, because I’m feeling dramaturgically relieved that at the moment we are not on the cliff’s edge (other than the old news about demon’s eating 3/4 of the world, Kyle’s therapy, Duncan’s secret — don’t kid yourselves, you know there is one — Sircea, who is going to be stinky ’cause the magic 8-ball tells me ‘YES’, Mitch, must learn more about cute Mitch, and other assorted issues such as IS TSUANAMI A HATER or doth he protest (as Sofia wisely queried one day) TOO MUCH. So, I’ll take Alex’s current interlude solution as it is, with thanks.

        I just realized that if the Commander is in this interlude there will probably be less porn. Maybe? Maybe not? I shouldn’t make assumptions. She could have a porn collection that would make ME cry. Who knows?

        I mean come-on people… at least Kyle isn’t naked crying in the dark in an empty warehouse. See? I’m all about the positives. And the non-monster-ish bits of Duncan (sans Anni) are off with Sircea somewhere feeling really really guilty, which he’s hiding well from her when she gives him those *sideeyes*, but WE KNOW it’s all positively eating away at him as he thinks about our adorkable Kyle. Mwaaahahahahahaah! Suffer beastie! (Stabbity Stab Stab Stab).

        Oh? (you’re still here?) Sorry… sorta.

        What? *gasp* Schadenfreude? ME? Not a bit.

        I just want to know, if since this is a gay super-hero comic, can all of Robert Palmer’s pseudo back up band be cute men this time? Badly pretending to play instruments and objectified (see my new big word? huh?) and dressed scantily in pretend formal wear that reveals wayyy too much? All to satisfy the ladies here since we gay boys don’t really care that much about gratuitous sex… ‘a given’… right?

        I must say I am curious about Spooky and the Commander. I think either the POWERS THAT BE love our Alex (awwww) or he really got lucky with his timing here, because this is a GOOD solution at a GOOD time. You know this could be a story about how The Commander rescued Spooky from hell and nursed him back to health with a lot of tantric sex therapy (yes, okay I don’t really now what ‘tantric sex therapy’ means, but it sounds good… you gotta admit. Of course, it’s all so Spooky can get his confidence back to realize that he really IS gay after all………….. okay now I’m just messing with ya.

        Anyway, the timing for this particular interlude, is so perfect that Alex may have powers we don’t know about or Laampros runes on his arms… time will tell. If it’s the second one, some one is demon snax and I vote for (insert some one’s name here other than my own please).

        chris realizes he talking way too much about a potential demon wrangling author and decides to sign off

        Oh, golly, will you look at that time. Busy busy busy… places to go and people to do… Ta!

        Thanks for the DINGS y’all!

        chris wonders if you can mix ‘Ta’ and ‘Y’all’ in the same post… shrugs and goes for more coffee*

        • Elrohir

          Brilliant. Just Brilliant. I stand in awe…or awww…or one of those things. See what you’ve done to me? 🙂

          My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

        • Saxon_Brenton

          I just want to know, if since this is a gay super-hero comic, can all of Robert Palmer’s pseudo back up band be cute men this time? Badly pretending to play instruments and objectified (see my new big word? huh?) and dressed scantily in pretend formal wear

          I think there’s a video along those lines. Hold on a second… Yes, Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJL4UGSbeFg&feature=kp

          • HA. See what I get for not being a Shania fan? I have only myself to blame. That’s some good objectification. Yes, indeedy. Thanks Saxon.

  • Sapfo

    Before all of this he didn´t look like a monster, he didn´t sound like a monster, he didn´t move like a monster.
    But then you saw what he did and you saw the choices that he made. He is an awful person how did a horrible thing to another person. He took away Kyle his innocence, his trust, his security, exploited him for his own purposes, and got Kyle to distrust himself. And all of this was made agains Kyles own will.
    The Annihilator is a monster.

    But I still wonder if we have been presented with all the fact about Duncan.

    • Elrohir

      A good reminder…the duality exists…but I’m still struggling…I know we don’t have all the back story on Duncan. But it still feels like the betrayal was his. I’m going to have to spend some more time thinking about this, but a good reminder still.

    • Nicely said, Sapfo!

    • Oh indeed Sapfo, and well said,

      But impulses and desires are just that… ACTIONS not yet acted upon.

      Now (several TYP hours ago) Duncan chose to ACT in his violation of Kyle. And he did it harshly and perhaps as cruelly as possible. We can see the damage left behind on this very page. I want (no need) a reason to excuse Duncan his cruelty. He’s charming and wonderful in his own way.

      Yet he chose to ACT… and harshly.

      So, I’m with you hoping that future information will help ameliorate his actions. Yet I wish I could think of even one single thing that will help me find — if not forgiveness — at least an excuse for his cruelty.

      We all of us have had hard times and hard reasons that might justify terrible actions and yet most of us choose not to take that step. I’m sure we’ll get ‘reasons’ for Duncan eventually. It just seems unlikely that we will ever get satisfaction… or I should speak for myself… I have a hard time imagining satisfaction.

      I do hope Alex has magic up his sleeve for it, but it’s also okay if he doesn’t.

      I just wish I could imagine a ‘for instance’ that seems justifiable to me. Perhaps, being who I am, i never will. And, while sad, that’s okay too.

      • Keri Harthoorn

        I don’t know that it really justifies his actions, but there are two things that strike me about what Duncan did, and make it a little more understandable to me:

        1) I think the plan was formed a long time ago, my guess is at least six years (six years ago Kyle was twelve and his demon side first manifested, six years ago the Annihilator stopped commiting crimes openly, could be a coincidence, but I choose to take it as significant). For most of that time Kyle was an abstract to Duncan, not an actual person, he only became a person, and a good and kind person at that, in the last few days / weeks (I’m unsure of how much time has passed in comic, but it doesn’t seem to be all that long) at which point Duncan had invested so much time and probably money and other resources as well into the whole lust demon portal thing that finding that he liked the individual he was about to hurt wasn’t enough to tip the balance in favour of him not going ahead with it and thus facing whatever consequences the plan was formed to combat (plus a presumably less than impressed co-conspiritor).

        2) When Duncan was talking about not wanting to get old, I got the impression that a part of that was not just vanity, or wanting to remain invulnerable for his own sake but also that he feared no longer being able to protect others. Maybe I’m imagining that, maybe I’m just looking for another grain of sand to put on the ‘still redeemable if he does something sufficiently extreme to atone for this crap’ side of the scale.

        I don’t know, maybe it says something about me that I don’t want all of the apparent not monsterness that went before to have been an act.

    • b3nc0

      Whatever new facts we’ll learn about Duncan’s past or motivation, though it may help me understand him more, won’t ever make me like him again or even forgive him! That will cost Duncan a true, sincere and thourough redemption‼ *firmly nods*

      • Sapfo

        Not to forgive. But I do want to understand.

  • David Rodolfo Vale

    I am so very happy that Spooky said this. While I understand that this comic is fun and a fantasy it is important to represent the reality of situations like this. A lot of young people (especially gay men) don’t feel accepted by their friends and families and make the same mistake Kyle did. They allow themselves to be used by a predator, but when they don’t have someone there to support them and they blame themselves. Worse than that, they can normalize the situation and seek out unhealthy relationships with people who only use them. It’s one of those things too few people talk about, but we all really should.

  • So, the bonus comic will start soon and it will be with Commander and Spooky. I’m so excited.

    “…since questions are just now being raised about Spooky’s past and the Bonus Comic directly deals with some of those questions.”

    ^What Alex said, and it got me thinking.
    Could this bonus comic be about the ‘interview’ they had when Spooky was about to join the YP group? That’s something that would answer questions.

  • Simba

    Hi everyone! Gonna try to actually camp today instead of fall asleep….

  • Holly

    OH THANK GOODNESS! I Thought i missed camping!!! *rushes in and trips flying through the air landing on…*

    • Hi Holly. I am both camping and no camping. So I am not really here, but I am.

      • Holly

        *lands on Doki is a big loud crash* HI DOKI ^^

        • You are lucky I have a little extra padding. You okay sweetie?

          • Holly

            Life is just kind of hectic right now. And all the stuff. I have GOOD NEWS! but it is linked with bad news.

          • You got a job?

          • Holly

            HAHAHAHAHAH (Though I do have an audition for a tour job. PROFESSIONAL ACTING AND TOURISM MIXED TOGETHER. Perfect job.)

            No I got into school… :/

          • ^_^ I miss going to school. Congratulations on getting in!

            And break a leg at the audition!

          • Holly

            See yes but I can’t pay for school. All the scholarships are for high school students. I don’t qualify for student loans for reasons. and when we try for a student line of credit people want my dad to mortgage his house. So yeah…

          • *hugs* I am sure you will find a way! Think happy thoughts!

            Go to the 2 minute mark… and that is what popped into my head as soon as i typed that.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbQqH3c_Uwg

          • Holly

            I know a site for crowd sourcing tuition, but i doubt that I could find anyone who would trust it. Moreover, if I did I don’t think they would do it. I have nothing to offer in exchange.

            HAHA PETER PAN

          • Not just any Peter Pan, the Mary Martin Peter Pan that I remember watching many many times before seeing the Disney Cartoon.

          • Holly

            Yes yes…Mary Martin is the Quintessential Peter Pan…

          • Took me forever to find it on DVD. Now I have it to watch all the time. ^_^

          • Android labor?
            Android Entertainment?
            Android erm…. okay I’ll keep working on it.

          • Holly

            Alright. ^_^

          • I really tried to avoid the Android sex-bot thing because I’m sure that is a tired joke… but I ran out momentarily of options… you know how it goes… arg. 🙂

          • Holly

            If I could just get a job I might be able to save a little money, on the other side, I need to pay like 4/5 of my fees a month before school starts so I need like 3500 in the next 5 months. (and that is just paying for school)

          • Wait I thought that was good????

          • Holly

            Yes if you look at my next comment to Doki, I mention how I have no way to pay for it. >_>

          • I see that now. Sorry. Catching up.

    • If you pull a DWolf and fall and land on a virgin… well then life just isn’t fair… LOL.

  • Loneliestoflulabies

    I just had the greatest time catching up, can’t wait to see what happens next. Might just fall off the world again just to have more pages.

    • Holly

      My biggest disappointment is when i fall off the earth for a bit and then I check a comic and there is only ONE new page up.

      I know that would never happen with TYP, but it’s still frustrating.

  • Amanda

    I envy everyone their energy to camp. Instead all my energy tonight has been invested in 3 things. 1. Last nights episode of Teen Wolf I recorded (DROOOOL) 2. Last nights episode of Rupauls Drag Race (I currently in midst of a letter writing campaign to be adopted by a Drag Queen) and 3. This Mother-F*ing Alabama Vs. UK game, because apparently the stupid assholes at UK forgot they were playing a damn basketball game and the f*ing ball is supposed to go in the f*ing net.

    • Holly

      I CALL DIBS ON COLTON HAYNES! DIBS!

      • Amanda

        I’ll make the sacrifice and take everyone else!!!

        • Holly

          OKAY

      • Holly whips out the CAPITAL “DIBS” wow………

        • Holly

          Chris have you SEEN Colton Haynes?

          • Begin Google NOW!
            End Google….
            Holy Shiiiiiiiiit…..

            Amanda? Are you really sure?

    • I envy your level of caffeination. You inspire me. 🙂

  • jreed3842

    I’m able to camp tonight! :-D!! And I’ll be able to camp next Tuesday as well! I happen to have those day off from my new job… so… yay! Hello, fellow campers!

    • Hey jreed. Like I told Holly….I am not camping, but camping, not here but here.

      Good to see you!

      • Doki that sounds so existential… are you ascending or something cool?

        • Not really. I have had a couple of dreams lately that have really messed up my head a bit. Which is why I have been quiet a bit. Had the real bad one Wednesday morning and the aftershock one just the other day.

          • Holly

            Poor Doki 🙁 I thought you were just half camping because you were busy.

          • No, just a lot more “not entirely emotionally stable” than usual.

          • Oh I hate my dreams. They so MEH. Not slasher bad, but never GOOD ENOUGH.

            EDIT: SYMPATHY

          • Eh, my dreams usually aren’t horrible. But that first one…it hit on a lot of my major personal “issues” and the follow up hit on another one.

            Not any of the symbolic type dreams, but ones that specifically laid them bare in a bad way.

          • Maybe a good way. Maybe you’ll be able to process and file them in the “All better drawer?” Maybe?

          • I don’t think those issues are so easily solved. 🙁

          • Holly

            *HUGS* poor darling Doki :/

          • As bad as my issues are, there are people worse off than I.

          • Hey… there are always people better and worse off. You are still allowed to feel however you need to. So hugs and feel better when you can! xo

          • Holly

            Chris already said what i was going to say. Your issues are still relevant even if people might be worse off, the way you feel is important. *hugs*

          • Eh, it is often hard to think that way when anyone who should have been there did nothing but brush you aside as you were growing up.

            Like I have said, I would either make a psychologist very happy or drive them insane if they were ever to get into my head.

  • Holly

    Does anyone ever just randomly remember stuff and think “What the Hell?”

    • silibub

      “What the hell” as in it was a strange memory, or as in “Why the fuck did I do that I’m so embarrassed”?

      • Holly

        More like recalling something someone else did…

        • silibub

          Hmm. Sometimes — I’ll look back on certain things people said or did and realize that they were actually pretty terrible, and I’ll wonder how I didn’t see it at the time.

          • But if you are Kyle… or Spooky… WTH has a whole dif thing going on.

          • Holly

            haha good one Chris

          • Holly

            yes exactly.

          • I so so so get that. AJ and I were talking about triggers (NO DON’T ANYONE HAVE ONE PLEASE) and I realized mine from six months ago yeah yeah old news… but was ultimately really good for me because I went back MANY years to a “bad thing” and unpacked it and looked at it. I was very Kyle then. Young, naive, very trusting and believing the best of everyone. Badness ensued. Bad me ensued for a while. Took me a while to Spooky it all. Didn’t have a Dr. Spooky then.

            So I was mad at comic Duncan and everyone who liked him. And a lousy Group partner, but people were still nice and it got better.

            I wrote (privately for myself) and thought a lot about something I’d stashed deep. And I feel much better now. I’m sorry I used a bunch of nice people as interwebz therapy, but the end result is art + good people was a good thing and I feel better about old drama. I’m sorta embarrassed that I didn’t realize it was still creepin’

            I don’t know if that’s what YOU meant about not seeing something at the time… but that was sure true for me.

            “Got better. I’m not dead yet.” (Monty Python & the Holy Grail)

          • silibub

            I was thinking along similar lines. Specifically of the way my first exposure to sex was actually pretty effed up (not because it was with a guy, but because of some of the things he did and said to me), and even though I would gloss the ugly aspects in my mind, it’s still deeply affected my whole notion of sexuality and I’m still untangling those threads. But honestly, talking to other people here has been therapeutic for me too — everyone’s so supportive, and we’ve all had such a variety of experiences, that it’s been helpful just to hear from everybody!

          • Holly

            I am fortunate enough that no advances came when I was really naive. So, I was saved that kind of pain and confusion.

            My thing was more about a supposedly “nice” thing some friends did to me when i was in high school, which seems more horribly horribly cruel.

          • silibub

            Ugh, that’s awful — sorry that had to pop into your head, not to mention happen in the first place. *hugs*

          • Holly

            Yeah see, TWICE in my teen years (mid 00’s) classmates made up IMAGINARY people who had crushes on me. One was kind of obviously fake and supposed to be a cousin of a classmate and the photo was of a model. But you know, I was naive and didn’t realize. I mean male people don’t like me so I was wary but hopeful.

            The other case was much worse. Whether out of kindness or cruelty my closest friends made up this guy when i was in the eighth grade. He was apparently friends with a friend of ours who had moved two hours away, and everyone I was close with knew him. But he was “too shy” to meet me. He was kind of all the things I find attracted to. Since there were no boys that were interested in me I became really focused on this guy. And we e-mailed and stuff, and I really opened up to him. A few times some of my friends would randomly get pissed at me for reasons I NEVER GOT. Sometime around or before Junior year, we stopped communicating for whatever reason, the guy and I. By this point in time one of my best friends just HATED me with an undying passion for reasons I never knew.

            However when I graduated from high school my best friend, who is very sweet, told me that she and the others had invented the guy because they were worried i would hurt myself and they thought the attention would help. And maybe that’s true. Or maybe that’s just what she thought. It might have just been a joke to the others. Or a way to find out secret information. I DO KNOW, that i did complain about some of those friends to the guy a few times. Which might explain them suddenly randomly hating me at various times.

            Those two things plus a few other things that happened when I was a teen have kind of given me a bit of a complex.

          • silibub

            Wow. That’s messed up. The first thing, like making up guys with crushes on you, I could see coming from a well-intentioned place as long as they didn’t play it off like some kind of joke on you. But the second one? It would take a lot of processing for me to come to terms with being lied to that long by my closest friends, and basically spied on while I thought I was sharing my thoughts with someone safe. Whatever they were thinking when they made him up, that’s still an incredibly cruel thing to do. And if they were doing it to be nice, you’d think they would have realized how awful it actually was and stopped it by high school? Damn. I’m really sorry that happened.

          • Holly

            Yeah. There is some definite scar tissue in my ability to trust. Plus I’m really one for compare and contrast, and emperical evidence. So stuff like this just…yeah.

          • Exactly that. I just got to thinking that we are like a huge stack of paper. Each page an experience and they just keep stacking up (I know this sounds like a cliché but work with me) and sometimes a bad page at the bottom of the pile gets brought up and you think it’s forgotten but it’s still in the pile and you have to stop and re-read that page with today’s eyes.

            Not always fun. In fact it can suck hard. But sometimes when you put it back you have a new more “Spooky-ish” outlook on something that you didn’t realize was still buggin’

            So I really feel that. All good to you!

          • Holly

            You are very Wise Chris.

          • Nope. 🙂 Thanks, but just lucky…

  • davefragments

    I almost forgot the update. Too much serious happening today.

  • Holly

    I have just learned that my Co-Op program for school is not only PAID work experience, BUT I can get a job ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. So I could do my co-op work at a resort in the Caribbean! OR NEW ZEALAND! AND be PAID. If I can just find a way to pay for school….

    Yes I am wasting comments on this!

    • Not wasted… that sounds good. Am I confused? Or is that good.

      • Holly

        Everything relating to my super awesome program at school is GOOD. It’s just…. paying for it. >_<

        Though weird thing. To do Co-op (which is mandatory) I have to pay the school 400 dollars. But then I get paid for working. But i have to pay for it nearly a year in advance.

    • davefragments

      That’s a nice opportunity

      • Holly

        Yes I am quite excited Dave. It will be quite the experience. I will probably have to get a new passport.

        • New passports are exciting.
          Edit: new trips are good!

        • davefragments

          I spent a summer working in Elizabeth NJ and living on Manhattan near the UN. As much as I like theater and music, I knew I could never live in New York or New Jersey. When I started to commute back and forth to work then I settled down in the countryside and love it. Me and the deer and the squirrels share a nice house and a few acres of trees. All that made my life better.

          • Holly

            That is really cool. I would love to spend a summer working in New York as well. That would be a fun adventure.

            I dunno. I have these elaborate dreams of where my Tourism Diploma can take me. Then I remember the cat…

          • davefragments

            AS much as I loved NYC – I can say that the nastiest cats lived in my Aunt’s apartment building. It was disgusting to try to avoid the snarling, nasty beasts. And these were well located buildings. You’ve never walked on a street until you tried to walk against 20 people wide subway exits. Crowds, noise, smells, vagrants, perverts in tutus. . .
            BUT GREAT opera, art, theater, museums,

          • mogoskier

            If you want to come live in New York make sure you have a lot extra cash other wise in could be a little hellish.

          • davefragments

            Like about twice what it takes elsewhere

          • mogoskier

            Thrice if you want to live in manhattan

          • davefragments

            My Aunt’s apartment was rent controlled and when she moved back to Pittsburgh, they wanted her to “buy” it as a Co-op for $60K plus the renovation. It was a giant room not even 20 ft by 20 ft.

            Too much, the prices are crazy there.

  • Librarican

    I’m here, but I’m not. i have people coming to visit my place this week for the first time, and if I finish cleaning the kitchen tonight then I’ll at least have one room clean when they arrive!

  • Page is up. I made it to camp like 30sec ago 😀

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Dang it, missed camping!

    • Holly

      Holly sits for an hour refreshing, no new page.
      DW turns on computer, PAGE. 😛

  • davefragments
  • Derkins

    Ooooh thank you Spooky. Since we couldn’t all say i to Kyle, at least he has you in this story.

  • december

    Spooky, marry me.

  • Vinny Gothika

    I just don’t think its that simple with Duncan though, him just being a monster….nah theres more to it than that I think

  • Phyre Storm

    It’s unclear whether penetration happened, but they both consider what they did to be sex, so we might as well go with that. As for how they got to Hell, I think it was the half demon thing rather than the virgin (until 2 minutes ago) thing.

  • Ree

    Damn, this comic has taken a very serious and very real tone. Again, thank you for being such an excellent writer.

  • Kabbalist

    Although I’m not willing to say 100% that Duncan is a monster (you’ve done far too good a job of making him seem like a well-rounded character with SOME scruples), I think Spooky is telling Kyle exactly what he needs to hear right now. Bravo, Spooky!

  • Sarah Lebowicz

    I think I’m… shipping. Spooky and Kyle! So cute~

  • Curt Clark

    OK, third read-through and I STILL cry at this scene.