Skip to content

The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 30

442 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 30

Spooky OUT.

Speaking of out, I’d like to give a shout-out to the GaymerX2 Kickstarter. I had a fantastic time going there last year and I plan to attend this year as well. If you have a moment, take a look at their Kickstarter and think about getting a badge so I can get a chance to see you. 🙂

Oh, and…

***THIS IS A BONUS PAGE!***

Our thirty-fourth bonus page in a row! And in between updates, y’all YET AGAIN tipped over the target on the donation bar below! O_O That means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates, 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!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Monty H. (who makes their fifth generous donation to The Young Protectors!), & Silke K. (who makes their seventh generous donation to The Young Protectors!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporters Rocky W. & Dennis F. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to long-time friends of The Young Protectors David W., & Kristin B. for their super-generous $25 donations! And this makes both David’s and Kristin’s fourth super-generous donations to this comic!

Superhero-strength hugs go out to long-time super-friend Christopher M. for their amazingly generous $61 donation!

And ZOMG!, very, very grateful and very warm hugs go out to long-time mega-friends Christopher D. and Cindy P. for their stunningly generous $100 donations! And this makes Cindy’s fifth and Christopher’s forty-ninth stunningly generous donations to this comic! I don’t know what to say, except thank you so, so much you two! You are SUPER-COOL!

Thank you all so much for your generous support!

So! Spooky’s given Kyle a little something to think about. And there’s still one more page before this scene is through. What could possibly happen in just one page?

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

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Edit 3/5/14 1:35 PM: MORE POWERFUL THAN A LOCOMOTIVE! Holy cow, that was fast! You’ve yet again tipped over the target for the donation can below. That means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates, and bonus pages 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!), Wednesday, April 9th (page 9!), and Wednesday, April 16th (page 11!), you’ve now triggered a bonus page (page 13!) for Wednesday, April 23rd! You are all so, so AMAZING! I’m blown away! Thank you so, so much!

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!
  • In the tragedy of it I still love these pages… and I freaking love Spooky.

    • So close!

      • I was so sure I was late to the page. Opened both my usual tabs, refreshed and *Boom* xD

    • Holly

      *hits head off wall*

      • And then Danish tripped over the cord and accidentally hit the keyboard with her elbow and there it was. INSTA-VIRGIN! LOL.

        • *LOL* Insta-virgin..
          Well I’m not sure if I like these over the ones I hunt or not. They sure have my pulse speeding when they sneak up on me like that. What a way to wake up.

          • *danish reaches to turn the alarm clock off and make the damn ringing stop and accidentally hits the refresh button on her computer keyboard “by accident” and suddenly a virgin falls into her bed*

            Poor poor Danish. Awwwwwww bless. HA!

    • Well said.

  • Yep Heroes don’t let Monsters win.

  • Holy crap. Spooky is THE BOMB!

  • silibub

    *mic drop*

  • Spooky hit the nail on the head so hard he took it through the thick head and out the other side. Damn I needed that dude about half a thousand time in my life. Yep I’m envious, but happy for the Kyle too.

    Wow.

  • Holly

    BEST EXITING LINE EVER! The final panel of Kyle just standing there alone contemplating all this is really powerful, especially with him just in his uniform with the backdrop of stars.

    Spooky’s words were so awesome and poweful. I mean Adam is an INSANELY talented writer.

    I LOVED this page!

    EDIT: I feel like this was implied in what i said but I will say it outright as well. Adam and Veronica’s art work is also VERY powerful and the page wouldn’t work without the colours and imagery.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Spooky rocks.

  • jreed3842

    Spooky just knows what to say doesn’t he?

  • silibub

    You just know his coat is billowing all dramatically in the breeze as he strides back to his bitchin’ car, his awesome backwards hat bathed in moonlight and the wind sighing in appreciation.

  • TwilightDreamer

    *claps* well said Spooky, well said 🙂
    I really hope Kyle will do as he says….no matter how hard it is.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Because of the way Spooky is leaning backwards in the fifth panel, it made me imagine him not actually walking away but instead just swinging down to the ground with his feet in place. (Not falling, mind you – I’m thinking more of Jareth’s gravity flip near the end of Labyrinth or Wallace in The Wrong Trousers.)

    (I do *not* mean this as a criticism of the art – that is awesome, as always. It was just a funny thought I had.)

    • You have a data-base fantasy mind…. love that.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        🙂

        • HA! Don’t think I’m joking.

          You, Doki, Danish, Saph, Adam Black, Sofia, AJ and many others… I have a special link file and name page and I’m constantly dropping refs in it from you guys… I’ll be reading till forever. It’s awesome. Thank you.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Well, in this particular instance it’s watching rather than reading, but your points stands. I’m glad we can help! 🙂

          • Librarican

            I think when I have less on my plate, I will be asking you to share such a reference page. Not right now, or I’ll never get anything done, but soon. 😉

    • Dang you.. I’m sure you know exactly what lines are going through my head right now when you mentioned Labyrinth xD
      I was already co-insidently listening to that song around.. 9 hours ago. Now I have to go listen to it again!

  • Librarican

    Not meaning this to sound criticizing, but does anyone else find it weird that Spooky’s hands beamed from his pants pockets to his coat pockets?

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Hmm, if it were me, I would have started to walk away, realized that it’s kind of awkward to walk with my hands in my pants pockets, and then have switched them to the coat pockets.

    • silibub

      Oh, I didn’t even notice! It’s conceivable that he switched to his coat pockets so he could do the little shrug/coat lift thing (which is actually a really cute gesture — I hope it’s kind of a tic with him!)

      • I’m terrible with that stuff. I get all emo and don’t even notice until my 10th read through.

        Edit: I’ve delegated all smart continuity thinking to Saxon so I’ll wait for him to chime in. 🙂

    • Holly

      I am with Sticky on this. It’s awkward to walk with your hands in your pants, much easier to have them in your coast. ^_^

  • Xalun K

    I can see Spooky’s coat flapping dramatically behind him in the wake of his departure. lol.

    Alex, I’d like your permission to post a link to my ‘gofundme’ to help try to get my son braces. I don’t want to disrespect you or anyone by just posting, and if you’d rather I didn’t, it’s totally cool. 🙂

    • I’m giving you permission to post that here right now. If such postings become distracting, then I might change my mind about it. But as someone who has had braces as an adult, I’ll say OK to this for right now. 🙂

      • Xalun K

        Thank you so much, I really appreciate it <3

  • Same old praise. Sorry A,A&V, I’m overwhelmed with how great this page is so I have nothing original to say for this moment… thank you so much for the effort.

    I’m going to put this one under my pillow and soak it up tonight, because I’m pretty sure this one ensures the good dreams.

    Wishing all three of you the very best. This is special writing Alex. Timeless and timely. Adam and Veronica, your art is off the map in every way you guys make art hold hands with story and speak to our hearts. Thank you kindly for the special work.

  • Yukiness

    I wish I had a spooky in my life to tell me such things

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I can’t say that I know what you’ve been through and I can’t say that I get what it’s like, but I can tell you that the bad things you’ve experienced don’t make up who you are. Good things can and will happen to you someday, and you deserve them all.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        And this goes for every other person on here.

  • Xalun K

    Ok, so Alex has given me permission to post this – I set up a GoFundMe for my son, Sam, who desperately needs braces. http://www.gofundme.com/7al330 His face is so bad that eating causes him pain, and I can’t afford the upfront cost. I’m trying to raise $750 for him (the GoFundMe says $1300 because of fees and percentages and whatnot that would be taken out). If anyone’s willing to help, that would be awesome and incredible. If not, for whatever reason, that’s totally cool (most of my friends can’t help).

    Thank ya’ll for reading this. <3

    • I wish you luck on raising the money Xalun. I have no money, otherwise I would help out with a little bit.

      • Xalun K

        Thank you, I appreciate it. I have no money either, or I wouldn’t be asking. lol. <3

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Would it be possible to donate to you through Paypal instead? As far as I can tell, that doesn’t have nearly as much cost in fees.

      • Xalun K

        I’ve never had a paypal account, but I think the fees are comparable, unfortunately.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Darn it!

          • Xalun K

            Thank you though, I appreciate the thought so much <3

          • Double check paypal. I use it often because there aren’t surcharages… (I think… now I’ll double check)

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I think you may be right.

          • Xalun K

            I seem to remember something about personal donations having a charge attached, but I’ll double check.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I know there isn’t if you say you’re sending money to family or friends and you use either your Paypal balance or a verified bank account, and I’m pretty sure that even if you don’t, you can pay the small fee yourself (as the donor).

        • Not if it’s done as a gift between regular people and not through business type transactions.

          • Xalun K

            Well hell, okay then. I may have to set up an account and edit my post. Thank you.

          • Glad to help.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Please let us know if you do!

          • Xalun K

            Yep, I set one up. My first ever PayPal account. *sniff* lol

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Awesome! I think that all we need to donate is the email address you used with your account.

    • Holly

      I really hope Sammy gets his braces. I know how important they can be, and how painful it can be when you don’t have them when you need them. Sadly, I can’t donate. But GOOD LUCK ^_^

      • Xalun K

        Thank you so much anyway <3

    • Hey… feel for you and your son. I know people will do what they can for sure. Good luck in all.

      • Xalun K

        Thank you so much <3

  • “I’m so proud of you.”
    “You are so cool.”
    “You are so awesome, can I have your autograph?”

    These are things people have told me over the years. Thinking about them makes me tear up every time I think about them (like right now).

    “I’m saying you’re a hero, Gryph, and heroes don’t let the monsters win.”
    I would give so much to have someone say something like to me. At this moment, a decade ago, last week…and now I’m going to try to remember to say something like this to someone who really needs it.

    Dammit, Alex, you’re making me cry! I’ll wipe my tears with another Ben Franklin before I move the donation bar again. Great page, great characters. GREAT Spooky!

    • See the trick. See what he (Alex) just did? Spooky did say that to YOU and to me and to everybody here. We all felt it. Yep, Alex is that good. And the truth is you are the hero.

      Yep… gotta say it… DAYUM!

      • I SEE What Alex Did Now!

        Thanks, Mr. Chris. Any second now we’ll all be deciding on our super hero costumes and powers.

        • You mean you haven’t already?

          • Holly

            personally i just keep changing my mind. Especially everytime someone tells me Hemokinesis sounds like a villain’s only power.

          • HA… you are the best!

          • Ah Kay, Doki. Super hero costume? Some kinda tight leather gear, ya know? With straps, and big boots, all black. With a big black coat. Like Trinity in the Matrix but with a mask.

            Hmm. Super powers? Super human speed and strength will do, I think.

          • Mmmmmm… Trinity… I’m way gay and I thought she was HOT.

          • Hmmm. I will have the knee high boots http://www.hipsterchic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Over-The-Knee-Flat-Boots-1.jpg with the tight pants (tan/light brown) and the billowy shirt (something like a mix/combo of these two…http://www.southernswords.co.uk/ekmps/shops/southernswords/images/elegant-renaissance-pirate-shirt-%5B3%5D-2520-p.jpg and http://www.kultofathena.com/images/100196.jpg )

            And as for powers, weather control and flight. ^_^

          • Love It! No coat, cape?

          • Holly
          • “NO CAPES!” And although a cloak would really set off the ensemble nicely, sadly only when NOT performing acts of heroism.

          • Wasn’t one of your other milestone comments in reply to me too? I’m seriously honored!

          • Elrohir

            You just reminded me of Edna in the Invincibles. “No capes dahling!” And she goes on to list all the superheroes she made costumes for with capes who came to a bad end because of the cape…great scene.

          • Oh and if it isn’t too much, I would also like to be able to speak to animals, and if it was narrowed down to I could only speak with one kind, it would be cats.

            I would really like to know what my noisy kitty is saying…it would be great to talk to him.

          • I don’t think it’s too much to want to talk to animals. Not in this comic, not in this comments section, NOT IN THIS FANDOM!

            Superhero powers to the readers can be bestowed with total abandon is what I say.

    • Thank you, Gryphongirl! And you are a hero in my book. 🙂

    • Mickey Phoenix

      I’m saying you’re a hero, Gryph, and heroes don’t let the monsters win.

      *big hero hugs*

      • Thanks so much, Mickey!
        *wipes eye, big hug back*

  • Spooky – the best self confidence and morality booster around.

    … we should all have one.

    *lol* Besides everything else from this page, I can’t help thinking this is also the perfect ‘tease’ page from Alex when it comes to various shippings, and how to keep the options open.
    Just look at how people reacted when Paul told him that he could help him find someone better. Now see Spooky tell Kyle that he’s sure Kyle will find love again, that he’ll get someone who deserves him.

    So what will the respons be now? 😉

    • I personally think Spooky ships legal Mitch with Kyle. ^_^

  • I can’t decide which panel is my favorite–This page is just so awesome. I love them all, but I think I like the final 3 the best. Well, maybe actually I think the final panel the very very bestest. You can see the gears grinding in Kyle’s head. He’s thinking. The seeds planted.

  • SofiaT

    New favourite page! I’ve found my new favorite page!

    • Me too!!

      • ME THREE!!!

        • FOUR!!!

          • Is that a quorum can we vote something awesome in now?

          • Reminds me of the Beatles at the end of Yellow Submarine when they start singing All Together Now. John yells out “FOUR!”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCA_3FTd61s

          • HA!

          • Huh. Now that I’ve listened to “All Together Now” a few times it seems appropriate for this community. Talks about sailing the ship, can I have a little more (pages), having tea with friends (camping), I love you…

            Oh yeah, and the chorus “All Together Now” can be a sort of anthem for this community, right?

    • Holly

      It’s not only comfort. It is a challenge. Spooky isn’t just telling Kyle it will all work out. He’s asking Kyle if he’s going to let the monsters win. And Kyle…I think Kyle won’t let that happen. ^_^

  • Holly

    I also love the TIMING of Spooky’s words. It’s only a few hours after the initial event, and a minute or so after Paul callously says what he says, not realizing how damaging it is to point out Kyle’s “mistake.”

    Sure Kyle is beating himself up over all this, but it’s only been a few hours so he hasn’t internalized it that much before someone comes in and says “This is NOT your fault. Yes bad things happened, but you were used and you should not blame yourself.”

    It’s a fresh wound and Spooky is trying to heal it quickly to keep it from becoming scar tissue. Instead of Kyle letting these thoughts fester, Spooky comes in and tries to wash them away. Like inspirational Saline Wash.

    ….I think i might have taken the scar tissue/healing metaphor too far. 😛

    • “inspirational Saline Wash” Brilliant, Holly, just brilliant.

      Brings to mind surgical quality super glue, less scarring than sutures.

      • Holly

        I was LITERALLY taped up after I had surgery. No Staples, Stitches, or Glue. Just…tape. (Technically it’s Steristrips and they are stronger than most medical tape. BUT I was still just literally TAPED back together.)

        • TAPE?? Wow. I just had a vision of you taped with…Duct tape. Must have hurt when then took it off?

          • Holly

            Um no. One does not take Steristrips off. They are fall off. The assumption being that once they fall off the wound is closed. I mean, I can show you pictures…so you know what it looks like.

          • Well, I’m glad they just fall off. You can DM with pics if you like on Twitter, if you want. Curious.

          • Holly

            Okay I shall.

          • I got glued… it was freaky…

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            Glue was freaky? Stitches freak me out way more than surgical glue. The first time I needed to have a wound sealed by a surgeon, I was so freaked out by the idea of having him stick needles in an already very sore area, the doc just gave up and grabbed some surgical glue. I won’t let a doc near me with a needle and thread, no thank you – surgical glue all the way!

          • I know what you mean. It was just the first time. Glue is Elmer’s and it’s white and then clear and used for macaroni and glitter on paper plates to put on the fridge…. NOT for glueing up body parts.

            After my brain joined the present medical century, I got over it. I do agree neither needle & thread nor staples sound appealing.

            It’s all sorta lose lose, but I get it. 😛

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            I was lucky growing up, my local hospital was a teaching hospital, and used new tech all the time. The surgical glue they used for me was the most fetching shade of dark aqua, and was originally meant for gluing bone back together. Neat stuff, but very itchy.

            And yep, definitely lose lose all around if you need surgical closures of some kind – though on the plus side, some day it will be one heck of a story 😉

        • Elrohir

          I broke my left arm last year and they had to put a plate in at the elbow and screws at the wrist. The closed the incision with staples. I kid you not. Once it healed they took the staples out with a tool that looked like a stationery tool. I gotta say, I like it MUCH better than actual stiches.Ah, the advances of science.
          I think the thing with Hydrogen-Peroxide or some other agents don’t just disinfect the area, in concentration they kill the tissue.You don’t want the necrotic tissue in the wound, but I may not be remembering it properly.Been a long time.

    • Ha… Spooky is the Hydrogen Peroxide of wise friends and he make the fucked up parts bubble up with clean healing goodness… (like that?) 🙂

      • And Hydrogen Peroxide is sooo versatile!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Except that now medical people are saying that you shouldn’t put hydrogen peroxide on wounds because it causes more damage to the tissue, so I say we stick with saline.

        • Done! (although this sounds like the coffee is good for you… No coffee is bad for you thing.) But I’ll follow. LOL.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            According to Wikipedia, “At one time, the most common household use of hydrogen peroxide was to
            disinfect wounds, but it is now thought to slow healing by affecting
            tissue growth through several possible factors. Only a very minute
            concentration of H2O2 can induce healing, and only if not repeatedly applied.”

          • Are you a closet Doctor? That sounds suspiciously wise.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I’ve always had a keen interest in first aid, but no medical knowledge was required for me to look it up on Wikipedia. 😀

          • Okayyyy then get Spookinfectant™ The new cleaner healthier way to properly heal your super-hero boo-boos! Get SPOOKINFECTANT™ TODAY!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Rub him all over your body…slowly

          • Cydney Sabin

            Wait… are we still talking about healing here?

          • stickfigurefairytales

            In the Marvin Gaye sense, sure.

          • Holly

            Remember to Swallow vigorously

        • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

          Saline’s good, so is witch hazel extract. It is an astringent, but very mild, and plant derived, with the plant being known for a lot of healing properties, and the alcohol used to extract from the witch hazel being a great disinfectant. It’s often used in acne treatments, but I’ve found it works on almost all wounds. It’s also fantastically cheap, and doesn’t mean fussing around mixing up a fresh batch of salt water while you’re bleeding all over the place 🙂

          Failing that, onion juice. Seriously hurts to apply it, but when I cut my finger open while cooking, I noticed that my finger healed much quicker with onion juice having gotten into the wound than when I cut myself crafting on the same day and didn’t get onion juice in that cut. Yeah, one of those days, I cut myself twice. After the kitchen incident, I pretty much gave up on anything with knives for the rest of the day.

          • Cydney Sabin

            Aloe seems to work for just about everything, in my experience.

          • I have a lot of days like that, but half the time I don’t realize I was injured until I go to wash my hands or something.

  • Mary Klemzak

    *stands up*

    *applauds*

    *gives Spooky all the awards ever*

    Well said Spooky! So our old snark has some wisdom as well. Whoda thunk?

    Please pretty please, let our flyboy come glomp our fiery hero?!? He deserves some screen time too, specially now that Kyles out of the Hellhole.

    Ok, I admit, it’ll probably be Fluke wondering what the flip was taking so freaking long.

  • Loneliestoflulabies

    Ooh that last line had me in the feels, now time to sleep em off

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Sleep well!

    • Mickey Phoenix

      “had me in the feels”…*giggles helplessly*…I love that. I’m going to have to share that one with my daughter. She’ll fall over. 🙂

  • I feel as though that last panel is possibly the most important of the current chapter.

    And there is no dialogue.

    Since this chapter started, we have experienced much sadness and some small chuckles but in this last panel, he is considering life outside of this event. He is stopped in his tracks at the realization that he has a life outside of this event and the mere idea of it has left him speechless.

    • Beautifully said, Kinziechan.

    • Holly

      Wonderfully put.

  • Holly

    For some reason I can no longer reply to Gryph. Everyone else, yes. Gryph no. :/

    • That’s weird

      • Holly

        Okay weirder still. Only in one conversation. BUT I can still reply to myself and Chris in that conversation. O_o

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Weird indeed.

    • My Disqus is weird right now. Replies have gone missing. Things seem to be shifting around. I will refresh, again.

      • Holly

        OKAY! ILY

  • Reading the page again..

    The way Spooky so calm and easily knock every one of Kyle’s self blame and self doubt arguments into the ground until he’s left standing in wonder, facing the best counter arguments around.

    Spooky probably saved Kyle years of therapy in just 5 mins. No wonder Spooky wish someone could have told him this years ago.

    It took me years of self-therapy to understand my own ‘demons’ and traumas enough to work with them (and still do). The day I realized that no matter what some one else had thrown at me – both figurative and metaphorical – I was still still standing, albeit a bit wobbly some times, that was a great day in my life. I have still gotten back up every damn time, so I’m stronger than ‘they’ are.

    These few minutes of talk is not gonna work miracles and ‘cure’ Kyle instantly, but it being told so quick after his traumatic events will help him get back up so much faster. Before the guilt and self blame has time to fully set roots.

    • See, this makes me wonder how Duncan can live with himself. I mean, doing this to Kyle.

      In fact, how can anybody who knocks someone else down in that way live with themselves? How do they sleep at night? I sometimes think people like that are afraid in general and maybe even afraid of you, Danish. After all, you got back up again…and again. They should be scared.

      Duncan is definitely afraid of Kyle. He just doesn’t know it yet. Or maybe he does…

      • PFG9000

        The answer is the same as Spooky’s but but in reverse. Sometimes people are just monsters. It is difficult for anyone with normal emotions to understand but there are people out there who just do.not.care and even get a power rush out of knocking people down. There are always different motivations for people doing those things; maybe they are too up in their head to realize they are doing harm, maybe they are on a power trip, or have dehumanized their victim in their head, maybe they are just sadistic, maybe they are psychopaths.

        We can sit and try to fathom all day what kind of person it takes to try and destroy a person but the truth is we’ll never get into those people’s heads. The important thing is to remember that when someone has knocked us down, run us over, backed up over us and run us over again, that we’re not the one with the problem. Sure yeah, we can kick ourselves for being kind, loving, human beings but at the end of the day that’s what we should be and we should let no “monster”, through their actions make us less of a person but use it to be stronger better people who love, care for and have compassion for others.

        • NIIICE!

          I’m thankful I can never get into these people’s heads…and proud of myself for getting back up and walking away.

          • PFG9000

            And so you should be proud for getting up and walking away. Emotional pain is the hardest to recover from. And I am thankful I can’t get into those people’s heads but I know several.

            I refuse to let anyone, through their cruel actions, make me treat them or anyone else like less of a person. Sometimes I fail at that but it’s getting up and trying the next time which is important.

            So much love for you Gryphongirl2!

          • Wow! *hands over my heart* Thank you so much, PFG9000!

            Love to you too!

      • Saxon_Brenton

        My first thought was: ‘he probably lacks the self-awareness to realise that he’s doing wrong’, but my immediate second thought was: ‘no, hold on, the monologing that he did when he had Kyle bound in magical chains indicates that he has loads of self-awareness, but he just isn’t allowing it to get in the way of achieving his goals’. And then I recalled a moderately lengthy discussion from last year where it was proposed that Duncan was basically using the facade of being a big nasty moustache twirling supervillain to hide from his conscience (I can’t recall whether it was myself, Sofia, or someone else who came up with that idea), and the commensurate notion that Duncan needs to be redeemed. So in that regards, yes, Duncan should definitely fear Kyle, because the guilt he (apparently) feels over how he treated Kyle is one of Duncan’s weak points.

      • timemonkey

        You have to remember what kind of person Duncan is. One does not become the most feared supervillain in the world by being nice and not hurting people. Whatever rationalizations he uses are long in place and we’ve already seen a few glimpses of them.

      • Maria White

        They say the true definition of evil is, knowing something is bad, yet doing it anyway. Evil isn’t just doing something terrible, there are people who are psychopaths who actually are not well and truly aware of what they are doing. However, there are those, Like Duncan who know fully well what they are doing is wrong. Yet they do it anyway. Duncan, in essence, is wearing a mask. I know this tactic well in writing. You never see the true character until they take it off. Like with Star Wars. What he wants is power, and eternal youth, and is going to do whatever he needs to, to get that. It doesn’t matter what gets in his way. But he knows this is bad, and yes, refused to let it get to him. I have used, or thought about using, the ‘innocent’ character, who would by their innocence of the world, be broken by dear old villain mask wearing evil guy, and then that mask would break through that innocents death and they would see just what they have become and then, you know, off themselves. Since they can no longer bear the world, exposed of what they truly are.
        I don’t know about you, but I would like to see Duncan on his knees grovelling.

  • strangeangel24601

    Spooky needs a mike to drop.

  • Melanie Michaels

    Spooky…Spooky…Spooky…I WANT YOU TO BE THAT PERSON FOR KYLE!!

  • vessto

    Spooky can be a great psychotherapist.:)

  • Elrohir

    I have to say Alex,I’m a little at loss for descriptions. This is just so, so well done. More to follow, but putting the challenge to Kyle’s core values with, “And heroes don’t let the montsters win” In the theraputic and counseling give and take I think is a perfect tact for Spooky to take with Kyle. The proof being Kyle dumbstruck in the final panel. Just awesome. You, Adam and Veronica continue to impress. Thanks so much.

    • You’re welcome, Elrohir. Glad you’re liking it! 🙂

  • Love this page. What Spooky does here is wonderful — not an unbelievable insta-fix, but the groundwork for Kyle to start believing in himself again.

    And beautiful artwork to support the script. The composition and colouring are always good, but on this page they’re just stunning.

    • Thank you, Jules. I’m really glad you like the page. Yep, it’s not an insta-fix (there isn’t for such things), but it is groundwork—and a way of looking at things that has helped Spooky deal with things himself. 🙂

      (And yes, Adam and Vero really hit this one out of the park, right? 😀 )

  • Nate

    Spooky for the win!

    Although, with his relaxed body language and posture, part of me thought he fell over backwards in the last panel…. 😉

    • Ha! No. That’s just a typical SpookyGesture. Helps to have the coat. 😉

  • TW Lewis

    I’m usually just a lurker, but I had to comment on this page. As someone who was completely screwed up, screwed over, and just plain screwed as an underage child by an older man twenty years ago, this page made me cry. Thank you for this scene, and especially for this last line. I may not believe a happy ending is in the cards for me, but you’re right, you can’t let the monsters win.

    • Librarican

      Careful, one comment is how it starts…..
      It’s like potato chips that way.

      • Elrohir

        Truer words were never spoken…”Oh, I’ll just write this one little response…”

    • Good fortune. Great first comment! Welcome.

    • Thank you for sharing that, TW. Spooky’s message is one that I feel is important to share.

      I wish you much happiness and ease now and in the future. For some of us, it takes a long time—long enough that it can feel like forever and that it’ll never come—but for me, at least, it happened and after a time when I believed it never would. I can’t know for certain if you’ll have that experience too—we all walk our own path. But I believe we don’t have to walk it alone. And I also believe happy endings and full healing are possible, so I am sending you my warmest thoughts as you send those monsters packing. 🙂

    • Mickey Phoenix

      Thank you for your courage, TW. Just by posting that comment, you’re being a hero. Just by living your life, you’re not letting the monsters win.

      I’m sorry you were hurt. And I hope that you can find a happy ending that you can believe in, whether or not you can see the path to it right now. And to me, you’re even more of a hero because you’re keeping on going, even though you don’t always believe in that happy ending.

  • Toli Bera

    “Now come on we have to pick up Tsunami from the Dairy Queen.”
    “Really? They lifted his ban?”

    • Cydney Sabin

      That sounds like a story by itself…

      • strangeangel24601

        Personally, I think it’s better without context. XD

      • Toli Bera

        well, he went in for a bit of vanilla swirl, one thing lead to another, yadda yadda yadda, he wound up naked. and then banned.

        I’m making a noodle incident.

        • Cydney Sabin

          I think I’d like to see that. And no, it’s not because he’s naked. Mostly.

  • Librarican

    I don’t know how Alex has the break and chapter organized, but I have a crazy idea. This seems like a perfect moment for “Let’s take a commercial break and we’ll be right back.” Since I seem to recall it being said that the chapter isn’t going to end for a while yet, could we just leave Kyle pondering there and go straight to the bonus chapter with Spooky and Commander? He has a lot to think about anyway….

    • Klaus

      The bonus comic starts next Wednesday.

      • Cydney Sabin

        Well, hey. Maybe the next page is just one big picture of Kyle looking out at the sunrise, pondering the secrets of life…

        Cliche, I know.

  • thebitterfig

    Spooks is so cool he doesn’t mike drop.

    He drops himself.

    Off the side of a mountain.

    Backwards.

    • Jac

      oh

  • Cman65

    as a Monster I have to say we need love too

  • Melinda Maddolin

    What could happen in one page? Knowing you guys, quite a bit. 😛

    Well done, can’t wait for the next one.

  • Pikinanou

    Yeah, you tell him, Spooky! But I’m sure Kyle will eventually come around. We gotta give him some time: it’s been weeks for us but for him, only a few hours has passed since poop hit the fan of his self-esteem. Can’t expect him to get over it so fast, even if we all wish for it. 😀

  • Jason Wexler

    Has Kyle explained to him/them his primary reason for trying this in the first place wasn’t that he thought he was in love with the Annihilator but because he could have sex with him without hurting him? Finding a partner worthy of him may in fact be the easy part (is anyone else getting the impression that Flyboy is being set up for that role in the future?), the hard part is finding someone he can have sex with, without killing the person.

    • Tina

      That’s why I’m kind of hoping something causes the Annihilator to turn around and the two make up. Probably wouldn’t be an immediate falling in love again but yeah who else is fireproof?

      • Cydney Sabin

        I’m sure Spooky’s got some fireproofing spells handy. Wink wink nudge nudge eh?

  • fujoshifanatic

    Um, Kyle breaks out into his own version of “Let it Go” from Frozen? That would be hot. ;-P

    Seriously though, whatever happens in the next page, I hope it involves something cute and a little funny with Flyboy. After all the serious bombs dropped in this scene, we could use the levity, and I missed his little earnest ass. 🙂

    Awesome page as always! Spooky is spot on with the knowledge he is dropping on Kyle. I just hope he’s open enough to receiving it. I’m so excited for the bonus comic to begin! Careful Alex, or Spooky may steal not just this scene, but the whole story away from Kyle. Don’t think many would mind though, but this is Kyle’s story after all.

    • Ha! I’d love to see Kyle do a version of “Let It Go.” Except, y’know, with fire

      I’m glad you liked the new page. And hopefully, people will find something to like in all the characters. Spooky is a special guy (and one of Kyle’s closest friends) so he (and Fluke) will get some extra attention in this comic. But in the end, it’s my hope that most folks will enjoy spending time with all the Young Protectors. And so, if there are future arcs, that people will be looking forward to other characters taking center stage. 🙂

      • I don’t like that ‘IF there are future arcs’.. I want/hope that ‘if’ will change to a ‘when’ 🙂

        • If there is interest on the part of the readers and Adam and Vero are available, I think a “when” is likely. I have a pretty clear idea of what the next arc will be, anyway. 🙂

          • I really do not think you need to be too worried about the “if there is interest on the part of the readers”. Of course we are interested!!!

          • Oh yeah… I remember you mentioned this arc a while ago. It’s the one where you spend two years of serial comic time exclusively exploring the back stories of Hunter and Killer… erm… in fact as I remember that was the arc where you sent Spooky and Mitch off on some overseas adventure where the readers don’t see or hear from them for a couple of serial years… right?

            *ding dong*

            I’m sorry, please excuse me, there seem to be a rather large group of irate readers at my front door brandishing torches and pitchforks… how very odd… let me just go explain I gave at the officcccc……………

      • Jac

        A bit on the -evil- side, but…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7FE6t_iL1g

        Yeah, click on that, enjoy it. 😀

  • Spooky nails it!! That was awesome!

  • Inuhime

    That is some very good advice, I’m actually a bit surprised. ^_^ Such a good friend.

  • Xalun K

    You guys are amazing. Thank you.

  • *yes I know it’s long… what can I say, I needed it… it was that sorta page. just scroll down quick and you can can hop right over it, it’ll be okay… I promise.* 🙂

    A VERY sincere appreciation to Alex for a page that says things that we all need to hear… sometimes over and over. And, for some of us, that need never really stops. I guess it is true we’re never too old to stop needing a little belief from outside loved ones. How nice that this time it came to us in such beautiful wrapper. Thank you kindly for that Adam & Veronica.

    It’s true don’t you think? The obvious things. The truths that are so true they feel like a cliché. The things that your adult-self looks at and says, in an almost childlike way, “But, don’t I know this already?”

    Those are exactly the things you hear, read, see and yet you feel the truth of again and again and, if you are smart, you recognize your luck for hearing that poem or song lyric or seeing that painting or reading a graphic novel and suddenly hearing that idea again… and you just know you needed to hear it. I chatted with Gryphon Girl last night, re part of the genius of this page is that Spooky is saying these lines to all of us really. We are all heroes in this context and, “heroes don’t let the monsters win.”

    And those ‘monsters’ are legion, but this line is truer than true and while it sounds like old news… just before dawn this morning (husband made coffee and who can resist the smell of coffee), I am looking again at this page and that feeling came straight back to me from last night and I smiled again. This page works so beautifully with 27 thru 30, but it is THIS page, on it’s own, that is the maraschino cherry. Oh Spooky you are the bomb.

    I wish I was the Spooky… more. I have been the Spooky upon need. A friend’s need or even my mother’s when my father passed away. I’ve been able to be wise and give, but never to myself. So foolish. I know I’ve said it before, but at 17 I was SO Kyle. Obviously why I sometimes trip so hard and fall into the story. Unlike Danish, I don’t land on a cushy virgin, but slam down and it pulls up memories of a ME that is long gone… and I think forgotten… until something like this page comes along and I realize that Chris is still there… under all the layers.

    So Spooky preached a bit of truth at Kyle last night and the Kyle in me woke up, recognizing something we all know and something it’s never wrong to hear… again.

    (paraphrase) We are the heroes and heroes don’t let the monsters win.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Forgive me if I’m reading in to much, but I enjoy it too much. A, A & V can roll their eyes, but right away in panel-#1 we see it and hear it. A long horizontal panel. A continuation of the last page in visual feel. Spooky and Kyle in their emo-stand off at the OK-corral is ongoing.

    And wise-Dr. Spooks with his back to a huge immovable block of wall, a wall as immovable as he is… and out comes the first big truth,

    “… if you don’t let this mess you up, someday, you’ll actually be able to love again.”

    BAM — fricking amazing — to the most important thing first “LOVE AGAIN” not die heroically saving the world, but LOVE AGAIN.

    “And a guy like you? Next time, I’d bet good money somebody who actually DESERVES you will love you back.”

    To quote AJ: DAYUM!

    Oh don’t we all want to believe THAT. Look at Spooky relaxed and just delivering the facts. So calm. Somebody said ‘young Columbo’ a while back (sorry for not remembering who), but right on. Look at him preach. Kyle out in the open rearing back like a frightened horse. (Sorry Veronica, but just when I thought the skies couldn’t get better… yep they do… steadily throughout the page. They are a total character and someone good at it will name them… *chris hollers* “GryphonGirl!… we need another name!”

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Cut to: scene in the TYP Creation Loft ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I have this image of Alex, Adam and Veronica surrounded by empty coffee cups blearily reading the TYP over-nights, before they begin a new page. (I don’t know why I have this image of them in a giant art loft in S.F. — especially in today’s world where they are probably spread all over the country and sharing digitally — but, oh well, it’s my hallucination…

    Alex: “Oh look here is Dangerfield’s usual morning after comment–”

    Adam & Veronica: –groan (as they look for their own coffees… you know… this has milk in it… mine is black… etc…)

    Alex: (reads on) “blah blah deep blah blah meaningful and timely. Yaddda yadda story and – oh yes Veronica…

    Adam: (bats eyelashes big at Veronica) Oh, let me just guess, the page is all covered in fan-boy kisses and smells like too much Axe… OH Vero your skies were once again like limpid pools of ultimate peace and perfection… I want to marry you and have your little sky babies and… (at this point Vero hits him with a copy of the morning’s SF Examiner) and giggling ensues, while he tries to avoid spilling his coffee while laughing.

    Veronica: “You shut up pencil boy, I think he’s nice.”

    Adam: “You would Miss perfect Sky. Heh heh heh.”

    Alex: “Whatever… it seems her ‘limpid pools’ have us close to another extra page so better sharpen your pencils Mister… and trust me there’s plenty of fanning in here for you also.”

    Veronica: (laughing) oh just wait till we get to your expressions and the body language Mr. Wonderful Pencil. (eyes are rolled again as life bringing coffee is slurped).

    Alex: “Well apparently Vero, your skies actually ARE once again…”

    Veronica: (picks up paper and pretends not to hear them chuckling and wonders what did she do to deserve this)

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Loft scene continues without us ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    So, like I was saying, I love that Kyle is rearing back like a startled horse. It just screams that idea that when we’re determined to be miserable and some rotten no good Spooky won’t go along with our plan. In all seriousness, when someone else likes us better than we like ourselves at the moment, it can be pretty startling and confusing and one often doesn’t know how to think about it.

    In p-#2 I love that Spooky perfectly bangs it one last time. (paraphrase) ‘I DO UNDERSTAND… not only better than most… BETTER THAN YOU!’

    Spooky is so damn crafty, I hate friends who are smarter than me (LIE). Spooky is one by one cutting off all of Kyle’s escape routes. Look how intently Kyle is eagling him. He wants to hear this so bad.

    As usual I loved the layered panels here, they are less regimented and while they start closed in they slowly layer their way open, back and forth giving you a feeling that all of this page is open all the time but yet they are quietly reminding us readers where too look. So often neglected in graphic novels.

    Notice also that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF SPOOKY’S LINES PUSHES THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCCESS BACK ON KYLE. Kyle’s choices. Kyle’s wants. It sounds like a lecture, but it’s the best one I’ve ever heard, because every line is, ‘IF YOU DO THIS then goodness will happen.’ But the key is that little qualifier… “if you do this…” S’truth… it always comes back to us. It’s kinda of wonderful in the sense of universal truth and also as a counterpoint to what he’s just been through… tricked, bound, betrayed, paralyzed. No choices… now Spooky is saying the opposite… EVERY CHOICE IS YOURS.

    Classic therapy in every frame but look at panel #3. Spooky could not be more sure of himself, more empathetic, and yet throughout his body language is the ultimate in relaxation. The absolute surety he shares so subliminally to such a confused and worried Kyle. His body says, ‘I’m not worried for a minute. I have every faith in you… If you don’t give up… really good things will happen in your life.

    And wow if Kyle isn’t going to stare a hole in him he wan’t to believe in Spooky so much and he’s so scared to.

    This isn’t just Duncan or a the hell-date or mistakes. This is the whole life dilemma of Kyle believing he and love and sex are impossible. I know the gay side of that fear. At about 15 (pre-internet) I honestly remember thinking I was just so fucked up (gay) and the best I could hope for was to be a good husband and a good dad and if I wasn’t in-love-love, well that’s just the way it would have to be. It was pretty sad. Fortunately those were the last pre-internet moments.

    I still feel it for people in countries and locales where it all can get isolated, or government repression denies access, but it’s better. Now, most kids may have bullying problems and other issues, but not the isolation. (Sorry, I digress) So, Kyle is dealing, not just with a sucky hell-birthday, but with the idea of love and happiness being okay and possible for him. It’s one of those things he’s so afraid to let go and believe, because if he does he’s ultimately vulnerable and he just touched that stove hours ago. So he’s listening to Spooky like he’s hearing where the last life vest is on the Titanic.

    P-#4 made me cry (just a tiny bit, so shaddup, HA). I know Kyle’s cross armed pose personally and that scared pouty look. First look at Spook’s body language, so relaxed. He is so warm and gentle. He knows exactly what Kyle’s saying and he knows he’s already ‘won’ in the good sense. Kyle wouldn’t be this upset if Spooky wasn’t right on target in every way. Kyle is afraid because inside he knows Spooky is right and that’s scary hope.

    I’m embarrassed to say that I know Kyle’s pose because it’s the one I make when I’m scared that I might cry in front of someone. Normal stuff does NOT make me cry, but sometimes wanting something so bad that I’m afraid will wind me up. Look at Kyle. Arms crossed, hands in his armpits. A big pretend tough front stance. He’s holding himself together…literally. It’s his last ditch effort to make sure he can believe Spook.

    REALLY BELIEVE — Love for me? Happiness for me? Safe to believe in a fuck up like me? Look at that face. That is totally a much cuter version of my, I’ll be damned if I’ll let you see me cry like a wuss face. Hey trust me. We 18 year old boys are a piece of work. Deity, damn his expression broke my heart. Kyle want’s to believe Spooky SOOOO BADLY.

    Panel-#5 — Spook so relaxed leaning back fires a gun off. Hands in pockets like he’s got a gun hidden in there (no jokes), and he does, a verbal one. His body as open as Kyle’s was tightly closed and he blows Kyle wide open with the one thing Kyle has no defense for. One, Kyle is a HERO. Sofia said it somewhere and I totally agree. He is a hero he will always start by seeing the best in people. I was that way and I still am, I just protect myself now in ways I didn’t know how to at 17, but I get the idea. I like the world better if I can think that people are basically good until they go all sphincter-o-saurus on me. Then I just run.

    But Kyle’s arms are blown open. Spooky ‘owns’ him and has ALL his attention. Like I said, it’s the ultimate line Kyle has no defense against:

    I’m saying you’re a hero, Kyle — And heroes don’t let the monsters win

    It reminded me of this… Kyle’s confusing dreams of what being a hero meant …

    http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-page-13/

    It’s one of the sections that sent me off ranting about our favorite monster… it’s so cruel… but the world is cruel and while Kyle may be stronger for it in the long run… tough stuff.

    So Spooky’s final bullet went right to the soul of who Kyle is by nature and who he wants to be more than anything… well except maybe loved and in love. I feel safe in saying those two may be neck and neck goals.

    And that last panel is everything. Kyle is DONE. Veronica and Adam’s background is beyond beautiful and the emotion is pure. The contrast between Spooky and Kyle through out is genius. I must admit that I don’t usually ship, but I did these two in this moment. They are so perfectly balanced, but I’m not actually blind (self-blinding occasionally out of pure cussedness). I think enough hints have been dropped that I need to honestly prepare myself that Spook’s (whatever he is) is not be for Kyle. (How do I spell fanfic again?) That’s neither here nor there though. This last panel where Kyle absorbs all that pure truth is just like the punch in heart after Duncan leaves the warehouse.

    http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch2-page-49/

    Just a beautiful well-earned piece of pure emotion.

    Nothing more to be said, but I think Alex, Adam and Veronica can now drop the mics and stroll off stage. They own it. Seriously, they pretty much DO after this page. A final quiet thank you to all of you and a special Thank You to Alex for tackling the bigger underlying idea of learning to believe we all deserve love. That’s a big idea, but honestly, gay or not, none are really worthier or more important. I’ll just sign off with the witty and elegant… DAYUM

    • Thank you again for another wonderful and thoughtful comment, Chris. Which I, for one, always look forward to from you. 🙂

      And you’re right that a reason I’m choose to write about heroes is because I believe we all can be heroes—and part of that work is being gentle, wise, courageous and, yes, heroic when working with the painful parts of our own life. If readers hear Spooky speaking directly to them in these pages, then they are hearing him right.

      And you are right too about one other thing—Spooky absolutely believes in Kyle. He does believe that Kyle has much happiness ahead of him. Spooky believes in the possibility of real happiness and ease after trauma because that has been his experience. And he believes there is no way Kyle will let the monsters win.

      • Mickey Phoenix

        That’s actually why this page keeps making me cry (I just went back and re-read it for the, what, maybe fifth time…and started crying, just like turning on a faucet). It’s because I know Spooky’s speaking to me — and because also, especially as I’ve gotten older, because I’m Spooky, telling the people in my life that they are heroes. Reminding them that they don’t have to let the monsters win.

        It gets me, as they say, “coming and going”. Whether I’m feeling strong and stable and safe, and it reminds me of the wonderful heroes in my life who need to be reminded…or whether I’m feeling small and scared, and need to be told again, myself, that I’m a hero (cue the tears again), and Heroes. Don’t. Let. The. Monsters. Win.

        We don’t, you know. We really, really don’t.

        It’s awfully good to have a Spooky around to remind me. And it’s awfully good to see myself reflected in Spooky, and know that sometimes I get to be that reminder/remind-er to the people in my life.

  • purplefoxglove

    Oh, Spooky, if you were real, I’d propose to you now.

    • Soubi

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • Elrohir

      Harry Potter: “Professor, is this real? Or just all in my head?”
      Dumbledore:”Why should that make any difference?”

      Just sayin…

      • purplefoxglove

        😛 Just so you know, when they’re coming to put me into a straitjacket because of my invisible husband, I’ll blame you 😉

        • Elrohir

          Nice thing about your invisible husband though is that they can never take him away from you. 🙂
          Glad I was of some small assistance.

  • purplefoxglove

    I know it’s terribly sappy of me to say, but Spooky’s words, Kyle’s expressions and that magnificent sky just made me feel all warm inside and go “awwwwwwwwww” ^^, so…Is it just me, or did the night sky get sparklier and sparklier with every panel, like a light of hope and optimism that rises within Kyle as Spooky’s words sink in?

  • Teahouse just updated with an interesting page.

  • Well, it doesn’t say it yet but I just made a *ding, ding, ding*

    Those $6 haunted me, and I found out I had a little extra cash.. so it was my turn to give a little. No much, but just enough 🙂

    • Saxon_Brenton

      But as you well know, every little bit is appreciated. [scratches Danish behind the ears] Thank you.

    • Thank you, Danish. It is very much appreciated and helpful for making this comic possible. 🙂

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    My eyes filled with tears…because, in almost 30 years I still haven’t found what I had then . And what Spook said brought it all to the surface AGAIN…I thought I had it buried where no one could find it.

    • PFG9000

      Even though you’ve not found it again, accept that you deserve to find it again. Sometimes we look for something and look for something and find that it’s inside us all along and we just need to unlock that door.

      Embrace what you once had as a great memory and look for the furture, sometimes we miss things when we keep looking over our shoulders at the past

    • Mickey Phoenix

      Wayne — that sounds like it really hurt. Here’s a *hug* if you want one.

  • Randy Patton

    You know, sometimes the “happy ending” doesn’t come. You just have to sit back and recognize that you did the best that you could, and that the relationship, and the big “win” in life were not in the cards. That’s when you pull yourself together and do the best you can with what remains. “Spooky” is telling Kyle what he needs to hear….but there is no guarantee that what he is saying will come to pass.

    • Xalun K

      Very little in life is guaranteed, but we could all use something to hope for. Spooky is giving Kyle that hope. 🙂

      • Mickey Phoenix

        I think he’s giving Kyle something more important than hope. He’s giving Kyle a narrative, a way of structuring his thoughts about his life that makes him something other than a victim, or a monster, or hell-spawn. What makes Spooky’s offering so awesome is that he manages to make that narrative completely inarguable: he’s saying “You’re a hero” to someone standing there in a frikkin’ superhero costume. 🙂

    • Klaus

      The secret to a happy ending is knowing when to stop. If you continue the story for too long, it always ends in death – Niel Gaiman in 24 Hours.

      Nothing ever ends – Alan More in Watchmen.

      • Well then what if instead of always vigorously grabbing after the golden HEA… What if I just somewhat languidly reach for TENUE instead? (The Ending of Not Unreasonable Ennui)?

    • Mickey Phoenix

      I’ve been too damned lucky in my life to speak with any kind of authority on unhappy endings. I don’t have standing. But it seems to me, from where I am, that if I ended my life saying, “I did the best that I could with what I had”…well, I wouldn’t entirely mind having that for my epitaph.

      I don’t expect I’ll ever be a billionaire, or date a supermodel, or even drive a brand-new Tesla. But that’s not the happy ending I’m looking for, personally. I’d love it if my happy ending included a large family of descendants all broken-hearted that I’m gone. I’d love it more if my happy ending included uploading myself into a high-speed computer and never dying, along with the rest of the newly immortal human race. But if my happy ending ends up being “He lived a while and did his best”…that still sounds pretty happy to me.

    • Kiri

      It depends on what you call a happy ending. For me when I was in the thick of it, a happy ending was having one day just one, where I wasn’t so broken and sad. I called it my one good day. After 17+ years of working on things, I have more good days than bad. I call that a happy ending. Sure I didn’t get a partner, my health is poor, and I still suffer with depression and have issues I still work on. But I got my happy ending – I have more good days than I ever wished for, I have 2 cats that I love and love me (and it’s not just cupboard love), and I have good friends who know what I’m like and love me as I am, not despite or because of my issues, but they love me and can handle my bad times. That sounds to me like a happy ending, doesn’t it? I didn’t end up locked out of all love because of what I was conditioned to believe – and I think Spooky’s narrative is exactly that – breaking out and finding your open happy ending because we don’t let the monsters win. And that’s something that everyone can aspire to. Everyone has monsters in life, and you can let them win, or you can choose to define your life your way. Sometimes the big win can be quite small to other people. But it’s still there. And doing the best you can with what you could is a huge win.

      • Randy Patton

        I agree with you. My point is that there are people in Real Time, online, in books, videos, and other media who say that “it will all work out, you will get what you want.” I just wanted to say that sometimes the “big win” doesn’t come…and you have to learn to be happy with what you have. (If I had a nickel for every time in my life that someone has said to me: “Oh, there is someone for everyone, you will find him eventually.” I am now 57…) This is not being negative: it is being a realist. Sometimes you have to let go of the dream and just be happy where you are.

  • Danish you are most ding-worthy… As are all the other awesome people on this … What? Group? List? Gang? Posse? What are we? Other than awesome, I mean? Now Danish won’t care but we have enough mid-week pages to get Americans thru tax season… Which is a huge blessing because US taxes are like existential mathematics and life just got so much better… Thank you all.

    • *LOL* Should we call ourself ‘Youngsters’?
      Teahouse fans have basicly settled on being Teacups, Starfighter fans are Stargayzers. We need a name.
      *Hisss* Taxes. These months are also when we’re being told here wether or not you owe tax or will get some back. I’m hoping to get a tiny bit back, but not more than that.

      • Some of us have to file a tax return in the US *and* the UK. 🙁 With different rules on deductibles, such as buying our new computer because the XP box finally has to go…

        • OH GAD… THAT IS EVIL. You have my deepest sympathies.

        • Kate G

          EWWWWWW. That sucks. Double taxes? Isn’t one Tax Hell enough?

          • Tax treaty means I don’t have to pay two lots of taxes. Just file two returns, with different rules, so two lots of horrible paperwork to wade through, and make sure I pay whichever one I owe the most to.

          • Kate G

            Ugggh. We do a lot of paperwork for ours. I can’t even imagine yours.

      • Sapfo

        Then I suppose my suggestion “the-writing-knight-who-read-comics-and-analyze-them-in-depth-and-how-likes-to-have-some-fun” is out of the question? Darn, I was really hoping for that one.

        • *hugs Sapfo* TWKWECaATiDaWLtHSF is just a bit of a mouthful. ^_^ *hugs*

      • Kate G

        We could be the YPers? The Protectors? The Yuppers? <- okay, not the Yuppers. I'm making myself laugh at that one.

        Youngsters is neat though, but sounds more like a teeny bop pop band.

        What do Boned people call themselves? Boners?

  • You’re welcome, Mackenzie. I do hope what Spooky is saying will be useful for some readers. Spooky would hope the same thing too. 🙂

  • LimpBiskit

    But what’ll we do if we pay off ALL the bonus comic pages?! *cries in corner at what-ifs*

  • Steel_Man

    THANK YOU! Thank you for balance! Thank you for Spooky! Here – take my money!

  • Megan Staples

    Dear Alex,
    The monsters beat me. 2 people preyed on my every insecurity until I had a nervous breakdown. What would the team say to me?

    • Whatever they would say would happen only after they had listened carefully to your individual experience and only if they felt it would be helpful, honest and timely. Spooky knows Kyle very well and he knows that some of the lessons he learned will be very useful to Kyle. But neither he nor any other member of the team would offer advice to anyone they didn’t know unless they had spent a lot of time listening first.

      (Except maybe Tsunami, he might be more comfortable giving advice first, but Commander would likely intervene. 😉 )

      As for what I would say to you… I’d say that in my experience, sometimes the monsters do win. Or at least they seem to for a time. And there’s no shame in that—not even Spooky has won every battle. He just refuses to give up after he’s been “beaten.” He refuses to let the monsters define who he is or what he’s capable of. He refuses to see himself as anything less than just as worthy and good as everybody else. And he’s learned that while no one has a magic wand to heal trauma, that he doesn’t have to go through the healing process alone. It took him a long time to find the right people (or to even recognize that the people he already found could be that for him), but he’s discovered there are others out there who will be there for him. And whether they know the right things to say or not, just not having to explore the dark places alone can make a big difference.

      Just like the Young Protectors team, I would hesitate to give you specific advice. I’m a stranger on the Internet and there’s only so much I can help. But I would say that if you are still in pain, I would hope that you reach out to others you can trust IRL and that you ask for the help you need. Not everyone’s going to be receptive, cool and understanding—finding the right people and settling for nothing less than total, honest support is a big part of the “work” that I keep talking about when I talk about the healing process elsewhere in the comments. But whether it’s a trained counselor (often the best choice), a pastor, a family member or a close friend, I do believe that if we put in enough time (and are willing to accept that there are a lot of imperfect folks out there too caught up in their own pain to be the ones we need with this—and that that isn’t a reason to stop looking), we can find people so that we don’t have to go through these things alone. YMMV, but for me, that was the start of things getting better.

      • Megan Staples

        Thank you, Alex. You’re a truly good person.

      • Mickey Phoenix

        Alex? Am I allowed to say “I love you” without sounding all creepy-internet-stalkerish? Because I could say it with other words — “I really admire you”, or “I want to be you when I grow up”, or even just “Wow. You really found the perfect words for the perfect thoughts there.” But what I actually mean is that you are a fantastic human being, who I am proud to know, and I love you.

        Thanks for being you. You do it really well.

      • Kiri

        I agree with Alex 1000%. The only other thing I would add is – as a fellow survivor – we may lose battles, but the war isn’t over until we Win. Find your help, so you don’t do it alone – I’ll be barracking for a win for you. 🙂

  • Amber Rose

    The nice thing about this speech is it works on a lot of levels. Not just for people dealing with human monsters, but also personal ones. If you look around, the world is full of monsters. Of course, the flip side of that is, the world is full of heroes. And the monsters are losing. 🙂
    Lord knows i’ve been dealing with some monsters of my own the last two years. But I guess i’m a hopeless optimist. I keep throwing my hands in the air and saying bitterly, I GIVE UP. And then five minutes later I get bored with that and start trying again.

  • Sapfo

    Kyle, you might not belive Spooky yet. But one day in the futur you will understand how great your friend is. Greater then you think.

    And I would like to thank some great friends from here. This week have been very long, and I am greatful for your words both here and in privet. Thank you.

  • Kate G

    Excuse me, I need to go cry for a minute. That was beautiful, Spooks. Simply beautiful. Excuse me. *goes to grab Kleenex* *blows nose*

    And then Alex’s follow-up to another reader was a beautiful comment too. The emotional depth some of these pages can get to is amazing. I’ve fought monsters (and still have monsters I fight) and while those monsters can beat you down to where you feel like you can’t get up, remember that you have a choice. You CAN pick yourself up and not submit to them. Picking yourself up can be a long road, but it’s worth every step. Trust me.

  • Jac

    MY HEART.

    Actually crying. Gotta hug a snow leopard. UGH I LOVE THIS COMIC.

    • Glad you’re liking the comic, Jac! Just be careful with those snow leopards—I hear some are more huggy than others…

      • b3nc0

        Yep, the TEETH-huggy type (°Д°)

  • Derkins

    I just can’t emphasize how glad I am that Kyle was given such a wonderful and safe sounding board off of which to bounce these thoughts, which obviously were [going to be ] rolling around in his head. I think it’s something this story needed, in order for Kyle and ourselves, as the audience, to process and move on from what happened to him. Yay!

  • tob

    I want a Spooky of my own.

  • Xalun K

    Wow. Thanks to you guys, we now have raised enough to get Sammy fitted (x-rays, mold, and everything). There’s still a lot more to go, but it’s such a wonderful start, thank you all so much. And Alex, thank you for allowing me to post here.

    Also, I wish I’d had a Spooky when I was Kyle’s age. Probably would have saved a lot of pain.

  • Matt Lohkamp

    hands in jeans on panel, hands in trench coat the next? spoooooooky…

  • SofiaT

    I just re-read all of chapter 3 so far and I love how smoothly it reads.
    This is going to be brilliant once it’s all finished.

  • FinyMime

    I just read all of this; and I love how this page ended <3

    ….and that Spooky Out made me giggle a bit.
    I really look forward to the rest of this comic!

    • Welcome, FinyMime! And I hope you continue to enjoy The Young Protectors (and the occasional AlexHumor in my notes…)!

  • Mickey Phoenix

    Okay, yeah. You made me cry. Again. “I’m saying you’re a hero. And heroes don’t let the monsters win.” That’s probably the best single statement I’ve ever read of the right way to be a survivor. Don’t make your life about being a survivor. Make your life about being a hero — about not letting the monsters win.

    I’m going to be bookmarking this one, and coming back to it a lot. Thanks for a beacon of hope. I’m not in a dark place right now, and if I’m really lucky, I may never be again. But that doesn’t make me value a good lighthouse any less.

    If it weren’t ungodly o’clock, I’d go home and track down each member of my family in turn, hug them, and tell them, “I’m saying you’re a hero. And heroes don’t let the monsters win.” And then make them read this comic from the start, so they’d understand why I’m sniffling all over their wonderful, heroic, not-letting-the-monsters-win shoulders.

  • bronakopdin

    Spooky is back to his relaxed self at the end of the page 🙂

    now I wonder if HE found a LOVE since this happened to him?

    • Klaus

      The next 14 weeks will most likely answer that.

  • Kiri

    I love the way Spooky has reframed the problem. In that last sentence he’s clearly taken it away from Kyle that Kyle is the problem, and handed it to him in terms that he can understand – the monsters are the problem. And you work on the solution because you’re not a monster. Seriously seriously cool.

    Sometimes, reframing the problem, is the way to get out of the self-blame – and Spooky aced it. Whenever the self-blame comes up, Spooky has given Kyle the words to beat that self-blame to the floor.

    I’m amazed and wonderous that Alex has gotten this, and articulated it so clearly. I love the artwork – the combination of art and words has really moved me. Thank you for this. It was something that needs to be said to every survivor. Actually – everyone who has even the smallest monsters in their life need to hear it.

    • Thank you, Kiri. Both for letting us know that you liked the way we handled this and also for sharing your own story and perspective. You rock. 🙂

      (And yes, I also believe what Spooky is saying applies to all monsters, big and small. 😉 )

  • Red Dahl

    i love that last part about him saying Kyle is the hero and they done let the monster win. Possible one of the most inspirational quotes I’ve seen on here!!

  • Perverzak

    this is amazing!! We all tried to come up with words that might potentially help Kyle get through this… But honestly Spooky said it better than I ever could… Im inlove with this page!

  • AliceVenturi

    Heroes don’t let the monsters win.

    I’m going to embroider that, frame it, and put it on my wall. I’ll look at it when the world feels like a dark and ugly place. Yeah.

  • Okay, seriously Alex…

    When the “Heroes don’t let the monsters win.” coffee mugs, t-shirts, hats, temp-tattoos, fridge magnets, posters, pins, underpants, needlepoint… (infinity) go on sale at: http://store.yaoi911.com/

    I want immediate notification. SERIOUSLY. Not just because I want a bunch of that stuff for myself (which I do), but my gift buying issues will be solved for years to come. So awesome!

    Best damn line of dialog… EVAH!

    I know where that temp-tattoo’s going… (heh heh heh!)

    • SofiaT

      I’d buy that t-shirt. *nods*

    • Klaus

      murals, postcards, neckties,
      samplers, stained-glass windows, tattoos, anything!
      More, more, I’m still not satisfied!

      • YES!!!!

        *chris empties out big jar of spare change and throws it at Alex in a sudden consumer fit*

        …tea cozies, baggy surf shorts, sun glasses, iPhone covers, an AP game for smart phones and tablets, alarm clocks that wake you with that phrase…. YES!

        • Klaus

          In case you didn’t catch the reference

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaHDBL7dVgs

          • Love TomL. I have a memory like an empty well (good for very little), but I can still sing many (most) of the lyrics of the Vatican Rag.

            “Step in line in that processional
            to step inside that small confessional
            There the guy who’s got religion
            will tell you if your sin’s original
            2, 4, 6, 8 time to transubstantiate.”

            Love Tom L. and always have. Thanks.

    • Mickey Phoenix

      I’d buy that t-shirt.

      But I think I’d even more buy a t-shirt that said:

      “I’m saying you’re a hero. And heroes don’t let the monsters win.”

  • Curator

    so uh… spooky has kinda stolen the show i gotta say… he is now, by leaps and bounds, my favorite character…

  • Saxon_Brenton

    [warning: extremely nerdy musings on art composition] A number of people have commented on the way it looks like Spooky has just dropped himself backwards and/or off the cliff. In particular Stickfigurefairytales commented down towards the bottom/start of te page that it’s like he re-orientating his direction of gravity like Jareth from _Labyrinth_.

    Now, presumably Spooky hasn’t *really* sauntered down the cliff face, because for no other reason his car is still parked at the top of the adjacent mini-mesa, on the helicopter pad across the bridge. He’s just walked off and left Kyle to reflect on his sage advice. What’s happening is that in the the final two panels the direction of Kyle’s line of sight has dropped down as he does the deep thinky thoughts thing – but it looks as though Kyle is still watching Spooky, and we’re reflexively interpretting it as Spooky dropping off the mountain.

    So I was thinking, how could that impression be changed, hypothetically? Maybe the final panel could have Kyle staring up at the stars, contemplating the infinitude of life, the universe and everything? But then I realised that this would simply make it seem as thought Spooky had decided to fly off into the sky. (And since we don’t know the full extent of Spooky’s abilities yet – having only briefly seen him in action, plus not having his Kickstarter writeup published yet – both these options seem plausible to us. Or at least, cannot be consciously ruled out with an appeal to established YP canon.)

    I think the illusion I just described may be because there camera angel in the last two panels does not change, with the only difference being the positions of the two characters. (In terms of the art theory in Scott McCloud’s _Undertsanding Comics_, this would be an action-to-action panel transition.) At first I though this could be changed by a radical change in camera angle, perhaps with a front-on shot of Kyle looking thoughful/bemused/shell-shocked (depending on your take on how fast Spooky’s advice is sinking in), and probably involving a closer shot of Kyle’s face. However, more thought on the matter suggests tht the same effect might be gained by keeping the last panel as is with the minor exception of having Kyle looking down at his hands, thereby indicating that his eyes simply aren’t on Spooky anymore.

    Your thoughts?

    • :::WARNING FURTHER SAXON INSPIRED GEEKERY BELOW:::

      Saxon your nerdish geekery was very much appreciated and, of course, me being equally geekish, it swam around in my head and made me think of the following…

      I think of the panels like shots in a film. So there is a sort of assumed passage of time between every panel. Each ‘inbetween’ is different. Mostly the point is that we don’t want to think about it or notice it. It’s also exacerbated by the fact that the last panel on a page is not any sort of conclusion here in serial time. Really, it’s just the panel before the first panel of the following page (excepting chapter breaks of course). We’ll totally forget about that issue when we have the book in our sweaty little hands. Sorry MY sweaty little hands.

      *chris puts hand over heart*

      I was not now, nor ever in the future implying that someone else might get that worked up about a graphic work of fiction. So………..

      For example, the last panel on page 28, Spooky stands looking out over THAT ‘cliff’ edge while Kyle is saying “What?” to the back of Spooky’s head. The first panel of the following page assumes enough time has passed between frames/panels that Spooky has time to turn around and lean in to Kyle for his first line of page 29: “Kyle, you are one of the kindest…”

      Now since this is my first ‘real’ graphic novel. Well, actually the first time I followed one in the process of creation, I’ve never read the comic rules you refer to. I just mentally use the film/camera rules about the camera not crossing the line and such. I know from listening to some of you talk that there are specific substitutes in graphic novels for film/tv conventions. One mimicking the other and so on. Also for me, I naturally just get completely absorbed in all the gay-emoting and if I accept what the characters are feeling, I forget about all the technical issues, but your nerding is totally interesting.

      You are right that Kyle’s intense stare in the last panel of the current page can be interpreted as him staring at ‘some thing’ more than the back of an exiting Spooky. Yes a stunned-face CU would have eliminated all this ruminating. Even so, I just assumed that on page 30, between panels #4 & #5 there is time for Spook to turn 180° take his hands out of pants pockets and use them to flip open his cool trench which, if anyone has ever worn one, is the funnest thing to do. They are like props. I just saw Spooky’s pose in panel #4 as a “whoa dude” pose to accentuate the genius line about super heroes not letting monsters win. We’re only seeing him waist up, but I can do that pose where my feet are planted directly beneath my shoulders and you thrust your hips and hands forward and out. It’s a “hey dude” stance, and I didn’t see him as leaning backwards or him losing his balance. Not saying I’m right, just what I thought while reading.

      So, I think your point about an illusion of oddness here, is a good one. Here’s my guess-o-the-moment: I assumed time for spooky to turn in one spin and then exit (in some non-fall-off-cliff fashion) leaving Kyle there, stunned.

      However the only things that APPEAR to change to the viewer are:

      – Spook disappears (just gone).

      – Kyle’s position alters slightly, and you’re correct he looks more stunned facially in panel #4 than in #5, which may contribute. (Also noting, I don’t know what panel will start the next page so that may change everything again… tonight!

      – The night sky darkens (which I took as time passing and it getting later.) We don’t know how long Kyle is standing like this. In a film this could be long shot where Kyle’s face and the underscore tell us all as he emotionally soaks up this big idea. Harder to communicate in a still like this… so we concentrate on his expression.

      So I totally get your point. I think there are lots of possible things that contribute to this discussion.

      Now, [SQUIRREL] since we are on this. Here IS the one that gets me.

      In page 27 we first see the exterior of the monolithic wall they’re walking screen-left of. Suddenly camera shifts a lot and that wall is visually ‘gone’. Say, for example, in panel 4 it’s behind spooky off camera. Go on to page #28 and you have to assume that they are on this same path now and Spook has moved on so the wall is no longer beside or behind him. He had to have moved between panels/pages. Totally fine. Now on page 28, panel #2, Spooky stands at cliff edge and looks out(?). The wall must be behind Kyle now (?). Panel #3 we are looking at Spook through Kyle’s eyes (or over his shoulder). Then total reverse to see Kyle over Spooky’s shoulder (?) Kyle has continued to approach and the wall is to their right(?) Maybe(?) Now, in page #29, Spook turns and it seems (?) the wall is behind us (our viewpoint) (?), panel #2 we are Kyle and the wall is to his left(?) panel #3 is special – border gone and no stars, NOW in panel #4, assuming spooky hasn’t moved the wall is maybe on his right off screen — illusion(?) — Spooky makes that emphatic hand gesture as he says, “…END OF STORY.” That hand gesture seems to continue for the final panel and into the first panel of page 30. That gives the illusion that those panels are all connected in time.

      NOW, in page 30, that huge wall is visually back and it’s behind and to the left of Spooky. Sure, if they and the camera are moving constantly it’s totally possible, but from that down shot in 29 “…END OF STORY” until now, the illusion is that wall just reappeared. So there is my nerdishness. It’s all totally possible with camera motion and position changes, but it caught me eye, but only after you pulled me in the nerd pool. Previously, I was all emoting and busy with other readers wanting to have Spooky’s babies and contrarily admiring Kyle’s really good looking “package of junk’ on page 30’s panel #4… yeah the one where his arms are crossed (yeah so sue me… I’m gay and he’s hot… pun intended… but still sincere). 😛

      Thanks Saxon. This was fun and I bask in the reflection of your prime geekery!

      • Saxon_Brenton

        Holy crap! You’re right Chris, the sky does darken! I hadn’t noticed that before. Moreover, looking at it the pattern of stars behind Kyle moves, shifting slightly downward and to the left about a centimetre. Kyle must be standing there for at least a few minutes, realistically more like a quarter hour. Gah! I’m now wondering why Fluke hasn’t walked over and asked what’s taking him so long.
        Well, that blows a hole in any impression I may have had that Spooky just jumped off the cliff a half second ago. You’re right, there’s more than enough time for Spooky to have turned and left Kyle to his thoughts.

  • Alex Woolfson I just want to let you know that I am not sulking over there being so little Mitch since Fluke and Spooky entered the warehouse. That is NOT why I haven’t been commenting on how awesome the pages have been. I have been dealing with some personal problems (sorta) and others have done much better a job gushing over these pages than I could. These last few pages have been absolutely amazing. The art, the atmosphere, the story, and the dialogue, they have all been absolutely amazing.

    While Spooky is now my second favorite character, he still cannot replace Mitch in my heart, despite how awesome he is. Spooky is completely friend zoned for me. I also want to say that I don’t hate Paul….I just don’t like him all that much. I think it might be because he has the “jock” build and there are just little things about his personality that bug me.

    ———————————————————————————————-

    I would have taken some sunset pictures tonight, but I was out with my mother and brother (yay free food!). *sigh* But there were some really beautiful yellows from what I could see and I would have loved to get those. I am not too horribly happy with the pictures from last night, I could not seem to be able to lessen the glare effect, but other than that they came out okay. https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/118082431292164101352/albums/5984101548727026465/5987762928805303346?pid=5987762928805303346&oid=118082431292164101352

    OH and I need help. Mother was kind enough to buy me a new fish. We were there to get one for my brother and she asked if I would like to have one again. So I have a beta fish again. My lovely boy is mostly red, with light blue at the tips of some of his fins, some random spots of blue (I think, I won’t really know until I get him out of that freaking blue water), and has shiny spots under his eyes. I can’t name him Sparky (that was the name of my first beta, he was red with dark blue at the bottom of his lower/est fin). And the blue one I had after him was Albus Percival Wolfric Brian Dumbledore. So any suggestions on names?

    • DC

      I’m not very good with suggesting names but…Dr Seuss (one fish two fish red fish blue fish)
      Spiderman (his colours)
      Bluey (because he is red)

      • b3nc0

        To stay in the Bluey (bc he’s red) and great bearded wizard filiation, there are the Ithryn Luin (Blue Wizards) from Tolkien?…

    • DC

      This is all just copied and pasted:-

      or you could use a Japanese name like:
      Suki (japanese for “Beloved”)
      Akio (japanese for “bright boy”)
      Kaida (japanese for “Little Dragon”)
      Nami (japanese for “Wave”)
      Ryu (japanese for “Dragon”)
      Oki (japanese for “Ocean Centered”)
      Toki (japanese for “Time Of Opportunity”)
      Yasuo (japanese for “Peaceful One”)
      Yuki (japanese for “Snow or Lucky”)
      Yoshe (japanese for “Beauty”)

      • b3nc0

        I like the Suki Mitch one ♥_♥

    • purplefoxglove

      Spring roll. In memory of all the unfortunate spring rolls that were sacrificed in chapter 1.

    • Here he is: http://dokidokibaka.tumblr.com/

      Isn’t he precious?

    • weirdfish13

      If you’re a Bujold fan, we gave our fish a Vor name since bettas are clearly a warrior caste fish. He’s Aral Vorpoisson.

      • Mickey Phoenix

        *snicker* Nicely done.

    • My Google suggestion: 少年、ヒーローの魚フライ

      • Shōnen, hīrō no sakana furai (these are the words under the box) ….Boy, hero of fish fly or Boy, hero’s fish fly? 😛

        Fish fly boy, the hero (what google says it translates as). ^_^

  • Elin Gregory

    Oh Spooky. So young to be so wise. I’m rather hoping that Kyle doesn’t take his advice, though. All that passionate resentment is a very potent plot device. Alex, you continue to thrill.

  • OMG, Alex! I just saw..

    A huge congratz to your nomination as a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award 2014 with Artifice, on the first year where they also added graphic novels to the categories 😀
    I really hope you win. Artifice is awesome and it deserves a recognition for that.

    http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/news/03/06/26th-annual-lambda-literary-award-finalists-announced/

    • Oh congratulation. (Our amazing Danish sees all and knows all. Thanks for the alert) Congrats to you, Alex and Winona. Well deserved.

    • Thank you, Danish! (And Chris!) I took a look at the other graphic novels on Amazon (and bought copies.) The competition is steep and excellent. 🙂

      • SofiaT

        Will you find out if you’ve won at the Awards Ceremony or beforehand?

        • I think it’ll be at the Awards Ceremony.

          • SofiaT

            We will be biting our nails with you then 🙂

        • Ellen DeGeneres will make a joke about Bette Middler’s boobs.

          Then she’ll introduce Ridley Scott who will announce the nominees for best GRAPHIC NOVEL. Short film collage clips will then ensue after which Ridley will open the envelope. From that point Alex has 6.2 seconds to rush the stage (his other half will want to delay things and kiss him on the lips in the audience, because we know it will be on TV and thus much discussed.

          (hopefully Alex will have swallowed the Xanax I will have posted him. Trust me, he’ll still be freakishly nervous, but maybe it will pull him back from the heart-attack edge… they’re all on it.)

          Then just as he’s about to thank Cthulhu for making all of this possible (raises heavy statue to salute the great old ones above) the Academy Orchestra will suddenly start to play in an effort to rush him off the stage. A woman with truly enormous, but impossibly firm and rather higher than normal boobs, a slightly too long dress, serious heels and big (but nice) hair will try to escort him off stage as he’s yelling, “thank you Winonaaaaa….” over his shoulder.

          Cut to a very expensive Taco Bell commercial

          Later he’ll tell us that Brad Pitt is shorter than we think, but he will also tell Silibub that Angelina Jolie actually IS all THAT.

          He’ll try to be humble afterwards, so we may not notice, but he will KNOW he’s better than us ‘normal’ people but, if he gets out of hand, Adam and Veronica will pound him until he gets sensible again.

          *chris ducks as @alexwoolfson:disqus throws heavy object in his general direction.*

          Then the gossip will start about his upcoming TYP and if it will live up to the hype and we’ll all laugh and laugh….

          :::This fantasy brought to you by TROJAN CONDOMS™:::

          • SofiaT

            Have you had any pizza lately, Chris? With, oh I don’t know, mushrooms in it? 😛

          • I don’t know what you mean… and why is your hair orange?????

    • Let me say what Alex is too modest to…

      Lambda is really broad in it’s view of the creative works in the LGBTQ world and their website is a treasure trove of goodies. Just being recognized is really special. It speaks to the thematic and literary depth in Artifice and the fact that a genre (graphic novel) isn’t prejudged. It’s about the fact that the ideas and execution have been looked at closely and truly appreciated. The honor is for real. (Yes that’s our Alex and our Winona Nelson).

      The Lambda mission statement:

      The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers.

      See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/mission-statement/#sthash.mqHH8ZPA.dpuf

      Yay to the development of our emerging writer. After only a decade or so Alex will be an ‘overnight success’ and we can smile about that.

    • fujoshifanatic

      Oh my gosh, that is beyond awesome! Congratulations, Alex! The honor is so very well deserved!!!

  • b3nc0

    I barely maintained my head out of the water this last couple of days, sorry I didn’t partake in the comments much orz

    So kuddos (and thanks) for the new extra added PAGE b^^d

    Gotta LOVE to bits Kyle’s stance & acerb comment in the bottom left panel ♥
    It shows he got, at least, some physical & psychical energy back
    (^^) (/^^)/

    & lastly here are todays sunset pics: https://plus.google.com/photos/114661535605160092496/albums/5988110947839480817/5988110952346060530?pid=5988110952346060530&oid=114661535605160092496

    Have a nice camp! (I’ll have my first actual, tangible, eat-able s’mores wednesday! (my brother had a mission on an american base in Germany last week & brought Graham’s back ≧◠□◠≦ )

  • davefragments

    I anxious to see the final page to the is episode. It’s been a tough and long day and I need a good page to put me to sleep.

  • Oh and I have some minty chocolate cake for people: baked and iced by me.

    http://i904.photobucket.com/albums/ac248/dokidokibaka/DSCN2084_zps5bc8c861.jpg

    • OMG that looks awesome. How are you not big as a house? You have the most delish stuff. Me want! 🙂

      • *sigh* Well I have gained back roughly 10 pounds back lately, so I just really need to try not to eat so many sweets 3 out of 4 weeks.

        • I so understand. I’m with a dude who can eat anything and as much as he wants and just gets skinnier. I’m thinking he must be punished for this genetic unfairness, LOL.

          • My sisters are the same way. *grumbles about the unfairness of genetics*

    • Mickey Phoenix

      I do not yet live in the future: I do not yet have my flying car, and I cannot yet taste things over the internet.

      Behold — I grumble.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Hi everybody! I’m popping in to say hello, but I probably won’t be able to stay very long since I’ve got a nasty cold and need to get to sleep soon.

    • SofiaT

      Rest well and get better soon, sticki!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thanks, Sofia!

    • Get better soon stickfigure!!!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thank you!

    • Awww, I’ve been feeling under the weather myself. Do get some rest and feel better.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thank you, and I hope you feel better too!

    • OH NOES… snot attack. I hate that. Feel better. We’ll send you healing rays. I think Spooky heals…. but he might have to lay hands on you………. YUM. (oh sorry). Feel better kid!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        I am perfectly all right with Spooky coming over for a little hands-on attention.

    • Hope you feel better soon. Colds are mean.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Thank you, Danish!

  • Oh Danish is so quiet… I guess a wolf watches the virgin page with a hunter’s instinct…. quiet… lurking…. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    • The bed was not letting me get up this morning. I’m quite sure it used dirty tricks to make me sleep longer. It felt so comfy.

    • Sapfo

      Feel like skyp?

  • But then Sapfo swoops in for the suprise snatch…. I wonder?

    • Sapfo

      Not hunting dear.

  • davefragments

    Is everyone quiet or am I early?

    • I think just quiet. 🙂

    • Shhhhhh. We are trying to let Sapfo and Danish sleep. Too much activity and they wake up..

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      quiet.

  • Holly

    i thought I missed the camp. But I’m on the phone right now with a friend.

    Plus you know me, tragedy abounds.

    • *hugs Holly* Love you sweetie!

      • Holly

        Thanks Doki

  • *Finally wakes up to join camp*
    Good thing I was being summoned 😉 I nearly over slept after a long physical hard day, and slept like crap last night.

    • Morning danish sweet!

    • Sapfo

      Been training?

      • *lol* I planned to, but turned out I didn’t need to today. Spent the whole day in the dish washer area today. I actually didn’t mind and had a good day, but damn I’m beat now.
        Training in a whole different way of movements.

        • Sapfo

          Good for you. Training at work ^_^

  • Sapfo

    Good morning.
    So this is the last page right.

    • davefragments

      of this chapter.

      • SofiaT

        no, the chapter continues after the “interlude” of Spooky’s story.

        • davefragments

          ok

    • SofiaT

      The new page? It will be the last page of this scene 🙂

    • *hugs Sapfo* Did you sleep ok?

      • Sapfo

        Sleep and me are just friends. We say hi to each other, but Sleep dont want to cuddle with me

        • Awwww sleep is so mean…..want me to cuddle with you?

          • Sapfo

            Well your name is not sleep. But it is morning now, so yes a good Doki hug will do.
            I will try and talk sleep into my bed tonight instead. Wish he was an easy lay 😉

          • *hugs for Sapfo*

          • Sapfo

            Almost as good as sleeping. Thank you!

          • Anytime you need or want one sweetie!

          • Sapfo

            No not right now. I am fine right now.

  • davefragments

    I thought I’d improve my house and add a programmable thermostat. yeah, right, sure, AMAZON only has 2700 of them for sale. Easy choice, huh? (sarcasm alert)

  • Sapfo

    Just for you all, I am of for a shower. (why do I think that all of you made about me to a guy in your heads? o.O)

    • Risking one for the team <3

      • Sapfo

        If you where here, you might have showered me in my sleep. Lucky me, I do fast showers.
        Tada! Clean! 🙂

  • So I tried out translating “beloved little dragon Mitch” (a name I am thinking about for my new fish) into Japanese with GT and got: Saiai Sukoshi ryū Mitchi

    • davefragments

      Is that good or bad? Bear in mind that I don’t know any Japanese.

      • lol, the only Japanese I know I learned from anime and manga. ^_^ i am just playing around with the translator. ^_^

        • davefragments

          that can be very dangerous.

    • That was with an “enter” between each word, this is what happens when you take out the “enters” and have it all on one line: Saiai no chīsana doragonmitchi

      • Uhm.. maybe just name it Mitchi? 😉

        • I actually kind of like doragonmitchi…at least the way it sounds…

    • Clef

      Japanese names are combos of lots of things. When children are little, you can add ~maru to their name, which is an endearment of beloved little, so Mitchimaru would be an equivalent to Beloved Little Mitch.

      Shouryu Mitsumaru would probably be your best bet.

      Shou is another reading for the kanji Small, Ryu being Dragon. Japanese doesn’t have a Mitch, and the double consonant would be a small Tsu, Mi-t(su)-ch can become Mitchan, for a term of endearment. Oddly, my gaming character’s name is Mitsuru and his English name is Mitch because he was called Mitchan as a little kid. xD

    • I was going to suggest that you call your pretty new fish, Mitch, or some variation of that but I really like Ryu Mitchi.

  • Holly

    Can’t believe the new page still isn’t up? So odd.

    • Sapfo

      Have you been spoiled by Alex early updates?
      Dont you worry Holly. It will soon be there. Alex just have to warm up the oven and start baking. Such things will take time 😉

      • EyeDontNo

        KYLE’ll warm up the oven faster than Alex can.

      • Holly

        Yes but I have things to do in the morning. I would like to get the pagey goodness and go to bed.

    • Not so unusual 🙂

    • I was surprised too. Finished my short yoga session expecting to see a tweet from Alex.

  • davefragments

    while we’re waiting, today I had to drive and hour to downtown pittsburgh and find an expensive parking place in back of the building so I could roll into the level entrance, then meet with the court, get sworn in and after talking things through with a lawyer, go sell my Mom’s house.
    A strange and eventful day. And I’m retired from all work.

    • Pittsburg cold!

      Court appearances are strange and difficult. I’ve worked in a court and worked on trials but never had to be there myself. I always felt bad for everyone who had to be there.

      • davefragments

        This was Probate Court and I raised my hand and said “yes” that was all I legally had to do. Spectacular, wasn’t it?

        • Sometimes that’s all you have to do but the implications can be enormous. I’ve had to swear people in.

          • davefragments

            I my own little legal entity right now. Executor of my Mom’s estate. Now I make that sound light but I do know the responsibilities of it. I’m way more anal retentive than I seem online most times.

          • Hmm. Well, being an executor is a very serious thing. I’m sorry for your loss, Dave.

          • davefragments

            Thank you. 10 years ago, my Mom got a new heart valve and we both knew how long that would last. That isn’t a comfort because I wanted more time but she was 91 years old and lived a good life. And in the end I took good care of her. So this is going to be tedious (estate work always is tedious) but it won’t be a burden. Thanks again.

          • *hugs* I’m glad you feel she lived a good life.

  • Ugh. It’s been a tough day. I’m not sure what happened but all of a sudden the monsters from my far distant past and recent past have been snarling and circling me. I had this notion they were all external based, you know, people from long ago but I realized they’re all in my head.

    Sigh. Had to do restorative yoga then wrote down panel 3 and 5 in my notebook. And I am astounded at how much I beat myself up even when I’m not to blame for certain things. Funny how your head messes with you like that sometimes.

    • *hugs* Yes, the head is good at messing with you.

    • davefragments

      There is a point when you have to say “I can do nothing about that” and /or “that is in the past” and step away from old troubles and chaotic events so you can live your life.

      • SofiaT

        Hakuna Matata! Leave the past behind you. Timon and Pumbaa say so.

      • I’m usually pretty good about leaving things where they need to be but stuff comes back! How to leave them where they stay put????!!!!

        • davefragments

          Things never stay put. Lessen their impact on your life and move on. There is a time to say that you’ve done what is right and what is sufficient.

    • Mickey Phoenix

      There’s a nifty mental exercise that I find really useful when my emotions now are being driven by experiences from my past. This usually happens when there’s something about the present that is reminding me of a past trauma. And it can be so emotionally overwhelming that any tools for coping with it need to be really simple, almost dumb, in order for me to be able to use them.

      So the mental exercise is “Identify differences between the past and the present, especially trivial ones, and say them out loud.”

      “Then, I was wearing a dress shirt, and now, I am wearing a t-shirt.” “Then, I was 32, and now, I am 41.” “Then, I was at home, and now, I am at work.” “Then, I was hungry, and now, I am full.” “Then, I was clean-shaven, and now, I have a beard.” “Then, my neck was sore, and now, my back is sore.”

      It actually doesn’t seem to matter, at all, what the differences are. I’ve even used things like, “Then, it was spring, and now, it’s summer.” The simple act of identifying and stating differences seems to break the emotional resonance between whatever trauma in the past created the emotion, and whatever situation or threat or worry in the present is triggering it now. That’s why “especially trivial ones” in the instructions — perhaps, even, “the more trivial, the better”. They’re easy to think of, they don’t have any emotional loading themselves, and they seem to be just as effective at detaching me from my past as “relevant” differences would be.

      Anyway. No idea if this will be helpful to you now — but I’ve found it so useful, myself, that I figured it couldn’t hurt to share it. And if it’s not relevant to what you’re going through now, there may still come a time when it’s useful to know.

      *hugs* and much encouragement to you. The monsters may be very much on/in your mind right now. But you’re a hero. And heroes don’t let the monsters win.

      • Wow. Just wow.

        *hugs* Mickey thanks so much for this wonderful reply. I wrote your exercise down in my notebook and tried it.

        The favorites that came out where “Then, I was sitting on the couch, and now, I’m camping.” “Then, I didn’t know about yaoi, and now, I’m a fangirl.” “Then, I thought I couldn’t love anybody more, and now, I know love is expansive and generous.” And my personal favorite, “Then, I was lost, and now, I’m found.”

        As for heroes, it takes one to know one.

  • Sapfo…..I think I am going to be spending a lot of time looking at your tumblr……^_^……yeah……a lot of time….excuse me while I go back

    • Sapfo

      My tumblr?
      What Have I done now? o.O
      😉

      • YOU KNOW FULL WELL WHAT YOU DID!!!

        I love you Sapfo sweet.

        I think I might just have to join the Draco/Harry shippers now….

        • Sapfo

          I been into that shipping for years. It is a good one. If you want some good fanfic, I have it 🙂

        • Um…yeah. I just reblogged that…gif. Didn’t know Radcliffe Harry was such a good kisser. Draco’s not bad either.

          • Sapfo

            Please don´t destroy the illusion. 😉
            It is Harry kissing Draco >_<

        • Librarican

          Proof that I am much too tired and should probably just go to bed: I just read “shippers” as “slippers” and clicked on the link expecting to see little bootie type foot apparel featuring different character options, like you could choose from Draco’s head, Harry’s face, with maybe other options including Hermione, Ron, hedwig, and Dumbledore. Then I clicked on the link and literally thought…. “Definitely not slippers”.

          Not triggered, just obviously, definitely not what I was expecting.

          • Yeah….definitely not slippers….but at least somewhat pleasant? *insert horrible joke about “slipping” into something*

  • The page is just beginning to brown around the edges in the oven. Not long now, my friends. 🙂

    • Sapfo

      Mmm, baker Alex makes the best pages for breakfast. ^_^

    • davefragments

      now the contest of who gets the virgin post!

      • The race to the finish line will be close now that the start has been announced clearly 😉

        • SofiaT

          And today the refresh button will have to work extra hard… because it won’t be much use on Wed/day. We don’t know the url of the next page 😉

    • Just don’t fall asleep and let it go black and burned. I don’t want to call the fire department on you. Having to do it because of my neighbour last week was more than enough 😉

    • Holly

      HOORAY!!!!

  • davefragments
  • RD

    Hello. I have been a long-time lurker (and lover) of this comic. This is my first comment because I think I have something worth coming out of the woodwork to say.

    I have come back to this page every day since it was posted. It is something I needed to hear right now as I battle some of my own monsters.

    This evening I was at a talk by Amanda Lindhout. She was telling her story of being kidnapped and held for 460 days in Somalia. She talked about the choices she made. The choice to be a survivor, not a victim. The choice to travel back to Somalia, and set up organizations to help prevent people from needing to do what her captors did. The choice she makes every morning to try to forgive, not hold on to anger. The talk was amazing.

    During the talk, I kept thinking back to this page. Afterwards I had a chance to talk to her. Instead of asking her to sign a copy of her book, or asking for a photo with her, I gave her a piece of paper where I had written panel 5. (And I gave credit.)

    This powerful line has touched a lot of us here. It is a line that is worth sharing with others. Thank you, Alex, for these words.

    • You’re welcome. And thank you very much for sharing that story. 🙂

  • Jackal

    A: Deeply fucking moved, here, man.
    B: Now I *really* want Spooky to turn out straight, since so many molested male characters are also gay, in a case of Unfortunate Implications that makes me throw up in my mouth a little.
    C: SSSSPPPOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKYYYYYYYY! T____T

    • Phyre Storm

      I want Spooky to be straight too, because I’m a chick and he’s awesome in all kinds of ways, including being ADORABLE! *fangirl squeeeee*

  • MegaAnimeFreak7

    *Is on way to draw fanart of Spooks*