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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Coda—Page 14

192 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Coda—Page 14

We feel you, Sameer. Our hearts might pound a little too, if we were in your shoes… 🙂

So, y’all were very cool about answering the question I asked in my notes on the last page. Before I get into what I saw and what the decision is going to be on this, I just want to say how proud I am of all of you.

I know I’ve said this before, but pretty much every other webcomic creator I’ve talked to thinks I’m nuts for reading our Comments Section. And when I tell them I look actually look forward to reading your Comments, they are especially shocked. I know full well that on many other sites, the topic I raised would have set off massive flame wars. But not here. You were thoughtful, respectful, compassionate and just the all-around wonderful folks I know you to be, every time.

I wasn’t at all surprised by your thoughtful response, but I still feel so proud and grateful to have you as the readers of our work. It really is an honor. Thank you for that.

I’m giving my full thinking about this below, in detail, just for folks who might care. But the TL;DR version is that, after carefully reading all your responses, I’ve decided not to change what we’ve been doing with the coloring for the last 5+ years.

This has been a great discussion and, as people’s views on this evolve, we might revisit this issue again in some future comic. But I need to trust you, my readers of color on this. And you’re basically telling me the same thing as a group as what y’all have told me informally one-on-one when I’ve brought this up at conventions, etc. in the past: that specifically coloring the palms and soles of dark-skinned characters lighter in our comic is not something most of you have been wanting or even would want, and might actually hurt more than it helps.

So, how did I come to this decision?

OK – I had asked for just people of color to respond, and ideally, just wanted to keep it to actual readers of this comic (instead of strangers on the Internet.) There were, of course, some folks who identified as white who chose to chime in regardless. (With clearly good intentions, as has been pointed out by other commenters.) They don’t get a vote on this, and I’m not going to get into what they said, other than to note one thing: the majority of white folks, like me, thought making this change would be a grand idea.

And this is why it’s so important to actually talk to (meaning, listen to) the actual folks you want to represent in your stories before making your choices.

So, let’s get into what I saw.

As of the time of this writing (4:00 P.M. PST on 8/8/17), there were 38 folks who commented on this who either said specifically they were a POC or, in three cases, had an Avatar with a photograph of a POC. Counting Clinton O. who helped launch this discussion on Page 12, that’s 39 POC folks who weighed in on this.

For a randomized, statistical trial, that’s obviously not the hugest sample size. But the truth is, I didn’t want a random sample of the population of the U.S.. I wanted to hear from folks who clearly like the kind of comics I’m trying to make, and who also have strong enough feelings about this issue to take the time to comment on it. For this Comments Section, 39 unique POC respondents is a great response and, considering how detailed the replies were, I feel it absolutely gives me the information I need. (Thank y’all again for that.)

Out of the 39 folks, 5 seemed unambiguously in favor of the change. This includes Clinton O. as well as Hervé S. who was the person who originally approached me with this concern and who chose to participate in this discussion directly. (Hi, Hervé!) From reading Hervé’s comment, I think you can see why I found their argument in favor of this change so compelling.

And out of the folks who wanted this change, it’s jihani who I feel gives the best case scenario about the potential upside of making this change:

I’m not personally offended by the darker palms, I really like the lighter more realistic ones. As a POC I’ve had to suspend belief about a lot of ways we are depicted. But this gives me a good feeling I can’t describe. I’ve never seen palms that represent my own or my family or friends. It’s a welcoming image as well so that may play a part in this feeling. Kudos to Vero it looks great!

The whole reason I decided to start telling stories was because I never got to see people like me as heroes, so those words speak directly to my heart.

Out of the original 39 folks, there were 4 more who said they liked the idea, but would also be fine if I didn’t make the change. Commenter De’y gives a good example of this.

This is the first time I’m commenting but I’ve been reading for some time now. I think the colour change is cool but I would also be ok with it staying the same. The colour change is a better representation. Oh, I’m black btw.

I’d classify these comments as “the change is not necessary, but it would be nice” and I think we should still count them in the “yes” pile.

So out of 39 POC readers, that’s 9 who are clearly in favor of me making the change.

1 person said they didn’t know how to answer. So we’ll consider that a neutral response.

There were another 7 POC readers who basically said they didn’t care either way. George D. put it most succinctly:

black guy here, i really don’t care honestly.

And finally, there were 17 POC readers who explicitly told me I should not make the change. Some just told me straight out “no.” Others gave more detailed reasons. fujoshifanatic—a reader and commenter who has been with us since the beginning of The Young Protectors— gave a clear illustration of the worst case scenario of making this change:

As a Black person who has enjoyed this comic for many years, I would not welcome this change… If you want to see a representation of the lighter palms on darker skinned people, just look for the cartoons from the early twentieth century, where we were portrayed as coons, savages, mammies and Uncle Toms. And frankly, that would be all I would be reminded of if this change were made, and I would NOT appreciate it. I say leave well enough alone; I am not looking for that much realism in my comics, and certainly not regarding an attribute that was specifically used to other POC in another, more racist time.

I really appreciate you making the effort to ask for our input Alex, but I have to side with those who advised you against it; that second version you showed almost triggered me, especially with all the shit I’ve been through after the election. I hope I am not being over sensitive about this, but I really don’t think it would improve the quality of the comic, and it would serve more as an unwelcome distraction for me. :-/

There were some folks who really connected with fujoshifanatic’s words, and there was another reader who felt fujoshifanatic “shouldn’t” feel that way. But this isn’t a question of how “should” someone feel about the change—what I needed to know was how it would actually make someone feel. And if I make a reader feel like that—particularly a reader who knows our work so well and what we’re trying to do—that’s a big deal.

So, with 17 POC readers specifically telling me not to do it, and 7 more who felt they saw no reason for us to make the change, that’s 24 out of the 39 who are letting me know I shouldn’t make the change.

(Just for the record, there were also some POC folks on Patreon who responded to the post there. Out of the 5 who commented, 1 felt I should make the change, and 4 felt I shouldn’t. Obviously, they absolutely count as “real” readers of the comic, but since I can’t link to their comments, I’m keeping their responses separate. 🙂 )

Finally, there were 5 folks who either wanted me to look for a compromise or who felt we should engage in a process of testing different palm color shades to see if one would be more palatable to the folks who didn’t want the change.

Of course, if we did decide to color characters’ palms with a different skin tone, there would be some trial and error in getting the look right, including trying subtler shades.  And, as someone who believes strongly in compromise, it’s tempting to want to come up with an answer that somehow addresses the concern without upsetting anyone.

But as I see it, good storytelling is about making bold choices and then taking responsibility for those choices. If you try to speak softly in the hopes that you might be able to please everyone, that will usually mean you wind up saying nothing at all. At least, nothing people can be sure of. Either this choice is the right one to make for the majority of our readers (and future readers), or it isn’t.  And, as you can see above, the overall answer we got is pretty clear.

Practical concerns

Interspersed with the yes’s and no’s, there were a number of folks who brought up a number of practical concerns. A good number of folks here and on Patreon wondered where we would draw the line, pointing out that fingernails should also be colored differently. And then how about lips? Also an area with different tone values. Do we spend extra time on those?

And if we’re going to make the change to dark skinned people, shouldn’t we also make the change to everyone else? For example, as a very pale white guy, the skin on my palms is actually darker than the rest of my skin (yes, I have rosy palms, make of that what you will.) Shouldn’t Kyle and Mitch get their own coloring, perhaps something more reddish? And how about Spooky and Commander—both POC—shouldn’t they get unique coloring of their palms as well? And if we don’t make that choice, what is that saying?

As I said on the previous page, this isn’t a photo-realistic style, but it’s not flat coloring, either—you can’t just slap on a single color and move on. Rendering color with naturalistic shading takes time. It adds up. Do we ask Vero to spend extra time on everyone’s palms? And nail beds? And lips? Is it worth it if it means she won’t have time for some of the other nice details she’s been giving us? (Or if it delays the posting of our pages?)

Also, there are over 500+ pages of The Young Protectors—do we go back and recolor every page that shows someone’s palm or bare foot? Would spending our money and time on that be worth not doing other things?

Alternatively, would it be weird/jarring to suddenly start doing it just for future comics, to change the look of characters y’all have grown to love?

These are some of the practical concerns that readers brought up here and on Patreon. And they are legitimate concerns. This is an independent comic with limited resources—saying yes to one thing, often means saying no to something else.

I deliberately didn’t mention such concerns on the last page, because I honestly wanted to know what our readers of color would want, regardless of the costs. And the truth is, if the sense I got was that this would make a significant positive difference in the lives of most of my POC readers, then I’d find a way to make it work, practicalities be damned.

So what do I think is the right choice?

But, reading over all your thoughtful and detailed replies, that’s not the impression I got. Most of you either told me not to do it, or that it wouldn’t matter to you if I did. Even among those who did like the idea of the change, almost half let me know they’d be fine if I kept things as they are.

There are clearly at least some readers for whom this change would make a significant positive difference. And I find their arguments in favor of making the change very compelling. Hopefully, if nothing else, this discussion gave them a chance to share their views, which might wind up changing people’s thinking about this in the future. (Or, now hearing what the rest of you had to say, perhaps it’s even helped to inform their own original views on this topic.)

But y’all gave me the answer I needed. We’ll keep on doing what we’ve been doing all along.

Thank you for an outstandingly thoughtful dialogue. I am grateful to you all for taking the time, for educating me, and for yet again showing me that we have the best readers in comics. Period.

You really are all superheroes. 🙂

So! Looks like Kyle might be open to giving a nice boy a try! What could this lead to? Hugging? Kissing? No-holds-barred dog training?

There are now only two pages left to the “Engaging the Enemy” arc of The Young Protectors! Tune in this Saturday to find out the answer to these and other exciting questions!

Hope to see you there! 😀

  • Dating..

  • awwwwwwwww

    • stickfigurefairytales


  • Good for Kyle to be dating. But… Spooky!!

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I concur!!

      • Morgan

        As do I. I really hoped (and still hope) that Spooky is endgame for Kyle.

    • unknownlight927

      I feel the same but with Legendary coming, I’m sure we will get there!! 🙂

    • I believe Spooky will get his time.

    • NoiseShaper

      I think I prefer a relationship developing well on its own terms over one that was forced in any way.

      What I would hate would just be the old trope in such stories to constantly keep the heroes unhappy as the main driver of the story. That is an absolutely horrid cliché and I’m really sick of that lame last resort of unimaginative writers.

    • helen-louise

      Relationships don’t have to be monogamous. There are lots of possibilities for non-monogamous relationships, from the solid couple who have sex with other people right up to committed plural marriages.

  • Saxon_Brenton

    Hey, that looks like a theme there.

  • Love Kyle’s new confidence. Some things really must seem silly after being to hell, having hell come to you, and finding out you’re the son of a king of hell.

    Sheesh, jumping into the dating pool is nothing compared to that. Just maybe no mention of hell on first date. The world domination question seems quite a good criteria to count out though 😉

    • Kate G

      I love that question is the first question he asks. “No plans for world domination, yes?” -potential boyfriend quirks eyebrow- “Er, no?” -Kyle BS meter raises- “So, I just got a page from my friend; I have to leave now.”

  • stickfigurefairytales

    If Kyle’s going to start dating Sameer, then I require art (either fanart or official) of the two of them playing with happy dogs.

    • That would be just too cute….add Mitch and Cory.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Yes!! <3

        • *hugs* How have you been stick sweetie?

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Pretty good, thank you. How about you, Doki love?

          • Here and there, grandmother has been…more bad/iffy than good lately? There are a lot of things/rooms I need to clean, but gathering up enough energy and drive to clean them is a bit rough because I get hit by a depression spell and then sick, then dealing with grandmother stress, etc… I am lucky whenever I manage to clean something/get something done around the house.

          • Kate G

            I hope your grandmother gets better. I know about sick grandmothers. I miss mine everyday.

          • She had to get a CT scan of her lungs, so we are waiting to hear back on that.

          • Kate G

            I hope the CT scan shows nothing serious!

          • Well she got the scan because there was a mass found on the x-ray she had done earlier this month/last month.

          • Klaus

            I hope she will be OK.

          • Only time will tell, but the Home Care nurse that was here said she would see about putting in for a hospital bed for her. (I have been suggesting that to my grandmother for months). It would make a lot of things easier for her and would cut down on the chances of her slicing her leg open on the box spring because of her tendency to push the mattress out of alignment.

          • NoiseShaper

            Ouch. That sounds even dangerous!

          • She has torn up the back of her legs a couple of times lately, some just knicks, some I would call gashes (nothing really bad, just messy).

          • davefragments

            Could you possibly put a blanket or a large bath towel over the box spring and the regular mattress on top of that?
            Use heavy duty double-stick tape to hold the blanket?

          • That might work, but I cannot seem to train Oli not to spray on things. He didn’t use to spray on anything and now he does it all the time. -_- *sigh* Getting him fixed is still a work in progress. We had the money one time, but then he was sick so they wouldn’t do it and we haven’t really had the funds to do so again since.

          • davefragments

            I have no suggestions to stop Oli. My little dog (a 10 lb ball of fur) thought everything was a fireplug in his last year. “Bad boy” and a pee-pad didn’t stop him.

          • I can sometimes stop him if I catch him in time, but he just does it later when I am not around. -_-

          • davefragments

            yeah … been there, done that

    • Dogs make everything better.

      • Cats. Though Doki will make an exception for puppies.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          I like both, myself!

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Yes, they do.

      • Kate G

        Dogs and horses. Nothing can go wrong when you have dogs and horses.

  • Brian Hopkins

    “kick-ass dog trainer” Hmm, does Sameer want to be a pup handler? Maybe Kyle could alter his mask…

  • Sapfo

    Oh! Kyle found his hero dating self. Now he can date cool dogtraining guy or maybe someone with green magic?

    • Wayne Lunkwitz

      Realistically , though…….dating a guy inside the super hero circle could get “messy” after a while…..Picture this: Emergency requires the team to leave immediately……but where are Kyle and Spooky? Commander knocks on the bedroom door…….I’ll let your imagination go from there!

      • Klaus

        This could happen no matter who Kyle was with.

    • Michael

      why ‘or’? Talking about representation, I’m not poly myself but I have friends who are, and the amount of ignorance and misunderstanding there is around the issue of poly relationships is just mind-boggling.

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    Hmmmm…… about turning things around?…….I could train Sameer to sit up roll over and a few other things……..WOOF!

  • unknownlight927

    Can’t believe Engaging the Enemy is coming to a end. (sob) But I am beyond excited to see what Legendary has to offer, I know that it will be Spooky/Kyle centric , but is there a theme? Will it be an adventure, will it be a romance story? Will it give us the pairing many of us have speculated about??? Ugh this is going to be a long wait!! 🙂 🙂

    • Toli Bera

      it’s not the end, it’s merely the end of the arc. I do believe there will be more from these peeps in future.

      • unknownlight927

        Oh I know, I just mean storyline wise. 🙂

      • Klaus

        It may be the end of the beginning.

    • It’s been quite the ride. Just like Artifice was. Sometimes I’m surprised of how many years I’ve been part of the community on this site. It’s already been half a dozen years and, by the sound of what it coming, I know I will be a part of this for years to come.

  • Ulysses Paxton

    Yay!!!!! Sameer’s a cool guy!

    Say, does that mean we get to see Kyle and Sameer dancing in the park in the moonlight to the cool jazz!?!? Now that’s a neat thought! 🙂

    • Klaus

      Danse i måneskin

      lige så tæt kind mod kind.

      Vi lukker natten ind.

      Danse i måneskin.

      • Klaus

        Apropos of nothing, Google Translate mangles this horribly:
        Dance in moonlight
        Equally close child to child.
        We are closing the night.
        Dance in moonlight.

        “Dancing in the moonlight” would be better English, but the above is the litteral meaning. But the two other lines mean
        Very close cheek to cheek
        We are letting in the night.

        “Kind” means “child” in German, not in Danish!

  • Kate G

    I really love how you always take the time to explain your decisions and give us a voice, Alex. I think that’s why there’s never flame wars – we understand that you value our opinion as people, really mull it over and make a decision off those opinions and your own (and I’m sure Veronica’s and Adam’s.) That’s not easy!

    I’m really glad you decided to stay with the current style. That doesn’t means you don’t explore more photo-realistic options for future comics. Never say never! I kind of hope you do! It would probably be mind-blowing expensive I bet (and probably best suited for a one-shot or something really tiny), but it would be awesome!

    Also, “So, no plans for world domination?” HA HA HA HA HA. I love that this is now Kyle’s number one question for all potential boyfriends. We can’t have another Duncan repeat now, can we?

  • Michael

    As a guy who is about as white as can be, I have no strong feelings on the issue of palm colouration for POC characters, except that I feel it is very important to listen to and respect the people who are affected by this issue. I think Alex has done a great job of doing exactly that, and I have to applaud his dedication to sensitively and respectfully handling the representation of minorities and POC throughout the comic.

    All that said, I think Kyle x Sameer is cute, and I want to see more. I want to see them feeding each other dumplings and laughing over stupid jokes and shared interests.

    • Eris, elder daughter of Nyx

      This is where I’m at. I’m a person of incredibly pasty persuasion (the sun is my enemy . . .) but representation is incredibly important to me, and I’ve been so happy to see it in Young Protectors. I was also incredibly happy to see POC specifically quarried regarding how they felt about this issue; so often minorities are left out of the discussion about their own issues while the majority bickers about what is right for said minorities, and that makes me sad. For example, there is a University in my area that had a Native American mascot for its sports team, and what really upset me about the whole thing was watching white, anti-mascot professors argue with white, pro-mascot alumni about whether or not we should keep the mascot; I wanted so badly for the school to be consulting the Native Americans, but people seemed less than interested in doing that. I’m glad that we aren’t seeing that here, and instead we’re seeing people who are impacted being respectfully consulted regarding what they wanted. It just makes me glad inside.

      • Kate G

        “The sun is my enemy.” I just have to tell you, I was cackling at that. You should see the amount of sunscreen I wear which is ironic as the sun used to be nice to me. Nooooo, I inherited Lupus and the sun said, “So I see you have Lupus now. LET ME BURN YOU!” and now I burn like a lobster.

        • Klaus

          I am very sorry to hear that you have lupus. That is a nasty disease.

          • Kate G

            Aw, thanks, @disqus_8gizXhsHgE:disqus. It took me a long time to be diagnosed, but I’ve adjusted pretty well. If you want me to be really honest, I’m more outgoing, honest and more of a “can do” person that I was before the diagnosis. I can’t always be energetic, but I do a lot more. Pre-lupus me wouldn’t have fought for my tattoos (heck, pre-lupus me is probably fainting in horror at the thought of my putting actual ink on my body.) I ride horses. I volunteer at the place I ride horses for fun. I tried luging when I went to Michigan and didn’t have to bribed into it (pre-lupus Katie would have because she was a sourpuss.) I went on a dune buggy tour and I now need to learn to drive one (basically, if it goes fast, I probably will like it and want to learn how to do it.) I’ve gone on a steam car ferry and I do kayaking (badly.) I’m quite adventurous.

            Not that you will get me to do bungee jumping anytime soon. Nu uh. I have my limits.

        • Michael

          I’m sorry to hear you have lupus. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like. I used to get mysterious painful rashes all over my neck, but they at least cleared up after a day or so. :/

          Either way, if you’re sun sensitive, do yourself a favour and never visit Australia during either Spring or Summer. It’s not that it’s especially hot here, but the sunlight itself is sharper and more intense.

          • Kate G

            My spring and summer or yours? Because, I’m telling you every winter I beg my dad for tickets to Australia or New Zealand where it’s warm. LOL. Granted, I would need a passport, but I loathe the cold. (It’s not uncommon for it to get to -15 Fahrenheit BEFORE windchill in January here. Brrrrrrrrrrrr.)

            I actually love the sun, but I try not to go out during the most intense part of the day. If I do, it’s lots of sunscreen and a hat. This year, I got the “equestrian tan” (pale girl’s edition) – pale legs, “tan” (really just two shades darker from my normal vampire pale. See avatar.) arms. XDDDDDDD I did manage to burn my ears in Michigan though; I could swear I lacquered sunscreen on the tops of those effers before climbing the dunes. I SWEAR.

          • davefragments

            Hawaii …
            I have a friend who retired to Pahoa on Kilauea and it’s never cold there.

          • Kate G

            Hawaii would be great…except I would go crazy being on an island. Pretty as they are, I go a bit stir crazy having fewer than 100 miles in any one direction on land to roam. That’s the military-raised person in me.

            Plus…volcanoes. Eesh. Plus, how would my dad get to work near Lake Michigan? A rocket? HA HA HA. I may not like the cold, but I’m stuck here for family purposes and my dad’s work.

            Although, if someone invents a teleportation device that is reliable and within a reasonable budget, I can see Hawaii.

          • davefragments

            The little burst of lava from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent a few year’s ago only threatened to take out my friend’s gas station and police station. It’s not that big a deal. It isn’t “movie” lava, it flows slowly, slowly, slowly. I guarantee you could outrun it… Turtles can even out-walk it. It’s the neighborhood tourist attraction.

          • Klaus

            There two things that make lava dangerous. One is if the lava is very stiff, It will build up and suddenly burst, where soft lava will just flow smoothly. Another is if it contains a lot of water, which will boil explosively, throwing lava everywhere. Hawai’ian lava is soft and dry. The least threatening lava anywhere.

          • davefragments

            The authorities restrict walking out to see or touch the lava flows because a) it’s still burning hot beneath the black crust, and b) people are that stupid as to step on the solidified lava or take selfies with it.
            Big Island Video News has the best news stories and videos about it. Search “lava” on the main page.

          • Michael

            Our summer. We can easily get temperatures of between 30 and 40C (86-104F) in December and January. Winters are more mild, where I am we rarely get winter temperatures lower than 10C (33.8F)

          • Kate G

            I love the 80s and 90s as long as it’s dry and I have ai conditioning. Humidity makes me cranky.

            But seriously, the 30s are coooooooooold. (I admits, I find the 60s chilly. My mom calls me a lizard.)

          • I start melting at anything above 74, unless there is a decent cooling breeze.

          • Kate G

            I don’t like riding horses in 80-90 degree weather. I like prancing in it. It’s positively dreadful to ride a horse in that kind of weather (low 80s is okay, but high 80s? DREADFUL.) A lot of people think I’m a lizard. I will volunteer at the barn when it’s 85 because I like to walk and be productive in the heat. I become extraordinarily slow and sluggish when it’s cold!

          • Michael

            Like I said though, it’s not the heat, but the intensity of the sun. Some days it’s like a hot pan being pressed directly against your skin. Even when it’s not all that hot, it just burns more. Like the difference between heating a room with an electric fan heater, and heating a room with a roaring wood fire.

          • Kate G

            That’s cuz you are closer to the equator than I am. 😛 You can come here if you want some less intense sun, as long as you don’t mind freezing your Aussie buns off in winter.

            Of course, you would have to live with the lake’s humidity and the blasted Midwestern mosquitoes that I swear give you welts the size of pennies, no sea air and the fact you aren’t on an island, but hey, there is sand, especially if you go to Sleepy Bear National Lakeshore and to the Dune Climb.

            See slide 6 in this link? That’s where I looked at my dad and uncle and said, “That’s it. NO MORE. You want to go to the lake? BE MY GUEST.” I still hate sand currently. I had about a foot of it in my shoes, socks and shins.


      • Michael

        :/ On a recent trip to Canberra, Australia, one of the things that struck me most vividly was the stark contrast between the majority-white government paying lip service to Aboriginal history and culture (e.g. putting signs on doors reading “We recognise that we are on [tribe] lands, and pay respect to [tribe’s] history and culture”), and the “tent embassy” of Australian Aboriginal people waiting to be heard by, and recognised by, the government that says it represents them.

  • Samurai Jack

    I agree with Kate G; thanks for explaining your decision. Honestly, IMO whatever you decided would have been fine.

    Sad the arc is ending, but looking forward to seeing what’s next!

  • Fabulous Alien

    I liked Sameer, but now that I know he wants to be a dog trainer, I love him even more. It’s scientifically proven that dogs add 20% to any person’s attractiveness.

  • Klaus

    Kick-ass dog trainer. To me, that does not sound like a good way to train dogs.

    • Kate G

      I think he meant “a super cool, awesome dog trainer,” not, “I will kick the dogs’ asses” trainer. I often thought of becoming a dog trainer…and then I decided I have no patience for humans. Dogs? Yes. Humans? No.

  • TwilightDreamer

    Aaaww…this is just a really, lovely page 🙂 so sweet and calm after everything that’s happened.

  • Zephyr10101

    My sweet shy nervous boy

  • fujoshifanatic

    What would have made this page absolutely perfect is if Sameer happened to have had a perky little ginger puppy in tow for this first date! But I guess that can come later, if they decide to get more serious. 🙂

    Thank you as always, Alex, for initiating, evaluating, and responding to so thoughtfully a discourse that once again shows why I enjoy commenting on this comic as well as reading it. And while I am ultimately glad for your decision, it was really a good experience reading, listening and learning from everyone who responded; it’s important to be open to all kinds of views on a topic such as this, especially when they can help inform, and maybe even expand, your own perspective on the subject.

    More than anything, the level of thoughtfulness and respect reflected in everyone’s answers continues to reenforce my belief that there are still folks out there who are more interested in building bridges of understanding and respect for our differences, rather than walls to divide them, even in this tumultuous time in our cultural history. Thank you for being the fearless architect of such an endeavor. It is greatly appreciated, and even sorely needed, in many of our lives, both virtual and real.

    • Kate G

      I really loved reading everyone’s answers too. It’s nice to know we can have such discourse over such controversial topics here without anyone running for the trenches.

    • Michael

      “there are still folks out there who are more interested in building
      bridges of understanding and respect for our differences, rather than
      walls to divide them”

      That’s the true “silent majority”, drowned out in the media by the shrill and stubborn bickering of hateful special-interest groups while we just continue living our lives in polite harmony with one another.

  • Advocate

    Thanks, Alex, for the breakdown. I think there’s a lot to be said for assumptions, and how one, even with the best intentions in mind, can make them, yet end up causing more harm than good for their allies. There’s certainly worth to listening, but its who, how, when, and why that makes all the difference.

  • Mary Klemzak

    OK, now we must see pictures of dogs. C’mon, we know you got em on your phone!

  • wohdin

    The problem is that the sample you posted was such a massively stark difference that it was really jarring to look at. It really just looked like that palm belonged to someone else entirely. You could easily try to find a shade that’s just *ever so slightly* lighter and use that, which in my opinion would be a lot more realistic, because black people don’t always have so, er, “dramatic” of a shade difference on their palms (and in fact, a lot of the time it’s fairly uniform, because it has just as much to do with circulation as it does melanin). But I think ultimately, it’s such a minor thing to focus on that it creates more problems than it solves.

  • Klaus

    Sameer actually dares to say that he is nervous. That takes courage.

  • Will Parkinson

    Okay, what kind of evil creature is Sameer? He’s too sweet, so he’s got to be hiding something.

    • bronakopdin

      isn’t it sad in a way that we automatically suspect sth is wrong if people are just nice? x’D
      Though I feel the same as everyone, there must be sth wrong x’D

    • Ginger Envy

      I don’t think Sameer is going to be a evil creature, but it’s totally reasonable for Kyle to not be ready yet. He hasn’t really grieved yet.

      Plus, wasn’t it DC who forbid their Batgirl writers from letting her get married, citing the excuse that superheroes can never know happiness?

      I don’t think that’s going to be the case here, but I also understand why there needs to be some elements of uncertainty with personal happiness.

      • NoiseShaper

        Writers are really bad when they already are on perpetual personal unhappiness as their last resort to get and keep any story going…!

      • Will Parkinson

        For Kyle not to be ready? *I* am not ready to be ready. He’s my poor baby, and he needs to stay home with Spooky and settle down.

        • helen-louise

          He’s 18 years old and he’s been on all of 3 dates in his life, one of which turned into a horrific nightmare. I think he’s allowed to see a few other guys before settling down with anyone!

          • Will Parkinson

            But…but… I’m not ready. He’s just a boy. (Yes, I’m kidding.)

      • Michael

        If anyone tries to argue that Sameer isn’t trying to hide anything, I would like to remind them that he is on a first date with a guy he met on the internet. OF COURSE he’s hiding something. Out of self-consciousness or self-preservation, if nothing else.

        • Klaus

          But is he hiding something really bad?

          • Chris Dangerfield

            Yeah he’s probably sucking in his gut and not being honest that he hasn’t done his laundry this week…….. I sense evil. 🙂

          • Pietro7

            Not done his laundry? The monster! 🙂

          • Wayne Lunkwitz

            In my mind I picture…….the most evil of the evils…….meaning……pulls covers……and snores during sex!

          • Michael

            Yeah, he farts in bed. :O

  • bronakopdin

    I start to like Sameer but at the same time I feel a litte suspicious >/////< It's your amazing ability to throw me offguard that makes me suspicious, Alex!!
    I just really wish the best for Kyle! Let's hope Sameer is gonna work towards this x3

  • Shiny Gwilly

    this is such a cute page, super cute, 10/10 cute
    i didn’t weigh in myself for the discussion on the last page since i’m of mexican origin, but i did look at some of the responses and i have to repeat myself here from wayyyy before, i LOVE this community, everyone here is just great and really respectful to one another, it’s just one of the best places around on the internet, and i’m glad Alex came to a good conclusion about the subject after truly looking through and thinking over everyone’s responses
    back to talking about the page, PLEASE tell me Sammer has a dog of his own and he shows pictures of it to Kyle, that would seal the deal ;D

  • Klaus

    Are you sure it is not a younger Platinum Priestess we see in panel 5?

    • someonelse

      I was just thinking that Miss Red there looks like she’d have some stories of her own to tell; I love the idea that she’s actually a young Sircea. I guess the plaster on her arm is covering up a some after-effects of the big battle in the last chapter…

  • bandanajack

    all this and i am completely non engaged in this meet-cute. my mind is back on the boy in the glass box. not sure how you leave that image behind to go out for a shake and a burger with a new boy/friend. it does not compute for me. i could not compartmentalize the two radically different experience of the two boys. too much of an empath.

    • It’s entirely possible we’re not meant to compartmentalize. If it were me, I’d be deliberately using that tonal shift to create unease, so the audience would be like, “Wait… is something bad about to happen?”

    • Sal Wolffs

      I think Kyle being able to switch like that shows that he is in control of his emotions. Uncontrolled empathy for Duncan would be unwarranted and do no good here, and a lot of harm.

      Kyle has no particular responsibility for Duncan, and good reason not to trust him. He can’t improve Duncan’s situation. If he got himself worked up over Duncan’s situation, that would open him up to manipulation, on top of ruining his emotional health and ability to share positive experiences with others.

      Much better to leave any empathy for Duncan inside the prison complex, and take care of yourself and those dear to you. And if you want to be a good person, save your emotional energy for those you can help, and mostly trust to not take advantage.

      • bandanajack

        how you got to worked up from still engaged is still a mystery to me. in control of one’s emotions? the language here is pretty subjective and inflammatory. imho, of course

        • Sal Wolffs

          I didn’t get it from “still engaged”, I got it from “unsure how you leave that image behind” and “unable to compartmentalise”. Being emotionally affected to the point of being unable to let something negative go was what I meant by getting worked up.

          I read in your post a judgement that may not have been there: you wrote that you couldn’t understand being able to switch like that, but I also got an impression of disapproval of being able to forget about Duncan like that from it, which applied to both Kyle and the readers.

          My post likely had a defensive tone which it shouldn’t have had, but it wasn’t meant as inflammatory, and if it came off that way, I apologise.

      • NoiseShaper

        Well, he did try to improve Duncan’s situation by pushing for the experiments on Duncan to stop.

        But the issue of not knowing if Duncan is still the same conniving villain remains unresolved for now, so there are limits to what Kyle could or should do for him.

  • xLizardx

    I’m about as pasty as the decomposing corpse of an albino blobfish, so I didn’t comment on the last page, but I’m impressed with both Alex’s genuine concern for the readers, and the readers’ carefully considered responses. It’s refreshing [in the context of the wider internet] to see such a constructive discussion over a potentially contentious issue, but it doesn’t surprise me at all, in the context of this webcomic, its creators, and the community who enjoy it.

    Keep being awesome, everyone. 🙂

  • Okin

    Alex, I just realized I’ve been a reader for about 10-ish years now (back when A shot in the Dark came out)! Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your work even though I rarely comment because I’m, like, ridiculously shy :D!

    • Wow! Thumbs up for long time reader. Nice to see your comment.

  • Ginger Envy

    As a few folks pointed out, there are varying skin shades within each ethnic or racial population. It might be worth considering having a single character or several characters who haven’t been introduced in the story yet with the lighter palm shading. It’s very hard for people to want to see a change in characters they already know and love. Heck, they might not have thought anything of it if the change was made without asking. I know they would have noticed eventually, but sometimes if change is gradual or unnoticed, it becomes ingrained in our memories too.

  • Thesseli

    I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed this story, and I especially liked how Kyle has gained confidence in being himself.

  • I didn’t want to comment on the original post, as I was not the voice you asked for. But as someone who has been studying visual art-forms for a number of years, I would like to chime in I feel the current mode of coloring is the most compatible with your drawing style. When I compared the two different versions of the Sameer panel, I noted that in the second one, my eyes would always snap to his hand before his face. It didn’t matter how many times I looked back. My personal artistic ethos is that, as the human brain evolved to seek faces first, if something is distracting from the face (and that’s not the artist’s/auteur’s intent), than that something is conflicting with the art style.

    Ultimately, this opinion matters much, much less than the personal feelings of people being represented, which is why I didn’t say anything on the last page. But it is something I was mulling over in the mean time, and it seemed okay to say so now.

    • Terry

      I had the exact same response to looking at the picture and the same reasons for not commenting. I like the idea of being representative, but the natural shading was just too different from what is expected in a comic and my eyes went straight to the hand. I think if it would be done, it would have to be very subtle indeed to keep people focusing on the parts of the comic that they should notice first.

      • NoiseShaper

        I’m not sure it would really come out that way, because after such a change the artwork would certainly adapt slightly to avoid actual distractions. I’m sure that even now there is such feedback just from experience and that the line drawings consider the colouring already now.

        And the other aspect would be that we as readers would adapt to the more realistic presentation pretty quickly as in real life and not be distracted by it in the first place.

        But given that this is not the path that is actually taken this is just hypothetical anyway. I just don’t think it would have been that much of an issue in practice.

  • Shadizar Silvermask

    Yes when you’ve had to deal with daddy issues when he’s a demon lord of hell who nearly turned the Earth into his own demonic landscape and told him to shove off and sent him back home it’s hard to find much of anything else particularly intimidating. Let’s just hope it doesn’t flip the other way and end up with too much confidence and pride and he’s stopped at the good spot.

  • Chris Dangerfield

    I have to say that I really love Kyle’s final line in that last panel about, “silly things…” Isn’t that just a perfect life truth. Go Kyle and thanks Alex.

  • Jason Moon

    Kyle’s self-doubt phase wasn’t THAT long ago. Besides, he’s been through a few things since then.

  • Justin White

    i’m in Kyle’s place right now

  • Thanks. ^_^

  • Sandy

    back after forgetting all my webcomics and caught up, reread and damn i forgot how much i love this comic. Its well written, the art is superb and its sexy in a good way.
    so since Duncan got his deal, what does this mean for the platinum priestess? Same deal as he said.
    and boo i ship kyle and spooks. Hope that will turn into something

  • Okin

    Aww, thank you, I’m working on being more socially engaging and open with my feelings 🙂

    • This is one of the best (if not the) comment sections full of great people.

    • Biippa

      Same tbh, talking to groups of people I don’t know causes a lot of problems. Heck, talking to people I do know for more than a few hours makes me nauseous! But it’s a thing I’m working on. Slowly. Really slowly. So welcome to the fam and uh.. Yeah.. All that social good stuff. Woo!

  • Jeff Baker

    That’s not “Fonzarelli Pasta” they just pssed is it? Oh, more likely “Mozzarella, Pasta…” ect. 🙂

  • Biippa

    Sorry I chickened out with the camping guys. Hope everyone is doing well!

    • davefragments

      You are still welcome to commit.

      • Biippa

        Thank you uvu

  • Adam Irving

    Great way to get people’s comments, Alex. Fantastic that you’re being so open about the results and the reasoning behind your decision. Of course, I think that openness is part of the larger charm around this comic and your other projects too. A big topic for you to be bravely wading into!

  • Pietro7

    There will be ample fan outrage if he does. 🙂

    • Klaus

      When did that stop anyone? More to the point, when did that stop Alex?

  • Saxon_Brenton

    Something just occurred to me…
    Over the past few pages people have been jokingly expressing wariness about Sameer, usually because of story context: ‘Kyle has had such a bad time with dates before, what’s going to go wrong with this one?’ or ‘Sameer seems nice. Too nice. What’s he hiding?’
    My wariness came from the previous page when he claims he’s a very nice boy. He seemed a bit too eager to me. But as Klaus points out further down this comments page, he’s nervous and brave enough to admit he’s nervous. However, knowing that he’s nervous isn’t enough to prevent him saying clutzy things and overselling himself just a bit.
    So I’m going stop worrying that he may secretly be a supervillain minion, corrupt government agent, evil clone from the dystopian future, or whatever – and just hope they have a pleasant date.

    • Biippa

      I’m just tryna move past my “ugh he’s not Spooky” prejudice and give the dog trainer a chance, but it seems to me like he’s pushing for brownie points with Kyle. Just my little tiny opinion.

      • Saxon_Brenton

        I’m not going to disagree. As I said, I think Sameer came across as a bit overeager, even though that my be my biases about the way Kyle was manipulated by Duncan way back when.
        To be ruthlessly fair, at this point I don’t think we know enough about what’s going on inside Sameer’s headspace to properly guess whether he’s pushing for brownie points (ie, doing it deliberately) or being working too hard at matching Kyle’s confidence (ie, inadvertently trying too hard overcome his own nervousness). It’s just that this close to the end of the story I choose to give Sameer the benefit of the doubt.

        • Biippa

          I have a small bias against people who are too nice so I get suspicious of people like Sameer haha. And he could very well have innocent intentions and still push for brownie points. I mean, all that “nice guy” stuff all at once sounds a bit to me like cheesy bits you tell someone while “speed dating” cuz all you can think of is word vomit. It may be true, it may not be, but it was a lot of it in a little amount of time.

          But again. My little opinion based off what I see added onto my small bias.

          And, again, it doesn’t help that he’s not Spooky. That’s like 25% of my dislike haha. Won’t deny it. But I’ll be patient and wait for the special 🙂

          • unknownlight927

            I’m willing to give Sameer a chance, though I don’t expect anything too eventful to come out of this relationship. It just seems like Kyle is “testing the waters” now that he is our and proud. PS- I too get suspicious of overly nice people but I don’t think they would give Kyle an evil love interest right after he just got over the previous one. That would just be cruel!! 🙂

          • Biippa

            I hope not haha, Kyle would be twice shy then if that happened.

            I wanna be nice to Sameer but I can’t make myself. So I’ll just…. Tolerate him. Mildly.

            I do think that it’s good for Kyle to stretch his proverbial wings and enjoy his new “out life” before jumping into things with Spoops. I mean, a little extra experience never hurt anyone, right? And if he does get hurt again, well, live and learn.

            God, I just finished watching Megamind and I feel like my blue bby boy too much so I have to trust in Kyle. Even if I dislike Sameer.

          • unknownlight927

            No judgment, we will just have to tolerate him together. As for Spooky, Kyle said himself he didn’t know where Spooks head was relationship wise, so Kyle deserves to live his life and not sit in a corner and wait for Spooky, (even though my inner Shipper wishes he would)!! 🙂 🙂

          • Biippa

            Ughhhh same! Like I said, 25% of my reasoning, Sameer ≠ Spoops

            But I can be patient. I’m jumping on that special as soon as it’s ready. Sadly, I have no Spoopyle fics to hold me over until then Dx Why does no one write the things I want? Ack. (Yes, I said Spoopyle, don’t kill me plz)

  • somebody

    I like this guy!
    kick-ass dog trainer~ hahaha he is really charming~
    Can’t wait to see those two slowly getting together and being happy <3

    I just love how much detail you put in every panel. There is so much to see! I just looked at this page three times to make sure I've seen everything. That's really amazing, great work guys!!

  • Odysseus154

    not to be a wet towel, but what about the whole “burn your surroundings to a crisp” orgasm thing?

    • He’s learned to control his fire.

      • Odysseus154

        has he? I thought he learned how to let it go

        • davefragments

          Back on Chapter 5 page 51, Kyle explains his new control of his power.

          • Odysseus154

            right so, the way I see it, he’s finally not scared of the fire; but that doesn’t mean he still isn’t consumed by it. No idea, its all really ambiguous

      • Klaus

        He may be confident that he can, but will he bet Sameer’s life on it?

    • Wayne Lunkwitz

      If they get that far I’m sure they will discuss that……..and having a fire extinguisher handy……just in case!

    • Snorlaxation

      Even if that is still a risk, I’m pretty sure Kyle’s not the kind for quick hook-ups.

      • Wayne Lunkwitz

        Maybe not quick hook-ups…..especially after what Duncan put him through…….but every friendship has to start somewhere.

  • Jeff Baker

    I’ll add—this is so sweet! (I’m happily married to someone I met when we were in our late 40’s, but this almost makes me want to be young and dating!)

  • Biippa

    I didn’t even lurk haha, I was on Skyrim like “should I grab my phone and check out that camp thing? Nahh, I’ll just have a heart attack in a basket. Best if I just leave it”

    But a comforting thought, there’s a lot of familiar names, despite the large number of people, so if I at least get used to the main talkers, I can make some wiggle room in my paranoia for camping

  • Klaus

    Did I overlook something, or has no one commented on Alex’ rosy palm? I think it is an excelent joke.

  • 2 10 11

  • davefragments

    Hello Campers,
    How’s it going with you… I have some cookies, macadamia nut with white chocolate chips.

    • Wayne Lunkwitz

      Thanks Dave (Takes a cookie)

    • Cman65

      MMMMMMMMMMM cookies

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    Hello campers……hey Dave , that reminds me of a new trick I learned……make a batch of cookies……fix them like one big pan cookie…..freeze the dough on the cookie sheet…..then cut the dough into like 3 dozen cubes (depending on size) Freeze the cubes in bags of one dozen each……bake one dozen at a time. I did this last week with dark chocolate chip cookies……time to bake another dozen.
    Maybe tomorrow between mowing the lawn and cleaning the house.

    • davefragments

      That assumes that I bake. Sigh! I’m a good cook but a lousy baker.

      • Wayne Lunkwitz

        I love to bake but … is not a strong suit ….unless I have someone to cook for.

        • davefragments

          I almost never bake. I hijacked family dinners when it got to hard for my Mother and too expensive. So I cook good food.

          • Wayne Lunkwitz

            I learned to cook from my Mom……then took over when she went blind because of long term Diabetes.But that was over 30 years ago.

          • davefragments

            I’m the perpetual bachelor and I have multiple food allergies so I cook out of self preservation.

          • Wayne Lunkwitz

            No food allergies…..but have Diabetes now ……so I exist on potion control and a ton of exercise …..with meds (pills ) as a side dish and some times as an appetizer.

          • davefragments

            I understand. I am always surprised in the supermarket at peoples carts filled with frozen dinners, snacks galore, gallons of soda, and everything but good food.

          • Wayne Lunkwitz

            My biggest challenge of late has been learning to live on what the food pantry dispenses…….counting carbs all the way.

  • Librarican

    Maybe it’s because it’s been 3.5 YEARS since we’ve seen Kyle without his mask on, but the faces look…. off to me somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Is anyone else feeling the same way?

    And for reference, this was the most recent maskless Kyle I could find:

  • davefragments

    Between Sameer and Kyle, I’m not sure who is more nervous.
    Kyle with his over-assured bravado or Sameer with his “trying too hard” eagerness.

  • Saxon_Brenton

    Hello campers. I just got back from watching the Valerian movie, which I enjoyed a lot. Perhaps a bit long with chase scenes that could be trimmed, but nevertheless I found it a fun adventure romp with the type of hypercreativity that I was expecting from something based on a French SF comic, and with a sense of humour.

    This has put me in a much better mood than I have been for the last few days, when I have been cranky-old-man angry about the Australian government’s current shenanigans to block/delay same sex marriage in this country with a non-binding postal plebicite that the various factions within the government are reserving the right to ignore if it doesn’t go to their taste. [gnash teeth]

    • davefragments

      Glad to hear the about Valerian (and the City of a Thousand Planets) because I missed it in the theater .

  • Stubbylegs

    “Listen, uhh, Sameer? Umm…it burns when I pee.”

    • Wayne Lunkwitz

      Why did laugh over that?? either way it isn’t funny……..especially if his aim is off and personal belongings get burned in the process! 😉

      • Stubbylegs

        Yup! No getting drunk for Kyle, then!

  • Hello campers.
    A hard but good work week is over and it’s time to weekend-camp. Two pages left of ‘Engaging the Enemy’ and it can be a good, sweet ending or Kyle is about to get a call/get interrupted or something.

    I like to hope that this is just going to be a loving time for Kyle and a (temporary) good ending… before that next arc will change that.
    I’m not sure, but the whole Spooky/Kyle story could have been taking place between the EtE main arc and this Coda, so that the next big arc will happen a fairly short time after this scene.

    • davefragments

      To tell the truth, I hadn’t thought about the time between this arc, the Kyle/Spooky story, and the next TYP’s story arc.

    • Justin

      Because Kyle and Spooky haven’t had time to be alone since the events, and now he’s off hunting PP on his awesome mount, I feel like the events of this coda was shortly after. That said, I would love for Kyle to have a happy ending, however fleeting it is before being a superhero gets in the way again.

      • I edited my post while you were replying, seeing that I didn’t add that I meant this last Coda scene, the date. The Coda could have spread over weeks from the big battle, to Kyle seeing Dunkid (which wasn’t immediate after the end of the main arc) and now the date in timeline.
        I kinda can’t see Kyle starting to date unless he’s had some time between the prison visit and this, to talk things out with Spooky. Kyle already knew not to expect too much from Spooky, but I think his crush on him has been too long to start dating before a talk about where they stand.
        I couldbe wrong though, but it feels right to me if the TL of the Coda and their own story happens at same time span.

        • Justin

          Ah, I see. I’m conflicted about how I want to feel about it (whether this date was what Kyle was busy with instead of sticking around with Dunkid,or if it’s a totally different day). It being a different day makes more sense timeline wise, but I think there’s something so powerful about saying no to someone you loved (love?) in favour of yourself, and the potential for something real.

          • The events of this final scene do indeed take place on the same day as Kyle’s visit with DunKid. 🙂 (And for the reason you stated.)

          • Great to know 🙂

          • I figure it’s the last couple pages. I can Word of God at least a little. 😉

          • unknownlight927

            I don’t suppose you want to throw out a small spoiler and tell us when Legendary takes place timeline wise? 🙂 🙂

    • unknownlight927

      I see your point of view but I really hope you are wrong. Coda really sets the stage for Legendary to occur either way but my inner shipper hopes it takes place after Coda! 🙂

      • Yeah. It would be quite nice too 🙂

        .. Hmm, but wouldn’t that mean that Spooky has been gone quite a while, and the time span between the battle and the prison visit was longer than we thought? I know he’s gotten more sure if himself, but would Kyle really jump into the dating pool with such confidence and self-humor so shortly after his traumtic day – and before knowing where he really stood with Spooky?

    • Morning Danish!

  • Page up shortly, y’all. 🙂

  • davefragments

    Patreon Rumbles

  • davefragments
  • Midori Ren

    I have some interest in/curiosity about the cute person wearing black gloves in the background there. Though I guess since everyone seems to be wearing long pants it isn’t that warm out.

    Also, pretty city backgrounds! Neat people!