SFP

And now for something different – here’s the short story that we made for the end of Book One as the result of a Kickstarter stretch goal. We asked backers to vote on what country they’d most like to see explored in a short comic and they settled on India! This is four pages and Chapter Seven will begin after it’s done.

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  • thebombzen

    I love the picture of Paladin and Feral in panel two 🙂

    • Markus

      You sure that’s paladin and Feral? I’m pretty sure it’s this science lady and Feral.

      • help im a bug

        as you can see in panel 2, science lady is currently wearing the same shirt as the person in the pic

      • Kifre

        Definitely Sita and Feral.

        • 21stCenturyPeon

          And I assume that the bottle of Jim Beam is being held in advance of Feral’s return.

  • Herwood

    SFP is known for how great it is at tackling complex issues and ideas, but I find it surprising that it hasn’t gone into religion yet. Religion is a big part of life for most of the world’s population and the basis for lots of people’s morality…

    I wonder if this short comic will talk about it at all…

    • Mechwarrior

      It’s shown up- the anti-biodynamic terrorist in the first Feral arc was a Christian extremist.

      • Tsapki

        Wasn’t the whole mob sort of tinted pretty heavily with Christian extremism? I’m aware this may not be indicative but if I recall correctly, the slur Nef is from the Christian term Nephilim, which were half human half angel creatures, and if so seems like both calling biodynamics abominations and denying their humanity.

        • Mechwarrior

          Yes, but the guy with the flamethrower was the most story-relevant of them.

        • Herwood

          Interesting. I didn’t know that. I always found that part of the story kind of weird, I didn’t really understand what they had against Feral donating organs…

          • SirKaid

            Imagine, if you will, that demons and devils from Hell were walking among us on Earth. Most people are unwilling or unable to see that they are demons – they look and act like they’re humans – but you know the truth. Every second that these monsters are out and about is another second that they are doing evil and spitting in God’s face.

            Now one of these demons has hatched a sinister plot. Rather than just fostering evil on a small or local scale they’re going to split parts of their body away and insert them into honest, God-fearing men and women! Who knows what kind of despicable corruption they could cause by channelling their evil magic through their disconnected body parts? This cannot stand.

            You’ve got that image in your mind, right? There are literal demons, Satan’s servants, walking around and spreading evil.

            Those demons are biodynamics.

          • Kslice

            SirKaid, your argument is even more relevant when you consider our environment of today- gay men are still not allowed to donate blood in America if they are sexually active, even when testing is possible, and in our past black and white Americans had their blood donations sorted carefully to prevent ‘tainting’ by the wrong ethnicity of blood. In a world where the outsider can literally be keeping people elive in a way as direct as heart transplants, its not surprising to see those same types of people protesting Feral.

          • Oracle

            This wanders off the topic of the comic, but wasn’t the reason gay men can’t donate blood in the states a leftover of misconceptions with the AIDS epidemic?

      • Herwood

        Oh I had forgotten about that! Yeah now I remember, at the time I though he was some kind of supervillan from the organization that Patrick was hinting about (that killed of all the truly helpful biodynamics. ). But now I realize he was part of the mob…

      • Herwood

        Yeah, although the way religion has been used so far has been more of an easy antagonist-group (the christian extremists, the hindu supeheroes, the prejudiced doctor). I’m however kind of disappointed that it hasn’t been explored for its relation to stuff like justice, morality and purpose.

        I mean Allison has explored philosophy a LOT, but we haven’t even heard of a student relating it to religion or something. Religion (like it or not) is a driving force all around the world for a lot of people, but its kind of being glossed over (so far).

        I LOVE SFP! And it is a very brave webcomic (taking on lots of complex ideas and issues) but (so far) just like a lot of media, it is acting like religion only affects a small group and isn’t something important that would affect the world greatly.

        • MisterTeatime

          When Feral described her journey to find herself, she had good things to say about people of faith (specifically from the Indian subcontinent) and their perspectives on biodynamics. It was still quite a small appearance, but certainly a positive depiction.

    • Monochrome

      It probably has to do with how many of the problem religious elements in the world tend to either be extremists within a religion that act in violation of their religion’s teachings or a sect of a religion that unfairly weighs parts of their religion’s texts over others, rather than there being a problem with the religion itself.
      For example (as mentioned by Mechwarrior) there was the anti-biodynamic terrorist in the Feral arc that was portrayed as a Christian extremist, along with a mob of protestors using the biodynamic equivalent of “God hates fags”. However, these views and actions exist in opposition to Christianity, which is based on the life and teachings of Jesus, an source which emphasizes love, mercy, and compassion for both Jew and Gentile (ALL non-Jewish people).

      • Herwood

        Good point!

      • palmvos

        to be honest- the predominance of religious problem elements is more about the media diet than anything. or more succinctly: religious people acting like helpful members of the community are not generally newsworthy.

    • palmvos

      I am going to be pedantic here- as much of the comments before have stated it has been portrayed. however- like this particular comic is starting with, only the negative extremists are being shown. there is in my opinion little portrayal or talking about the spectrum of religious responses possible. it is beyond a 4 page comic but it might be interesting to see pacifist Muslims resisting Hindustan as that would be anti trope in this area. especially if someone familiar with the Koran managed to show basis in the Koran for it. (the Christian and AFAIK Hindu basis should be QED)

      • Herwood

        That would be a great idea!

    • Jshadow

      “SFP is known for how great it is at tackling complex issues and ideas.”
      There are several people who would argue about that.

  • Herwood

    I wonder if the lady is trying to clone or create new superhumans and thats why people are against her research…

    • Mechwarrior

      Given that her enemies appear to be Hindu extremists who probably consider biodynamics a divine gift from Vishnu, even researching how biodynamic genetics work could be enough to set them off.

  • KatherineMW

    Didn’t realize the previous chapter was over. That’s more of a cliffhanger than we usually end on.

  • Seer of Trope

    Worm-like side story time?

  • JohnTomato

    India, fastest growing submarine fleet in the world.

  • Scott

    So…I feel like I’m missing something. Am I missing something? Or is this supposed to be one of those instances where we have no idea what’s going on?

    Also, “People’s Republic of Hindustan” feels a little ridiculously on the nose. I’m sure there are a couple but I’m having a little trouble thinking of any other country that features the majority religion in its name.

    • ampg

      Iran’s official name is the Islamic Republic of Iran. There might be others, but that was off the top of my head.

      ETA: Apparently Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mauritania are the same, according to Google.

      • Scott

        Touche. However, I don’t think “Hindu Republic of India” sounds nearly as stupid as “People’s Republic of Hindustan”. Perhaps people were worried, though, that it would just become colloquially shortened to “India” again and the full brunt of their religious extremism would be lost.

    • Khlovia

      Re: “missing something”: Short stories frequently begin in media res. Because, short.

      • Scott

        Well, that’s one of the problems with the medium of web comics and pacing. Web comics have, perhaps, the slowest delivery of content of any form of media. Even published comics, that typically put out a new issue only once a month, deliver the same amount of content in a single issue as a typical webcomic puts out in six months to a year. While content can frequently suffer from this frenzied pace, it does allow for a lot more liberties in storytelling.
        What I’m getting at is that I feel some of the impact of cliffhangers or ‘in medias res’ are lost when the tension has to be maintained over the course of weeks as opposed to a film or novel where this is reduced to minutes.

        • Zorae42

          I’d argue that some fanfiction is slower. Some writers release content once a month. Or even once a year. Or even after a multi-year hiatus. And if it’s a fluff chapter or a flashback chapter, that can be super irritating given the slow pacing.

          Although I suppose I’ve followed a couple webcomics with slow/erratic update schedules that rival some fanfic update speeds. And the existence of even slower paced media doesn’t mean your comments on the pacing of this media are incorrect.

          • Scott

            Well…I guess I was more focusing on things that are done to a professional standard. There are now hundreds if not thousands of people who are able to make a full living off of there webcomics through means such as subscriptions or merchandising. As far as I know, fan fiction isn’t usually done as a profession, more as a hobby. Probably because trying to sell fan fiction can put you into some questionable legal territory.

            Unless you’re E.L.James. But let’s not talk about that.

          • Zorae42

            I’d argue that there are quite a few works out there that definitely meet professional standards. And there are people out there that will write fanfics for commission, and even a handful of Patreon pages for fanfic writers. I doubt they could live off of that money, but they can profit off of it (and thus have it qualify as professional).

            Although I’m not familiar with the whole legal territory behind it.

            E.L. James gives fanfic a bad name. It’s so weird and sad that such a terrible example of fanfic would become published and so popular. Although when the source material is also so bad, I suppose that’s to be expected 😛

    • Scott

      Ah, so I missed the little note below the comic on first reading. So, in fact, I WAS missing something.

      • Kid Chaos

        Yeah, like the previous Kickstarter, you poor, unfortunate soul. 😜

    • Hind/Hindustan isn’t as tightly cognate with Hindu as people are assuming. It’s both a geographical and political term.

      Existing examples: ‘Jai Hind’ (shortened form of ‘Jai Hindustan Ki’) – ‘Victory to India’, battlecry of the Indian Army, and the Azad Hind Fauj – the Indian National Army – pro Independence extremists who fought with the Japanese in WWII.

      • Scott

        This is interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing. However, I don’t think you can fault readers for tying “Hindustan” to the Hindu religion since that is how it is framed in the comic. The fact that the news caster mentions objections from other faiths naturally creates this connection to Hinduism within the story.

        • I’m not faulting people, just giving context.

    • Nathanaël François

      El Salvador comes close, with its name being a direct reference to Christ.

      Not in the name of the country, but Pakistan’s capital is Islamabad. And obviously there are plenty of city names in the world that have obvious religious connotations (anything starting with “Saint” or “San”, for example”).

  • HINDUSTAN? Thats like calling a place Jesustown or Muslimville.

    • Oort

      Hindustan = the northern/northwestern Indian subcontinent. “Hind” and “Hindustān” were standard use in Persian and Arab in the 11th century: the name used during the mediaeval imperial period.
      No, I did not know those details off-hand – but I did know it was standard usage, so, eh, I took a few seconds to check.
      Afaik – ready to be corrected – the name of the region pre-dates the name of the religion and possibly even of the language.

      • Oort

        Aaaargh, slip of the fingers – I meant Arabic, of course, not “Arab”. Ugh.
        But yeah, perfectly real place-name.

        • thebombzen

          fyi you can edit comments. Fixing typos like that is fine

          • Beroli

            Registered posters can. Guest posters can’t.

          • thebombzen

            I beg to disagree

          • Beroli

            You needn’t beg. You can disagree freely.

            …Doing so will be weird and wrong, however. (What, you think any poster can edit any post any guest poster made, or you think the board tracks which guest poster is which somehow?)

          • thebombzen

            Ah, I misunderstood what you meant by “registered” and “guest.” I am no longer prostrating myself in disagreement

    • cphoenix

      Christchurch?

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        Islamabad

        • For that matter my home town is Bishop Auckland, so named for being the residence of the Bishop of Durham.

  • Lostman

    I have to ask then; India just change it’s name, and is being taken over by Hindu extremists back by living demigods. So is Alison aware of this, or is this flying under her radar?

    • The BJP have been the government of India several times and are currently. They’re strongly nationalist and right wing, with very little support outside of Hindu groups. Hindustan isn’t quite as extreme as renaming the US SouthernBaptistStan, Hind and India are linked terms, and Hind has been used as the term for the nation, especially by nationalist groups, but it’s not likely to go down well, and is the kind of thing Indian governments mostly try and avoid because of the ease with which intra-communal violence can be triggered. OTOH the BJP has done this in the past – see the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque, which caused around 2000 deaths.

      • wahahaha

        They actually did enjoy support from other religious groups in the latest national election because it became a case of “I don’t want the other guy to win” and also Modi did focus on development rather than subsidies.

  • Zac Caslar

    So what’s up with the men in white and orange?

    And the four women in white and orange?

    My gut says they’re the Sangh Parivar, or at least the men are, and the second to left bloke in the second frame is toting quite the serviceable club.

    BJP would be “Bharatiya Janata Party” as in “The BJP is a right-wing party,[6][14] with close ideological and organisational links to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.” -Wikipedia.

    Hence the “Sangh” in “Sangh Parivar,” at a guess.

  • wahahahaha

    Ok so there’s lot of discussion on the new name for India as far as I can tell so let me clarify a bit:

    Hindustan is a persian term from before even Alexander the Great meaning land beyond the Hind river (Sindh river or Indus river).

    India is the latin term meaning land beyond/of the Indus river.

    The ‘native’ term for the region was Bharat or Jambudweepa or Aryavarta (abode of the aryans)

    Hindu was not a national or religious identity prior to the late Mughal/early British period. Muslim and Christian rulers called every one of the Dharmic faith Hindu – lit people of Hind. In reality the Dharmic faith is a syncrestic polytheistic faith with multiple sects claiming supremacy (followers of shiva, vishnu, ganesha, kali, etc) which fluctuated in local power depending on which king patronised which god. Ironically the maltreatment at the hands of the mughals and British actually helped unite them and they chose the name ‘Hindu’. Due to the British stoking communal and religious tensions to divide the populace to better rule this identity became entrenched in many Hindus. The idea that India was for Hindus was given credence by the fact that Pakistan was separated out on the basis of religion. If we’re dividing based on religion and Pakistan is the muslim state surely we’re the Hindu state? is what some thought at the time.

    Religious violence in the last 60 years has only deepened the divide in the some areas of the country and is not helped by politicians running on the platform of religious supremacy to easily gain votes. BJP has historically been a pro-Hinduism party, backed up the even more pro-HIndusim outift RSS, a former member of which assassinated Gandhi for being too ‘pro muslim’. Since the BJP is now in power with a leader who has been accusations of not caring about other religions (to put it mildly) people wondered if this would lead to the rise of a militant Hindu right. It probably won’t happen given how divisive India is but its canon now.

    • wahahahaha

      Just a few more notes:

      Dharavi is the largest slum in Asia and within walking distance of a skyscraper and personal residence of India’s richest man – Antilla which imo is a space dildo but whatever

      Sita is a name with mythological connotations as Sita was the wife of Rama, one of the incarnations of Vishnu. Sita is the ‘perfect wife’ in mythology and is prayed to in certain festivals as well. Its not a very popular name though. Everytime I hear it I know its fiction or an NRI.

      Those people wearing saffron and white are probably members of a hindu organisation. Some are holding batons so probably a group responsible for moral policing.

  • Fallendemon13

    Didn’t have a chance to mention this last page, as discussion had closed already, but something else to consider is how the professor managed to get to class on time, considering February 4th is on the other side of daylight savings time from March 18th…

    • Zorae42

      Before 2007, DST was in April. Not exactly certain what year SFP is.

      Also, I believe most modern clocks automatically update to the correct time.

  • AnnieP

    If you want a superhero story that tackles modern religious issues for capes (in a non-Bible-thumping way), check out the Fearless Nine. The second book in the series is coming out early next year. http://www.fearlessnine.com

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Uh woops, didn’t think of checking for additional materials on my books. And now they’re 350km away ^^;

    Oh well, checking once I’m back home in a 2 weeks.

  • Philip Petrunak

    Oh come on. You can’t just leave us hanging like that. Ugh…

    Also, not sure why people would want to know what’s going on in India in this world. India is a poor country don’t get me wrong, but it’s a pretty stable one as well. I would much rather know what’s happening in China. They’ve been teasing that FOREVER.

    • Danygalw

      Teasing? Where?

      • MisterTeatime

        IIRC there was a reference in the road trip chapter to Patrick’s company doing stuff with people from China who’d sent biodynamic representatives. Also, the first question that really set Alison off in the interview that led up to her unmasking was about the possibility of super-powered war with China.

        • Danygalw

          Oh yeah.

    • Zorae42

      Well, considering they have the second highest population after china, still have ~4 times the number of people as the US (which means 4 times the number of biodynamics), and haven’t been hinted at at all, it seems reasonable to want to know about it.

      I mean, it seems pretty obvious what China is like given the nature of their current government. And the fact that the US is still on bad terms with/competing with them implies that the presence of biodynamics didn’t lead to a revolution (or at least not one that ended up with a government that favors the US).

      But India? That could go all sorts of ways. They do have a lot of poor people, but they do still have inordinately wealthy ones as well. So the likelihood of there being more poor people with super powers seems like it could create an interesting situation. And they have that whole caste system which is going to make random people getting super powers regardless of caste conflict with a lot of their beliefs. There’s a big potential for internal conflict and it’ll be cool to learn what went down in this universe.

      • Walter

        India’s democracy is also VERY DIFFERENT from the USA’s. Internal conflict strikes me as very much on the menu if super people suddenly appeared.

    • Walter

      It feels like a biodynamic takeover could be in the works. Like, the conspiracy failed, an Alison tier biodynamic launches a coup.

  • Rugains Fleuridor

    Disconnected but interesting side-story? This is just like my favorite Japanese mangas.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    wouldn’t they call it Bharatiya Des or something like that? Rightwing Hindu purists tend to be Hindi purists as well

  • Guest

    Hey, guys, https://www.wikitribune.com/ is a thing and too few people are donating, think we can signal-boost it here?

    • Ellie

      what is it