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  • Abel Undercity

    Echoes of Vonnegut at the end there: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      Something about the face adapting to the mask stuck on it ?

      • Kid Chaos
      • A healthy person uses his jungian personas as social tools. Stuff goes wrong when a single persona overtakes the ego completely.

    • I’ll see your Vonnegut and raise you The Last Psychiatrist: “You don’t get to define who you are. What you do defines who you are.”

      You do, however, get to decide what you do. So decide carefully. 🙂

      • “Good is not something you are, it’s something you do.” – Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel 🙂

    • I think my Mom read a lot of Vonnegut then. She always told me that the best way to be a good person was to pretend you were one until you forgot you were pretending.

  • Lostman

    That… got… really meta there for a second, I see what Mary is getting at; day after day you see people getting away with shit and it makes you angry inside. That angry turn into bitterness and resentment, then soon you lose faith in the world. The first thing I will agree with a lot of people that yes these kids were way to young to be fight on the front-lines of a war or make political decisions.

    So now, after years of warfare and final ‘victory’ there unable to deal with real world. Mary, Chris, and Alison products of a society and government that need people to hunt down monsters then once that was done thrown aside. So they are tiring to deal with problem the way they always done, and before anyone brings up Feral I would like to point that her salutation to the worlds problem is going to come up short… also let’s for get Feral is not immortal; she will die someday.

    I’m still going to say that yes; this all Alison fault, Why? Because she was the trigger woman, she went on live TV and pointed out how BS the whole superhero thing was and said “put away the kid toys” (Oddly though one of those kid toys is ‘truth’). And now look how that turned out. But get the bigger irony is? this was going to happen anyways; if Alison didn’t do her little act on TV, then some other hero would of done it anyways and would play out the same…

    • JUnit4321

      I just had a realization that if she did not out herself it may have gotten worst in the future were someone may just snap

  • Johan

    Man I wish I had something smart to say, but I got nothing. This is deep. I can’t wait to read more. Excellent work Molly and Brennan 🙂

  • Rumble in the Tumble

    >people love killing
    >people hate women
    >uuuuuh how could I try to slash your throat, I wasn’t thinking straight, pleasedon’tkillmepleasedon’tkillme
    >i’m so fucking crazy
    >i’m not fucking crazy!

  • Roman Snow

    Really satisfied with where this arc has gone.

  • Embrace your talents! Talents like MURDER.

  • sammybaby

    I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite movies, Grosse Pointe Blank. If you’ve never seen it – professional assassin goes back for his ten year high school reunion to attempt to reunite with the girl he stood up on prom night. Totally worth it.

    Anyhoo – here’s the scene in question. (If you’re thinking of watching the movie, you may want to skip it, as it’s a pretty important scene.)


    • Kid Chaos

      Wow…that’s probably the best “Shut Up, Hannibal!” I’ve ever seen. Nice work, sammybaby!

      • sammybaby

        Thanks! What was weird about this one is that perversely, he is not the villain of the piece. Let’s just say that it’s a very morally ambiguous film, and also perfectly calibrated to people who graduated high school around 1990 (like myself). Definitely worth a watch.

    • Philip Bourque

      That’s guy’s problem was that he tried to connect to people. In particular a person who was raised to believe that human life has value and tries really, really hard to ignore humanity’s inhumanity towards their fellow man.

    • Arthur Frayn

      Yeah, but in the case of this movie, it’s false because later she desperately needs him and he becomes her savior and she forgives him his atrocities for saving her and her dad, and they live happily ever after. So her moral absolute becomes the real lie.

  • Simeon

    (apologies for double post if that happened) Increasingly, I feel like Allison is being portrayed as being “right” or morally correct and I’m finding that disturbing. In the case with Furnace, Moonshadow & Patrick, she is shown to be the “winner” of the argument – just like she was the winner of the fight with Cleaver. The difference being that in the fight with Cleaver, she had to face some hard truths about herself; whereas with Moonshadow, she had to punch doors & Patrick she had to emotionally punch him. Of course she’s the protagonist – right there in the title 🙂 – but there feels (to me) an increasingly long line of straw people arguments she’s knocking down.

    • Rod

      Well, c’mon, what ever gave you that impression?

      Mary’s echo: “What they hate is women.”

      Quiet, you!

    • Catherine Kehl

      Hm. I kind of feel like Allison is stumbling from situation to situation, seeing other people’s truths, saying “But… no, that’s just not quite it…” but that she’s still essentially lost. If she had answers, rather than questions, I think I’d agree more with your straw man assessment. But what I’m seeing is a journey through this world of deconstructed superhero motifs, built out of people who are generally hurting a lot, and I just don’t see a lot of winning. (Patrick? Was there winning there? Save me from that kind of winning – I’ve had my share, thanks.)

    • persephone_the_wanderer

      It’s a lot easier to figure out why someone else is wrong than it is to be right. Sure, Alison can tell Moonshadow her response to rape culture is wrong – but then, Alison isn’t doing much about it (hanging out at parties and hoping you meet Miles: not a long-term strategy), and doesn’t really have a plan to do anything about it. I’m not sure that makes Alison a clearly better person.

      • Simeon

        I guess that’s it – although through the depiction of Moonshadow’s actions, we (the readers) see that she is clearly in the wrong/out of control & Alison was clearly justified in taking her down. It seems to be a shift from the earlier stories where she is a more ambiguous character confronted by the results of her actions by the grieving professor or even Pintsize, who was in existential crisis. In those cases, she clearly did not have the answer and I personally found that compelling. With Patrick & Mary, she’s apparently in the right, and that impacts, to me, the depth of her choices.

    • Jordan Hiller

      It feels to me not so much that Allison is right as that she’s stumbling from situation to situation seeing other people’s truths (like Catherine said) and being unable to deny their interpretation of the facts. She’s trying to find the truth, but she can’t deny the facts of the various situations she’s found herself in.

  • Some guy

    The humanizing moments are the best moments.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Damn, the writing here is just so good sometimes. There are times I can feel sorry for someone and not forgive them for their actions. There are times I can have sympathy but not empathy. This is one of those times.

    “They’ll be more invisible than I could ever hope to be.” Damn.

    • And that line is why I don’t think Moonshadow’s actions will help in the long run. Killing them makes their deaths overshadow their actions.

  • With everything that’s happened with Patrick and now Mary, plus with earlier stuff we saw when Alison fought sharp-hands guy (whose name is escaping me), it’s almost like they’re all trapped inside of what they became, trying to escape what feels like fate.

    That’s the question everyone is asking here: when you’ve killed people, been a hero, wrecked buildings, manipulated everyone you know, tried to rule the world, can you ever go back? Can you change, or are you stuck? Do you even want to change?

    I love how this comic asks the deep moral questions. There’s nothing else like SFP out there.

    • DaktariD

      Though I imagine Batman v Superman will delve into the same deep pond. At least it looks that way from the trailers.

      Maybe they’ve been reading SFP too?

      • Pol Subanajouy

        I hope they handle it well. Without too much of a segue (I hope), but I wasn’t thrilled with Man of Steel.

        • Clare Lane

          Man of Steel was just… dim. In color, in dialog, in presentation. Bleh.

    • GreatWyrmGold

      “I love how this comic asks the deep moral questions. There’s nothing else like SFP out there.”
      You might want to look into Worm, by Wildbow.

      • Talen K Fox

        Worm is actually an excellent suggestion, as the final byline for the story is “Doing the wrong things for the right reasons.” It’s also an excellent bit of writing, and the following serials from the same author are worth looking into if you have the time.

      • Worm is dark and awesome, but I’m not sure if it goes this deeply into ethics. It’s just grimdark. Well-written grimdark that does ask some deep questions, but they’re not the entire point of the story. And the sheer scale of the story by the endgame kind of dwarfs the real-world issues in my mind.

    • martynW

      Might want to check out reprints of “Miracleman,” where Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman both did the writing. It follows superheroes who have gone to both ends of the spectrum, indestructible murderers and benevolent gods. Frankly, both are equally unnerving.

      • I’m not sure I would call Miracleman a benevolent god. A god, yes. Benevolent is stretching it though for a guy who through a bus that still had people in it during one fight.

    • I’d say be careful of saying “nothing else like it” statements, but it turns that saying that statement gets you a pretty awesome list of reading suggestions.

  • strongfemaleprotagonist

    I’m still figuring out how to moderate in a way that keeps these comment sections a safe and positive space for all of our readers, and right now that means approving each comment individually. Thanks for your patience,

    • Pol Subanajouy

      For what it’s worth, your efforts are appreciated. With a title like, “Strong Female Protagonist,” I’m sure there no small number of internet trolls who think these comment sections are fertile ground for big chunks of awfulness.

    • Clare Lane

      I can only imagine the toxic MRA bait that has to be bleeding through to your work. This is a great comic and your work is amazing. I enjoy the reactions in the comments almost as much as the comic itself. Anyone who looks at an issue like this as ‘simple’ or people in pain and danger as ‘predictable’ is missing the point. Thank for you work.

  • Rod

    “What they hate is women.”
    “But men as well. And kids.” (?!!)
    “I can’t believe I tried to slit your throat.”
    “They’ll be more invisible than I could ever hope to be.”
    “I’ve been going f***ing crazy, Al.”
    “You have no f***ing idea, and you’ll never know.”
    “You don’t know *anything!!”

    (Handcuffs come out)

    “Done yet?”

    • flame821

      Yeh, they hate women, but they attack men too (ya’ll know men can be raped, right?) and kids, lots and lots of kids. Kids get it from every end and it is so rare that they are initially believed. Although I do have to wonder if Moonshadow had limited her kills to strictly child molesters would we be seeing this ‘but she didn’t have enough proof’ mentality that so many people have been using. Why is the burden of proof on the victim of rape? We don’t ask mugging victims to prove they were mugged. We don’t insist that the family of a dead person prove they were murdered or else it just gets written off as suicide because ‘they probably wanted it’. We don’t parse every effing word that comes out of the mouths of victims of other crimes. But when it comes to the crime of rape it seems to be the victim who is on trial and held to a higher standard.

      So, yeh, live your life under those conditions and be aware of them and I can easily see someone losing their minds from time to time. And I don’t think Alison is going to just shrug and throw cuffs on her. She wants to understand why this happened to Mary; not just her vigilantism but what lead up to it, what made her think ‘this’ was the only productive way to deal with it. Why she lost faith in the system, why they are all losing/lost faith in the system they used to be part of.

      • Honestly, I mostly agree with you. But yes, I would still be asking whether she had enough proof even if she targeted only suspected/not convicted child molesters. Because I think that if you start bending the rules to punish the worst sickos, it sets a precedent that hurts more minor offenders.

        • Also, in the UK we had this big investigation into child molestation recently, which uncovered some really disturbing cases of celebrities molesting children (the kind of stuff tabloids love), but there were also people who were accused and arrested multiple times and then were proven innocent.
          So I agree that you can’t bend the rules to get the worst sickos, because those crimes tend to have the most severe punishments, so you have to really make sure that you’re certain.

          • yeah. I think that the current definition of “due process” needs to be changed, but you can’t get rid of it.

  • Mechwarrior

    This story has gotten so depressing that I feel like cheering myself up by watching Ghost in the Shell.

    • Jordan Hiller

      Now THAT’S dark.

    • Clare Lane

      There’s this great fun little anime called “Grave of the Fireflies.” Serious pick me up, and fluffly and light. 🙂

      It’s not. Please don’t listen to me. LOL

    • Talen K Fox

      Hamatora – brightly colored story with superpowers, severe stereotyping, and serial killers. First season is superior to second!

    • Oren Leifer

      Try “Darker than Black”, which despite the name, isn’t super-dark. It’s all about superpowers that come with a price, (i.e. the woman with a sonic scream has to smoke after using her power) and a young man with electromagnetic powers struggling to live as the only superhuman who still feels emotions.

      • Mechwarrior

        You do realize that it was a joke, right?

  • DaktariD

    I literally have *no idea* what’s going to happen next. And I love it that way!

  • flame821

    Panel 4 & 5 are sadly reminiscent of what it is like for a woman to try and explain to a man what living in this world is like. We get told we’re over-reacting, that we’re paranoid, that we’re blaming everyone for the actions of a few. But they don’t get that it isn’t just the actions of a few, it is the social and cultural response we get from everyone else. How DARE we speak up and make them uncomfortable, besides it had to be our fault. Why were we there, how were we dressed, what were we doing? Did we have a drink? Did we strike up a conversations? What did we think was going to happen when we took a cab alone? Walked across the parking lot in the dark? How could we possibly not have known that guy we work with was up to no good?

    We’re told to police ourselves by limiting when and where we leave the house. Locking ourselves in and locking the world out. We have to dress a certain way (which changes based on who is doing the evaluating) or else we should just expect to be assaulted but how dare we act as though that guy we’ve never met before who is trying to get our phone number might be a less that stellar individual. There is literally no way to win, just survive. And most men just don’t get that. They don’t see what we do even when they are standing right there. Those rape jokes you laugh off (and that included prison rape, fyi) so you can feel like one of the guys, cuz after all, it isn’t ‘that’ big of a deal, it’s just a joke….not to us, it just told us you are one of them and that you can’t be considered safe either. Same thing when you stand there and ignore the idiot cat-calling, no it isn’t harmless, we don’t need to take a compliment or get a sense of humor. We need to be able to live our lives and walk down the street in peace. All those little scratches quickly add up and turn into cuts, they make us raw and angry and leave us feeling helpless which is when we either strike out or remove ourselves from society.

  • masterofbones

    I wish I enjoyed anything that I got good at. I always start getting bored the moment I start getting skilled at something.

    • The trick is to up the difficulty then.

      Or come back to it a year or two later when you’ve forgotten it.

  • “You have no fucking idea what being this scared all the time can do to you.”

    This… holy crap, this. ;_;

    • “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”

      -Frank Herbert, Dune.

  • And now we go to Phase 3 of Moonshadow’s Plan: “Carefully Prepared Anti-Mega-Girl Psyops.”

    • Doesn’t every supervillain in this comic have that stage? I mean, even Cleaver!

  • Verdant_Samuel

    Here’s hoping this gets approved with less caustic phrasing. The idea that anger is inherently corrupting/poisonous/bad is an idea that, especially in US society, exists to serve oppression. Seeing that idea espoused as truth by everyone in this comic prior, and now Mary, doesn’t feel great. Here’s an entire article that goes into depth about that: https://medium.com/@chanda/what-s-the-harm-in-tone-policing-e933d90af247

    • Rod

      The idea of anger being inherently bad really is modern claptrap, but how many commenters are proposing that, as opposed to the idea that anger isn’t an excuse for improper action? Good rule of thumb for anger management: would this action be acceptable (even if unusually harsh) if I did it when I *wasn’t* angry? If no, then expecting anger or any other feeling to justify it is just wishful thinking. If yes, then focusing on the anger just seems to be a way of avoiding the real issue.

      • Verdant_Samuel

        My comment was specifically aimed at the comic and the in-universe logic, actually – if I saw it in the comments I’d have posted it there don’t worry.

      • Catherine Kehl

        Historical note: Well, no. I mean, claptrap it may be, but I can thing of textual citations against it from multiple traditions that are more than a thousand years old. I could bury you in Buddhist ones (I just happen to know that material better, and am irritated by it on a more regular basis.) (There are also plenty that don’t irritate me, to be fair.)

        • Rod

          Quite right. I was thinking specifically of the modern changes in thinking in U.S. culture. (Although I admit, Buddhists saying that is not quite what I would have expected.)

    • I think it’s fine to get angry, especially when faced with injustice. That’s the kind of thing that should make us angry.

  • Shade

    It certainly can be done, but it is by no means easy. Much like anything worth doing, it’s a constant battle best fought day by day.

    Sometimes the hard thing isn’t doing something. It’s NOT doing something, if that makes any sense.

    • “Don’t just do something, stand there,” is sometimes a worthwhile tactic to consider. It helps avoid the trap of:

      1) We must do something.
      2) This is something.
      3) Therefore we must do this.

      This faulty syllogism is responsible for a great deal of the turmoil in our society, IMO.

  • FlashNeko

    I find this story really fascinating and good but I’m really nervous that “Well, it’s just a shame you’re so good at killing, Moonshadow” is the only real counter-argument we’re going to get to the frankly uncomfortable number of pro-murder arguments this arc has produced.

    Like, I know it’s Alison’s nature to tank whatever her opponents throw at her (both physically and metaphorically) until she can find that one good counter-blow (again in both contexts) so that means she kind of has to allow for a lot of others to monologue at her in this case. However, even when she spoke out against Patrick it was to point out how his nature made him unsuitable for dealing with or casting judgment on these issues instead of anything really.. I wanna say “relevant” but that doesn’t feel like QUITE the right word.

    I mean, rape is a horrible, horrible thing and the fact so many people get away with it without consequence while their victims are publicly shamed and pushed away for being victims is disgusting. No argument.

    Yet… is killing without trial (beyond one person’s potentially biased investigation into the crime) due to changes in societal morality really the only firm answer we’re being given here?

    It may not be your intention (and there’s still more pages to go, I’m sure) but I worry that’s how it may ultimately come off.

  • The whole problem is that, as many issues as us guys can have, we don’t have a crapton of systemic BS to add to them (other than toxic masculiinity, but that’s a discussion for another day). We are secure in the knowledge that we will be heard when we speak out politely, our words taken at face value, our motives hardly ever questioned.

    This arc points out that women, as well as other disenfranchised groups, do not have that luxury, All they have left is to speak in rage, because politeness has been useless.

    • MrSing

      I would actually argue against that.
      Men and women both suffer at least some form of unique systemic opression
      Men have no reproductive rights, have been forced into war since time immemmorial, and have very little to no support when they are being physically/metally abused by their spouse.
      Women have very serious problems too, both sides have.
      To solve these problems men and women need to work together and one of the first steps would be aknowledging that both sides have it hard in their own way. If this doesn’t happen there will be a sort of “divided and conquered” situation where both sides fight against each other over who has it worse and how the other is to blame, with no, to very slow, progression towards a solution.
      Rage against each other will only drive us further apart and harden us in the views that caused these problems in the first place.
      Empathy, mutual understanding, and rational thinking are the tools needed to solve social problems. And it has to be given freely and openly by both sides.
      Politeness and setting aside pride and rage are the only way I know of achieving this.

      • Verdant_Samuel

        Again: no, that is not how structural oppression works. I’m not super in the space to walk you through this, so I’ll just suggest you do some reading about how systems of oppression work (maybe start with James Baldwin and go from there?).

        • MrSing

          I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree then.
          Hopefully if there is a next time we’ll have more time to debate.

      • You’re making a lot of assumptions that, IMHO, are missing the point of the issue.

        You assume that systemic sexism oppresses men and women equally. This is wrong. While men’s gender-related problems are, indeed, problems, and are, actually, addressed by feminism, the problems sexism imposes on women are far, FAR more prevalent, insidious, widespread, and damaging. You’re incurring in the “#AllLivesMatter” falacy.

        Second… there is NO “us vs. them” when dealing with gender issues. When feminists rage against injustice, it’s not a rage against men, but a rage against the societal system. That this societal system is mostly run by men is what leads some men to believe that feminists are attacking men directly, and this is just a sign of insecurity and fear of losing privileges that shouldn’t exist in the first place in a truly fair society. This leads to the “#NotAllMen” response.

        And look at history… no civil rights issues have been solved simply by politeness, because those in power feel entitled to simply dismiss polite criticism towards their position. Angry protests have driven the point home, and paved the road for the rational resolution and improvement.

        So, rage, rage against the dying of the light, and stuff like that.

    • you just basically said what I was going to say, better than I was going to say it.

      Thank you.

      For reference, here’s what I was going to say:
      Can’t we all just agree that the current system sucks for everyone in different ways, but that it sucks much more for women, non-Caucasians and the poor?

      Also, I would say another big theme of this arc, and a big theme of this comic in general, is the value of vigilantism in the real world.
      My personal opinion is that Moonshadow’s actions are not going to help at all in the long run, but I could easily be wrong.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    That’s super not how structural oppression works. It’s not a “the grass is greener” situation, it’s a “one group is structurally harmed and the other is structurally privileged.” Being nice isn’t really a solution for that.

    • MrSing

      Ah, but what if both sides are being structurally harmed and priviliged but in different ways?
      I hate to not give your comment the full response it deserves, but inbetween responding to Coyotzin, flame821, and Johnathan, I’m afraid I’m beginning to take up to much space with my comments. And even worse, I’m starting to repeat myself.
      Please refer to my response to Coyotzin down below. It’s basically the same as my response to you would be.
      Apologies once again for not responding in a more direct way.

  • MrSokar

    You you feel like writing more perhaps its worthwhile putting your thoughts about all this on a blog of your own and provide a link for those interested in reading more.

    • Catherine Kehl

      I’m really hoping not to be making a habit of it, but if it looks like I am, that might be the thing to do. (Y’all might be safe if only because I really only have time when I’m either home sick or running lots of simulations.)

  • Johnathan

    I don’t think the point was that men don’t understand how women suffer and feel, I think it was that one specific thing – the fear, anxiety, and vulnerability that is created by sexism, rape culture, etc – that most women are in a position of constantly experiencing, (whereas fewer men typically are), is something that is difficult to explain to people who are not in that position. I think your response actually illustrates her point quite well.

    • MrSing

      I just feel very conflicted when reading posts like the one I initially responded too.
      One the one hand I feel that any person has the right to state their pain and that they want help or change. This is a very basic right that all humans should have and these statements should not be dismissed easily.
      One the other hand, I can’t imagine what it’s like being a woman and reading a comment like that. Reading comments like that several times, in fact. There is nothing hopeful being said, there is only anger and tiredness. And it says that all women feel this, that all women are opressed and afraid. That the entire system is against women.
      I suppose I would feel very afraid to speak up again. No one will listen to me anyway. I would spend my time at home, away from dangerous men.
      So, I feel like comments like that are important to be heard and shouldn’t be shouted down. But I’m also very worried that they have a very negative impact on the women and might be one of the reasons some of them have this very dark and unhealthy mindset.

      • Catherine Kehl

        Hm, pretty sure that women who read these posts are in a better position to talk about how we react to them.

        I see someone who is my unseen sister. I’m guessing most of the women here recognize what she’s talking about. It doesn’t really make me feel sad – how could it? It’s, like, last Tuesday. And it reminds me that I’m not alone.

        It frustrates me when I see what she’s written dismissed, though.

        • MrSing

          I see.
          When I read the post I got the idea that there is absolutely no escape or hope when you are a woman. That such an existence is constant unheard suffering in fear. That seems like a very depressing thought, and I have had a time where my world view was pretty similar in a lot of ways. That probably makes me biased in some way, since I’m ashamed of how I was back then.
          Maybe there is some comfort in shared misery? But I feel that to really help women they need a sense of agency. To have some hope and an idea that they can change their world in a positive manner. That, no, not the entire world hates them. That there are people out there who will listen and help, and that their actions can make a difference.
          Of course, I won’t dismis that she is suffering. But I feel that her pain may have warped her view in a way that’s not healthy and which is very difficult to escape from.
          Thank you for sharing your view though. It gave me something to think about. I hope things turn out great for you and you won’t need to feel afraid or dismissed anymore.

  • Johnathan

    I think it is incorrect to say “the burden of proof is always on the accuser.” As far as I know that is absolutely not true. In my country, at least, the burden of proof is actually on the authorities investigating the case, if it is a criminal case.
    It is different for non-criminal cases, of course. However, (again, in my country, but I believe this is true elsewhere) the response of authorities to rape cases is very often dismissive rather than active, despite being obligated to do a full investigation.

  • Oren Leifer

    This comic has the best use of perspective and camera angles I’ve seen outside of live-action TV or films. I love how as Mary discusses invisibility and how these people* will be forgotten we go from seeing Mary with the shadows behind her to seeing first Alison (the one who society sees and listens to more) to seeing simply empty air. It does a wonderful job of emphasizing both Alison’s position of (more, but not much) power, versus how Mary and the people she stands for are not heard of or acknowledged. Also, it’s unclear how stylistic versus symbolic this is, but Mary’s eye’s being shut despite the camera on her head is fascinating.

    *whose suffering is clearly and rightfully upsetting her.

  • strongfemaleprotagonist

    Yes, to keep this a safe space I’m modding everything (at least while we’re on this arc about some intense topics), thanks for your patience!

    • fairportfan

      No problem; i was just startled and wondered if there was some sort of board problem.

    • In that case, are there any general guidelines for what’s not acceptable outside of outright threats?

      • strongfemaleprotagonist

        Comments that pick fights, are negative of the comic without saying anything interesting, and question/downplay the experiences of minorities and women are all things that I generally don’t feel the need to host on this site. I’m still figuring this out and finding time for it in my schedule, but I really appreciate people being respectful and smart and cool!

        • I’m glad you have a looser definition of picking fights and downplaying experiences than I do then. I’d probably stifle any actual debate.

        • And have you considered asking a bunch of the most respectable and long-standing commenters to assist you in this endever? Like, rotate who’s moderating each comic to free up time for you? I mean, I don’t have the time myself, but I’m thinking it could work like any other internet forum, considering the fact that the discussions here are often philosophy forum-type stuff.

        • I think that this web comic is very well moderated, because you allow debate, while still protecting us from the incredibly offensive comments that seem to be the by-product of normal internet function.

  • Rod

    If Mary’s hallucinating as a result of her own powers, that would take the story into some really murky waters. I hadn’t really thought about it like that, and hope it’s not the case, because it suggests that should she make a reappearance, things could be much, much worse next time.

  • Elaine Lee

    That’s only because we remember the things that scare us. I was once mugged on a dark street in NYC. One guy mugged me, another guy further up the street saw what was happening, came to help me and walked me home. I had a bit of PTSD for a while, and got jumpy anytime a guy was walking behind me on the street. Didn’t matter that a nice guy had helped me. The scary guy was the one who took up residence in my brain.

    • It’s more evolutionarily advantageous to prioritize memories of danger than memories of happiness.

      Sometimes, evolution is a jerk.

  • Lostman

    Sometimes I wonder if there powers are actually killing them…

  • So I was thinking about this page (this webcomic could definitely be described as thought provoking) and I think it’s unfair to say that Allison isn’t human, or that she can’t empathise with people because her powers are always keeping her safe.
    Because a lot of people don’t live in fear and don’t feel ignored by society. I’m a very boring, uninteresting person in a very safe environment, and I think I feel more like Alison than like Moonshadow. Being in a privileged position and having no idea of what you should do to actually affect the world in a meaningful way is a very human feeling, in my opinion.

    • Mechwarrior

      Alison is aware of her privilege, which makes her quite different from a lot of normal people.

    • ampg

      I do think it’s a rare woman who hasn’t felt the need to make adjustments to her actions out of fear of physical harm, though. The fact that Alison doesn’t need to do that sets her apart from other women.

  • I’m not sure she was assaulted personally. But I’m pretty sure that as a woman, a slightly heavier person and a persecuted minority, she’s been hurt in so many other ways. She’s been bullied, persecuted by the police and the government, ignored by the higher classes and seen so many people around her abused. And then she gets powers and feels like she can actually do something, and yet she ends up just as invisible as she was before.

    • Catherine Kehl

      Note, I say “You do work in sexual assault awareness, etc. etc.” – she is aware of a lot of women who were abused and identifies with them. (On a purely aesthetic level I prefer this to the interpretation that she was necessarily sexually assaulted herself, because that honestly seems unnecessary, and perpetuates stereotypes of which I don’t really approve, though certainly there’s no particularly reason why it shouldn’t be the case.)

      (That many people who are drawn into such work are partly doing so because they have some personal experience with it, either directly or indirectly, is just a coplicating factor – but then Moonshadow certainly doesn’t have to have been raped to have been pretty traumatized and traumatized in fairly gendered ways.)

      • sorry about that. Should have seen that in your comment.

  • I don’t think she’s hallucinating. But I think that when she feels really vulnerable, her powers might start showing her thoughts.

  • Moms Demand Action is trying to reverse that one by never saying the killer’s name and always mentioning the victims by name.

    My mother has said to me that people started protesting the Vietnam War when the news started giving daily death counts and showing battlefield pictures. She says that someone should be asking the families for permission to show photos of the bodies pre-embalming.

  • not all rapes leave a bruise though. There’s rape through coercion, rape by deception (the Bed Trick in trope terms) and roofies.

    • Rod

      And yet that changes nothing. If there’s no evidence of a crime, then it’s inappropriate for the state to punish someone for it, and that applies to all crimes, not just sexual assault. That’s a pretty uncontroversial statement, and is a direct reflection of the real world. Ignoring that commonsense principle in one’s zeal for justice is always going to have nasty side-effects.

  • Catherine Kehl

    One of the messed up things about sexual assault is that we kind of have the battle of the tropes:

    “Innocent until proven guilty!” (Apparently one never also assumes that the person who was rapes also is assumed to be innocent of lying.)

    “Believe the victim!” (Okay, this came from an important place, because it used to be that an awful lot of rapes weren’t even investigated, or the victims* were treated horrendously and assumed to be promiscuous, drug users, or liars, check all that apply. But. That doesn’t mean investigations and standards of evidence just go away.)

    * I’m using the term to avoid gendered language, it isn’t ideal.

  • danima
  • Alecto

    “The grass always looks greener on the other side, but in truth we all have our own woes.”

    Isn’t the point she’s making. The point is women have their own specific woes which are grossly unfair in a way men can’t and will never understand. Someone once said men most fear that women will laugh at them, and women most fear that men will *kill* them. That’s male privilege, the ability not to have to fear what might be done to you by a stronger assailant, suffer sexual harassment, rape or other crimes that are statistically more likely to happen to a woman.

    There’s an institutionalized rape culture in far too many male cultures feel entitled to use women as sexual objects, voluntarily or not. You see this pretty strongly in many third world nations where women still to this day are expected to lead closeted lives carefully controlled by their men folk. But it still occurs even in first world countries in subtle ways.

    This isn’t something you can solve with the power of positive thinking, that culture has to change, and it’s an uphill battle. Even in progressive countries the notion still persists that women are to be subservient and obedient and if their not they are to be violently corrected.

    • MrSing

      It’s been a few decades since the last time a war broke out my country was involved in, but I still sometimes hear the stories from the older men.
      How they hid when the draftsmen came towards their door, and how they were treated like cowards for not joining the fight.
      I also remember the stories of the men who went there and saw and did things no one should.
      How the men of villages my country failed to protect were rounded up and shot from age 16-60. How men from my country sometimes did the same.
      Those men did not come back the same.
      And every time I hear of a war somewhere, that’s what I think of.
      It’s been a while since a war broke out, but when it happens, and when it turns bad, I’ll know where they will try to send me.
      Women are treated like objects, men are treated like cannon fodder. Both seem very bad to me.
      But if both sides understand each other, maybe we can stop blaming the other gender and work together towards an actual solution.
      You say this can’t be solved with positive thinking, I say it can’t be solved with infighting.

  • Guancyto

    Does it say something bad about me that I’m instantly a little more sympathetic toward Moonshadow when she mentions she’s also killed child molesters in her crusade?
    I think it might say something bad about me.

  • No, I really couldn’t cope with it ending here. Where else would I get my philosophical superhero action two days a week?
    (Before anyone says it, I have read Worm!)