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I’m so hip, I can’t see over my own pelvis! 😎 Roman Snow It’s nice how the comic updates right at 12 AM now (in my time zone at least). It used to take until about 2 AM. Fluffy Dragon last time we saw him I sort of kind of got the feeling that he might not have been interested. the “let’s go to a movie” turned into “here, you go to a movie”. but oh this is wonderfully awkward! my heart bounds with glee at being wrong. Darkoneko Hellsing oh my. Gonna be hard concentrating on the movie. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Oh my, Linus can Pelt grew up handsome Weatherheight And he’s large… Kid Chaos …and in charge! 😎 crazy j Should have seen EARTH VS. THE SOUP. Fluffy Dragon I dunno. this movie seems quite fitting to Al’s whole life-situation. Arkone Axon Honestly… I think he’s too good for her. She’s got WAY too much baggage… Tsapki Whatever the case, much like having a baby, getting into a relationship should not be what you do to try and make an emotional problem go away. Yes, a relationship can build an emotion support, but it is give and take. You need to be there of the other person’s problems as much as they are there for yours. Lostman Wow… that says a lot about this chapter. bta On the other hand, without superpowers he might be spared Allison’s “altruism” and not end up treated as a resource to be used. Safety in uselessness! 3-I Why are you all still reading this comic? SJ Why are you all still reading this comic? Sorry for not contributing to the echo chamber? Insanenoodlyguy or he becomes a handy hostage/target. Max can’t get rid of Allison but her new boyfriend is a lot more squishy! Dean I can only imagine that Clevin was doing shadow puppets in front of the projector lens between the first and second panels. scarvesandcelery “Please, Alison, don’t tell anyone I wasn’t doing my job properly” Insanenoodlyguy “well, I feel like I should get something for that…” *Cue porn music* Yirtimd2 Holy Shield! Is it real? Is that what i am thinking? Or is it just a Fanta Sea? bryan rasmussen does she have seeing in the dark powers now? bta What is this “dark” you speak of? In visual fiction, even a moonless night can be vaguely blue. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 That’s the “dark” spoken of. In visual fiction, people can’t see (or at least say as much) as soon as the color temperature of a scene drops below yellow. The laws of physics are very weird there. Opus the Poet I can’t see “in the dark” but a movie theater is very far from being “dark”. I t takes me a while to adjust to low light these days but I can see just fine by starlight, and read newsprint by skyglow. It doesn’t require superpowers. bryan rasmussen maybe, I just don’t think I would be able to recognize a projectionist’s face in the cinema without some sort of super power. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 But seriously if the webcomic frames this as “finally the two discover their desires for each other in a romantic scene of will-they-won’t-they In the romantic mood of an empty theater” I’m going to be annoyed. The nerd was the answer all along is such a tired and remarkably sexist trope. Zinc I agree that it’s a tired trope (and don’t think it’s the way the strip is headed), but I’m not sure why you see it as remarkably sexist – I think there are plenty of cases where it is played straight with a female nerd protagonist winning the heart of the male romantic interest over the beautiful but shallow/stupid/evil female antagonist. I wouldn’t say that he number of female nerd examples is the same as that of male nerd examples, but I doubt the ratio is very significant. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 That’s… not the genderswapped version of mine. In your example the protagonist is the female nerd while in your counter-argument the man should be the protagonist, torn between two different women. And in either case, I’m very wary of how they frame the “bad girl” as being bad without making it sexist anyway. But to answer more generally: yes, context matters. It’s what matters the most. Not only does the “ratio” matters a whole lot, but who write these stories also does. Because more often than not these are men writing romances, and dear God please don’t be the kind to pretend it hasn’t no relevance. Here’s what the nerd was the answer all along means when written by a man: “women, you can’t be trusted for whom you date. You are not smart enough to realize your lady parts will be attracted by jocks who will hurt you. So here’s a story wherein I, humble man, take control of your subjectivity away from you and make you suffer from dating a douchebag but end up finding solace in the arms of a Nice Guy. Like I happen to be! So your lack of brain is redeemed and the Order of the Universe is rearranged in my favor.” Brennan, be really careful about what comes next. Zac Caslar Oh, be cool Clemens. Not every ship that sails is seaworthy. =] Stephanie Gertsch And this is why I dislike the romance in Frozen. 😛 Lydia Kilmer This. So. Much. This. And Douche Potato gets rewarded for treating a human like a quest objective with having an MPDG of his very own. Blarg. I will accept Clevin as a love interest if and only if he turns this trope on its head. Like, he’s actually a really good communicator who understands that his feelings don’t necessitate the existence of similar ones in someone else. Tylikcat I’m happier because whatever the hell is going on between them is awkward and complicated. It should stay awkward and complicated. …which means Alison should explain the whole gawdawful situation with Max to Clevin. That should do it. The Improbable Man Did everyone just forget that we found out Clevin is not the “nice guy/loser-nerd” stereotype, and is instead a musician with tons of friends that raises money to help people? Clevin is not that version of the “Nice Guy” nerd stereotype. He’s a generous, thoughtful person, and is very, very cool. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 That’s the scene of the movie were the girl has been hurt by her bad boyfriend and realizes the cutesy dork who always proposed to see a movie together is actually a human being and his interest finally shines. It’s EXACTLY the Nice Guy nerd stereotype in these stories. The Improbable Man When you capitalize Nice Guy like that, I think of Nice Guy syndrome, where, as it turns out, the “nice guy” is actually a selfish dick with little to offer aside from obedience. This is different from the movie trope you’re trying to describe, which I think I understand, but I haven’t seen any like Clevin. Usually they’re present a lot more than just “hey, want to go to a movie?” and are even often the best friend of the protagonist, and they don’t “secretly” (not that it’s secret, it just hadn’t been shown) have a huge group of friends and lead a band. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Okay, I get you. But often they go hand in hand. Because in the eighties and nineties we got billions of movies where the unassuming guy gets the girl at the end, it gave so many men wings to start feeling like life owed them a girl without realizing they were saying it actually takes work and the woman’s agency is something to respect (in the good movies) or not seeing it because it wasn’t there (in the bad ones) Zorae42 Just want to point out that neither of the people she’s been interested in have been jocks. And Patrick is only a “bad boy” in that he is an ex-super villain and falls around lawful/neutral evil alignment wise. Plus, she never actually dated Patrick (he pushed her away before it ever got that far). And she dropped both of them the instant she stopped liking them, she never let herself suffer for them because she liked them. As a nerdy woman who’s happily in a relationship with a nerdy dork, I’m slightly offended by the way you’re framing this potential relationship. Because the story hasn’t done anything like that and women can legitimately just fall for nerds without there being some sexist reason behind it. Clevin is a straight up nice guy (no capitalization or air quotes intended) that actually likes her. But hasn’t been a pushy jerk about it and seems happy to just be friends if that’s what she wants. Plus they clearly have a common interest in helping people in need. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 It’s about framing. It’s about having been interested in Patrick and Max before, and the fact that Max met Clevin one of the day he proposed, again, for them to see a movie. It’s fair if that doesn’t fit your cases but the comparison between Max and Clevin was clearly drawn during that scene and the narrative of going for Max first, being disappointed, going for Clevin then, is exactly what I’m criticizing. And I know it definitely happens in real life. That of all things, doesn’t matter. Zorae42 They may have drawn that comparison. But it’s not like there was anything showing that one of them was clearly the “wrong” option she was taking because she’s incapable of making the right decision immediately. The narrative of Max explicitly asking her out first, her discovering that this person she didn’t know at all has fundamentally different and incompatible world views from her, and then immediately dumping him for it? After dumping him she possibly goes out with someone who has been shown to at least share her view that people in need should be helped and that possibly working out? That narrative? What’s sexist about dating people until you find one that you actually like? And if it happens to be a nerd, big whoop. You can’t even claim that there’s the implication that she shouldn’t have ever gone out with Max. Since then she wouldn’t have been able to help Feral. And while that’s a highly debated action here in the comments, I don’t think Alison would trade her friend’s well being for not experiencing that jerk. It does matter. The fact that it’s not just a fictional construct written to insult women means that you can include it in your story as long as it’s not written to imply that. And this comic does nothing of the sort. Heck, Clevin isn’t even all that big of a nerd. Honestly, the Feralidin ship has way more similarities to this trope (Feral literally torturing herself for the sake of a jock that doesn’t even like her that way. And as soon as she stops torturing herself she falls for the first nerd she sees?). But no one complained about it being sexist or homophobic. Why? Because it’s a cute ship that doesn’t have any of your projected negative framing on it. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I wouldn’t really categorize Lisa as a nerd. Neither would I categorize Feral’s affliction as… “love”. I don’t see Lisa as being framed as Feral’s consolation prize for being hurt by Alison. Especially since Alison never reciprocated these feelings. I’m interested in discussing this further, but for now I don’t feel that Feral’s romantic narrative was exploitative or robbing her of her agency. And I just happen to disagree with the rest. At the time yes Max wasn’t explicitly a douchenozzle (although some people were getting suspicious, me among them) but he was assertive, and Clevin was not. He got Alison’s attention by being tall and sexy and confident, and Clevin wasn’t because he was more reserved. That’s all it takes to make the trope. Finally, it’s not that I don’t want to see the trope played out. I don’t want the text to give its thumbs up to it. To say “Alison was a dummy before not seeing Clevin signs, suffered the Objectivist consequences with a bad break up, and finally saw the light, and all of this is a good thing in the end.” No matter how neutral it is in the abstract and definitely possible to happen and end very well, the context of real life and the horrifying trappings of that trope being so common is not something you can evade without doing some work in the text. Zorae42 I’m sort of appalled that you took my comparison of Feralidin seriously. But Lisa is a literal genius who spends so much time on her chosen subject that she often doesn’t sleep, and who doesn’t appear to have any friends outside of Ali/her robots… I’m not sure how you define nerd, but Lisa definitely is in my book. I don’t see how you’re automatically assuming that Alison will be “robbed of her agency”. The only way this could follow that trope is if she immediately, and with little reason, fell in love with him and they lived happily ever after with no consequences or hardships whatsoever. And given the nature of this comic, I don’t see that even remotely being a possibility. On the other hand, if they go on a few dates, find that they work well together and have a mutual like/love for each other, support each other through their hardships, and Ali never says anything liie “why didn’t I go out with you sooner?”, then I don’t see anything wrong with their relationship. We just don’t have enough to go on to make judgements. And I don’t see the need to start bashing the possible ship because of the implications if it’s written poorly (something which this comic hasn’t done so far). Honestly, I just want Alison to be happy. If Clevin does that for her (and it’s written well which I assume is a given), then I’m all for it. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 About the nerd thing, when we speak about fictional characters it’s more about story function than the actual traits a real life human would have. To me at least she’s not a nerd because that doesn’t gel with the role of Alison’s confident mentor figure. I feel like you’re considering Alison and Clevin like real people. The same way you found it offensive what I said because it condemned your own relationship. I don’t. You’re a real person, you make your own choices, which I don’t get to judge. Alison and Clevin aren’t and what happens to them and what the text means by having it happen to them is informed by what happened before. Their relationship isn’t my problem, it’s how it’s framed. Zorae42 I think our disagreement about Lisa comes from how we’re using the word nerd. You mean the stereotypical teenage nerd, and I mean the actual definition (someone who has extensive knowledge of a subject most don’t and is, to some degree, anti-social). And I agree she is not a nerd by your definition. Although characters can (and do) have multiple traits. The mentor figure just has to be someone the protagonist looks up to and goes to for advice. They can be quirky, serious, confident, etc. while still fulfilling that role. Just look at Doc Brown and Obi-Wan; both mentors, vastly different. As far as the potential Clevin relationship, why would you feel the need to judge them unless it was due to the message it sends about real life? You mentioned in a different comment that the large presence of this trope is what gave rise (in part), to the many men who feel entitled to a girlfriend because they’re a Nice Guy. So you can see how you saying that: if a narrative ever has a girl wind up with a nerd after rejecting someone more attractive than him – no matter how well written it is or if there was no reason to reject the attractive person before getting to know them or if she uses her agency to decide to date the nerd for completely reasonable decisions. Then it’s bad.” Would feel like you condemning (nice choice of word btw) people who made a similar choice in real life. Anyway, I wasn’t telling you not to judge it. I was saying wait to judge it until there’s actually something to judge. And that depending on how it plays out, there may be nothing misogynistic about it. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 The thing is you’re mistaking what I mean by the message it sends in real life. It’s not about the people doing the very same thing regardless of their specific circumstances, but the attitudes that it justifies (and thus encourages) regardless of whether they play into people getting together and hurting each other. This trope here specifically I don’t want to see play out next page is not so much about nice guys being entitled to the girl at the end (well, it’s related) but about women not being able to make their own choices. Which I object to. Now I don’t know about you and your couple but unless your boyfriend constantly reminds you how wrong you were when he was in your friendzone for years while you dated your abusive ex and constantly undermines your agency using that example then it’s of little relevance to even mention it. Zorae42 But by objecting to her even possibly choosing Clevin, you’re denying her the right to make that choice. And sending the attitude that no matter the circumstances, choosing a “nerd” over someone more attractive/assertive is just a male fantasy rather than a possible choice a woman could make. Unless at some point they say it was bad of her to ever consider Max, then the trope you object to won’t ever happen. It’s the same as criticizing any media portraying a stay at home mom but without any consideration of whether she wanted to or if other women who aren’t exist in that media. As long as it’s the fictional character’s choice (and not for unrealistic or bad reasons), then it’s perfectly fine. You claim that it’s only relevant if it supports your attitude towards a potential way this plays out. That’s terribly narrow-minded. I’m saying it’s relevant because it’s an example of a perfectly healthy behavior that can result from a different attitude pulled from a well written version of the events. One where nerds aren’t inherently un-date-able (something they were often portrayed as in the past), and that if both parties agree to a relationship, then it can be a good one regardless of the “nerdiness” of either person. SJ But by objecting to her even possibly choosing Clevin, you’re denying her the right to make that choice. And sending the attitude that no matter the circumstances, choosing a “nerd” over someone more attractive/assertive is just a male fantasy rather than a possible choice a woman could make. Unless at some point they say it was bad of her to ever consider Max, then the trope you object to won’t ever happen. I feel like the objection is not that the woman dates a nerd, so much as, from a narrative point of view, it comes across like the woman is “settling” for the nerd, which I agree is problematic. If Clevin had been her first choice, or if she had been dating another nerd, and started dating Clevin after they broke up, I feel like this sub-thread wouldn’t exist. Zorae42 I agree that if she ‘settled’ for him or suddenly ‘realized her love for him since he was nice to her and likes her which automatically means she now likes him too,’ that would be problematic. But that’s just a possibility. And considering how well written this comic has been, one that seems unlikely. If she decides to date him and legitimately likes him (after spending time with him and not instantly), then there shouldn’t be anything problematic at all. SJ I agree that if she ‘settled’ for him or suddenly ‘realized her love for him since he was nice to her and likes her which automatically means she now likes him too,’ that would be problematic. But that’s just a possibility. And considering how well written this comic has been, one that seems unlikely. Well, this appears to be where we break ranks: you and I don’t particularly agree as to how well this webcomic has been written, at least, lately. Based on my impression on where the series is headed, It seems entirely likely to me that that’s exactly where the arc is going. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 No, no, no to all of those things. Alison is not a real person. An author is writing what’s happening to her. David Gillon And you get so far into the story and then they start talking back to you and taking the story in directions you hadn’t envisaged. Characters aren’t real, but they aren’t simply an author sock-puppet, not if you’re doing it right. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Are you saying there comes a point when the message conveyed by the text is out of the author’s responsibility? David Gillon No, I’m saying the narrative you tell is shaped by your characters. As your characters take on depth it becomes impossible to do things that turn out to be counter to their nature. And their nature is usually something that evolves organically. I’m not talking about hearing voices, but if your character concept is strong enough they will talk back and shape the narrative in their own image, because you know how they will react, you can’t unsee it, and it may not be the way you originally intended. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but insofar as it’s not a fallacy authors put onto themselves, I don’t feel that it disenfranchises them from the responsibility of the meaning and impact of their work. What I have been arguing for all along. SJ I’m sort of appalled that you took my comparison of Feralidin seriously. But Lisa is a literal genius who spends so much time on her chosen subject that she often doesn’t sleep, and who doesn’t appear to have any friends outside of Ali/her robots… I’m not sure how you define nerd, but Lisa definitely is in my book. Is every genius a nerd, in your book? Is every person with a small circle of friends a nerd, in your book? Zorae42 Depends. Does that genius/person with a small circle of friends know even the most obscure details about their subject? Do they desire to know everything they possibly can about it? Do they have that small circle of friends because they’re at least somewhat socially inept/anti-social? Then yes. For example: Pint-sized? Definitely a nerd. Patrick? Not really since he doesn’t obsess about a subject to a detail that others would find insignificant (although if we’d spent more time with his character, he probably would be a total Looney Tunes nerd). SJ Depends. Does that genius/person with a small circle of friends know even the most obscure details about their subject? Do they desire to know everything they possibly can about it? Do they have that small circle of friends because they’re at least somewhat socially inept/anti-social? Then yes. And you think that this reasonably describes Paladin, do you? pidgey Jeez, projecting much? You must be a ton of fun at parties. “This cheese platter is sexist and let me explain exactly why in detail to anyone in range!” ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I’m so sorry discussing sexism makes you uncomfortable. Zinc Good points; I admit that before gender-swapping I interpreted the straight “the nerd was the answer all along” story as being about a male nerd protagonist chasing after his love interest in competition with a jock / handsome antagonist, without noticing that I had the wrong person as protagonist with respect to the comic. Whoops. I think that my version might be more common than the one you referred to (and the strip has the potential to become), though, as the best way for the author to ensure the audience supports the “correct” side of the love triangle is to make them the protagonist – this belief is probably what lead to me to that mistake, anyway. It is very interesting that the genderswapped version you proposed sounds pretty rare; I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head. I completely agree with the rest of your comment, but your actually refuting something I did not mean at all – due to especially bad communication on my part. When I wrote that “I doubt that the ratio is very significant” I did not intend to mean that I don’t think the ratio matters – I certainly agree that it matters! By “significant” I meant very pronounced (as in “statistically significant”), e.g. I imagine the ratio to be closer to 70:30 than to 95:5 (note this claim was about my miscontrued genderswap, not your correct one). If the ratio is indeed on that order of magnitude, then it would seem to imply the trope is not inherently remarkably sexist (which is not to say that specific instances cannot often be remarkably sexist – possibly in both directions). I could not find any data on what the ratio might be, though – I didn’t manage to locate anything similar to “The nerd was the answer all along” on TVTropes 🙂 Arthur Frayn Okay, Clem, right here is an explicit example of your delusory back seat driving. This is like yelling at the TV when you have a strong opinion about the show or sporting event. They’re not going to change it just for you. If you already understand this, then nevermind. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I wonder what kind of view you harbor about this very comment of yours Etveck I’d actually be really excited to see Alison hang out with Clevin, seeing as this is the first time since her date with max where she’s had some free time. I kinda want to see how that would develop. Like obviously the guy likes her and she’s always busy whenever he asks. If he finally gets a shot now he deserves it, and wether it goes badly or well, he’s definitely shown himself to be gracious enough to bow out if Alison isn’t interested. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I refer you to my response to @Zinc. Unless the authors plan a message that I don’t have the foresight of imagining (which might definitely be case), what I would like to see is Clevin rejecting Alison to impress upon readers the one I rather enjoy about relationships needing to be a two way street. Alison has done nothing to deserve a shred of the affection Clevin has given her so far. Santiago Tórtora Alison saved Clevin’s life from the Invisible Slasher. Not really, since we know Moonshadow was only trying to distract Alison and never intended to kill Clevin, but Clevin does not know that. Some guy Clevin has been maybe/maybe not hitting on Alison since before that though. Insanenoodlyguy No, still really. What Moonshadow did to Clevin would have killed him if Alison hadn’t stayed. Moonshadow calculated that Clevin wouldn’t die based on Alison’s patterns of behavior, but that doesn’t change the fact that she gave him a potentially lethal wound. Alison absolutely saved his life. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 That’s not a proof of genuine affection. Saving one’s life when endangered with little-to-no-danger-to-yourself is Literally the Least Anybody Should Be Expected to Do at All Times. You don’t get points for the bare minimum. Santiago Tórtora It was not the cost to Allison that impressed Clevin, but the cost to everyone else. Allison could have caught the Slasher right there, potentially saving the lives of all the people who would be murdered by the Slasher in the future. But instead of putting the needs of the many above the needs of one, she saved Clevin. That’s more than the minimum. Certainly more than what she did for Max. Nathanaël François Alison could have *tried* to catch the Slasher. She was not guaranteed of suceeding. Also, she now had relatively strong evidence it was Mary, which meant she had a plan to stop her in the near future. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clevin does want this (he doesn’t even need to be saved by Alison, the fact that she’s a girl, not hideous and acknowledges his existence is more than enough for someone his age) But it’d be a bad thing for him, because Alison is terrible at being a friend to him, least of all a girlfriend. And it’d be cool if the webcomic acknowledged that. But really I’d be sold at “the webcomic doesn’t prepare a grand romantic reunion next page” already Walter “deserve a shred of the affection”… Uh, that’s…uh… Like, ‘deserving affection’ is kind of not a thing. People are free to like whoever they choose. You don’t build up a certain number of points and then someone has to like you, and it isn’t wrong for someone to like someone else before they build up those points. Hearts do like they gonna do, yeah? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 You’re confusing a lot of things together. It’s a matter of focus, and also the difference between real life and what we write in fiction. Were you to write a story were a victim of domestic abuse ends up going back to her abuser and justifying it by saying “love works in mysterious ways, plus it totally happens in real life”, you’d have a lot of problems, with me first, and with many others. From this specific example to a broader explanation of where you’re misguided, I’d say this: Love indeed isn’t something you deserve. But you should act like you feel as if you deserve the love you’re getting… …but not the opposite, i.e. feel as if you deserve the love you’re not getting. I know it’s not how it works in real life, but stories are not about real life, they’re about how it ought to be. Alison going for Clevin successfully next page sends a message that’s very problematic to me (about love being about picking and choosing without doing any work on yourself) and that I don’t want to see in my webcomic of choice. Walter It’s tempting to read when someone tells me that I am misguided, confusing things, etc and respond with accusations of my own, but it never seems to accomplish anything. Abusers/victims: It is super rare that they actually bail in the first place, much less stay gone. Mostly the ones who do go head back after a bit. If you don’t want to see that, you better ostrich pretty hard. Yesterday I got to witness the delightful sight of someone with broken bones apologizing to the people who hurt them for making them mad. Fun times. Clem’s take on SFP: Like, surely you don’t read SFP because only stuff you approve of happens in it, right? There was like a dozen pages on knife murder earlier this year. If you are expecting the creators to start making sure to only send messages you approve of now then it feels to me like you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Clem’s take on love: I have read your beliefs on how people ought to act. I didn’t understand exactly why you thought it was wrong to take someone up on their expressed interest, but however you got there it was just as legitimate as my own thinking. If you are ever appointed Love Boss, I hope that your reign shall be harsh, but fair. Other people, though, have their own takes. We might, for example, think that Alison has encountered a friendly face immediately after being ditched by Feral, and be happy for her. I like to think that you’ll extend us the same courtesy. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Again, it’s about the message sent. I want to read stories about abuse victims because that’s an important subject that we need to explore but not one where the text justifies abusive behavior (and the text can never, ever be neutral. Never fall into that pittrap.) What happens next, I do not know. I want Alison to do things right but she can definitely do things wrong if in the end, the text shows us why she was wrong. I don’t want the text to be a-okay with that despicable trope by the way it frames it. Izo It would admittedly be sorta Mary-Sue/Bella Swan from Twilight-ish. Insanenoodlyguy I’d rather see him already have started dating somebody. That girl he pined for wasnt’ interested, but everything turned out okay. Allison’s current feelings aren’t rebuffed, just made irrelevant. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Sure. It sends the same message, that Alison needs to give and not merely receive for a good relationship to work. That guys won’t just line up whenever she needs it. Etveck Reading through your replies to @Zinc You seem to both arguing that this is potentially a bad thing because it informs attitudes that you find are sexist, which is that of the entitled scummy nice guy I presume. You also claim that your criticism of this trope has nothing to do with real life because it’s a story and Alison isn’t a real person, this disconnect kinda confuses me. As far as I can tell anyone that would take a ‘nice guy’ message from the potential romance that may happen with Clevin is already too far gone. But I do respect not wanting a relationship to happen here for the sake of a message of relationships need effort from both sides. Though as far as I can tell from Clevin’s body language in this comic he appears to still have feelings for Alison, but who knows, I’m not the one writing this. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 When I say this has nothing to do with real life, I say it terribly wrong I realize. What I mean is that condemning the events portrayed here is not the same thing as condemning them as happening in real life. Many people came up to tell me this, that these situations do really happen (and they do) and if I was judging them for making the same choices as Alison (were she to make them in future pages) The difference being that everything in Alison’s life is ordained by the authors’ will and not the random, unpredictable and meaningless carousel of events that is reality. And you know I wasn’t even saying “this will definitely happen and boy do I hate it already”, like, my first comment was just “if it happens I will be annoyed“. Etveck What I don’t get is why having a thing that can and does happen in real life happen in a story and nothing is wrong with the real life equivalent, but the story is an annoying trope that you would prefer not happen. I think we get too invested in elements of what happens in a story rather than just looking at the story as it happens. Once you stop thinking of things as tropes and try to imagine it as characters interacting as they tend to do based on their personality it’s less of a problem. I’m definitely guilty of that sort of thinking a lot. I think less than criticising tropes we don’t like when they appear (except for actually bad cliches and harmful tropes) celebrating good subversions when they happen is a better stance to take. And I wasn’t trying to imply that you thought it was going to happen, merely that I can see it very easily see it going the direction you don’t want it to. Personally I’d like to see them give it a shot and Clevin struggling to put up with Alison’s bullshit. It’d be a good mirror to the big fight between Alison and Patrick earlier on. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I’m just going to end up rewriting “The difference being that everything in Alison’s life is ordained by the authors’ will and not the random, unpredictable and meaningless carousel of events that is reality.” once again. The problem is not what happens necessarily, but what it communicates in the only medium (fiction) that has the capacity to communicate anything in the first place. As far as the rest is concerned, I wholeheartedly disagree. Even the cold, brutal dissection of analytical criticism is something that I find at all times entirely necessary. And it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the story on a more simple level and make dumb jokes about it, these aren’t mutually exclusive. Etveck I understand that Alison’s actions are not her own and they are merely preordained by the authors intent and all that. And if you had just been saying that the ends up with nerd guy trope was something you didn’t care for then I’d have no trouble understanding. But there’s a big difference between saying I hope the story doesn’t go in this direction because I don’t care for this trope and “The nerd was the answer all along is such a tired and remarkably sexist trope.” I totally get being tired of the trope, I am kinda sick of it too. But I don’t see how “The nerd was the answer all along” is particularly sexist. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I explained why in my response to Zinc already. Etveck As far as I can tell you point about it being a sexist trope is because it removes Alison’s agency and your proof is that she’s a character in fiction, so she never had agency. But it also makes much more sense now that you were specifically talking about the possibility of the text specifically pointing out that the nice guy deserved her and won out in the end and defending the sort of scummy entitled ‘nice guy’ behaviour. Judging by the quality of this comic I doubt it’d shit the bed quite that badly this far in. My confusion stemmed from what appeared to be your broad brush approach to the whole trope being sexist. While I do agree that yes, the trope has potential to be scummy and gross, this comic of all things I would think has the writing quality and mindfulness to avoid that sort of thing. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 As far as I can tell you point about it being a sexist trope is because it removes Alison’s agency and your proof is that she’s a character in fiction, so she never had agency. Ugggh. The trope is sexist because it’s a male writer imparting gender values on women protagonists. The point is not that it removes Alison’s agency, which it doesn’t. The question of Alison’s agency is not something I have a problem with. Also yes I do hope and think the webcomic won’t fall for that, and never said that it will. Etveck So it’s not that Alison is being objectified, it’s that the trope is a male (nerd presumably) writing a story where the female protagonist ends up going out with a male nerd. I don’t have much of a problem with the trope itself, it’s just escapism. The problem is anyone that totally lacks self awareness and is that type of entitled ‘nice guy’ scum. Though that trope here would be very clumsy and weird given how mindful of social issues this comic has been, I’m torn between wanting Alison to realise how much of a cool guy Clevin is, and not wanting that trope to happen because of how sick of it I am. In summary I am also sick of the trope, but I don’t think it qualifies as sexism, that’s a serious accusation. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Yes, it is. And not some kind of curse you never dare to utter for how life altering it is. Maybe you’ll start to see why escapism has its limits without proper set up of context or disclaimers if I mention say, James Bond movies, fantastically misogynistic in female objectification and quaint hyper-violent escapist wish fulfillment fantasy at the same time. I hope you won’t argue with that. Well, this one here about nerds getting the girl in the end is not better. Etveck I think there’s a difference there because when you mention James Bond it’s fair to accuse its treatment of women as chauvinistic, but when you say you don’t want the nerd guy to get the girl in the end because that’s a sexist trope. The difference is that in one you are calling out an example, whereas the other you are decrying an entire subset of media for the potential that it may be handled badly. To be honest though I do agree with you on hating the trope when handled badly, it’s gross and I love when it’s avoided (props to Stranger Things for that) I just misunderstood your complaints about the trope being about the trope itself, not when it’s handled badly. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 …I meant the trope is always sexist. Badly written or not. It can be on a wonderful gradient from terrible to even worse but it’s always a bad place to start. Wasn’t that obvious? Wait do you mean you know other examples of masculinist escapist fantasies about banging as many women as possible that aren’t sexist so I shouldn’t condemn the whole branch? Hm. Etveck I wouldn’t say that James Bond is about sleeping with as many women as possible, now I can’t speak definitively on it as I’ve only seen two of the movies, but as far as I’m aware the masculinist fantasy there is that the women want him. And there’s nothing particularly wrong with wanting to sleep with lots of women. And the trope i was talking about there was the ends up with the nerd thing. Even on the sleeping with many women thing. Would it not be sexist if it was from the context of a lesbian ala Ladykiller in a Bind, or that character trait as seen in countless visual novels. If this comic was say written by Molly instead, would you still have brought up that topic? Izo This is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU4ZpuLxE_s Lucy I feel you. Romance between them? Unnecessary. But! Maybe a deeper, more challenging, more emotionally intimate friendship? I mean, I almost feel that that’s what Alison needs right now–a real friend who *isn’t* invested in some way in biodynamic-super-or-villain-y schemes. Lisa is a friend, but their friendship is based on shared goals more than mutual affection (or at least it seems that way to me). Tylikcat And Lisa is a mentor, which shapes everything. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Yes to that. Plus, we’ve already had Brad telling Alison she used to be a bad friend. Even if her behavior toward Clevin doesn’t warrant something less negative than that, it’d be a path already treaded. Shweta Narayan Yeah … but…Al has not yet learned to be a *good* friend. I don’t see any way for this to go that doesn’t hurt Clevin, and he’s such a sweetie. Though I’d be p happy to see his rose-tinted glasses coming off as he gets to know her better. Alex Hollins The thing is, she HAS wanted to hang out with him, and she DOES like him, she just… let her gonads do the talking when a physically hotter guy showed up. Honestly, she’s already potentially attracted to him, just hasn’t had a chance to give it a chance and see if anything develops. Tylikcat She had a date with Max (who, yeah, sure, carbonated her hormones, but that was clearly in a different sort of space.). It was just super bad timing. ukulady7 It’s not like she was meeting Clevin and then blew him off. She had a date with a guy that actually asked her out. Was she supposed to immediately punch Max into space as soon as a guy she’s met like twice vaguely implied attraction? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 This is not about what Alison should have done, at least not my comments, but the sequence of events portrayed by the webcomic. Tylikcat …that was my point. ukulady7 Yeah, I agree with you. Sorry for encroaching on your private comment space Tylikcat Wasn’t meaning to be prickly, I wasn’t sure if you were amplifying, or if you intended contradiction or what. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Exactly. And Clevin deserves someone who does give a shit in less than two in-between sociopathic boyfriends. Richard King The reason is it’s a trope is because it’s usually true. Often times we pursue what is flashy and sexy over what is dependable and easily overlooked. A lot of people buy shiny sportscars and honkin’ SUVs instead of toyota corollas, for instance. The corolla will cost you a lot less and will reliably get you from a-b for up to 200,000 miles or more, with regular maintenance. It seats 4, and can fit a reasonable amount of goods in the trunk. It also gets the best fuel economy for it’s class (33mpg) without opting for much more expensive and difficult to maintain hybrid engines. Unless you regularly need large amounts of carrying capacity for raw materials, why would you buy anything else? The toyota will be there for you. Every day. And will give you a better return on your invest, in terms of value-for-cost. But people still buy lamborghinis, ferraris and corvettes for (at minimum), 4x the price, and completely ignore the corolla, never even seeing it as an option. It’s not just a human sexuality thing: it’s a human thing. That said, the sexuality side of things is fascinating. I don’t pretend to understand the motivations of those who bat for the other team, but for straight people, I feel comfortable enough to at least discuss it. Truth be told, it probably goes back to mating urges and things like plumage and mating displays and the like – after all, we’re all still animals underneath – we are all biologically disposed to favor appearances as criteria for mates, based on the whole ‘survival of the fittest’ genetic programming we have going on, but that genetic pre-programming ignores certain realities. Strictly speaking, females are programmed to look seek out the strongest alpha male in order to increase their offspring’s chance for survival, while males are programmed to look for certain physical characteristics (wide hips and large mammary glands) to verify the female’s ability to survive birthing and feed their young. The modern tendency for females to choose those considered outlaws or ‘bad boys’ whatever you want to call it is a search for those that would have been considered ‘alpha males’ in the past – people who are ‘in charge’ – at least of themselves if nothing else – if only by rejecting their place in society and with it, society’s rules. Ironically the most physically attractive males (big muscles, rejecting societal standards) are usually the males most likely to cheat, due in large part to the high levels of testosterone in their system and the very rejection of societal mores that makes them attractive in the first place. This has always been the case – with muscles, comes testosterone, which in turn, tends to make you dumber – well, let me rephrase that – more physically aggressive and a greater risk taker, even in situations where acting in that fashion is counter-indicated. This goes back to hunting activities, and is the main chemical in the body responsible for the ‘go big or go home’ mindset, in my opinion. It’s what allowed stone age man to look at a woolly mammoth and go “Yeah, I can totally kill that with my pointy stick and feed the tribe for a month” as opposed to peeing his pants and running away. The key point here is that, in the modern age, muscles are usually of less importance in terms of being a good provider than brain power and education: while there are some high paid athletes and the like floating around, their careers are usually quite short (average of just three years in the nfl) as opposed to someone pulling down 6 figures a year for 60 years, of which there are many more to choose from when compared to athletes. On the other hand, men are looking for that ‘phat ass’ and ‘big rack’ and the hourglass figure and are attracted to those things because history has taught the lizard brain that mating with females with those traits will lead to many successful offspring, increasing the chance of infant survival in a world where only 4 out of 10 kids made it to puberty, and popping out as many kids as fast as possible was the key to species survival. Unfortunately, no one took into account the prevalence of synthetic implants in modern times, nor did the lizard brain update itself to recognize that mating is no longer the driving force behind relationships, especially in the western world, where 9 out of ten kids will automatically live, and most families will have 2.3 kids on average, as opposed to the 5.3 of only a few decades ago. In a world where companionship is now the driving force behind successful relationships (i.e., those that stay together), stability, reliability and things in common become far more important than any visual or pheromonal cues, and, in some cases, the chemical and visual cues are frequently more harmful than helpful when it comes to choosing a mate. Your ‘gut instincts’ and ‘love at first sight’ and ‘chemistry’ will almost certainly lead you astray and make you pick the good looking muscular boy who rejects society’s rules and does what he wants over a reliable, hardworking nerd in glasses who likes the same things you do. While there may well be some relationships that DO end up working out when you pick the ‘bad boy’ far more of them don’t. They’ll absolutly be fun while they last, but most of the time, they aren’t gonna last. Whereas, if you pick the guy who likes the same shit you do, at least you’ll never run out of things to talk about, lol. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Okay so I was immediately wary at “The reason is it’s a trope is because it’s usually true” and then skimming the text and seeing you speak of women with “female” and absolute garbage nonsense like “alpha males” did the absolute opposite of helping. Smithy Richard also talked of males, because they were both referred to in a biological mindset (as in applicable to some animals as well ) and making some judgements on both sides of the sexual spectrum. I can’t help but feel that you’re trying to find offense where there isn’t much of it? You’re right, the “falls for nerd after ditching douche” narrative is a popular setup, but the “falls for bad boy” is not exactly an unknown either ( see Grease, Dirty Dancing, etc ). At some point, any romance is going to be about SOMEONE, and though Clevin has shown himself a bit dorkish at times particularly when compared to the date-experienced confident Max, he’s far from the stereotypical shut-in nerd either. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Speaking of sexual attitudes as it pertains to biology is more often than not a disastrous way to crush your teeth on granite unless you’re really careful and I did not happen to find my personal base level of care put into that comment. Smithy Though biology can and has been used to excuse some terrible analysis of interpersonal relationships, it’s not exactly something one can readily dismiss either, particularly when it comes to sex. The human mind is a complex thing that cannot be summarized using any one technique, but it is still undeniably the result of millions of years of biological evolution and some of the more basic rules of attraction can attest to it, though cultural background and personal development still remains the major factor. I’m a little confused as to the “personal base level of care” you mention though? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Enough reservation, critical distance, ability to express the potential failings of your own argumentation, and its limits. It’s a subject you either have genuine authority in, or tread very carefully around. cphoenix You know, you’re not only telling everyone here how they should talk, but you’re even (in several other comments) telling the authors of this story how they should write. It’s getting kind of old. If we don’t meet your minimal standards, you’re welcome to stop reading. I’m skimming or skipping your posts from now on. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 So wait aren’t you doing the same thing then Ordinary Tree Pointing out another’s hypocrisy doesn’t dispute your own, Clemens. Adieu. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 But I’m not hypocritical. Heck I defend my right to decide whether people who talk to me deserve my attention or not and I would laugh at the pretense that I’m the only one doing so. Richard King The trope you complained of: “The nerd was the answer all along” My statement “The reason it’s a trope is because it’s usually true”. If, by ANSWER, you mean, the person most likely to stick around and have a meaningful long term relationship, then my reasoning is relatively sound: a musclebound moron is far more likely to act in a way that destabilizes relationships than a hardworking nerd. Typically speaking, the hardworking nerd will also be a better provider than the muscle bound moron, as the nerd is more likely to have a better education and therefore, a higher earning potential. You then attack me for using ‘garbage nonsense’ terms such as ‘alpha male’. Well, you’re speaking as if I invented this terminology out of thin air, as if it’s somehow falsehood I spun out of nothing. It’s not; it’s stuff that comes from textbooks on human relationships and psychology – stuff that hasn’t been disproved, even though professionals now use things like the myers-briggs in order to describe peoples personalities with a little more depth and distinction. In fact, here’s an article on Myers-Briggs and which types from those tests are more ‘alpha’: https://defaultuserblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/most-alpha-type/ and Here’s one on how ‘nerds’ fit into myers-briggs: http://www.nerdmanual.com/2015/02/nerds-according-to-myers-briggs.html The important takeaway here is that, most often, nerds are introverted as opposed to extroverted, and, as such, are less likely to engage in social behaviors that lead to opportunities to cheat. One of the biggest factors in whether or not cheating will occur (usually a deal breaker for most relationships) is whether or not the oportunity to do so exists: less opportunity = less likelihood of deal breaking behavior. It’s math. Nerds also tend toward intuition as opposed to sensing. In short, they are better when forced to rely on guesswork, and aren’t are less reliant on explicit sources of data in order to make decisions – one of the number one sources of failure in relationships is lack of communication – a partner with a better ability to ‘read between the lines’ is always going to more successful than one that does not possess this ability. Furthermore, nerds are usually thinkers as opposed to feelers, which makes them more likely to be willing to compromise and be persuaded than someone who is more focused on feeling, which can make them easier to live with long term, as they are usually willing to listen to reason, while other types may be less so. Also, nerds TEND to be less judgy when compared to other groups of people, and more accepting of differences in others, often because they themselves recognize their own differences from the norms of society. In the link about ‘Alphas’ and myers briggs, the first two types, ‘ESFP’ and ‘ESTP’, the most common, literally discusses how these types are likely to “love ’em and leave ’em” – although one will let their former partner down softly and the other will just let them down. This is stuff that is in PSYCHOLOGY TEXTBOOKS to this day, and represents the very BEST and MOST MODERN of attempts to describe human personalities with the greatest success and most far-reaching levels of acceptance. Furthermore, the other concepts I put forth, with regard to the lizard brain and what is considered physically attractive, and how it ties back to cave man days? Yep, that’s science and in textbooks also. So unless you’re going to reject the common consensus of the scientific community as a whole at this time,I think you might need to RETHINK that whole ‘garbage nonsense’ line…. …Of course, people do that all the time…usually right before they start saying things like ‘science is white male privilege’ and ‘black magic is real’ and ‘people can throw lightning bolts’. https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2016/10/14/liberal-student-rejects-science-because-it-discriminates-against-witchcraft/ http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/science-is-not-colonialism/ Just because something offends you, for WHATEVER reason, doesn’t make it any LESS true. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 (It’s still kind of shocking to me to meet people who think Meyers Briggs is anything else than astrology for people who like to despise astrology) I think biological theories about sexual attitudes are at best unsatisfying and incomplete, at worst harmful bullshit. You make what you desire of that. The other thing I wanted to mention was that a “trope being true” doesn’t validate it. Something that’s also sadly very true in real life is stories of the powerful abusing their power and getting away with it and if you implement that trope into your fiction without condemning it, saying “it’s okay because it’s the truth”, you’re going to get criticized and look like a fool trying to defend yourself. Richard King You….kinda shock easy. Myers-Briggs: Whether you think a little or a lot of Myers-Briggs, it’s still the best system currently available to explain and categorize the personalities of human beings, and while there are exceptions to every rule, it seems to have been pretty accurate so far, and SEEMS to be generally accepted by the scientific community. When it comes to the human brain, there’s a hell of a lot that we don’t know – but that doesn’t mean that you can throw out what little we DO know and what the experts generally accept just because you aren’t a personal fan. Biological theories of sexual attraction: The biological roots of certain behaviors is clearly NOT meant to be a complete explanation of human behavior – obviously there are those who are aware of these lizard brain tendencies and consciously choose to reject them – but the underlying genetic programming is still there, it’s just overridden by conscious thought or personnel preference. It’s the DEFAULT, not the final setting with all preferences accounted for, if you get what I’m driving at. Learned behavior (such as bad experiences in the bedroom with a particular phenotype) can also obviously override these ‘species default settings’ (for lack of a better term). It’s a starting point, not an end-all be all, and should be considered a ‘weak force’ of sorts when it comes to driving human relationships – but it’s important to note that level of biological selection plays a role in modern partner selection, and helps explain the traditional selection of alpha males as mates by early human females especially. (There’s that word again. Not sure why ‘female’ pisses you off, as it IS the technical scientific term, but regardless of that, sorry if my use of it triggers you). It’s important to remember that the biological theory of sexual attraction states that this level of attraction is housed in the ‘lizard brain’, and is therefore subject to being overruled by pretty much any part of the conscious mind (that is to say, everything that makes us more than cave people). It’s not meant to be complete, it’s only meant to help explain why some people are more eye-catching and attention-getting than others, and why others are more easily overlooked. Tropes, truth, and validation: There is nothing more important than truth. What is the worse crime? Writing about a universe where things happen that are true, or writing about a universe where you tell lies that fit your personal agenda? What if that lie doesn’t particularly fit the character, and you, as the author, are just shoe-horning the lie in in order to make a personal point? Isn’t that betraying the characters and the world of the story? Doesn’t that cheapen things somewhat? I mean, what reason, other than “I’m tired of that trope” is there to say that Clevin is unworthy of Alison? We don’t currently have one. As far as writing about people abusing their power and getting away with it, WITHOUT condemning them – well, there is such a story. It’s based on real life, and it’s called Schindler’s list. It’s about a man who abused his position of power and influence in the Nazi party to build a fortune and a manufacturing empire, all while preserving the lives of thousands of Jews and undermining the Nazi war effort. He was completely abusing the power given him from the Nazi perspective, but the guy ends up being celebrated as a hero, and the only one who condemns him is himself, for not doing MORE. Steven Spielberg did that one. It was pretty good. Won a few awards, I think. Just a couple. Then there’s the Shawshank Redemption: a character goes to jail, cooks the books for the wardens schemes for YEARS, escapes, steals the warden’s ill gotten gains by abusing his position of power and insider knowledge, and takes off to Mexico, setting up a charter fishing business with the proceeds, but by the end of of it, no-one is condemning the escapee. That one was actually written by Stephen King. Sometimes the best storytelling comes from telling a story others would reject as unworthy or uninteresting, and then twisting the audience’s point of view. The audience’s first reaction isn’t always the right one. Elaine Lee How do you know it isn’t “the nerd is a temporary answer”? These characters are quite young, so he probably isn’t the answer forever. Especially since Alison seems to never have had sex. Also she’s lonely. Clevin fills the bill in that regard, being a warm body and all. Don’t see him as a soul mate. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Romanceless sex in the projection room next page? First abusing her power on Max, now abusing Clevin’s affection for her and leaving him emotionally heartbroken? Well, we are in the Issue of Terrible Choices… (Izo is going to love this) Izo Nah, I’m going to throw everyone for a loop and say Clevin deserves to be emotionally manipulated as a rebound guy for his crimes against humanity regarding his use of eyeglasses in such an offensive manner. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Izo I like you very much and that’s a disclaimer before you think I’m mocking you –instead of rather being endlessly compelling to me– when I say how every time you’re sarcastic it looks like you discovered the mode of speech yesterday Izo Hey I just don’t have any particularly strong feelings about Clevin beyond his eyewear for me to get my shackles up in arms yet 🙂 Daryl McCullough He can be the Xander to her Buffy. Fortooate Aw, come on, no one deserves to be a Xander Lexkat13 There are worse things than being a Xander. Like, being an Andrew or Jonathan. Xander at least had a serious relationship with Anya. Izo Also, Xander was awesome. Izo You take that back. You take that back forever right this instant! Xander is awesome, and The Xander was the second best episode, right after the musical number. cphoenix Why is it sexist? Seems like either partner / any gender can be the nerd, and I’ve seen it both ways in fiction. IRL my wife and I are both nerds who were each other’s answer. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I shall refer you to my answer to @Zinc a few comments below. It has nothing to do with what happens in real life. Walter Empty theaters are super bad for making out in. Like, people just walk in there whenever. Now the projection room… ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Such a shame they won’t have the classic sound effect of the old timey projector as background noise. So romantic. MartynW Ouch. Where was I when the shy, sensitive guy became the sexist trope? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Depends. Were you alive in 1946? nat365 That’s not the sexist part. It’s the ‘the right guy was under her nose *the whole time* and the silly woman didn’t even see it!’ trope, along with the ‘if he’s friends with her long enough, she’ll eventually realise her dating choices suck and pick the ‘nice guy” trope… both are pretty intertwined, and both are remarkably sexist in their implications, because they buy into the whole ‘nice guy’ thing – that if a man sidles up to a woman and befriends her, he can then secretly do all he can to make her want to date him, and that’s somehow a good thing. It basically implies that you can put ‘friendship tokens’ into women, until eventually sex falls out. It diminishes every single friendship between straight men and women, and it pushes the narrative that no man can/will be friends with a woman unless he secretly (or not so secretly) wants to do her. It’s one of my most hated ways fictional relationships are created; add to that making the man the woman actively pursues/fancies a ‘jerk’ of some sort, and you’re only increasing that problem. Of *course* she only likes the jerk, because silly women don’t know what’s good for them! Women should wake up and see the Nice Guys who surround them with fake friendship! Now – I don’t actually think this is what Clevin’s been doing. I think he’s been actively asking her out and she just doesn’t realise, and it’s not like he’s been dogging her and trying to make her his bestie… but it *is* a problematic relationship launchpad in fiction, to set the two ‘rivals’ apart in this way and then have the heroine ‘realise what she’s been missing’. I just wish, instead of setting up the ‘romance’ this way, they could actually have a genuine friendship between a straight guy and girl. Funnily enough, it’s still one of the rarest friendships in fiction. It’d be nice to see it represented. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 I know I’m doing this so badly and I’m sorry and I really want to thank you for managing to say all the things I want to explain in such a comprehensive manner nat365 There really is no need to thank me, but you’re welcome anyway:-). It’s a discussion I find interesting and enjoy participating in – from a writer’s perspective, if nothing else. I think it takes a deft author to create a decent relationship in fiction – and in film, tv and theatre it’s made even more complicated because even if the writing is solid the chemistry between actors is a factor. There are so many pitfalls, and, unfortunately, this ‘nice guy’ factor is one of them. Funnily enough, in real life relationships seem to form out of friendships pretty rarely – there’s a reason people talk about ‘the friend zone’… a non-sexist reason, since personally as a woman I’ve also had guys I’ve liked and I’ve ended up being just friends with them. If I have romantic feelings for someone they’re always someone I also like as a person, and in a couple of cases I’ve decided it’s better to have them in my life as a friend than not at all – but there’s not really a better way to describe it than ‘friend zone’, because while I’m not attempting to manipulate them into relationships, if they wanted to date I’d probably say yes… so while I dislike guys who make fake friends with a woman in order to try and form a relationship (and the other way around with women, obviously, though it happens more rarely), I get when someone tries to form a relationship and then decides to take the offered friendship, and I think there should be a clear distinction between the two. In any case – while plenty of lucky people in life end up ‘married to their best friend’, the vast majority of those people dated first, and became best friends later. It’s anecdotal, but I don’t know a single couple who were close friends and *then* started dating, and people I’ve talked about this with don’t either (or, at most, know one couple). Platonic friendships, outside of fiction, tend to stay platonic. Therefore the amount of times straight ‘besties’ end up in relationships in fiction feels more like writerly wish fulfilment than anything else. Urthman You mean like her non-romantic friendships with Pintsize? And Brad? And Cleaver? Sure would be great if this comic had any relationships like that. nat365 Ah – the sarcasm is strong with this one! ;-). If it makes you feel any better that last part wasn’t really aimed at this comic but at fiction in general – where the majority of straight mixed gender friendships are either secondary (the whole group hangs out so they are friends among that group) or they have some sort of a romantic/sexual aspect – fuck buddies, or one has a crush on the other, or they try dating because it seems like they’d work together, but it fails and they stay friends… I will say, though, that I’d only really count Pintsize as a true friend of the type I’m talking about – and we haven’t seen him in so long I’d basically forgotten about him. Also, I’m not sure if his sexuality’s been confirmed? I vaguely remember him seeming to like the woman he was going to work with? Or discussing women with Alison? Like I said, it’s been a while. Cleaver is complicated, but I wouldn’t class him as a ‘friend’ in the truest sense – for one thing, he’s a prisoner/former enemy and she’s basically showing him compassion by trying to be there for him; it’s not a conventional friendship by any means. For another, putting aside the weirdness of how it formed, there’s no chance for a physical relationship for Cleaver anyway (sadly). With his whole ‘extra pointy and sharp’ thing, he’d kill anyone he was with (…unless he was with Feral! Which… not happening for so many reasons). Romance was never even close to an option to begin with, so it’s not the same thing as a writer actively creating a male/female friendship where both participants are choosing to be friends because that’s what works for them. Brad feels more like an acquaintance at this stage – she made it clear she never bothered to be friends with him when they were on the team together. Now she’s spending some time with him in the context of his dynamorph support group and seeking his advice, but again, it’s not the kind of ‘true friendship’ that I’m talking about – where people are close and actually spend time together doing, you know, fun things? Bring back Pintsize as a regular hangout buddy (or anyone really – this conversation is making me realise that Alison basically has two friends – and as of a few panels ago it’s looking like they’ll start dating and she’ll probably not get to spend any time with them! Haha!), and then we’ll talk. Selcaby If this was a comic about Clevin, I’d agree with you, but it isn’t. So at the moment I’m rooting for our strong female protagonist to get together with someone who makes her happy, and it seems like maybe Clevin can do that. You’d rather she dated someone who wasn’t nice? nat365 I’m not sure why the trope changes for you based on who’s the focus of the story… and I don’t particularly care who she dates, so much as whether the relationship is set up well, is functional, and written in a way that feels real without falling into tropes and stereotypes (about women *or* men). Also, ‘nice’ is a very generic descriptor, for both real people and fictional characters; if I were listing characteristics in an ideal partner I’d go with more specifics – like generous and funny and interesting… all things Clevin seems to be so far. My issue is not with the character, or whatever the relationship turns out to be. The problem for me is how it’s been set up, with Clevin as the ‘nice guy’ alternative that Alison was too blind/ignorant/self-absorbed/taken-with-the-hot-guy-jerk to see. There’s a lot of history to this trope, and I just didn’t think I’d see it deployed in this comic, and while it hasn’t completely put me off of the idea of Alison and Clevin, how things are handled from the point will tell me a lot about how ‘strong’ their ‘female protagonist’ really is. Random832 To the extent that it’s a sexist trope, isn’t this a reversal? I can’t name any examples but I really feel like the “classic” version of the trope is a nerd girl (and naturally this ends with Clevin having to take off his glasses and change his hair and suddenly he’s no longer “hollywood ugly”) ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 For it to be a reversal it’d have to be that the classic trope is a story where the male protagonist dates an assertive woman, suffers the consequences of a bad relationship and finds solace in the arms of a nerd girl. (Which definitely can be but isn’t immediately problematic) I don’t think we’ve seen that story often, for the simple reason that heartbreak and emotional vulnerability is not something Hollywood thinks exist in men. ALIBOT.THE.MURDEROUS.LESBORG OH.SILLY.ME.IT.SEEMS.SOMEONE.HAS.LEFT.HUNT.THE.WEAK.MODE.ACTIVATED SOMEONE.SHOULD.REALLY.REMEMBER.TO.CORRECT.THAT.BUG.WHERE IT.ACTIVATES.WHENEVER.WE.THE.MULTIPLE.ALISONS.SEE.THE.PHRASE.WRITTEN ANYWHERE Hawthorne Alibot: Play tic-tac-toe Players: Zero Pol Subanajouy You’re going to be a “thing” in the comment section, it seems. AND.THAT.MAKES.ME.HAPPY. Lysiuj Zulie Hawthorn is just a young girl of 10 from the village of Mossheart. She has a loving mother and mother and two older brothers, she loves going to the small village school, she loves reading and wrestling. All in all, her life is quite normal. Though she’s always dreamt of adventure and excitement, of faraway lands and new possibilities, she never truly believed that would happen to her. But one day she stumbles onto a sinister conspiracy, and her life changes forever. Now she finds herself swept up in an adventure the likes of which she has never seen. On her journey she will encounter things she’s never even dreamed of: flying mango farms, colonies of talking termites, injust societies, and so much more! She will make many enemies, but she will also meet at least one friend – the mysterious wanderer, Linus. She will find that her path takes her to the ends of the earth, as far as the legendary Citadel. And, she will start down the path of a witch, find her inner strength, and discover the truth of… THE TORCH OF JAEDA Julian Arce This feels very Ghibli Mistress Dizzy Side story, please! Mechwarrior I’m sorry, but that plot is far too intelligent and interesting: it’s being shot down in favor of mindless explosions. Lysiuj Heh, I was actually going for b-movie cliches as much as anything. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 How do you dare call Essentially Star Wars a B movie! crazy j Because it is. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 You really shouldn’t though, B movie lacks enough of a proper definition as it is zarawesome this was basically every teen movie in the 80s yeah well the ones that weren’t about dancing in high school rpenner IN A WORLD where Michael Bay wants to make a chick flick, (Pastoral scene) comes the light (Long shot of castle) at the END OF THE FUSE. (Castle begins to crumple, then explodes, then has a planetary ring shockwave 15° off vertical.) (Shots of armies fighting with fantasy armor and weapons and shots of the same armies with bodies exploding in gouts of blue flame and other shots of orange explosions sending bodies flying.) Also some talking parts. (Shots of people talking in halls with extreme zoom ins to make the scenes more animated than their faces or body language.) Because chicks rule. (Shot of dirty-faced Woody Harrelson, in helmetless armor, chomping a cigar and staring into the camera.) “Well, flame on!” Pyro michael bay approves rpenner IN A WORLD where each secret you discover about yourself may be your last, getting through high school is still about fitting in. BUT SOMETIMES fitting in is not what you need to do. SOMETIMES the world needs someone larger of heart and far from the pack. For in this world where monsters lurk, WITCHES BURN. From Oscar winning director Sir Peter Jackson and the people who brought you Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes the best-selling tale of one girl’s ambition to turn the tide against the forces of oppression. Shot in glorious IMAX on location all over the world, this tale of courage and magic will change you forever. See the light that burns all that is not true, see Torch of Jadea. Lysiuj I can’t tell if it’s horror or comedy. *clapclapclap* well done. Izo Here. For your viewing pleasure…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gEDUDmZkyc Izo JK Rowling is really needing new ideas…. Walter Clevin’s outfit seems unexpectedly tame, until I realized that the band on his glasses crosses them in the top-middle, across his pupils, rather than running along the top like human glasses do. Shine on, you crazy diamond. HanoverFist Tame? Do you SEE that pocket square?! A man who wears a pocket accessory like that is clearly a dashing rouge. Akiva I can’t stop thinking that Clevin looks like an adorable shy butch girl on this page, and I’m enjoying it a lot. (Also, speaking of adorable butches, I own literally that exact outfit, but I now need a green pocket square.) Random832 I think that’s just an effect of the camera angle, the glasses being worn low on his nose, and the art style doing noses in an odd way so we don’t immediately get that he’s wearing them low on his nose. Pol Subanajouy My only contribution to the comments today? In the Victorian Language of Flowers, Hawthorn means “Hope.” phantomreader42 I’m curious about this language now. I’ve read a few things on flower meanings but they’re not always consistent. Pol Subanajouy Oh no, besides from some of the really popular flowers, meanings varied from publisher to publisher. And of course being the nerd that I am, I only stumbled onto that subject matter because of a pen and paper table top role playing game. Sabe Jones Nobilis? Pol Subanajouy NOBILIS! YEP! <3 <3 <3 Gem Sloop’s #1 Fan and what a lovely contribution it is Cyrano111 “This way, you can coordinate on your own schedule, and see a movie whenever it is convenient for you.” Shane Henry Of course she SAW YOU Clevin. She’s basically Superman. Philip Bourque She looked at him and all I could think was “oh for god’s sake, not again!” You are emotionally wrecked, girl. Your relationship record is 0 for 2 and you just came out of a bad relationship. Just. stay. friends. Lysiuj And go to sleep. Philip Bourque At least her subconscious would be able to finally process the emotional wreck, albeit in the form of nightmares. Pol Subanajouy I read that in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice for “Go the F*ck to Seep!” Michael Smith Please let Allison confess all her troubles to Clevin. He seems like a nice, reasonable, logical, decent guy. Someone who wants to make this world a little better, if he can. And I think he would reassure her that she actually did the right thing with that libertarian dick–the heroic right thing that needed to be done, which doesn’t always feel comfortable or easy or without a little moral compromise. Be the voice of reason, CLevin! And I hope he tells her that all the childish, self righteous people who insist on letting the world go to total hell rather than twist a dude’s arm for a min are the crazy ones. The ones who would let people die in the name of some absolute purity. And that they suffer from the same moral and intellectual failures as those who voted for this current political hell. Sadly, they’re rarely the ones who have to pay after things go to total shit. It’s very, very strange to me that some of the people who desperately want Alison, this good person, to somehow pay for saving her friend and the “countless lives” of people in need of organ transplantation, are the same ones who seem to be telling others to “calm down” because they feel threatened by the white supremacists and anti-gay bigots and the other madmen who now have control over all of all our lives. There’s somethign truly messed up about that. Messed up, but not surprising. Feels like if those on the left could only focus on what’s really important instead of tearing at one another, we wouldn’t always end up giving power to the people who hate us. That’s the real tragedy. Things would have been better, more people would have been saved, fewer people would die. But instead we have neo-nazis gaining power. Dammit. This would could be a paradise yet we turn it into a hell. Out of childishness. It’s heartbreaking. Sorry for the rant. The cabinet appointments are killing me. And I was just skimming some of the comments from the last few weeks. Just getting caught up. Also, the personal messages you wrote, Molly & Brennan, were really comforting. Thank you. You are not overreacting. This is a living fucking nightmare and I’m scared with you. And impressed by you. Robert Such anger directed at those who don’t completely comply with your ideology. I mean, after all, you’re right… right? You’ve neatly labelled everything and everyone. I wonder what label you’d apply to me, what insults you’d direct at me personally, having never done a thing to harm you, directly or indirectly. Should I fear you for your hate filled diatribe? Must be nice to be able to insult people indiscriminately. Michael Smith It actually feels terrible. And yes, I am angry. There are neo-nazis and racists in the white house and people doing the sieg heil in my president-elect’s name and he’s much more concerned about the cast of Hamilton. To make it worse, we’re calling these people a euphemism (“alt-right”) to play nice. Economic policies we KNOW will fail and ruin us are being re-instituited and they’re seriously talking about registering an entire people for their religious views. Am I meant to NOT be angry? At the people who voted for him and for third-party candidates when they knew it only would help him win? Am i meant to not be scared? To say nothing? To not judge anything because it comes across as too mean for your feelings? And I don’t know you, Robert, so I’m not sure how anyone would personally insult you, but this small interaction just now makes me suspect it wouldn’t be too hard to find something real fast. Especially since it looks like you can’t tell the difference between political despair and, for example, calling someone ugly. See, the second one would be an example of a personal insult. Also, if you voted for this administration, I’d say you VERY much have harmed me, and a lot of other people. Probably almost everyone. MrSing I think you would be pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of people on the other side are not the monsters you fear them to be. The reasons for the modern political landscape are varied, and while I am sure that some of those reasons for some of those people are discriminatory in nature, many of them aren’t. Don’t forget, the states that swung the election to the right had previously voted for Obama twice in the past elections. Making a broad stroke and calling them all Nazies and racists is not helping. Instead try to go out and try to make contact with the other side. If you engage these people instead of entrenching them, you might be able to convince them of your viewpoint. Maybe you’ll even see that they have some points to that are not offensive. Mechwarrior Maybe he’s referring to the actual Nazis and racists that have been supporting Trump, like the ones who just held a party in DC over the weekend. MrSing I’m always inspired by Daryl Davis in these cases. He is a black musician and he managed to dismantle an entire KKK sect in Maryland by talking to them and becoming friends with them. He is really one of my personal heroes because he showed the value of engaging your opponents in a way that makes you see each other viewpoint and see each other as human beings. No matter how much you might think each other of as monsters. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 You should question pacifist narratives. They’re often a way for the rulers to condemn the ruled because “they don’t fight for themselves correctly”. A very, very easy thing to say when you’re in a position of power you intend to keep. Now coupling that with the fact that pacifism doesn’t work… MrSing But it isn’t just pacifism. It is going out there and talking to people. And it did work. Daryl Davis took down an entire KKK sect. On his own, while being what these people despise the most. Shouldn’t that prove the merrit of his method? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Yes it should. Don’t use it to say those who are irate against the KKK and want them punished for their crimes are misguided. MrSing This isn’t about punishing. If a member of the KKK does something wrong or commits a hate crime, they of course should be punished. I never said they shouldn’t be. This is about stopping organisations like the KKK. Davis showed how to do this in an incredible effect way that I have not often seen. He did not merely aknowledge that their way of thinking is awful, he went out and explained it to them. He showed them that their way of thinking was wrong by engaging them and befriending them if they showed to be open to his friendship. It is about finding a way to stop people from being divided and hating each other. I think the left and right can learn a lot from Davis and what he has done. Mechwarrior If Davis showed that this was such an effective strategy, why has the KKK been out in so much force in the last few weeks? After November 9th, hate crimes against minorities in the US have jumped faster than they did after 9/11. crazy j Why are these hate crimes located in areas that voted heavily for Hillary? Cokely Pedantry: The actual, organized membership of the KKK is estimated to be very small, topping out at around 6,000 if you take the SPLC’s statistics as valid. While there has been a spike in hate crimes, the majority of these are disorganized acts of bigotry rather than efforts on the parts of organized hate groups. To be clear, I believe violent force is necessary to combat bigotry, so I don’t disagree with your general point, but it bugs me to see the KKK treated as an omnipresent boogeyman. Mechwarrior I’m not treating it as an omnipresent boogeyman, I’m just disputing the idea that it was somehow convinced to pack up and go home thanks to a single jazz musician. Michael Smith Just fyi, I find you very attractive right now, JClemensxds. Thanks for trying. SJ Shouldn’t that prove the merrit of his method? Not really. All that proves is that not all bigots hate with the same degree of intensity. That “turn the other cheek” jive might work on the least intolerant, but it’s not going to work on most bigots. And it still sends the problematic message of the oppressors tasking the oppressed to end their oppression. MrSing It isn’t turning the other cheek. Davis went to them and called out the flaws in their way of thinking. I’m not tasking the opressed to end their oppression either. Anyone could have done this, wether they are black or white, conservative or liberal. Plenty of none-oppressed groups agree that the KKK is awful and want them gone. Davis showed a method of doing this, that people can use. SJ It’s still turning the other cheek, in the sense that it sends the message that you can “talk” your way out of racism. That might work with a minority, it won’t work with the rest. With the rest, the oppression won’t end until you take away their power to oppress. Plenty of non-oppressed groups do indeed agree that the KKK is awful. Many of them will also be eating with their bigoted relatives on Thursday, and not checking them on their bigoted, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamaphobic beliefs. Some of them will even have the audacity to wear safety pins at work, but not to Thanksgiving dinner. So, what is that worth? cphoenix https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-white-flight-of-derek-black/2016/10/15/ed5f906a-8f3b-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html Long article, worth reading in its entirety. tl/dr: A young man was raised in the very core of the white supremacist movement, and active in it (started the kids website on Stormfront). He went to a liberal college, still being white supremacist (calling in to host a radio show). After a while he was befriended and invited to weekly Shabbat dinners by a Jew, on purpose to try to introduce him to non-white-supremacists as real people. It worked; he left and denounced the movement. SJ Alright then, you got me. Keep believing that all the world needs is “a little more understanding,” and that it’s the burden of POC to end racism by changing the hearts of the racists*. By all means, don’t let me stop you. *(As long as they do it in a manner that is approved by the moderate majority, of course). Michael Smith Do you do that a lot? Like, if a person of color is outraged by some KKK member’s hate speech and is trying to express their outrage just to keep that type of thing from being normalized, is your contribution to then suggest that they always go befriend the racists as a passive-aggressive judgmental way of silencing them? Because how dare they be outraged? Who do you think you’re really helping there with that one? This might be what I’m talking about when I say the left depresses me. If you can’t see that now, at this political moment, then I don’t know you ever could. And for every Daryl who successfully befriended those racists, a hundred others who tried the same thing were probably murdered. So if you wanna give that a shot, you go right ahead. But you’re asking too much of others. Mechwarrior Daryl Davis didn’t passively sit by and let their beliefs go unchallenged. He also claims to have dismantled the KKK in Maryland but the evidence to back up his claim is sketchy. MrSing I’d be really sad if it turned out not to be true, but I haven’t seen evidence against it either. And where did I call him passive? I keep hammering down the point that he went out there and did something. Mechwarrior You’re criticizing people who are pointing out that the KKK and neo-Nazis are a heinous and intolerant bunch and telling them that they should just go out an make friends instead. That’s tone trolling, dude. Michael Smith Come on! I did not call them all monsters, MrSing. I didn’t even call everyone on the other side nazis or racists. You cannot twist people’s words like that. It is unfair. I’m saying that their choices and votes have truly empowered neo-nazis and racists and bigots, and put a few of them in the white house–and that scares the hell out of me. There was just a meeting a stone’s throw from the white house where a roomful of people did the nazi salute to celebrate trump’s win. And I’m sure some of the points on the other side aren’t offensive, but if that doesn’t mean I — or anyone with a conscience–shouldn’t be outraged (loudly) by other things they either support or are just more than willing to overlook–e.g., the neo-nazi stuff, the racist stuff and the commander-in-chief who won’t rule out using nukes IN EUROPE. (Shit, i could list stuff all day!) And yeah, i’m just as mad at the third-party people and far left who were against Hillary, because she was the best shot we had for preventing all this. If you’re asking me to ignore all that or tone down my outrage for some strange false equivalency, some misguided sense of politeness, then, yeah, i think that’s a huge problem. If you’re not willing to be outraged right now, than that in itself is a real big moral failing. MrSing I’m sorry, I thought you were reffering to many of the people on the right as Nazies. I misread you on that part. Michael Smith And if you think my post was a “hate filled diatribe,” you can’t tell the difference between actual hate and an appropriate response to hate. Those are very different things. And the fact that you don’t know that, that you conflate the two, is a real problem. SJ It’s the same sort of false equivalence that leads to bigots accusing POC who bring up race as being “the real racists,” or LGBTQ people who denounce their bigotry as being “hypocrites” for promoting “intolerance.” Sam I mean, he did call you a “childish, self righteous [person]” who suffers from “moral and intellectual failures” for disagreeing with him about a comic. I dunno that I’d categorize that as hate-filled, per se, but I definitely don’t think it’s great. Michael Smith Sam, i didn’t call anyone person out directly. Definitely not SJ! I really dig his/her comments. I was talking about the never-ending thread back when everyone was condemning Alison’s actions and comparing that line of thinking to the election. Yes, I thought it was childish and self-righteous, and yeah, I think there’s some connection there– that I can’t put my finger on–to the way people voted third-party. To those who turned away from Clinton and led us to this current political moment because they couldn’t deal with any pragmatism or moral compromise. And this administration–with its neo-nazis and racists in the cabinet–is the result of that. That’s part of how we got to a Trump presidency. I think that’s the type of illogical thinking that third-party voters were using as well. I think there’s something there. And yeah, i think those were moral and intellectual failures. Now if I’m afraid to articulate any of that because someone will call me hateful for it, I think that’s kind of screwed up. Sam That thread in which SJ was one of the most vocal posters arguing that what Allison did was wrong, yes. When level blanket insults at anyone who holds a particular view, you don’t need to “call any one person out directly” to still be insulting them. Michael Smith Yeah, i can’t keep track of who said what, but you’re saying that questioning anyone’s particular view is insulting? Even in a webcomic that’s fully about effecting change and questioning moral choices? So if someone on here makes makes what they think is a reasonable argument against, I dunno, interracial marriage and I question and judge their morals and logic, I’m just being insulting? I just shouldn’t say anything? So if I question or condemn any particular view–even if I believe that view leads to enormous pain in its indulgence–like with the third-party voters– I’m somehow being insulting by pointing it out? To hell with that! That’s not okay, Sam. Just as an example, and this might be going down the rabbit hole, the that last time I commented on here, some guy on here actually compared calling someone “stereotypically fat”–just to describe her socioeconomically–to being the same as having a nazi tattoo. Let that sink in for a moment. Even though the person being described as “stereotypically fat” WAS the person with the nazi tattoo! Someone actually commented that these two things were on the same level. That is a disgusting and immoral response. Full stop, as Allison would say. There! I’m fully judging that false equivalency. Because of the way it defends and normalizes the fucking nazi tat. That was bullshit and it was probably done by someone who thinks of themselves as liberal and enlightened. And that response deserves to be judged. Because sometimes things should be judged. People are accountable. That’s how things get better. Jesus, I’m in for it now….I’ll check back later. Gotta work. conan Is anyone else annoyed that that it appears that that geek is probably the one who’s gonna end up with Al? It reeks of “the nice guy deserves the girl”. We know barely anything about him except that he’s a geek with a crush on Al(I can’t even remember his name!), but the shipping between them is SO STRONG. The trope, though, is inherently misogynistic. You can’t “deserve” such a thing without treating a person’s affection and sexuality like some perverse reward “for being the good guy”. That dehumanizes the other party(usually but not always female) and is just bad storytelling. Robert I’m not annoyed, and I think you’re taking this a bit too far. Misogynistic? Tropes? Good Golly Gee Whillikers, that’s an awful lot of thinks for a story. I see a boy who likes a girl. Then I see a girl realizing the boy likes her. That’s as far as I’m going with this…. I’d rather let the story tell itself than try to read the future and call it bad… ampg We know a fair amount about his personality and interests, actually, considering how much screen time he’s had so far. I also think you’re overestimating your own ability to predict this storyline. cphoenix That’s an interesting way to deny all agency to “the girl.” In these stories, she typically _chooses_ the guy, just as he _chooses_ her – the relationship depends on both their choices. Of course the movie doesn’t have time to show all the other women who don’t choose that guy. conan It’s more that the female character is denied the agency and it’s instead given to the metanarrative. It doesn’t matter who the girl would actually be interested in at the time, she is instead “given” the nerd character as a consolation prize, or the nerd is “given” the girl because he’s somehow objectively the right person, regardless of whether or not he’s actually done anything to win her affection, etc. This is as opposed to good writing. The writing is bad not because these two people would/would not have actually gotten together, but because this is used in place of an actual romance arc. This doesn’t just apply to nerds, though. It also goes for “the childhood friend” and other roles that barely have contact with the main character(if they aren’t themselves this role getting the girl). Whether a romance is good or not doesn’t depend on whether it could “actually happen”, it depends on the quality of the writing. A sufficiently realistic story can still be boring or jarring, and a sufficiently unrealistic story can still be great. Our lives aren’t stories. They don’t have arcs or plots. They can seem random and pointless at times. A story, though, can have that structure we crave, and so when a story gives a flimsy explanation for an event, even if it would fly in the real world, it’s still something that makes me want to abandon the story. Non I’m not interested in them dating, but I do hope they become friends. Clevin’s character is quite nice, and he’s pretty good foil to Alison. Obviously they’re both awkward, but otherwise, Clevin has a lot of strengths Al doesn’t. The way he sought her out was really uncomfortable for everybody, but it’s simply interesting to me how different it was from Al’s tendency to either isolate herself or try to make all her relationships about saving the world. He’s also capable of doing altruistic stuff one step at a time, and having fun in the process. Even his silly outfits show to me that he’s capable of just “doing him” without being overwhelming. He’s nothing special, but he’s a good kid. Their biggest problem is that Al’s main/only area of interest is world-saving, and Clevin can neither help with that nor make her feel useful. There’s not much to do if your interests don’t jive. On the other hand it would probably be much healthier if Al could stop ruminating about it, so, idk. Overall, I just them to have a goddamn conversation that isn’t a mess, and then, in the future, they can be the awkward jock-and-nerd duo. Maybe. PS: Is the movie live-action or animated? Will we ever know? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 The real world of the webcomic is animated. The movie is live action that looks very strange to this world’s pupil-less inhabitants. cphoenix Clevin can totally help with world-saving. He has organizing skills and a demonstrated ability to make friends. He can do the totally necessary job of Operating Officer / Business Partner of whatever organization Alison starts. It’s not glamorous, but Clevin strikes me as the kind of person who’d rather be useful than glamorous anyway. ohokwy “It’s not glamorous, but Clevin strikes me as the kind of person who’d rather be useful than glamorous anyway.” Etveck I think Clevin would end up good, in contrast to Max who can help but doesn’t. From what we’ve seen of Clevin it seems that while not having any special strengths he does help. I don’t know which way I want this to go, but I’m very excited to see where it does. JohnTomato For escapism Al goes to a movie about a girl saving the world. The irony is so thick a magnet could pick it up. Mechwarrior It’s so thick, you could use a colander instead of a pot. Weatherheight It’s so thick, the tension is envious beyond belief and has given up looking for a knife to cut itself with… Too dark? BMPDynamite :D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Caliban Wow. A few “you better tell the story the way I want it to be told or you’re a horrible person” rants in the comments. So much angst and sense of entitlement. It’s the author’s story, not yours. If you want a story told a certain way, then you tell it. Don’t try to hijack another authors work to fulfill your agenda. cphoenix Thank you! Ordinary Tree THANK YOU! So many people keep writing out their fan theories after a page drops, and saying “I see where you’re going and I don’t like it”. Why can’t they just enjoy fiction while its being written then judge it as a finished product? smh ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Agenda had my teeth grinding a bit… But I’m sure this has nothing to do with my own personal comments and I’m sure this also has nothing to do with me mentioning sexism. I’m just going to say that I’m not forcing anybody of anything, and I’ll keep loving this webcomic regardless, but I have a right to an opinion that only engages myself. The Distinguished Anarchist If it helps at all Clem, then by the Rules of Narrative (TM), any relationship she might form with Clevin in the next few pages is also doomed to failure. Right now Alison is confused, hurt, and vulnerable. She just got out of a relationship with a person that wasn’t who she thought she was. And it took her to a place she never thought she would go. She is either currently at, or still rapidly hurtling towards, the low point in her character arc: the point in her journey where she has to decide what she really believes in. Now Clevin, appearing now in the situation she is in, is the Rebound Guy(c). In a comic as self-aware as this one, he might even offer to start a relationship knowing that. There are two approaches the narrative can take with him at that point: 1) They have rocky patches, but eventually realize their one true love for each other, and live happily ever after (*gag*) 2) As is often the case in real life, Clevin will never be anything more to her than a rebound guy, and their relationship will quickly peter out as soon as Alison realizes this. She knows Clevin is too nice a guy to deserve that sort of treatment, and she will end it to nudge him on to someone better than her. Either that or I’m wrong, and he’ll be the confidant she opens up to (just like with Paladin). In that case, he’ll just continue being a friend, and be the catalyst that starts to swing Alison out of her funk, until the inevitable consequences for what she did are introduced. But I’d be surprised. What I’m saying is, in the face of an inevitable oncoming relationship, perhaps take some solace in your anticipation of it’s ignominious end. 😉 ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 What I may not have made appear as much as I should is that I really trust the webcomic not to make the mistakes I speak of, and am just using the opportunity to talk about sexism in storytelling. I’m fine and dandy with what you posit. As long as the text doesn’t end up saying the nerd was the answer all along… Izo I’m telling you, Clevin is the evil mastermind. No one wears heart shaped glasses while at the same time wearing normal glasses without being an agent of unspeakable evil. Walter As HHH says, “How’s your territory doing these days?” Dwight Williams Amen. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Well, well. I didn’t want to say anything but I didn’t expect your upvotes to expand that much. So many people here actually share this saddening opinion that You Shall Not Criticize Art for Just Go Make Your Own? I’m not angry you guys, I’m disappointed. Lysiuj There’s a difference between “you can’t criticize” and “it’s presumptious to say a work of art has to progress a certain way, otherwise it’s bad”. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 When it has cornered itself into a pittrap of potential misgivings it would need to do backflips to avoid? No. Santiago Tórtora Criticism of art is much better received when it’s based on aesthetics than when it’s based on ethics. For example if I go to a fancy restaurant and complain that the cook is incompetent because the food tastes bad, it would be rude and unreasonable to tell me to just make my own food. I can’t cook but I can still tell the difference between good and bad food so my opinion should matter. However if I go to a fancy restaurant and complain that the food contains meat so the cook is a terrible person, it would be reasonable (but still rude?) to tell me to shut up and eat somewhere else or make my own food if I care that much about the poor animals. The difference is that aesthetic complains can be made from a position of equality or even inferiority (I’m a worse cook than you are but honestly your food tastes bad) while ethical complains can only be made from a position of superiority (I’m a vegetarian and you are not, therefore you are a horrible person) As long as you don’t make it sound like Brennan and Molly are bad people for making art that you find objectionable, your criticism will be well received, I think. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Okay so the analogy is horrendously janky but I catch what you were trying to say, about how you can’t really complain that porn hurts your humility; that criticism is misguided and pointless when you call out not so much a flaw than an intentional feature of the text. (The whole thing about superiority and inferiority however, doesn’t make much sense) Here’s the difference though: if I go to a restaurant and they serve me a boiled human baby, and tell me I can just go somewhere else where there’s no boiled babies on the menu if I dare complain, …I’m not in the wrong here. Santiago Tórtora You are not catching what I tried to say at all. I can’t blame you, though, since I can’t catch what you mean either. It sounds to me like you are saying is that the depiction of a nerd male being nice to a strong woman is somehow as viscerally repulsive as being served a boiled baby in a restaurant? Like it’s alright if you don’t like the direction the story is headed, but boiled babies aren’t just a matter of taste. You are saying the story isn’t just a bad story but somehow an evil story? ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 If you go back to my actual comment, I was saying that if the story went there, and by there I specifically meant “validating a nice guy narrative”, I would be pissed. It’s not a matter of taste. It’s a matter of inflicting actual harm in the world. Maybe not boiled babies level harm, but, systemic sexism has got quite a long reach still. If you need an explanation as to why validating a nice guy narrative would be objectively awful, I’m going to do something smart for once and link to smarter people than me who tell it better than I do. Santiago Tórtora My objection is not that sexism isn’t so bad. It’s that even if it is bad, a depiction of sexism is not an endorsement, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing by itself. People have told me that watching Dragon Ball Z as a child would make me violent, that watching porn as a teen that would turn me into me a rapist and that reading Harry Potter would turn me into a Satanist. Now you are telling me that unless the writers tell me that Clevin doesn’t deserve Allison, reading this comic will make me want to buy dorky glasses and give presents to girls when they are temporarily emotionally vulnerable? Is that the “validation”, “actual harm” and “systemic sexism” stuff that you are talking about, or am I misunderstanding? (If I am, never mind the rest of the post) I have also seen some horrible art that results when people get preachy and put ethic considerations above aesthetic ones. There is a huge industry of religious media that sells to a captive market of people who are not allowed to see any media that doesn’t specifically validate their beliefs, with books like Left Behind and movies like Heaven Is for Real. Then there are lots of books that prioritize a political message above writing and storytelling quality, the most (in)famous of which is Atlas Shrugged. Old movies in my country are also horrendous but they are all patriotic and shit so people were reluctant to criticize them. I want to empathize that what is wrong with those works is not Christianity, or Objectivism or Nationalism. It’s only the bad aesthetic choices they made in support of those things that made them bad art, and it would be undeniably bad art even if they had a good message, like feminism. I’d hate to see this webcomic go that route. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 This is why I say validating the narrative. When you do that, this is endorsement. In this case this isn’t even depicting it in the first place– there’s nothing sexist in the superficial appearance of that trope. I’m not touching the rest of your comment, I’d be pointing out tons of errors all day. Arthur Frayn Nothing has actually happened yet, the ship has not even boarded yet -much less sailed, and you’re calling it cannibalism? Yes Clem, you ARE acting like an entitled critic and a back seat driver. I didn’t like the American show Elementary, and thought they did the modern-day Holmes thing all wrong. I didn’t watch it and criticize it episode by episode, I just left it alone and generally don’t think about it because it’s not my thing. A friend of mine didn’t like the endless angst in the webcomic Bruno, so he stopped looking at it, and I stopped talking to him about it. Is it possible that participating in a comment board of a comic strip gives you the illusion that you are affecting the story that we are watching unfurl, or that you are helping steer this ride? (Also, you ARE free to go someplace where the babies are prepared better.) ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 How can you not see the difference? In one instance is a thing you personally don’t like, in the other is a thing that is absolutely and objectively objectionable. You made me go for boiled babies to make that metaphor goddammit I mean, don’t you get that being told “just stop thinking about it” wouldn’t work if the show Elementary was one hour a week of Holmes eyes looking at the camera and insulting you publicly and personally? That there are “matters of taste” (it’s even broader than that, there is relevant criticism and aimless criticism, to grab back the thing I said about porn) on one side of the isle and stuff you just cannot defend by saying “it’s just not your thing”? Arthur Frayn I’m sorry that you’re taking this piece of art personally. Not everything is about you. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 ……..as a human? You’re saying such nonsense. Sendaz So she caught him reading lines along with the movie. Yeah we are guilty of that as well at times. Do I see this being a lead into AliClev thing? Not really. But it could be a way for Ali to ground herself by just having folk she can share a laugh or movie with, keeping her in touch with humanity. Stephanie Gertsch The plot to the movie sounds like the dream sequence Allison might have to escape the disappointments of her waking life, as in Neil Gaiman’s “The Dollhouse.” (Quote from part 6) Barbie: I can hardly believe that we are here at last, at the arch of the Porpentine. Martin Tenbones: Our journey has indeed been long, Miss Barbarba, and many’s the worthy companion we have found and lost along the way. Barbie: So many good lives lost, Martin Tenbones. And for what? A confection of spun silver and rose quartz. Was it just for this? Martin Tenbones: “The Porpentine is more than that, Lady. As you know in your soul of souls. Remember, if the Porpentine is destroyed by the Cuckoo, the Hierogram will be lost to the world forever. Barbie: I will not fear the disciples of the Cuckoo, Martin Tenbones, as long as you walk by my side. Martin Tenbones: And I will never leave you on your quest, my lady. Not while I live. Not ever… (No context is given in the original text either. This segment just comes out of nowhere.) Michael Smith Loved that. Poor Marin Tenbones. I know it was meant to be just a general girl’s fairytale adventure escape story, but I always thought that was Neil’s nod to Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. Ellie important thread: https://twitter.com/rlynn_solomon/status/800817473800916992 Jack Oh good, now we can discover what horrible secret Clevin is hiding. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Clevin’s Christian crosses covered shirt is clearly the culprit. Oh no. The c-alliteration is his evil superpower and I’ve befallen it! Sam Clearly he’s a secret vampire hunter, using the cross shirt to bodyslam vampires. Walter Calling it. When he peeks back the second time, in the last panel, he will discover her hovering right up in front of his face. Lysiuj boo Walter Can’t sink this ship. Lysiuj Okay, miscommunication on my part. I just meant to joke, that Al shows up in front of him and says ‘boo’. Walter Haha, yeah, I misunderstood you. Actually I’m pretty much on the SS Alison + anyone. I think she just needs another human in her life, someone she can bounce ideas off of and commiserate with. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 And then he stumbles his words, and she comes closer, and she kisses him, and you hear me shouting obscenities one ocean over Walter Yaaaazzz! Manuel Simone In which a fearless and ambitious, but hopeless human wriggler female aided by a large warrior human adult male embark on an adventure upon learning frightening creatures called titans may have taken the most important city of hives known to humanity and their last bastion against evil forces, called Citadel. They journey over 4 different terrains, they meet dozens of enemies several times during the story, but is not over until one of them will sacrifice themselves to save the other one from being killed by the main villain. There are 12 small fights, 1 huge battle, 1 self sacrifice, plenty of unimportant characters deaths within the last 30 minutes, and a couple of scenes described as emotional and extreme violent. (THE TORCH OF JAEDA -as renamed by Alternian Filmmakers Union) Djinn Clevin sucks and has dumb hair, by the way. shink55 If this ship sails I would not be surprised at all to see that Alison ultimately sinks it. Clevin has been presented as having his life pretty well in order and having a decent grasp of what he wants to do with it. Alison’s a mental and emotional train wreck, and I don’t really see her making Clevin happy. She also seems to be straight up rebounding with Clevin, as she had little to no interest in him until after Max. Also, given mod response to my comments in this vein I think I’m either dead right and the mods don’t want spoilers or I’m dead wrong and the mods are offended by my posts. Can’t tell really, just noticed they all get deleted. Zorae42 I see now why Max didn’t want to go to the movies for the first date: Ali: “Wow, Zulie was so self-sacrificing how she put aside what she wanted for the good of her people” Max: “Was she really though? I mean it’s not like she could do the things she wanted if her people were all dead.” And done. Here’s a Name I really like Clevin. I think they’re cute and I read them as kind of gender queer maybe. I’d want to go talk or possibly flirt to them. Crow Just curious, what outside of that Clevin has a good fashion sense reads that way? Not disagreeing or anything, but that’s never even crossed my mind. Here’s a Name Just the fashion sense and the hair. Maybe the softness of the face. Arguably also the timid mannerism because timidness is associated with femininity but it’s also universal (just like fashion and hair) and something that tends to happen around crushes. I just tend to read lesbian or gender queer, and I stuck with gender queer as my personal interpretation of the character. Crow That’s really awesome! Sorry if you’ve been in the community and I’ve missed you, but you seem like a really awesome voice! I look forward to more of you! Jeff Meehan Ohhhhhhhh this looks encouraging! Maybe she will finally be lucky in love! weedgoku I fucking called it that this was going to happen ages ago because this comic has been getting progressively more and more pandering. I eagerly await the ending of the chapter where Alison gets a medal for assaulting a man and then defeats all the evils of the world and destroys the patriarchy forever by punching someone else. Lysiuj You know, you keep saying this, but you’ve got a pretty strange definition of ‘pandering’ if the comic has to do exactly what you want otherwise it’s bad. Like, anything other than Alison facing immediate and harsh negative fallout from her descision is pandering, to all of us somehow because we all want the same plot progression apparently. And yet when you expect the comic to immediately punish her, and anything else sucks, how are you not demanding the comic pander to you? weedgoku Except that’s not how I’m using the word at all? Back when Clevin and Max were first introduced the comments section went nuts deciding Max MUST be an evil monster and Clevin was clearly her destined lover because he was a Nice Guy and a geek. Much projection and wish fulfillment was made. Unsurprisingly Max turned out to be a huge jerk. Clevin was then revealed to have been secretly totally awesome this whole time. Max is inevitably revealed to have powers because everyone realized that, and of course his power to enhance powers was used on the ever popular feral. What followed was not any kind of discourse about how feral felt about anything, nor even any kind of real expansion about how Alison felt except a scene of her being sick which was so poorly conveyed a good chunk of the audience was convinced she had somehow lost her powers. In fact the plot just fell to a stop for a few pages so we could have kawaii desu feral time and promote some ~shipping~ because that’s what the comments love more than anything, conversations of which sprung up the instant the character reappeared again. And now, of course, we get this page where Clevin and Alison are making faces at each other. Something people have been going nuts for since the character was released and we new nothing about him other than his name was clevin, and he was an awkward nerd. Feel free to keep thinking I want the comic to exclusively go down a path that makes me happiest. I’m out after this arc either which way, I just think it’s ridiculous if you can’t see the blatant attempts at cashing in on the fan comments circle jerk by appealing to what makes them click those like buttons most rather than keeping their narrative from falling apart and growing less and less cohesive with every page. Honestly if I wanted the comic to pander exclusively to me, just to entertain that notion for a spell, I’d actually want it to focus on Mary (that was the invisible rapist killer, right?) Because an invincible and inept protagonist that somehow still blindly stumbles into the best possible spot in life straight out of ridiculous failure is pretty uninteresting, but an angry vengeance driven one at least has the anti-hero angle. Even as someone who hated her entire arc, I find the character and her motivations far more interesting than Alison will probably every be. But that’s just me. LitShips You don’t like it. Okay, cool. Have fun, and I hope you find a comic you like. The rest of us like it, and that doesn’t make us objectively inferior to you. Your personal preferences for comic creation are not innately superior. Maybe try to be less of an arrogant jerk about it, or does crapping all over stuff that other people like make you feel better about yourself? weedgoku You are taking criticism of a comic very personally. I have several comics, both webcomics and print, I read that are perfectly enjoyable. They don’t always go in directions I enjoy but they are written well enough that I don’t mind it at all. I actually enjoy engaging with people who criticize the comics I like, as well, rather than just trying to shut them down with personal attacks. Often times people who aren’t blinded by love for a comic, as I admittedly have been over a few of my favorites in the past, actually do have valid points to make. But no, lets just get really mad someone thinks differently about a comic and attach our personal self worth to it. Robert And now I hope the story progresses in a manner you find absolutely unacceptable… so you can self destruct. Not everything has to have a message. Sometimes things happen in certain ways… more than once. Sometimes, we see something for what we think it is, and ignore what it could be, or truly is. I’m enjoying the story, and am interested to see where this leads. Even if it goes somewhere I’ve seen stories go before… because that does happen in real life… much less in literary ones. “Oh man, this story sucks… I KNEW he was going to take the same freeway to work in the morning… he’s done it every morning in the whole movie… wow… been done before, totally predictable, I’m going to rant about it.” Literal quote from me… that’s the thought that ran in my mind in response to your message. Relax. Unclench. It’s a story… not a mandatory behavior manual. weedgoku I’ve said it before, but I’m out with this comic once this arc is over whether I find it picks up or not. I hope it gets better, I really do. I enjoyed the earlier arcs but I find it’s gone down hill in terms of narrative quality since the art’s started to improve. I doubt there’s any actual correlation to it, and if I really wanted to I could probably find a more specific arc where the decline started. But you’re right, not everything has to have a message. But it would be nice if plot threads didn’t just vanish into the ether, if resolutions weren’t just shrugged off and morally grey actions were either treated as such, or evaluated as more than “this is good because I personally benefited from it!” or “this is good because that guy is a jerk and everyone in the comments agrees”. I bet that sounds like I’m still talking about this arc, right? Nope, moonshadow. How many people were thrilled when Furnace died? Just because he was a jerk. Then his death was just kind of waved off as “oh and this guy died too” and never mentioned again. A whole dam blew up because moonshadow wanted to torture someone she simply suspected of a crime and it’s just “that’s okay, no one used this dam anyway!” Then why make that a plot point at all. That right there is my big issue with this comic’s writing. So many things could be really interesting, it could be really well done. But the author seems almost afraid to roll with anything that might make any major impact on the story or the characters in a way that doesn’t end with a net positive. When you know everything will, by the end of the arc, come up roses it’s hard to stay engaged with the story. I’m not trying to say the comic is bad, irredeemable or objectively inferior like a lot of people seem to be taking it. I’m just saying it’s frustrating as a former fan to see the path they’ve taken it down. The first few arcs were fantastic, now it’s starting to feel like it’s wish fulfillment fantasy. Robert You know, I browsed through some of your past posts. You are an ass. An unmitigated, braying donkey. I find your manner abrasive and offensive. I hope, someday, that you can find some peace for yourself, so you no longer feel the need to burden others with your pain. Weatherheight But I thought I was the ass and an unmitigated braying donkey… ::trots off with drooping ears and a disappointed air:: weedgoku On the other hand, at least I don’t go around insulting other people. As an artist myself I’d gladly take people passionate enough to criticize my work over people blindly attacking anyone with differing opinions any day. Stagnation is the death of creativity. Crow Please don’t make Clevin a creeper… He read as well-meaning but just naive, and I really liked the page where he seemed to have moved past his crush. I really hope he doesn’t start start getting written as some sort of stalker. And yes, I know he works there, but someone looking at you and then hiding is not usually an indicator of anything good, especially for slightly awkward guys. Crow I know that the point of this comic is sort of that the whole superhero thing is in the past, but for some reason I really want to see how this world would deal with a biostatic hero. Someone in that world who WASN’T given super-strength or regeneration or invisibility. That just strikes me as a really cool avenue that hasn’t been explored yet. Robert Keep up the good work. I like the story concept and the art is good. Thank you for taking the time to produce an enjoyable webcomic.