SFP

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  • rogue_lettuce

    He made a lot of pasta, guys.

    • AdamBombTV

      He’s a Pasta Masta’

    • Marika Oniki

      Don’t disparage the little things; kinda hard to make the big things without them. Granted, even he thinks it’s stupid of him to get upset about it, but I guess, to me, that all depends on how long they’ve been dating now (I’d GUESS not too long, since Allison hasn’t introduced Clevin to the family, and it doesn’t look like she’s due for another hair-grind, though that coulda happened off-panel in the intervening time). And hey, maybe this will end up with him getting more involved in Valkyrie. Maybe not. He just seems to want to know that his contributions matter, and is worried they don’t, compared to the others in her life.

      • nat365

        For Alison to have had the time to set up and launch Valkyrie, including remodelling the building and, presumably, hiring staff, a few months have passed *at least*. I’d have guessed a minimum of six. Setting up a brand new organisation to the point of being able to launch it is not a speedy process, even if you have ‘superhero cachet’.

        • Rando

          She has access to construction robots to do all the remodeling for her.

          Robots that will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without breaks, don’t have a union restricting them from doing certain jobs or requiring a certain number of people to be hired and do nothing.

          That should cut you down to a 1/4th of the time at least.

          • Some guy

            Closing on a warehouse takes about 4 hours. Cleaning it takes a couple days for a team of humans to do it. Unionized Government contractors can even sleepwalk through this level remodel job in a week, so I would imagine the robots and superpowered people managed it in a day during an 80’s style montage. I’ll be charitable and assume they had the floor cleaned, surfaced, and painted, which takes a week since making floor paint cure faster than it wants to ruins it. I don’t imagine the inability to touch the floor during that time inconvenienced the floating robots or the flying girl.

            They probably spent more time planning the party congratulating themselves for spending money and employing robots to build a clubhouse than they spent actually working on this building.

          • Rando

            I agree with you, but I also feel safe in assuming the literal super genius she has on the payroll probably has some method/material for the floors that doesn’t take a week to.

          • That same guy

            I’d almost agree with you, but she seems like she would think faster curing floor surfacing would be beneath her.

            She’d be right, both literally and figuratively. Having to wait a few extra days on remod/rehab projects isn’t a big enough deal for her to have wasted her talents on.

            In either event, I can’t see a group of connected, wealthy people taking a whole week to do what they’ve done with what they’ve started with.

          • Rando

            Yeah, I can see that.

            But I can also see something like, “Oh, I have this protective epoxy spray I can use on the floor. It is only a micron thick, dries instantly, and will stop a 50 cal round! I was going to use it on tanks, but it melts in 1000 celsius heat.”

            Although, given how she is with the motorcycle you are probably right. She wouldn’t use it due to the heat flaw, even if it would never be applicable.

          • The renovation is almost certainly among the easiest, least time-consuming and most externally contractable aspects to setting Valkyrie up as a real organisation, though. Building up, testing, checking and safeguarding the online and offline infrastructure required would take significantly longer.

      • M. Alan Thomas II

        As a part-time house-husband, I endorse the making of pasta as a key support service.

        • I *really* want to upvote your comment, but, what do you mean by ‘part-time’?
          Because my husband and I both work (one from home office, one externally), both do household chores, and both make meals for and support the other when important. For us, this is simply an accepted part of life between two people sharing one life and one home, one which doesn’t confer on either of us any particular status.

          • M. Alan Thomas II

            I mean my wife works full-time and pays more of the household bills while I work part-time and do a proportionally greater share of the housework as an equivalent of another part-time job.

            The phrase “house[spouse]” is usually used with regards to people who don’t work at all, and not with regards to people who work full-time, but as the lone part-timer in our household we’ve agreed that it’s appropriate for me to refer to myself as a part-time househusband (and part-time librarian).

          • Ah, I see. Thanks for explaining!

            I definitely use the term as being more closely linked to people who don’t take on additional paid employment. My confusion was with what a part-time house-spouse might actually be. I couldn’t work out if you meant that you worked part-time, or if you had multiple partners and were supported by one of them, or were in some sort of job-share.

            The reason I wasn’t sure whether to upvote was based around the fact that I personally see part-time labour – especially in the job market we have access to, presently – as perfectly well-equatable to full-time work. If someone works fewer hours it’s natural and reasonable for them to take on more of the household responsibilities in the relationship. This doesn’t automatically require a specific change in title, as in my opinion all residents of any given household ought to be contributing to it in some form, simply to an appropriate level based on the remaining time and energy they each have to offer. Even a full-time worker should do the occasional load of laundry and help to clean up around the house.

            Perhaps it’s simply coming from a broader wish to see male household responsibility normalised but it seems to me that if a female partner worked part-time and was described as a “part-time housewife” she’d usually be quite affronted at the suggestion that the chores were still an automatic part of her status as a spouse.

          • M. Alan Thomas II

            That’s understandable. For our part, I wouldn’t use the term (either referring to me or referring to her) if my wife disagreed. And I do like reminding people that a woman can be the full-time, primary earner and her husband can be responsible for more of the chores.

            On a more personal level, I can’t do full-time paid work, for various reasons. But I can do paid work part-time and volunteer work part-third time and housework part-time, and it helps me to have the appropriate titles for each to remind me that they’re all valuable callings and not just things I do to fill my time.

          • Obviously if it works for the two of you, suits your own relationship, and is by mutual agreement, that’s absolutely fine and I’m not trying to pick at it (nor do I have any place to do so as an external bystander on the internet!). It just struck me as an unusual perspective.

      • Rando

        Nah, he is being an entitled…

        If he wanted to actually be involved, he should have asked to be involved. Either find out if there is anything his skill set can actually help with, or volunteer something worthwhile. Hell, just offer to stuff info envelopes.

        “I don’t know how much everyone else was involved, or anything about what actually was done. But I made you pasta and tea and you didn’t PUBLICLY thank ME for it.”

        If you require public validation for acts of kindness towards your SO, you need to re-evaluate that relationship, and why you are REALLY doing those acts.

        He doesn’t even know what work or even who was involved in setting up Valkyrie, so asking to be publicly thanked for his support is kind of ridiculous.

        • Danygalw

          He didn’t require it. He just felt sad.

  • AdamBombTV

    Oh boyf, You adorable nerd. She’s about to thank you in her own special way. *wink wink, nudge nudge*

  • The more he talked the sillier it sounded. Short and sweet, Clevin.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      He sounds disturbingly like me, including the rambling on trying to explain an only semi-rational feeling and wanting to explain how you feel but not wanting to make it someone else’s burden.

  • Danygalw

    Aw, Clevin. You’re so terribly insecure.

  • Strawman

    As a reader, I would have liked to see at least some amount of pasta making before this reveal, because as it stands no matter how genuine some part of me can’t help but feel that Clevin is being incredibly entitled.
    I quarter expect Alison to respond “Dude, you haven’t been a real secondary character for a whole issue yet”

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      Yeah, I have this weird feeling of “You did what now?”

    • Arthur Frayn

      Pasta making? Is that some kind of code?

      • He says “I’ve made a lot of pasta” but we don’t actually see that on-page.
        (Edit: Unless you were being ironic, in which case wink wink nudge nudge saynomore.)

        • rpenner

          Bender: The use of words expressing something other then their literal intention.
          Now that, is, irony.

      • Some guy

        It better be, because that’s like the easiest meal you can make and barely deserves thanks in private, let alone during a speech.

        I get that he’s a college kid and maybe boiling water and waiting ten minutes is hard work for him at this point in his life, but he is cartwheeling back towards Entitled Nice Guy territory with this shit.

        • Bauke

          IT’S NOT ABOUT THE F—ING PASTA…

          OK, got that out of my system.

          Ali asked him why he was sad, he’s telling her why he’s sad.

          He’s being a good communicator even though it’s hard for him. (See the body language and the fact that he concedes it feels childish to say it.)

          They are dating, they hang out enough for him to cook and make tea. This, to me, implies that their relationship is beyond casual dates. And he feels left out.

          • That same guy

            No one think’s it’s about the fucking pasta. We are using hyperbole to mock him for even bringing it up.

            We know what happened, we read the same strip you did.

            Sure he’s being a good communicator despite it being hard for him. No one is disputing that. The issue here is that what he is communicating is frankly (given what’s actually been depicted previously and not just dictated here), stupid.

            They’ve had between 2 and 5 dates, depending on your interpretation of the strips depicting such. He hasn’t met her parents yet. If he has parents, she hasn’t met them yet. Even by his description, he’s been about as supportive as you can reasonably expect a non-romantic friend to be. Alison probably should have thanked all the non-directly contributing friends in her speech and included him as such.

            Having dealt with real world Clevins, I’m betting his real issue isn’t that he wasn’t thanked in her speech, it’s that he wasn’t acknowledged as her boyfriend in her speech.

          • Bauke

            “They’ve had between 2 and 5 dates, depending on your interpretation of the strips depicting such.”

            He’s spending nights with her while she’s working and he’s making her dinner. “I made a lot of pasta” to me implies that he’s cooked for her *at least* 3 times.

            My relationships don’t usually get to that kind of place a few months in, personally, so I’m interpreting the time jump to being several months. (Also because setting up Valkyrie wouldn’t have been a matter of weeks)

            I think they are a lot further into their relationship than 5 dates.

      • Serena

        Maybe he’s actually making pasta from scratch?!

    • Zerilan

      Yeah this feels entirely unearned. Pretty much the sum of their relationship we’ve seen before this scene was them holding hands on the train.

      • dpolicar

        Sure, but if we’re going to take what we’ve seen of their relationship as representative of their relationship, their entire interaction makes no sense. I mean, if they don’t have a relationship, why did she invite him? Why was she glad to see him? Why did she introduce him as her boyfriend?

        We’ve been given plenty of cues that they have a serious relationship. We can either attend to those cues or not.

        • Zerilan

          We have cues that they’re in a relationship, how “serious” is it is pretty ambiguous.

          • dpolicar

            If you want to suggest a different word you think fits better, I’ll listen.

            In the meantime, and regardless of the word we use, treating them holding hands on the train as the sum total of their relationship because it’s all we’ve seen seems unjustified to me.

          • Zerilan

            And I disagree there’s enough to say there’s certainly been much more than that. The amount of time that’s passed in the comic is really vague, and there’s been too little “on-screen”. They could have been in a serious relationship for several months. They could have hung out a few times while a couple weeks have gone by. Or anywhere in between really.

          • dpolicar

            It seems decidedly odd that she would invite him to the reception and introduce him as her boyfriend and be as solicitous of his feelings as we’re seeing her be on the basis of their hanging out a few times, but you’re absolutely correct that it’s not strictly speaking impossible.

            And, sure, if that is what happened, then his behavior is unjustifiable… he’s behaving completely inappropriately for a “hung out a few times” relationship.

            So is she, incidentally.

          • Denimcurtain

            How is that odd? People bring the people they’re in a relationship to these types of things after the first date and introduce their girlfriend/boyfriend to the people at these types of things. They don’t tend to give them a shout out either.

            I think its up in the air about how close they are. I do think it’d be a weird turn if Clevin turned out to be manipulative without having prior red flags but the author has already made some weird choices with Clevin. Including giving us virtually nothing to go off of on him. Him just being insecure wouldn’t be out of character from what we’ve seen but, to be honest, that isn’t something that should be held against Allison unless he’s done far more than what he’s stated “on-screen”. It also should be an easy fix if he’s just feeling insecure and isn’t being manipulative.

          • dpolicar

            OK. Thanks for the data point.

    • Morty Smith

      “Look, Clevin… You have a lot of opinions for a guy whose name started out as a typo and was left in as a joke because it made the writer smile. You only still exist in this comic because the writer wanted to balance out the ratio of morally decent/reprehensible male characters. Your existence puts my dad in jeopardy, so you’re on thin ice, bucko. Oh, and the only difference between “Pasta” and “Ramen” is the flavor packets, and no one gets credit for Ramen.”

      • Seer of Trope

        “You only still exist in this comic because the writer wanted to balance out the ratio of morally decent/reprehensible male characters. Your existence puts my dad in jeopardy, so you’re on thin ice, bucko.”

        Makes sense

    • Caliban

      Yes, how dare he have selfish thoughts that he keeps to himself. Even worse, how dare he express them when asked.

  • Flesh Forge

    B-but senpai I made you pasta and tea 🙁

  • Miri Waites

    Although Feral showed her A way to help people that didn’t involve a one punch solution, and really upped the stakes for her to find her way to help people longer-term, and Brad and Pintsize kinda taught her how to be a human and interract with other people. Pintsize also demonstrated what it looks like to step away from the dream that used to define you and, putting your fears and regrets aside, find a new purpose and rebuild a new life as an adult.* Feral and Pintsize may not have tangibly contributed to Valkyrie – but they did play a real and measurable part in forming Ali into the person she is becoming.

    *Some adults dance on people’s heads (non-violently). It’s a thing now

    • Rando

      But he made PASTA and TEA for her.

      Like do you even understand the amount of effort that takes? You have to boil water! Then put a thing into that water!

      He could have given himself third degree burns!

      Honestly he deserves a Nobel peace prize for his sacrifice.

  • Kid Chaos

    Needy much? I mean, you only just started dating, and you weren’t super-close before. Take a chill pill, dude. 👿

  • Martine Votvik

    I see people feel like Clevin is being silly and/and entitled about this whole thing, but I disagree. I see this as a take on the whole notion of “girlfriend” or “wife” both in relation to superhero comics, but also in relation to hero worship in the real world, in regards to entrepreneurs and scientists and such.

    Romantic significant others actually play a pretty important part in peoples lives. They so often get relegated to the role of decoration or fluff in stories or in headlines and the impact they have on the success of things get downplayed and forgotten.

    Clevin sure isn’t a traditional wife in this setting, and we havn’t seen enough of their relationship to get a feeling of how supportive he has been, but we do know some little things.

    We know that they have been together for a significat amount of time, at least several months while Allison got Valkyrie on its legs. We know that Clevin is the sort of person who throws parties to fundraise for his friends heart surgery and who walks Allison home from Brooklyn to Manhattan just to spend some more time with her without making a big deal about it. And that he is the sort of person who owns up to his feelings and talks to his friends about them and tries to figure them out even when he isn’t sure how.

    This sort of person, how could he have been anything but integral to Allisons emotional well being and stability throughout this stressful and exhausting time? After she has been through one roller coster of pain and self doubt after another, how could he not have been a soothing balm of calm and acceptance to her?

    And that sort of thing matters so much and it gets ignored and devaulated so much.

    I’m so glad he is able to vocalize his hurt on not being included.

    It is such a radical thing.

    • Here’s a Name

      Thank You!!!!

    • Strawman

      Wholehearted agreement there, but in the potential case you were referring to my comment also, I just want to make it clear my issue comes from the fact that this is unfairly represented. Because we haven’t seen much of what he’s talking about, and they have been relatively speaking close for very few comic pages, it does sound more entitled than I’m guessing it should.
      And I don’t think this was intentional; that this absence of filler is a narrative metaphor for Alison’s personal lack of appreciation for his work.

      I don’t think the people telling Clevin to get over himself necessarily disagree with you, I think they’re being tricked into it by unfair storytelling.

      • Rando

        Nah, he is being passive aggressively entitled about the whole thing. Regardless of the storytelling.

        Ask yourself this;

        If Al was sick and Clevin took care of her, making her soup and tea, and bringing her blankets or whatever. Once she is better, should she call a press conference and publicly thank him for taking care of her during that time?

        No, right? That would be silly. It is something you thank that person for privately and do in turn for them because you care about them. Not because you want to be publicly acknowledged for your noble deed.

        • MoonicaMusing

          It’s not a similar situation at all though, is it? In your hypothetical, after getting better, she DOES call a press conference and THEN thanks everyone (the doctor and pharmacist and the guy covering her shift at work) except for him.

          He was caught unaware by his emotion, and shaming him for feeling it is not right. If he raised it, sure, he’s looking for a pat on the head. But she kept asking him what is wrong when he didn’t want to say anything.

          • Rando

            No, it is exactly the same situation.

            In my hypothetical she is sick, is cared for, then goes and calls her work related press conference. Thanks the people who built her organizations building, provided the contacts to get volunteers, who gave her the idea and moral foundation to start it in the first place.

            No mention is made about the doctors, pharmacists, or anyone else who was involved when she was sick, because she thanked them all privately when they helped her, and it has nothing to do with the organization.

            The way he is acting is the literal definition of entitlement, not to mention the passive aggressive way he is talking about it. He should absolutely be called out on it.

          • Bauke

            i disagree with you.

            I think your hypothetical is silly. The doctors, pharmacists etc. are doing their jobs.
            Clevin isn’t doing a job, he’s her boyfriend, and Ali seems to have neglected his emotional needs a bit here.

            Ali had to ask him twice, he says himself that if feels dumb and childish.

            “…I wasn’t expecting a thank you, but when other people got one for doing the kind of things that I do, I thought maybe I’d get one too. And when I didn’t, I just got sad all of the sudden.”

            He’s sad about feeling taken for granted.

            I don’t think he’s being passive agressive. He’s sad. I doubt he was “acting sad” so she would ask him what was wrong.

          • Rando

            Which is why I didn’t bring up the doctor’s to begin with. Go back to my original hypothetical.

            “I don’t know what anyone else did to help, but I feel my contribution was more important, so I should have been thanked in public.”

            Is entitlement. He has no idea what anyone else did. He was not involved.

            He hadn’t even met her family before tonight, he is not in deep enough in their relationship, to be expecting to be thanked for everything she accomplishes.

          • Bauke

            I still don’t see why you think he’s wrong, but this seems to be a “Let’s agree to disagree” situation.

            In my opinion he’s not asking her, nor expecting, to be “thanked for everything she accomplishes.”

            He’s just sad that he didn’t get a mention when some other people did. He has the right to be upset. He’s not demanding anything from her, he acknowledges that it feels silly, but she asked why he was sad. So he’s telling her.

          • Rando

            Because that conversation is pretty much a text book example of how someone passive aggressively manipulates someone else.

            *acts oddly*
            “Are you ok?”
            “yeah………”
            “You can tell me.”
            “No it’s silly…”
            “I won’t react badly, its fine.”
            “Oh…ok….I guess…its just dumb…” *Suddenly spiels a long involved speech detailing specific points and grievances*

            He has no right to be upset. He is not entitled to being thanked. They have not been in a relationship long enough for it to matter in this scenario.

            The fact he doesn’t even know how involved other people were with the project, is of huge significance to that.

          • Zerilan

            Yeah I 100% agree with Rando here. He’s being insecure, needy, entitled, and really passive-aggressive here.

          • Insatiable Booksluts

            Clevin does not have a history of being passive-aggressive and this 100% does not have to be read as being such. Clevin might be feeling a little needy, yeah. He might be feeling a little insecure. It may or may not be accurate to how Alison really feels about him (though I think we all kinda knew she was going to take Clevin for granted in some respect). But it doesn’t mean he’s being passive-aggressive, manipulative, or even straight out aggressive about it.

            Like the comment about unwinding a “long involved speech with specific grievances”–that is not an accurate depiction of what he did. Yeah, he said some words. But he also admitted he didn’t know how much the others contributed and said it just seemed like they did the same kind of stuff. This was not an attack where he jabbed her with specific bullet points. This was him trying to talk out why he felt sad, which he was *barely* seeming sad in the previous comic so it’s not like he was moping around or being an asshole so she’d ask him what’s wrong.

            I think this is totally unfair to Clevin. You guys are not reading tone correctly at all. And I am a person who grew up in a house where learning tone was a survival skill, so it’s not as though I do not have experience with passive-aggressive manipulation.

          • Zerilan

            I do not agree at all that I am incorrectly reading the tone.

          • Some guy

            Yeah, really. Max was a super cool guy until he suddenly wasn’t.

          • Zerilan

            Even Patrick kind of just suddenly turned into a strawman version of himself once it was time to write him out of being a love interest.

          • Arkone Axon

            That… is true. His sudden turn into inane Objectivist quote spewing ninny was very much out of left field.

          • Nightsbridge

            There were warning signs and red flags, my dude.

          • dpolicar

            Supposing you’re right.

            Are you merely saying that it would be better if he had different feelings, or was the sort of person who would have different feelings in this situation?

            Or are you also saying that it would be better if he remained silent about the feelings he had, or if he pretended to feelings he didn’t have?

          • Irreleverent

            Except Feral and Pintsize weren’t people who helped in any concrete way. I mean, Pintsize’s contribution was giving Alison a check that was hers. Feral’s contribution was… I really don’t know what she contributed beyond sleeping with Lisa.

            If they’re seen as moral foundation, it’s only just as much as Clevin is. Clevin isn’t some totally detached professional helping her out; he’s another important part of that support network that made it possible, and a bigger contributor than the other two, really.

          • Zerilan

            1) Clevin has no idea what their contributions are going by anything we know. He’s only even just met Pintsize today.

            2) Feral’s contribution is that she made possibly the most selfless act ever and it was the biggest catalyst to Allison’s current frame of mind. Feral’s sacrifice is pretty much the conerstone of this narrative.

            3) Pintsize’s contribution was also largely made as a joke, but he was also essentially the leader of the first actual superhero team and the public figure professionally closest to Allison.

          • dpolicar

            “He was caught unaware by his emotion, and shaming him for feeling it is not right. ”

            Precisely this.

        • Jon

          In law, if two people are in a relationship and buy a house together, one works all day, provides all of the money, has the house purely in their name, and the other does all of the support work, raises children, cooks and cleans, the person who put absolutely no money into the property is still entitled to a percentage of the value of the property on divorce.

          Because that person through their actions enabled the other to do what they were doing with their work, and there is value in that, even if they didn’t ask for something in return. Even if it was only done because of love.

          It’s called a constructive trust.

          So, while not a press conference, society does seriously disagree with you on the value of unpaid compassionate work.

          • Rando

            That’s a pretty huge leap from;

            “Hasn’t met her family and has probably only been in a relationship for a month.”

            to;

            “Two people who have bought a house and live together.”

          • Scott

            Regardless of whether or not Clevin SHOULD feel neglected isn’t really relevant. The fact is that he does feel neglected. That is absolutely something that he should voice. Relationships are all about communication and discussing feelings, even ones that seem inappropriate, is a huge part of that. We are social and emotional creatures and, even when we can tell that we are being illogical as Clevin can here, we can’t just change how we feel.
            For those who are saying that Clevin is being emotionally manipulative and abusive here, I think it is way too early to call that. If he develops a pattern of requiring constant affirmation in inappropriate circumstances, then it might be something to consider. Right now, this just looks like someone opening up to their significant other about something that bothers them.
            Again, whether or not Clevin is right to feel this way is irrelevant. What matters is that he is willing to share his feelings with Allison instead of holding them in.

          • Rando

            Read bubbles 2 and 3 in the final panel again. He is dismissing the contributions of her other friends over his own, without even knowing what they are.

            It is manipulation.

          • Scott

            Well, I guess there are just two different ways to read this page then. You could either read it as Clevin attempting to give voice to an emotion he is feeling despite knowing that it is illogical, a necessary and healthy thing for any relationship to be successful. Or, you could read it as Clevin being a narcissist who is incapable of having a relationship in which he is not the most important person and will resort to lies and emotional abuse in order to ensure his needs are met. I don’t really have any way to convince you that your interpretation is wrong because we haven’t really seen enough of Clevin. I guess only time will tell.

          • Lisa Izo

            Not just live together. Jon clearly implied the relationship being two people who are married (since you can’t get divorced if you’re not first married).

            That being said, I think the point of Jon’s post seems (accurately) to be that society does consider non-monetary emotional support to have actual value to the person getting the support, as evident in a divorce proceeding to the non-working spouse as it relates to a house.

          • Rando

            Which still doesn’t apply to someone you have been dating for a month.

          • Lisa Izo

            You’re missing the point though. The point is that emotional support, even of something that you personally might decide it worthless, DOES have value in society and the law. Obviously it’s going to have less value for a couple that have been in a relationship for a few months than it would a couple that are married for a few years …. but Klevin isnt upset that Alison isnt giving him half of her stuff – he’s upset that she didn’t even mention him at all, as if he does not exist and did not provide ANY emotional support when she said that others who provided just as little emotional support during her creation of Valkyrie WERE mentioned.

        • Tylikcat

          I just have to ask, mostly because of the choice of the name – are you just trolling us? Heck, are you the return for Clemens (though I thought I saw a Clemen around…) Because I have been missing him…

          • Zerilan

            His statements are pretty valid though even if there is some intent to troll.

          • Tylikcat

            And do you remember Clemens in the early days?

            I mean, if this were a return, it’s with a specific persona – but then, it’s someone who has chosen to name themselves Rando, adopting positions, that, if fairly well reasoned, kind of are what you’d expect of some rando. It’s sort of brilliant.

          • Rando

            I have no idea who that is. But no, not trolling, just too lazy to come up with a real name.

          • Tylikcat

            I’m crushed.

          • Loranna

            *is also crushed*

            I miss Clemens too. Now who will show us all how Alison’s speech was, in fact, the diabolical gloating of a budding, world-crushing tyrant, who is emotionally abusing all who come within the blinding radiance of her mere presence?!

            . . . Really though, I miss Clemens. They made me laugh.

            Loranna

          • Tylikcat

            I was getting so much enjoyment imagining this as a piece of Clemens’ performance art.

            (That’s a better call on pronouns than mine.)

          • Lysiuj

            I actually also wondered if this was Clemens… after all he too had a beef about how Clevin revealing his feelings to Alison was emotional manipulation. So it suddenly seems possible…
            (And I say this as someone who doesn’t really miss him…)

          • Tylikcat

            And such a perfect sockpuppet name!

        • Dafydd Carmichael

          In the space between the moment that he felt sad (when she was standing up giving a speech) and now (maybe 4 hours later as they go home) How should he have dealt with his feelings that wouldn’t have been passive aggressive? Should he taken the initiative and raised his feelings with her before she asked? Should he not have acknowledged that his feelings were dumb?

          Passive aggressive action is an indirect expression of hostility towards someone else. Do you genuinely think Clevin is expressing that, or is he just ashamed of how he reacted to her speech? I think the difficulty here is that your definition of passive aggressive doesn’t mesh with the dictionary definition.

      • Martine Votvik

        I recognise what you are saying, and I acknowledged it in my post, we havn’t seen enough of their relationship to really know what has been going on.

        However SFP does a lot of this kind of storytelling, where it let’s things develop off screen and where we have to infer from the new status quo what has been going on in the mean time.

        All authors continuously balance between telling us too much and telling us too little and there will always be people who feel left out and confused where others feel spoon fed. In the case of Clevin we have a bunch of things to infer from, all which should lead us down a path of interpreting him in a generous way.

        Still we could get surprised, there could be a twist where the seemingly nice guy is actually a bit of an asshole in a relationship, it happens. However what would be the point of that in this comic, especially after Allison just dated a guy who loosly fit into that trope.

        There is also the format of the publishing to considder, where we are left hanging half a week before we get the other bit. It’s not to far fetched to considder that people who binge read through the archives in a year or so will interpret this exchange in a totally different way since they get the whole interaction at once. After all I don’t see this going any other way that Allison acknowleging his feelings on the next page, probably with som apologising which will make his statements a lot more believable to the readers.

    • Tylikcat

      I agree with Martine.

      A few comments –

      First, they are currently having a private, intimate moment. We are only voyeurs. They’re a young couple working out their relationship dynamics, and doing a pretty good job, I think.

      Contrast this interaction with the one starting on this page, and in particular, note that it is given a certain wait by it’s position at the end of page – there’s a bit of a cliffhanger: is Clevin about to get grouchy because he’s left out of the conversation? Is he about to aggressively insert himself? Nope, Clevin’s just fine.

      http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-12-6/

      I don’t know if that moment struck other people as much. Maybe it’s just that I’ve attended so many functions with men, who felt socially awkward and were assholes to me about it. (Or were assholes in public. There are variations.) It was great that Al checked in him, both then and now (I think we’ve seen enough evidence of perception on his part that I’m not that worried about she’s doing all the heavy lifting.)

      • Miri Waites

        A few years back my sister’s then-boyfriend joined us for a family meal at a restaurant (for my birthday). There were I think 10 of us there, sat on both sides of a long table. He and my sister sat at one end, so both only next to one person on our table. He sulked afterwards and complained to my sister because most people were ‘ignoring’ him.

        The fact that the dynamics of a long table make it quite hard to talk to people not immediately opposite, next to you, or next to the people opposite you apparently was irrelevant. It was clearly most people being deliberately exclusionary. That the people who did talk to him were either sitting opposite, next to, or opposite next to him – was down to us being less rude rather than that being how conversations at a long table in a restaurant generally work.

        He was that fun combination of dismissive of her opinions (would shout and swear at her if my sister tried to raise a problem with him) and hypersensitive about things that mattered to him or which he felt negatively affected him. I think it may be called ’emotionally abusive asshole’ or a variant thereof…

    • Cubicle Lifestyle

      1. Yes. Absolutely this. Even when I was reading Allison’s speech a few pages back, the absence of Clevin in her thank-you’s stood out to me. It was an odd omission, and especially for Allison, who has been consistently shown as trying to be thoughtful and considerate of the feelings of others.

      2. This whole exchange also speaks to my personal experience a lot, because my husband has recently become a sort-of-celebrity who has to give speeches very often, and he also has really awful anxiety. And I am very frequently the one putting in a lot of emotional labor and support and comfort behind the scenes (because I love him, and I am really happy to do it!) to both navigate his anxiety and help him organize his thoughts. I cannot overstate how much this is actual, difficult, time-intensive work, and it can take a lot of energy and attention, but again — I am VERY happy to do it, because I care for him deeply (and also, I think that the work he is doing is terribly important). And when I need it from him, he absolutely returns the favor. It’s very much a mutual thing.
      You can bet your ass that he not only brings me up in pretty much every public speech he can, but he is also very aware that he wouldn’t be able to do this at all if he was doing it alone, and he acknowledges this consistently.
      Even when we were dating for only a month or two, way back when, we still had a dynamic where he was coming from a stressful and unstable environment and he was deeply appreciative that he had a calm, safe space with me whenever we hung out. And even at only a month or two, everybody in his personal sphere already knew who I was; and it would have been an odd omission if he had neglected to say anything about me at an event like this one.

      3. In a relationship, being able to safely communicate and discuss your feelings, no matter how trivial or petty you might think they are, is 100% the most important thing. Like, woah, so much the most important thing. And frankly, from my experience, usually those seemingly trivial or petty concerns are symptoms of a much larger issue which has been sitting unexamined for a while, and it is SO GOOD to be able to bring it up and talk about it and, in doing so, ensure maximum happiness and comfort with each other, because that’s how this works, that’s how those things get fixed and resolved, oh my god. And (returning to SFP) if Clevin didn’t bring up what feels to me like a totally legit thing which I think we can understand is symptomatic of a much larger concern about his relationship with Allison, then he would be a far less realistic character to me than the person we actually have on the page, and this relationship would be both less healthy and less believable. (Even if bringing it up leads to an eventual dissolution of the relationship: not bringing it up would have led to the same thing, just with more festering and resentment.)

      • Martine Votvik

        You know I didn’t even notice that she left Clevin out when I read the speech the first time.

        I wonder if some of the reason why Clevins support and pasta making hasn’t been activly shown in the comic is in itself to illustrate how easily things like this gets forgotten. So that people wouldn’t immediatly judge Allison to be an asshole for not including him in the speech. Because also, him being a guy would make him making her pasta stand more out to the readers than if Allison was a man and Clevin a woman. People are generally more impressed when guys step up like that and take it more for granted when women do it.

        I keep getting impressed by the story telling skills in this comic.

        Then again, the scene isn’t over yet 😉

        • dpolicar

          ” I didn’t even notice that she left Clevin out when I read the speech the first time.”

          It jumped out at me the first time through, but (much like Clevin) I figured I was reading too much into it. I was surprised and pleased when it was called out explicitly.

          • Shjade

            ^ Exactly the same for me. I noticed it, but when he didn’t bring it up at all when she checked in the first time I put it out of my mind as “Clevin doesn’t think it’s a thing, so it’s not a thing,” ’cause he’s been pretty up front about his feelings consistently so far.

            Turns out he just didn’t want to be a party pooper, which is also understandable and probably the right move: AT the party wasn’t the context for this conversation to happen.

    • Irreleverent

      It’s also important to note that Clevin isn’t just coming up to Al and whining about this. He was trying to just ignore it and not make a fuss, which is the unhealthy coping mechanism being advocated by the comments.

      You can’t really control what hurts you, and, apart from very good actors, you can’t hide that for long from someone who knows you well. Doubling down and lying about it when confronted is just going to make everything worse. I’m of the opinion Clevin WAS being unreasonable because he wasn’t communicating, and this is him resolving that. (Well, mostly Al resolving that) This is how you don’t break up over stupid shit; you don’t let it pile up.

      Beyond that I just find Clevin’s concern to be totally reasonable. It’s perhaps a little thing, but the words we choose say more about what’s on our minds than our sentiment does. They’re painfully honest for all but the most careful speakers. Clevin being left out when other solely emotional contributors weren’t definitely says something and he ought to address that. He wants to know that Al sees him as a serious part of her life. The response could save them both a lot of time if she doesn’t. I doubt that will be her reaction, though.

      • Tylikcat

        There’s an interesting little exercise in performative masculinity going on here.

      • Dan Nicholson

        And… it’s worth noting, Al ain’t perfect. She’s young yet and hasn’t dated much. When would she have had a chance to try a serious relationship before? When she wore the mask? The rich asshole? The mind-reader she crushed on?

        But also? She’s got a lotta superhero baggage. And… I don’t know if there’s a specific rule like when she tackled an innocent teleporter outside a hospital… but I could see some weird compartmentalization to avoid a Lois Lane situation.

        Regardless, this is a good time for her to clarify her feelings and get seriously smoochy.

    • dpolicar

      “I’m so glad he is able to vocalize his hurt on not being included.”

      Yes, yes, yes. This.

    • Shjade

      *applauds Martine’s comment*

      Even if, barring all other circumstances involved, it was a clearly selfish feeling on Clevin’s part – even IF that were the case – addressing it directly and in a non-hostile way like this is great. Like, it’s never the kind of conversation that can be had without SOMEONE potentially feeling attacked/petty/defensive/insert favorite negative emotion here, but this is about as clean as one could navigate the topic, particularly for their age range.

      He’s not demanding anything, he’s not using it as emotional blackmail, he’s just…expressing a feeling.

    • Eva Smiljanić

      I agree. I’d be a bit hurt in his position too. I wouldn’t even demand mentions in a speech or anything-just my so saying, in private, that I helped them would be enough to satisfy me.

  • Jubal DiGriz

    Yo, emotional labor is labor too. He did everything he could think of to help Alison, and that ended being little nice things to help easy her stress and help her concentrate on the big stuff. And he feels unappreciated because when it was the big time to say thank yous, it didn’t occur to Alison simply thank him.

    He’s not even asking to be thanked, Alison wanted to know what was up with him so he shared his feelings. If Clevin is still coming off as needy or entilted to you, switch the gender roles abd see how that feels.

    • Martine Votvik

      word!

    • Rando

      It feels exactly the same? As someone being needy and/or entitled. What the hell does gender roles have to do with someone expecting public declarations of gratitude for private unrelated actions?

      If you feel unappreciated because someone didn’t publicly thank you for something you did privately and unrelatedly, you need to re-think your relationship with that person. Why is being publicly acknowledged so important to you?

      Should Al also be thanking the Barista at Starbucks who makes her coffee? Oh and don’t forget the Chef’s at any restaurant she ate at during that time period.

      If he wanted to get thanked, he should have volunteered his time to actually helping the foundation, not spend 10 minutes making tea then acting like the whole thing couldn’t have happened without his support.

      • Jubal DiGriz

        Okay, sure. He’s coming off as entitled. ‘Cause when someone puts in some work to help some someone, they’re entitled to be thanked for it. Doesn’t have to be public, but a public statement does mean more than a private one.

        And the difference between Clevin and the barista and chefs is he’s doing without pay. There’s a huge problem in many societies that work without pay is seen as having little value… like parenting, or caring for sick relatives. Because it’s expected the labor is taken for granted, even if it’s astonishingly difficult.

        Clevin, in a very nice, nonconfrontational way that he didn’t even want to start talking about, is feeling his work was ignored and he’s being taken advantage of. Because it was, and he is. Feeling sad is utterly appropriate, and this is obviously akward to talk about because the assumption is taking emotional care of your partner is not something worthy enough to make note of or make an effort to reciprocate.

        • Rando

          Why does a public statement mean more than a private one? Someone thanking you for something you did, only matters when other people hear it?

          So the only reason you are doing those things, is so other people can be told how great and selfless you are?

          Yeah, that is an issue with you, not the person who didn’t thank you in their speech about something you had nothing to do with.

          No one said the work has no value, we are saying the work has nothing to do with the Valkyrie organization. There was no reason to thank him for boiling water for her, at that time. I am sure she has thanked him for doing such privately, when the action took place, and if that isn’t enough for him. He needs to re-think why he is even doing those things for her in the first place.

          I mentioned this in another reply, but since you brought it up as well.

          If Calvin took care of her when she was sick, should she then throw a press conference to publicly thank him for his deed?

          No, right? That would be silly. So why would she bring it up during her speech?

          And actually he brought it up in a passively aggressive entitled, whiny way.

          • Raven Black

            But then why does *everyone else* merit a public statement rather than a private one? Shouldn’t private thanks be equally good enough for all of them too?

          • Rando

            Because those thanks are all related specifically to those foundation that they are celebrating.

            She thanks Lisa for providing brainpower, robots, and other resources.
            She thanks Rich and Amanda for their professional skills in getting the foundation off the ground.
            She thanks Brad and Feral for their advice / inspiration in starting this.

            She gives a nod to Pintsize, mostly as a joke, for coming up with the concept of super teams. Which Valkyrie basically is.
            Then she thanks her family for raising her and instilling her with the morals she has today, and for indirectly being the reason she is starting Valkyrie.

            Every mention was from something vital in getting the foundation up and running, a reason for it even existing.

            No mention was given to anyone else involved. Hell, she didn’t even thank the people who had volunteered to work on the team, and they would be far more deserving than someone who boiled water a couple times.

          • Zorae42

            Except that’s not what she thanked Brad and Feral for, or at least that’s not what she said. She thanked Brad for being thoughtful and Feral for emotional support. Which are things that Clevin also provided her. And like you said, she thanked Pintsize as mostly a joke because she cares about him and wanted to validate their friendship. But she didn’t feel the need to do anything similar for Clevin.

            And you know what, that’s fine. She wasn’t obligated to mention him. And he even admits that. All he’s saying is that he feels sad he didn’t get a shout-out for being supportive when other people got one for doing the same.

          • Rando

            Brad being thoughtful was for talking to her about the situation and providing advice on what she should do. Not just general “You can do it!” support. I don’t want to dig through for the strip, but I remember them specifically talking about what she should do? I think on a roof?

            Feral was the literal inspiration for all of this, when she submitted herself to being operated on 24 hours a day to provide donor organs. Not just, “You can do it!” statements.

            The fact she didn’t specifically call those actions out means nothing, WE know that is why she was thanking them.

            If Clevin was important to her, he would have also known that was why they were being thanked.

            If he didn’t know, that is further proof that he isn’t as important as he thinks he is, and is not deserving of any thanks.

            Him feeling sad is fine. It is unwarranted and makes him entitled, but whatever. The way he is explaining it though makes it a passive aggressive manipulation. He is literally stating that her other friends contributions weren’t as important as his, without even knowing what they were.

          • Serena

            He isn’t stating that they “weren’t as important as his”; he explicitly states that he thought that, since he had provided similar emotional support contributions, that those contributions might’ve been in the “ballpark same area of importance” such as to warrant a thank you as well.

          • Rando

            Re-read the third bubble in the final panel. He is literally stating their contributions weren’t as important.

          • Raven Black

            I’m *mostly* sold on that explanation, except Pintsize getting a joke thanks for his non-contribution means Clevin also merits a joke thanks (and it seems like he’d have been satisfied with one). And family is absolutely not directly related to foundation things, they weren’t even making her pasta *during the same timeframe* as foundation things were happening, all they did was show up to the party, so Clevin’s claim on some public gratitude actually seems slightly stronger than family’s claim under this justification. (Thanking mom and dad certainly has a lot of historical precedent of course, less so with “also thanks to my boyfriend of 3 months for emotional support and boiling water.” Of course the pasta and tea is purely symbolic at this point and it’d be a bit mean to focus on it!)

            I mean, I wouldn’t even have noticed if I were in his place, but in *her* place, if my partner did what he just did, I’d say “shit, sorry about that, of course I appreciate your support,” give him a hug, and not feel like he’s being unreasonable at all. If that would be satisfactory then I think he’s alright; if he’d continue to be sad about it *after* that then I’d definitely reconsider.

          • Rando

            No one “merits” a joke thanks. It is a joke. Used to keep things light. As soon as you start doing it for everyone else it loses its humor.

            Not to mention joke thanking him for boiling water is actually kind of a mean joke, is it not? “Oh and to Clevin, who managed to boil water for me a couple of times.” Past that, what else would she joke about to thank him?

            Her family are the ones who instilled the values she lives with today into her, that is why she is thanking them. They are absolutely integral to the foundation existing and far more important to her than boiling water a couple of times.

          • Serena

            Y’know, I’m not sure which of your comments would be the best for this reply, but here it is:

            I can’t remember the last book I read, the last politician to make a speech regarding an accomplishment, etc., that didn’t include that individual thanking their spouse or significant other, in a “and thanks to so-and-so, for their support through all this,” way. Even if the SO didn’t draft legislation, nail boards, edit pages, etc…just for the support. It’s extremely common to thank those closest to you for their support as you accomplish your professional goals – well, maybe not -you-, but for -most- other people.

            You might not be interested in similar acknowledgement for your contributions to another’s life; you might feel it’s a passive-aggressive, unreasonable desire, and that’s perfectly fine. But maybe acknowledge that for the vast majority of people, it’s considered an extremely normal act of gratitude (the public recognition), and that therefore it’s -lack- can be somewhat painful to most people who experience its absence.

          • Rando

            Yeah, which has already been brought up and disputed.

            How often do you see someone mention, “And I would like to thank X, who I have been sleeping with for a month.”

            Any dedication is to someone who has been a part of their life, supported them for a substantial amount of time, and shaped them into who they are.

            Boiling water for someone for a month is not those things.

          • Lisa Izo

            You seem extremely focused on the fact that he made food for her which involved boiling water.

    • Scott

      I’m thinking that he’s also feeling left out of the ‘super’ part of her life. She thanked people who did the same or less than he did, but they were part of that world and he wasn’t, so when she was in that space she didn’t think of him. I wouldn’t say he’s jealous of her powers, but I do see it bugging him that she’s got this whole part of her life that he can’t be involved in and maybe she doesn’t *want* him involved in.

  • We’re getting into stalker territory here. Allison’s probably going to have yet another literally painful breakup.

    • Some guy

      Seeing Clevin have a heel-turn back into jerkitude would be so delicious though.

      • Rando

        Hopefully she just punches him into the sun, so we never have to see him again.

  • discrepancy

    You guys calling Clevin entitled have never been in a relationship where you’ve been taken for granted.

    I’m not saying Allison went quite that far, but having someone around to shoulder burdens they otherwise wouldn’t have had to handle had they been single makes a huge difference for stress levels. She also acknowledged other people for emotional support who were barely involved with doing such onscreen (her family).

    By not giving Clevin at least a small nod, she made a dumb and relatively minor error that’s still correctable.

    • Rando

      First bravo on making sweeping declarations about the people you are disagreeing with, without knowing anything about them.

      Anyway, he made pasta and tea. That is not shouldering a burden. It is literally boiling water and dumping something into it.

      Her parents, family, and friends shaped her into the person she now is, supported and battled by her side over the years, and have helped her with their connections or resources to get the organization off the ground.

      He made her a snack.

      You really don’t see the difference there?

      It’s a nice act, but expecting public declarations of gratitude for it are just entitlement.

      • You people and your obsessions with pasta.
        More seriously, the pasta is incidental. Saying that he made her a snack is kind of a poor description of their relationship – he’s not just a bloke she knows, they’ve not just been on a couple of dates. He’s her boyfriend, for several months now at least I think (bit fuzzy on comic time but Valkyrie took some time setting up right?) and that (theoretically) makes him a very important person in her life. He’s not asking for gratitude – only for a mention.

        Not just that, but there is a strong tradition of mentioning partners in thank-you speeches, if only in passing or for a joke at their expense. What do you think when you read long author dedications (to my editor, to my publisher, to my parents, to my children, to my dog who keeps my feet warm) and no mention of a spouse? They’re dead or out of the picture. A complete omission is a bit of a faux-pas and can easily leave the other person feeling hurt, because it means that either your partner forgot you (whoops) or they don’t think your relationship is as serious as you thought it was (ouch).

        • Rando

          He hadn’t even met her family yet. He is not yet that important in her life.

          Expecting a nod at a business gathering for private actions at that stage is the literal definition of entitled. Not to mention the passive aggressive way the whole thing was brought up.

          To follow up with your author dedications how often do you see, “And PartnerName, who I have been sleeping with for a month.”?

          You don’t, because they haven’t been in a relationship long enough for them to have had any real impact on them or their work. Expecting anything for that is again, the literal definition of entitlement.

          • The Improbable Man

            My wife (when she was my girlfriend) didn’t meet my family for 6 months after we started dating. Why? They didn’t live in the same city. Don’t Ali’s parents live in another city?

          • Rando

            Al is also a super hero with the power of super strength and flight, who could easily fly them down there quickly to meet up if it was important to her.

            There is no economic and little time concern.

            Also as far as we have been able to tell, they have only been together for like a month. If it has been longer that is a failure on the story’s part.

          • The Improbable Man

            I don’t think Valkyrie got off the ground in a month, but hopefully we’ll be filled in on the timeframe. Honestly, I was surprised when she said “boyfriend” because I thought they’d been dating for like, 2 days, and then realized that there was a time jump.

            I don’t know how fast she could fly while carrying Clevin since he doesn’t have any invulnerability, so I don’t know if that’s feasible. Maybe she wanted to keep him to herself for a while before complicating things with family introductions. I don’t really want to argue, just wanted to bring up something that
            maybe hadn’t been considered (that sometimes people don’t meet their
            SO’s parents for an extended time for various reasons).

          • Zerilan

            Honestly the actual time doesn’t matter because in screen time we basically just jumped from “first date” to this.

  • Hooboy. Self confidence, or lack thereof, shows up in weird places. I get this feeling.

  • Walter

    Clevin has a superpower. He can say truth words.

  • Bauke

    Clevin may be a bit of a helper type personality, where he likes taking care of people and tends to put himself if not second place, at least almost never first.

    Except that he didn’t get the thank you he kind of hoped to get, because he never asked for a thank you before in private. (Because he feels that would be crude.)

    But please note he still has trouble asking for it, Alison had to push him a bit to get him to say it, and his body language shows he’s super uncomfortable with it. He’s not being entitled, as some people here seem to think.

    “…I wasn’t expecting a thank you, but when other people got one for doing the kind of things that I do, I thought maybe I’d get one too. And when I didn’t, I just got sad all of the sudden.”

    He’s sad about, from his point of view, being taken for granted. And I feel he has every right to be sad.

    I hope Ali gets it right and apologizes for overlooking it and tries to make up for it.

    • Rando

      You are leaving out a very important line to try and make your point;

      “And I know they have done more for you than I have, but maybe not as far as Valkyrie is concerned? Or maybe I don’t know…”

      He has literally no idea what the other people involved have contributed, yet has decided his BOILING WATER has had a bigger impact on her founding this organization than anything they could have possibly done.

      He has done nothing to directly help the foundation, further its goals, or aid in its inception. Any “contributions” he has made, have nothing to do with the foundation.

      He hasn’t even been in a relationship with her long enough to meet her parents before this.

      This is the literal definition of entitlement.

      • Bauke

        That’s not the point though.

        They are beyond casual dates. He has, on more than one occasion, cooked for her. That implies they have been hanging out a lot. They are boyfriend and girlfriend. In a relationship.

        And Ali asked why he was sad. So he’s telling her why he’s sad.

        He’s not telling her “You should have thanked me” he’s telling her he’s a little sad that she didn’t.

        • Rando

          What? That is EXACTLY the point.

          He isn’t involved enough to know why these VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE in her life, were thanked over him. He has no idea what they even contributed to the project, yet feels he was involved enough to be thanked?

          The fact he doesn’t understand their contribution, is significant proof that they are not in a committed enough relationship to be thanked.

          He states, “I don’t know what they did, but I boiled water for you. So I am just as important.”

          Again, the literal definition of entitlement.

          He is trying to passive aggressively manipulate her into feeling bad and apologizing for something she didn’t do wrong. Hell, he is even looking down slightly while hugging himself to appear vulnerable.

          • Bauke

            You seem to be reading his body language completely different from me.

            And you’re attributing a lot of negative things to it.

            “he is even looking down slightly while hugging himself to appear vulnerable.” implies that you think he’s being emotionally manipulative.

            You diminish the fact that he made dinner for her to be “boiling water”.

            I don’t agree with you, and I think you’ll never agree with me. So be it.

            I’ll see you on the next page.

          • Rando

            I’m just looking at all of the facts together and taking a conclusion from that. Rather than looking at individual aspects and ignoring every other clue that is present.

          • Loranna

            I feel like I’ve just received a comprehensive education in the art of passive-aggressive emotional manipulation. Complete with exhaustive examples.

            For this, I am thankful.

            Loranna

          • Zerilan

            Loranna: I used to be really manipulative and passive aggressive like that and thankfully eventually realized how awful I was being and changed myself in that regard.

            Clevin is acting so much like I would have 5 years ago in a similar situation that it hurts to read.

          • Apromor

            Here’s what bothers me about this exchange. You’re basically accusing Clevin of thought crimes. He has emotions. A person can’t stop themselves from having emotions. Clevin apparently didn’t want to share his emotions. But Al digged and Clevin reluctantly honestly shared what he was feeling. You don’t get to denigrate people based on their feelings, only their actions.

          • Rando

            No, I am accusing him of passive aggressively trying to manipulate Al, to get something he feels entitled to. Which is an action, and something I can blast him for.

            The entire exchange was a text book example.

            People having emotions doesn’t validate their responses. It is up to that person to deal with them appropriately.

          • Rando

            Just as an example, let me pare down that final 6 bubble panel into how it would have been written if it wasn’t him trying to manipulate the situation.

            “I’m not mad! I am just a little sad that my support didn’t merit mention like your other friends.”

            There is no sudden point by point breakdown of specific grievances or reasons why he is better than everyone else. There is no attempted trivializing of her other relationships. There is no repeated statements on how he doesn’t want to be thanked, but he wanted to be thanked.

            He just goes into way too much detail way too suddenly and rapidly for it to not have been planned.

          • Chani

            “He just goes into way too much detail way too suddenly and rapidly for it to not have been planned.”

            there’s an old joke on this subject: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” (mostly attributed to Blaise Pascal – https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal )

            personally I tend towards the same thing – if I’m put on the spot you’ll get a long story as I wander through my memory piecing things together, but if I’ve got time to think about it, I’m more likely to clean things up.

          • I am *exactly* the same.

          • Apromor

            Granted if he’s trying to manipulate Al that’s pretty low. I don’t read it as manipulation of Al, she’s the one pushing for more information. Certainly he could be making exaggerated tells in his non-verbal communication but that’s a lot to read into the comic. How could our artist show subtle verses obvious?

            “It is up to that person to deal with them appropriately”. How should Clevin deal with the emotion appropriately after being asked to share it? He could lie to Al, he could say “it’s my dumb issue I don’t want to share it with you”. Those don’t strike me as better options.

            _If_Al’s digging and it isn’t because Clevin’s trying to get her to dig, then I don’t see a problem with his response.

            “People having emotions doesn’t validate their responses.” no one’s implying that they do.

          • Rando

            It isn’t non-verbal communication. It is his literal communication. The words coming out of his mouth.

            “Well, they’re not like your parents, or Lisa, you know? They were just kind of your friends who were supportive of you.”

            “And I know they’ve done more for you than I have, but maybe not as far as Valkyrie is concerned?”

            He is telling her the contributions of her other friends were not as important as his contributions, even though he has no idea what they were.

            Then if you take into account the exchange that started this conversation. Then the visual queues throughout. Avoiding eye contact, looking down constantly, hugging himself, going into a bullet list of his accomplishments, etc.

            Put it all together, and it’s passive aggressive manipulation.

            As for how he could deal with it. It’s as simple as not going to the aggrandizing detail that he did. Simply say, “I was sad that I didn’t get called out in your speech for supporting you, like your other friends.”

          • Harlequin

            I think it’s more a question of acknowledgement rather than pure thanks. He’s just had a fairly lengthy evening reminding him just how transient and irrelevant he is to Allison.

  • Werekat

    If you’ve got a supportive long-term partner (and not knowing the dates really does hurt here), you thank them at these things, period. Because they will have been dealing with all of your shit for quite a while. And what Clevin has been doing is invaluable. Because when you’re working hard enough you don’t have time to get up and make tea, someone bringing food to you is responsible for a good bit of your output.

    But even partners notwithstanding…There is a reason, say, field teams have someone specifically responsible for food and campsite organization. It’s a job, a baseline job without which no work gets done, and if you know what’s good for you, you’d best be thankful to your logistics team. At conferences, you thank volunteers who were setting your tables and buying food while you were presenting and listening to others. There’s fewer than two dozen people involved, so no one who did work must be left out. It’s just etiquette.

    • Rando

      He hadn’t even met her family yet. I think it is safe to assume they aren’t “long term partners”.

      This also isn’t the 40’s anymore, bringing a single person food is a nice gesture, it is not a requirement for getting work done. You can spend 5 minutes to throw something in the microwave and eat it, without affecting your output at all.

      And to be frank, he boiled water for her. That is the literal bare minimum of effort you can make, to be supportive of someone working hard, and is not deserving of public praise.

      • Werekat

        It also isn’t the 40s: you can meet your SO’s parents at the wedding, as some of my friends have done. Different cities and cancer make meeting up difficult.

        Re: effort. You ever pull a 26-hour work day? Or several 16-18-hour-long work days in a row? Which is what Alisson has been shown to be doing: we literally don’t see her having actual downtime in the comic. If you haven’t, trust me: having someone think through the logistics of food is an immense help. Again, there is a reason there is a ‘catering’ public service sphere.

        Also, it’s just normal business etiquette that the support crew need to get public praise, whether they are formally or informally involved in the venture. I don’t see the problem you’re having with him.

        • Rando

          Al can fly. A different city and cancer are really no reasons for them to have not met before, if they were serious. There are no barriers, so the only explanation is she doesn’t see their relationship as serious as he apparently does.

          Yes, I have. I have pulled 100 hour weeks for 2-3 months straight. I still managed to provide food for myself. Thanks though.

          My problem with him, is the passive aggressive way he is manipulating the conversation, and the sense of entitlement he has over his non-contribution.

          He is literally trying to downplay her relationships with feral and pintsize, and puff up his own accomplishments of boiling water, over their contributions.

          • Werekat

            Re: barriers: there are. Getting an organization going and having the rest of the family deal with a cancer patient. Seriously, these people are busy. Honest question from a cultural alien: is ‘meeting the parents’ that important wherever you come from? I mean, I couldn’t even imagine using that as an argument, it’s something that might happen years later or not at all. But for you it seems to be very important.

            Re: workload. Yeah, you can manage, but having dedicated support makes the whole thing a lot easier.

            As for the impression of being passive-agressive – well, I don’t know. He hasn’t tripped my personal bullshit detector so far. I don’t take passive aggressive attitudes lying down – in fact, that’s the sort of thing people in any sort of relationship with me get a second chance for, but almost never a third – but this doesn’t strike me as even close.

          • Rando

            It’s not super important, but it tends to be a signifier of how serious the relationship is. It is basically a flag of, “You are important enough to me, that I want to introduce you to the other people most important to me.” In this day and age, even being in another city is not a requirement. They could have been introduced over the internet, so would have “met”.

            You could also simply substitute a requirement for whatever period of time passage for the same effect.

            In this case, they have been together for what appears to be, ~a month. Has not met her parents. So the relationship isn’t that serious yet, especially not to the point to start getting needy about public displays of appreciation.

            Basically, how long into a relationship do you feel that your presence has started to impact the other person to the point of being partially responsible for their accomplishments? It sure isn’t a month, to me.

            On workload, I agree it can help. Boiling water is not to a degree I consider substantially helpful. Like I said, you can microwave and eat a meal in 5 minutes, making tea and pasta is the literal lowest bar of entry for support. It is not helpful enough to warrant thanking.

            As for the passive aggressiveness. Re-read his 2nd and 3rd bubbles in the final panel. It is him explicitly trying to downplay the contributions of her friends, over his own. It is very skeezy and manipulative.

          • Werekat

            I see. Interesting, it really is very different where I am from (or at least in my social circle). It’s more of a marriage thing (and not always even that).

            I think Brad was respectfully telling her that the people he worked
            for were not her recruiting pool. 😛 If I were to think on his role, I’d
            say he was more of a “wow, he’s better than me at this, I need to be
            taking notes” kind of inspiration. I don’t remember him giving her
            actual tips – more like behaving in a way Al was able to make her own
            conclusions. He wasn’t directing the effort at her, and it’s my
            impression she thanked him for being a part of her life, essentially. If
            seen that way, the discrepancy becomes strange, because neither Brad or
            Feral directly contributed their time and effort to Al’s wellbeing.
            They did their own thing and she was inspired (though what they did was
            indeed great). By contrast (and what one would call ‘human hour input’),
            Clevin, if narrating reliably, has done quite a bit more.

            Month or not depends on the kind of circumstances you’ve landed in and how intense that month was. If I’m doing a big project and someone gets my back, it’s a very different fromjust a casual “I’ll see you two times this month for nice dates when I’m free.” Right now I’m taking Clevin at his word and am assuming he’s been taking care of her quite a bit. We’ll see whether that’s true soon enough, though.

            I think I would lean on your side of the fence more if we were shown
            empty “oh you can do it” stuff without mentions of taking care of
            physical needs. Unless Al doesn’t actually need to eat, to me personally it’s really a huge help to have this sort of thing done. Additionally, I think the comic does ‘not walking the talk’ well enough: Al’s old neighbor comes to mind. But Clevin so far has been nothing but accomodating, perhaps even a little too much for my tastes. I think he’s overreached, and that’s why he’s
            feeling unvalued.

            His dialogue strikes me as the sort of thing someone who doesn’t like their own emotions would say if forced to do so on the spot. It’s like “gah, this is stupid, but I’ve been caught out and now being silent will just make it worse.” And I would say this is the right call if your partner has noticed and asked.

            On that note, time for me to leave, so we’ll have to continue later. 🙂 See you around in the comments!

          • Zerilan

            Being reluctant and self-deprecating before speaking but then immediately going into a long rant. The audible sigh before starting. Downplaying other people’s (people she’s known longer than him mostly) contributions. Like everything about this is such textbook passive aggressiveness if not for all the comments here I’d probaby assume the author is doing it intentionally, but now I’m not as sure.

          • Serena

            I dunno. What you see as reluctant and self-deprecating, I see as some very human insecurity and attempt at honest with a difficult topic. I saw the audible sigh as, “Rat, I didn’t want to have to show how silly I felt about this, and I don’t even know how to even say this…” Then his trying, very uncomfortably, to share what was bothering him.

            Followed by Al thankfully figuring it out, and asking him for confirmation.

            Follow by his quickly explaining (clarifying) that he wasn’t mad(!), then trying to express his feeling best he could, since there aren’t a lot of good one-word explanations for what he was feeling.

            And I see no downplaying the contributions of others: I see his acknowledging that they also did great emotionally supportive things (or maybe, as others claim, were great inspirations), but since he was there for her, putting in time, effort, and emotional support, apparently somewhat close to day-in-and-day-out, it felt incongruous that he wasn’t included in the mentions…even though he’s clearly incredibly uncomfortable with revealing that he even feels that way.

            Don’t get me wrong – I’ve known people who do this very passive-aggressive thing! I can’t stand them! I refuse to tolerate “games” in the people close to me; took too long to wake up out of some abusive relationships, so decided to altogether avoid that slippery-slope.

            Just that Clevin isn’t pinging -any- of those flags for me; but instead seems like someone sincerely grappling with his uncomfortable, slippery feelings, maybe for the first time ever, and trying to do so honestly, but also without bothering the person he’s with.

            I could definitely end up wrong, and he might turn out late to be an abusive jerk…but I don’t have that feeling yet.

            And I got that feeling with Max on basically his debut panel, strangely enough.

          • I think it’s also extremely important to note as several others have done before me that Clevin isn’t trying to throw any of this in Al’s face. He was pushed on the subject several times before he spoke, and while it’s quite frustrating to see someone mope without explaining what’s actually wrong with them, he did seem to be trying to conceal his own feelings properly – rather than allowing small elements to leak out and be picked up on, as someone might while trying to be intentionally passive aggressive. It does come across as sincere. Consciously irrational, perhaps a little unfair or underinformed, as well.. but sincere.

          • Passive aggressiveness is just the deliberate misuse of apparent passivity for the purpose of manipulating and controlling other people. As such, it’s easy to confuse it with true passivity.

            From my reading of the comic so far Clevin appears to have no particular talent for deliberate, malicious manipulation – but he is extremely polite, friendly, unassuming and helpful. He isn’t necessarily being passive *aggressive* simply because he’s demonstrating frustration now. His reaction above resembles the response to being accidentally overlooked by those a passive personality type has previously been happy to keep providing, sacrificing and labouring for under the assumption that their assistance is valued and desirable.

          • Serena

            If she and he don’t see their relationship as the same degree of serious, then bringing this up is an excellent opportunity for them to both become aware of the discrepancy. Clearly he was under the impression that they were on the same page regarding significance/seriousness of the relationship, so if that’s the issue, they can now have this very important conversation.

  • rpenner

    Maybe Clevin got taxonomically misfiled during the speech-making as the non-biodynamic, non-blood relation, non-speaker at meetings, and (due to Alison’s fears) non-intimate partner. Lacking a precise verbal pigeonhole in which to label Clevin for herself and others, Alison’s speech-making brain might have skipped over Clevin even as the bulk of her brain has him tagged as “the squishy that my limbic system wants to hug to pieces even though that’s a real possibility that keeps me awake at night.”

  • Azmodan

    Anyone remember what Clevin’s major is?

    I am starting to wonder if he is just with Al for the name recognition for some reason, and wants to be called out as involved with Valkyrie for his own purposes.

    IE, “Look, I helped found this super well known charity. I want to start my own, will you donate?”

  • Zerilan

    The red flags really popping up en masse here.

    • Arkone Axon

      Which red flags specifically?

      • Zerilan

        Rando’s been doing a good job arguing it on other comment threads but this is pretty much textbook passive aggressive behavior.

        • Arkone Axon

          …Kinda. I say that as someone who was trained in passive-aggressive behavior during childhood by an expert of the craft. Someone who has worked long and hard to try to overcome it.

          The reason I say it’s not really passive-aggressive behavior is because he isn’t trying to manipulate her with his emotions. He isn’t trying to weaponize them and use them to get what he wants. He didn’t even want to admit to having them at first – she had to pressure him twice to speak up.

          A genuinely passive-aggressive moment would have started with him sighing theatrically and making an expression as if suffering from constipation the day after swallowing caltrops whole, forcing her to repeatedly ask him what’s wrong, then describing his emotions in a way that emphasizes how he knows she doesn’t give a crap about HIS feelings or needs, but it’s okay, he’ll just go on doing what he has to, he’s nobody at all, whatever.

          I.e. instead of trying to avoid making her feel guilty (“I know it’s silly of me, I feel stupid for feeling this way”), a proper passive-aggressive moment would have involved trying to make her feel as guilty as possible in order to pressure her into doing what he wanted.

          • Zerilan

            I guess we’ve learned different schools of passive-aggressiveness then since he’s doing pretty much exactly what I’d have been doing when younger as part of the “nice guy” act.

            “I know it’s silly of me, I feel stupid for feeling this way” Being pre-emptively self-dismissive is an effective tactic for making the other person feel guilty if they’re dismissive of what you’re saying since now they just feel like they’re piling on to your own self-loathing.

          • Arkone Axon

            Please scroll up to the my new comment, the one that starts with “y’know…” I’d rather not create yet another set of multiple long looping threads when they can be consolidated into a single thread.

  • Daniel Anix

    I guess what doesn’t sit right with me is that Pintsize and Feral DO have greater ties to this than he does. They are superheroes, that she superhero’d with, being thanked at the opening of a non-profit run by superheroes. He has no connection to that world.

    When I give a thank you speech, I can’t thank everyone who contributed or I would be there forever. I need to thank a limited list of people and a great way to whittle it down is to thank only the indispensable people and the people with direct ties to the thing I am speaking about. He is her boyfriend, but he is not indispensable to her success, at least not more than her friends. And he has no ties to the topic.

    • Rando

      Not to mention Feral was the literal inspiration for the whole endeavor. While Pintsize’s call out was explicitly a joke and imo not really meant to be taken seriously.

  • bryan rasmussen

    ok but if he hadn’t made that pasta for the greater good she would have broken his arm.

    Saying stuff like this helps clear the tears out of my eyes.

    • Zerilan

      “I wasn’t asking, sweetheart. Now start boiling that water.”

      • Lisa Izo

        omg can’t breathe from laughing too much 🙂

        • SJ

          I see you finally got sick of being confused for a guy?

          • Lisa Izo

            Hehe. That wasn’t actually the reason for adding the first name but it’s a nice side effect.

  • Weatherheight

    This is why I enjoy Clevin as a character – he realizes this feeling is a bit petty and small, but he still shares it. Sharing feelings matters, more so when you do it thoughtfully and honestly and with trust in the other person (and not at the top of your lungs…).
    Even the stupid stuff can become overwhelming if allowed to fester.

    • palmvos

      Plus it does something important. what you say? it brings conflict. so now the relationship can grow a little. tune in Friday to see if Alison can handle being given what she asked for!

  • JohnTomato

    -deleted due to situational awareness-

  • masterofbones

    Remember guys – you need to open up emotionally, and not doing so is unhealthy. But the moment you do, everyone is going to mock you for being insecure and entitled, *just for having feelings*.

    Fun stuff.

    • Rando

      How you open up, why you open up, and the language you use to do so are key points to not being criticized.

      He is being petty, manipulative, and entitled, that is why he is being mocked. Not because he is suffering a case of the feelings.

      • masterofbones

        Hahaha, sure. He felt bad – an emotional response out of his control. He then didn’t want to say anything because it felt silly and petty. Alison pushed, so he attempted to give as clear and helpful an answer as he was capable as to why he felt the way he did.

        If that is still worthy of mocking, literally any move in this situation that involves him having feelings is worthy of being mocked.

        • Rando

          Really? Him telling Allison that her friends contributions to Valkyrie weren’t as important as his, without even knowing what they were. Was a required part of that conversation about his feelings?

          • Serena

            He doesn’t claim that there’s contributions weren’t as important as his – just suggestions maybe they were about equal enough that he would also get a public thanks similar as they did.

          • masterofbones

            Her failing to thank him despite him doing just as much as her other (thanked) friends was part of what upset him…

            So yes, that was necessary.

      • ImBack

        So, setting aside for a moment whether he has a right to feel this way or not, I’m curious. I noticed one of your main complaints is that he brought the whole thing up in a way that is “passive-aggressively manipula[tive].” Is there a way you would have accepted him expressing these emotions without it seeming pushy or manipulative? Because if he brought it up on his own, I could see even more people deciding he was an entitled jerk, but if he refused to talk about it at all even when she pushed, well then he’s being standoffish and purposefully emotionally distant. Whether or not his feelings are valid I…really don’t see a better way of him bringing them up.

        • Rando

          Yes. By not trying to downplay the importance of her other friends contributions.

          By not going into the long, seemingly pre-planned speech that is the final panel.

          All he had to say was, “I am not mad. I am just sad that I wasn’t called out for supporting you like your other friends.” Bam, feelings broached, and it actually comes off as if he is sincere. I still would think he is being a goose, but I wouldn’t have called him on it.

          He just goes into way too much detail, too quickly, along with all the other clues he is giving off that add up to being manipulative. It is just a series of red flags.

          Being pushed to talk about the topic does not preclude manipulation. It is a very common tactic, trying to prod the other party into starting the conversation, exactly for that reason.

          So it doesn’t look like they are manipulating you. After all, you are the one who wanted to talk about it, not them.

          • Zerilan

            Yeah if his ranting had just been like the couple sentences you put it would have mostly been fine. Still kind of insecure but understandably so.

          • Chani

            so… it would seem more sincere to you guys that he could take his messy complicated feelings and instantly summarize them in a single sentence? That would seem rehearsed and insincere to me. :/ Heck, often it takes me several days to figure out why I felt sad/uncomfortable/etc at a certain time.

          • Serena

            Yeah, I have a similar experience. Especially the more uncomfortable I feel about having the feeling in the first place, the more time I need to really turn it around in my head a lot, talk it through my mind, before I can really try to get a grip on what it is I’m feeling, and why. If I’m pushed to say what’s wrong before I’ve had that time (which can take from a few hours to a few days), I tend to go through that process outloud in a sort of rushed way instead, very similar to Clevin’s speech.

            I suspect my husband’s roughly the same, as he really hates sharing those kinds of thought/feelings before he’s gotten a really firm grip on them, so I try to just let him have the time to be able to compose himself, instead of pushing him to share immediately.

      • masterofbones
    • dpolicar

      Well, not everyone. But yeah, as we’re demonstrating, sometimes even a relatively small number of people doing the mocking can have a disproportionate impact on the resulting discourse.

  • Arkone Axon

    Y’know… on the one hand I feel as if things are being set up so that Alison can now dump Clevin because he’s supposed to be turning out to a total jerk richly deserving of some biodynamic fueled violence.

    On the other hand… I just made some high protein whole wheat waffles, topped with sliced bananas, for someone who has been feeling very poorly for much of the last week. Someone who has also been getting breakfasts and dinners aplenty, often brought to them so they don’t have to leave their computer and the work they’re doing (as with this breakfast) or the bed. This person is also my professional partner… and when either of us have the opportunity to thank the people who have made a difference, you’d better believe we thank each other.

    Clevin’s been dating Alison for months. We’ve yet to see him make ANY demands of her. He just confessed to feeling unhappy because she didn’t thank him, after she insisted he tell her why he feels unhappy. And this is a reason to call him selfish?

    “We demand you share your feelings!”
    *shares feelings*
    “You’re a jerk and a completely bad person for feeling that way! Hold still while we emphasize just what a horrible person you are for having those feelings!”

    If any of you treat others the way you’re suggesting Clevin be treated… you’re being emotionally abusive.

    • Zerilan

      We’ve yet to see him make demands because we’ve yet to see them really together at all to begin with.

      • Arkone Axon

        True. But what we have seen so far is purely supportive behavior and a total lack of requests in turn (to the point of being an utter wallflower/wimp/idealized fantasy). Until we’ve seen canonical confirmation that he he’s been demanding she cater to extreme fetishistic fantasies while wearing her old costume or something like that, it’s beyond unreasonable to say, “well, well… he might have done something bad offscreen, and that’s why he’s at fault!”

        (I’d give a more specific example of a fetishistic fantasy, but I don’t want to kink shame. Besides, the “while wearing her old costume” bit would be a big enough demand, given her emotional baggage associated with said costume)

        • Zerilan

          Just pointing out really that “what we’ve seen” has been pretty much nothing. Pretty much straight from “dude with a crush” to “first date” to this scene, with nothing at all between those last two steps. Trying to make inferences on past behaviour is pretty much pointless because there’s nothing to go off of. This is effectively the first scene of them as a couple.

    • Lisa Izo

      I literally need to post nothing because Arkone, Werekat, Zorae, discrepancy and Martine seem to have said everything I could even think of saying on this 🙂

  • Is he being irrational? Yes, of course he is. Because emotions aren’t rational. If emotions were rational, they’d be reason. He’s being irrational in a completely human way, and is dealing with it in the best possible way of when you are feeling something irrational — you tell your partner that, yeah, I’m being irrational, and here’s what I’m being irrational about.

    Source — have been in a committed relationship for twenty-three years, married for eighteen.

    • Further: Rando may well have a point about how there is a better way he could have expressed all this. But the way he did express it is at least “pretty good”, and I give him a bit of a pass for being a kid.

      That’s an important thing to remember: these are kids. This is probably one of Cleven’s first significant relationships — it’s definitely Alison’s first. They’re working things out as best they can. Alison is fortunate in that she has seen a healthy relationship modeled through her parents, so she’s got an example, but she has no experience. We don’t know what relationship Cleven saw modeled, but he seems to be at least trying pretty well.

      They’re making this up as they go along, the same as most people. And they’re doing better than most people. Cleven’s not perfect. Their relationship isn’t perfect. But he’s pretty darned good, as far as I can tell, and their relationship is pretty darned good.

      Could Cleven have expressed himself better? Probably. Were some of his comparisons unfair? Probably. And if he’d had a chance to sit down and write everything out into a formal essay, he probably could have, and should have, edited those out. But she asked him now, and he answered now, and he answered from a place of emotion, and it was APPROPRIATE for him to answer from a place of emotion.

      Is he making himself look small and vulnerable? Yes, he is — because he is FEELING small and vulnerable. I doubt he’s doing that on purpose. It’s hard to express your vulnerability, especially when you’re aware that it’s not rational, and it’s therefore embarrassing.

      • Serena

        I really like this post. I’ve watched several multi-decade relationships that remained strong and healthy, but -still- deal with some of these issues, even into their 20th or 30th year of happy marriage. People don’t have to be perfect to be healthy and happy together.

    • This, exactly. I think he even realizes his feelings are irrational and that Alison values him. Sometimes the little voice in the back of your head LIES. They’re just young students after all – this will continue to happen throughout their lives. I’m proud of him for having the guts to say it out loud.

  • danima

    Every book I read these days has a thank you to parents, SO, or sometimes even children in the acknowledgements. Most of the time these people are not literary professionals or otherwise materially working on the project. It’s a standard move to thank your emotional support crew.

    That said: Al is 1) young and 2) dazzled by the moment and 3) probably doesn’t yet think of Clevin in the “spouse” category in other respects and so missed her cue; moreover, I trust the creators of this story not to shift genre from “people more-or-less trying to be how they would like to see themselves” to “surprise!villain.” $10 says the next panel is Al and Clevin trying to work this out, maybe with defensiveness on both sides, but no unexpected twists of character.

    Since I’m posting and this will drop down below the fold anyways, I might as well amplify that remark about character and genre: even the least narratively-favored character so far, Max, has been portrayed as trying to live according to his axioms, and while his axioms get critique, Al’s response to them gets narrative critique as well. It would be ever so much more fun to read these comment sections if there were fewer threads dedicated to proving that character X is The Moral Worst/Best — not just for the conversational tone, but because I think they’re trying to shoehorn the story into a completely different genre.

    • Zac Caslar

      Well said, and in particular about the fan undercurrent towards moral simplicity.

  • R2D2TS

    Lots of Wild Speculation:
    Clevin has been made into a “tool” of some sort by outside forces. He was brainwashed, hypnotized, manipulated, or otherwise had some kind of mind whammy. He may not even be aware of it. This may be the first signs of the “programming” showing itself. A manifestation that could be passed off as something that humans are known to do and easily dismissed for the early warning sign that it is really meant to be. Depending on how things play out his “role” may be safe or there may be a sudden activation of any “failsafes” in place that may cause a rather dynamic situation to develop.

  • E. Howell

    “No glory, save honor.” Clevin was one of the “battery people” giving her power. Lisa did a whole speech on this. It’s obvious that it’s easy to overlook the supporters, the providers.

  • ArgleBargle

    Histories blandest milquetoast gets shook because the girl he’s been dating for three months doesn’t thank him for his pasta at an event he contributed nothing too. I don’t think I’ve seen a weaker male lead.

    I guarantee the next strip will be SFP bending over backwards to validate him

    • Jshadow

      I have to agree with you on that one.

      She’s known other people for a long time, but him?

      Yeah, sorry, but he didn’t deserve being mentioned. Ali better not get into that territory.

    • Stephanie

      I’m not sure I’d consider Clevin a “lead.”

      • Rando

        Currently, he kind of is? Kind of. More for lack of other options than actually being the lead.

        I can’t think of another male character otomh that I would consider the lead male role.

        Pintsize and Brad are secondary recurring characters, they are in the story but its not really about them.

        Menace used to be, but he hasn’t been in the comic for at least an issue.

        • Stephanie

          Does he have to be a “lead” just because he’s the least inconsequential guy currently in focus? Maybe there just isn’t a “male lead” right now. Nothing wrong with that.

          • Rando

            For story telling purposes? Yes, there needs to be another lead.

            There is no antagonist currently, so there needs to be a co-lead protagonist for the lead to play off of. That is currently falling onto Clevin.

            It doesn’t specifically need to be a male lead, but given his relationship with Al and the current focus of this chapter, he would classify as lead, rather than supporting.

          • Stephanie

            He really just doesn’t come across as a lead to me. I don’t think the story necessarily requires one. Al can play off her cast of supporting characters.

  • Zac Caslar

    Quick poll:

    Reply “aye” if you’d prefer commenters be required to register an account before responding to any SFP entry, and nay if otherwise.

    Yes, I am an aye.

    • Jovial Contrarian

      Nah. Not having to register is convenient, but registering won’t stop anyone truly dedicated to arguing over the internet. Heck, it makes it easier with all disqus functions.

      • Chani

        otoh, registered commenters can be blocked.

        • Arkone Axon

          You can also block commentators who use disqus. I’ve had to block a few myself.

          • Rando

            > Nobody here has accused me of being a potential rapist for disagreeing with them… yet.

            …hold my beer.

            Kidding.

          • Kifre

            Hello fellow former-RHJunior reader. I tried commenting on the Livejournal (’cause I’m old), and your description of those political leanings and other commenters generally is so spot on it hurts.

          • Zorae42

            Did he consent to the bisexual submissive performing fellatio on him? If not, then it’s rape. Not really a gray line there.

          • Arkone Axon

            There’s a huge grey line – more of a strip – that covers the vast degrees from “went a little bit farther than the person consented to” up to “violent assault to force compliance during penetration.” Just as there’s a huge grey line covering the various degrees between murder, from “accidentally caused someone’s death by doing something stupid (involuntary homicide)” to “planned ahead of time and acted on the plan (first degree murder).” You’d have to read the webcomic yourself, but TLDR: The heterosexual guy got very angry at first, then calmed down when he saw how upset and guilt stricken the bisexual was and cuddled him better, then did the same thing with the woman.

            Because he loved them and was loved by them, and understood they had made an “oopsie,” and gave them the same forgiveness he liked to receive whenever he’d made a mistake of his own.

            (The comments I made at the time compared it to “I Love Lucy.” Whenever Lucy got caught lying, manipulating, or just plain screwing up, Ricky would grumble, “you got some ‘splaining to do!” But he’d always forgive her… because in half the episodes it was Ricky who had screwed up, and Lucy always forgave him)

  • Zerilan

    As long as I’m already being critical regarding stuff on this page:

    I miss when the art regularly had backgrounds.

  • Jovial Contrarian

    Ahh, yesssssss. The ball is now starting to bounce.

    Get comfortable, it’s gonna be long 2 months of discussions about allies, entitlement, and emotional blackmail.

    • For real. Can’t the dude have a moment of anxiety without people screeching about PASSIVE AGRESSIVE EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL
      Like… yikes.

      This sort of thing happens to a lot of people. If people actually read the dialogue for what it is, you’d hear that Clevin understands that this is kind of confusing for him, that he’s not even sure where it comes from – and note that he didn’t want to talk about it. But he’s trying to do the right thing and be honest with his new girlfriend instead of burying it.

      I bet if he hadn’t said anything they would have been “EMOTIONAL LABOR WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO BEG FOR AN ANSWER” ….

      Let the characters be HUMAN. Sheesh.

      • Arkone Axon

        This is actually an extension of mindsets seen previously on earlier page commentary. Pretty much all the blame for everything gets placed on the nearest male character, no matter how insane and twisted the logic has to become. That includes a claim that Furnace was responsible for his own death after Moonshadow tried to save him… when he woke up after being assaulted, kidnapped, and drugged, still inebriated, confused, having had an explosive detonate right after being ripped off his chest, and in the presence of two people who he had every reason to consider hostile. As has been pointed out, Moonshadow is guilty of Felony Murder in addition to so many other things… but there are still readers who insist that Furnace was the bad guy and Moonshadow is mostly (if not completely) blameless.

        Same thing here. No matter what Clevin does at this point, he has come into conflict with Alison. He has just put himself on the opposite side from her in regards to an issue. No matter what he does, there are still going to be those who demonize him for it.

        • Rando

          Actually, I was arguing on the side that Al is a horrible super villain after what she did to the rich boy, and what she did was inexcusable regardless of the reasons she did it for. It has nothing to do with Clevin being a white male, or always being on Al’s side.

          Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

        • Todd

          Nice mangling of my words.

          Deliberate?

          • Arkone Axon

            If by “precisely summarizing both your lengthy arguments with a licensed and experienced member of the Bar Association AND the assorted similar arguments made by others who shared your beliefs,” then yes. A deliberately summary of the statements made by multiple adherents of the “My emotionally charged opinion is infinitely more valid than factual reality and the precedents of law.”

            You’re not that special, kid. I can’t even be bothered to remember which of the many inane “Moonshadow was definitely killing obvious rapists and even saved the life of the guy who then killed himself” comments were yours.

  • Oddly I’ve just been having a real world discussion about people feeling entitled to thanks and ‘helping’ as performance art intended to draw kudos from the audience. (Over people trying to ‘help’ us as wheelchair users, not asking permission or guidance and then getting all huffy when we try to tell them they’re getting in the way/hurting/damaging the chair/pushing in the opposite direction we want to go).

    The difference between that and Clevin is he probably is willing to take direction and he wasn’t about to ask for praise, Alison just happened to be perceptive enough (character growth!) to notice and pin him down over what’s wrong, and Clevin’s upset not because he didn’t get praised, or wanted praise, but because he was left out of a list of people contributing at a similar level.

  • Rugains Fleuridor

    Alison is going to make this her problem, but Clevin my boy… control those little emotions, man.

    • Arkone Axon

      Uh oh… MAKE it her problem?

      Cut to Clevin limping into class on crutches. “I… feel down some stairs…”

  • SFPtosser

    Clevin is such a needy little weeeeeiner. If there is such a thing as a “beta male,” he’s it.

  • Harlequin

    For a readership that’s so concerned about feelings, empowerment, validation and support, you guys can be pretty callous when it’s someone like Clevin feeling vulnerable.

    • Arkone Axon

      I’ve noticed a remarkable tendency on the part of some commentators to not only willfully refuse to empathize with characters who are male (especially if they’re *gasp* WHITE!), but to sneer with spiteful glee at the very notion of giving empathy to characters whose race and gender has marked them as acceptable targets. This webcomic’s comments section was the first place I ever encountered the remarkably offensive and insulting term “fee-fees,” for instance. As in “condescending and dismissive term to describe the emotions and thoughts of someone I think it is acceptable to treat in a bigoted fashion.”

      • Rando

        Alternatively we just recognize that what he is doing is toxic behavior, not simply sharing his feelings.

        • Arkone Axon

          Yeah, but I don’t recall you being one of the ones to insist that Max was at fault for not wanting to risk his life and welfare to follow the moral imperative of someone who doesn’t even like him (or one of the ones who insisted that he was not at risk and was doing it just to spite Alison, in spite of the comic and Alison herself establishing otherwise). Still, I don’t see this as toxic behavior. “Passive-aggressive” behavior requires an aggressive undertone, an attempt to manipulate. He’s actively doing his best to avoid doing that – he isn’t trying to pressure her to do a thing, he was hoping to ignore his feelings and take her home to cuddle in their jammies and other harmless and inoffensive things.

          (which is why I’M not overly fond of what’s going on here. He’s not being passive-aggressive because there’s no aggression in him… he seems to be completely lacking in masculine traits – including the positive ones)

  • tygertyger

    This was not the kaboom I was expecting, but it’s still a bombshell.

  • Elbadasso

    I feel like Alison totally WOULD recognize Clevin but, really, they’re not THERE yet. You don’t get the oscars shoutout for under six months of connection. He probably will get there eventually. But right now?

    CLEVIN CAN WAIT

  • Nick

    Clevin is just insufferable. Is now really the time to share this? Hiding your feelings isn’t a great thing to do long term, but when your girlfriend is riding high off her success and is feeling happy, maybe just hold off on the wall of text until a more appropriate time. That’s not even touching the fact that the stuff he’s saying is weirdly passive aggressive – the “I know they’ve done more for you than I have, but maybe not as far as Valkyrie is concerned?” bit is pretty silly, especially when you consider what HE considers helping (making pasta and tea, literally the easiest form of prepared food and drink possible). I really think he ought to suck it up!

    • Danygalw

      He did hold off. Then she asked.

  • Tylikcat

    BTW, props to the wonderful use of light and shadow on this page. (Somehow, the colors make it less unbearably emo, and instead just the right amount emo.)

  • shink

    I love this scene, it’s totally in line with Clevin’s established character to date. At the party he feels sad about not getting credited for being supportive, and instead of acting uncomfortable, being an ass at the party, or even just passively being a wet mop he set those feelings aside and actively enjoyed the presence of those people who had just earned greater official recognition from his girlfriend then he did for doing similar things. He does this even as they totally dominate Alison’s attention.

    Clevin having the maturity to do this was fairly wonderfully foreshadowed at the benefit concert he hosted. Clevin runs into Alison before it goes off and invites her to it and fairly shortly after leaves. At the benefit concert he is clearly happy that Alison shows, but does not lend her any kind of special attention until after the concert is over. Key to this situation is the fact that Clevin does not come off as desperate for Alisons attention at any point, does not hold a grudge for how Max treated him last time he tried to invite Alison out for a movie, and is able to set his own personal feelings aside until he is disengaged from the task at hand and can freely set aside time for himself. All of these actions show that Clevin is able to keep things in perspective and moderate his own feelings for the good of others, but also that he doesn’t go so far in doing so that he sacrifices himself for others.

    Beyond that bit of appreciation for a well crafted internally consistent character, I’d like to show some appreciation for the fact that this role was given to a male character. I have rarely seen male characters given roles like this and portrayed as a strong characters simultaneously. The only real example I can think of is Marten from Questionable Content, a comic that by it’s very nature focuses on characters because they are fundamentally flawed in some way, and seems to move on when they become less flawed and grow up. Marten was a fairly weak character for most of the time in the comic when there was enough focus on his character to get lines like this, and now that he’s matured the focus has shifted.

  • Incendax

    Even if Clevin is in the wrong here, he’s built up a decent amount of credibility and should be forgiven for this rather human slight. We all mess up sometimes, or get upset about stupid things, and hope our friends forgive us.

  • crunchypea

    Comments on this page were an interesting read… However, I feel the real point here is not Clevin’s whining, but rather the fact he felt offended in the first place. My first thought reading this was “D’oh. Why does he react like that? He should be proud of his girlfriend’s success.”
    Okay, he’s insecure, lacks confidence, needs validation and inclusion, etc. So he feels threatened by Al’s superhero pals, feels useless, craves her attention… I get it.
    Let’s look at page 7-6. Mr Clevin looks good, confident, he wears his suit like a boss.
    Al gushes “you’re here!” He brings flowers. She’s delighted (her expressions are very well drawn). He makes compliments and jokes. Al is proud to introduce him to her pals… Then she introduces him to her parents. At this point her mom says “Is this Clevin?” and his dad reveals he knows Clevin is in a band. Clever way by the authors to imply that Al’s been cooing over him to her parents in excruciating detail. She’s really into him. The authors tell a lot with one strip here.
    Also, him and Al wear matching clothes, which is another tell (ie, either they bought these together, or one wears the other’s gift). So we do have a rather serious (and cute) relationship here. Now, this man looks like a nice catch. How does he turn into a wimpering mess by page 17-7? Is it bad writing or subtle character development? Suspense… Well, there are signs…
    Page 7-6 again, Hector says “If you break her heart, I’ll break-aaa your face!” By which he manages to:
    1- Imply she needs his help to punch someone’s face, which considering her superpowers, is kinda insulting to her… I mean we could rephrase it as “I’m a male feminist! You girls will achieve nothing without my help!” (cue laff box)
    2- If Clevin has any clue, he will correctly interpret both Hector blurting out some witty joke to get Al’s attention and his white-knighting as needy attitude. Most likely Hector’s desperate, he wants her sooooo bad, has been simmering in her friendzone for years, but she “doesn’t see him that way.” (Cant’ blame her for that. He kinda dug his own grave here. Sorry Hector.)
    Al shuts Hector up with a mean frown then he shrinks back into his safe space, mumbling excuses. And then Brad says “Forgive my companion’s toxic masculinity,” thereby labelling himself as a clown.
    Good-guy Clevin should now be totally relaxed, should now understand why Al had to reach outside of her group of friends for a date…
    But the dark clouds gather… Poor insecure Clevin is actually thrown off balance by Hector’s bad joke. I mean, he could at least reply “Nice to meet you, dear father-in-law” or something equally dumb, with a good hug and a pat on the back. This defuses the mock-threat in a humorous manner (also implying he doesn’t give a single f-) while signalling to Hector that there’s no offense. And Al wouldn’t have had to deploy that killer frown.
    But… surprise and thunderclaps, instead Clevin gasps, rolls his eyes, and Al has to come to the rescue.
    The final piece in the puzzle falls into place: Clevin is acting the Damsel In Distress trope. Al rescues him. Clevin is, therefore, her girlfriend.
    Sorry about the long digression. Now armed with this information, we can understand the current page better. Clevin is simply acting like a stereotypical miffed woman: he didn’t get the attention he needed (and felt he deserved), so he raises drama and uses passive-aggressive whining and nagging to get his validation fix.
    Now, re-read the current page, and gender-swap the characters. Cast Clevinette as the soft, emotional cinnamon roll. Suddenly everything makes sense. We’ve all seen this scene before many times.
    Clevinette looks away shyly “Nooo it’s nothing” while hoping Al’s gonna care enough to pry it out…
    Al reassures, soothes, and does tease it out…
    Clevinette spills the beans, and she’s been overthinking so much that she blurts out a half page worth of text bubbles. Note the passive aggressive tone is well written. First Clevinette blames herself to build up pity, then begs for validation. Clevinette is such a whiny bitch!
    Now, had Clevin been a man, he whould have said “I’m so proud of you!” (kiss) “And thank you for giving me so much credit in your speech! That really moved me to tears.”
    My money’s on Al dumping him for the handsome mysterious bad guy she talked about during the party. They’ll get together, and take over the world.

    • Arkone Axon

      Up to the joke at the end… you’re not wrong. This wouldn’t be the first time the comic’s done the gender reversal thing. What Alison did to Max would be considered a horrific assault (with creepy sexual overtones, given that they had been dating and then had a messy breakup) were the genders switched… but because the victim was a male and the abuser was female it took a while for Alison herself to admit that what she did was both completely wrong and completely unjustifiable… and there are still readers who insist “fuck Max” and that it’s his own fault for refusing to do whatever Alison wanted. The tease.

      • Martine Votvik

        – Just putting this under you Arkone, because I couldn’t find a reply button under Chronchypea anymore –

        You certainly put some thought into this Crunchypea and I agree that Clevin is
        put up to fit into the damsel trope, which is kinda refreshing since it
        is done so well and without making him a carboard character. After all,
        it’s what Allison jokes about after they first kiss at the cinema.

        But I invite you to considder a few things

        1)
        why are you reading a passive agressive tone into what Clevin is
        saying? Passive agressiveness needs there to be agression, snideness, a
        cutting remark. Or at least a body language that looks challenging, or
        mean. Being honest about a feeling is not being passive agressive,
        especially not when it is put in such a way that gives the other person
        ground before the emotion is shared.

        2) why are you constructing
        an ideal manly way to react to things at the party and then judging
        Cleving to be a whiny bitch because he failed to live up to your
        expectations? I mean seriously? Why do especially men, but also many
        women to this to other men? What sort of person would Clevin have had to
        be in order to react to Hector’s (basically a total stranger) joky
        threat with bravado and reciprocation? Brad sums it up rather nicely on
        the same page.

        3) Even if we at this point can assume that
        Clevin is set up by the authors to be a nod towards the damsel trope,
        why are you using this as a way to underscore your interpretation of
        Clevin as unjustefyable emotional and whiny?

        You seem to be
        reading a lot of negative things into both having an emotional reaction
        to something and to opening up about having had an emotional reaction.

        Have
        you considdered that it is fairly natural to feel slightly sad about
        things some times and that it is healthy to talk about it when this
        happens?

        I sometimes feel like so many people short circut on
        this whole thing, like people think any mention of emotion in realtion
        to an action or lack thereof to be manipulative. As if having to hear
        that somebody feels sad about something you did is somehow abusive in
        itself? As if having an empatic reaction to such a sharing is “having
        been manipulated”.

        Sharing how you feel is not being passive
        agressive. Hiding how you feel and then expecting the other person to
        know it and then punishing them for not knowing it is being passive
        agressive.

        • Arkone Axon

          Those are some excellent questions and excellent points… also, I think the reason why is because Crunchypea’s post is now awaiting moderation because someone reported it for whatever reason. I have also noticed that the same commentators who rush to demonize male characters and justify whatever happens to them also tend to grow very angry and vitriolic, very quickly.

  • Hiram

    This strikes me as emotionally manipulative. Like he’s doing a guilt trip forced teaming by acting hurt that he didn’t get the same billing as people she’s fought along side and saved the world with.

  • Margot

    Clevin does have super powers! He is Emotional Awareness Man! When he has uncomfortable feelings, he is able to identify them and communicate them with his partner in a way that is not demanding and is respectful to her and her needs. I suspect his powers also include Empathy, and the ability to strengthen these powers in others, which Alison will find particularly useful.

  • zellgato

    emotions are hard.

    Still think you’re evil though.