Issue 1CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Break Issue 2CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50 Issue 3CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3HolidayPage 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31p 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78 Guest ArtTuesdayWednesdayFriday Issue 4CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52 Issue 5CoverPage 1Page 2NewspaperPage 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60HiatusPage 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145Page 146Page 147Page 148Page 149Page 150Page 151Page 152Page 153Page 154Page 155Page 156Page 157Page 158Page 159Page 160Page 161Page 162Page 163Page 164Page 165Page 166Page 167 Issue 6CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145 Bonus Content1234 Issue 7CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17 Show Comments Loranna Would I be remiss, if I secretly longed for this new scene to unfold as a homage to the one part of Superman III that I still go back and re-watch now and then? I refer, of course, to the scene where Clark plays Ring Toss with himself while on a bad bender. Come to think of it, what would a rousing game of Ring Toss be like between Alison and Mega Girl? Or maybe she’d prefer to play Lawn Bowls instead? She does have a mean bowling arm, as we saw back in Chapter Two. . . .the artwork? Oh, well, I like the way the colored panels seem to be layered over the black and white scene below it. Couldn’t help but notice that both Alison and Mega Girl have very prominent blacks in their outfits too – Alison on the chest, Mega Girl around the eyes (and hands, I think) Not sure if there’s anything to that detail, but it caught my eye. Loranna Rugains Fleuridor Super-hammy, but it gets its point across quite strikingly. Weatherheight I pretty much hated II & III. John Williams’ scores, however, still makes my heart and spirit soar. Timothy McLean Of course they do, they were composed by John Williams. Eric Schissel Well, composed or collected/pushed together out of hints of others’, generally, but who’s counting. Loranna Hated II and III, but no mention of IV? Agreed, though, on the brilliant John Willaims score. Loranna Weatherheight I’m sorry, was there a Superman IV? ::flips through Wikipedia:: Nope, sorry, not seeing a Superman IV. Not even a piece of it. I suppose I should go on a quest to find it. Are you SURE such a thing exists? 😀 Hey, fun fact, Mario Puzo (who wrote the Godfather) was the story developer on Superman I & II. I did not know that. Bo Lindbergh Dream or Patrick-caused hallucination? Place your bets! AustinC123 I still don’t think we have any persuasive evidence that Patrick can control minds or send thoughts that way. llennhoff Have you gone back a page and seen the cover of this issue? Patrick has certainly claimed he isn’t a projective telepath, but his harvesting of the thoughts of those sleeping scientists still spooks me. Weatherheight As well it should – his ability to absorb and integrate other people’s skill sets and knowledge is mad powerful. I’m hoping that it isn’t driving him mad at the same time (a la Sylar/Gabriel Gray from Heroes or Rogue from X-Men in her early days) AshlaBoga Honestly, since he gets most of his knowledge from synthesis, if nobody on earth had prior experience with side effects from his abilities, he might not be able accurately predict the side effects of extreme usage of his own powers. Weatherheight Agreed – it was interesting to me that when he was doing that with those scientists, he had helpers and seemed to be performing the synthesis in very controlled conditions. Of course, I may have been projecting a bit. bta He didn’t choose “Thinking Of You” as a slogan for nothing. AustinC123 I did see the cover, yes. I also agree that that was a very smart and spooky thing he was doing. I also think my point stands and nothing you mentioned is a refutation or addresses it but please let me know if I’m misreading. Oren Leifer Patrick is pretty explicitly NOT able to affect minds through his power. It’s all through old-fashioned human manipulation, using his power for information and mindset gathering. Ben Posin That’s certainly his claim, and while I happen to believe him, I’m not sure we’d know if he was lying. Mechwarrior I’ve been saying the same thing since Patrick said that about his powers. The guy’s a self-admitted liar and manipulator, after all. Ben Posin I do believe his claim though, through a combination of logical and aesthetic reasons. I think this story-world would look different if Patrick actually could control minds with any sort of reliability (his encounters with Alison would look different, for instance, and he presumably wouldn’t need to create the elaborate Gurwara charade to prod her along), and I’m inclined to believe he lacks even minimal/unreliable mind control abilities because it makes for a better and more interesting story, and has produced the great dialogue we are referring to. Mechwarrior That really depends on how his powers work and what his long-term goals regarding Alison are. Weatherheight IMHO, it does make for a better story in some ways (hell, MANY ways) if we can take him at his word. However, we also have evidence that powers have been expanding in scope, if not power, so he may have been telling the truth then but that same statement may no longer be true. Herwood I think Patrick wasn’t lying when he said he couldn’t mind control. I think its a dream. Kid Chaos Dream; Alison can have some doozies, as we’ve seen. 😵 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ce12cf0dc055f2c7ede772fb0c384ee4a7d7f3bd3c2c16630827b3fc99c92215.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d1d654f7211dd760097422fbc937b7e7c3f373a1d88cd82825cbf9c741aa0199.jpg Martine Votvik Seems like Mega girl of the past is feeling a bit sore that Alison has moved on and written her off as a bad idea. I kinda makes me wonder how many of our past selves would be bitter if they had to meet their future selves. Usually I would think that it would be a hopeful experience, kinda like “aw, so it will all be worth it”. But considdering how I feel when thining about myself in the past I would probably come across as a terrible snob and a bully. Weatherheight I, for one, would love to be able to meet my past self (say, 18 or so) to give him some advice. Being 18, however, I doubt he’d listen. 😀 Huttj509 I’d love to let me and my mom know about our family Sleep Apnea in time for me to build better habits regarding treating it, and not having been exhausted all the time until after I dropped out of grad school. Weatherheight https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/14cccb71e8e54ded2cc99feea82c9995701e9fd38c26d95e29520f30b15554f5.jpg Arkone Axon It could be. Sometimes our changes aren’t for the better. There’s another fictional heroine named Anita Blake, who was a rather interesting character in the first few books. And then… and then the author lost her damn mind. In the later books Blake becomes something like Bella from “Twilight,” only older, heavily armed, and… well, there’s a drinking game: https://snarp.tumblr.com/post/82150264458/the-anita-blake-drinking-game Someone summed it up. “Anita Blake has become the kind of monster that the original Blake would have hunted and killed.” Tylikcat Alcohol poisoning thing is a thing! That should come with serious warning labels. (And I stopped reading them, um… I don’t know how many ago? Possibly as many ago as I have read?) Arkone Axon I honestly don’t know. I have a friend who absolutely LOVED Anita Blake and kept pushing me to read the books because it explained why their awesome choices for their awesome (exotic inhuman female mary sue) characters for tabletop RPGs, MMORPGs, and other roleplaying settings were such great choices. So… I read through them, up to the one where she visits Las Vegas, where (among other things) she watches a woman be catty to her only to have her life utterly destroyed by her mobster boyfriend five seconds later, has a (female) police officer open up LVPD to a massive sexual harassment lawsuit with her unprofessional insults towards Anita, and pulls three strangers into her bed when her powers flare up (because of course she’s not responsible for what her powers do), and after finding out that one of them is an underaged teenager, curls up in the bathtub CLUTCHING HER GUN LIKE A TEDDY BEAR. After reading a book where Blake came to MY hometown and ended up clutching a firearm like a security blanket, I’d had enough. My friend now deeply regrets pressuring me to read the books, because I can explain in detail just how bad Anita Blake is as a character. (Incidentally, we later had a “roleplaying intervention” for my friend, where everyone sat them down and confronted them with the facts of just how unlikeable those mary sue characters actually were, and why more and more of us didn’t want to play with them anymore) Tylikcat Wikipedia informs me that I have read rather less than half of them. I thought the first five were kind of fun, I sort of remember? Except for the second one. And she was a fairly original character in her early form, in those books (especially compared to Anne Rice vampires. I mean, after having a house mate in my teens who cos-played Lestat incessantly, anyone who says “I don’t date vampires, I kill them,” gets my vote.) I bailed soon after. I regret nothing. (Well, except maybe that second one. Something about zombies. If I tried, I could remember more, but over the whole memory is a mental note not to try and a general impression of annoyance.) Arkone Axon Eh… after the one where she betrayed Richard (the werewolf who was based on Hamilton’s ex-husband), they were still… eh… well, you could see her trying to be a mary sue but other characters wouldn’t let her. Then… she got too powerful and then became this gravity well warping everything around her. If you’re looking for a good series that involves someone who treats vampires as monsters rather than love interests, I highly recommend the Dresden Files series. Harry Dresden starts out behaving very much like Anita Blake – a supernatural detective with a gun to supplement his powers. But as the series progresses he continues to be a decent person and never abandons his ideals to start having freaky sex with vampires the way Blake does. The single biggest difference would this: In the Blake series, Anita Blake has absolutely ZERO strong female friends. There are female subordinates who serve her and obey her. There are strong females who are invariably her enemy and will have to be killed by the end of the book. And there are weak females who die because they’re weak (which is to say, they’re too feminine – as opposed to tomboy Anita). She has the trappings of a strong empowered female, but the series positively reeks of misogyny. In the Dresden Files, Harry starts with a scant few friends, but accumulates a growing number of amazing, interesting, and powerful friends and allies – many of whom can kick his ass with ease. Both males and females; I think you’ll get a real kick out of reading about Lieutenant Karrin Murphy of Chicago PD’s “Special Investigations” department, or Captain Luccio of the Wardens of the White Council. (even the villainous types can be awesome. Including Lara Raith. Who is a vampire… and Harry does NOT date her) Tylikcat Oh, I’ve been reading the Dresden Files for years. They’re fun. It will be interesting to see where he takes them. (I do really like Karrin. I’m a little more worried about the general amping up of power levels in the series – maybe because it’s been the doom of so many!) I’m not wholly against vampires, there are just a fairly long list of vampire related tropes that I prefer to steer clear from. And even there, I can enjoy them when there done really well, just… mostly, they’re so overdone. I like Barbara Hambly’s take more than most, but I’m not current even with that series – I really need to buy and then convert the fiels so I can listen to them, but I’ve been busy this last bit. (On the flip side, Drew Hayes’ vampire accountant humor pieces are not only hilarious but… comfort reading, I guess. Cheeringly soothing.) Arkone Axon I know what you mean. I’m ACHING for the next book to come out… especially given how the latest novel ended, with regards to Butters. David Gillon I have fond memories of ‘Travelling with the Dead’, really must look the series up again. Tylikcat Hambly is one of the authors who I really think has never gotten her due. David Gillon She does get quite a lot of praise for her Benjamin January series (which I really must try one of these days), but her fantasy writing really is at the top of the tree too. Tylikcat She does *in certain circles* but I think in terms of sales figures she’s been a niche author – at least since the eighties (I’m under the impression some of her fantasy was pretty popular then.) David Gillon My memory is several of her series being particularly popular at the time. I’m not sure if she was strictly speaking a best seller for all of them, but she was certainly very well known. Tylikcat (And yes – read Benjamin January!) Weatherheight Her early work was somehow both derivative and wholly original at the same time. The Sun Wolf Saga and the Darwath Saga were HUGE influences on certain elements of my campaign setting. Darwath is this quite odd mix of Call of Cthulhu and a D&D game – highly recommended if you like fantasy; Sun wolf is quite similar. The Dragonsbane books (Winterlands cycle according to wikipedia) and the Windrose books were also very nice. Tylikcat One of those moments of horrible disillusion was when I was told that Antryg Windrose was loosely based on Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor. (Clearly, I must share my misery.) I mean, he’s a wonderful character in his own right, it just kind of shook my understanding of the series. It’s kind of like when I heard that the first draft of Bujold’s Shards of Honor involved a Federation officer and Klingon officer stranded alone on a planet together. o_O All right then! Weatherheight It is my considered opinion that no act of creation holds up well under close scrutiny. That goes triple for anything I’ve done! 😀 Shjade If one is feeling unreasonably generous, there are specific segments of some of the middling-later books that aren’t terrible, but on the whole they’re still a mess. It’s been interesting re-reading them as I get older and trying to figure out exactly what it is I liked about them so much a decade or so ago, as a sort of way of examining my own personal sexist hangups and etc. Obsidian Butterfly’s a particularly good one for that. “Why didn’t I notice Anita is so toxic to Donna at EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY before? Or if I noticed, why didn’t it bother me more?” David Gillon If 70* page sex scenes only count as one drink then you’re probably safe…. * not exaggerating. Tylikcat Oh, I did pick up one of the later ones in a airport bookstore some years back. I’m still not sure if it had a plot? I’m not even necessarily against a one handed read, but it just didn’t hold my attention. David Gillon To some extent the plot just serves to link to the sex scenes, and after the first 70 page sex scene, you can pretty much skip ahead. If you’re writing eroticism, having the sex go on so long it bores the reader is pretty much the cardinal sin. I actually think there was something interesting going on in terms of character development, but the balance of the books had gotten out of control. She really needed an editor to crack the whip (!) and tell her no more than one 10 page sex scene per hundred pages of book. And for all I think there’s potentially an interesting story in a character who is becoming a succubus, I’m not convinced Anita Blake was the right character to tell that story. There has to be a happy medium between Anita’s prudish self-loathing and, say, someone like Grrl Power’s Xuriel/Dabbler, whose character orbits around her sexuality and who spends a lot of her time deliberately pushing the limits to get a rise out of any prudish character she runs into. Arkone Axon In the case of Dabbler, her deliberate pushing of the limits appears to just be another example of her playful nature and penchant for teasing. Remember the prank she pulled on Halo with the puppets? And she’s not the only one who teases stiff types like Maxima. (“You should all be wearing burkas!” *woosh!* “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY…!?” *Click of a camera taking a photo* “Best one yet. You’ve got to stop making it this easy, Colonel…”) But yeah… that’s why I feel Anita Blake is deeply misogynistic and anti-female. She can never WANT to have sex. It has to be forced upon her. Even though it’s her power, her “ardeur” is treated almost as a separate entity rather than something to learn to control and master. She can never share any of the men with other women (with the incredible selfish and childish explanation of, “I know that’s unfair, but I can’t help it”). And they can’t be males who are comfortable sharing, it has to be men who are jealous and unhappy about how they can only have a tiny piece of her but aren’t allowed to have anyone else. Compare that to Dabbler, who “hammerspaces” her partners so they won’t remember the details, specifically to AVOID denying them to other females. Of course, the roots of the succubus myth are, along with the incubus, based on some really screwed up attitudes about sex. A demon who seduces men while they sleep in the form of a beautiful woman (“I wasn’t touching myself! I don’t know why the sheets are stained… it must have been a succubus!”) and then becomes a male to impregnate a woman with the stolen seed (“I swear I’m a virgin! I don’t know how I got pregnant – it must have been an incubus!”). A modernized and improved version would have to be a lot more sex-positive. Like Dabbler (“For us sex is like food. You eat food to live. You also enjoy it.”). David Gillon For Dabbler, sex is life, for Anita Blake, sex is part of the horror. So that’s why I say that a better character to tell the story of becoming a succubus might have been someone with a little less damaged an attitude to sex. Arkone Axon Yeah… that’s a great way to put it. DAMAGED. Blake has a DAMAGED attitude towards sex. Personally, I find Dabbler’s relationship with sex to be similar to Halo’s relationship with spicy foods. Sustenance and pleasure, the source of a few side plots and providing detail to the character. The part that worried me about Dabbler was never her sexuality, but rather her myriad power set – it made me think of the boys of South Park playing ninja, and Cartmann claiming to have everyone else’s powers, “only better.” Fortunately they’ve emphasized how Dabbler is exactly that – a dabbler, a dilettante in pretty much every field, including sexuality (she’s an amateur cook, not a professional chef) as well as swordsmanship (holds her weapon like a club) and whatnot. Just like how Maxima isn’t all powerful or infallible (“Well, my nose is broken. That’ll teach me to grandstand…”). David Gillon Anvil: “You have a prosthetic eye? How did you lose it?” Dabbler: “Same way I got my prosthetic hand, I’m not as good at swordfighting as I think.” (Or words to that effect) Oracle And I thought Ayn Rand’s filibusters were bad… M. Alan Thomas II It’s sad, because it’s some of the only spec fic set in St. Louis. (I’m not counting Glen Cook’s Garrett novels because the references are hidden and sometimes unintentional.) Dwight Williams Thinking of Busiek and Grummett’s Skyrocket. No sooner was she created than she was moved from St. Louis to San Francisco for Power Company purposes in the DCU. M. Alan Thomas II The same goes for Synch in Marvel, who was creation for Generation X and was only shown in St. Louis long enough to recruit him and show off his powers in a fight. Of course, statistically the city proper is shrinking (or was for a long time) and the metro area’s population increase had more to do with the statistical area’s boundaries expanding than actual population growth, so it being a place that people are from is kinda true-to-life. Even I am an expat. Interestingly, Steve Ditko admitted that The Question’s “Hub City” was based on East St. Louis. Dwight Williams That was Dennis O’Neil making the admission re: the version of Hub City he and Denys Cowan built, wasn’t it? M. Alan Thomas II Ah! You’re right; my memory was a bit muddled there. I just remember “the darkest place in the DCU is East St. Louis” in the same way that I remember “post-apocalyptic (Escape From) New York is East St. Louis.” AshlaBoga That drinking game would kill you within a few chapters. Weatherheight Drinking Games I Will Never Play Again, Anime Edition The Fushigi Yuugi Drinking Game! 1) Drink when Miaka says “Tamahome” immediately after Tamahome says “Miaka” 2) Drink when Tamahome says “Miaka” immediately after Miaka says “Tamahome” There was a “Slam It!” condition but for some reason I don’t remember what it was. I’m sure it’ll come to me, eventually… FlashNeko “God, was I really that much of a muscle-headed jerk?” “God, do I really become this much of a pretentious dumbass?” Fairportfan Mega Girl was CUTE. Rugains Fleuridor The costume was intentionally designed so, I bet. Fairportfan Well, duh. In Marian Harmon’s “Cape” books, Astra’s costume is not only designed to look cute, but to compensate for the fact that she’s only eighteen when she has her breakthrough, and, at five-foot-nothing, she looks like someone’s fourteen-year-old kid sister. Someone’s flat-chested fourteen-year-old kid sister. It has … enhancements. Oren Leifer And there are costume like Vista’s, from Worm, that are made so that they can be redesigned and enhanced later, for marketing purposes, which is fairly creepy. Every time I read the first “Wearing the Cape” book I keep replacing “Shelly” with “Taylor” and “Hope” with “Emma”, just like I keep replacing “Elsa” with “Amy” in Frozen. Sometime stories just infect you so badly. Weatherheight Long ago, a friend ran a character in a Champions game who had a sidekick who also powers; the character was a fabric manipulator and the sidekick was an broad spectrum energy projector. The sidekick got a new costume every adventure – and a new heroic ID, since new costume equals new hero, apparently. Guess those reporters never paid much attention to Janet Van Dyne back in the day, when she was changing costumes every six issues or so of the Avengers (I will now NOT rant on how badly that character was abused – second only to Carol Danvers, whom Marvel redeemed. Poor Janet got thrown on the ash-heap for drama’s sake.) Arkone Axon i wonder one thing about that… first abuse case, with Janet. I say “first” because Marvel (who I feel murdered my favorite characters 17 years ago and have been violating the corpses ever since) decided to have a followup where… well, insecticide was involved. Ugh. But in that first case, her husband offhandedly backhands her without even glancing at her, because he’s so focused and obsessed because of his psychological breakdown that he’s having there. Which leads to my question: why didn’t she shake it off, get back up, and blast him through a wall since she’s a frickin’ AVENGER, and regularly gets hit worse than that on any given day? Weatherheight That was more or less my thought at the time… “Seriously, Janet? I mean, you don’t need to respond in kind but for the love of all that’s holy TELL someone and get his arse in jail! Look him in the eye and let him know that crap is not acceptable on any level.” Jim Shooter was responsible for both the plot points I mentioned and a few others – there were a few Tigra sub-plots by him that were also pretty annoying. Timothy McLean Well, that makes me more interested in “Wearing the Cape”. (And I’m not convinced it’s creepier than, say, costume design for movies or coordinating what suits actors wear to movie premieres.) Fairportfan The most recent “Cape” book, Teamups and Crossovers has Astra tossed into various parallel universes, where she meets Velveteen … and Sydney Scoville, code-named “Halo”. That chapter was co-written by Grrl Power‘s creator… Fairportfan Don’t recognise. What is? Herwood Cute and/or scary! The expression in panel 4 especially! K25fF Symbolism? Symbolism. Lostman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbsWQqnWS_s Lostman Clearly Alison stressed, and if we know anything; being a biodynamic is stressful. JohnTomato Is that “I’m late” and should call/visit current paramour and ask him about certain developments, or is that I’m tardy for an appointment? ampg I’m guessing this is the part of the dream where she realizes she’s sleeping through her alarm and jolts awake. JohnTomato “jolts awake.” Which would trash her apartment and maybe any and all flats nearby. Tsapki Breaking News! Good morning, I’m Larry Johnson. A city block was leveled today in what was feared to be a terrorist attack. However, investigators found that the true cause was Alice Green, retired superhero MegaGirl, having a bad dream. Ms. Green could not be reached for comment but several city officials have commented on legislative action that would require her to utilize sleeping aids to avoid further accidents. Up next, what you don’t know about your local grocery store milk, might in fact kill you. Weatherheight We can ask the rabbit when it shows up… David Gillon Those plot bunnies get everywhere… Timothy McLean “Am I dreaming?” “You’re talking to your past self. Figure it out, moron.” “You can’t be my past self. I know I was never such an asshole.” “Do you, now?” David Gillon She’s a superhero, talking to your past self happens once in a blue moon* * Blue moons happen every two or three years. Nathan B Earl Ain’t got no pupil color… Zorae42 Does it seem weird to anyone else that her dream-self is wearing a bra? The Elsewise Not weird per se, but I am surprised at the attention to detail. In a good way. Zorae42 Well, I’d appreciate it if she was awake. But it’s weird that there’s that much attention to detail in her dream. Details like that don’t usually present themselves in dreams. Sabe Jones Wearing a bra is plausible. Having hands that aren’t fused together or blurred out or covered in weird boils or something, that’s only like one time in five. AshlaBoga In my dreams I tend to move like I’m on wheels instead of walking. More like a roller coaster ride than actual life. David Gillon Dunno, moving on wheels* seems fairly natural to me. * wheelchair user 😉 AshlaBoga Ah, so it would be more strange if you found yourself walking in a dream. David Gillon It’s stranger than that! I can walk, I just gave up on it outdoors as using crutches was increasingly trashing my shoulders, but in dreams, both pre- and post-chair, I’ve turned upwalking without issues, with crutches, with leg braces, with prosthetic legs (not an amputee) and with the chair. It’s as though my brain is confused by the mixed reality and can’t settle on a body image. Khlovia That is really interesting. Would it be okay with you if I use it in a character? I’ll credit you if the thing ever sees publication. David Gillon No need to credit. One thing to remember is about 5 wheelchair users out of every 6 can walk to some degree, so mixing wheelchairs and walking is actually the norm. Khlovia I did not know that. Thanks for the education; I always appreciate that. Weatherheight Maybe in your dreams… 😀 Level of detail in dreams has a lot of variance, both on an individual’s set of dreams and across populations of individuals. Indeed, it’s not at all uncommon for people to report realizing there were details to the dream that they recall noticing but were unable to recall upon awakening. That alone suggests that dreams often include elements of which we are aware but are “less important”, and thus those elements, while present, aren’t retained as part of active memory. I occasionally have very detailed and striking dreams that seem very real in all respects, indistinguishable from reality until someone walks through a wall, flies off, begins speaking in an unintelligible tongue, shapeshifts into someone else, and so on. Occasionally, those very detailed dreams are perfectly normal interactions – and often, that very small subset of dreams ends up playing out IRL (I once tripped out a friend when I was 15 by telling him exactly how the conversation we were hearing in class was going to go, down to exact quotes – then he asked a question to the instructor that I didn’t dream about). Don’t worry too much if you don’t have lucid dreams – it’s nothing to lose sleep over. ::wiggles his ears and ducks and runs and hides:: AshlaBoga Whenever I realize I’m in a dream and try to wake up I usually appear in the main hallway of my house, which should tip me off that I’m still asleep since I shouldn’t wake up standing in the middle of my home, but it rarely tips me off. Not sure why I fake-wake up in the same spot, guess I’m insane? Kifre Timothy McLean In what universe is it weird that women wear bras? Zorae42 This one. RaijinK People find their dream-selves wearing underwear all the time. It’s more unusual to be wearing anything else. David Gillon Could be a vest or camisole, which are potential night-wear. Herwood Yay! Hello Alison!!! We missed you!!! Herwood Man does Mega Girl look menacing in panel 4. If I were a super villain I would be like “Ill just show myself to my cell”. Ben Posin I feel like a cheater using clues from outside the direct story, but the cover art seems to confirm theories that Patrick is behind the recent shenanigans. Do folks have a good idea as to what he was trying to accomplish? My tinfoil hat theory is that Patrick isn’t best pleased about Alison’s rejection of him as a person and decision to turn him in two years down the road, and is looking for a way to drum up some forces against Alison that can remove her as a danger to him—what’s his face’s congressional mother being a big part of that. But that’s just some crazy doodling, I’m pleased with this story to not know where it’s going. Arkone Axon I’m leaning more towards the theory that she’s going to head back to Patrick because, after what she did to Max, and to herself (i.e. handing a ticking time bomb of blackmail-worthy and/or reputation-destroying evidence of multiple crimes to unknown third parties AND a very pissed off mother), she needs someone she can turn to… and he’s about the only person she knows of who can handle conspiracies, and is willing to work with allies who have done… questionable things. And not only does his expression look weary and unhappy and guarded as he looks down at her image in the lower right of the cover art… but it’s a shot of only the left side of his face. It’s making me think that when he turns to face her, she’ll see the consequences of when she threw that mug at him. https://youtu.be/LAPFKd48ulg?t=50 AshlaBoga Good idea on the art emphasizing the mug incident by not showing that side of his face. I think that must be intentional. Kid Chaos I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date! 😜 Weatherheight The psychologist in me is giddy with delight at this rising of the curtain. AshlaBoga Uh, is the black and white panel supposed to be TANDRY CONNORS??? Stephanie Gertsch I was wondering who the woman in the middle was. No one is talking about her. That panel is pretty scary. Greyone That was my first thought too Rose Barely remembered her! Chapter 5 appearance: https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-76-2/ And she’s on the Cast page: https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/cast/ Weatherheight Okay, I’m a bit embarrassed and a bit ashamed that I’m just now noticing this. Mega-Girl’s hair is long and in a ponytail. Alison keeps her hair short. And isn’t that an interesting juxtaposition? Arkone Axon That’s… a good point. And something I’ve wondered about, a bit. Why is short hair seen as a sign of empowerment? I myself currently have my hair much longer than I’ve worn it in the past (I’m on the verge of my own ponytail), but it’s not making me weak or less competent. It seems rather like skinheads: “you need to LOOK like the rest of us, to identify yourself and your politics at a glance!” Are women who choose to wear their hair long to be considered less empowered or feminist? Zorae42 I think it’s just that long hair is usually seen as the social norm for girls; or at least short hair isn’t. You aren’t less empowered for being a girl with long hair, but you are giving a middle finger to gender norms if you have super short hair. Tylikcat I do wonder if there was any pressure for Alison to maintain a certain “look” as Mega-girl. (Or, y’know, just it was something she’d developed as a young teen.) I’ve hit the extremes (somewhere there are some great pictures of me with a shaved and henna’d head, and I had hip length hair for something like sixteen years, mostly because french braiding is easier than messing around with hair cuts.) Longer hair is a real pain when grappling. David Gillon Strikes me that any organized superhero team is likely to end up with style consultants. And if you’re teens then the style consultants may have an unreasonable amount of power, c.f. the Velveteen books. Though there’s a segment in Charles Stross’s The Annihilation Score where the proposed team uniform is nixed because it falls foul of police regs requiring faces to be visible at all times. Tylikcat Though we haven’t seen anything heavy handed in terms of outside interference in their day to day running – the closest was who they were being pointed at in terms of targets, which was part of why Alison bailed. Weatherheight No Capes! FlashNeko A lot of the time in fiction “girl with long hair cuts it short” is meant as a symbolic cutting of ties with something from their past or just their past life in general so they can focus on their goals for the future and/or some important task they have to deal with in the present. It may just be a coincidence here but that’s the general narrative shorthand. Stephanie Gertsch Not only women either. In Avatar the Last Airbender, Zuko and Iroh both cut their topknots when on the run from the Fire Nation. However, I’m a little uncomfortable with the way Zuko conforms to western masculinity to signal his evolution as a person. Oh, and Ashitaka does it in Princess Mononoke. I guess it’s only possible with cultures where men have long hair. Tylikcat Having read a bunch of Chinese Revolutionary literature, there’s a lot of stuff in there around queue cutting – the queue was imposes on the Han by the Manchu Qing dynasty, so late in the Qing dynasty* it was a highly symbolic act to cut off your queue. Symbolic – but also not safe. In some of Lu Xun’s** stories, you have character cutting off their queues… and then sometimes regretting it and having to hide during the period their hair is growing out. (Symbolic action is fine and great, but how effective is it after all. Especially when alcohol infused?) * a complicated period, as te Qing were propped up by western powers. ** Lu Xun is amazing, highly worth reading, even in translation. Weatherheight I’ve never felt the length of a woman’s hair had anything to do with anything but how she liked to wear it, but my upbringing was… unusual in my cohort. My father was for equal pay for women in the 50’s and my mother was a mathematician who help develop the CAD programs used by Boeing beginning in the late 70’s until she retired in…1998, I think… so, yeah, my view on a lot of topics involving “what does it mean when a woman does X” is probably not the common view. You’ve raised some interesting points, but I was thinking more about the change in hairstyle being a rejection of Mega-Girl and an attempt by Alison to distance herself from Mega-Girl (also, probably an attempt to be ess recognizable, I suspect). Of course, now I’m going to think about your point for a while. Might even ask some of my friends who are women as t what they think. Khlovia I’m long out of the workforce and I always had long hair, so from personal experience I dunno. But it’s possible, and it’s also possible that it’s some kind of holdover from the days when little girls, and only little girls, wore their hair long and unbound, and putting your hair *up* (thus shortening it visually) signaled that you were now a young lady. However, I agree that in Alison’s case, she was simply rejecting the accustomed Mega Girl look along with the Mega Girl persona. Tylikcat I think this is so hugely multi-factorial. When my hair was long, it was almost never loose. I also almost always wore glasses*. I tend towards practical, but somewhat slouchy sportswear, or very non-sexy businesswear (or idiosyncratic weirdness.) With some people, a softer more feminine look makes a huge difference. With other people, it makes no difference at all. I haven’t noticed this effect much with women, but I’ve tended to work in male dominated fields. There’s a range where I’ll adjust without even noticing… and there’s a range where it bugs me. I suspect over time that window shifts (generally towards not noticing, because who wants to deal with that aggravation?) But it’s not as simple as hair length – it’s much more about how it’s worn, how it frames your face, the whole look. Run through a filter of the expectations of the person looking. * Partly because my allergies often make it uncomfortable to wear contacts for too long, but also because I don’t like the kind of pretty I tend towards without them. Bleh. Akiva My longing for super-short hair arrived about 3-4 years before I came out to myself, and I got the impression Molly came out in the last year or so (could be wrong about the timing), so part of me sees a parallel and relates, even if that’s not what’s actually going on with the character design…. Urzamax Hello folks, just finished binging the archives. I wanted to chime in about the meaning of the chapter cover. It seems that most are assuming that Patrick is meant to be the villain of this arc based on that, and yes, the design and coloring and so forth would suggest that (Patrick looming threateningly over Allison and the city, the heavy use of black, etc). But why couldn’t it be Patrick’s redemption instead? Maybe the image of him gluing that Looney Tunes mug back together is just fresh and forward in my mind, but it doesn’t seem completely far-fetched to me that he would desire reconciliation with Allison, and that other forces would attempt to prevent this, hence the atmosphere of menace and hostility seen on that cover. Thoughts? Weatherheight Welcome! There’s soft drinks on the back table and doughnuts for today’s snack. This is why we as a community love Patrick as a character. So many possibilities and we can all project our interpretation of his actions and motives to our heart’s content. The collapse of the Patrick Quantum State™ should prove fairly heartbreaking for at least some portion of the community, however. 😀 AshlaBoga The cover didn’t scream villain to me either. She’s not looking up at him with anger, and he’s looking very tired. Those bags under his eyes are quite large. What if the Prof was from the conspiracy and now they are going after Patrick? For whatever reason, I sort of like the idea of Alison having to rescue Patrick, he is a bit smug and having to admit that the world’s smartest man isn’t even close to perfect would be a good thing for him. P.S: Does Patrick remind anyone else of Ozymandias? R Lex Eaton He does, to an extent. Adding to that, though, Cameron Vale from Scanners. Fitting, since both are telepaths. And while we’re on the thought train here, does anyone else interpret Patrick as having an incredibly flawed sense of self? Or even lacking a mental “voice”? AshlaBoga Yes to the former, no to the later. Patrick probably has a semi-constant internal monologue like most people who weren’t born deaf. He’s described his telepathy as seeing the entirety of someone’s life, he might not perceive the thoughts of others as being comparatively loud in regards to their mindscape. Patrick doesn’t just read your mind, he sees everything you have in there. I’ve thought of his telepathy as archive binging on a webcomic, with new panels posted on a regular basis. R Lex Eaton Interesting stuff! It does make me wonder, though. Maybe there’s some kind of mental version of prosopagnosia–the neurological disability that affects a person’s ability to recognize faces… I once wrote a story for a college course that applied it to changing bodies, but it’s eerily apropos here. Being able to perceive the thoughts of others with no ability to control the flow of information… Maybe that would affect the concept of who you are? bta Ozymandias is very much a possible conclusion for the “one big punch to solve the world’s problems” thing Allison and Patrick have going on. I like Manhattan’s “nothing ever ends” remark. It’s the acknowledgment that dangers, injustices, struggles, etc… continue either way and that the end/mean dichotomy is a red herring. We, or the future generations, always have to continue living with the consequences of what was done, it’s not like we’re ever going to be able to just relax, look back without bias and serenely decide what was justified or not. History has no epilogue. Arkone Axon I always thought that the reason for Manhattan’s remark was that he was well aware that Rorschach’s journal was safely on its way to a certain editorial desk, there to blow the cover on the conspiracy and result in a howling mob/international taskforce out for Ozymandius’ blood. “Well, you didn’t exactly FAIL. You got the U.S.A. and USSR to set aside their differences and team up. Unfortunately for you… they’re not teaming up against aliens. I’d explain all that to you, except you’re really starting to bore me with how you can’t even understand lateral thinking. CUTTING through the gordian knot wasn’t a solution. Cutting the wood around the knot and sliding it off while leaving the rope intact, THAT’S lateral thinking. Anyway, you’re just one more halfwit who thinks he’s brilliant and made certain to close himself off to conflicting counsel that might help him correct his mistakes before he makes them. I’ll go play god in another solar system. Have fun when the angry mob arrives.” Oracle I always liked the conventional interpretation: no matter whether the journal arrives or not, Ozymandias can only do so much for so long. In time, all his work will be undone and he’ll find himself very much like his namesake, surrounded not by the mighty legacy he left but by a desert where the lone and level sands stretch far away. Arkone Axon Oh there is that. But even in the short term, Veidt had already proven himself to be an arrogant fool. “How can I stop the Cold War?” Ignored advisor: “Perhaps help Communism collapse since it’s an unworkable system, in favor of something more benevolent?” “Hum… I must think, because I am the smartest man alive!” Ignored advisor: “Or perhaps reform both governments and replace the power mad fools running the USSR and USA with people who don’t want to threaten the future of the planet in order to conquer it?” “Hum… only my ideas are good ones… I know, I’ll fake an alien invasion and kill millions of people!” “That… sounds ridiculously complex, wasteful, and foolish, if you don’t mind my saying so.” “Oh, not at all. Incidentally, how about a drink?” Dogwood I often wondered if Ozymandias’ plan was doomed to fail by virtue of people eventually forgetting about the alien and moving on to new things. Would he have to fake another attack every few years? David Gillon Agree with you on the eyes, and they may have eye contact, it’s a bit difficult to tell given how stylized Patrick is drawn. Oracle Definitely possible, especially if he’s made progress on that ongoing project of his, but there’s just something about that cover that screams contempt. Not villainy, perhaps, but not a warm fuzzy emotion by any stretch. Henrik Magnusson Jesus woman, didnt anyone ever tell you to not accept drinks from strangers? Jshadow Sooooo….. what was the POINT of the bonus comic? Kid Chaos To remind us that the world doesn’t revolve around Alison & co. 👽 Jshadow I don’t think it works well with the comic flow, UNLESS is was related to the situation that’s comming up next. Atleast it’s not pulling a Las Lindas, where critical character background and “world building”, if you can even call it that, exists outside of the main story. Arkone Axon For this comic to be like Las Lindas, all the females would have to have enormous breasts and the United Nations would send envoys to personally inform anyone who disagrees with Alison that they are completely 100% in the wrong. And then when anyone finds an antagonist character to be more appealing than the designated protagonist, they’d immediately have a sudden change of heart and sob, “I’m wrong and bad and horrible and let’s be friends and I’ll abide by your moral code!” Lisa Izo Ok based on this I am pretty certain that I would never want to read this Las Lindas thing. Sounds horrid and Mary Sue-ish Arkone Axon Pretty much. Here’s the bad webcomics review, if you’re interested. http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Las_Lindas And yes, everything I described in my previous post actually happened – from the literal ruler of the planet coming down to hand the protagonist first place in a contest (and the justifiably outraged “villain” being humiliated after protesting the injustice), to the “villain” apologizing and making up for being bad because the comic creators realized Alejandra is a MUCH more interesting, entertaining, and likable character than Mora. ampg It was written before the last two chapters, as bonus material for the first book. It was never designed to fit into this arc. David Gillon To fill in a gap while the crowdsourcing was eating Molly and Brennan’s time with something that was already written and drawn, but which not everyone had seen. iow nothing to do with the current story. ICannotFindIveLostMyMind “You know we still can’t fly, right?” If this is true of reality, then how long has she been absent? David Gillon Storm’s a-coming. David Gillon Schrodinger’s Briefcase… AshlaBoga “Break me as fast as you can.” “I’m trying to kill you.” “One Day you’ll put me back together.” Looks more like interviewer Tandry than Dr. Rosenblum. She looks nothing like Max’s mother. David Gillon “You know we still can’t fly, right?” is a really interesting sentence construction. For a start Mega-Girl is talking about herself/Alison in the plural (either that or she’s using the Royal We), but more interesting to me is the tense. Current Alison can fly, past Mega-Girl couldn’t fly, there was never a time when they co-existed, never mind a time when they co-existed and couldn’t fly. Not being able to fly should be in Alison’s past, Mega-Girl talking about Alison flying should be in her future, Alison’s present. Which suggests to me the dream is taking place in the past. (Buster being alive would also argue for that). Darkoneko Hellsing Longer hair ? Amanda i love the instant transition from Calm and Collected Alison With No Bags Under Her Eyes to I’m Running Late and Haven’t Slept Well For a Week Alison Lisa Izo This is not confusing in the least. 🙂 Sage Catharsis No,this comic doesn’t express the authoress’s y authors compuction against their own premise , nah, why would I think that, why would I think that this is the closest thing to a renouncment of feminism so far? Obviously men and women are equals and I can keep waiting for my wife, who won’t even take me out for coffee after I married her to come rescue me, like a strong female hero. Um… Me so strong, me stay homeless long time. Thurmbs-oop.