SFP

Hi guys! I (Molly) am going to be at New York Comic Con this week to promote my upcoming middle grade graphic novel, The Witch Boy! Here’s my schedule:

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  • Gotham

    How long ago was it that we got to see Alison punching things? As much as I wished we could have had her depowered for the descent into dream, this is cool.
    Hopefully these robots are not manned.

    And speaking of gender identity (have fun in New York, Molly ♥), I hope we’ll all behave and not make gross assumption about the new character as long as they don’t present themselves.

    (She said after she looked at her own fingers to try and remember how testosterone levels are supposed to affect the relative length of index and ring fingers)

    • elilla

      Nitpicking, but developmental androgen exposure (one-off while your body is being made), not testosterone levels (hormones running in your body in general). I’m only pointing this because you can have a lot of testosterone in your body and still identify as a woman; giving testosterone to a cis woman won’t make her feel she’s a man, but there are strong indications that variations in uterine endocrine exposure can affect those feelings (which doesn’t mean they’re the only cause; genetics also play a role, and who knows what else).

      Also, keep in mind that, just because transgenderism is distinctively correlated with left-handedness, autism, high finger ratio etc., it doesn’t mean that it’s characterized by those features. I know you’re aware of that, but I also know how insidious the feelings of being “fake trans” can be (I’m not left-handed why (;-;)), so I want to emphasize this for anyone who might be reading it: Biological correlates are not trans midichlorians. It makes no sense to point at those things to tell whether someone is “really” trans or not, much less to feel you’re “fake”. There’s still a large number of trans people who are not remotely autistic, are right-handed, have low digit ratio etc. There are statistical tendencies, but most of the distribution overlaps.

      • Gotham

        Oh of course, I was merely poking fun at my own yearning to know more and relying on the flimsiest of meaningless and superficial visual details until I do, the same way I shamefully admit to having done the same regarding the “there be boobs” question last page.

        The joke was entirely on me for even pretending to believe there’s a clear correlation not even between transgenderism and finger ratio, but /gender/ and finger ratio, which is the adorably reductive example we tell children so that they play with each other’s hands so that even they can attest it never works.

        • Eric Meyer

          Oh don’t be apologetic about it. You said a thing, someone else nitpicked a thing, we’re all having fun here.

      • Chani

        And, of course, left-handed people on the spectrum who aren’t trans. 🙂 My only source of gender confusion is from being in a profession that’s assumed (jokingly or seriously) to be all guys.

    • Incendax

      My guess? I suspect the gender is omni. Reading everyone’s mind without discrimination means that symbolic Patrick may represent all genders, or be completely fluid from one moment to the next.

      • Mechwarrior

        Or it may be following the old trope of a character’s mindspace having multiple versions of themselves populating it, each of which representing a different aspect of their personality.

        • Incendax

          You called it!

  • MoonicaMusing

    Is… is that Patrick? Patricia? I realise it’s far too soon to speculate about whether, if it is, it signifies internal gender identity issues or something more symbolic/allegorical but I am pretty sure that’s Patrick. Interesting… in fact it makes the whole exchange super interesting as well. How deeply or superficially can we read the “Save me”? Why isn’t she surprised or upset to see Alison?

    • Gotham

      They are surprised, look at these lines above the head first panel.
      Upset might come at a later point when death robots are reduced to a less life-threatening state of matter.

      • MoonicaMusing

        They are at *best* mildly surprised, and then only initially. I’d be a hell of a lot more than mildly surprised if I found another person in my mind.

        • Gotham

          We really don’t know anything about the rules of this place. If this is someone who spent all their life in Patrick’s mind with no other interaction with other humans, how would they know English? They might know everything Patrick knows if they are somehow (and that’s likely) related to him but then you could say that they know who Alison is.

          And I wager Patrick has a high enough esteem of Alison to definitely expect she would one day show up there.

          • MoonicaMusing

            Well… yeah… all of these possibilities and the many many others that may yet be revealed, make the exchange interesting. That’s kind of my point.

          • Eric Meyer

            I mean, you think in your language, right? So shouldn’t anybody who lives in someone’s brain, know the same languages that their brain-host does?

          • Gotham

            Due to the critical lack of people living in someone’s brain’s testimonies, I can neither confirm nor deny that possibility

    • elilla

      I’m leaning towards symbolic representation of (part of?) Patrick’s self, possibly in a Jungian anima sense, and (unless we get further indication) not really his internal gender identity (much as I’d enjoy that).

    • Walter

      Mark on the cheek, dark hair…seems like Patrick.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        that line on the cheek is a representation of “high cheekbones,” not a mark on the character’s skin, fwiw

    • Merle

      Could just be a Slipstream kind of thing. This part of Pat’s psyche presents as feminine, and it’s not worth looking too far into.

      (Not that I believe that’s likely.)

  • Hiram

    Alison, needs to learn how to throw a hook. Punching shrapnel towards the people you’re saving tends to be counterproductive.

    • Miri Waites

      It wasn’t shrapnel before she punched it though

    • Gotham

      The green goo is robot magic

      • Dean

        The robots are full of delicious lime jello.

    • Zac Caslar

      As opposed to punching them sideways into the person she’s protecting. Like a hook could.

      Alternately she’s using a straight for maximum penetration value instead of trying to fly/leap and then redirect that momentum into a strike from a side angle.

      Maybe she thinks the robot’s power plant or cpu are inside it’s torso and thus to disable it as quickly as possible instead of slapping it around as there are three more ‘bots aiming at her apparent rescuee and time spent breaking one of them down limb by limb is time spent not dealing with them.

    • A particular problem is that if that robot collapses forward, it’s not entirely certain it will miss the girl.

  • w1ll20

    I saw someone in a previous thread refer to that character as Moonshadow. Whether it is or it isn’t, it’s an interesting kind of Legion situation that Patrick’s got going on in his noggin. I’m glad we’re getting to the sci-fi parts of this issue, too. It’s been awesome so far, but sci-fi is my jam!

  • Olivier Faure

    Yeah, crushing giant robots! Sometimes this comic remembers it’s about superheroes.

  • dbmag9

    Most people have mental analogues of their friends or family that they can call to mind to consider what that person might say. Patrick has the ability to spend time (like with the sleepy physicists) not just accessing people’s thoughts but internalising their procedural and learned knowledge. It seems to me that his mental analogues of people could well be fully-realised enough to count as consicous beings themselves, so that if Patrick spends enough time around you a copy of you forms, trapped in his brain but with enough awareness to realise it.

    • Elaine Lee

      Not sure that’s what applies here, but it’s a great idea!

    • Okay, that pushes the intrusive (and unavoidable) creepiness of Patrick’s power up another level.

  • wahahahaha

    Am I the only one laughing at the way the robo-butt sticks out when Alison punches it.

    • Walter

      robo-butt = robutt.

  • AustinC123

    (traditional dreamscape companion): Ah! Of course! This is the realm of imagination! If you BELIEVE that you are strong enough to win, then-
    Alison: Yeah, not a problem.

    • Arkone Axon

      There’s a webcomic where the entire premise rests on that concept. Supernormal Step. The characters populate a world where magic depends on confidence – the more confident you are, the more powerful you are. This… does not bode well, when one of the characters is a sociopathic selfish jerk with massive entitlement issues…

      http://www.supernormalstep.com/archives/8

      (The start of the archive, to avoid spoilers for anyone who clicks)

      • AshlaBoga

        “Does not bode well”

        You, my dear, have a penchant for understatement 🙂

      • Having come across it just recently, I do advocate reading the full archive, not just the shortcut re-written start. There’s a lot of character development and backstory the shortcut misses out. And IMO that backstory is vital to understanding the story.

      • M. Alan Thomas II

        I usually see Psychoactive Powers portrayed as a limitation (e.g., doubt causes magic to fail) rather than an empowerment. In that comic, is it portrayed as more of a Magic Feather, where confidence lets people access their power, or Clap Your Hands If You Believe, where sufficient belief is itself the source of the change in the world?

        • Arkone Axon

          More of a Magic Feather… and the more confidence you have, the more power you can access. Which means the narcissist (and after researching the term, I can safely say that that character definitely fits the description) is… a problem.

  • Walter

    I wonder if these are the oft mentioned Menace-bots?

    • JeffH

      I think so. The legs seem very Paladin-ish to me, which would be consistent with that.

      • Walter

        If so, we could be looking at Patrick Vs. Menace.

  • Evelyn Shea

    This is… Interesting. Those facial features seem too close to Patrick’s to be a coincidence in a world drawn by hand, at least so long as we’re in his(?) head. I don’t recall Patrick mentioning any of his family really, but it could be a representation of a sister perhaps?

    I feel like the most likely scenario is that this is, in some sense, a representation of Patrick. This is his head, and the only people conscious in here (I imagine) would be Patrick and those in close proximity to him doing the same thing as Alison. I don’t think an intruder, as such, would warrant a title as personal as “Traitor”. From there, there are many possibilities from the skin-deep trans idea, to ones more strange and symbolic. I mean, Patrick’s practically falling apart, and if the elements of his identity have fragmented this would be one of them. It puts the “Traitor” remark in context as this would be some rebel element of his identity being chased down in an attempt to purge those aspects of Patrick, or perhaps simply to cull aspects that make it harder to reconsolidate a coherent identity. The second possibility would be interesting and give context on this “Patrick” being a woman; if gender isn’t uniform accross his identities then perhaps the femininity of this one is *why* she’s being called a traitor and being attacked.

    I mean, personally I could see Patrick having a lot of difficulty with identity. When most of the voices in your head aren’t yours, I imagine it’s hard to tell what’s “you” anymore, and that could stretch thin his identity. I mean, it was said that Patrick can’t read his own mind, but perhaps that’s because his thoughts are buried in a sea of those around him. I mean, he cut himself as a teenager just to keep track of which body was his own. I could see gender being pretty complicated if his identity has collected bits and pieces of residual identities of those around him. And I could see how that’d eventually tear his mind (and identity) apart.

    Weird musing, but time will tell the reasons for this girl’s existance.

    • Walter

      *tinfoil hat on*

      Feels like Menace is attacking Patrick, the whole ‘not a supervillain’ anymore reads as a betrayal to the rest of his mind.

  • Philip Bourque

    Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if, since this is the inside of Patrick’s brain, smashing stuff would cause him brain damage or psychological trauma thus making him worse after he wakes up?

    • Eric Meyer

      I feel that he’d almost be HAPPY if someone managed to damage his brain enough that his powers didn’t work anymore- or so that his own mental self was more distinct from those around him.

  • The Elsewise

    Well, so much for my prediction. S’okay, losing her powers woulda been cliché anyway. >.<

  • MedinaSidonia

    So I take it Alison resents having to save people? Makes sense, especially in this context.

    Tron Elf Patrick (Patricia?) asks her for help in a way that’s so casual it almost makes her seem like a hipster. That, along with Alison’s peeved reaction, tells me that Alison thinks the people who “need” her help could be doing more to help themselves, and that since she’s there they’ve come to depend on her and take her for granted. Since her rescue involves punching a mech, this reads as guilt over having accidentally killed someone sublimated into resentment toward those needy victims.

    Am I using the word “sublimation” correctly?

    • Arkone Axon

      Well, we’ve already seen plenty of examples of Alison believing in her own superiority to everyone else around her. A level of elitist narcissism that one ordinarily sees associated with cackling supervillains, not heroes.

      • Ben Posin

        Don’t ever change.

        • Gotham

          (Alternatively, do, please god, do change and quick it’s so cringeworthy)

      • R Lex Eaton

        Ehhhh, I’m going to have to disagree here. Disappointment with other people who don’t attempt to improve upon their flaws isn’t anywhere close to “narcissism.”

        • Arkone Axon

          Feral seems to support my view here, given that she’s repeatedly rebuked Alison for her arrogance. “Quit talking down to me like I’m stupid just because your vocabulary is larger and you went to college while I was traveling the globe getting practical knowledge of the world.” “If a girl whose superpower is “has wings” doesn’t want to put on a costume like us nigh-unkillable types, who are you to call her a coward?”

          Hell, the first time they met Alison was being a prima donna about working with Feral’s team, and Feral was impressively mature and polite about it.

          (There are lots of other examples I could cite, but it’s almost impossible for anyone to refute Feral. Seriously, imagine if she were the protagonist… ^.^ )

          • Lucia

            Feral never called it narcissism and for a good reason, it’s not.

          • Arkone Axon

            Check my response to R Lex Eaton’s comment.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Point made, and a good one. I just take issue with calling it narcissistic. If it were, Allison would still be acting exactly like that and have a crippling lack of self awareness. In that regard, I don’t think her painful knowledge of her own shortcomings counts. She might be many things, but a narcissist isn’t one.

          • Arkone Axon

            Before I responded to this, I felt it necessary to check the definition of Narcissism – just in case I was wrong (always good to check your facts).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

            And… a good case could be made for her being narcissistic… while at the same time, I think you’re right, and I’ll explain why in a bit.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_defences

            If you look at this description, it very much applies to her treatment of Max, as well as others as well (such as the still unnamed rat guy who literally did nothing other than catch her attention and not immediately tell her everything about his friend/employer). She was right, he was wrong, therefore everything that followed was his fault for not immediately accepting her moral superiority.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_abuse

            This perfectly applies to her attitude towards everyone around her who doesn’t want to “place a white stone.” In that class she was shown that people could refuse to collaborate with Righteous Crusades for entirely understandable reasons (not wanting to lose their scholarships, for instance)… and she then went on to dismiss Max’s entirely understandable reasons (not wanting to be exposed as a walking “permanent power upgrade” for every biodynamic prepared to take what they wanted by force) before… proving how justified his fears were.

            That being said… you may very well be right. It could be that what Alison suffers from is not narcissism so much as egocentrism:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egocentrism

            “A person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention, like a narcissist, but does not receive gratification by one’s own admiration. Both egotists and narcissists are people whose egos are greatly influenced by the approval of others, while for egocentrists this may or may not be true.”

            Alison doesn’t seem to actively crave the admiration of the crowd; she simply has her view of what’s right and is prepared to resort to violence as a first resort in order to achieve it. So… I think you’re right about this one.

            However, I noticed something else while looking at all this. Narcissism is listed here as “one of the three dark triadic personality traits (the others being psychopathy and Machiavellianism).” And a good case could be made for Feral being representative of one of the other two “dark triadic traits.”

            Feral spent many years displaying “persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, egotistical traits.” And the reason why sociopathy is said to be untreatable is that treatment of mental disorders requires the cooperation of the patient – and sociopaths (by definition) do not care about others and see no reason to change. One of the few RL sociopaths to have shown an ability to change is Mary Bell ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Bell ), who had a very good reason to do so – a daughter. She loved her daughter enough to make every attempt to change her behavior, and fought to protect her daughter from suffering for her horrible deeds. Same thing here with Feral – she has definitely changed since her first meeting with Alison.

            And the reason why I thought to point that out is because (speaking as someone with a supposedly (uncurable and barely treatable) neurochemical condition (which is still considered perfectly acceptable to mock and make fun of in the general media, which is why I refuse to identify it), you’d be amazed at how much you can do to treat “untreatable” physical and mental conditions. Just as a bit of inspiration to anyone reading this who might have been told it was “impossible” to change things.

          • R Lex Eaton

            People can always be better, huh? Warms my heart. As does this comic and its caliber of character development.

            Good find, Double A. ^^

    • Zorae42

      Maybe she’s peeved because she didn’t expect to need to do any fighting/saving. And Feral literally just told her that her mission wasn’t to save Patrick but to get the information she needs to know, and now her first interaction here was “saving” someone 😛

      She’s also not sure if smashing stuff up all willy-nilly might cause damage/problems to Patrick.

    • Zac Caslar

      Maybe the term you’re looking for is “projection.”

      • Weatherheight

        Projection usually means ascribing a motive to someone’s behavior that is more closely akin to one’s own ideals or seeing in someone else a quality which is not necessarily there but which one wants to believe is present.

    • R Lex Eaton

      Hazarding a guess, I’m pretty sure this reaction is more along the lines of “oh great, maybe Patrick is still trying to play me even at this point.”

      Given how many people seem to place Alison in two extremes–the world’s strongest bully, or the world’s strongest chump–I would harbor doubts, too.

    • Weatherheight

      Sublimation usually refers to a biological impulse’s energy being redirected towards a more socially acceptable outlet (I.e. going jogging to burn off some steam or working on a novel when you’re especially horny).

      Not sure if guilt qualifies as a “biological impulse”, but the analogy is sound.

      I’m thinking this is Alison realizing she’s in a situation where violence is expedient at a time when she’s trying to eschew expedient violence as a solution to problems.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    possibilities:

    -sister
    – “Dark Half” brain twin
    – projection of psychic twin who exists elsewhere
    – internalized facsimile of regular sister
    – possibly dead? “Mischa” scenario
    -anima
    – Jungian
    – facet of personality – one of several
    – “Being John Malkovich” scenario

    – multiple personality, one of several
    -psychic resonance of one of many people Patrick imprinted on
    – internal self-image
    – trans
    – everyone’s just female sometimes ok

    • Eric Meyer

      Don’t forget “Chimeric twin absorbed in the womb and given presence via biodynamism”.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        that’s the first one on the list

    • Gotham

      – Living embodiment of a haunting sexual fantasy Patrick had that one time when he was 14 that just. won’t. go. away.

    • My first thought was Jungian Anima but I find a lot of these possibilities interesting.

    • Mechwarrior

      Opposite-sex clone that represents an aspect of his personality a la Slipstream.

    • Tylikcat

      Come now, it’s Patrick, you must consider a light half brain twin, yes?

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      I’m still voting for the possibility of a mind-copy of someone he brainripped at some point (like those scientists).

  • DalekHat

    Ok, so new person is highly likely to be some aspect of Patrick because they. Maybe I’m projecting coz I’m trans and my representation thirst is strong, but the idea of Patrick possibly being trans and currently unaware of those feelings makes a lot of sense to me. Patrick can’t read their own mind, so if they were trans it would probably be quite tricky for them to realise that.
    (Also hoping that the “Patricia” name isn’t canon. I get why the similar name thing happens in media, but it’s cliché and kinda unrealistic).

  • JohnTomato

    The robot’s legs appear to be fashioned just like Paladin’s. Clue, or just MIT invading the story?

  • Weatherheight

    “It’s clobbering time!”
    What? Someone had to say it…

  • UnlikelyLass

    I seem to recall Patrick once saying that he didn’t really identify as a person.

    Maybe he’s a city, and this is one of the inhabitants?

  • zellgato

    Whelp. She didn’t forget how to beat the ever living crap out of random robotics.
    Gotta wonder what this all represents though.
    Would be neat if it was legit.. nanotech virus invading him, and that was why his powers were going insane. Leading back to some other guy whose just smart, was usign nanotech to steal money… but happen to find out about the powers of this target and decided to…. aim higher in life

  • Jared Rosenberg

    Patson. I think that since this is a communal vision and since Patrick is having trouble not being “one with everything” (like a hot-dog) that this character is Alison+Patrick=Patson, some crazy amalgam of the two of them.

  • Glotos

    Dangit…that was one of the GOOD walls.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      Hopefully there are no hospital patients behind it, this time.

  • Philip Petrunak

    Yeah… I was assuming that trans-Patrick since last page. Patrick can read everyones thoughts but his own, so if he was having issues like gender dysphoria he wouldn’t know.

  • Herwood

    I love the “Save me?” XD

    He/she knows Al is going to save her but still nervously pokes fun at it.

  • Herwood

    So why are the robots in high heels?

  • Herwood

    I’m predicting that the twist will be that the person she is saving is a sinister consciousness infecting Patrick and Al is actually destroying Patrick’s mental defenses.

    Maybe its been wanting to get Al’s help to escape all along…

  • Edgedy

    If we consider those robots as antibodies, then they’re attempting to kill the girl who is a foreign presence and possibly the real reason he is sick.

  • “Save me?”

    Oh, that is some quality Alison manipulation there. No simple help, but “Are you willing to protect me from this fearsome evil robot?”

    Makes me much more convinced this is an aspect of Patrick.

    • Gotham

      Well, erm. I mean it’s not like Alison would have left an helpless person to die otherwise so I’m not sure I follow.

      • Is she helpless, or a dangerous villain being arrested by the forces of law? Alison doesn’t know and might hesitate to decide, but ‘Save me?”, asking for her help, not demanding it, that manipulates her into seeing the girl as a victim.

        • Gotham

          I’ll agree to that, but I would tend to be critical of any authority no matter how legitimate that seems to be using lethal force in the form of robot canons of lime juice to deal with its threats, be they legitimate or not as well.

          • Xin

            Agreed!

            I mean, robot cannons of lime juice are just inhumane!

            One should at least have the decency to employ their robot forces to something less acidic.

            Using such tactics is so resources. That lime juice would’ve made some mean limeade…

            Oh, the inhumanity of it!

  • Greg Carrobis

    Maybe we’re reading this wrong when we assume that the new character is a creation of Patrick’s. I know they look similar, but maybe Patrick’s mind defends itself with those robots (he was a supervillain) and the new character is some kind of psychic interloper. Another biodynamic (secret twin with similar powers?) who is messing Patrick up in her attempt to defend his mind in a way that he’s never had to before. Everybody is getting stronger, right?

    Although I’m by no means opposed to it being nonbinary mental Patrick