Now I want beef brisket noodle soup. :p
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating it. Comments may be a bit slow today as lots of people are away from their usual routines, and instead trying to kill time until dinner is ready by catching up on their favorite webcomics… No wait, then traffic would be flat. Well, whatever.
Harem is evidently privy to a method of speaking in a club that allows you to be heard without screaming. May. Be. You. Talk. In. Be. Tween. The. Beats? Everyone else who came to the club with them is dancing in case you were wondering where they were.
To spare people from zooming in and squinting, Sydney’s dialog in panel 3 is
“Make sure they’re vegetarian! Also see if the cheese is from humanely [cut off]”
“Ask if they have anything hotter than jalapeños!!”
“Maybe see if they have super hot wing sauce or… [cut off]”
Normally I like making each page a complete… clause? I guess that’s the best way to put it. One page isn’t one scene, but I still like wrapping up the main thought on each page and not have obtrusively dangling stuff out there like there is on this one, but as I gear up to the next storyline, not everything that happens on every page will be resolved right away. We’ll have to see how good I am at resisting the urge to throw my hands up and going “Ooh ooh! I know!” when people speculate in the comments.
One thing I could have done better with the comic so far is showing the fervor of the public surrounding the team’s celebrity even in these incipient days. If this was a manga and I had to turn in 12 (or whatever their schedule is) pages a week (and was capable of doing that.) I probably would have padded the page count out a little by showing people being interviewed about how excited or scared they are about the team and individual members. (Mostly excited) Or instead of having a few arms sticking in from off panel on the previous page taking photos, do a whole page of a crowd going nuts as they pull up. Presumably they took a car of some sort and Halo didn’t fly them all in her shield since fitting 5 people in there at once would only leave them with a few minutes of air.) I may yet in the future, even if those pages would be more about mood and pacing than cramming a bunch of jokes and dialog in to a single page. (Actually I thought of a decent gag as I was writing that paragraph so maybe I’ll save a few of those up and eventually do a page like that.)
Another reminder about the Amazon associate link. I think most people know how that works by now, but just in case you don’t, click on it then shop like normal, then I get a % of the sale without it costing you anything extra. I just thought of this too, when you distribute your Xmas wish list to your friends and family, (if that’s how your family do) you can also give them links via that associate link and trick them into supporting the comic. At least I think you can. Everyone try that. For science and stuff.
As Kelvin is an uncommon unit of measurement outside certain sciences, it’s excusable Sydney didn’t realize that 2100 kelvin is actually just over 3300 Fahrenheit (1800 Celsius). I mean, it’s not that excusable, but it’s Sydney we’re talking about. She just blurted out the first thing that came to mind, and she thought since Kelvin starts at absolute zero, 2100 might be within human tolerance, if still alarmingly hot. Actually 295 Kelvin is right around comfortable room temperature, so she was off by an order of magnitude.
Personally I think Sydney’s reaction is really funny, but I can’t help wondering if I’ve seen almost this exact joke somewhere, probably in a sci-fi show like Futureama or Red Dwarf, and I’ve forgotten the source and am committing a dire act of cryptomnesia. Ever since I started the comic, it’s something I get a twinge about every now and then. I don’t care this time, whatever the origins are this makes me giggle (a manly giggle.) At least Sydney has the decency to be ashamed when she realized how far out in left field her assumption was.
It should be concerning to any of her teammates paying attention to Sydney that she considers the intervening half hour between panels 6 and 7 while Harem was wrangling superheroes (only marginally easier than cats) as non-time, because otherwise it wouldn’t be a smash cut from her perspective. Obviously Sydney didn’t black out or anything for that half hour, and is just recognizing those two moments would fit together in a 4th wall sort of way. Incidentally, an amusing villain would be “Smash Cut” who could make anyone do anything as long as he can get them to specifically say they won’t. His powers can only be activated mid sentence.
Harem’s actually wrong about Arianna’s authority here. Yes, she doesn’t have any say about deployment and stuff like that, but making an appearance at a club is exactly the sort of thing she’s there to manage.
Yes the OONTZs are supposed to be over the word bubble in that last panel. That’s my attempt to simulate how hard it is to hear in loud places like clubs. If it is in fact too obnoxious I’ll play with the transparency and blending mode a little. I want to make you guys have to read carefully like you have to listen carefully in an environment like that, but not make anything illegible. (Even though when I’m in clubs (both times!) or somewhere else really loud like restaurants with open walls and hard floors or dealers rooms at conventions, I only catch every 3rd word. I’m fairly good at piecing things together from context, but a lot of times I pause, smile blankly, and nod “yeah!” It’s weird, I evidently have pretty good hearing for my age, except in loud environments like that where I’m almost useless. It’s been suggested it’s actually the ADD, and not my hearing that’s causing the problem. The number of conversations and other distractions taking place make it really hard to focus on what the person right in front of me is saying.
I know VIPs normally get fancy lanyards at clubs, but I’ve already drawn the next 4 pages and I totally forgot to add them, so they get a hand stamp here. Come to think of it, it’s probably in UV ink because I forgot to draw stamps on their hands too. ¬.¬
Oh, and not to be gross about it, but since it is getting close to the Xmas shopping season, I’ll gently remind everyone about the Amazon link I have. If you click on it then shop like normal, then I get a % of the sale. It’s a good way to support the comic without spending any extra money, and also cut into Amazons profit margins if that’s something that appeals to you. Historically those sales don’t exactly pay the morgage, but they do defray some of my own Xmas expenses, so it is very much appreciated. Unless you guys decide to go to town this year and buy stuff like this or this. You know what the real kick in the teeth is there? $110K for a ruby and it’s not eligible for Amazon Prime. If you spend $110K at Amazon you should be eligible for Optimus Prime.
If you think the chair got it bad, now he straight up needs a new pair of jeans. Inconvenient erections are inconvenient enough on their own, but a teenage boy with super strength would probably need to keep a few extra pairs of jeans in his locker, or buy jeans with quick release snaps in the fly. If there’s ever a Grrl Power After Dark comic, it will probably contain exploding denim.
Dabbler is acting awfully smitten with Barberian, but it’s all part of the service. Some guys are “Yeah, we did it, high five, it’s casual, whatever.” Barberian is in the “Yeah I’m in the rotation but I like to think I’m her favorite.” category, and Dabbler doesn’t mind playing to that. Obviously there’s a much larger spectrum as well. The “I don’t really like that she has a rotation, but as long as I’m included I guess I can’t complain.” all the way to the straight up jealous types, but they don’t get invited to play in the first place.
Since this comic tends to be very moment to moment, I don’t think I’ve really mastered the “passage of time” transition. This takes place in almost the same place as the previous page but Sydney has had enough time to change. Now that I think about it I should have put them down in the lobby or something.
Yeah that Harem’s a real party girl, or so she would have you believe! She actually has done far more than her fair share of it, as she has done far more than her fair share of most things as one might expect from someone who can do 5 things at once. At the very least, one of her is actually at the club now, one is talking with the brass, and another one is helping a 4th get ready. What, like only one of her is going to the club? None of that means she never embellishes any of her stories though.
Sydney’s question in the mini comic is legit, and really the only way to find out is to find out.
Dabbler takes sex pretty seriously, no surprise there, but not so seriously that she’d be offended by a shirt which suggested that “all I got was ████ by Dabbler” like that’s some sort of consolation prize instead of the reason the whole fight went down in the first place. Neither Arianna nor Maxima are have seen that shirt by the way.
And a random artist thought for you; Drawing someone sitting in someone else’s lap is surprisingly difficult. Getting all the parts in the right place is trickier than you’d think.
I don’t usually revisit stuff like this, with everyone sitting around talking about the geokinetic and his gold stores, cause you guys already had at it in the comments on that page, but sometimes when I go back and re-read some of the previous pages it feels like there’s not a lot of transition from one scene to the next. Usually that’s fine. Scene’s over, move on, but sometimes the team would just be sitting around talking about what happened. Oh and don’t worry about Barberian’s shirt, there’s a better look at it on the next page.
The idea of being paid to show up at a club or other venue is weird. I mean, it makes sense, people are crazy for celebrities and the team members are the new hot ticket, but there are a lot of F-list celebrities like people who were on one season of some reality show who make a living doing little else. Some big celebs who only make rare appearances can get pretty crazy bucks for it. Given a little more time for the world to whip itself into a super hero craze, some of the team members could pull big dollars too, but it’s unlikely for Maxima to show up at a club, at least in a non-spontaneous endorsement sort of way. Giving a speech at a college or a women’s shelter is more her speed. I’m not sure Wednesday is a big club night in most places but I suppose when you get R&R you make the most of it.
Seneca’s candy today is Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses, those black and orange wrapped peanut butter taffy candies you (or at least I) only really ever see around Halloween. I don’t even know how many calories she ingests in a day.
Panel 4 is about my favorite picture of Dabbler to date, for anyone keeping track.
Panel 3 is smaller than I intended, so if you can’t tell, her top has popped open and I censored it with a pacifier. It would have been clearer if I hadn’t been intent on fitting her butt into the picture, but I’m bad at butts and need the practice. :)
When I came up with Varia, she was mostly a vessel for some neat powers, and her name and personality quickly followed, but as I wrote this page it occurred to me that she would be an invaluable resource for the team because she has so much experience with different kinds of powers. Sydney obviously has her own encyclopedic knowledge base, much of which translates into the real world, but some of it may not. Varia actually has more real world knowledge in some sense, but just because someone she bumped into in a club let her turn into a… I don’t know, a prismavore for 3 seconds (I’ll let you come up with your own idea of what that is… I assume someone that eats light or drains color from stuff it touches) doesn’t mean she’s an expert on it. In fact there’s only a few gestalt forms she’s especially familiar with since she has to drag someone else along to do it. Now that she’s on a team where they dedicate time to training, she’s beginning to developing actual proficiency with a dozen or so forms. Enough at least to know that if your brain and skull and all that stuff is made of stone, it’s much harder if not impossible to give her a concussion.
On a side note, I’ve no idea if Maxima’s lingo is legit sounding. Basically “middle management on up, hold back a sec” If someone has a more natural way to phrase that I’ll update it.
Edit: Ok so I’ve updated Dabbler’s estimate from 2748 times as much, to 20 billion, because I am the worst at math. The actual worst. I’m getting a reverse Nobel Prize for it next year. A Lebon Prize.
Also, if you want to see a lot of gold stacked up in one place: British gold reserves
Having a ton of gold (531 tons, actually) in a virtually inaccessible location is not the same thing as having 531 tons of gold be totally inaccessible. Yes his identity is a secret, the location of his vault is a secret, there’s not an actual ten mile deep tunnel you can base jump down into to get the the gold, you either need his powers or something else that can tunnel through 10 miles of crust to get to it, Archon advised him on additional security he could take, etc, etc. I just wanted to include this page to show an example of a super using his powers intelligently. He does present a potential threat, but he’s not breaking any laws. It’s one of those “watch this guy closer than the strong guy making his living in construction, but otherwise live and let live” supers.
He could try to threaten cities on fault lines and ransom them for millions with is geokinesis, but he’s not living in a silver age comic book, so why would he? It is something that bothers me about a lot of supervillains. So many of them have powers, or their whole shtick is predicated on a gadget they made that with the tiniest application of intelligence could make them millionaires in the private sector. The Trapster made incredibly strong yet easily sprayable adhesive. The Green Goblin made something the size of an opened pizza box that not only can fly, it can carry the weight of at least two humans plus equipment, and based on some of the fights he’s had with Spider-Man, it’s not exactly short range either. Yes, the usual excuse is that most bad guys are a little bit crazy, but then consider this. The first time Spidey beats the Goblin, there’s this flying thing just sitting there. It’s not like the crazy bad guy filed a patent for it. Ok, maybe the first version before he went crazy, but Goblin’s been around for a while, and he’s probably upgraded the flyer, and post crazy, he’s probably not keeping up with the patent process. Somebody would take that thing apart, file their own patents, and boom. Delivery drones, extreme sports gliders, hoverboards, military hovering sniper platforms, whatever. Someone would do something constructive with it. That’s why I’m careful not to throw a lot of gadgeteers into the world, because it would cause an irreversible tech spiral, and the comic world would diverge dramatically from our own.
I actually worked out Dabbler’s math. The total amount of gold mined is estimated to be a 25 meter cube, converted that volume into a sphere, found a reddit thread where someone worked out the total volume of gold in the mantle and core to be a 52.25 mile sphere. Convert to meters, divide by 2 to get the radius, etc. Dabbler only had to google the volume of an Olympic sized swimming pool (which she can do in her head with her cybernetics) and did the rest in her head. She estimated the volume of gold because she knows the size of Earth and it turns out the composition of Goldilocks planets that support life are all pretty similar. (At least in the Grrl Verse) Spinning solid core surrounded by a mantle creates a magnetosphere, without which higher order life won’t evolve because the local star blasts the surface with too much radiation, and solar wind strips away too much of the atmosphere. Earth orbits a medium sized yellow sun which says a lot about its composition, planets are coalesced from stellar dust, debris and asteroid impacts, etc. Anyway, she’d been on enough planets to come really close on her estimates.
Harem jokes about marrying multiple people on this page, but legally, she is still considered a single individual.
I decided that since I have everyone in the same room I could have people other than the same dozen or so do all the talking. It means again I’m breaking my own rule about not including people into the Who’s Who until they’re properly introduced in the comic, but in this case it’s not spoiling the name of an unknown bad guy or something. Just giving you names to reference in the comments.
Of course just a few pages after joking about how bad guys are never named Kevin because they all have to have cool sounding names, I go and name a guy Konstantin Zaitzev. Granted most Russian names sound pretty cool anyway, well except Sacha, cause in America Sasha is a girl’s name. Not that girls can’t have cool sounding names or be bad guys of course, but you do lose some gravitas if you announce yourself as Penelope: Destroyer of Worlds!
Catherine has some weight to it, as does Morgan, Scarlett, Imogen, Harley, Meredith, Gemma, most of the greek goddesses, Artemis, Hera, etc… Generally though women’s names aren’t meant to sound tough. It also depends on your personal experience with any given name, male or female. If you knew someone who was a real brat or a bully or a crybaby, it will color your perception of a name, and it only takes one dumbass celebrity to ruin a name for a generation.
Archon doesn’t exist in a vacuum of course, and like Zeph said, egos can get in the way of common sense. I joke about other agencies being secretly relieved about handing off potentially super dangerous investigations to them there in that last panel, but it’s incredibly easy to imagine a commander or squad who “aren’t impressed with those so called supers.” Truth be told it could actually pretty straight forward taking down a lot of supers if you were prepared and took them by surprise. A few agencies have done so in the past, (usually lethally) which emboldens others to try, but it’s risky. If you know what a super’s powers are, that evens the odds quite a bit, but if you just think you know what a super’s powers are, that can get you into a lot of trouble. For instance, if you think someone can turn to stone, you could bring a big rifle to take them apart. But if it turns out that person is Concretia, you could find out the hard way that blowing her apart only frees her up to create a new body elsewhere, then you could wind up with someone who can turn to stone who is also armed with a high powered rifle.
It always bothers me in shows when someone with some power, the genre doesn’t matter, could be Fringe, Buffy, SHIELD, Smallville, etc, they’re surrounded by armed cops or soldiers, told to freeze, and they start powering up an attack and takes them all out. I know it’s done for dramatic effect, but the instant that guy started doing anything besides laying down on the ground, he’d be riddled with so many bullets he’d be… let’s see, swiss cheese comparison, dick as a pencil, you get the idea.
Be sure to check out the slightly NSFW vote incentive (there’s prominent underboob) done by Sean Harrington of Spying with Lana. (Definitely NSFW. Like… hard R? Maybe hard PG-13. I don’t know, there’s non-explicit sex all over the place and “almost nudity” on practically every page, but check it out if you get the chance as it’s pretty funny and has great art.) You can comment on it here. Oh, and there’s a speed paint video of the picture here.
Back in the day before DNA tests and mass spectrometers, it’s plausible that a vigilante could maintain a secret identity, especially if you have an environment where the bad guys have some weird unspoken rule about not unmasking them the instant they get knocked out, because otherwise why wouldn’t they? But with modern forensic science, it would basically be impossible. The first time a vigilante gets their lip split in a fight, the authorities would have their DNA. Swab it off someone’s knuckle, from under a fingernail, or a little spatter on a jacket or wall. Spit, skin cells, heck, just capturing them walking down a hall could be enough for gait analysis which could enormously narrow down a list of suspects.
Edit: I just wanted to add this since a few people are pointing it out; I know getting someone’s DNA doesn’t let you immediately identify them if you don’t already have a match on file, but it’s a slam dunk once you do get that match. And if they have a brother or uncle that’s a felon, then you’re suddenly a lot closer to knowing who you’re after. Plus, if you find the same DNA at 20 different scenes, then you have evidence that the same person was involved. Otherwise when you catch the guy, he could say “Oh I only was at the one scene you have evidence for, in fact I’m not even “Vigilante Mask” just a fan of his.”
In the case of someone like Batman, it can be argued that the cops kind of rely on him unofficially and don’t work too hard to unmask him. Also Bruce Wayne probably has the resources and contacts to have his DNA and fingerprints purged from any databases, but someone like Spider-Man? Unmasking him would probably be trivial if the authorities really wanted to.
The only way to avoid being identified would be to fight crime in one of those level 5 hazmat suits, or police the whole battle area in a super OCD manner for hairs and blood and bits of dirt you tracked in from your garden, recover all your Weasel-a-rangs, even the one that slid under the newpaper press or was deflected out the window by the ninja the bad guys hired to beat you in their desperation. Also you’d have to fight quietly and hope no one calls the cops on you for the noise so you have time to clean up. No stopping daylight robberies for you! Just brawls in abandoned warehouses.
Of course I can’t mention superheroes with OCD without linking OCD-Girl! Unfortunately it’s posted with some blogging front end and I can’t figure out how to view the comics at a legible resolution. If anyone does, post in the comments and I’ll put it up here, cause the comic is pretty funny.
Panel three obviously contains some other cameos. Usually if they’re from regular “big” media sources, I like to leave it up to you guys to root them out, cause it’s fun being the person who recognized the obscure thing, but these cameos are small or single team web projects, so I’ll link them here.
The two guys on the top row are just randos I made up for that panel, but many of you should recognize Spinnerette there in the middle. If you haven’t ever checked it out it’s a well drawn and funny webcomic.
On the bottom row is the “Ask a Ninja” guy which was a very funny but unfortunately short lived youtube series… though checking the channel just now I see he’s still slowly updating, or at least remastering his old videos, so… I guess I know what I’m catching up on during lunch.
Next to him is not Carmen San Diego believe it or not, it’s Ronni Kane from another webcomic called Giant Girl Adventures. Guess what her power is?
Weird having only one person in the Who’s Who after a possibly record breaking one on the previous page.
Arianna’s probably not the only one worried about their new team getting photographed mid-celebutard activity, and there will be plenty of opportunity for it in the upcoming days. Some of them garner more concern that others. Harem can’t fly, but she’s still high on the list. Heatwave is as well. Achilles, well guys can certainly do moronic things on camera but at least there is far less of a chance of a wardrobe malfunction with them. Barring kilts.
Is it weird I have 3 female characters who don’t own dresses or skirts? Not that it’s some sort of requirement for women, especially in this day and age, but personally I don’t know about women who don’t take advantage of the option. But I started thinking about it and I just couldn’t see any of those three wearing them. Maxima because she perpetually downplays her femininity, and also figures at any moment she might get into a serious fight that involves kicking someone in the neck, and would be severely displeased if any panty shots of her started getting shared around. Peggy is just a straight up tomboy, as is Sydney, though I will say of all of them, I could see Sydney choosing a long skirt over shorts in the summer since it would allow her to slack off more on the personal grooming front. It’s just over the years her wardrobe has leaned more and more heavily on jeans until all she had left was the odd skirt for a bit of cosplay. In reality she probably still has a few buried in the back of her closet but she hasn’t worn any in so long they’ve slipped her mind since they’re so far out of rotation. Varia is a tomboy too, (you guys think I have a type?) but I could totally see her rocking a dress/skirt and some big ‘ol boots.
#MakeComics: There are a few ways to introduce a new character. From a humor standpoint, I think the worst way is to have a joke that relies on prior knowledge of the new character. I think writers are prone to doing this because they forget that the readers aren’t as familiar with the character as they are.
The other way, besides just walking them on to the page and saying “this is Phil” is to bring them into a scene in a way that establishes something about them, but doesn’t require prior knowledge. Instead you infer implied prior knowledge about them from what you seen in the establishing scene. I’d like to think I did this here, but in reality this page could have benefited from having Omar (that’s the guy in the beard) introduced previously. Most of you know Max is a bit of a strident feminist, and you can infer her relationship with this guy from what’s going on in the page. Unfortunately I am the least qualified to judge this since it’s my own characters and my own writing. I wrote myself into a little bit of a corner as I realized this scene only has a few more pages and if I wanted to get this joke in I had missed the opportunity to introduce him prior to this page. Also I’m breaking my own rule about putting people in the Who’s Who before they’re named in the comic just cause people will want to know who this guy is and that’s where they should be looking. I could have easily had Max saying “Damn it Omar” but I preferred her with just the death stare.
This page colored by Keith.
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