Dabbler’s hammer isn’t a physical hammer, it’s a melee only amnesia spell. I just happens to look like a hammer. It also isn’t a broad spectrum amnesia solution either. When Dabbler starts doing tantric stuff with someone, she can set a marker to roll their memory back to. She can’t just clonk someone with that hammer if they see classified documents or discover she’s really an alien or whatever.
The Barberian (named by you guys) should probably get his own Who’s Who entry at this point. I’ll try and get that up today.
Edit: To clarify one thing for those of you concerned and so you don’t have to go hunting though the comments for my response – Barberian fully knew what he was getting into last night, and he’ll eventually remember most of it, just not some of the more intense aspects. Her wipe spell is a bit like a flashbang, it’s a total whiteout for a while, then stuff mostly returns to normal. I will revisit this on a future page just to make sure it’s clear.
I was going to do a page of Harem driving with Sydney into the base and touching on the configuration of the building layout, but that would have involved me drawing car interiors and exteriors, roads, and some of the other vehicles Archon keeps in the garage. The real reason I skipped it though was while informative, nothing particularly amusing was going on, and I was having trouble with entertaining dialog. Turns out the previous page may need some clarification, so there might be material there for a bonus page for book 2, like Sydney asking if Harem has to compensate for the Coriolis effect and the like.
I thought “Unicorn Butt Patrol” would get more traction in the comments on the prior page, but as per usual on the Internet, everyone wanted to talk about physics instead. Here are two more treasure troves of bad book covers if you’re interested: Good Show Sir contains lots of older covers, usually painted with some measure of skill, and some of which honestly aren’t all that terrible, but a lot of questionable composition and material. The imaginatively titled Lousy Book Covers has more modern examples, so obviously prepare yourself for bad photography, lousy photoshops, terrible typography and even clipart!
It is a huge pet peeve of mine when momentum is ignored with teleporters and gateways and the like in movies. Also someone being caught six inches from the ground after falling 500 feet, especially if the person catching them is traveling laterally at terminal velocity plus. Like the first Star Trek reboot when Kirk and Sulu basically fell from low orbit and Chekov transported them the instant before they splatted, and all that happened was they fell over in the transporter. I think a grating on the floor broke. Edit: As discussed in the comments below, that may not be the best example since transporters would have to compensate for the difference between the velocity of a ship in orbit and the surface of a planet at the very least. All I’m asking for is one line in the movie which explains that, especially since it was pivotal to the scene, and I don’t recall it ever being discussed in any movie or episode of the series. It’s one of those refrigerator logic things that fans think about but I suspect the show creators never did. Granted it would invite all sorts of questions about how it can remove external momentum without stopping blood dead in its tracks or hearts or whatever, but then at least that one scene wouldn’t rank 4 eyerolls out of 5. Low orbit! Still, you guys know the sort of thing I’m talking about.
The way Harem is delivering that kick is a good way to break an ankle or worse, but don’t forget she gets physically tougher when she un-teleports some of herselves. (Which, out of context is a super weird sentence.) So when she pulls a horizontal 2 story drop into the side of someone’s stone head, she quickly contracts down to two of herself for the impact, which makes the both of them about 4 times as tough until she re-exists the dupes. She does that almost immediately because she describes not having all 5 of her out at once like a regular mono-person with walking around with an eyepatch and one ear stopped up.
Fighting Harem would basically be the worst. She’s master of the blindside, and it’s hard as hell to hit her. Obviously a skilled fighter could beat her, (she’s never beaten Math) and if you get one good hit in, it staggers the rest of her.
I asked on twitter what it’s called when gravity overcomes upward velocity and I got a lot of answers, Ballistic Apogee and Trajectory Apex both sound cool but I think those are names for the highest point of the parabola, not necessarily names for gravity countering momentum. Harem went with “velocitudeinal equilibrium.” She’s not a genius, but she’s smarter than average and surprisingly well read. Still, there’s part of her that thinks people (boys) find brainy chicks offputting so she doesn’t wear her education on her sleeve much. She’s still young though so she’ll probably outgrow that eventually, especially hanging around with all the other capable women on the team.
The Renegade X books (one and two) are among my favorite superhero novel series, up there with Wearing the Cape and D-List Supervillain, and the author, Chelsea Campbell, is running a kickstarter in advance of the third book coming out. It doesn’t cost much (as far as I’m aware) to publish an e-book through Amazon, but kickstarters for books like this are cool cause they allow for hardback versions but more importantly, they’re so they can afford to pay artists for cover art. Otherwise you wind up with covers done in Poser with Microsoft Word wordart for the title. There are some god damned dire covers if you go looking through the dregs of e-books. Like unbelievably bad. I’m sure there’s a subreddit just for making finding and making fun of the worst ones.
Speaking of reddit, there is a subreddit for Grrl Power. There’s not too much going on in there yet, but if you’re a big reddit person, you can subscribe there and get updates to the comic that way.
This page is a little retread from one of the Dabbler’s Science Corners, but it’s the first time Sydney’s actually discussed this with Harem at length, as evidenced by the fact she didn’t even know her real name. Harem probably said it at the press conference, but Sydney was kind of fading in and out during it. Unrelated, but I am pleased that Sydney is rocking the “Imperious hands behind back” pose, but she’s still fidgeting and trying to scratch her foot through her shoe.
Harem can bring a battle rifle to her teammates, so she could obviously pilfer jewels and hard drives, USB drives, documents, even moderately large piles of cash, and there’d be nothing preventing her from making multiple trips. She’s also make a hell of an assassin, as would anyone who could wholly circumvent any detection, security, and even physical barriers. Of course she’s thought about all this stuff, anyone growing up with powers would. Many of us without those powers would. It’s almost surprising that the worst thing she gets up to (that we know about) is being a double (?) agent with Deus and the occasional prank.
Of course the problem with being able to teleport is alibi. Once it’s known you can do that, every case of something going missing from an otherwise secure location with no evidence of ingress or tampering with the security or vault, people would have trouble not considering you for the crime. Same thing with any locked door murder mystery. Unless you’ve got Johnathan Creek on hand to solve it, suspicion would naturally come your way. Really, it would be a bad idea to use any super power during the commission of a crime (ignoring the fact that it would make it an automatic felony and prompt the involvement of Archon) But if you can rip the doors off a bank vault, it’s a really bad idea to do that, because even assuming you didn’t leave your fingerprints in the steel, it still instantly winnows the lists of suspects down from 7 billion to a few hundred, tops. You can disintegrate stuff with your eyebeams? Guess who we think left this perfectly smooth hole in the side of Fort Knox, dummy.
Actually if you were a criminal with superpowers, keeping them a secret would almost be more important than if you were a hero with a secret identity – Assuming of course that you’re the kind of criminal that likes getting away with stuff and not the kind that likes to instigate brawls in parking lots. You couldn’t tell your crew about them cause they’d flip on you the minute they’re nicked, which means you couldn’t plan any heists that relied on those powers. Obviously there are exceptions. If you could telekinetically feel the position of the tumblers inside a lock, or see them with your N-Ray vision or whatever, you could get away with people just thinking you were a master safecracker, but if your powers left any physical evidence at all, you’d basically only be able to use them as a last resort.
In today’s comic, we learn that The Mighty Halo can be used for troop transport. Also that she’ll lose anything if it’s not where she expects to find it. I’m like that. There are exactly 3 places I ever leave my keys in my house. If they’re as much as two feet from any of those spots, they might as well be in another time space continuum for all the time it will take me to find them.
#MakeComics: When I started writing this page, all I knew was the first panel was Sydney and Harem leaving the shop amidst a crowd of people, and the last one was Sydney her up with her shield. Everything else just happened as I wrote it. That’s where my crippling ADD comes into play. Honestly, half the visual jokes in the comic are spawned from me getting bored with drawing talking head panels, so I think of some gag to draw instead. Of course it has to fit with the flow of the page. Usually what happens is for every page I write, I come up with a few gags that don’t fit, so jot them down for later. Sometimes I use a gag I banked from earlier, but generally I’m running a net positive.
BTW, assume they’re being bombarded with questions and requests to sign stuff while they’re having their conversation. I just don’t want to waste half the page with stuff like that even though it would obviously be going on.
Here’s the vid of me coloring this page and the last. Just some fleshtones, then right at the end I do one panel of Sydney’s hair and some eyes. I don’t do a lot of streaming so my narration is a bit meandering and I clear my throat a few times right into the mic like a boss, so don’t blast this with headphones on. I’ll reconfigure the mic and practice better narration for future videos and streaming. Speaking of which, here’s my Picarto channel if you want to catch my rare stream.
Good luck never doing anything dangerous now that you’re a superhero, Sydney.
Harem has lived with questions about how her powers work all her life, but never at such volume. I imagine by the end of the week she’ll have a shirt printed with a bulleted list of answers to the most common ones on it. Actually if she’s smart she’ll start her own youtube channel. Ask Harem
Fun fact: Joel is wearing red shoes because I forgot to color them in the first panel they appear in. (so you’re just seeing the carpet though them) Speaking of coloring, on Monday I’ll have a video of me doing a little coloring of this page and the next. Just some skin and hair to show how I do it.
There are probably some regulars who would make for better part timers than Olivia. Sydney’s only known her since yesterday. Her half brother slash cousin (their dad made it with their twin sister moms for those of you haven’t been here since the beginning) would count as a regular but he wouldn’t be a good choice as she’d be flustered around him all the time. Honestly Sydney may be thinking of hiring Olivia just to ensure her conversion to the comic side.
Harem makes a pretty good supplemental communication system considering she can’t be disrupted or interfered with, at least as far as anyone up to and including Dabbler knows. You can even just tap on one of them to use morse code. She’d probably find that annoying though.
BTW, assume the picture in panel five has been up for a few hours to accrue that many notes. That’s “Vogue” in the picture. Before that Harem was Vogue she was “Cowgirl” and she decided to go retro today. Her closet is probably pretty big. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had multiple stories. (Her shirt says “Luck out with your duck out.” It’s her favorite selfie shirt.)
It’s a little odd that Sydney agrees that “boy stuff” is dumb considering she’s a bit of a tomboy herself. I assume she’s thinking of stuff like talking about sports or cars or which actress they’d “do.” Sydney’s knowledge of sports talk starts and ends with “Did you see that ludicrous display last night?”
I almost had Olivia comment that she’d seen The Watchmen movie and was confused by it because even though it was a comic book movie, the only guy with obvious super powers was “the blue guy” and everyone else playing superhero just seemed like sociopaths in masks. That was kind of my reaction to the movie since I had never read The Watchmen before. I wasn’t confused by it mind you, I just think Moore was telling a story about people, not superheroes, and that most people are assholes no matter what they call themselves. Really the only character in that movie I identified with was Manhattan, cause he looked around the world and was was like “Welp, humans suck, I’m out.” The thing that did confuse me was that none of the people in costume had any powers, at least not in the movie, maybe except Ozymandias who could catch a bullet. I don’t recall how often, if at all, the word superhero was used in the movie (again, haven’t read the book) so maybe it’s my fault for thinking since the source material was a comic and there’s definitely one guy with powers, therefor anyone in a costume is a superhero/villain. They were vigilantes at best, and The Comedian was a straight up psychopath.
I decided to cut mention of the movie because it’s obviously a huge tangent that could go on for many pages. Still, dialog like that is fun to write, and especially if it’s a bunch of superheroes sitting around talking about superhero movies it seems extra appropriate for this comic, so maybe I’ll use it to lead in to another scene some day.
The book Olivia is holding is Sunstone, by Stjepan Šejić (no idea how to pronounce that). I hate to even mention 50 Shades of Grey in the same breath as this book, but the easiest way to describe it is “50 Shades of Gray, only not sucky BDSM Twighlight fanfic with all the vampires edited out.” That is to say it’s about two women that end up in a consensual bondagey Dom/Sub relationship with fantastic art and great writing and characters. So really except for the bondage element they’re nothing alike. Yeah forget I mentioned 50 SoG. A side note on Stjepan, if anyone is more prolific than Fred Perry, its him. In addition to being a professional comic artist who’s worked for Image, Marvel and others, he has two Deviant Art accounts, both of which are updated frequently. One is under the name Shiniez which is mostly NSFW, and you can find the entirety of Sunstone published there. (Obviously pick up the book to support him if you like what you see.) The other one is Nebezial where he posts other comic work and lots of funny vignettes about mostly DC characters but he draws everyone.
Yet another page where someone is weirdly cool discovering they know a person with super powers. For some reason my instinct was to move the dialog forward and not spend any time on the “OMG” factor, which is often the funnest part of a lot of superhero stories. I may revise an upcoming page to make Olivia a little more excited about it, though I’m fairly confident she’ll be the last person Sydney meets today who doesn’t already know about her powers and the events from the prior day.
I think I’ve decided that women just don’t carry purses in this universe. I forgot to give Olivia one on this page, after remembering several times during the drawing process that I should give her one, but the forgetting won out over the remembering. Honestly though I’d probably forget it on every subsequent panel anyway. It does make me wonder where Olivia keeps anything though, as she’s wearing yoga pants and a fairly tight… shoulder hole thumb hole shirt. I’m sure there’s an actual name for that. The lexicon of women’s fashion is enormous. Let’s call it a long sleeve tank top? With thumbholes? She might have her phone strapped to her arm under the sleeve like a jogger, and maybe a credit card and driver’s license jammed in under that, or she could be one of those women that carries stuff in her bra. A credit card or a few folded bills I get, but when I see a woman stick her phone down the front of her shirt I start thinking about greasy, sweaty phone screens and want to attack her with Windex. None of this helps us figure out where Olivia is keeping her keys. Certainly not down her bra. Anyone who does that isn’t allowed to complain about an underwire poking them. You might as well stick “that darn pointy sea urchin” or “a handful of razor sharp peanut brittle” down there.
Wasn’t quite sure how to end this page. The point of it was simply to reintroduce Olivia, other than that I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. Originally the page ended with Olivia realizing she just said she gets all her news from the Daily Show in front of a gaggle (herd? school? murder?) of “real” reporters, then she turns and says “Sorry but…” and did some mini rant about how 24 hour news networks suck, which I personally think they do, but that may be because I watch the Daily Show and they spend a fair amount of time skewering them. Well, I watch it on and off. Depressing news is still depressing even if you’re making fun of it. I had to stop watching John Oliver’s show for the same reason. All I can think after watching Oliver do 15 minutes on (insert organization here) is how scummy and crappy and greedy and selfish and short sighted people are – So instead I ended the page on a ratings gag! Ha cha cha! I’m sure there are plenty of twenty somethings that watch the news, but I imagine it’s their weakest demographic. I’m not much of a newshound myself, but I usually have a tab open to tweetdeck, and if something important enough happens it’ll show up there faster than the shockwaves of an earthquake.
I’ll try and be around and catch comments today (Monday) but I’m having my whole house recarpeted so I may be a little distracted. I’m not looking forward to disassembling my office. It should be nice though, the stuff we’re putting in is so plush compared to the old carpet that I may have to plane the bottom of my doors so they fit.
New comic day (Wednesday, for those of you unaware) is the one day they’re usually both there all day. It’s the only day they get enough traffic to justify it. Otherwise one of them opens, the overlap in the middle, and the other closes. I imagine when they started the shop they had one or two part timers, but eventually couldn’t justify the salary. That’s probably not a problem anymore though. At some point Sydney’s going to have to go over her new schedule with Joel and not surprise him with each new foible.
Sydney’s obviously really asking how many times has Spider-Man saved the world, because the answer to “How many times over would the world have been destroyed” is really just one. Once it’s destroyed the first time, you’re kinda done. I guess like most things though, “destroyed” exists on a spectrum, so you could destroy the Earth slightly more each time. First time, all life is destroyed, second time, lava replaces the oceans, continents sink in to them, third time, the Earth is blown into a new asteroid belt, fourth time the asteroids get sucked into a black hole. You’d have to coordinate though. If the black hole guy showed up first, the lava-continent guy’s going to get pissed. It’s okay though, the power to summon black holes is nothing compared to Spidey’s ability to hang bad guys upside down outside of the police station from a street light.
ComicMIX is doing their annual webcomic tournament again. I don’t want to pester you guys with it like in previous years so I’ll just mention it here once and probably a few times on twitter as the tourney goes on.
The logical continuation from the previous page. Is it just me or is Robin’s outfit (which Joel is wearing a near-miss version of) basically the most humiliating superhero outfit ever? Sure there are intentional spoof costumes that are worse, but it’s tough to get past the green scale-mail speedos and the bare legs. Yes, all the modern variants have leggings included, that’s not what I’m talking about. Those leggings are there for a reason nowadays.
I found a webcomic I rather enjoyed, in that I read through the whole thing in two sittings despite needing to get on with the drawing, which I haven’t done recently. It’s different than Grrl Power in a few significant ways so I wasn’t sure about recommending it, but I figure the audience here is big enough that there are sure to be a few people who will appreciate it. The humor isn’t as zany and there are some more serious themes and it even has emotions besides “wacky” and “punch.” Anyway, it’s called Think Before You Think, and it’s about a girl who meets a guy with telepathy. (That doesn’t spoil anything, he’s enormously bad at hiding it. Also, you know, the title.) Obviously that premise could go a lot of routes, fortunately the comic plays it for laughs for the most part. Try not to take down the site you animals.
Patreon is like Kickstarter for microtransactions - That is, giving ongoing support (the most delicious kind) to independent artists you enjoy.
Shopping through the Amazon link doesn't cost you anything extra and I get a small % of each sale for the referral.
The good ‘ol Paypal tip jar, good for hit and run donations.