The original (translated) quote from Plutarch’s Tranquility of the Mind, in case you were wondering;
“Such contentedness and change of view in regard to every kind of life does the infusion of reason bring about. When Alexander heard from Anaxarchus of the infinite number of worlds, he wept, and when his friends asked him what was the matter, he replied, ‘Is it not a matter for tears that, when the number of worlds is infinite, I have not conquered one?'”
Even so, there’s some debate as to the origins of the misquote, but for our purposes, Hans gets credit.
You can see why I wanted to combine this page with the prior one, as it’s an extension that same argument. And as C.C. points out, a lot of it is semantic games. Is this all gospel for Deus, or is he playing the sound bite game and being contentious on purpose? If so, then C.C.’s not rising to it, but maybe he’s hoping for viral traction. In any case, you guys had plenty of opinions on the prior page, and while Deus is certainly being reductionist, I do think greed is a prime motivator. Greed and lust certainly. That or I watch entirely too many crime procedurals while I draw, cause seriously, I can’t think of a single case in any of those that wasn’t ultimately motivated by greed, lust, or a combination of the two, unless the bad guy is simply crazy and is killing people because that’s just what he do.
I’m slightly upset that C.C.’s necklace has gone from looking like a piece of hand worked gold or brass to a piece of cheese, or possibly Spongebob Hexpants. I may have to fix that at some point. That or the next time we see her she’ll be wearing a starfish necklace. Actually probably that.
Not combining the pages gave me time to get the vote incentive finished finally, and I did some corrections to the book cover and inked it (original pencils here) and I started coloring the Valentines Day vote incentive, so hopefully that will be ready on time as well. All in all a pretty productive week. Sydney and crew returns on Thursday!
In fact it’s only due to people hoarding wealth that charity is even necessary, so you’re welcome, poor people.
I actually had a lot more written for Deus’s pitch about greed, but a few examples is really all you need to get his point. It’s actually pretty easy to spin almost any attribute as an aspect of greed. Rage, love, hope, they mostly have to do with either wanting something or having something taken away. Sloth is a bit harder as is Vanity and Humility, but Deus can get there. It just takes a little more twisting. You can play along at home!
I really wanted to make this page and the next one a double, but I have to be a little more disciplined about my time if there’s any chance of getting the book ready for A-kon, so the next page is the final part of the interview, then we’re back to Sydney and her usual antics.
Alternative page title: Who will rid us of these turmulent living conditions?
I like the word turmulent. Sure you could say turbulent, but turmulent is perfectly cromulent.
It occurs to me only after posting this page that the main gag on it requires knowledge of this strip from 3 years ago, so for newer readers, there you go.
Deus may well be playing fast and lose with those statistics, it’s not like anyone was really doing a lot of census work before he took charge. Besides, what’s the expression, Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics? A woman gets pregnant and has a girl. 50% chance of that. She gets pregnant a second time. Does she have a 50% chance to have a girl, or a 25% chance to have another girl, or a 50% chance to not have a girl, or a 75% chance to not have another girl?
(Ignoring the possibility of twins, miscarriages, intersex and Kwisatz Haderachs* obviously.)
Of course it’s entirely possible he’s only massaging those numbers a little. You take a war torn strip of land like that, and one day all the warlords wake up next to their own heads, and any group that attempts to interfere with roads, power plants and hospitals being built gets taken apart by invisible assassins, and yeah, life expectancy is going to trend upwards.
I’ve updated the vote incentive, but it’s only partially colored unfortunately. I’m trying a new coloring style with it. The end result is only slightly different and it’s not really faster, but trying new things is the best way to learn. I’ll try and have it finished in time to swap it out for the Valentines Day one.
This page colored by Keith.
*Who had to be male since females couldn’t venture into a specific region of prescient knowledge after drinking the water of life.** A weird bit of cosmic sexism in that particular story.
** Yes, technically Paul was probably a proto-Kwizatz, and Leto II was the real one.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I maybe should have arranged this sequence to end on the last page and that hot one liner, but I couldn’t help contrasting that scene with Deus being a goofball in front of his henches. I admit I’m also a fan of those rare scenes in movies where they don’t cut at the optimal moment, and you get to see what happens right after the big cool moment. I imagine a lot of the times there’s a bunch of henchmen chuckling smugly, then it winds down, followed by an awkward silence, then the boss exiting stage left, but it’s like 70 feet to get to his ready room, and the only sound is his loud ass footsteps.
I did also want to show Deus bringing the prince around, at least in that moment. The fact that Chtillia at least is watching home movies with them two rows back might have had something to do with his quick acquiescence as well.
For those of you waiting for the return of Sydney and her antics, fear not. A few pages and we’ll be back with her and the rest of the crew. I spent this week penciling Sydney’s return and she’s in fine form if I do say so myself.
This page colored by Keith, who pointed out that Deus sort of looks like David Boreanaz, which I can see, but is totally unintentional.
Well. This seems evil. But maybe Deus just has a flourish for the dramatic. Or at least dramatic lighting.
You think supervillains have a bunch of sweet one liners ready to fire off depending on what set up line the hero give them? I would. If you can afford to build a death ray, you can hire some writers.
There’s a Mitchell and Webb sketch that sort of plays on this but I couldn’t find it on youtube. Here’s a link to it on VideoBash? Never heard of them so no guarantees you’ll be able to view it wherever you are. Basically just watch all of That Mitchell and Webb Look, cause it’s the best.
Not too much else to say about this page other than we’re almost done with this scene, so hang in there if it’s not punching your goofy nerd woman-child card.
I have a draft of what I’m thinking about using for the cover for the book posted over at Patreon. I mean it’ll probably be the cover, I don’t have a lot of time to do a bunch of alternates, though ones that mimic some other classic styles or a Liefeld-esque one with lots of cross hatching and pouches and foil embossed would be pretty funny I think. No idea what that would cost to actually print but it could make an amusing stretch goal.
Speaking of the book, I have all the comics laid out in it, but I have to figure out what to do about some of the double pages. Some break across facing pages, which is ideal, but some wind up back to back. It’s not a big deal in most of those cases since it’s just action spread across multiple pages, but there’s one or two pages that it’s pretty critical they face each other. The only way to nudge them is to insert something before them that breaks up the story, like a pin up or a title page, but that’s not ideal. It may be the only option though. I’ll figure it out I suppose.
I still need to scan some old art and write up goodies for bonus material. I’d really like to have finished books ready in time for A-kon this year which is in June, but honestly I don’t know how realistic that is. Kickstarters take 30 days to run and I’ve no idea how long it takes to print up proofs of a book then do a whole run. I’m sure it depends entirely on the printer you use and the size of the run.
Kivuli is Swahili for ghost or shadow. In case you have cause to casually slip that in to a conversation.
Deus may have been slightly overprepared for this meeting. But hey, if you’ve got the resources, why not bring a half dozen super powered guns to a knife fight? Sure some people might call you a dirty cheater. If they survive to tell the tale that is. You know, history, winners, etc.
I like how they’re all wearing reasonably effective looking tactical armor, but Vale is still rocking the V to the navel evil henchwoman look.
Our chatty Geatish friend is actually a cameo character from Grrl Power super pal Patreon Sean Mnoholitny. Don’t worry about him too much yet, he’ll be more of a slow burn reveal.
Lots of good comments about the good and evil and ethics on the last page. Some people pointed out that Deus might be calling out Indinge as a real piece of crap in order to justify his actions, actions which he might have taken regardless. Or maybe he did what he did only because of Indinge’s character. There seemed to be general agreement in the comments that motivation plays a factor in determining the ethics of actions, and at this point only Deus knows what his real reasons are.
I thought it was interesting that no one I saw (apologies if I missed it) brought up the fact that we consider Maxima a good guy, even though during the press conference she admitted to killing an indeterminate number of supers. Yes, she was a soldier under orders, which definitely speaks to motivation. Some people accept that as justification for killing, some people don’t. A sterile discussion about ethics may still suggest a life lost is a life lost, but can be myopic to global and long term concerns. Again, I think it comes down to the most good done via the least harm.
Some of the supers Maxima killed were definitely protecting an evil regime ruled by an evil man, some might have been forced to fight by the regime, and some may have had nothing do to with the army, but were just defending their country against an invading force. For the (classified) record, Maxima didn’t commit wholesale slaughter. She killed the ones that absolutely were there to kill her or other American soldiers, and whenever possible she tried the shock and awe approach, that is, she whooped their asses hard and publicly so word got around that fighting her was hopeless. I.E. quickly demoralize into surrender to minimize the total harm done. That’s not to say she didn’t enjoy cutting lose a little, but she wasn’t flying around snapping necks and incinerating infantry either.
I updated the vote incentive. I mean, it’s just the inks but it’s progress. The good news is I’m pretty sure I’ll have a piece for the Valentines Day Sex Drive thing I do each year, since it’s the only chance I have lately to flex my perv muscle. Not like that you pervs!
There’s been some debate as to whether Deus is actually evil or not, I would suggest giving it a few pages before deciding. In my mind, good and evil can’t be absolutes, they exist on a spectrum. Is killing always an absolute wrong? In a hypothetical situation, killing one person to save two is objectively the better choice. Some people might debate that, to me it’s clear the best path is the one that does the least harm, so taking X lives to save X+1 lives is a no brainer. Of course there are rarely such clear cut choices in real life. What about killing two junkies to save one doctor, four kidnappers to save one scientist, or every televangelist to save one… anyone who isn’t a televangelist?
A Lawful Good Paladin kills a bandit, does that make him evil? What if the bandit only wanted the saddlebag of apples to feed his family? If the Paladin knew the bandit’s intentions and killed him anyway, then probably yes, if not, then no, at least not from the Paladin’s point of view. The son of the bandit might feel differently. Not only are good and evil not absolutes, they are relative values depending on the observer. That’s why bad guys rarely think of themselves as bad guys. Stealing from a bank that shattered the economy and took thousands of people’s homes, and the CEO not only didn’t go to jail, he got a massive bonus? Fairly easy to justify. The cops are working for the government which works for the banks and their job is to maintain the status quo. Are they good or bad in this situation? Robbing the CEO of his bonus would be easier to justify, and possibly more ethical, but does that then shift the value of the cops’ actions?
This is usually how Deus works, by miring people in semantic debates and inching their position ever closer to his, and I should add, with considerably more skill that I can legitimately muster. That’s why it’s difficult to write smart characters. There’s almost no chance the person writing them is smarter the character. An inventor or scientist, sure, throw out some technobabble and then show the thing they invented, but writing a genuinely intelligent character is tough. One of the few really good examples I can think of is Hannibal, or at least the first two seasons. Hannibal approaches situations in that show with forethought and planning that borders on Batman level absurd, but if you were really 65 IQ up on everyone else around you, things that seem like ridiculous foresight to someone else might come as second nature to you. Deus hasn’t really displayed this yet, since doing so either takes a lot of text or a long plot in which characters can reveal their machinations. I think that’s part of the reason why most smart characters come across as intelligent but unwise. They have flashes of brilliance but no long game.
The number of times Deus swivels around to stare dramatically out over the horizon during this flashback borders on the hyperdramatic. I guess he needs a few more moves in his repertoire.
It would be super challenging to carve out a slice of civilization under the conditions Indinge describes. Any attempt at building infrastructure could be seen by any number of parties as threats against them, their goals, or their power base. Even stuff that doesn’t seem like it could possibly be a threat could be resisted simply because they don’t want to see opposing parties succeeding. It legitimizes them as legitimate rulers which takes away from their own power. It’s one of many reasons that war torn regions like that can get mired in seemingly endless cycles of violence. Someone else is building a school/hospital/water treatment plant/pipeling? Blow it up. Take credit for it to recruit more like minded people to your cause or it it goes badly and a bunch of innocents get killed, then blame the second most powerful party to drive people away from them. One single super in an environment like that could radically shift the power base, if not totally decide the outcomes. A person like that would either be courted like a god or hunted like a dog. Or a fox I guess. People don’t really hunt dogs. Not as an organized “sport” anyway.
Deus claiming to be the 98th largest economy in the world sounds crazy, but the fact is that the top 10 wealthiest people in the world each have more money than the GDPs of the bottom 100 nations. Even having “only” 1 billion means you have more money in the bank (assuming all your assets are liquid) than the annual gross income of the bottom 14 countries, at least in 2015. Now, a lifetime of personal wealth accumulation does not compare to the annual income of a country. The next year that country will generate that much revenue all over again (assuming global economic stability) so personal wealth vs. GDP is not a real comparison. Still it makes for a cool brag, and Deus may be throwing it out there to test the general economic acumen of the room. But probably mostly to brag. Also remember his claim takes place in a flashback to a decade-ish ago, cause otherwise people will try and look up exactly how much money he’s claiming to have and I don’t have the time or frankly the interest to work up a historical timeline of his wealth. It’s double digit billions, probably less than Batman at this point, but with not nearly as much tied up in themed private fighter jets. Every time I see a Batwing get shot down in a Justice League cartoon, I can’t help but think that’s got to be like what, $20-30 million dollars easily? F-16s are something like $17 million, and they’re made on an assembly line. Batwings are all custom built and dare I say it, artisanal?
Also keep in mind that most of what Deus is saying here is a sales pitch. Being skeptical that the king of a sliver of a nation could become the richest men in Africa is probably sensible. Of course, who knows what Deus’s plans really are? Besides the Shadow. That guy knows. I mean, it’s his job.
As per requests from last week, here is the money map from the talk show’s set. (updated with the kr symbol over Sweden) I will admit there are a few patches I used the “Unspecified Currency Symbol” in a few places: ¤ mostly because I had already spent at least 2 hours on the map and it was getting really tedious and I needed to finish it to get the backgrounds done, and also because there are a few spots where there are a bunch of small countries right next to each other and the size of the font I was using to make it remotely legible in the background of the comic meant their symbols wouldn’t show up unless they were all the same across their contiguous area. I can probably fix it if anyone is terribly put out about it since most of the work is done already. I can also do one with the country borders showing if there’s any particular demand for it. I only hope the symbols I used are current. I did just enough googling to get the map presentable. One thing I learned while doing this is that the US dollar and the peso (some pesos, not all) both use the $ symbol, which is slightly disappointing, but obviously made my job easier, or it would have if my source listed the symbols and then all the countries that used it instead of country then symbol. :/
I didn’t get a chance to update the vote incentive because I had to get two double pages drawn this week, which put me slightly behind but I’ll get to it. I want to see it colored as well.
Ok so I sort of lied about how many pages this day has as this interview takes place on the same day, albeit super late. (It’s a show about economics and interviewing businessmen so it’s still working its way up to prime time.)
This will be an interesting experiment because really for the first time we’ll be spending a few pages away from the main cast, but I figured I needed to start setting up some story elements and characters for later.
“We’re interviewing the head of Machina Industries. I’m not going to say his name because the guy writing this comic can’t decide if that’s his first or last name, or if it’s a mononym like Sting or Madonna. Probably leaning towards mononym cause otherwise if it’s his surname then what, his full name is Motimer Deus? Brad? Jordache? No, just no.”
If any of Deus’s claims in panel 3 seem absurd, (I think shorting the banks for $7 billion is totally within the realm of realism actually – the upcoming movie The Big Short is about people who did this on a smaller scale, but only because they weren’t billionaires to start with.) especially moving a country up the GDP rankings so fast, keep in mind this world has super powered people in it, most of whom work for private industry, and Deus is probably “cheating” somehow.
#MakeComics: That map in the background showing all the countries with their local currencies might not look like it, but that took over 2 hours to make. I really would have thought something like that would already exist, like in open source clipart form, but my googling didn’t turn anything up. Obviously keeping something like that up to date would be a pain in the ass, and then someone has to decide whether to actually use the symbol for the local currency, or whatever they actually use the most when doing business. If any tourist can spend US dollars or Euros at any shop there, but they have a local currency that only gets used when people are buying their groceries, then what do you put on the map, or do you make multiple versions of it? Eh, not important for this show. It’s just a backdrop, but they probably get letters all the time about this country or that showing the wrong symbol.
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