Don’t worry, Anvil’s hair (and scalp) is strong enough so this doesn’t hurt her, but it is, let’s say, tactically non-optimal. Anvil has the longest hair on the team, it has a fair bit to do with her insecurity in her femininity due to her height (she taller than Stalwart, who is the tallest guy on the team) and musculature. If she knows she’s about to tussle, she’ll tie her hair up with securely, but obviously having nearly waist length hair is a liability.
I haven’t quite figured out what happens with Vehemence’s markings below the belt. I think it’s like a weird tramp stamp that splits and goes down the side of his legs, but I guess I’ll find out if I ever get a chance to draw it.
#makecomics: I feel sort of like I’m short changing you guys by putting up a page with only 5 panels, which is dumb cause that’s closer to what comics usually have, but since normally I have either like 9 panels or it’s a big double tall action page. Here’s what happened with this one. It was originally a double, but so was the one after it, and I’m just not fast enough to do two doubles in a row yet, so I wound up having to cut this page in to two separate pages. No big deal, that’s happened before, but then when I was working on the second half of this page, I thought of much better way to end it… which involved making it a double, meaning I had to scramble to get these done on time, but I think it’ll be worth it (not to oversell it or anything.)
Not comic related, but is anyone excited for Shadow of Mordor? It comes out on PC tomorrow. I don’t know when the console release is/was. I saw an E3 trailer or something a long time ago and was only mildly interested, but I watched this preview (which is an hour long BTW) and I thought it looked pretty hot, like one of the Batman: Arkhams meets, I dunno, Dishonored wrapped in a fantasy skin. Plus, anything with a skill tree and runes and crap you can upgrade your gear with pushes a few of my buttons. The fact that the warlords remember you (previousEncounter=1) and talk trash when you come at them again is cool and unfortunately rather novel. Personally I think more games should have cut scenes where the bad guys acknowledge that I, the protagonist, have in fact killed 800 henchmen at this point in the game, making me one of the most successful spree killers in history. I honestly don’t know when I’ll have time to play it, hopefully it lends itself to 30-60 minute play sessions, since I can’t devote a whole evening to games anymore.
I know Vehemence said he hopes Sydney survives the night, but that doesn’t mean he won’t flick her in the temple if he manages to get through her shield. She did kind of make him look foolish just now. I guess she forgot Maxima’s “don’t totally piss of the supervillain” advice from a few pages ago, but hey I guess she figured with her shield, why not tank the guy for a while?
It’s difficult for people to see you as a threatening arch-villain if you face plant in the first 2 seconds of the fight. I don’t know why that doesn’t happen to more villains. I mean, sure, Doctor Doom probably has gyro stabilizers in his armor, and Thanos can… well, control time – so he can just pop back to before it happened I guess, but the Flash could trip everyone, or take off their dirty sock and stuff it in their mouth mid-monologue. If I wrote the Flash comic, it would be a very different book.
Here’s the link to the new comments highlighter for chrome, and the GitHub link which you can use to install on FireFox via Greasemonkey. I’ll make a permanent link for those somewhere on the page eventually.
Maxima has some nerd cred as you know, but Inverse Ninja is a little too deep down the well for her, hence the explanation.
With the fight running longer than I had intended, I almost cut this whole page. Arguably little happens on it except for a little insight into Vehemence’s character, and the lightsaber joke which I can’t believe never occurred to me until I started drawing the second panel, but which I’m now rather enamored with, so in it goes. :)
Here’s something very cool for regular commenters: Reader Kane York (Riking in the comments) has created a chrome plugin that tracks and highlights new comments. It does require you to click a “mark comments read” before you refresh the page each time, but it also has an opt in mode that will refresh the comments when you move between pages of comments and automatically mark the previous page read. I’ve been using it over the weekend and it’s pretty slick. Here’s the chrome link.
If you like you can inspect the raw code here on GitHub, which is nice if you’re a relatively suspicious person like myself when it comes to links handed out on the internet. If you’re using FireFox and have Greasemonkey installed, you can go to the GitHub link, hit the RAW button at the top of the script and FF will give you the option to install it. There’s no IE solution yet, and there may not be, because, you know, it’s IE. Obviously if that changes I’ll post it here.
I’m sure Kane will be reading the comments, but if you see any bugs with the plugin, probably the best place to notate them is over at the GitHub link. (I think you do that by clicking the little exclamation mark in the circle over on the right side at the top of the code window.)
With the intent of being transparent about such things, I’ve added one more ad banner to the page. Usually someone with a Patreon campaign has milestones that involve removing ads, and eventually that will probably happen, but at the moment the summer heat in Texas is killing our electric bill, especially with me home all day with the A/C and a computer with at least two monitors on. Also it’s nice to be able to test out several ad companies and see how they perform. The new one has one of those Ad Choice things up in the top right corner, so if there are ads you don’t care for on it, I think you can customize what it displays or at least veto obnoxious stuff.
Sydney will explain “Inverse ninja” on the next page, but this is one of those cases where I probably need to scoop her so those of you unfamiliar with the trope are up to speed. Basically it says the more bad guys the heroes face, the less of a threat they are. In other words, 100 Stormtroopers? No sweat. One Darth Vader? Big problem. Weirdly, the way the trope works, 100 Darth Vaders are exactly the same threat as 100 Stormtroopers. It’s only when you get down to the last one that he becomes a threat. It’s like, conservation of action. Normally there’s no way the hero could beat 100 Darth Vaders, and that’s why it makes a good cliffhanger to end on, but when the next episode starts, the hero gets a lucky shot and hits the gravity suck death vortex thingy that 99 of the Vaders were clustering around, but that last one? No way he’s going down in one lucky shot.
Two hundred and fifty pages. Part of me wants to pat myself on the back and part of me wants to kick myself for doing a 50 page fight. I really didn’t intend it to last that long which is especially ridiculous considering how much I cut (ahem, saved for later I mean), and as you can probably guess from this page it’s not quite over yet, but I promise I will make the remainder as concise and entertaining as I know how.
I don’t know why I’m so bad about remembering little details panel to panel, other than there just being a lot of details to remember. But I bring it up because I want to point out that Vehemence’s coat didn’t repair itself in the last panel, I just forgot to draw it all torn up somehow. It’s a fairly minor art repair, I just didn’t have time to fix it as I’m scheduling this post at 1 am.
Remember the Who’s Who is just people with dialog, otherwise it’d be taller than the comic.
- the waist of a quality tester at Doritos
- the glasses of an aging nerd
- someone taking steroids and thinking that by itself will make them buff but not really working out
- the skull of an increasingly stupid person
…the plot thickens.
So this page may bring up a question or two. Will they be answered soon? The answer is yes, obviously, but stay tuned all the same. Same Grrl Time, same Grrl Channel.
Not really too much else to say about this page, so be sure to check out the updated vote incentive. It’s a work in progress and I need some input, so check out the accompanying post.
For those wondering, L.C. = Lieutenant Colonel = Maxima
Originally I had envisioned Stalwart coming out of the portal and clobbering Maxima, somewhat ineffectively, but that would have meant that his intention was to punch Opal, which would have left her as a wet smear on the asphalt. He’s the second strongest member of the team after Max when she’s maxed out. (Everyone who is the best on the team at something is usually the second best at it after Maxima when she’s maxed out. Achilles being the notable exception.)
If Opal really wanted to distract Max and endanger Stalwart, she would have aimed his hand at something else. A buttock or boobock, for instance. I considered drawing that actually, but it’s such a predictable thing to happen in a comic like this. Not that it’s off limits, comedic groping is always on the table, but I’d like to find a more creative use for that particular trope.
I wasn’t sure how to draw it in the space I had, but the portal Stalwart is coming out of in the last panel is moving around him, forcing him through it. It will also snap shut a second later, or else Max could easily speed through it and probably clobber Opal before she saw it coming. Not that a rocknado would slow her down all that much either. The difficult part about writing a powerful character like her is always having to have an answer for “why doesn’t she instantly beat everyone always?” For the majority of the fight, she was using the ambush as an opportunity to shake down the team, ready to step in if needed, but as to why she hasn’t stopped Opal herself yet, basically she’s waiting to see if the team can without her, and she feels she’s fast enough to jump in at the last second if she needs to. We’ll see.
I’m working on the next vote incentive, but for some reason I’ve decided on a rather ambitious piece and I’ll have to post it in stages. The upside is that the nature of it requires it to be full color, so I won’t leave it as pencil like I have with quite a few in the past. Since basically every page in the fight is a big ‘ol spoiler of some sort, I haven’t been streaming much lately, but stuff like vote incentives would be fine to stream actually. I’ve set up a Picarto account, which I guess is the hot new art streaming site. If you sign up there you can set it up to email you whenever someone you follow starts streaming, which is probably the best way to get notified besides twitter. I’ll only be able to do it on the occasional evening when I get a little ahead on the comic, so if watching my very slow art interests you, sign up.
Totally unrelated to the comic, is anyone watching The Strain? I think I like it better than Penny Dreadful, which I like better than True Blood.
Hopefully no one is disappointed this fight was resolved of screen. Basically the team dogpiled him with every different sort of attack at once and overwhelmed him. Obviously, Goose’s knife got Death Toll in the butt artery, which is a thing. (Don’t look it up.)
There’s a lot going on in this page but as usual I wanted to include more, like between panel 1 and 2, Sydney saying “Actually I guess a pair of handcuffs would have worked too.” Maybe it would have and maybe it wouldn’t have. Anvil’s choke hold didn’t work, but she was also trying to cut off his air supply, which is more attacky than just restraining him.
The other thing is a reversal of a decision I had made earlier, which is that Sydney’s shield actually is airtight. Originally I had planned on making it so it filters out bad stuff like viruses or sleeping gas the same way it filters out too much light from a laser or too much sound from a flashbang. This way, her incredibly powerful shield has one major weakness, which is she can’t keep it up indefinitely, so if she’s flying so fast she has to put her shield up, she’ll have to stop or at least slow down and refresh her air supply every so often, and it limits her ability to go into space or underwater without additional equipment.
Is it just me, or does Maxima in the first panel remind anyone else of Nathan Explosion? It’s that one stand of hair going down the front of her face, plus I drew her face slightly taller than usual. Consistency is one of the more challenging things about any comic, whether the art is simple or complex.
Sorry for the late start, I just… forgot to schedule the comic. Bluh.
Anyway a lot of you guys nailed Death Toll’s powers right as the team started taking him seriously, which shouldn’t really surprise me, I mean, I drew him countering fire with ice and ice with fire. Maxima probably could have figured him out, but she does have that whole being the most powerful super known, which makes all the villains look like nails to her giant hammer. Also watching one guy thrash her team got her a little angry, which makes her a little punchy. It’s something she’ll have to work on.
Lightstorm is one of those things that I set up early in the fight and it kept getting pushed further and further until I finally found a place for it. In its original form, it was Harem finding a cluster of tough villains and dumping a dozen flashbangs on them all at once, then the team dogpiles them while they’re still staggered. I wound up having Max supply the flash and the bang when she knocked Hex from the sky, but this use of the tactic is still valid. Sydney took Math’s lesson to heart and was thinking several moves ahead here. She’s trying to verify what she suspects Death Toll’s powers are, and while a lot of you have figured it out already, she doesn’t want to commit her teammates to anything before she’s at least tested her theory. She didn’t think for a second the flashbangs would do anything, but it made a good cover for sticking the googly eyes on him. It’s weird, he mostly looks like a guy with googly eyes on his mask, but then if you look at him just right, he does look like a scary muppet.
I wanted Sydney to say something funny as her operation activation phrase, so my first thought was “go” in German. Google translate spit out a bunch of options, one of which was “Aufgebraucht werden” A more thorough examination of the phrase seems to indicate that it more closely means “to be depleted” or “to go and deplete.” I’m sure there’s at least one reader who can clarify the phrase, but the non-sequiterness actually makes it more perfect for Sydney. Other than knowing how to curse and a few phrases from video games (meine lieben!) she doesn’t know German, but she probably thinks she knows a few words based on some cursory googling. Plus, I just like the idea of Sydney randomly screaming semi-sensical German.
#MakeComics: Thirteen panels on a page. How not to draw a comic right here folks. Scott McCloud would be rolling in his… well, he’s not dead, so I’ll say Segway. In a normal comic that would be 2 pages of content at least, but I have this need to make each page its own semi-self contained scene. It’s a better read if you’re keeping up with the comic as it’s posted, though I am a bit worried it will make the book rather dense feeling. More bang for your buck I suppose. Probably should have made this a double pager but too late now.
Lots of speculation about (FWT)Death Toll’s powers, and there have been several correct guesses, but I won’t say which ones (but those should be further reinforced by this page). Those people get to say they called it, and hopefully the actual reveal will still be worth it, but first I need to show the characters doing a little work to get there.
Not too much else to say about this page, other than Sydney’s armband is suspiciously bereft of content. Let’s assume she’s locked out of many of the usual functions until she is trained on using them. That’s one of those things I would have put a lot more time into designing if I still had a job where I was bored at work for long stretches. But that’s fine, I’ll have time to spruce it up at some point and if it looks radically different I can use say Sydney is using a different theme.
<— If you enjoy the comic, consider supporting it via Patreon so I can continue to food. Or buy something via the Amazon referral link, which I really appreciate cause I know it’s like one or two extra clicks, unless you just have that referral link bookmarked, but it’s fun going in to the report and seeing what was purchased through it. I can’t see who bought what or any details of the transaction, just what was purchased. I’m not the NSA over here. (Someone bought a Fender Stratocaster through the link once! Thanks!) Here’s something I saw on the list – I know nothing about this but it looks cute. A Centaur’s Life.