One thing I haven’t really established in the comic so far is that Max has a sort of “golden triangle” of power distribution. We know she’s quite tough, and she has a power pool on top of that she can use to max out one attribute, but usually she just divides her reserves up between strength, speed and armor. That usually makes her stronger than most strong guys (like Hiro but not Stalwart) and tougher than most tough guys, but Vehemence is nearly matching her in all three now, which is a very unusual situation for her. If he manages to exceed her in any of those attributes she’ll need to make some choices about how best to redistribute her power, like dropping her armor and putting it into speed and playing keep away.
It’s Thanksgiving in America today (Thursday anyway) so enjoy that, and I just want to casually remind everyone about the Amazon affiliate link, it being Black Friday eve and all. And if you don’t like Amazon for whatever reason, think of using that link as cutting into their profit margins slightly.
When Maxima says Vehemence is beyond conventional attack, the asterisk is “with the equipment we can bring to bear against him right now.” Obviously they haven’t tried a bunker buster against him or even an 80mm tank cannon, but then they didn’t have the foresight to bring either of those with them to dinner. Besides, when the best you can say after shooting someone in the eye with a .50 is “Made you flinch” conventional tactics pretty much go out the window.
DeviantArter Shadaan has done an excellent piece of fanart of the gals! Check it out and give him lots of faves!
I’ve finally ‘finished’ the vote incentive. All the double pages in this fight have kept me drawing 7 days a week so I appreciate the votes even though I wasn’t getting it updated as often as I would have liked. I say finished with quotes because really I’d love to keep adding girls to it. She-Hulk seems obvious, as does Ahsoka and a number of others. I’ve also added it to the DeviantArt page if you want to view/comment on it there.
You can see why I wanted this page and the previous one to be double. There were… a number of comments on the last page about how V has magic pants or whatever. You can see that is clearly not the case. Even though most comics don’t have that comics code authority seal on them anymore, certain items of clothing are still for the most part curiously immune to battle damage. If that was the case in this comic, I might be tempted to have Sydney suggest making a suit of panties for use as armor. All that being said, Wolverine does tend to get all his clothes blown off at least once every dozen issues or so. I guess the writers like to remind us how hairy he is every so often.
Male nudity is almost always played for comedy cause guys are gross or just funny looking without clothes, and even when it’s a sexy guy who gets caught with his pants down in front of a woman, her reaction is usually comedic. Women are so sexualized in media that it’s more challenging to play female nudity for comedy, but I’m sure I’ll find a way at some point.
Those of you who recognize the “KA-Sound Effect” gag know it from The Wotch, which is one of the webcomics that made me think I should do my own. It has some pretty rough art in the beginning but good expressions, characters, humor and writing. It’s a curious comic, filled with stuff that I, being a well traveled denizen of the internet, associate with a lot of impossible sexual fetishes, like magical gender swapping, petrification, people being transformed into monsters and other stuff, but the comic itself never gets into anything sexual at all. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I’d say it’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets El Goonish Shive. EGS by the way is the comic that inspired the Who’s Who widget on my own comic. Characters in EGS tend to change gender and hairstyles, sometimes even species at the drop of a hat and while it’s one of my favorite comics, I will admit to being kind of lost as to who was who more than a few times while reading it.
Drawing Bulk Vehemence is proving to be a bit of a challenge, and he looks a little weird in a few of these shots. I will attribute that to his size being a little uneven while growing and endeavor to sort it out quickly in upcoming pages.
Vehemence isn’t still growing by the way, this is just the last thing that happened right as he stopped. Also, his power set isn’t Vehemic absorption… and making pants, but he said it already, he has a lot of power to burn at this point.
Edit: Whoops, I forgot V’s battle damage like a boss. Fixed now.
Ok, NOW he’s growing. His size has fluctuated a bit just due to my art. Turns out drawing a really muscular guy like him throws off my sense of proportion fairly easily, but yes, now he’s all growed up. All upper body, though. Typical guy, right? To be honest his size may continue to fluctuate slightly throughout the remaining pages. He’s supposed to be about twice as big now. Turns out it’s even harder to draw hulk sized dudes the same size each time.
I really wanted this page to be a double, just cause I’m sure a lot of the comments will mention events that occur on the next page, but it has 13 panels on it and I couldn’t just couldn’t swing it.
#makecomics: The nature of sequential art can make for some weird word bubble placement. I needed Max to talk first in order to give Sydney something to react to, which is why Max’s word bubble isn’t right above her head. Normally you either arrange the characters in the order they speak or flip the camera around to put them in the right order. The problem this time was they were already lined up a certain way and I wanted to show their faces, so I couldn’t flip the camera. The more characters there are in a scene, the more complicated your character blocking becomes. The ballroom scene where the team interviewed Sydney was… quite challenging toward the end.
Edit: Whoops, I forgot his missing teeth, they’re back… or gone as the case may be.
Arc-SWAT will definitely need to review their arsenal and tactics after this fight. That’s something they’d do anyway, but you know what I mean.
I had a few names to pick from for the violence absorbing demons. Succubi means “to lay under,” Incubus means “to lay upon.” My first thought was “to stand over” but the Latin for that wasn’t great sounding. I don’t recall what it was, I found a really comprehensive Latin dictionary when I was looking up names, but I can’t seem to dig it up again which is a shame since it’s probably not the last time I’ll need to look up a bunch of Latin words. I hate that when you can’t remember the search term you used, or the chain of links you followed to find a good resource.
Hah, as I was typing that I did a few more searches and found the page.
Anyway, there were a lot of latin words I could have gone with, I chose to call “violence eaters” Malumus just because malum also means apple or fruit, which I thought would make for a cute scene with Sydney as you see on this page. Actually for the sake of accuracy, mālum (long a) mean apple, malum (short a) means evil, cataclysm, etc.
One of the (few) drawbacks to having an especially active community here in the comments is that a page or two following a big reveal will generally be retread or just confirmation of what’s been discussed by you guys. It’s stuff that needs to be said in the comic anyway since not everyone reads the comments and also there’s the book version to think about. I’ll reiterate one thing I said in the comments for the previous page since it’s easy to miss, is that while Vehemence can draw power from any sort of violence, from a mugging to an earthquake, violence with intent is higher quality and better ‘tasting’. Presumably it comes with lots of Vitamin V. Also there’s a finite amount he’d be able to absorb from something as violent as an earthquake since the range at which he can absorb the energy from is limited. A 2000 mile long fault line’s no good to him if he can only absorb stuff from… well, I haven’t decided his range, but it’s well under a mile. Localized violence is better.
I really wanted this page to be a double page, as Vehemence’s speech took rather a lot of room, but I think I’ve kind of gotten into the habit of trying to make every page I can a double. I’ve done 7 of them in the last 10 pages, and it’s been a little stressful. Burnout is far too dramatic a word, but making this page and the next singles was almost like a vacation for me. By vacation, I mean I didn’t have to draw all day Sunday as well as the other 6 days and it was nice. I did some chores, went to the gym… then spent the rest of the day coloring the vote incentive anyway, but the point is that I wasn’t under the gun trying to get a page finished so I wouldn’t be behind on Monday which is when I write and start penciling new pages.
There were several suggestions in the comments that the team take a break and power up Dabbler to match V’s level, and Dabbler alludes to it here. It would be an epic bait and switch if I just suddenly changed the comic into a 20 page lesbian orgy right now, but… nah. :)
The question is, if Vehemence is so powerful, or at least so potentially powerful, how did Arc-LIGHT not know about him? Granted they haven’t done a great job tonight anyway, but in Vehemence’s case, he’s mostly just hung around in the background gathering power and never really needed to join in. What’s he going to do, get powered up during a race riot, then leap out and start attacking looters? He’d pulp anyone he hit, and while killing someone is usually a pretty violent thing, a dead rioter can’t continue rioting.
Even when he hung around underground super fight clubs, which given the low incidence of super powers are rare, but they still happened, he’s got nothing to prove. He’s just there for the meal. He’s revealing himself now mostly because as debuts go, this is a pretty good one, and also right now he’s so amped it’s like he’s been snorting Excedrin.
Here are some fun links for you. This one makes envious of the gals, cause whereas girls can wear basically anything without anyone batting an eye, guys are generally limited to 2-3 kinds of shirts and either pants or shorts, meaning there’s a whole range of geek wear I’m shut out of, like this Baroness tank dress. Though even if I was a girl, I’m not sure I would traipse around in something quite that sheer, though maybe it’s only partially see-through under studio lights. And probably direct sunlight, but then how often do proper geeks get exposed to that? Anyway if you’re within a decade of my age that site may have a few gems for you.
Here’s a quite funny webcomic I found, Deathbulge. As with a lot of webcomics, it takes a few strips to find it’s footing but is solid once it hits its stride. The RSS seems to be broken unfortunately, but it’s worth going through the archives IMO.
Yuuup! Do me a favor and imagine the dramatic music rising as they talk, then the sting right after Dabbler says “…violence” Dunnnnnn! In fact it’s probably best if you read the remainder of the fight while listening to some track from Two Steps From Hell, who are hard to beat when it comes to god damned epic music. Actually, listening to some good Two Steps From Hell tracks makes stuff like shopping for groceries feel a lot more life and death. If the comic was movie or tv show, I’d definitely use that gag. I do have some “audio required” jokes that I’m saving for the movie version. :)
Drawing a 50 person battle royale for my first fight was daunting, but this was a big part of the reason for it. I knew Vehemence would settle for nothing less, and now the team has unwittingly powered him up to the point that he’s capable of trading blows with Maxima. In fact actually trading those blows was quite helpful to him. Like a succubus, it’s good to be near the action, but much better to be directly involved.
As villains go, I think Vehemence’s powers are pretty original, at least to my knowledge. It’s a good part of the reason why genre savvy Sydney didn’t peg him before he gave it away. After I thought him up, I was able to come up with a few other antagonists with similar abilities though. Certainly a few entities from Star Trek fed on conflict or anger. War, from the Incarnations of Immortality books owed his godhood to ongoing wars, and Ares from DC comics is powered by conflict, but I think making it akin to tantric magic is more or less unique, so I’m pretty proud of him. It also makes me think of what other abilities could be derived from a normally intangible source of energy. An angel powered by charity? An Avaristic user, powered by wealth and greed? Straight up good or evil? There’s a lot of potential there, something I’ll probably explore a bit more in the Grrl-verse. :)
Boy that last panel took a lot of work, and I’m sure it’s missing many a scorch mark and crack. I know panels prior to this haven’t really shown the cumulative damage very well, and if I have some time I’d like to go back and fix that, but like I’ve said before, drawing rubble is quite tedious. I also would have liked to have shown everyone laying unconscious where they fell for maximum effect, but I already established that Harem and Sydney were carrying them from the field of battle and sedating them. There should be more flaming bits of Shawn’s car scattered everywhere and stuff like that, but I basically worked on the panel until I ran out of time and had to start coloring. Still, I think it carries the impact I wanted pretty well.
The number of people who can call Maxima babe is extremely short. I think it’s literally just Anvil and Peggy, and obviously just in a “buddies throwing slang” sort of way when no one else can hear. Baby is right out.
Seeing someone slam into the ground after getting clobbered looks cool, but I figure as long as Maxima is conscious and can stop herself in time, she’s not going to give the bad guy the satisfaction. Also I guess there’s issues of property damage to consider, even if that whole parking lot is going to have to be torn up and repaved at this point.
This page is obviously mostly just transition. I would have liked to fit more on it as I too am getting anxious for this fight to wrap up, but it didn’t break down that way. I toiled with what Vehemence says in the last bubble, and I wanted to be more leading, but we’re so close and I didn’t want to tip my hand yet. The next page is a double though, I’m excited, I think you guys will like it.
Maxima’s nose is probably in pretty dire shape about now.
I know some people were thinking this fight was disappointingly one sided, some thought it was cool she was kicking butt, and others were waiting for it to turn around. This page is obviously going to please one of those groups more than others. I definitely could have gone the direction of establishing Maxima as the big bad to cap the fight, and originally I had a scene like that in my head, not necessarily in the comic, but way before I was turning all my daydreams about these characters into a coherent story, but I have something a little more robust planned now, I think you guys will enjoy it.
Seriously you guys drawing rubble is so tedious. This page should have had way more as the top of the pylon shattered… really watching Mythbusters has shown me how dusty non-Hollywood fireball explosions are, so really the last panel should just be a big dust cloud with Vehemence’s fist and Maxima in silhouette, so I’ll just claim artistic license for leaving it as clean as it is. :) I have new respect for any artist that’s had to draw lots of rubble though, especially those debris strewn mangas. Granted most mangas have dedicated background people, I imagine that guy gets to do most of the scritchy rubble detail. I’ll be glad when this fight is over, but as you can tell, we’re not quite there yet.
In other random superhero news, the latest Wearing the Cape book is out, which has always been one of my favorite superhero novel series. It’s called Small Town Heroes. I’m not reading it yet as I just started another book but it’s definitely next in my queue.
Hopefully you guys aren’t getting bored with Maxima whipping this guy like he’s heavy cream. As usual, this is just how the fight went down in my head, but it’s also part of the reason I’ve been doing so many double pages lately. Not that this page really counts as a double, I just wanted to draw that big ass panel of Max using that overpass column like a pestle on Vehemence. Still, gotta keep the story moving. It makes for a lot of nights drawing into the wee hours, but it’s worth it. It does mean I didn’t get a chance to do a mini comic below this page, something to the tune of Sydney staring wide eyed at the carnage and leaning over to Harem, telling her to remind her never to get into a fight with Maxima or something of that nature.
You can tell by now that one of Maxima’s official unofficial powers is dramatic face shadowing, which is harder for her to pull off than for instance Alucard, since his face isn’t metallic and reflective. Luckily unofficial powers are much cheaper. Of course when the RPG system she’s built in allows for it, I like to give Maxima some sort of presence or intimidation attack, similar to a dragon’s fear aura, but really just based on her reputation for being a real bonebreaker in a fight.