Today’s voting incentive is…the same as last week! Download the base for the fashion contest, or just because you wanna see everyone in their underwear :D.

If you haven’t stopped by since last week’s pages, I officially launched the fashion design contest on Friday! I’ve gotten two entries so far, which is awesome :D. You guys have til May 25th, which is a long time off, but that’s a generally good guess as to when I’ll actually need to start working on the shopping montage lol. There’s a whole, very important scene before we get there. That scene should run like, 15+ pages, so we’ll see. I’ll make it work. Despite appearances, this chapter actually has a fuuuuck load of exposition in it, but I like exposition to come with a purpose, thus…shopping montage.

So, this page turned out adorable and awkward. A couple people mentioned they though Elias was flirty in the coffeeshop scene…like, that’s being cute with your friends. This is his best attempt at flirting :D. I can charm the hell out of just about anyone if I need to (thank you, years of customer service experience), but flirting with someone I actually like makes me act like an idiot. I feel like that’s pretty universal.

People ask me how I write dialog that sounds like actual people might say it. My trick is just use so many ellipses. So many. (There’s more to it than that, but I like when people don’t talk in complete sentences like robots.)

A few comments mentioned they bet Elias followed Vincent’s scent to find him. Kind of! Mostly Vincent’s mom helped lol. But after people mentioned it, I decided to play up the scent thing and ended up with that last panel, which is now my favorite ever.

I didn’t even bother trying to draw Vincent looking shocked in panel 2, and just drew him with giant dots for eyes. It was funnier than way, anyway. I’m very proud of how his head shape has evolved as I’ve figured out his character design over all these chapters, though. So much cheekbones. And Elias is over here looking like Marty McFly, which is good.

While drawing these pages, I managed to listen to all the episodes of S-Town, which is a fantastic podcast put out under the Serial series for NPR. It was fairly heavy emotionally, though. S-Town follows the interconnecting lives of people in this small town in Alabama, centered around this one off-the-rails queer man named John B. (It’s a true story.) John B. reminds me of a more flamboyant version of my cousin in terms of his voice and speech patterns, and I think I saw a lot of myself in how he viewed the world and his general disappointment in humanity and his own issues surrounding his queerness and isolation. John B. is pretty certifiably a genius, and an amazing craftsman, and you can tell the people in his life appreciated that about him, whether they were still on speaking terms or not. He’s also pretty certifiably mentally ill, which makes the episodes kind of hard to listen to sometimes. By the end, there’s a semblance of an explanation for his problems, but regardless, the whole season is great. I wish more stories were told of small town Deep South. I think in the media, we tend to only get one picture of the people who live in the South, and like everything, reality is ultimately more complicated and nuanced than that.