Vote over at TWC and you can see who shows up in that last panel! As if you couldn’t guess :).

This page was fun! As much as I enjoy pages where people just stand around, it’s really a lot easier for me to draw action scenes. People moving around is a lot more forgiving than the subtle body language of people mostly staying in one place. The human eye is trained over the course of a life time to read subtle shifts in body positions for all sorts of reasons, so to draw someone standing naturally, it actually takes a bit of work! Awkward posture, a character not taking up 3D space correctly, a character who seems unbalanced or without weight to their stance…all those things throw off a drawing. Most people won’t be able to identify why something’s not working, but they’ll be able to tell that something seems off.

Anyway, there’s not really a subtle way to draw one man on top of another man, while biting him. It’s also rather hard to figure out how one grown man scrunches his body up enough to repeatedly kick the other one in the side, but I ended up referencing some wrestling photos and generally worked out the mechanics of it. (I imagine porn would’ve worked just as well, without the kicking >_>…)

Can’t imagine who’s shown up in that last panel! I really enjoy using weird sound effects, though.

In TV news, everyone on Xena has died at least once a season, rendering death meaningless as a plot device altogether. It’s actually super fascinating, because I’m used to the whole “they’re dead, but not really!” nonsense in fantasy and sci-fi stories, but I can’t recall another show or story where they regard it as just a temporary condition with such regularity. Writing side note…if you can’t figure out how to add depth and drama to your story without relying on killing your characters all the time, you suck as a writer. Death should be permament, always. And the aftermath should be addressed in your story, always. If you can’t meet those two basic requirements, you should not be writing about anyone dying, because you’re using death as a cheap emotional ploy. Don’t do that.

We’re also on the second magical pregnancy of the series, so that’s…something. I imagine Lucy Lawless was probably actually pregnant, so they just wrote it in, but still. Can we just have a show where the female character just gets really fat for awhile and doesn’t end up struggling with impending motherhood, etc? Every. fucking. time. with the magical pregnancies. I don’t mind a normal pregnancy story line, but seriously, it’s a pretty fucked up trope overall. Pregnancy in general is a huge challenge to a woman’s agency, because you’re literally ceding the use of your body to the creation of another person, and now she’s pregnant due to…aliens or magic or fucked up government experiments or robots (lookin’ at you, Battlestar Galactica)…Instead of a regular pregnancy, now it just reads as body horror and comes off super rapey. Xena seems to be into it, despite not knowing the circumstances of how she got pregnant, but that’s more a failure of the writing than anything. Luckily, I haven’t seen the ol’ magical pregnancy trope nearly as often lately, but that’s probably more a feature of fantasy and sci-fi having gone the way of Game of Thrones, with larger arcs. (Though there’s definitely some fucked up pregnancy stuff in GOT too…ugh. Amongst other things.)

In life news, I went to a local town hall last night dealing with race, community, and policing. It was overall pretty good! I was a little worried it would just be a bunch of white people talking in circles for a few hours, but it was a surprisingly diverse crowd and generally pretty productive. My little corner of Indiana is very, very progressive overall, because we’re so close to Chicago. A lot of that culture seeps over the state line, and a lot of our citizens are transplants who work in the city, but want more affordable living and better schools. Plus, there’s a lot of older folks who grew up on the South Side and migrated slightly east to work in the steel mills in their heyday, so there’s a lot of union activity. And then, there’s a lot of smaller universities and satellite campuses, so you’ve got professors all over the damn place. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find myself in an auditorium filled with people who could actually have a grown up conversation about how the judicial system intersects with issues of class and race, but hey, my expectations were low! Representatives from Black Lives Matter were there, along with police chiefs from various counties. For such a touchy subject, I think everyone left feeling pretty hopeful, including myself. The mother of Tamir Rice, the little boy from Ohio who was killed two years ago, is speaking in Gary later this week at the Indiana University campus there, so I think I’ll go to that too. I don’t know if my poor little heart can take it without breaking, but I’m going to try. My heart’s already a glued-together mishmash at this point, so one more time will be fine.