If you vote for me at Top Web Comics today, you can see the thumbnail sketch this page was built from! Try and decipher how the hell my goofy scribbles turn into this ;).

In writing this chapter, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking very hard about what it would feel like to get kidnapped and locked in a basement. That is a weird fucking thing to have to contemplate for this long, but there ya go. One thing I realized is that from Vincent’s perspective, leaving would be downright terrifying. It’s easy enough to make a plan and just run the hell away, but as a defenseless human, you’re running away from a pack of predators and just hoping that this other dude you’re with can keep you safe. One dude and your useless ass against five (slightly fucked up) werewolves. The flip side of having a simple plan is that…there’s not a better plan. There are no snipers on the roof, there’s no backup, there’s no secret passageways to safety…you’re just running like a bat out of hell and hoping you don’t die. Just like in real life, sometimes you have to take a chance because your options are shitty, but staying is the worse option of the two.

Anyway, we’re continuing with Elias beating himself up, because frankly…this whole situation is kind of his fault? He’s the catalyst that starts the story, literally. But as any good book on writing will tell you, sometimes you have to fuck things up for your characters in order to give them better options than they previously had. But hey, obviously Vincent’s not having it with this pity party, so maybe next week we can finally resolve the emotional arc of this little scene with a quality smackdown. Maybe ;).

Through writing this story, I keep thinking how fascinating webcomics are as a medium. Like, I’ve had a handful of you guys who have been reading this story almost from the beginning. (I got 300 hits my first week! They were mostly me.) By this point, it’s taken almost a year and a half to get to a point where I can finally reveal Elias as more than just a happy, goofy dude. That’s immensely satisfying, even if it took way too long! I know “goofy character who hides his secret pain” isn’t exactly revolutionary, but I wouldn’t even say he hides his issues. Elias is more like…a goofy dude whose confidence wavers occasionally, which I think is pretty natural. He’s not in an emotional tailspin, he’s just trying to work through some stuff and not fuck everything up. I’ve got a few more characters that I have to tear apart and put back together. Marin’s next! I’m really looking forward to her backstory, because I like her a lot as a character, but we haven’t had much to go on up til now, except that she’s a generous tipper and can’t go against Elias’s mom, Sara. For reeeeasons.

In “I’ve watched so much TV to bring this comic to you” news, I’m still slogging my way through Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m somewhere in season 6 and it’s starting to get that “show is ending soon” weirdness. I’m glad Deanna Troi is finally in a normal uniform, which her actress explained was kind of a weird tipping point for her character being taking seriously. I like that, because Deanna Troi is the only person in this show who actually matters to me :).

I like TNG a whole lot, but the more I watch it, the more I realize that you can’t make this show today. There are times when it’s almost too smart, almost too intellectual, that it’s almost off-putting. You’ve got all these people a thousand years into the future naming off and identifying Bach concertos to each other as easily as they all understand particle physics. I’ve played violin since I was 11, and I can barely name more than a handful of pieces by ear, though I might be able to identify the composer by style and familiarity. It seems like a show that’s firmly rooting its intelligence in an era that almost doesn’t belong so far in the future, where what’s most relevant are stories like Sherlock Holmes and music by composers who, by that point, would seem literally ancient. When you compare that to current pop culture, where we’re all weirdly concerned with who Taylor Swift is dating and what the Kardashians are up to, TNG seems completely bizarre. In fact, I would argue that the least futuristic thing about most Star Trek iterations is the lack of pop culture. It would be great to think that thousands of years into the future, we’re all going to be shining intellectuals obsessed with classical music and ancient literature, but let’s face it: stupid shit is entertaining, even when you’re smart enough to drive a spaceship across the galaxy without dying. Language, as a whole, is changing at an ever faster rate, splitting off into more and more casual and emotionally intelligent dialects with the invention of primarily text speech. If you compare the way people talked and wrote 100 years ago to the way we communicate today, there’s a world of difference. We’re adding new and more bizarre words to our collective lexicon at a pace that’s never happened before. Humans have formed a global society that’s only going to get more weird as time goes on. TNG, for being set in the future, feels almost old timey and quaint by today’s standards. (Which, fuck it, makes sense because it was made almost 30 years ago and I understand that.) Anyway, my grand point to all of this is that if you made TNG today, it would make the majority of people feel dumb as hell, and probably not have much of a popular audience. Which, contrast that to when I watched The Next Generation as a kid, while it was first airing, and almost everyone else did too. For better or worse, you can’t make this show today.

And it still makes me feel dumb as hell, maybe moreso at 31 than it did when I was like…10. (I type like an disgruntled idiot most of the time, because I have a firm belief that communication is most meaningful when it reaches the widest audience with the highest entertainment value. And I talk like this, so there ya go.)

Off to eat cereal! Enjoy your day, friends!