- Posted by Johanna on March 13, 2012 at 8:01 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
I wasn’t previously aware of Artifice, a story its writer Alex Woolfson describes as a “gay sci-fi webcomic”, but the first six pages grabbed me. The art, by Winona Nelson, captures the tension of a standoff between a “killer” robot and his bigoted jailer well in what is a difficult scene to stage. It’s hard to keep three guys in a block of a room visually interesting, but that’s what’s accomplished here. (Note that while these first few pages are safe for work, some of the later scenes are NOT.)
Artifice also has a Kickstarter for a print version that made 150% of its funding in just a few days. (So if you donate now, you’ll be sure to get the rewards, and Woolfson is working on adding more.) You can still read all of the comic (so far) online, too. Woolfson makes some good points in the press release:
“I wrote Artifice because I loved action and sci-fi stories as a kid,” Woolfson said. “But I never got to see what I really wanted to see, and that’s kick-ass genre stories with heroes who just happened to like other guys. Artifice was my attempt to write the kind of story I always wanted to see. And now it’s going to be a book that I can hold in my hands and you’ll be able to find in your local library. This is dream-come-true stuff!”
With full-color art by Philadelphia-based artist Winona Nelson, Artifice is about Deacon, an android solider, fighting for love and survival against the powerful Corporation that made him. Artifice starts just after Deacon has failed a mission spectacularly. Not only did he disobey orders, letting a 19-year-old business liability named Jeff survive, he also attacked and killed those who were sent to retrieve him. Soon, both their lives are on the line as his corporate masters push for answers and look to tie up loose ends.
Artifice has been running as a webcomic for just less than a year and, at 83 pages, is nearing completion.
Woolfson continued: “Even though I’ve been releasing Artifice as a weekly webcomic, I actually wrote first it as a complete sci-fi graphic novel script. We’re in the last scene, so almost all the pages are now available to read online. I launched this Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a small print run because I’ve always wanted to have this story be something you could hold in your hand, read on the bus, give to friends. But coming up with $7000 to do that seemed like a huge amount of money to raise. More than I could afford on my own, actually. So, I’m just bowled over and deeply, deeply grateful for the response from our readers. They’ve just blown me away.”
“I mean, when I grew up, advertisers would flee if you showed one innocent kiss between two men on a TV show. And now thanks to crowdsourcing initiatives like Kickstarter, I don’t even need to ask publishers for permission to get an action comic with gay heroes (who do a lot more than that) into the hands of my readers with a full offset print run. It gives me hope that over the next ten years, I’m going to get a chance to see a lot more of the kind of stories I always wanted to see growing up, but never could find. This is a really great example of the democratization of media that the Internet has made possible. It’s awesome to be able to reach so many people with one of my stories and something I thought I’d never live to see.”