Friday, May 22, 2015

Page 169

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As I commented yesterday, this is the right side of a two-page spread (already thinking ahead to print). The Blogger template doesn't really make it feasible to post an image that wide without making the type too small to read, but here's what the whole thing looks like:

New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!


  1. I like to think the warden was Superman, not old enough to show real ware and tear, but old enough to not have much of his power left. And at the start of the story, was the prison Sparky left inspired by Blackgate prison? Really good read.

  2. I came here from a reddit post on the superman sub. Looking forward to seeing it in color!

  3. Anon@8:41, Thanks! I learned long ago that readers are entitled to draw their own meaning from my work and it's not my place to contradict, but I will say: Not what I had in mind! As for Blackgate prison (which is a fictional prison in Batman's Gotham City), it's hardly ever drawn the same way twice, but I think we both drew upon the same tropes of forbidding concrete walls and tiny windows. I actually had San Quentin (which is about an hour from my home) in mind, though there's not much resemblance.

    Anon@8:43, Thanks also! I'm seeing a lot of Redditers here today and appreciate your interest. If "The Last Mechanical Monster" turns out to have some life after it's done here, I'll definitely color it. Heck, maybe I'll color it anyway.

  4. I teared up a little at his death I won't lie, do you think he was a good person in the end? and also I realize you probably won't/can't answer this but whatever happened to Superman in this?

  5. LordOfEvilOmar, you're right--I'd rather not say what I think, although I did answer those questions in my own mind! Your answers are just as good as mine. Regarding Superman, for obvious reasons I can't say much about him, but I did notice that one of the mourners at his service (Page 164) was a strapping fellow wearing glasses.

  6. An odd thought popped into my head, looking at these two pages as one.

    Most of me want's Sparky's discoveries and technology to be a force for good - to usher in (or at least to light a candle for) a golden age.

    But the cynical part of me feels that isn't entirely plausible. Technology has a nasty habit of reflecting human nature - and while there's much in human nature that is positive, optimistic and generous, there's also much in human nature that really shouldn't get its hands on that sort of power.

    The new AI's are smart, but soulless. Free from evil, but also from conscience. Will Lillian be able to keep enough control of the technology to avoid its rampant militarisation? To prevent wide scale replacement of humans in employment (at least, replacement at a rate faster than society can adapt to)? To minimise the further division of global society into the AI empowered rich and the (comparatively) powerless poor?

    Maybe such gloomy and intractable issues aren't right for this story, but it would be fascinating to know, or get a hint, of how Lillian and other characters see this playing out in the long term, and whether things are shaping up as they would like them to.

    It looks as if Lillian is happy about how things are going - which given who Lillian is, is hopeful. So long as she doesn't get carried away by her belief in the possibilities :)

    Heh, a story never really ends at 'happily ever after', even when that's the right place to leave it.

  7. AndyW, a thoughtful comment as always, though I'm afraid beyond the scope of this comic. Maybe a sequel?

    I hold what I guess is a "classical" view: that technology is value-neutral. Alfred Nobel's TNT could be used for good or evil. In my mind, and maybe I should go back and clarify, Lillian tried her idea of substituting solid-state parts for vacuum tubes, realized the resulting AI was "soulless," and so didn't continue in that direction. She tried it and didn't like it.

    For good or ill, my story reflects me--and if you're familiar with my book "Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow," you'll know I'm a technological optimist. I believe in Tomorrowland. I think Lillian will do the right thing with the amazing AI tech she inherited and do all right by the world. She's not as tech-smart as Sparky, but in this way she's much smarter than him. And he knew it.

    1. Thanks for replying to my pondering :)

      I agree technology is value neutral. I suppose I'm just a bit more... not cynical, exactly, but wary of human nature. I tend to believe in firm and enlightened regulation for best results, put it that way. And it sounds like Lillian will be well on top of that :D