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Steven Forbes 01-23-2015 06:24 AM

TPG Week 213: Stories Need True Endings
Welcome back, one and all, to another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in Yonatan Schultz! We also have Samantha LeBas in purple, I'm the overly-mellow guy in red, and we all get to see how Yonatan handles


Before we get started... Yup! This script is at an 11. It kinda just screams out at you. I bumped it to 12. You're all welcome.

compliment (This is the first word that showed up. I have no idea why it's here.)


A coming of age adventure story set in the Northwest. A young woman, working in a greasy spoon cafe meets an exciting, Vespa riding androgynous Sidhe. It(I am gonna stop you right here... we’ll come back to this) convinces her to run off with them by showing her a preview of what her life might be like if she stays.

As they travel, the androgen tells her about its life back home and of its quest to return there. They bond and it draws her deep into the woods and into a fairy ring.

There, it transforms into a hideous Sidhe. The girl tries to run but is caught and killed. Her blood opens a gate from our world to the world of the Sidhe. At last, the Sidhe is able to return home.

(As promised: Yonaton, Yoni, can I call you, Yoni? Yoni, I want to prevent you from hearing it from someone else, excuse me as I step up on my soapbox, we need to talk about gender representation in comics. Okay, so, you are dealing with the the subject of gender directly. This means that you are going to draw an audience that is aware of and interested in gender issues. That means that you will be held accountable for your personal representation of gender. I understand that this character is kind of an otherworldly creature, but you really shouldn’t call that creature ‘it’. Your desire to differintiate between this androgen and the rest of your cast is understandable, and I think it’s fine to do so, but... BUT, some trans people consider ‘it’ a hate term. You might read about specific cases or people who choose ‘it’ as their personal pronoun, you might even know a few, but I would caution you against the use of this pronoun. Instead I suggest that you consult this nifty difty chart and select another, less potentially volitale pronoun for this character. This seems trivial, I know. However, the representation of the trans community in comics is a hot-button issue [Google ‘Batgirl #37 response’, and see for yourself] and I think it is best to avoid contreversy when it is not necessary. Make a note, Yoni [and really, all you writers out there] when you directly address a minority community, you should be aware of the issues and concerns of that community. Insensitivity or lack of awareness might be the thing holds you back, and there are enough obstacles out there already.)

Two things.

First, I usually would have cut out the summary that's here. If you have to summarize a short story before anyone's read it—you've already failed. Especially for TPG. However, this leads directly to the second point.

Sam is extremely correct when it comes to gender identification. Even moreso than politics and religion, gender identification is extremely personal. It's part of the essence of who you are. It's integral to how you identify yourself not just to the world, but to yourself. I, personally, cannot imagine the turmoil some people must feel to wake up every day in a body they don't feel is “theirs.” Like their gender is wrong. However, just because I can't imagine it doesn't mean it isn't happening. And I'm not just talking about crossdressing. I'm talking about going so far as to change your sex. Not just male to female, but female to male, too. (It isn't as prevalent, but it does happen. Ask Cher. She had a daughter, now she has a son.)

Tricky stuff, and it can open you up to a lot of rage. Something to be aware of.

On with the show.

Click here to read more.

Kiyoko, Rin 01-23-2015 11:41 AM

I never even knew ze / zem / zir was a thing - if I'd have come across any of those terms before reading Sam's link, I'd have assumed some sort of Germanic accent.

Not to counter Sam's point (which I'm sure is valid), but what longevity do those terms have? "Ms" has stayed the course and is still used today, but "womyn" seems to have died out since the late 90s.

SkyfireQT 01-23-2015 12:42 PM

Regarding Page 6, panel 2. It can’t be drawn because comicbook panels are still images and well… how would you draw a character that has stopped in a still image?

Yes, there might be some very talented folks able to depict this, but why not just describe the character’s placement in the panel, facial expression and (what I think is most important here) body language? That should ensure that most, if not all artist could draw this with ease.

SamRoads 01-24-2015 07:20 PM

Thanks for doing this TPG Sam and Steven!

I'm unhappy with this story, and not really for the perfectly good reasons Sam and Steven poked holes in it.

This all feels like a 1980s video nasty where the basic point of the exercise is to see women die. Haven't we grown out of that?

And with those stories there was generally the idea of the protagonist having committed some kind of sin, for which they were punished by the evil killer. It was often having sex, it could be pride, greed, inquisitiveness. Sometimes just ignorance.

Not sure if this story even has that kind of nuance. It just seems to be:

A stranger invites a waitress on a bike ride, then kills her, because killing her is what the stranger does. The End.

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