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Bright Stars
Last Update: 17 Days Ago Fans: 409 # Comics: 216

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Comment on 4.36 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 13 Apr 2014 08:59 am
@Remawolf: thanks very much! Farscape is one of my inspirations for the comic, so it's nice to hear the comic brings it to mind!

@nagafide: Rory will have a way to trim the beard, but it will be a while before he has anything to shave it.

Hygiene on liveships is maintained through bathing. A liveship can manufacture a type of thin gel that reacts to dead skin cells. It starts fizzing and cleans away dirt in the process. When the gel stops fizzing it's because there's nothing left to react to and you know you're clean. Kind of like a peroxide bath in some ways, I suppose?

Veo clean their mouths with the gel, too (just swish it around like Listerine). Veo don't generally have to be very particular about oral hygiene, though, as they don't have separate teeth the way we do. Their 'teeth' are in fact dental plates that are fused together, so it's more difficult for problems like gum disease to occur since there are no nooks and crannies. They also can't loose teeth through rot or impact; their plates can crack, but will eventually recalcify again.

Deodorant and shampoo-wise Rory is currently S.O.L. - Veo have no hair, and they do most of their heat expulsion through their gills, so they don't sweat overmuch.

Atm Rory has had sort of a sponge bath, as N'tala would have wiped him down when he was unconscious, but he hasn't had much of a good cleaning. It'll come up in the comic later ;)
Comment on 4.36 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 03 Apr 2014 03:29 pm
English gets a little carried away with idiomatic speech a lot of the time...
Comment on 4.35 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 09 Mar 2014 01:26 pm
@nagafide: planetbound Veo are rather similar to us in their perception of gender roles - i.e. they're closely linked to physical sex and are clearly defined.

Spacebound Veo are much more fluid in their classifications of themselves and of others. There is an acknowledgement of physical sex, since in practical terms it can be important (i.e. medically speaking, if you need treatment for disease or injury). There is no acknowledgement of gender, though. Gender roles are not defined or stereotyped, so there is no need for considering gender. Spacebound Veo tend to view others in terms of character traits or personality, and since those traits aren't seen as linked to sex, there is no need for a real concept of gender.

This way of thinking is so widespread that the space Veo dialect doesn't even have gendered pronouns. There is a pronoun for living things (ahn), and a pronoun for inanimate things (ihn).

They are, of course, aware of the construct of gender, since their planetbound counter parts (and numerous other races they deal with) do have gender concepts. So when referring to/interacting with a race that has gender, Veo will use that race's pronouns.

Spacebound Veo don't have a rigid concept for stereotypical sexual/romantic roles in relationships - if traits like being aggressive aren't linked to the concept of "male" as a gender and therefore a sex, then it's not strange for female sexed Veo to be the dominant partner, etc. They do have concepts for sexual identity insofar as what one is attracted to. Veo can consider themselves, straight, gay, bi, pansexual, asexual, etc., it's just linked to what genitals they are attracted to, not what gender. Most spacebound Veo would consider themselves somewhere along the bisexual part of the spectrum - Veo who are exclusively straight or gay are least common, overall.

There's also no discrimination based on sexual preference. Spacebound Veo can't procreate, so they don't get all muckitymuck about who's having sex with who (or about how many partners someone has, for that matter). Straight or gay Veo are considered a little strange (why would you want to narrow your possible partners so much), but it's not wrong or unnatural. The only concerns regarding sex is that it be consensual; rape is rare, but often punished by death. And that it not disrupt shipboard life (i.e. lover's quarrels taking up work hours or former partners being unable to work together).
Comment on 4.35 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 08 Mar 2014 09:24 am
@nagafide: Rory considers himself gay, since he's never yet been attracted to a woman and all his relationships have been with men. When I write him I want him to just come off as a believable person, not a sitcom stereotype of a gay man. I also want Rory being gay to just be part of his character, not a central plot point, so generally I try for dialogue and body language that just seems "male" rather than specifically "gay" or "straight". I tend to borrow the things I observe men doing, that I don't seem to see women do (i.e. Rory rubbing his head when at a loss). Sometimes I do just go for "WWRD" (what would Rory do) and it has nothing to do with gendered gestures (often the times he's thrown for a loop or nearly makes an idiot of himself).
Comment on 4.35 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 06 Mar 2014 09:00 am
@Coelaves: it's not an awkward or weird question :)

The intention is for Jetii and Rory to end up together eventually, yes. (It's a way down the road yet).
Comment on 4.35 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 26 Feb 2014 11:03 am
@nagafide: Rory has been mostly touched over his clothes, so I don't think he's yet made much observation on Veo skin.

Veo skin mostly feels a bit smoother than human skin, due to the lack of hair (kind of like freshly shaved legs?). They also tend to be a bit cooler to the touch except the undersides of the arms and the inside of the thighs.

Their fronds feel kind of like silk ribbon.

There is a noticeable difference in Veo fingers and toes. Their digits have thicker leathery skin, and their fingertips are fairly hard. It would be kind of like if you've ever wrapped masking tape around your fingers. It makes Veo fingers and toes very resistant to temperature extremes, which would be why you rarely see them wearing shoes or gloves with fingers. They also don't have a lot of sensation in them beyond pressure, though their palms are as sensitive as a human's.
Comment on 4.35 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 12 Feb 2014 05:24 pm
So basically the problem is Rory keeps hauling the fabric way more out of whack than it needs to go when he pulls it on; a more practiced hand doesn't stretch the fabric as far to start with, so it fits much more closely immediately.

He's in luck in that the blue body suits react to sudden pulls by shrinking back to shape, 'cause there's no time to wait for it to heat shrink if, say, the hull is getting blown open.
Comment on 4.34 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 30 Jan 2014 05:08 am
@booisl33t: "het" is an intake of breath through the gills that acts as a confirmation. It's not specifically "yes" in the sense of a direct word, but kind of like when a human replies with "mm hmm".
Comment on 4.33 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 24 Jan 2014 08:20 am
@okamihanyu: haha I think he’ll get a slight bit of respite by hiding behind the storage rack that Jetii pulled out.

@YersiniaP: Jetii is definitely in a place where he’s not able to do sympathy or empathy.

@Moondragon: mostly Jetii just dicking it up, since Rory isn’t really pushing back.

@Niggle: haha grouchy Jetii.

@nagafide: I actually had to shuffle that panel around a bit for that reason - it initially really looked like Rory was latching onto Jetii in passing. I had to move him a bit so that once the shading is in one can tell Rory’s hand is out front, not touching.

@Vivi: we certainly all should respect the boundaries of other cultures when encountering one another, but it’s often the case that whoever has more power in the relationship doesn’t respect the other culture’s boundaries. For Jetii’s part, he comes from living his entire life in fairly close quarters where there isn’t the available room for body modesty. It’s one of those things that, for him, seems completely childish and ridiculous that someone else would have, to the point that it’s just straight out frustrating and annoying. It’s so out there for him to be ashamed of being naked that he hasn’t even stopped to consider why Rory would be, and how uncomfortable it could be for Rory right now. If any of us have seemed flippant about Rory’s discomfort, it’s because we had a convo about nudity and body shame a few pages back, here:

Rory very much represents an average atheist Canadian, so Jetii isn’t crossing any deeply held religious beliefs or boundaries in being snide about Rory being naked. Granted, Jetii doesn’t know this, but I certainly don’t think my readers are supportive of cultural insensitivity because they find Rory’s reaction funny or unnecessary. I’ve given no indication at all either in the comic, in extra art I’ve drawn, in the Wiki, or in Livestream conversations (which often encompass more than has made it into the comic yet) that Rory has any particular religious beliefs that would make Jetii’s current behaviour inexcusable. I actually wrote this scene with the awareness that I have as many readers in Europe and Australia as in North America - places that are more likely to understand Jetii’s point of view on the matter.

As to Jetii mistreating Rory: the Veo cultural norm is to be much less shy about physical bodies in general, so that also means physical contact like shoving. For Rory’s part, he could always push back against Jetii’s behaviour; Jetii definitely isn’t thinking when he shoves around someone who could beat the crap out of him if they chose. I hope that when Jetii behaves this way, it reveals as much about Rory as it does about Jetii. I don’t personally agree with the way Jetii is behaving, either. But since I’m the author I’m in Jetii’s head and I know why he’s doing it, and I promise the comic will address it as well.

We’ll find out later in this chapter that Jetii is actually a bit of an anomaly when it comes to his Weltenshauung regarding other aliens (I don’t want to spoil too much, but basically Jetii has had the most isolated life of anyone on the ship). Given his druthers, Kaumo would certainly throw Jetii out the airlock onto any station he could dump him at, but he’s stuck with Jetii for reasons that will be shown eventually :)

I certainly agree with your concern that too much literature holds up toxic relationships as normal or even desirable, and so it is absolutely not my intention to portray one here. It is my intention for Jetii and Rory to end up together, yes, but that’s a long way down the line (I couldn’t even take a guess at the chapter). Jetii has a bunch of shit to work through, first. I agree that ideally there is no excuse for mistreating other people, but the reality is that people who have gone through intense trauma can choose to deal with that trauma by lashing out, which is the way Jetii is handling things. For that matter, Rory has some background shit I haven’t gotten into yet, but Rory’s way of handling it is to swallow and repress it all, which, while it seems more polite from the outside, isn’t healthy either.

If there are too many shitty toxic relationships in literature, there are also definitely too many shitty same-sex relationships written all over the place. So it’s doubly my intention to write Jetii and Rory in convincing ways and to have their relationship make sense and be a healthy one. Again, it’s a long way down the line before that comes around.
And my audience isn’t intended to specifically be teenagers, who definitely don’t seem to be guided toward very good stories these days. I’ve suggested that the comic is not appropriate for those under 16, more for the language used than anything so far. I settled on 16+ not to suggest that the comic is geared toward teenagers, but because 18+ is definitely too steep for the content of the comic, and tends to have implications on the internet of extreme sexual content. While I can’t control who reads my comic, I do also think that most older teens are devouring media that is pretty shitty stuff, and doing so without enough direct guidance from the adults around them. There are a lot of older teens out there who are smart enough to take in media in a critical way (or who will soon learn how to when they go to university), but also many who don’t think critically about what they encounter. It’s my intention that Bright Stars not be something that anyone would hold up as an example of literature that glorifies abuse or toxic romance.

Thank you for voicing your concern, though - truly. I post every page hoping that what I’m conveying things the way they are in my head, but I can’t know until my readers tell me. I hope that as the comic continues forward Jetii’s behaviour will be adequately explained, and of course it’s always up to you the reader to decide if that excuses him or not.
Comment on 4.33 of Bright Stars
maplebee, 19 Jan 2014 12:13 pm
Thanks for your patience during the last month, guys! Now we can get back to it :)

So for everyone who's been curious, there's Jetii naked. I haven't been intentionally drawing panels to hide anything (like the pretty hilarious fight scene in the computer animated Beowulf), it's just that Jetii's naked body isn't the focus of the moment: Rory's reaction to it is.

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