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Rat Queen Dee

Dee in conversation with her mother

I’m in the market for new comics– but let’s note that to me, all comics are basically new. I have read and loved Maus 1 and 2 by Art Spiegelman and Alan Moore’s Top 10 series, but that’s pretty much it. In thinking about what to start reading I came across some review or another for Rat Queens, maybe this one on The Mary Sue. It sounded like what I was looking for– a good story, amazing art, plenty of humor, and female main characters.

Then I read that one of the characters is an atheist cleric, and I was sold.

An atheist cleric? Yep. Dee is the daughter of two adherents of the blood-drinking squid god N’rygoth. She rejected the faith of her parents and set out on her own to join an all-female band of adventurers called the Rat Queens (all of whom seem to be rejects of some form or another), in which she functions as a magic-user, primarily a healer, apparently drawing on divine magic even though she doesn’t believe in any gods. When Betty, the smidgen (think halfling) thief asks how this is possible, Dee explains “I’m goddess enough.” No, I don’t know exactly what that means either.

That’s in the first volume of Rat Queens, which is the only one currently– the next one should be out in December. And let me stress that the entire thing so far is awesome. Everybody has a backstory, and of course the first volume contains a lot of exposition about those stories. Dee is but one member of a group of talented, badass, sarcastic women of various races who exist in a D&D style fantasy world and spend a good amount of their time making fun of it. But there are some very serious moments too, and they are sharpened by the levity with which they’re contrasted.

The story is by Kurtis J. Wiebe and art by Roc Upchurch. They’ve done an amazing job, and I want everyone to see it. Definitely recommended.

Tardigrade parade

Why yes, I am watching Cosmos…why do you ask?

Actually I think I first time learned about extremophiles, including tardigrades, was while watching the BBC’s Blue Planet series…which I have on DVD, and have watched so many times. I’m looking forward to re-watching Cosmos too, because there are so many things to absorb that one viewing isn’t nearly enough.

I figure the the tardigrade in this parade is on a scale of about 10,000 times its normal size. It just amused me to think of blowing one up that large and using it like a Chinese dragon in a festival. Tardigrades are incredibly resilient (that’s an understatement), but they’re not the most attractive creatures out there– they look like a naked mole rat and a lamprey had a threesome with a trash bag which resulted in progeny. They are fascinating, though, because they seemingly can exist– and even thrive– anywhere. It’s amazing that the tardigrade isn’t any sports team’s mascot…at least, that I know of.  It’s definitely worthy!

Further adventures in learning to draw using layers — Blackbeard

Blackbeard is based on this image, apparently an entrant in a contest to be a card in Brain Vessel’s Kickstarter project to make a deck of Seven Seas Playing Cards. I saw it on Justin Robert Young’s Facebook page and had to draw it.

Prude vs. Feminist: A field guide

Obligatory disclaimer: This is a comic. It includes generalizations. Obviously there is significant variation among both prudes and feminists, and occasionally overlap between them.

I have, though, quite frequently seen the two confused. And I decided that “sex positive” and “sex negative” don’t do enough to describe the difference between them, so thought it would help to articulate those differences a bit more.

I know it can be confusing, the fact that both a prude and a feminist are likely to object to the following:

  • Being harassed on the street (or at work, or anywhere else)
  • Being exposed to porn without having expressed any interest in such
  • Depictions of rape, jokes about rape, rape itself
  • Etc.
However, the beliefs underlying the objections to these things are often quite different, which is not limited to the fact that the prude might have to first examine whether to hold herself responsible for acts such as harassment and rape based on her own immodest dress or actions before speaking out against them. 

So here’s a guide to some key distinctions– when confused, consult this handy chart. Good luck!

Common Ground

In formal logic, a premise is a plank of an argument. If your premises are true and the form of your argument is valid, then your argument is sound.

1. All men are mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

If you’re trying to persuade someone of your conclusion (“Socrates is mortal”), you’re not going to get anywhere if they don’t already agree with your premises (“All men are mortal” and “Socrates is a man”). The premises are the common ground on which you can meet your opponent and find what you can agree on.

If you can’t find any common ground– that is, agree on the premises– then you might as well not bother arguing. If you can find the common ground, then you have hope that your opponent will go along with you to your conclusion. Opting to shout across a chasm instead is a pastime that many people find satisfying for reasons that can be discussed elsewhere, but this is the real substance of argument.

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