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Gay Sci-Fi Webcomic Artifice Now Online

March 26, 2011 | | Comments 15 |

Artifice Webcomic Page One

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but my sci-fi yaoi graphic novel Artifice is finally ready for you to read. If you’ve been following my work for a while, then you know my original plan was to release Artifice as a for-pay PDF that you would download at our store. But after following the excellent work of Hamlet Machine with Starfighter, EMIRAIN with Teahouse (both webcomic links NSFW, BTW) and Cheera and Muun with sfeertheory, I’ve been inspired to try something different. I’ve decided to post Artifice up, for free, one page a week, as a webcomic.

What’s Artifice about?

It was supposed to be a routine “clean-up” mission on the isolated colony Da Vinci Four, but Deacon, a prototype android soldier, has failed 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 help him. Now, the brilliant and uncompromising robopsychologist Clarice Maven has been summoned by the Corporation to determine why.

With Deacon at her absolute mercy, Maven will find out exactly what happened between the android and this boy—and she will use her terrible power to make sure Deacon never fails the Corporation ever again.

Check it out for yourself!

I wrote Artifice and all the art from pencils through colors is being created by the totally awesome Winona Nelson. And to give you a good feel for what’s to come, I’ve posted up the first five pages on the webcomic site. (Starting next Saturday, I’ll post up a page a week until the story is complete.) Please take a look!

Read Artifice right now

(Be sure to click the Next button under each page to keep reading! :) )

Why a webcomic?

Well, like sending out the pin-ups to my mailing list subscribers, this is another experiment. My current method of publishing my comics is to wait for each one to be fully completed before sending them out to my readers as PDFs. This means that when they are released, it’s a lot of fun. (I have over 14,000 subscribers of my mailing list and all my readers are awesome sweethearts, so I get a bunch of great comments and feedback when each comic comes out.) But then, several months pass before the next comic is ready and that explosion of momentum and energy—which frankly is so useful for morale for me and my artists—naturally falls off quite a bit. And, I also think quite naturally, in those intervening months, a lot of readers wind up forgetting all about me and my comics, even if they really enjoyed reading them. I have a busy life myself, I know how it is.

This has been on my mind for a while now. And so, when I went to YaoiCon last October and I saw how much buzz was around the (awesome) webcomics Starfighter and Teahouse, it got me thinking. What if I were to have a comic that was released on a more consistent basis like once a week—like, well, a webcomic! And so after talking with a bunch of folks about that idea (including Starfighter’s awesome Hamlet Machine who was very helpful), I’ve decided to give this a try to see if it helps keep readers engaged with my work. Now, I’m not expecting the kind of success of Starfighter and Teahouse, but just having something to share with my readers every week, just having a consistent way to connect with my readers every week, well, that just sounds like a lot of fun.

I’m very, very proud of the work Winona and I are doing on Artifice. The truth is, I think it has some of the the best writing I’ve done out of all my comics. And, frankly, if I put it out as a $4.99 e-book, there are only so many people who would choose to pay for it. I’ll still try publishing a for-pay e-book at some point (maybe with the 18+ Chapter 4 of Tough), but I think by putting Artifice out as a free webcomic, a lot more people are going to be able to enjoy it. And that’s something I really want. :)

Please let me know what you think

So, I’d love to know what you think of what I’m doing. Good idea? Bad idea? Cool? Not cool? And what do you think of the pages I posted up? Please let me know by commenting on this blog post or on the pages of the webcomic itself.

I really hope you enjoy reading the webcomic pages I’ve put up so far and that you’ll come back to find out what happens next! :D




And, of course, my other full-color yaoi comics are still available as free PDF downloads for subscribers of my mailing list. Want to get your hands on those download links? Well, it’s easy! Just fill out the form on the Free Comics page and the links will be sent right to you in the Welcome Email! You’ll get the first two completed chapters of Tough sent to you right now! That’s 70 full-color pages of yaoi goodness. Score!

Enjoy reading articles like these? Don’t miss out! Get Yaoi 911â„¢ blog posts emailed right to you — for free!

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About the Author: Filmmaker by day, yaoi creator by night, Alex has dedicated himself to helping cute guys fight evil and find love.

RSSComments (15)

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  1. ninelegyak says:

    The gift economy of the yaoi community has a tendency to make everyone happy in the end. =)

  2. terry121 says:

    Nice, I love the art. The story is fairly interesting as well, especially considering that there are only 5 intro pages. So feel free to consider my curiosity piqued. Hope to see an update soon

  3. adrilahan says:

    Thanks very much for making this available for free. Mixing sci-fi and yaoi is my idea of heaven, so I’ll be following Artifice very closely :)

  4. Oooohh, yes, something different. :) I love the art, too – very clean.

    As for posting it for free, that’s a pretty common approach among a lot of indie writers, too. Some of them offer their first e-books for free in order to establish an audience who’ll be willing to pay for future books. Others give their debut e-books a 99-cent price tag for the same reason. And apparently it seems to be working out.

    Being prolific is also a key at least in the indie publishing scene. In order to compete with all the massive marketing clout that mainstream authors enjoy from their publishers, indie authors need to remain “relevant” by consistently publishing and keeping their name out there. A lot of indie writers I know self-publish series novels to keep their readers interested and well-fed.

    So, yeah – I can see that working to your benefit as well, especially if you’re planning on selling future graphic novels. Whatever you decide on doing, lots of luck!

    • Thanks, Hayden! Yep, that’s pretty much the plan. I’ve definitely been in favor of the free model of building an audience for some time, but unlike the PDFs that I send out for free to my newsletter subscribers (which helps me build a subscriber base, which is definitely a good thing), posting a page a week as a webcomic will hopefully help me with that relevancy piece you talked about.

      We’ll see. It’s all an experiment.

      And right now, a really fun experiment. ;)

  5. Sandrinha says:

    I loved the idea of the webcomic, this is a way to allow your project to reach more people, taking into account the amount of followers you have. There will always be those who will talk about it and so on. A wonderful way to publicize your project. Even if you want to provide it sale in the future, there will always be those who can´t buy it and this type of publication (webcomic) makes it easy both for those who want to buy and for those who can´t.
    I loved the first 5 chapters. Very interesting robot character (Can I call it that way?). He´s very cool. And I loved the colors and the art too.
    I’m looking forward to reading the next chapters, I’m sure that police won´t forget the surprise reaction soon. :)
    Oh, thanks for the link to Sfeertheory, I didn´t know it. I already follow Teahouse and Starfigther. :)
    Bye, bye. :D

    • Sandrihna, thank you so much. I’m glad you like the idea. (And you can call Deacon “an interesting robot character”, but apparently he prefers the term “inhuman”. :) )

      Glad you liked those first pages—and I hope you enjoy Sfeertheory; I really like the art for that one…

  6. Chama says:

    Oh man, you and all the artists for the comics are amazing. I found Artifice through a link on tjandamal.com. I honestly don’t usually click off-site banners because I hardly notice them anymore (so many ads everywhere…)
    So, I was on the other site to see if she had updated her comic and she HAD, but instead I saw the GORGEOUS art on your Artifice banner and clicked it instead of reading the other update, lol. So I read what you had up so far, decided to bookmark it, came back and read it again later…

    Um, anyway, I’m a bit of an airhead and finally realised, HEY, I bet there is more on this site than just this one comic, perhaps I should go to the home page! I can be a little slow… haha. And now I’m babbling on, oh no — my point is, I’ve read both chapters of Tough and I’m going to check out everything else you have and I am so insanely impressed with what you’re doing here.

    All of the art is just freaking awesome, your characters, even your SIDE characters, have real personalities and your dialogue and pacing are great. I mean, I can read the pages and be absorbed in the story the same way you get absorbed into a good novel. I find that hard to come by in comics. I hope that makes sense…

    The story for Tough is really cute… has a lot of really good, more serious undertones that I really like. Artifice, so far… well, I’m ready for the next page. 8D

    I don’t want to go on for too long, I’m just bad at compliments and I ramble so forgive me. I’m just so impressed! It’s SO rare to find yaoi/BL comics with art and writing of real quality. I hope you’ll be at Fanime? Because I will find you there. >:3

    …and I don’t talk for this long in person, I promise.

    So… um… YEAH! I LOVE YOU AND ALL YOUR ARTISTS~ <3 I can't wait for your continued updates and your webcomic experiment seems to be working, I am proof! lol~

    • Wow, thank you for all your kind words! Those banners are an experiment too (just another way to try to get the word out)—glad that it’s bringing in such cool folk like yourself!

      (‘ve actually become a big fan of The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal webcomic. Weaver is creating the kind of three-dimensional characters and realistically-paced love story that I love to read, and yet is so rare. Highly recommended to those of you who haven’t discovered it.)

      And I’m delighted you’re enjoying Tough! We just finished the pencils for the third chapter and I’m going to be sending out another pin-up soon.

      As for Fanime, I have no current plans to attend, but if my pal Jen of The Yaoi Review decides to go, I might tag along. If you see me there, please say hi. :)

      Thanks again!

  7. DiseasedFace says:

    A short comment this time.

    Don’t mess with robotic lifeforms with a MIND and ATTITUDE! I look forward to the blossoming of Artifice!

    ~A.S

  8. [...] Want to learn more about why I decided to start a webcomic? Then read Gay Sci-Fi Webcomic Artifice Now Online! [...]

  9. [...] about why I decided to start a webcomic? Then read Gay Sci-Fi Webcomic Artifice Now Online and Why call Artifice a “gay sci-fi [...]

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