Nervillsaga

a fantasy comic of loot, glory and greed by Kyle Weems

Comic #684

#684: And Every Sip Stings

July 30, 2014

No means no, guys. That's your takeaway here.

And in Kra'xia's case, failing to respect that no may result in a broken nose.

I think it's fair to say that geek culture is facing a major problem. When I was young, we were all bullied. Now, we're rapidly moving to a social forefront, as we inherit the Earth. I wish I could say that we weren't repeating the sins of our oppressors once we gained the throne, but the fact is that as a group, as a culture, that we're no better than those high school bullies.

If you doubt me, I encourage you to read any article on a major gamer blog about gender, and then try to read the comments without getting physically ill at the vitriol that pours forth as the (usually white, male) gamers come flocking together to beat down any suggestion that the depiction of women in modern media is... shall we say... more than a bit objectifying.

And if that doesn't work, go see what women gamers like Anita Sarkeesian routinely face on Twitter for encouraging an expansion of positive female role models in games and other media. It's horrifying, frankly. (Seriously, don't read all replies she gets for her posts unless you have a strong stomach. She has a lot of good supporters, but there's a good deal of angry, infantile, horrible men.)

I can't say that Nervillsaga in the past has done a good job of treating its women characters equally. The women wear scantily-clad outfits, and are often being openly drooled over by the men. Often that's a punchline of several comics in a row.

It's really embarrassing. The long pause that Nervillsaga had over the past several years gave me a chance to review the existing comic's archive with fresh eyes. And in between a lot of good jokes and great stories there's a lot of really unfortunate sexism baked into fantasy tropes. And I really don't want the comic going forward to be inflicted with that.

I realized, to my dismay, that the comic doesn't even pass the very basic minimal challenge that is the Bechdel test, despite having over 680 strips.

Kra'xia is part of the change coming to the comic to fix all that. She'll be a permanent fixture. There will be more women, as main characters or guest stars, in the storylines going forward. Women as people, not just women as objects of male obsession.

You know the saying, be the change you want to see happen.

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