67 thoughts on “Chapter 5: Lit, page 77.”

  1. Heh. I’m seeing Mesmer as a quintessential hipster – profound in his ignorance yet utterly confident that he knows everything.

  2. Yay, comic!

    Wow, Mes. I can’t decide if you’re kinda bigoted or kinda naive or kinda privileged or kinda forreal or maybe ALL the above. What I do know is that you’re an interesting character.

    1. I don’t think he’s bigoted per se, he just completely lacks the filter most people have between their brains and their mouths. He thinks it, he says it, it’s his way.

      1. Mesmer thinks he’s one of those people who makes up for being a jerk by being really perceptive and honest… I wonder if he realizes that he’s just being kept around for how hilariously over the top he is?

          1. Maybe he’s a douche who’s still trying to prove to himself that he’s cooler than his his far-out hippie mom….

    1. But usually people are quiet unless they are your friends or complete jerks. Though on second though, there are an AWFUL LOT of jerks out there.

    2. Yeah? Sorta-maybe. But I see it as a very dishonest intention. It’s not as if he cares enough about Ben’s background to just remark on it for its own sake. He’s only interested in the reaction he gets. He knows it’s offensive. He’s being manipulative, and doesn’t care how far he has to go into asshattery to get his little nasty ya-ya.

  3. “Ha, sorry. That’s OFFENSIVE, huh?
    “Please tell me that was offensive, I base my entire identity on making other people uncomfortable.”

    1. Pretty much exactly this. Mesmer is picking on Ben so hard because his only schtick is being an ass.

      I have known too many Mesmers. Luckily, I haven’t had to hang around any of them for long.

    2. I am loving Ben’s lack of a reaction.

      And the fact that he seems more put off by Flannery’s responses than Mesmer’s provocation.

    3. Yeah, I knew somebody like this. We met in a hobby group, so you’d think we could sit around and shoot the breeze, right? Nope. EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION had to be like this. He could never just discuss the finer points of our mutual interest or gripe about the weather or whatever. It always had to be him with his irritating smug smirk poking and picking and prying until somebody in the room got annoyed. You know how people of a certain age sit around telling funny stories about themselves as teens? He was the type who would immediately retell the story you just told, but make it extra humiliating by speculating on what the adults who witnessed the original screwup were probably thinking. Because he, being Ultra Smart Man, could see inside everybody’s head. Yeah.

      Well, one day Ultra Smart Man decided that he was smarter than the cops and stole some police property to decorate his room.

      Schadenfreude, baby. Schadenfreude.

      1. . . . wow, teach me to post on zero sleep with a headache. And but so anyway, back on topic: When I encounter a character like this, I immediately hope that he will pwn himself while the reader gets to watch.

        Also, Mesmer, learn to shave a bit better.

  4. Ah interesting. I had a totally different interpretation of Flannery’s posture and expression and “acting” when I just heard this script. Huh.

  5. To be honest, I like this version better. The watercolour look just seemed washed out and jarring compared to the established look.

    But that’s me =/

  6. Mesmer’s the kind of person who doesn’t know when he’s too much, but he *could* be alright once you learn to see through all the cockiness. Also, I love this look much better too; it flows much easier, it’s sharp, clean and salient.

  7. I bet Mesmer would’ve never talked this long with Ben if Ben had started freaking out earlier. Now he’s just trying to push as many buttons as possible to get him.

    Also, is anybody else freaked out by Ben’s face in the last panel? I dunno, it seems to me like he has just completely turned off his brain. Like he put on a self defense mechanism for Mesmer’s questions. Maybe it’s the missing eyebrows.

    1. And *that* is the fun of being on medication (too much or the wrong type). It is why someone who needs meds should be checking in with a professional regularly. Your emotions can turn off. It can do the same to positive feelings too. Even when you find the “right” medication and dosage, that can change over a lifetime as your body changes/ages.

  8. Does anyone remember what Ben’s editor says to him on a regular basis, this is white noise to Ben. At least he’s not being told what a worthless liar he is.

  9. I have this sudden weird suspicion that Ben could hack Mesmer to death with a machete with that same blank expression on his face.

  10. Mesmer, I think is a sincerist. I think he became one just so he could get the shocked reactions from people like Flannery.

    1. I think he just does it for fun. If lying or stretching the truth would make a person more angry than telling the truth would, he’d probably lie.

  11. There’s a line in this conversation, and right now Mesmer is dancing right on top of it.

    Ben’s line, that is. I think he crossed Flannery’s line about five pages ago.

  12. Holy snot, I completely did not even notice the differences in shading. I thought you were trying something different with the perspectives, and just couldn’t see it myself. I had to squint really close to the screen and flip between this and the last page to realize you were shading differently. I feel completely blind and dumb now.

    I need glasses again.

  13. The bold lines are nice, but I think I enjoyed the other way a bit more.
    Mesmer is trying his hardest to get a rise out of Ben. I’m thinking the meds have a bit to do with the blank face, but he’s just one of those people who deals with it, until they go postal…maybe.

  14. In a super surreal… something, my mother (a Korean girl and Korean war orphan, about six) was adopted by a German family in Wisconsin. Back then, she was the only non-white kid (small town), so apparently some people questioned her parents’ judgment for adopting her.

    She spoke nothing but Korean when she was adopted, and there were a couple taped recordings of her speaking it (gone long before I was born), but she doesn’t remember a word of it because she lost it as she learned English. I’m half Korean, and–thanks to some short-lived Korean lessons in middle school–I now speak more Korean than she does.

    Reading about Ben’s family always makes me think a little bit of her in that respect.

  15. So Ben is giving me that I-am-six-seconds-away-from-stabbing-Mesmer-in-the-eye-with-a-pencil vibe. And, personally, I am all for it.

  16. I think I get it. He’s probing for weaknesses. I doubt he’ll get much on the adoption or racial angles. Maybe once he moves on to sexuality or mental health?

    I’m beginning to suspect Mesmer’s a grade-A tool.

    1. Mesmer isn’t a tool, if only because tools are actually good for something at some point.

      Mesmer’s only purpose seems to be acting as a bookmark in spacetime, holding a spot for someone who actually does something, but hasn’t shown up yet.

  17. C’mon Mesmer, if you’re mixed race yourself then you KNOW the shit people would’ve said to Ben. I ought to know, people still get all confused when my mom says I’m her daughter.

  18. Being brought up in a commune in the middle of nowhere probably has a weird affect on your social skills.
    On the other hand, sometimes you just wanna find out where someone’s limits are. It’s fun and educational!

  19. I really like Mesmer in this scene — he’s saying things that would petrify me with collateral awkwardness if I were actually there, but he’s doing so with such charm and straightforwardness that it can’t help but rebound to his benefit. Look at his face! How can you even momentarily resent someone with that expression?

    Apropos. Is anyone else a bit put off by how involved in this conversation Flannery seems to want to be? How offended she appears on Ben’s behalf? Maybe this is naive of me, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s her place to react that way. This is Ben’s business.

    1. Have you ever seen Neon Genesis Evangelion? There was one character in that story, one of the technicians if i recall, who’s reactions always seemed to be a bit too…conventional. Almost as if that character was reacting the same way most people would in specific scenarios…

      I’m not sure if that’s an actual technique in writing, but I’ve seen this type of thing before. It adds to the “realism” of a situation, usually of the variety that would illicit a reaction of disgust or surprise. Think of it as the writer saying to the reader, “Yes, this is actually happening.”

      …least that’s how i interpret this scene!

      1. Yeah that’s a technique in writing. They put a character in the story that represents the audience and has the same reactions the audience is supposed to have.

    2. Actually if Ben was someone I knew and liked, and who I also knew to be not very good at standing up for himself, I’d react just like Flannery too. Except by now I’d probably have hit Mesmer with the first heavy object at hand. XD

    3. I guess Flannery┬┤s reaction is cause by envy and fear: she obviously has some issues herself and fears the moment Mesmer might start attacking her… but then she wishes he would. How long have they been coworkers and Mesmer did not pay that much attention to her as he pays now Ben? And why Ben, who pretends to be just normal, while she care about style and attitude, trying to stand out as a flapper girl?

  20. I gotta hand it to Ben, he’s done quite well! Even with his social awkwardness and child-like naivety, Ben seems to have a sixth sense for dealing with situations that would seem difficult to most…

    1. Actually I think that since Ben’s never learned to stand up for himself, and because obviously his issues with his past are worse than he’d want anyone to know, Mesmer’s words pretty much go through him without a trace.

      (Not saying Ben’s unintelligent, just that he’s a wuss. :-P)

  21. If I were Ben I wouldn’t be pissed that Mesmer was saying this shit – I’d be pissed that he basically used me to get at Flannery.

    The whole conversation’s about Mesmer picking on Flannery, not Ben.

    1. Yeah but he’ll go even further into the art of being an ass, best just to shake off his comments like a bad case of the fleas.

  22. I have known kids like this, I always figured it was a kind of autism or aspergers thing, a kind of inability to perceive the unspoken social boundaries the rest of us live within. They too would dress oddly and make acute observations without recognising the emotional effect it would have. Great people to hang around, if you like fun times and don’t mind being frequently reminded of your flaws. :-)

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