When I was writing the script, my boys laughed when I read them this page.
I hope it came out just as funny. I love the relationship between these two characters…
I don’t normally comment; I’m one of the thousands of silent lurkers who just click on the bookmark for this page and enjoy this webcomic. However, I have to address something very important about this whole scene, with Nastajia rescuing herself:
Please, please keep her the strong, confident, tough, self-rescuing female she is.
Please, please, please don’t turn her into a helpless damsel in distress who can only be saved by a guy. I don’t mind if she’s in danger (great stories include risks and threats, after all), but just don’t make her “helpless without a man” in the final hour. (I’m pretty sure you won’t do that to her, but the fear is still there.) We don’t do that to heroes, so we shouldn’t do it to heroines, either.
A lot of females, from young girls up through women into their 40s (me) and beyond, read and enjoy this webcomic epic. There are a lot of things going on out in the real world right now that keep trying to turn women into helpless prisoners, metaphorical and otherwise. Being able to come here to The Dreamland Chronicles, to see Nastajia rescuing herself, is exactly the thing I want to see, and exactly the sort of self-rescue young girls need to see. Those young ladies need to know that, like the Elven Princess, they can use their own wits and strengths to get themselves out of dangerous situations.
She truly is a wonderful role model throughout this whole scene. I’m not sure if you intended it that way (and I hope it was indeed a natural choice, without needing any extra thought), but that’s how she comes across. I thank you for portraying her the way she (any female, really) is perfectly capable of being. This is the way everyone should be, male and female, young and old, human and elven and whatever-else-is-in-Dreamland, which is the place we draw our inspirations from for making changes in the real world. We all have inner strengths, and we can all escape our nightmares and head for safer ground. We can all be part of the solution, and not just a victim of the problem.
So thank you for showing Nastajia’s strengths even in the face of grave danger, adversity, and hardship. Here’s hoping she keeps kicking bony skeletal pelvis on her way to help Alexander.
First of all… thank you for de-lurking so I can say “Hi” and “Thank you for Reading!”
Secondly. I never started out with the intention to have a “strong female role model” when I began 10 years ago on The Dreamland Chronicles. It wasn’t by design.
But being that I modeled my story after several books, comics, and movies of my childhood (from Little Nemo in Slumberland to The Neverending Story to The Princess of Mars), I was fortunate to have chosen Deja Thoris (from the Princess of Mars series … or John Carter of Mars as Disney named the movie) that I read in high school.
Deja Thoris was a warrior and a princess. And while she was the “damsel in distress” on so many occasions in the series… she “fought as well as any man” according to John Carter.
So, what started out as a simple homage to one of my favorite books (Alexander and Daniel’s last name are also “Carter”) soon became something more.
Why? Because of letters from readers such as yourself. Emails. Comments. Hugs from fans at cons. Actual letters in the mail from moms thanking me for having a strong female lead for their daughters. Readers like yourself who encouraged me to push her. To keep her strong.
I’m just a guy who decided to write a story for his (at the time unborn) twin boys. I mashed some of my favorite stories together and jumped in with no idea what it would become.
But I know now how important this is. And I can assure you that Nastajia and Alexander will ALWAYS stand as equals. Just as Nastajia came to Alexander’s rescue with Nicodemus, Alex will go to rescue Nastajia. And back and forth as partners do. As equals do.
Because that is who they are. Equals.
Thanks to readers such as yourself for helping me understand how important that is to women young and old. Something I would have never discovered on my own.
So, again, thank you. And I hope you decide to comment some more from time to time.
And that’s precisely why I decided to share your comic with my cousin’s 7 year old daughter. Which reminds me…I need to get Book 6 to send to her. I can’t believe I forgot! Are you still doing sketches and signing in books that people order?
Of course I am!
hmm. well i was ‘seriously’ underwhelmed with your use of the badly abused MEME “seriously”. this has been a constant annoyance for the last 5-10 years, and i know it will disappear from use completely thanks to a wiser, less stupid society. at that point, this will look like a throwback to a meme that was pretty lame even then (now) and it takes away from the universal nature of the story. EDIT IT OUT, beyond a doubt. but if you wrote the dreamland chronicles primarily for YOUR kids and your kids liked it…then that’s another story.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
I had no idea anyone thought this was a “meme”.
Just seemed like a funny moment.
Though I had actually written it as “A rock? Really?”
But thought last minute (aka 2 hours ago when I put the page together) to change it to seriously.
the sarcastic use of Really? is as bad of a meme as Seriously?
they are one in the same in their evil-ness. and yes, people find it heinously grating – and you like, not being a teenager or anything, like, you MUST remember a time before people were doing that all the time, you know? so yes, it is a meme. it usually comes off to me like whining, too. who needs more whining. horrible. remember when people used to say ‘like’ and ‘you know’ all the time. yes – it is the same – only way more whiny.
You are annoying. Capital-grade annoying.
You whine about grammar when your own is atrocious.
You complain about harmless turns of phrase despite throwing out some of the worst yourself.
And here you are whining about whining.
Your hypocrisy is atrocious.
I compel you to leave this comic and never befoul it with your presence again.
Seriously? Do you really meme it?
I suppose if you had the associated “rage face” of the meme stuck in place of Nick’s actual head, your concern might be justified. But in ordinary comic text, I see this as plain, old, timeless banter that’s rooted in cynical use of the word far before the internet photoshopped a face onto it. In fact, I didn’t even have any idea what you were talking about. I had to google search “seriously meme,” after which it finally clicked, “OH! You mean THAT guy.”
I think that when society wears out the rage faces (personally, I’m there already), today’s comic will still be timeless and funny. It will be a long time before sarcasm and cynicism are bled from the English language.
I can’t help but be annoyed at anyone in this day and age who sees memes in EVERYTHING. Can’t “seriously? a rock” just be that…Nic disbelieving that Alex would pick up a rock against a dragon. Gah, people need to stop seeing memes everywhere, especially when I seriously doubt that Scott meant to be a ref to it.
I thought it was perfect… and it gives an interesting side to Nic we havn’t really seen before. I will, however, start using “Seriously? A rock?” as a meme… Probably in some obscure connection to bugs life too…..
Urrr, what “Princess of Mars” did you read that lists Dejah Thoris as a “warrior”. Lots of great character traits potential (duty, honor, courage, fidelity, fortitude, etc., etc., etc.), but Dejah Thoris, Warrior Princess is way, way out of bounds for the genre…unless it is based off some of the public domain ripoffs and fanfics. In fact, Dejah Thoris, Warrior Princess and Dejah Thoris, Super Scientist are the two more glaring issues with the movie and the second is more supportable. Doesn’t mean she couldn’t use a sword or even use it well, but means she fits in with the culture and the real world limits of a female physique.
I fully agree with these sentiments, and I’m so glad you want to keep them peers. I seriously loved that Nastajia was able to rescue herself in this sequence, but I think by the same token making Nastajia always rescue Alexander and never needing or accepting help would definitely be a mistake of another sort.
I read a really interesting article on this subject recently, and I think it contained a good point; what often is the problem with trying to make female character superficially ‘strong’ is many creators give them weapons or make them tough and gruff, but at the end of the day, the male character makes all the decisions, plots all the plans, and the ‘empowered’ woman still ends up basically a subservient if useful tool, because she has no control over her path. It’s a pitfall I think you’ve managed to avoid, which is great. : )
So yeah, I personally am totally in support of them rescuing each other back and forth as situation demands, and as long as Nastajia continues to show that she is master of her own destiny even when being captured or rescued, then I couldn’t ask for more.
Woah, I’m not sure how, but I was trying to reply to the female role model conversation… is this appearing in the right place?
Hee. From the way things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me if Nastajia is the one who rescues Alex
No, i think they find each other, after searching for a long time. Do you know the story of David and the giant Goliath? That was a smaller rock, but Goliath did not survive
This post was well-written, and it lifts up a number of ways in how Nastajia’s character is an inspiration to gender struggles in today’s society. But I have to admit that when I read this, I thought to myself, “Aww.. but I WANT Alex to rescue the damsel in distress at the end.” So I’m going to indulge my male perspective on this for just a moment, and I hope no one misconstrues this as criticism of the original post (most of which I agree with); it’s simply an evaluation of my own feelings.
A part of my feelings on the “damsel in distress” cliche is simply the desire to re-experience the nostalgic themes that bring out the child in me. Wield the magic sword. Slay the dragon. Rescue the princess. No matter how much time has passed, seeing these plots in action still make me giddy. I have loved this in books, movies, video games, and anywhere else these themes appeared. I particularly remember watching the end of Shrek 2, as a humanized Shrek charged through the castle to rescue his princess while “I Need a Hero” was sung in the background–and as a 30+ year old man, I was still bouncing on the sofa, clapping my hands excitedly, squealing like a girl, and basically causing my wife to roll her eyes.
I also suspect part of it is simply chemical–the way our brains and bodies are wired. I don’t consider myself a typical male; I don’t lift weights, I don’t watch sports, I don’t shoot guns, among many other things commonly associated as “manly” activities. But when I dream about rescuing the princess from the top of the tower, I experience the biggest testosterone rush ever. I’m ready to punch dragons in the face, run up the stairs two-at-a-time, sweep the princess into my arms, and swing out the window on a vine while the tower explodes dramatically behind me. Yeah.
I guess my point is that if Alex DOESN’T have a major hero moment to rescue Nastajia somewhere in this story arc, I’ll feel as if this fantasy has lost something substantial. At least to me, personally. But I would argue that other boys reading this comic need positive male role models just as girls need female role models. Our society needs men willing to fight for love and for family, who put others before themselves, who don’t give up just because things get difficult, and who feel a calling to fulfill a grand purpose in life. Up until a few chapters ago, Alex did not really fulfill that role well, but I have enjoyed watching him slowly mature into it.
With that being said, I don’t believe your point and my point are mutually exclusive. Nastajia has certainly kicked butt throughout this strip, and I enjoyed watching her dramatically announce her resolve in the last few strips. I also think putting her into a “distress” situation for Alex would take little away from her strong character; I’m pretty sure she’d be strong-willed and defiant till the end. We all encounter struggles greater than what one person can handle alone, but as creatures of community, we can take turns helping and relying on our loved ones to overcome anything. So if I can see even just one chapter of Alex in his hero moment, fighting against all odds to rescue his princess and succeeding, then I won’t even care if Nastajia follows it up by ripping Nick’s head right off with her bare hands. I’ll be happy.
I should have just read chocobochicken’s comment before posting mine. He said it more eloquently than I did.
I think Alex fits your description well. He would do anything for Nastajia as well as sacrifice himself for others because it’s the right thing to do.
Aw gee, I loved the end of Shrek 2 too– and I agree the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. (Nastajia being a legitimately strong female lead, and there being a situation where she is captured in some tower and needs her knight and shining armor to come to her aid that is)
I think ultimately it’s not the act of a man rescuing a woman that is negative, it’s the tenancy for the woman to be reduced to an inert prize with zero effect on what happens. It would be just as annoying if say, Alex always rescued Dan and Dan never got to use his smarts or bravery to help but just said ‘wow you saved me Alex!’ it just tends to happen way more to women. And, yeah, I don’t see Nastajia ever being that. If she realizes Alex is coming she’ll give her all to do whatever she can to help, and once he sweeps in and valiantly frees her I’m sure she’ll contribute from that point too.
And I also agree like you said that Alex is really growing into this role…in a way looking at their two characters, you’d almost expect Nastajia to be doing all the rescuing so far and being strong. As long as it doesn’t translate into her ‘retiring to kids and kitchen’ or whatever then I am all for Alex growing into a man that she can count on to have her back and rescue her spectacularly too when she needs it.
“Please, please, please don’t turn her into a helpless damsel in distress who can only be saved by a guy.”
A little late for that, don’t you think? ;o)
Having said that, there could be an error made the other direction. If she is made a caricature of the “self-rescuing female” that never needs a guy, why would that be any better than a damsel in distress that can only be rescued by a guy?
I would suggest that – regardless of who is rescued *last* in the story – Scott has pegged these two as wonderfully dependent on the other to help them in time of need.
I missed the page where you complained when Alex had to be rescued by Nastajia… (My point is simply that when she has already showed the strength to rescue him when needed, that strength is in no way diminished if at some point she too needs to be rescued.)
I re-read my comment and realized it was not as clear as I would have liked. The second sentence should have read: “A little late for her to be that, don’t you think?”
Agreed. They’re both very strong. But we all need rescuing sometimes.
yes. yes it did
Nick has obviously never heard of Samson and Goliath
You mean David. Samson was Delilah and perhaps a donkey’s jawbone.
Now all he needs is paper and scissors….
You forgot “Lizard, Spock…..”
“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.”
needs another panel with alex retorting “Well, you stole my sword!” XD.
Nick ‘Do you really think you can kill me with a rock? Hahaha!’
Alex ‘You do forget something: It’s the nightmare realm’
I’m just glad Nic’s line wasn’t, “A rock? Surely you can’t be serious!”
“I am serious. And Don’t Call Me Shirley.”
I picked a bad time to stop … oh yeah this needs to be kid friendly
Well, Nick, there are not a lot of options. I don’t think harsh language would work. Besides, it is an all ages comic.
David took down Goliath with a rock. Dinobot beat the energon out of Megatron with a rock and a stick. Do not underestimate the power of a rock to the face.
What happened to Alex’s sword? Was it taken by the monsters?
It’s been so long since we last saw them, I can’t remember.
Look to Nick’s left hand…
so nick does have it?
i’m pretty sure daniel has it – niviene handed it to him through the water, on earth.
Different sword, that was excalibur i think.
Niviene handed Daniel Excalibur, Arthur’s sword. Not the sword of kings. When we last saw Alex, one of the nightmare realm creatures had stolen his sword. Nicodemus smashed that creature and took the sword. So Nick has it.
thanks for the recap – that helped!
I’m hoping for Alex to go “Dude! What’s your problem?” to Nic. (Or has he already and I’ve forgotten about it?)
Alex: “We face each other as God intended… sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.”
Nick: You mean, you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword and we’ll try and kill each other like civilized people?”
Hahah! Great comment!
Chuck it down his throat!
Finally Nicodemus says something snarky enough to be worthy of his Deadpool speech bubbles!
ha! Glad to see people in the comments still remember the Princess Bride connection.
Also, I have to admit… I certainly did chuckle. Looking forward to seeing more as I have been for almost seven years.
I’m de-lurking as well. Thank you so much for all the effort, time and energy that you have put into this comic. Its awesome.
When I read this page just one thing came to mind-
“Hey, it worked for David.”
One does not simply ROCK into the Nightmare Realm!
Worked for William Wallace too, at least in Mel Gibson’s fanfiction.
Don’t knock the rock.
ha! one of the first things you learn in martial arts or self defence is that anything can be a weapon! (actually one of our lessons was “name anything you can use as a weapon here in this room” we didn’t even come close that time :)).
And Go! Nastajia, show them what stuff an Elf Princess is made of!
I’d love a reference to one cool western (well, and something out of good old bible) I do really like:
Nick: I am going to smite you to smithereens, you pathetic mongrel of an abhorrent human …
Alex, flicking the rock out of the wrist and hitting that blabbering dragon squarely between the eyes thus putting him out, says with a satisfied snort: “if you want to kill, kill, don’t talk.”
That’d be summad really cool – but then, it’s Scotts story. ^^
Rock is overpowered and needs a nerf. Paper is fine though.
lol! yeah, seriously, a rock alex? come on, you can do better then that.
I love this page!!! So many possibilities for the next one…
Alex: No, Nicodemus, THE Rock!!!!! If ya smeeeeeeelllllllll…
Nic: Don’t. Please, just… don’t.
Alex: Sorry. >_<
I know that Scott has already scripted this but I have to upvote the idea of Alex saying “It worked for King David.” I believe David is a canonical king of Dreamland. I know Solomon is. I think David is. That would totally get Nicodemus’ attention I think.
As for the rest, I’m getting the feeling here that ol’ Nic is not here to fight Alex. I’d rather not speculate, since there are so many ways he could be wanting to not fight Alex, but the way he’s talking and walking suggests to me that he’s trying to scare Alex, and is waiting to see Alex’s response before doing what he’s really here for. What that is is probably very important to the story.
“Nikodemus, one shall stand, one shall fall.”
“Why throw away your life so easily, Alexander?”
“That’s a question you should ask yourself, Nikodemus!”
All this great banter, and I am the poor smuck who has to point out: His scar is on both eyes now, because that’s his right side – not his left showing. Strange, since the models should be persistent in the creation. – unless you guys recreate the models every time. (that’d be hard on the poor modelers.) Funny, but hard on them.
No. It’s always been his right eye.
Regarding Nastajia’s strength and not needing rescuing: She is a warrior and was raised to be a warrior. She shouldn’t need much rescuing, though as I said above, we ALL need rescuing at some time or another. She and Alex compliment each other and have both come to the other’s aid throughout this comic. I think it just doesn’t enter Nastajia’s head that she should wait for someone to save her. She probably has always been taught that you have to respond to adversity as if no one is coming to help you.
That said, not all of us are warriors! There are plenty of people in distress in this story for our heroes to rescue. I like Scott’s strong women. We’ve already seen strong men all throughout history. Nastajia just helps equal out the imbalance. Women have always been strong and it’s nice to see it emphasized.
Now if I can only use this rock to hit the button behind the Rancor and make the door crush him. “Use the Force, Luke!”
That comment of Nic, sounds as bad as Professor Snapes: ‘Pity’…
If there would come a movie of the Dreamland Chronicles, I ‘seriously’ would love to hear Alan Rickman doing the voice of Nic…
You and me both. He’s at the top of my list.
Yeah! A rock??? Perhaps the powers of the Nightmare Realm would turn that rock into some sort of explosive device?
I see Alex throwing the rock at the sword, knocking it away from Nic. Sort of like the Lone Ranger shooting the gun out of gunfighter’s hand.
“What? With your bare hands?”
“Congratulations! You have vanquished a dragon with your bare hands!”
– Original Adventure, 197x
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