MONDAY AND FRIDAY BY JOE ENGLAND

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Tales of the Wooden Castle
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COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR

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25th Nov 2021, 7:16 AM

Joe England

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you have a lot of prosperity, and friends to share it with.

You might be able to tell that I originally wanted to post this on Halloween to sort of bookend this series, but it wasn't anywhere close to being done in time. And Thanksgiving might be a more appropriate occasion, anyway, since it concerns family.

These last few pages were inspired by a conversation I had with my sister back in March. I asked her what she thought of the comic where Zandra's walking with Doyenne. I'm always worried that I tend to over-sexualize women in this comic, and Sarah remarked that Zandra seemed especially buxom, and very much constructed under a male gaze.

My sister has two wonderful little girls, and I want for them to be able to enjoy my work someday. Objectifying women is an issue that I don't want to exacerbate. I like to think that my writing outshines my dirty old man proclivity for drawing curvy figures, so it's disappointing when that's the first thing that springs to mind when someone sees my work. But what can I expect?

The conversation led to this little arc, which I think wraps up this series very well. I wanted for Zandra to demonstrate a positive message, that idealized images of beauty and power are subjective, and ultimately ephemeral compared with the value of self-worth. Something along those lines. I hope it works.

At any rate, this is the last original comic that will be collected in the Omnibus (yes, I am still making that), and possibly the last of these "Tales of the Wooden Castle" vignettes. But what blooms? The Curse of Clarity! A potential sequel to Zebra Girl, along with another concept which I'm currently developing, and which I'll advertise soon. I have no time frame for when these projects will get off the ground, or which will take precedence, but stay tuned.

Of course, it’s daunting to consider starting another grind like Zebra Girl, and I’ll have to find healthier ways to go at it now that I have the brittle bones and back of an elderly cartoonist. I’m hoping to learn how to draw digitally (like every other cartoonist in the 21st century). Maybe a tablet will be easier on these withered joints. Better for the environment, anyway. I’ve murdered enough trees for my career.

So wish me luck, and I’ll wish you luck right back. I hope you have a healthy, happy season ahead for you and your loved ones. Take care, and thanks so much for being you!

- Joe

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COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

25th Nov 2021, 11:15 AM

Otter

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view Joe England's profile

8th Dec 2021, 10:40 AM

Joe England

Thanks, Otter!

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25th Nov 2021, 2:43 PM

Zikar

You shouldn't ever feel guilty for drawing characters you find attractive.

Too many people want to take what they like in art and say that their likes are morally superior, or that what you like does some kind of vague harm to people.

Don't listen to them. Create the story you want to create with the characters you want to write. If that means making them big boobed and curvy then there is no harm in that.

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25th Nov 2021, 7:18 PM

Kaetenay

Neither Zandra nor Doyenne are especially busty by real-life standards.

Imagine what a real woman feels like when she hears that an artist would only draw someone who looks like her because he's a "dirty old man".

An example:
https://www.reddit.com/r/bigboobproblems/comments/2cglmy/something_that_annoys_me_about_video_games/

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view Joe England's profile

1st Apr 2022, 12:07 AM

Joe England

You may have a point!

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26th Nov 2021, 4:34 AM

Morfos

Are ypu familiar with Empowered?

Linking the beginning of the most recent chapter because it gives an idea of both story and drawing style:

https://www.empoweredcomic.com/comic/volume-9-page-5

Short form: She's a blonde with a full-body supersuit that gives her super strength and energy weapons. But said suit is rather similar to mylar in terms of concealment and tensile strength, and it tends to catch on rough edges of things and tear easily. The more it tears, the weaker she gets. If she doesn't subdue bad guys relatively quickly, she routinely gets hogtied and ballgagged.

I read it for the story, of course.

Aside from everyone's boobs suddenly getting bigger, I've never thought of your comic as objectifying. It shouldn't take much effort to find examples out there that support this opinion.

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26th Nov 2021, 8:42 PM

Blake

Luck to you, Joe. It always brings me a deep feeling of warm contentment to see their story continue to live on.

Can't wait to hear about your new projects. Best of luck finding balance. It's an eternal struggle.

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view Joe England's profile

8th Dec 2021, 10:41 AM

Joe England

Aw, thanks, Blake! Hearing that always makes the struggle easier.

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27th Nov 2021, 1:19 AM

Nobody of Import

As always...incredible... It's good to come back and visit the world these characters inhabit, at least one more time. Take your time...I'd rather have them come slowly at the pace you can keep up with than naught at all. A display digitizer may be a good bet to help with things. It'll take some getting used to, though.

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view Joe England's profile

8th Dec 2021, 10:42 AM

Joe England

Well, I might look into that!

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view euphewl's profile

27th Nov 2021, 7:21 AM

euphewl

Joe, you take my breath away. Your work is SO good. And by work - I mean your drawing style is my favorite of all the comics I read - by far. Buxomness and all. Your storylines and character development, though, pushes your work far past "good" and into the awesomesphere - which, in case you weren't aware, is some distance above the stratosphere.

When I see you've published something new, I don't look at it until I can have several quiet moments to myself, to read, re-read, and pour over the artwork. Every posting is a delicious gift I savor. I suppose it's an artist's curse to forever see - in the process of self-improvement - the things that he or she thinks must improve. But I've read from the beginning, and I have watched your storytelling, art, and your own self-awareness evolve, and all of that is beautiful too! And it's all wrapped up in the details of everything you produce.

There is nothing truly perfect in this world, Joe. But every time you put out a new piece, you gift me a perfect moment in my world, where I relish every speech bubble squiggle, shadow, character moment, and chapter. Thank you Joe.

Luck.

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view Joe England's profile

2nd Dec 2021, 7:03 AM

Joe England

You take my breath away too, Euphewl. Hearing from you, knowing you feel that way about my work, things like that are what creates perfect moments for me. Thanks so much, again, for being here, and for saying so. I wish you all the luck in the world right back!

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28th Nov 2021, 12:49 PM

EcchiKitty

Admit I'm hardly the best judge, but I've always felt that while your comic had sexualized characters, it wasn't about the sexualization, and acknowledged the sexualization.
Okay, character has big boobs. Why? What does that affect? You haven't glossed over the bigger picture. And while that may not be for everyone, no art is.

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view CyberSkull's profile

28th Nov 2021, 5:10 PM

CyberSkull

Just too cute at the end!

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9th Dec 2021, 11:15 PM

Bullman

Hmmmmm. Commented before a few times, looong time reader. Love to have seen your comic from almost the time it started. I think that it was just before the Jen arc i started. Massively Influential, found it the same time i started exploring furry and gay stuff, and it has been great to develop alongside it. As for your comments about the male gaze in drawing your comics, i think you are on the path to a decision one way or the other. The work as a whole is a mirror of the self, as are many of the personal projects we artists produce. Jack in particular seems to be something of a mirror to you. The whole mini arc where you made the ladies more voluptuous seems to be something of a personal struggle. You could have left it out entirely without changing the plot much, yet it was left in. Why? Are Jack's words your words? Is he speaking for you? I think you are coming to terms with what you want to draw, truly and personally, being held up to the light of day. I think that the mere acknowledgement of the issue is a good start. You can't NOT draw something you want to without killing the spark somewhat, but keeping the spark while knowing you very well may start an inferno with it is already the step in the right direction towards forging something new and beautiful with it. Based on what Jack said when called out on it, it is clear you already have some idea of what exactly you want. You've been moving forward all along. Make the characters as truly beautiful as you want the world to be and as they too want it to be and want to be. This comic has always been about dealing with the self and accepting the good and the bad and using it to grow. It is very resonate with my life in that aspect. And as Jack is a mirror to you so is Doyenne. She is growing in youth and beauty in acknowledgement of her own shortcomings of her early days rather than denying them and having Zandra take it back. Even after that flash of her old self. Whether or not she chooses to embrace mortality, it feels like when the time comes to make that choice, her heart will be in the right place. Yours is too. Of all your characters i think i love the development of Doyenne the best, especially as unflinchingly raw and honest that look is. She's got this, you got this, even if there is some distance to go. Keep on rocking it! Clarity always comes after the experience, it is up to us whether it ends up blessing or curse.

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10th Dec 2021, 8:54 PM

Goliath

Just finished a reread. One of my favourite webcomics. Looking forward to getting the omnibus and whatever you decide to do next.

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12th Dec 2021, 10:36 PM

Joe England

Thanks, Goliath! I'll try not to keep you waiting too long!

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11th Dec 2021, 4:47 AM

AkodoRokku

I'm still very curious about where Clarity came from. I kind of assume she's a descendant of Crystal, and that all this is a couple centuries down the road from the end of Zebra Girl. Perhaps we will see someday.

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view Joe England's profile

12th Dec 2021, 10:36 PM

Joe England

And I would like to show you!

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