I went out on a bit of a limb with this page, so I trust we can all be mature about this.  But every other way I drew this scene just felt like a cop-out against how I originally imagined it, and, well, here we are, then.  I don’t know what it is, but this page was just really hard for me to force myself to draw.  And I’ve drawn from live nude models, and already in this comic I’ve dealt with drawing lots of things that are far more serious than this.  But still, it’s a first for me.  And taken with the next page, as a couplet, it’s really the only way to make the scene make sense.  In my mind anyway.  So let the snickering and snide remarks commence!

Just kidding.  I already KNOW that you are all very serious and take me very seriously, so, my own inhibitions aside, I know you’ll all take this the right way.  I just couldn’t stand to have one of those scenes with the “fig leaf” though.  It felt so ingenuine, when, as a friend told me when I consulted him on the subject, “Man, you showed her without a face.”  So I mean, fair enough.

Anyhow, about last week.  I landed quite a bit of what my friend Richard would call “conTRAWversy” by leaving those pages of Russian dialogue untranslated.  I had no idea, quite literally NO idea, that there was a segment of the readership that so deeply resented my doing that.  And they took last week as an opportunity to voice their disapproval, in a polite but still rather insensitive way.  However, I also received an enormous amount of support, far outweighing the negative comments (almost 10 to 1 as a matter of fact, comments and emails taken together).  So to all of YOU, thank you!  It validates my efforts, and those of Hilvon, the gentleman in Russia whose collaboration has made the Russian dialogue possible.  In the future, I will probably do a similar thing to what I did last week, and make the subtitles available, but away from the main page.  It will be a matter of discretion, though, whether or not they represent “giving too much away.”  I don’t want to do that, you see.  It’s part of the pain and suffering of a long-form comic that I have deeply-laid plans that I don’t want to ruin by revealing too much too soon.

At any rate, here we are then.  I am glad so many of you stuck by me last week.  Controversy aside, this chapter has been my most successful so far, artistically, and so I’m glad you can all enjoy it on its own merits.  So, until next week, I’m off to the deep sleep, to dream of drawing the next page!  All the best!