Mild Mannered: Issue #11

"OMG! Your OC is so mysterious!"

The words on the screen seemed to burn into the back of my retinas. All I could do was stare at the comment on my art submission, but I need to respond to them. Something to encourage people to keep voting for my art.

It had been a week since my little heart to heart with Kara. Since then, she hadn’t spoken to me much. I dunno if she’s mad at me, embarrassed for herself, or what, but I know she’s right. I have a chance here, and I can’t waste it.

"Thank you so much! I'm really happy with how he came out!"

Is that it? That the magic response? Ugh, I hadn’t been able to come up with anything better, so what the heck. I post the reply and a feeling of calm comes over me.

I don’t know why I get so nervous and try to think of the perfect comment, when they all end up inane like that. People seem to really enjoy them so, I keep doing it. I think it’s helping. The save function during this part of the contest doesn’t directly correlate to votes for my art, but it’s a pretty good indicator. And if it’s accurate, I’ll rank pretty high in this contest. However, if it’ll be enough to move on to the next stage is something I’m still not sure about.

Michael convinced me to not change out my poses, but to get feedback from commenters to try and cater to them in the next stage. Additionally, he says interacting with them will build community and make some users loyal.

"Man, your comic shop has gotta feel lucky to have you!"
"If you're ever in town, you need to check out Multiveristy! It's a great local comic shop!"

He also guilted me into promoting his shop while I was at it.

The voting period had begun, and I only had a few more days to try and squeeze some votes out of this. Tobias hadn’t mentioned me again, but he did bring up two more relatively unknown artists. Apparently, he’s really particular about how he wins contests. An unexpected effect of this is I now judged my self-worth by how my entry was doing compared to those two.

The first called YourOwnPersonaJoker, had a more anime style, with several poses wielding a sword. It was flashy and cool, but honestly, a little overdone. And I don’t just think it would match the style Fantastik Comics is looking for. Still, it’s very popular.

The second is done by DrAnnihilation is more interesting. His different poses also cycle between different styles with his inking and coloring showing off the bright colors and dark shadows of the Bronze age of comics in one pose, the realism of the early Dark Age comics in another, and the flatter, more artistic style of some modern comics in another. I want to think that his different styles would mean it’d be hard to make a name for himself, but very good artists can change up their style and keep their audience.

The fact that he’s beating me in number of saves of his entry doesn’t help either.

Downstairs, the front door opens and closes. It was Kara returning from her second shift today. It’s not the worst thing in the world that she has to earn her own way, but I think it was how abrupt her mother cut her off. I think she thought she had more time to figure out what she was going to do with her life. There’s a small part of me that feels a little vindicated in how hard I’ve worked, but that part is overwhelmed with the rest of me worrying about my friend.

I can’t help but wonder if her taking me shopping last month was about living vicariously through me.

The fridge opens downstairs, and for once I don’t hear it immediately close. I went ahead and finally bought groceries, including some frozen meals she really likes. She’d get mad if I told her I bought them for her, so hopefully she gets the idea and eats them without me saying anything. There’s another sound of the door closing and the beeps of the microwave. Success!

I head downstairs, pretending I wasn’t just listening to what she was doing.

“Oh, hey Kara! How was work?”

She shoots me a dirty look that makes me freeze in place.

“I don’t want your charity.”

“Um, I guess I’ll void that check I was planning to donate to Kara Cross?”

The microwave beeps, letting Kara know her food is done.

“You know what I mean.” She pulls it out, the smell of melted cheese and pasta hitting my nose.

I sigh, guessing she might have reacted this way.

“I bought groceries. So sue me.”

She turns around, having a bit of the pasta on a fork, holding it out to me. I take a blink and then bite it off the utensil.

She gives a smile and says, “I just might.”


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