June 28th, 2016

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Syconium page #71:

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53 . by: November 9, 2017, 5:37 am

so in browsing back a little, I THINK that while XX IS having sex with Battery, the other stoat you see on this page having their way with young XX is Mind Fig/Estrus.
52 . by: July 7, 2016, 4:36 am

@kuu No need to make it weird, people just want a prior warning when there's extreme content in stories like this. It's just a few words at the top that help a lot of people out.
51 . by: kuu July 5, 2016, 6:12 am

hopefully the ratings will be good enough for the SJWs. we don't need Zack having to give in with "trigger warning, animal raciest slurs"
50 . by: Furrama June 30, 2016, 2:41 pm

I applaud the new ratings, they're probably needed at this point, and it was interesting to go back and see what story got what rating and why.

(Pfffft, Solar System, Extreme Complexity... yeaaaaaahhh....)
49 . by: kuu June 30, 2016, 5:47 am

this is the day and age of content and trigger notes and warnings. which is not namby panby sensitivity. although it is to me when people want "trigger warning, fatphobia/ableistic langauge/sad things"

it's better this way now then to have Zack be hounded for real and be blasted all over the internet for being biased and insensitive
48 . by: Mutt June 30, 2016, 4:14 am

Wow, Zack really got on that content warning. Good looking out, man. Though the themes don't affect me the way it does to some others, I can still appreciate the fact that you pay attention to what your readers are saying.
47 . by: June 30, 2016, 12:39 am

Looks like Zack put up a rating for it.

Boy, I knew it was going down a pretty dark road once xx got trapped in the brothel, but I didn't know it was going to be that dark. I just wonder how she's going to be after this...
46 . by: June 29, 2016, 5:18 pm

43- not necessarily. I follow two other comics that feature violence that post warnings for anything that's particularly violent. Nobody skipped those pages as far as I could tell, but they at least knew ahead of time that there would be depictions that were graphic even for that comic.
45 . by: Witticaster June 29, 2016, 4:53 pm

I feel like the "About" section would be a perfect place for content ratings. It already has a summary of the genre, so a quick summary of the violence level like 43 proposed would fit right in.
44 . by: June 29, 2016, 3:53 pm

Didn't nofna used to have some sort of rating listed, maybe at the bottom where it shows the update schedule? I feel like it did at some point but I could be remembering incorrectly.
43 . by: June 29, 2016, 1:59 pm

If there were to be a warning, it might be across the top for all of NofNA: "Series contains psychological and interpretive depictions of violence, readers be advised." I wouldn't want anyone to be deterred from reading by thinking it is gore-heavy or explicit, though.
42 . by: June 29, 2016, 1:54 pm

I wish the two could be disassociated. In our world, rape and compulsion are prevalent in sex work -- whether done autonomously, or done under a pimp or brothel. I associated it less when she was on her own, though. Then, she had no one to answer to if she were to reject a client. She even rejected oral every time and clients just had to deal. When her BF got involved as a pimp, consent started getting blurred. Now, she is surrounded by guards with weaponized alembics... consent seems to have stopped being an option.
41 . by: June 29, 2016, 1:50 pm

I just want to say that I'm really proud of this comments section. This comic is dealing with some very difficult subjects but the comments here have been incredibly civil even as people hold differing views.

Hopefully we can keep it up.
40 . by: June 29, 2016, 1:44 pm

Also worth considering: people show up at a webcomic at different times. Regular readers have had 70 pages to anticipate this (and even so some of us were surprised by how suddenly and hard this hit), but this might potentially be the first page of the comic someone sees.

I'm not suggesting anyone should bother Zack about this. A lot of creators view any sort of warning as a compromise of their vision and that's their prerogative. But for me personally the cost of giving a heads-up is minor, especially compared to the benefit of giving someone due warning.

Regardless I will continue reading because this is a wonderful, powerful work that I am very glad exists.
39 . by: June 29, 2016, 12:21 pm

Well I don't know about anyone else, but I don't automatically equate sex and sex work with rape. I wasn't bothered by this page myself, but neither would I have a problem with Zack putting a content warning for a page with a rape scene in it.
38 . by: Tenka June 29, 2016, 11:35 am

This is the most beautiful tingly feeling NofNA page that I can remember, the situation is so complicatedly new and there's pressure from everyone, an introspection causing slowing pressure that urges us to be quiet and go with the flow. Battery's voice sounds so numb and quietly certain in my head. And remembering that they also have hands and used on one another, they are comparably as effective as ours on our own fellows, it brings me back to awing at how very intelligent these animals in this timeline are, they don't need electronics to display advanced society. I forget what I was talking about.
37 . by: Witticaster June 29, 2016, 11:18 am

I feel like the entire preceding 70 pages was a fairly obvious trigger warning. This story isn't like Game of Thrones where they randomly fling breasts in your face without warning. Anyone who wasn't expecting a page like this after all the buildup of the rest of the story was kidding themselves...
36 . by: June 29, 2016, 10:07 am

Yeah, I really feel like it's a matter of common sense that something like this was bound to happen. It's like picking up a psychological horror game and expecting there to not be something shocking or traumatic. I've been expecting a scene like this for a long, long time, pretty much the moment she went into sex as a business. Whether other people will have that expectation or not varies, but I think it was pretty obvious this was coming.

And nofna is no stranger to dark, shocking content. Just look at Secretary.
35 . by: June 29, 2016, 10:01 am

Beyond a rating with themes listed on the cover of a publication, I don't believe most comics or graphic novels warn the reader exactly when it's about to get graphic or dark. The context cues leading to this moment included streakie's description of being left for dead in this place, the activity of Battery just before, and the suspicion, throughout, the transition that the Fig Trees were going to be anything but sweet & peachy.
34 . by: June 29, 2016, 9:50 am

> should we urge/request/demand/beg Zack to put the pages now to a link and replace the image first with "trigger warning"

Next thing you do is urge/request/demand/beg the artist not to draw things you don't like.
33 . by: Botany June 29, 2016, 9:10 am

I do not believe so.

Even though I've gone to NoFNA in the past as an escape, a safe place, where I could have my hopes elevated, I knew from the very first page that this story was going to go places I wasn't going to be comfortable as a NoFNA fan first.

I think we've been prepared about as well as Zack could have prepared us for this, and I wouldn't hold anything against him if he didn't warn us in the future.

I've actually been a lot more concerned about the comments section, as of late.

For her name... I think she will eventually want to be called Syconium as a fully fledged citizen. But I agree that we should not call her Fig, but I'm not sure if reducing her to a scent code..... No, I think XX works for now.
32 . by: June 29, 2016, 8:50 am

I feel like a trigger warning would be useful. Depending on how his site is built, doing the link through option may not be easy or even possible (has there ever been just a link for an update?). But editing the image such that it has a trigger warning at the top and you have to scroll down to continue would be simple enough, I suspect.

It would certainly be a kindness to people who have survived these sorts of experiences, allowing them to make informed choices.
31 . by: Nigel June 29, 2016, 8:49 am

No, kuu, I don't think that's necessary.
30 . by: kuu June 29, 2016, 5:30 am

should we urge/request/demand/beg Zack to put the pages now to a link and replace the image first with "trigger warning" so people who don't want to look don't have to?
29 . by: kuu June 29, 2016, 5:28 am

I think I was tempted to call her figgy when she started doing it for her self.
and she was given the fig leaf as a child.

and lived in the fig tree.
28 . by: June 29, 2016, 2:58 am

Man this page was such a surprise! The last part is chilling. I dont like to speculate in the middle of the action so Ill just say I cant wait for the next page
27 . by: juna June 29, 2016, 1:16 am

this scene bears a an uncanny similarity to SV's malice style. It makes me wonder if the circuit-like nature of the alembic from the previous page affects the recipient in a similar way, or if xx's state of mind is from purely physical trauma. both?

My first impression of the scene was definitely 'repressed memory', also.
26 . by: Jen June 29, 2016, 12:50 am

I admit the idea of quickly accepting XX's sex-name of Fig/Figgy as being disconcerting had not occurred to me, and in thinking about it, I'm not sure it should be?       > I preface this with a caveat that I am simply unaware of why this would be in the context of an XX who understands what she's getting into and is accepting of the situation, vs. a perception of "This is wrong and she's getting in over her head" reader viewpoint. [[read: I do not have an opinion either way of whether XX is truly in charge and "fine" or just putting up a brave front--it's something I have trouble parsing on a page-by-page basis vs. re-reading the whole story from page 1, which I unfortunately don't have time to do]]

That said, my perception was--"forced" or not--XX *did* choose her own name, and one that is generally easier to parse as a reader (XX, or X, is still only an approximation of her scent code). I didn't read much more into it than I did when we accepted SV as "Marigold", even though he did not choose that name (or XZ as "Nutsedge" for the same reason). That sex work is involved should not change the fact she chose her own identity, if under a limited set of circumstances not unlike choosing a username for a web service (restricted by length, word/language prohibitions, and availability).

*Should* I read more into it? I'll decide as the story progresses.
25 . by: June 28, 2016, 10:51 pm

The page name is "Christening". So I am very much guessing this is a real scene, mixed up with a FB :(

Poor XX. Damn this is extremely harsh!
24 . by: June 28, 2016, 10:08 pm

XX didn't have the opportunity back in art college to declare a name of her own, likely because of her failed thesis... instead, this is the way she's given a name...
23 . by: 22 June 28, 2016, 9:36 pm

- ESPECIALLY a name that is explicitly designed to evoke the image of a 'consumable' commodity. ("You have to make a sex-name. And it has to be a food!")

We're kind of forced to use the sex-names of the others because we don't know their scent codes, but we know XX far better than that - we've followed her since she was young and have seen that she's so much more than a delicacy to be consumed by others, as is happening on this page.
22 . by: June 28, 2016, 9:31 pm

Off-topic, but I find it weird and uncomfortable how so many commenters seem to have immediately switched to using XX's "sex-name" to refer to her. It seems demeaning for us to go right along with the brothel and begin labeling her with a slave name that she was forced to adopt under duress.
21 . by: Botany June 28, 2016, 8:01 pm

Hazard, this hurts for you? I was raped in junior high school and this is what I woke up to this morning.

And I'd normally say that in jest, that comment about assholes, but I'm being quite serious about it now. I'm tired of how often we use language far more destructively than constructively.

We use our vernacular to render scores and scores of innocent people or concepts guilty of a trespass that only one person person committed.

I hate, as much as I do not like using the word hate, I HATE how language, especially english, is so prone to being used in such a despicable way.

I can't, or at least I do not not want, to hate people. I want our actions against each other to be addressed in a way that does not destroy the aggressor, but transforms them. For good. For the better. And language is a part of that problem, for me.

We've been trying to make the world a better place since the dawn of time, because we haven't been fighting the things we need to. We have been going the easy route and just punishing the individual. You can kill and imprison and torture and rape and maim and mutilate and butcher and condemn people endlessly, as we have been. And it does nothing. It's been doing nothing.

We've been attacking symbols through people instead of attacking the symbols, themselves.

I have gotten to the point that I'm really quite disgusted with justice as a concept. Because murder is justice. Torture is justice. Rape is justice. Justice is just an excuse to me now to perpetuate the same cycle of destruction because it feels good in the short-term.
20 . by: hazard June 28, 2016, 7:29 pm

God This page fucking HURTS.
We knew it was only a matter of time before someone did something awful to her...4

It does look like Battery tased her, dragged her past the others (that's why she's seeing them at an angle)


#19 LOL
19 . by: June 28, 2016, 6:59 pm

...Fizz, I really don't think you should call such someone, doing something this terrible, an asshole, when it's really obvious that they don't have depth or warmth.

I'm a little tired of seeing people complimented for qualities they're not exhibiting.
18 . by: June 28, 2016, 6:40 pm

The "nice to meet you" line makes it so dark. This page did send some shivers down my spine. I'm captured.
17 . by: Furrama June 28, 2016, 6:25 pm

@Fizz Battery does have a double meaning in this context doesn't it?

I'm of the opinion that this is happening or has just happened, that it is Battery who's abusing actually abusing her, but that she's seeing him as the grey self that she is now, and herself as the mousy brown person she once was.

We shall see though.
16 . by: Fizz June 28, 2016, 6:12 pm

Yeah, I think this is really happening to Fig.

Watch Battery in the last page, while Greenie and Mr "Old Boss/New Partner" are chatting. He's heading off to get his "first dibs".

"Battery". That's an appropriate name for this @$$hole.
15 . by: Furrama June 28, 2016, 5:53 pm

"A force that is not to be underestimated, because it is in the habit of cultivating its security in those it consumes by speaking to them with their own voice."
14 . by: Mischief June 28, 2016, 2:56 pm

Wow. This is awesome. Note the gray text bubbles versus her red. Whoever this first client is, he definitely captured her. Maybe she is learning how to capture, so one day, she can capture herself back?

And looks like I was right about a few things... Greenie was in a "submissive" position? Seems to be eluding to the fact that we was a sex worker. Well, at least, I want to feel like I am right about something... everyone here is so clever!
13 . by: kuu June 28, 2016, 2:36 pm

now that I go back to page 55. maybe it is mostly flashback
12 . by: Nigel June 28, 2016, 10:13 am

This comes across as a dream/nightmare sequence, #10. I don't think we're seeing an assault.
11 . by: Pearly June 28, 2016, 9:58 am

Now she sees that she is the one captured by her "art," both painted and sexual.
10 . by: June 28, 2016, 9:07 am

...He started tasing her before he even entered the room. He electrocuted her before he was on her and dragged her away from the others.

...God's love with all the people of the world.

I will have to be careful next time I check this. This was not something to wake up to this morning.

9 . by: Seven June 28, 2016, 8:54 am

*whistles* This is one of your darkest pages yet, Zack. Nice.

I can't tell if that's Battery, an "evil" Fig dominating "nice/innocent" Fig, or a combination of both. Definitely a nightmare, whether real or imagined. Poor Figgy. :(
8 . by: June 28, 2016, 8:32 am

Jeez, poor XX. I'm assuming Nobody hit the nail on the head, but I guess we'll have to wait another page to find out. I'm assuming either her first experience in the brothel had her choked within an inch of her life, or this could just be a symbolic dream sequence considering the 'client' appears as herself. Feeling as if the creative, optimistic, curious part of her as a child and also the artist has died and been lost with her entrance into what's now essentially sex slavery. She started this, and now she's trapped, and there's no way back. I wonder if she really will abandon being an artist, even if temporarily?
7 . by: Nobody June 28, 2016, 5:59 am

it's a dream/flashback scene.
anyone who has been sexually assaulted can tell you that it's very, very common to have nightmares that closely, but usually not perfectly, replay a traumatic event, like a flashback. it's very similar in its lineless appearance to the dream sequence in solar system on page 282.
combined with the "you can have first dibs" on page 55, and the fact that battery, the guard, is leaving to go somewhere on the previous page, you can assume this really happened, but is now being altered by dream logic, hence the choppy narrative.
post-traumatic amnesia is also fairly common, especially regarding an attacker's exact appearance and face, hence why her face is replacing his in the sequence (and it doubles as symbolism as a bonus).
6 . by: kuu June 28, 2016, 5:55 am

it does seem hard to tell if it is a dream or we're looking at emotional representation

seeing that is what she wanted to do, show us what we can't see in litteral terms. but concepts and feeling
5 . by: Mutt June 28, 2016, 5:39 am

You guys may be right. Maybe it's her present self dominating/struggling with her past self? Then again I never really know for sure.
4 . by: Witticaster June 28, 2016, 5:33 am

Neither of the guards have fur like the gray spectre in panel three. The only one with fur like that is... her.

This whole page is incredibly disturbing, god damn.
3 . by: June 28, 2016, 5:24 am

Pretty sure this is a dream sequence, since that's her original coloration. Interesting that the "customer" is grey though. What I wonder is if she's simply feeling strangled by her situation in life, or if her art is trying to get something across from the inside...
2 . by: Mutt June 28, 2016, 5:07 am

Also I'm not gonna comment on her color since someone else is going to do that already, but did she get tased too?? Hoooly moly.
1 . by: Mutt June 28, 2016, 5:06 am

Woah, is that one of the guards in the previous page? The other workers are so nonchalant about the whole thing it's nearly sickening, but then again it's the environment they were conditioned to live in. I am highly confused, yet horrified at the same time. :(