The coloring really added to this. Butterfly is quickly becoming my favorite hero to draw, with her big eyes. I have a soft spot for ladies who look like her.
It’s funny, because when I originally created her I had a grudge against her, since she’s the antithesis of Natasha, who is my unqualified coolest hero. Natasha’s a purist. She’s tough, and strong, and she’s not afraid to hurt feelings to fix things. She’s kick-butt and she doesn’t want any special treatment: she’s the kind of feminist I am because she’s all about the facts, and even her insecurities are oriented in the right direction.
Butterfly’s very much a syncretist, who’s blended a lot of ideas that I dislike into her personal ideology, and she can be the SJW we all get tired of at times. She can be floofy, and foolish, and she’s uber-polite, the last to speak her mind, and gentle to a fault. If Natasha’s a soldier, Butterfly’s a millennial hipster, the effeminate modern girly-girl who likes beautiful things…like little paper shoes, and handbags, and flowers.
I created her to balance Natasha, and to represent the women I don’t always represent in my fiction. My women are always more like me–kick-ass rebels with our middle fingers in the air. I’m trying to grow as a writer.
Which is why I’ve spent so much time with Butterfly. Her origin story is probably the longest, and I’ve drawn her more than any other character in this comic with the exception of Skye. I recognized that I need to get to know her, to understand her, to understand where she’s coming from. Why doesn’t she believe in heaven and hell? What’s under the hijab, and why does she wear it, if she’s supposed to be this modern liberated woman? What does she really believe, beyond the stereotypes of “liberal” that exist out there in society? Why does she make the mistakes she makes, and where are her strengths?
I’ve really enjoyed focusing on her strengths in this comic. Unbridled compassion is something all of us–even the Natashas–need, and I think her special friendship with Robotman (which comes out more in her origin story) really emphasizes her self-sacrifice. Both in this comic, and in her short story, I’ve set her up as a Jesus figure, because while I think Yeshua would really hate some of her ideas, he would really connect with her love for others. I need to learn to see him, and his hand, in those who are not like me. I cannot love my opponents until I do. So as I’ve written and argued and played with Butterfly in my head, I’ve been preaching myself to really love and respect the people and potential she represents.
Writing shouldn’t be preaching to others: it should be a product of preaching to ourselves.
So Butterfly’s come a long way since Rabia voiced her at her lamest back in Traitor #9. I think we had a major breakthrough when I got to see her relationship with her boyfriend–I’m sorry, friend who is a boy–back in Traitor 19. And then, seeing her vs. July, the compassionate “friend of sinners” vs. the bad-ass who brings in bad guys to torture them, in Traitor 23 and 24, really hammered it home for me.
So this scene makes me sad. Also, Mark in the background. ;_; I’m working on his origin story right now and it is a doozy, poor guy. I’ve still got a lot to do on today’s comic, so most likely will post Friday. The audio this time around will be done by the talented, hilarious, and brilliant Luso Matiti, so look forward to that.