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JocelynSamara's avatar

Something Dark

A small group of original characters I drew because why not. XD

Seriously though, much like when I posted the teaser poster for Magical a couple months ago, I had an idea that was distracting me and I just needed to draw it out (oh god, has it really only been a two months?). I do this, so I have some content to refer to later should I decide to go back to it, while simultaneously getting it out of my head. This new idea came at a bad time, on the grounds that I am kinda trying to finish a book as is. I lost three days getting backstory and designs down (but that's actually good; I lost weeks with Magical.

That said, it's been worth it. I'm loving this little group. And if I do say so myself, I'm extremely pleased with the art here. It's much more mature-looking (which is what I was going for), and it's a much darker story than the kind of things you're used to seeing from me (that said, the darker stuff is much more up my alley, storytelling-wise).

I don't have a name for the story itself yet, but the characters, from left to right are:
Lane, Alexis Raquel, Garry

And the story concept is as follows:

These three people were taken from their homes at a very young age and held in a facility trying to raise young boys as child soldiers. These three managed to escape one night thanks to a security failure from an unxepected blackout (although there were two more in their group that did not make it out with them).

Unfortunately, all they really knew in life was taught by the facility... and most of that, very illegal. They knew little of social custom, and had never encountered women and girls in their lives until being outside. It was strange and scary for them. The three managed to survive only with each other's help over the years (and mostly sustaining by stealing food and clothing from homes, orphanages, and churches).

Garry (right), the oldest of the group, named himself the ring leader. He's surprisingly well adjusted, considering all the years he'd spent in that facility. It's left him rather cold and uncompassionate (and can be hard to get along with as a result), but he makes up for it with a strong survival instinct. He is wise in devising plans and strategies for overcoming and/or getting out of situations. He's also the strongest. The other two don't particularly like his attitude, but he's kept them alive this long, so they just do what he says most of the time.

Raquel (middle) never quite recovered from the night when they escaped, nor the years leading up to it. Following that night, the child rarely spoke; and even then does so in mostly noises and one-word sentences. That aside, Raquel goes through a life changing epiphany upon escape that brings a small amount of joy into the child's life. It occurs when 
Raquel finally sees society and, moreover, sees females for the first time ever. After the group steals new clothes from an orphanage one day, the child approaches the other two wearing a dress and for the first time, insisting her name is Raquel (which wasn't her birth name).

Lane (left) grows up haunted by that night. Though not as scarred as 
Raquel as to develop selective mutism, he does suffer nightmares, and constantly blames himself for the ones left behind, believing he could have - and should have - been able to do something. He constantly thinks of going back one day to save the other boys left behind, but he knows he'd never get Garry's approval, and he doubts he could do it without his help. In fact, Lane continues to face a great deal of inner turmoil with the concepts of right and wrong. He knows he has to steal to live, but he longs for a day when he can live his life without having to use the skills taught to him in that facility.

Years pass like this.

The three children have developed into young adults with a steady - if less than ideal - life utilizing their talents for mercenary work to bring in money (all the while learning to adjust to societal structure and coming to terms with the horrors of their past). The story begins here.

Like I said, it's very dark. Much darker than Rain or Magical or most of the rest of what you actually know me for. But I'm digging it. Admittedly, especially because of Raquel; I seem to be enjoying trying to find new perspectives for trans characters lately. One that spent her whole life not knowing there IS another gender and still feeling off about it, will be a neat concept to explore.

But rather than pat myself on the back, I want to hear what you guys think. In the meantime, I REALLY have to get back to drawing the story I'm SUPPOSED to be working on.

All characters and other aspects of the story are copyright material belonging to me.
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© 2013 - 2022 JocelynSamara
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xXxXLupicideXxXx's avatar
Raquel's story definitely makes for an interesting concept and I like the sound of Lane... Garry on the other hand, sounds like a little bit of a dilweed so far. But he's pretty to look at and as part of the main group I'd definitely be interested to see which way his character progresses over the course of the story.
JocelynSamara's avatar
Garry is a bit of a jerk, but I'm aiming for him to be a bit of a likable jerk (hopefully).  And there are a lot of aspects to each of these characters that I haven't touched on yet, so there could still be plenty to like about him later, perhaps.
ConoseTheDialga's avatar
you need to start this it seems so awesome but only once you feel better and have the time because we wont want you to overwork yourself  
DarkKomet's avatar
Maybe have them as Super Soldiers as well it would make the plot line more interesting as well as giving it more series grim elements

Here is an idea for the tittle maybe White Death and white is the color of bones and is the color of death in some culture.
epic-agent-63's avatar
By the way something dark could actually work as a really neat title
OfKitasuma's avatar
Wow... That was kinda intense, but really really good! I'd love to see this become a story some day, even if it's a long time away. The facility and all kinda reminds me of the Spartan project from Halo, although a little more sinister. Whatever happens of it, I'm sure it will be amazing. Here's to hoping! 
Ryu890's avatar
As a story-idea? Its really well done. An exceptional set-up. The real question is where it goes from here.
Cadell001's avatar
I like this idea. It's sounds quite interesting.
JocelynSamara's avatar
Thank you very much!  I'm glad to hear you like it.  ^_^
I could be going "one of those totally intolerant cis people" here, but honestly Alexis stretches my disbelief a little. If she was raised in a facility of all boys, it doesn't make sense to me that she would have formed any sort of association with them. Even if she did, she wouldn't know the established societal conventions of gender, so it doesn't make sense to me that she would want to buck them. It intuitively makes no sense to me that skirts are an inherently female thing, but rather that they appeal to trans women because they are associated with femininity. Without that association built up over time. Alexis' character honestly feels a little bit forced.
JocelynSamara's avatar
Well, you're not getting all of the details in the above synopsis either.  It's of course, much more complicated than what I describe here.  I'm just keeping things concise for the sake of it being a "brief" synopsis.

But gender is a complex concept, and there's more to it than just... gender.  If, per se, Alexis spent her entire life up to a point in a facility with no one but other boys and men, she could absolutely still be trans.  She wouldn't be able to consider it in terms like "I want to be girl", "I want to wear pretty dresses" or even "I don't want to have a penis".  Of course, she would have no basis with which to come to any of those conclusions.  The only concept she'd really be able to wrap her mind around would be, "Something is not right."

And you're right that she wouldn't know the societal conventions either.  Which is why it's not like it's on their first day out of the facility that she steals that dress either (looking at the synopsis, I see I didn't stress a span of time, but I probably should have, because there is one).  I would place that event at at least a year following their escape.  Seeing women for the first time would be strange and confusing for any of these kids.  But for Alexis, it becomes a fascination.  An obsession.  They generally look differently, dress differently, sound differently, have different names.  It's so foreign from everything Alexis would know.  This intrigues her more than anything.  And after so much time observing these women, she decides to become one of them.  Not because she knows she'll be happier that way (she doesn't know that), but that she's NOT happy the way she is.  

Mind you, she's also not thinking "I'm going to transition" or anything like that.  Again, she doesn't really know much - if anything - about the anatomical differences either.  Rather, she sets out simply to mimic them and sort of assimilate.  She takes the dress because she's seen them wear such things.  She comes up with the name "Alexis", because she's heard them have that name before.  She's merely copying what she sees.  But the end result for all of her actions does bring her some degree of inner peace.  Maybe she still can't rationalize why she feels the way she does, but it's offering her a comfort in her life that she'd never experienced before.  So she continues to adapt and conform to this way of life, because maintaining something that can bring her peace and happiness is essential to her.  

For Alexis, it's actually a lot less about a strict concept of gender, and more about a concept of identity.  The same could be said for many real life trans people too.  It's not as much about simply wanting to be a girl or a boy while one is wearing the skin of the opposite.  It's more about inherently knowing your outward appearance is something you simply cannot identify with.  And that's what I'm going for with Alexis, and why I respectfully disagree with you. 
You can't respectfully disagree with me, this is the Internet! :P

But seriously, thank you very much for the response. :) Your explanation is very good and, being less experienced than you in the matter, I'll defer to you and accept your argument.
Animasword's avatar

These are cool designs and an interesting premise (Alexis in particular is an interesting new take on the gender identity theme).

For some reason 'Born Warriors' comes to mind as possible title when I read it, but I'm sure if it really fits.

JocelynSamara's avatar
Thank you very much.

I don't know if I'd go with "Born Warriors" exactly, but I feel like that's kind of along the lines of what I'm looking for.  I'll come up with something eventually.  Thank you for the suggestion though.  ^_^
LauraRola's avatar

Impressive.  I'd say the Lane is kinda the character I'd think of as the main focus of a story like this.  He seems kinda like the "hero" of the group, in so much as he is rather conflicted by his circumstances, and struggles with his memories of failure.  Alexis is probably one of the most unique takes on the idea of a transgender character I've ever come across, which may not sound like much due to the lack of trans* characters in media, but still, really facinating concept.  Garry is the brains of the outfit, and seems like in most stories he'd be the "guy who's rough around the edges and refuses to do heroic stuff that doesn't help himself and the people he takes care of, but will slowly be changed into a still rough but heroic character who dies because he does one really heroic thing" kinda character.  Somehow, I'm not sure that's how it would go with him, though.  It's complicated.

In any case, great ideas here, lovely art, and dark stories are quite nice to see, so, looking forward to anything else you make related to this.

JocelynSamara's avatar
Thank you!  I'm glad you like it.  ^_^

You're right about your analysis of Lane in that he is the most "hero" material of the group.  That said, I'm trying to balance the focus of this story.  Ideally, I'd like to balance out the importance of the three of them so that no one character can be singularly labeled "main focus" or "protagonist".  I'd like them all to have their time in the spotlight.  It might be tricky, but I'm willing to challenge myself.  

Speaking of challenging myself, I remember when Rain was still really new, reading a comment (I can't remember where or why) where someone said something to the tune of, "I don't think you really see trans characters in a lot of media because the idea is always the same with only minor variation.  There's not much room to build on it."  I disagree with this wholeheartedly.  Not every story I've written or come up with contains a trans character, but since reading that comment, it's been kind of a mission of mine to write one into every new idea I have (and of course, make it feel natural and not forced).  And moreover, to distinguish each one as a wholly unique character portrayed differently than the last.  Rain and Alexis are both trans women (and close in age), but they're nothing alike.  The same goes for the whole cast of Magical which also presents a narrative I haven't personally seen before.  I believe there's a lot of room to build on this, and as a trans person, I want to see it built upon.  I want a revolution of well-written, unique transgender characters.  I think it's become my goal in life to start that revolution.  XD

Garry's analysis is pretty well spot on, but I'm sure if I want him (or any of them) to die.  That said, I only have a vague idea of where the story will go from my prologue synopsis above, and there's a lot of room for pretty much anything.  So who knows?  ^_^
LauraRola's avatar

Revolution, eh?  A noble goal, indeed.  I need to get working on more artistic stuff so that I can help with such a revolution. ^_^

slightly-shotgunned's avatar
If Something Dark isn't already a title of something else, I'd go with that. Just sounds cool. 
I like the idea and I'm really interested in how Lane and Garry react to Alexis. Are they accepting, do they reject, neither, both? It's an interesting concept you have here.

JocelynSamara's avatar
You know, I'd actually considered that as the title when I posted this.  It's actually in consideration.  XD

As for Lane and Garry's response to Alexis, it's hard to explain.  None of these kids has a really solid concept of what gender is.  Even Alexis couldn't quite explain why she feels the way she does.  In reality, she's not even seeking to transition or anything (assuming that's even an existing option in this world, they probably wouldn't even know about it).  Rather, she sees women (and how they typically look or act) and can only rationalize as far as, "That's me!  That's gotta be me!"  She mimics the way they dress and act and have names because it makes her feel validated for some reason.  

The other two are simply confused by this behavior.  I can imagine them both being very put off at first though.  Not because of the classic transphobic reasons we might know today (like I said, they don't a good grasp on gender).  Rather, she's just coming along one day wearing "weird" clothes and changing her name.  To Lane and Garry, it just seems pointless.  They can't really figure out why she'd do it.  And there probably is a big fight between them that day.  But as time passes, they see their friend smiling more and more productive than usual.  The fact is, they've all been through a lot.  They've seen things they'll never unsee.  And if she's found some kind of peace through this, they don't want to take that from her.

So long story short, I guess they're accepting.  Just not immediately.
Keveak's avatar
Very interesting concept, quite like it. It's quite dark, but also leaves room for optimism and a lot of new directions it could go. ^_^

Do already feel sad for the kids and angry at whoever thought they could make a facility like that, though. Anticipating more about the story, but wow, that's quite a messed up thing to do. ._.
JocelynSamara's avatar
That's honestly my favorite way to write.  Dark story, but with lots of possibilities for optimism as things develop.  It wouldn't be without a sense of humor or characters with some quirky traits either.  All the while, the things that happen are messed up and heavy and very dark.  

But there's hope for these kids, yet.  ^_^

zangetsu101's avatar
I love this concept! I highly anticipate seeing this done along with more work by you.
JocelynSamara's avatar
Thank you very much!  Me too! :D
epic-agent-63's avatar
I'd definitely read it as it seems way interesting. I like how cool Lane looks, also Alexis is very cute. This will definitely go up on my "gotta watch for" list right up there with DBZ battle of the Gods
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