And now, my latest attempt to paste in an excerpt from the second chapter of long-defunct prose experiment I Am Empowered, a Year-One-ish first-person account from Emp in 140-character Twitter format detailing her earliest days as a superheroine.
WHAT IS THE SOUND OF ONE HAND (NOT) TWEETING? (part 2)
I can't be honest with any of my good friends in the superhero community because, well, I kinda haven't made any friends, good or otherwise.
I swear, I tried my fumbling and socially inept best to kiss up to Sistah Spooky, the undisputed Alpha B-Word of the Superhomeys' wolf pack.
I did everything but roll on my back and expose my throat and belly to her, submissive-Beta-wolf-style. (Maybe I should've tried that…?)
Just like in elementary school—and all subsequent milieus to follow—I knew I'd be screwed if I couldn't get on the Alpha B-Word's good side.
And just like in elementary school—and junior high through college—I couldn't get on the Alpha's good side, and did indeed wind up screwed.
Sistah Spooky despises me with a level of contempt and disdain most superheroes reserve for villains like Glue-Gun Gil or Jade Jellyfish.
She never, ever misses a chance to shame and humiliate me. Given my problematic job performance, she gets all too many chances to do so.
Worse still, Spooky is SCARY-GOOD at intrasocial violence. She's just as deadly with cutting remarks as she is with mystical hellblasts.
I feel just as powerless and impotent in the face of Spooky's endless, withering scorn as I do when a supervillain is tying me to a chair.
Around Spooky, I feel just as maddeningly voiceless and stifled and unable to talk back as I do after a bad guy's stuffed a rag in my mouth.
Gotta love being a grown-ass superheroine hiding in a bathroom stall, trying to keep from bawling after Spooky's latest verbal curbstomping.
Just like in junior high, I'm dabbing at tears and snot with toilet paper, struggling not to make any noise, wondering what's wrong with me.
Except now, I have superpowers! Yay! Needless to say, in junior high I assumed everything would be different if I could become a superhero.
Why, hello, emotional feedback loop: My shame and self-loathing at still being such a stupid crybaby makes me even more of a stupid crybaby.
A clue? Passing me in the Superhomeys' ladies room, Yummy Mummy muttered under her breath, "Spooky really, REALLY doesn't like blondes."
Yeahp, my superteam's Queen Bee utterly loathes me for, it seems, the vile crime of being born with intolerable hair-follicle pigmentation.
And as I anticipated, none of the other superheroines on the team will talk to me, lest they incur the Eldritch, Terrifying Wrath of Spooky.
As someone suffering rather badly under the Eldritch, Terrifying Wrath of Spooky, I can't blame the other girls for not wanting to incur it.
Even most male members of the Superhomeys tend to steer well clear of me, as they're almost as intimidated by Spooky as the female capes.
I get along okay with Capitan Rivet, at least, but I respect him too much to burden him with all the icky emotional crap roiling in my head.
So, in summary: I've got no one I can REALLY talk to. Not my poor mom, not my erstwhile college friends, and definitely not my superpeers.
I certainly haven't made any normal-human friends since I moved out here, either. Then again, how would I keep in touch with 'em, if I did?
See, part of my isolation is purely logistical: My suit has no pockets, so I can't carry a cell phone with me when I'm out caping. OMG, huh?
A superheroine with a handbag? I don't think so. A utility belt? My amazing supersuit flakes out whenever I wear anything over OR under it.
I tried some exercise-y armband dealies to carry my phone. Good for jogging, but less good for getting zapped by dragonbreath or lasers.
After getting three(!) G-d armband-carried cell phones fried in a week's worth of action-packed caping, I finally gave up on carrying one.
Luckily, my service provider—name supplied upon request—was totally chill and understanding about replacing three phones in a week, huh? NO.
Thus, I wound up as quite possibly the only female under age 80 in the entire city who doesn't carry a cell phone during most of the day.
Then again, on multiple and often notorious occasions, superhumans and texting have proven to be mutually—and disastrously—incompatible.
If I may get all example-y: Remember when dumbass cape Propellerhead collided with the top of the Krieger Tower while texting and flying?
He knocked the building's TV transmission mast clean off and came shocked-gasp-ily close to killing hapless civilians in the streets below…
…all because the clue-deficient jackass just HAD to immediately respond to a "S'UP, SUPAPLAYA?" text from fellow douchecape Paper Tiger.
Similarly, one of my sweeter supervill takedowns was aided massively by the fact that he was texting at the time. (More on that one later.)
I should note that my supersuit can, with some difficulty, actually make a telephone call, but only when its hypermembrane is fully intact.
I do the "telephone" thumb-and-pinkie-extended gesture, then repeat a phone number aloud until the suit deigns to recognize my request…
…et voilà, I'm all telephonic, which would be crazy-awesome IF ANYONE ON EARTH STILL BOTHERED WITH PHONE CONVERSATIONS, STUPID SUPERSUIT.
Do I LOOK like I'm a doddering 40-something, oh weirdly behind-the-times supersuit? Who the heck actually calls anyone directly, nowadays?
Spending my capetime hours without a phone gives me plenty of time alone with my thoughts… WAY too much time, as it turns out.
<END OF EXCERPT>
Wellp, if this actually worked, webcomic readers, I’ll try again next week with another excerpt from this second chapter of I Am Empowered, which eventually addresses why the hell Emp is writing this account in (old Twitter) tweet format.
Today’s Patreon update: Originally done as a means of scratching out more worktime to complete the long-gestating Empowered vol. 12, I've switched over to a Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday Patreon posting schedule that won't feature the fixed content format I previously used. However, my vast archive of years of Patreon posts—extensive Empowered previews, vintage con sketches, work stages on covers, "damsel in distress" commissions, life drawings & much, much more—remains available for Patrons' perusal.