Volume 10 Page 175
Posted June 6, 2023 at 12:01 am

And now, my latest attempt to paste in an excerpt from another 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.



Anyhoo, as you might well have guessed by now, damage to the suit's membrane is always temporary, no matter how grievous it might appear.

As far as I can tell, the stray tatters and castoff shreds of my temporarily ruined suit seem to briefly glitter, then quickly evaporate.

Where does the vapor go, you might ask?  My assumption: It rejoins the rest of the suit, which slowly regenerates over a matter of hours.

Let me emphasize: The membrane SLOWLY regenerates. Frustratingly, excruciatingly, agonizingly, unbearably slowly, to be adverbily honest. 

After villains shred my suit, strip me of my powers, and tie me up, I'm left to wait hours at a time for the membrane to restore itself.

Waiting for suit regeneration: Not unlike watching paint dry, only less riveting. Or watching body paint dry, given the suit's appearance.

My update on "A watched pot never boils": In my experience, "A watched, leisurely regenerating supersuit never restores your superstrength."

A numbingly boring hour or two will pass, and I'll see that the suit's rebuilt its surface area enough to (mostly) cover my chubby thighs.

I leap to the hopeful conclusion, "The membrane must've recovered enough by now to give me back a little of my amazing strength, hasn't it?"

Then I struggle and strain against the ropes binding me, and disappointment ensues. No superstrength for you, Emp! And I go back to waiting.

Am I superstrong now? *FLEX* No. Am I superstrong now? *FLEX* No.  Am I superstrong now? *FLEX* No. Repeat for the next 3-4 hours straight.

Annoying-ish: As its square footage (well, inch-age) returns, my supersuit's powers never recover on a smooth, upward curve of awesomeness.

Instead, as the membrane regenerates, my powers return in abrupt fits and starts, in sudden stairsteps and seemingly arbitrary plateaus.

The hours pass like so: "I’m weak, weak, weak, SUDDENLY STRONG." Then, an hour of, "I'm all strong, strong, strong, SUDDENLY SUPERSTRONG."

By the way: Despite what Hollywood depicts, a surprisingly high level of superstrength is required to snap ropes, let alone break chains.

Still, I do feel like quite the liberated badass when I finally regain enough power to break free of my bonds. This damsel's distress-free!

I can almost hear mighty trumpets blare, angelic choruses gospelize, and generic guitars shred as King Rope's reign of me-constricting ends.  

A buzz-y, intoxicating mash-up of relief and satisfaction washes over me when the knots give way, the duct tape tears, and I'm free at last.

"Intoxicating," yeahp: The instant emotional leap from impotent fear and humiliation to potent joy and awesomeness feels almost drug-like.

I spring to my feet flushed with triumph, briefly feeling so powerful and you-go-girl-y that I can't believe I was ever bound and helpless.

I contemptuously toss the ropes aside—as if I could ever be restrained!—and tug the gag from my mouth—as if my voice could ever be silenced!

I feel galvanized and rejuvenated, rocketing from the depths of duct-taped, "mmph"-ing despair to the eagle-cry heights of badass euphoria.

For an ecstatic few moments, to express the feeling in videogame-y terms, my self-confidence progress bar jumps to 100% and begins flashing.

I often perform a shampoo-commercial-worthy hair-toss of triumph which, in my mind's eye, sends my blonde mane flowing in silky slow-motion.

I usually do a quick, raised-arm biceps flex—dig these 12" pythons, baby!—then transition into a hands-on-cocked-hips "saucy minx" pose.

Then I raise my chin high and stride boldly towards the (nonexistent) camera—in slow motion, again—with plenty of insolently sexy hip-sway.

Hair-toss, biceps flex, hip-cock, chin-raise, bold stride away: All integral parts of the ritual I think of as My Badass Undistress Dance.

(Gallingly enough, My Badass Undistress Dance has been caught on bad-guy surveillance camera a few times. Cue the vile YouTube comments.)

Then I recall how shamefully I was defeated by the bad guys, and how I wasted the whole afternoon bound, gagged, and shamefully dedamseled.

As a rule, my big ol' balloon of overheated self-confidence deflates instantly once my stupid brain jeeringly reminds me of my disgrace.

This deflation: Caught on camera, twice. Undistress Dance stops, I flinch, head drops, shoulders sag, bold stride restarts as mope-y trudge.

The first time that my Badass Undistress Dance and subsequent, visible loss of irrational exuberence was video'd and YouTubed? Embarrassing.

The second time that my Undistress dance and deflation were caught on bad-guy camera, howeva, wound up being ridonkulously more upsetting.



Ehh, I’m prrrrrobably going to skip excerpting the rest of this chapter, which gets into a moment-by-moment description of Emp’s emotional experience of getting “damsel-in-distressed.” The account is written competently enough, IMHO, but arguably winds up somewhat harrowing and upsetting, so I’ll leave that out of the webcomic serialization; the full chapter can still be seen on me Patreon, though. Speaking of which:

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.

-Adam Warren

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