Tag Archive | Madoka Magica

#WizardWorld Cleveland 2019: livetweeting roundup

Did my first Wizard World this year — not in Artists Alley, didn’t get under the sign-up cutoff, but I’m so local (to the Cleveland version) that it made sense to go just for market research. (Also, fun. There was that too.)

So here’s how that went.

Friday

guy stopped at a booth trying to guess the ID of a magnificent X-Men cosplayer. She’s trying to give hints, saying her powerset, striking the movie-poster pose…he seems to be naming random well-known female characters, nobody she looks like at all.
6:21 PM – 8 Mar 2019

I walk past behind him and call, “Psylocke!” Cosplayer lights up, nods/waves. Dude doesn’t even register it, keeps trying to guess.

Kinda wish I’d stayed around long enough to hear whether he ever figured it out.
6:26 PM – 8 Mar 2019

He was in anime cosplay, so a genuine geek! Just…overconfident about the percentage of X-Men lore he’d picked up. (Dude, the lady wearing jet-black hair is not iconic redhead Jean Grey, nor iconic skunk-stripe-head Rogue…)
8:30 PM – 8 Mar 2019

Kid watching me draw: “Wow! That looks like a real cartoon!”

And then he asked if my eraser was a lucky rock.
7:57 PM – 8 Mar 2019

Jewelry vendor showed off rack of earrings, earnestly told me “they’re for pierced ears, but we can make any of them into clip-ons too!”

…I think she was just rattling off a stock speech out of nerves, because there’s no way I look THAT young.
9:53 PM – 8 Mar 2019

Saturday

#WizardWorldCleveland gotta get some loud-voiced volunteers to hold up Line Ends Here signs.

The entry queue has aisles drawn in tape on the floor. Nobody’s looking at those, just milling around in a confused blob, and blocking the escalators while they’re at it.
3:26 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Audience member at Diversity in Comics panel complains about “the need to put a gay black trans character in every TV show.” Uh, what shows are you watching, and can I get recs?
3:49 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Complaints about “forced” diversity and how it doesn’t work…in between acknowledging the smash successes of Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and black Nick Fury. Guys. Listen to yourselves.
4:02 PM – 9 Mar 2019

…anyway, the current Leif & Thorn arc involves a pan black trans woman, who is also a single mom with a disability, which is not something you have to “force” because none of those traits make any of the others less likely! That’s not how it works!
11:42 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Trauma presentation that followed was way better prepared and researched. (Speaker even used “triggered” accurately!) And he’s persevered really well through the lack of any techie stopping by to hook up his Powerpoint.
5:14 PM – 9 Mar 2019

First con I’ve been to that was so vendor-focused. There’s only about 3 programming things going on at any time…and most of them are *outside* the gated threshold where they check wristbands.
6:20 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Inside is the dealers’ room/artist alley, and lots of carefully-scheduled autograph sessions. Plus a few live drawing type events, a photoshoot booth, and places to play games/read manga.
6:23 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Also a stage with live musical performances, but it’s right by the entrance, so you can hear perfectly fine from the lobby. You could show up without a ticket and have most of the non-shopping part of the experience for free.
6:27 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Indie comics panel. Q: why indie? Most panelists talk about the various joys and advantages of going your own route. Last one in the line says “Marvel told me no.”
6:47 PM – 9 Mar 2019

… and the less funny follow-up is, he stood in line to get Marvel portfolio reviews for years, followed their recommendations, finally someone said “you really are improving, we’ve seen, it’s great, but we still won’t hire you because your style is too urban.”
6:49 PM – 9 Mar 2019

MC of the costume contest, pre-show banter with the audience, someone mentions Evangelion. “Is THAT how you pronounce it??”
8:57 PM – 9 Mar 2019

I only came here to sit in the back and listen to entertaining banter while I draw, but now I’m legitimately invested in who wins.
9:24 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Only an honorable mention for Flamenco Wonder Woman? She was robbed.
9:30 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Well-deserved prizes for color-changing Sleeping Beauty and gorgeous ballgown Him!

The other winners had high quality and technical precision, but my favorites are the ones that do something special and different with the characters.
9:36 PM – 9 Mar 2019

A stunningly detailed Ruby and Sapphire were also robbed, btw. Had the bad luck to end up in crowded and competitive categories, but even so…
9:39 PM – 9 Mar 2019

Sunday

I’ve been wearing my Kyuubei hat all weekend, and not a single person has accepted a contract to be a magical girl :(
12:55 PM – 10 Mar 2019

First person in the room for the @3geekspodcast pre-recording banter. At least one of them considered it!
12:57 PM – 10 Mar 2019

Razzing the audience: “This lady in the back is doing her homework.” Me: it’s a webcomic!

And y’all coulda given me a shoutout. (http://leifandthorn.com , volume 1 on sale now)
1:29 PM – 10 Mar 2019

Honestly bummed to walk out before the end, but the schedule overlapped with the LGBT panel and I wanted this one more.
1:33 PM – 10 Mar 2019

LGBT panel was well worth the whole thing. Speaker didn’t use stage or microphone, just hung out in the seats with about 8 of us clustered around. Lots of feelings.
3:02 PM – 10 Mar 2019

Dithered over a bunch of Sunday deals and multifandom merch, but I’ve only ultimately spent $6. Maybe I’ll circle one last time and look for last-second deals on the way out…
3:06 PM – 10 Mar 2019

Secret blog-only follow-up: I got a cookie. When I walked past one of the fandom snack booths, there was a Batman-themed cookie, and I considered getting it for my aunt (her cat’s name is Batman), but it was unnervingly expensive.

So I told myself I’d come back at the very end, and in the last 30 minutes, I did. There were finally some low-price deals — and the Batman cookie was one of only 2 left on the plate. I figured it was a sign.

Persephone’s Waltz – Commentary & Deleted Scenes

By request in the December talking meme: director’s commentary on Persephone’s Waltz!

AKA my 70K-word Madoka Magica longfic, in which Homura is…much closer to the edge than in canon. Close enough that “kidnap Madoka and lock her in a basement for the next month” starts to sound like a good idea.

Spoilers through the end of the fic (and through the PMMM series) follow!

Origin story

There’s a whole subgenre of “one character keeps another locked in a room indefinitely” psychological horror stories. Emma Donoghue’s Room is a recent-ish standout. We read John Fowles’ The Collector in one of my high school English classes.

So for a long time I had the vague desire to write some darkfic in that vein. Even came up with about a thousand words of it for Jon/”Stephen” — but the full-length fic never clicked. (Pretty sure I never decided what kind of end it would be moving toward.)

Then I fell hard for Madoka Magica, and eventually figured out that the premise would work perfectly for a MadoHomu story.

Because of the way canon works, there’s even a built-in endgame. Homura doesn’t want to keep Madoka captive forever, just long enough to make it past Walpurgisnacht without contracting.

(All this was waaaay before the release of Rebellion Story. Nobody had any idea that canon was going to pull a magically-fueled, open-ended, still-a-cliffhanger-five-years-later version of the premise.)


Research & resources

The girl who disappears from the pool
will never return. A woman will return,
looking for the girl she was.

She stands by the pool saying, from time to time,
I was abducted, but it sounds
wrong to her, nothing like what she felt.

—Louise Glück, “The Myth of Innocence

If you’re writing a non-silly fic, and you want a cool evocative title, the thing to do is go read a bunch of poetry. Search for relevant keywords and themes, see what turns up.

(That’s how I got “You Cannot Shut The Windows Of The Sky” [His Dark Materials], “Night Kept Chain’d Below” [Colbert Report], “Into The Empty Sky” [also Colbert], and “All Her Original Brightness” [Colbert, daemon AU].)

For this one I got on a real Louise Glück kick. Go read “October” for the perfect evocation of how haunted and disoriented Homura must’ve felt after one too many rewinds.

Didn’t use a direct quote for the title, but between “Persephone the Wanderer” (source of the fic’s opening quote) and “The Myth of Innocence” (above), I figured I wanted something Persephone-related.

It was just plain “Persephone” for a while, which wouldn’t be very memorable or searchable, but I didn’t have any better ideas…until “various disconnected references to dancing” started turning into a recurring motif. Added it to the title, then played it up a little more in the narrative from then on, culminating in the big reconciliatory waltz scene at the end.

On a more down-to-earth level, the Puella Magi Wiki was a godsend. A few links I kept on hand the whole time:

100 Questions for Madoka, providing lots of useful mundane everyday-life trivia (e.g. she’s not picky about food, but she likes hot chocolate, sakura-mochi, shaved ice, sweet potatoes, and apple pie). Also, her thoughts about getting married one day: “Would be nice if I can find a cool husband that resembles my Mama.” Hmmmm.

Which characters call each other by what name/suffix, more useful details.

The sequence of events in one month’s timeline. Supplemented by this handy lil’ text-only chart in my notes file:

Deleted scenes

If I’m writing a chapter and end up with a chunk of text that doesn’t really fit, but that I do like in general, it gets relocated to the notes file. Maybe it’s a whole scene, maybe it’s just a good line or two that could turn out to be useful later.

(On shows directed by Mike Schur, it turns out the writers’ room has the same file, and they call it “the candy bag.”)

Some things never get worked back in, but I don’t actually delete the file after the fic is posted…which is why I’ve kept all this around, without ever touching it, since February 2013.

Tipping over the whole candy bag, here and now!

Stray bit of musing from a Sayaka-POV section:

She could outdo Madoka for conversation speed or energy any day, but she was so much less competent at putting her beliefs into the right words.

On the run with Mami’s notebooks, Madoka shares some exposition with Sayaka. Probably cut because there’s nothing here that the readers wouldn’t already know.

For one, Mami almost never worked with other puella magi. There would be brief mentions, references to the effectiveness of unfamiliar weapons or powers, but except for Sakura Kyoko, none of the names appeared more than once or twice.

For another, she couldn’t find any information attributed to “Kyuubei” that was (technically, as far as she understood it) untrue. Just incomplete.

“If there are only a few magical girls in any area, how can there be so many witches?” she asked, snuggled up next to Sayaka in bed with both of them sitting against the headboard. “There would have to be a lot of puella magi making contracts and then running out of magic fast. But if that was happening all over the place, some of the veterans would have noticed, right? Wouldn’t more people know what was going on?”

“They probably aren’t all the original witches,” said Sayaka, without looking up from her reading detailing Mami’s muskets’ capacity and versatility (and the fancy attack names she’d come up with for all the different variations). “I bet that’s why.”

“Not all the original…? What does that mean?”

Sayaka blinked at her. “Akemi never mentioned that one? Witches keep familiars around in their barriers. But the familiars can sneak away, and if they run around on their own long enough and feed on people’s despair for a while, they can grow up to be a copy of the original witch.”

“Oh,” said Madoka sheepishly. “She didn’t…or rather…there was nothing like that in Kaguya Super Contract Z.”

When they get back in contact with their parents, here’s a whole tangent I didn’t go down.

“Hey, what day is it?”

“Tuesday,” replied Madoka, without even having to think about it. Weeks of meticulous calendar-tracking without being able to use any natural rhythms for guidance had apparently left their mark on her too.

“Hitomi goes straight from school to piano lessons to tea ceremony on Tuesdays,” said Sayaka. “But after school on Wednesday she doesn’t have to do anything…except catch up on her Tuesday studying, of course. And, um, Kyousuke has physical therapy Wednesday early afternoons. On a good day he’s back in his room by four.”

“Do you think we should try to call them too?”

Sayaka jostled her with a quiet shrug. “Dunno. Not if it’s risky for them. But if anyone besides our parents deserves to hear from us, it’s those two.”

“I don’t know Hitomi’s number,” admitted Madoka. It was in her phone’s contacts, for all the good that did. She didn’t need to point out that she didn’t know Kyousuke’s; she had known him as a friend of Sayaka’s but never been personally close.

“She emailed it to me when I got my new phone last summer,” said Sayaka. “I could look it up.”

***

She produced Mami’s phone, in its normal form, and unlocked the screen. Up popped the contacts list, with a dozen impersonal entries (doctor, dentist, bakery, landlord…), and Hitomi’s name now sitting neatly in the middle.

Little tangent from when they’re on the run and hiding under storefronts. It wasn’t going anywhere, but it sure is very Madoka.

“This is the store where Mama got my colored pencils,” remarked Madoka. “Not this exact one, but this chain.”

“Mmm,” said Sayaka.

“They’re amazing quality. The kind that should be used in a real sketchbook…by a real artist.” Madoka sighed. “Even if all I have is a school notebook, and I’m not very good yet, they make me want to try my hardest, you know?”

Snipped from a Homura-POV section:

just let me protect you this time please let it work


Post-series alternate ending

Und kann ich dir was zu Gefallen thun;
So darfst du mir’s nur auf Walpurgis sagen.

Thy wish be on Walpurgis Night expressed;
What boon I have, shall then be given unto thee.

—Goethe’s Faust (tr. Bayard Taylor)

Some readers asked how the story would’ve gone if Homura’s plan had actually worked…and I put down enough notes to write a little AU-spinoff bonus fic, but then never got around to writing it.

So here’s that!

I don’t believe Sayaka would have given up, or been deterred from wishing to find Madoka…unless she died before she was able to. Alternately, Homura could’ve killed her right afterward.

In that case, I think Madoka would have started clinging to Homura, but more out of desperation than healthy trust (even if she came to believe Homura’s explanation of magic 100%). In her time alone she would get increasingly frayed around the edges — more incidents like the one where she snapped and started throwing things — so she’d grow even more dependent on her “social time” with Homura.

Eventually there would be cuddling, with Madoka curled up in Homura’s lap and quietly freaking out while Homura hugs her and feels distant and guilty. (“But it’s for your own good.”)

Assuming she survived past Walpurgisnacht, Madoka would come out severely agoraphobic, unable to deal with large groups of people, and with bonus trauma from learning about Sayaka’s death. Homura meanwhile would be bluescreening on the whole “and now it’s over, how do I cope with dates after May 1, fatal error, cannot cope” dilemma.

They would pass themselves off as both victims of the same kidnapper, get treatment together, but be severely co-dependent and unable to adjust for a long time. Maybe never, in Homura’s case, since she can’t lean on Madoka for support, and in fact has to handle the knowledge that she broke Madoka pretty severely in order to save her. I think she would fall to despair before recovering, which would hold back Madoka’s progress even more.

In the case where everything happens like it does in the fic up until the very end, and then the glass doesn’t fall…

They’d pull the same deception. Madoka would be reacclimated to normal life more easily, slow but steady. Homura in this scenario has even less mental togetherness, but her mood would be a lot easier to keep stable, since she would have the influence of a safe, alive, mostly-unbroken Madoka to remind her that it wasn’t all for nothing.

Madoka would eventually go back to school, while Homura would live with her family: not coherent or present enough to return to normal life, but not violent or dangerous, and mostly able to care for herself, so they wouldn’t have to commit her. I don’t know if anything sexual would develop between them — their therapists definitely wouldn’t like it — but I bet when Madoka grew up and moved into her own place, Homura would go with her.

And one last thing: a note for a bonus comic I somehow never drew.

Post-end omake: the version where Homura keeps dumping new people in the basement, and finally defeats Walpurgis by stuffing her in there as well XD

Monday Works Roundup, 9/25/17

But I’m A Cat Person
Spotlight Noir (art | Walker, Cohen, Being ensemble | worksafe)
Glam and Dapper (art | Camellia, Reseda, Kara Lynn, Jany | worksafe)
Rising From The Ruins (art | a whole Being ensemble | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Blue Sea Glass (comic | Gem!Leif/Thorn, WiB, fusion | worksafe)
A Magical Flight (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)

Hellsing(/Sailor Moon)
Sailor Hellsing sketchpile (sketches | ensemble | worksafe)
The Hellsings (art | Integra, Alucard, Walter, Seras, Pip, Jeeves, Arthur, Thien, Penwood, Integra’s mom | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Ribboned Wrists (art | Madoka | worksafe, suggestive)

General/Miscellaneous
Moon Windows (art nouveau graphic, worksafe)
Priests and Clubs (commissioned art, worksafe)
Comfort sketchpile (sketches | Sunset Shimmer, Adagio Dazzle, Moana, Te Fiti, Stephen, Sam, Pocket Gloria Steinem | worksafe)
Handy Escape (commissioned art, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Cybele recompiles! Did the experiment work?

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Thorn lays the foreshadowing for a Significant Contest.

Monday Works Roundup, 7/10/17

But I’m A Cat Person
True Patriotism (art | Bennett, Sparrow, Miranda, Cohen, Bianca | worksafe)
Infinite Scroll (art | Cybele | NSFW-ish)

Leif & Thorn
Squicks vs. Triggers (comic | Juniper, Rowan, Violet, Birch, Leif, Thorn, Annie | worksafe)
Dressed Up Violet (art | Violet | worksafe)

Fake News
I Intend To Hold You For The Longest Time (fic! | Jon/”Stephen” | T)
The Eagle and the Anchor (art | Jon/”Stephen” | worksafe)
53 Fake News Icons (100×100 icons | Jon, “Stephen”, Olivia, others | G)

Madoka Magica
Ghosts In The Fog (mix | Walpurgisnacht, familiars | PG)

Splatoon
Spangly Squid Shipping (sketch | Marie/Callie | worksafe)

Voltron
Just Us Girls (sketch | Allura/Pidge | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Figure drawings 7-9-17 (figures, NSFW)
New York Evening (Dreamwidth layout, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
“Oh, sure, NOW it’s weird.”

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Our heroes check out the view from a bridge. Get comfortable, folks, they’re gonna be up there a while.

Groundhog Day Fanworks Roundup, 2/2/2016

That’s “a fanworks roundup being posted on Groundhog Day,” not “a roundup of fanworks about Groundhog Day.”

But I’m A Cat Person
Fruity furry BICP sketchpile (sketches | various | worksafe)
Bikini Quartet (art | Miranda, Jany, Sparrow, Bianca | worksafe, mostly)

Leif & Thorn
Embassy Pearls (art | gem!Leif, gem!Katya | worksafe)
Magical Boy Thorn (art | Thorn | worksafe)
Tender moments montage (sketches | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Shot Through The Heart (wallpaper | Thorn, Sigrún | worksafe)

Hellsing
Three times the two of us first met (fic | HeinkelxYumie/ko | T)
Girl with a gun (art | Integra, Alucard | worksafe)

Phineas and Ferb
Summer Cuties (art | Phineas, Ferb | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Dessert Magi (art | Sayaka, Madoka, Nagisa | worksafe)

Sapphire and Steel
Sapphire-Steel Fusion – Gabrielite (art | Sapphire/Steel | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Smug yellow bird (art | Yellow Pearl | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Jewel-toned sketchpile (sketches | fake news, Sailor Moon, Hellsing, Steven Universe | worksafe)
Falling glitter texture (free texture, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Sparrow drops by Timothy’s workplace to talk magic. Also, cat videos.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Thorn is cranky, in ways that are hard to translate. Leif tries to be understanding anyway.

Monday Works Roundup, 1/18/16

Leif & Thorn
An armful of Thorn (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
30 Outfits Challenge – Sir Thorn (art meme | Thorn, Tiernan | worksafe)

Fake News
Pretty Anchor Sailor Trevor (comic | Jon/”Stephen”, Trevor | G)

Phineas and Ferb
Three Faces of Candace (art | Candace | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica(/The Librarians, /Tangled)
Time Loop Survivor Support Group (art | Jones, Homura | worksafe)
And then I’ll brush and brush and brush your hair (art | Madoka, Rapunzel | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Impressive Connection (comic | Steven, Garnet, Ruby/Sapphire | T)
Body Type Swap (art | Lapis, Jasper | worksafe)
Fire Salt (art | OC gem | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Tiled wood siding pattern (free seamless tiled patterns, worksafe)
30 Outfits Art Meme (art meme graphic)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
The guest art interlude is over, and we’re back to our regularly scheduled bonus material…

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Birch is in love, Thorn is grouchy, and Rowan wishes people cared about his tragic backstory.