10th Jan 2022, 7:57 AM

What's Been Eating Me?

Rose is my most controversial character.
Now I can't honestly be sure of that because I don't get, well, pretty much any significant online interaction. I'm not a very popular guy, and with a webcomic that's got a name that's only 3 letters chosen to make a symmetric logo, it sometimes feels like I never will be. Statistically that's pretty likely even given how far I've gotten over the years as an online creator.
But I digress- And besides, such pessimism doesn't suit me even when I'm in the mood to feel it.


Rose is my most controversial character, and I can think of one particular reason why.
If you don't know, first of all, perhaps you've clicked on this web page by accident- If that's the case, you can browse my other content while you're here and come back later after you've read enough that you're interested in picking the author's brain. I tend to philosophize about my work here on this blog and how it relates to the greater realms of fiction- And perhaps even reality.
Now let's put this diplomatically...

What's been “eating me” is that Rose ingests people in an entirely affectionate (or at least harmless, when it comes to Yamri being a nuisance) way and, while some people don't really understand my choices to make her a concept that exists now in the internet, some people seem to like it.

...A little “too much”.


Yeah. Thoughts like that make me think- In all religious sincerity- “My God, what have I started?”


Some days I can decide I am okay with this. Rose is after all, fluffy inside and out. To most, I feel, Rose may not be a favorite, but for all her quirkiness she is still just as approachable and huggable as the rest (Your Mileage May Vary on whether that ratio of huggable characters is too high or not), and they trust that I have greater plans for her than perpetually showcasing her strange extraterrestrial biology.
Think about it from her perspective, after all- She thinks she's normal. Prior to the events of the comic, she could go whole days not thinking about any of that, instead thinking about keeping the power on for her small colony, helping her friend Yamri with this and that and lending an ear. She'll play “horsey” with the kids, banter with the gate guard Phil, philosophize with the Red Magus from the nearby temple, and listen quietly to the reminiscing of the few old folks still alive who still remember when the colony was more crowded and less quiet. The colonists may have been surprised exactly once when someone ended up inside of her, but now they don't even blink.

Then some days I remember there are people who would not even consider any of the above for a second. She's just a pit-stop along the way on some addiction, fascination, or other form of obsession that's more important to them than any narrative I can craft with her.
I'm going to be a little blunt because I know for sure by now that people have noticed them. They know these people exist, and they know, to some slight extent, they come to Rose-Related content for it.

And that is why Rose is my most controversial character.



Now, why in the nine levels of heck would I keep her in the story, given any of this?

In no particular order, I have three reasons:
1. It's not like this kind of thing is a unique problem among creatives of any kind. As much as I don't like to think about it, characters of any amount of appeal from practically every genre have been made objects of sexual desire, paired sexually with any and every possible combination and put into any possible situation. Rule 34 of the “Rules of The Internet” famously stated “There is porn of it, no exceptions”, and as much as some might consider it an excuse or challenge (Hence Rule 35), it is my contention that it was meant to be a truism and little more. Heck,
Rose even knows herself. I just shouldn't be surprised it would happen. I'm way past any childhood naivete after all.
2. She's already in good company. Not of course that there are other species that behave as she does- What would be the point of Furtums as a narrative concept if they weren't unique? But similarly curious ideas have already been added to this comic, and I can already think of at least two-
Butter's hammerspace pouch for one, and the as of yet not present Aloene is a whole collection of strangeness to herself! Maybe the idea you should be getting is that I'm fond of often ridiculous levels of fluff, both in the vernacular and literal sense, but with all this in only the first arc and a half I feel anyone expecting a “normal” setting is in for a surprise.
3. Rose represents one of the fundamental things that makes VHV what it is- Odd, sometimes actually crazy and often silly ideas taken sincerely, grounded in the implications of a logically consistent setting and presented as seriously (or as playfully) as the given scenario expects. Because I've been slowly working through the series and therefore thinking about it, let's give Discworld as an example. Obviously Terry Pratchett's work differs significantly from mine and I don't dare say you are obligated to compare VHV to it in quality favorably, but for the uninitiated, Discworld takes place on a huge, flat disc in space sitting atop four gigantic elephants standing on a colossal turtle. By further example, It features talking cats and dogs, an “Oh God” of hangovers, dwarves that universally lack in sexual dimorphism and mostly prefer to keep it that way, an orangutan librarian, and most famously, Death, who becomes fascinated by the people he works with and has a couple of times grown very depressed because of the nature of the job. All these strange ideas, when you read the context given by their respective books, fall neatly into place in a not entirely serious setting which is nonetheless well crafted. It gives a guy like me hope as well as some inspiration, though I can't imagine what it's author would think if he knew I felt this way.

All this said, through some strange conflagration of ideas cropping up and being struck down again, and cropping up and being struck again, and on, and on, and on, here we are with a VHV that has Rose in it. She is a silly idea taken sincerely. Read the cast and lore pages some time if you like- I've done a lot of thinking about this setting and how it effects the story I have to tell.
And whatever I do with her, it is going to be to God's glory. I hope it is also to your entertainment and (healthy) fascination, and that VHV provides you with a bit to think about, hope for, smile about and laugh about, but I am a Christian and I've said before that I believe without God's help I would not be where I stand today, whether that includes long blog posts about warm, fluffy, mute alien creatures or no.

Sometimes I have my doubts about the characters I create, but I'm sure any author does for any kind of reason. What we do then is either have the confidence to say they fit the setting, or we fix them until we do.

I like Rose- I've worked very hard on her.

I hope you come to like her too.
...Just not “too much”.


10th Jan 2022, 8:49 AM
In honest sincerity, I often think with the hurdles we take as creators and trying to create new narrative, people often then not, look past the representation we try to set when it comes to introducing new characters, and their quirks.

I honestly think Rose is cute. I've always appreciated the oddity your comic had and it's one of the things that's drawn me into your story because...well it's sci-fi, I like sci-fi, and it's throughout the comic, it's dialogue, and the characters that you meet along the way, it's oddity is probably the most charming thing about it.

I've enjoyed all the social relationships you've set up thus far, having given each character something unique about themselves that make up how they treat one another and overall form their sense of community therein, that include Rose's own way of thinking and interaction with other's in the process.

So your way of tackling things is really what makes this comic enjoyable. Your script writing, the deep thoughts of development and topics you delved in, etc, really bring out what make a story, a story!

You've come a pretty long way from when you first started the comic too, and you've kept true to how you've wanted to present your story from beginning to current, so it definitely isn't something unnoticed, and I would hope that anyone reading VHV would appreciate that side of you. Afterall, it's the passion you have for your characters and their story that help learn more about the author, and your faith makes the oddity all the more enjoyable because of your sincerity in wanted to showcase it's innocence in the matter.

I recently went through very...not good interactions with my own characters. It's sad to think that people would throw away all of that creativity within these characters for more selfish reasons. But regardless of the matter, what matters most is what you feel upon the the situation as a whole, and how you continue to keep true to your feelings and representations.

VHV has had a lot of deep meanings throughout it's story. The characters are complex and understandable as you learn more about them, more about their community, and what they're striving for in the end. So through it all, it's oddity adds so much charm to the story and I only hope people are more appreciative of the development and future of these characters and not....well, the less family rated thinkings of it.

OVERALL, I'M BLABBERING, I really love your comic and it's very unique. I've enjoyed reading it when I can pick it up and I hope through it all, even if I'm just one person, it's a sign of hope that somewhere someone knows the means of what you're trying to convey. Don't let the weird side of other people stop you from doing something you've honestly put a lot of hard thought into. You're very creative and the story you pursue from here definitely has me tagging along for the ride. I hope in the end, that's how some of your other readers feel too.
10th Jan 2022, 8:58 AM
Thank you very much- It was well thought out and you don't need to be self conscious about it.

It really does help to know that I have people like you following my work- A.K.A. people interested in the story and setting. Sometimes other less than desirable interaction overwhelms that, but I think I can keep trucking. ^^
10th Jan 2022, 9:08 AM
I read a lot of web comics and I think the best advise other writers have given is just to write what you want and not be to concerned what some people think or do.
10th Jan 2022, 9:42 AM
It can be very hard at times, but I guess it's just a skill you have to work on. ^^
10th Jan 2022, 3:20 PM
Comment sections are some of the worst places on the internet. You shouldn't let anything written as a comment get to your head. (This also applies to unsolicited messages.)

Yes, I'm being ironic on purpose.
10th Jan 2022, 8:04 PM
VHV is one of the really FUN comics I read. (I find comics by looking on BelfryComics.net)
I have no problem with Rose - but I do wonder if/how she eats for nourishment.
10th Jan 2022, 8:15 PM
All there in the manual.
19th Jan 2022, 5:47 AM
Don't worry, Daaber, you haven't started anything at all. I know that feeling all too well, but "vore" was well-established as a fetish many years before this comic started. Compared to that lot, Rose is nothing; she's the sweetest and fluffiest there ever was. But perhaps you know that already. The problem is that some people will take any affection beyond a certain point, or any form of affection they don't recognize, to be sexual. Having made that connection, whether they love it or hate it hardly matters, they're being animalistic either way; letting their feelings override their respect for the author. It's worth remembering that some people seriously follow a similar line of thought with certain Bible passages, including far too many theologians who have every reason to know better. The Bible forms a consistent narrative if you use scripture to interpret scripture, but of course, people and governments want things their own way. Far too many religions have been only too happy to comply. Pride plays a role too; "deep" philosophy and "special" knowledge appeal to many, but see 1 Corinthians 3:19.
19th Jan 2022, 6:24 PM
Thank you very much for the thoughtful comment. I've made my piece with this conflicted feeling after a little while of ruminating on everyone's responses, so I think I'll be okay. ^^
21st Jan 2022, 8:16 PM
That's good. :)