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Webcomic / The Meek

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"Find the center, the lost one will know the way. A woman who cries but sheds no tears, and a man who hates in the name of love."
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The Meek, by writer and artist Der-shing Hilmer is a graphic novel about Angora, an inexperienced young girl who has been sent on a quest to save the world. War looms on the horizon, and at its helm is Luca DeSadar, the Emperor of the North, and his hellish adviser. The two countries are overwhelmed with as much terror, crime, disease and revolution as they are with those who wish to create peace. Soli is a woman looking for money and revenge, though not necessarily in that order; what's her role in all this? Armed with only her instincts and an unexplainable power Angora must experience and judge the world to decide once and for all if it is truly worth saving.

Readers take warning, the first chapter is definitely Not Safe for Work. You know, 'cause Angora's naked for most of it.

Its Kickstarter for print publishing for the first Volume (aka the first three chapters) is here.

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The Meek contains examples of:

  • Accidental Pun: See Curse Cut Short.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Meekipedia provides loads of background information on the setting, characters and different cultures.
    • The comic's DeviantART gallery contains several sketches, including those of characters who won't be appearing for a few chapters.
  • Arranged Marriage: In chapter five we find out that Luca has arranged for his teenage daughter Rana to marry to his friend Ulyer Derisma, a man his own age. Needless to say, Rana isn't happy about it, especially since she's already in a Secret Relationship with someone else.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Tesa, though it bites her in the ass in the next page. Her companion Lethy on the other hand seems to be much better at it.
  • Attempted Rape: The very first scene features Angora dashing naked through the woods, pursued by three men who haven't "seen one woman for months," and are "not losing this one." She's saved by her own running skills and the interference of an angry drunk. Worth noting is that Angora appears to have no idea what they wanted to do to her.
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  • Author Appeal: The author admits to liking sideburns and gloves, Pinter has sideburns while Luca happens to have both. The author is also a trained biologist, and though not blatant this knowledge does show up in the comic.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Luca, who earlier in life qualified for Asskicking Equals Authority, and Amen.
  • Background Halo: The cover of the first chapter.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Pretty much averted in the first chapter, but Angora's showing signs of it in the fourth.
  • Banana Republic: The Northern Territories ruled by Emperor Luca seem to have aspects of this, including background information that he dissolved the cabinet and essentially became a dictator.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Luca and Phe started out like this (it's stated in the Wiki that they didn't get along too well when they first met) and even after about two decades of marriage still have a bit of this, including fairly frequent arguments that involve things getting thrown. They do however deeply and sincerely love each other and always make up.
  • Berserk Button
    • Don't spill any of Pinter's booze.
    • Or badmouth Angora's hair.
    • Or tell Luca the Carissi aren't enemies.
    • Or tell Soli she doesn't understand sacrifice.
  • Bifauxnen: Soli. Lethy, too.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Pinter towards Angora. Yes, he finds her irritating, but it's obvious he's protective of her, especially when would-be rapist Kiz is around.
    • Suda towards Hyla, who's grieving for their dead mother. He gives her comfort and attention when no one else does.
  • Brick Joke: The wen in the first page of chapter one appears again at the end of the chapter, and he finally got his fruit.
  • By The Book Officer: Amen.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Queen Symon Amakessar refuses to take any responsibility for the brutal war that her father waged against the Northern Territories. Luca points out, quite rightly, that it was not her father alone that committed atrocities against his people. And then Phe points out that everyone who did commit those atrocities is now dead, so there's no one left to be held responsible.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: As testament to the skill of the artist, despite the relatively simple art style no two characters look exactly alike.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first chapter is pretty lighthearted for the most part, but Chapters 2 and 3 certainly aren't following suit.
  • Closed Door Rapport: Phe locks her husband Luca out of their bedroom after a heated argument got out of hand and gives him an ultimatum; he can have his revenge, or her, but not both. It's not until Luca apologises does Phe open the door and drag him inside for make-up sex.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Unintentional; the author eventually realized that Luca and Phe bore an uncanny resemblence to the Shah of Iran and his wife.
    "I hate when people retroactively steal my character designs."
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Luca cradles his wife's body for an extended period of time after her death here.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Cryptic inner monologue, technically. Although, if if you keep an eye out, you may be able to find some answers.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Alamand: It's hotter than a donkey's buttho—
    Soli: Alamand.
    Alamand: —out there.
    • Earlier:
    Pinter: What the h-
    Angora: Hello!
  • Decoy Protagonist: In a fit of Genre Savvy-ness, the author chose to have Innocent Fanservice Girl Angora head up the first chapter. After grabbing everyone's attention with Rule of Sexy, the more mature character of Luca was introduced in chapter two, and Soli in chapter three. Angora is still a main character, she's just Out of Focus due to the comics use of Rotating Arcs.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Luca's values (especially his views on women and his own wife and daughters) are quite deliberately politically incorrect and sexist, reflecting the culture he comes from.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Pinter: You can start by putting on a shirt like a god-damned normal, modest, respectable, civilized, sane, normal person!
    Angora: You said "normal" twice!
  • Diesel Punk: Emperor Luca's army and technology are pretty much 1930s.
  • Divine Chessboard: The gods of this universe interact with mortals and influence their decisions. One is starting a war between the humans, and the other is trying to prevent it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A Parsoi sea captain allows a small smuggling boat with a all-Carissi crew to sail through Luca's territory. Rather than put the captain on trial or investigate the matter further, Luca executes him.
    • Done with Tesa earlier as well. There's no proof that she and Lethy murdered Phe. They're only suspects. Nevertheless, Luca kills her, because he just so happened to have his hands on her at the time, and because she's Carissi.
  • Domestic Abuse: Although it's well known that Luca and Phe fight and then make up, the arrival of the ambassadors causes Luca to cross the line. Der-Shing outright says that their relationship is unhealthy and dysfunctional on many levels. And yet, they're Happily Married with bouts of great make-up sex and plenty of Heartwarming Moments between them.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Rana eavesdropping on her parents gives the reader backstory on Luca and the current political climate.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The boss of Tyros wears one, which seems to cover his missing left eye.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Etan.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Averted. The three ethnicities aren't like any found on earth, though the Pasori are kind of like very militant Finno-Ugric people and the Carissi have a Byzantium vibe to their architecture. Pinter is a member of a quasi-ethnic religious minority that proclaims their faith with distinctive clothing similar to Judaism. The physical setting somewhat resembles turn of the 20th century South America with both rainforest and desert frontiers.
  • Fan Disservice: Angora is not exactly meant to be played for fanservice, and Luca's sending an enemy captain to drown and/or freeze to death buck naked in the sea isn't the prettiest sight in the world.
  • Flash Back: Revealing that Angora was once more "normal" to use Pinter's expression, instead of the Cloud Cuckoo Lander nature girl she appears to be now. Presumably her "normal" stage was before she met "Grandfather".
  • Foreign Cuss Word: When Luca gets mad he reverts to his native language of Basori, which apparently has quite colorful insults. The author won't say exactly what he's saying, but it's easy enough to fill in the blanks.
  • Foreshadowing: "You can have your revenge, Luca, or you can have me. But you won't have both." As one commenter put it after page 33 of chapter 2, "Well, that solves that problem".
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: Soli has been known to chat with the readers.
  • Freak Out!: Luca after Phe is killed.
    • Hyla in chapter five when Luca fails to show up at the promised time.
  • From Bad to Worse: Much worse. Also, Luca's life in general.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Pinter's behavior toward Angora is rather cranky and he has a tendency to flip out, but he's also protective of her and agrees to help her on her quest.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: You know you have a complex plot when a dictator who silences dissidents is the only person holding the morally correct position in the aftermath of a war.
  • Groin Attack: Happens to Kiz. He deserved it, though.
  • Hair Colors: Although it's a fantasy comic, everyone has natural hair colors- with one obvious exception. Angora has green hair, but this is not considered normal. It's been described as both green and mossy and it apparently blooms. Flashbacks show it to have originally been a normal brown.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The kid boss of the Tyros trade network is shot at the heart while trying to get the kids to escape from soldiers.
  • Hope Spot: The comic where it briefly looks like Luca won't go on a murderous rampage after Phe's death.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Pinter berates Angora for not respecting his personal space. Her response? Getting right into his face and screaming, "Yes I do!"
    • Later on Luca insists to his wife Phe that he doesn't need her help, only to need her help fastening his jacket. Supplemental material says that several of his fingers were broken in the past so it's possible that he really can't do it himself.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: "Next time you’re at a dinner party at which you are accused of murdering the host’s wife, remember to wear waterproof mascara! Rookie error."
  • In Medias Res: Angora and Soli's chapters start off this way.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Angora. She arrives in the comic nude, sees no need to dress, and is downright confused when people ask her about it. She does put on a pair of pants (and only pants) at the end of the first chapter, which Word of God says is an allegory for her losing her innocence during her trip. Interestingly, Angora lived in a commune called "The Monastery," a sort of druidic community deep in the jungle, however, they did not encourage (nor share in) her nudism.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: See Hypocritical Humor above.
  • Kid Sidekick: Alamand appears to be this for Soli.
  • Killed Off for Real: Phe.
  • Laughing Mad: Luca, when Phe is dead. A much weaker, possibly mocking version comes from offscreen shortly afterward courtesy of the Dagre . What shows someone losing it better than Dissonant Laughter?
  • Literary Allusion Title: To the Bible: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5)
  • Little "No": Luca, and the context is one hell of a Tear Jerker.
    "Oh no. No. No. No."
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Luca and Phe. Subverted in that their children aren't persecuted for mixed heritage, and they don't seem to be either anymore (this could be because Luca is a badass dictator and you don't mess with him).
  • Meaningful Background Event: The coughing in page 31 of chapter 2. See also this page and look very closely at the cover of chapter 2.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter three starts off as a rather hilarious chapter, but then, shortly after introducing the boss, all the kids are forced to retreat from raiding soldiersand a gunshot implies that the boss was killed.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Amen, if the reader's responses to his introduction are anything to go by.
  • Naked on Arrival: Angora. It doesn't stop at "arrival."
  • Nightmare Face: Good God, Luca.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Angora heals Tanome after finding her wounded and unconscious in the forest. Unfortunately Tanome turns out to be a homicidal religious fundamentalist fanatic who responds with violence instead of gratitude.
  • Obviously Evil: The Dagre may be this.
  • Oh, Crap!: Tesa's face when she realizes Phe listened to her insulting her husband. Lethy, on the other hand, seems to be mentally screaming at her companion.
  • Open the Iris: "Just watch!"
  • The Password Is Always Something's Butt: Apparently, the kids in the hideout have a one-track mind.
  • Parental Neglect: By chapter five, Luca has lost all interest in his children, except for training his son Suda to be a ruthless leader. Rana confronts him about this.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Angora collapses after the first time she uses her nature powers.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Delivered by Luca before burning Tesa's face off.
    Tesa: I was so worried!
    Luca: That was wise.
  • Rotating Arcs: so far it's been Angora, Luca, Soli by chapter. The comic is currently on Chapter five, meaning it's Luca's turn again, presumably Soli will be the focus of chapter six.
  • Sadistic Choice: Happens twice. First in chapter four, when Angora is forced by Tanome to choose between leaving the travelling group without a map (and dying in the jungle) or dying by spear impalement. Neither happens. She and Pinter escape from her and her husband Etan. The second time happens in chapter five when Luca forces a sea captain to choose between Suicide by Sea or Instant Death Bullet, for the crime of allowing a small Carissi boat (crewed by his friends) to sail through Luca's territory. He chooses the sea, and Suda, who silently witnesses the whole thing in horror, throws up afterwards.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Luca would like you to know that he do not—- is not crying.
  • Sarashi: Soli wears one as a chest-binding.
  • Scenery Censor: Conveniently placed props or limbs obscure Angora's nether regions, but nipples are fair game to show. Although the penultimate panel of page 15 resorts to Barbie Doll Anatomy.
  • Scenery Porn: The author is a biologist and she really knows her stuff. The whole comic is visually stunning.
  • Shown Their Work: Der-Shing is a biology major, and even thought the webcomic is fantasy, it shows. One prime example is the depictions of a poisoning and a subsequent tracheotomy. All in lovingly non-Gory Discretion Shot rendered detail.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Chapter one deals with Angora near a rural logging camp, while chapter 2 is focused on Luca within a (presumably) large city. Chapter 3 is about Soli, and begins in a desert.
  • Slasher Smile: "In Pasori culture, toothy smiling does not connote good humour."
  • Spit Take: This comic.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Most of Angora's story arc is actually told from Pinter's viewpoint.
  • Tank Goodness: Suda returns from the front in a beautifully rendered Infantry Tank Mark II, aka "Matilda". Which is a good pick because it exemplifies all of the visual features people associate with tanks while also underlining the pre-modern atmosphere of the setting.
  • The Conscience: Luca's conscience appears to him in the form of his own younger self. He's torn between listening to him and listening to The Dagre.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Angora's Grandfather, a giant olm (cave salamander), warned her cryptically of Luca, who associates with a giant, ghostly tiger.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Luca and Phe. He's shorter than her and is implied to be The Napoleon.
  • Title Drop: In this page, Alamand refers to the chapter title "Water in the Desert."
  • Treacherous Advisor: Luca's Spirit Advisor The Dagre doesn't come off as a very nice or benevolent sort. Not even to Luca.
  • Wall of Blather: During Luca's dinner.
  • Wham Episode: Page 32 of Chapter 2. This can't end well. Adding to the wham this was the first page put up after a hiatus due to computer trouble and The Rant contained several bits of good news, resulting in a rather jarring experience.
  • Wham Line: Chapter 5 closes with a hell of a wham line, particularly given who the speaker is. The author even lampshaded it in the commentary for the strip, saying "If you want, go back and reread [the chapter], some of the scenes might have a different weight now."
    Rana: The Emperor must die.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Happens to Tesa here.


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