TOUGH Alex Woolfson Vitto Vincent Lee
TOUGH Chapter One
Written by Alex Woolfson Pencils by Vitto Colors by Vincent Lee Cover Painting by Winona Nelson ÂŠ
2010 Alex Woolfson. All Rights Reserved. www.yaoi911.com
WE'VE BEEN WALKING FOR OVER AN HOUR. WHERE ARE WE GOING WITH THESE GUYS?
YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW, DO YOU?
YOU'LL FIND OUT WHEN WE GET THERE.
AND WHAT'S WITH THE BIG BAG?!
DON’T MAKE ME LOOK STUPID.
| MEAN IT.
WHAT IS THIS? WHAT ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO DO?
DON'T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A TWIST.
WE'RE JUST GOING TO GIVE ONE OF THESE FAGS A SCARE.
IT'S JUST A LAUGH, THAT'S ALL.
THIS IS LAME, LARRY. FOR REAL. LET'S JUST GO.
SEEMS LIKE YOUR LITTLE FRIEND ISN'T GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT OF THINGS, LAR.
HE'S UP FOR IT. IT'S JUST COLD AND HE'S GOT SKIN LIKE A GIRL.
WE AREN'T GOING TO BE HANGING FOR LONG.
THEY'LL BE OUT IN JUST A MINUTE.
'COURSE HOW HE BECAME SUCH AN EXPERT ON THIS MEETING IS SOMETHING WE ALL WANT TO KNOW.
HEY, JUST BECAUSE | LET YOUR DAD BLOW ME, DOESN'T MAKE ME A HOMO.
| JUST HAPPEN TO LIKE FLORISTS IS ALL.
C'MON, BRUCE, HAVING A FLORIST FOR A DAD IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED ABOUT.
| MEAN, YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT MR. SHEFFIELD DOES WITH POSIES AND BABIES BREATH --- TOTAL WORKS OF ART --
-- YOU'D LET HIM TOUCH YOU, TOO.
NOW, THE NAME "BRUCE", THOUGH, |'D SAY THAT'S SOMETHING TO BE-
SHUT UP, FUCKNUTS.
ONE OF THEM'S COMING...
WELL, WELL, WELL! WILL YOU LOOK AT THIS PRETTY YOUNG THING!
CHUCK, TELL ME, YOU EVER SEEN A BOY LOOK THIS PRETTY?
CAN'T SAY | HAVE, KEV. THE LIPS, THE HAIR...
HOW ABOUT YOU LAR? YOU EVER SEEN A BOY SO PRETTY?
NOPE. HE SURE IS AWFUL PRETTY FOR A BOY.
Y'KNOW, | BET HE WOKE UP IN THE MORNING ONE DAY, LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AND THOUGHT:
"DAMN, THIS FACE IS JUST TOO PRETTY FOR GIRLS. THEY DON'T DESERVE MY PRETTY FACE. | THINK |'M GOING TO TAKE IT UP THE ASS."
IF | WERE THAT PRETTY, HELL, | MIGHT JUST THINK THE SAME THING.
SO DID | GUESS RIGHT, FAGGOT? DID YOU JUST WAKE UP ONE MORNING AND DECIDE YOU WERE JUST TOO PRETTY FOR GIRLS?
IS THAT WHY YOU DECIDED TO RIDE THE HERSHEY HIGHWAY?
SHIT, WHO WOULDN'T?
YOU KEEPING SECRETS OR DO YOU JUST NOT KNOW WHY YOU DECIDED TO BECOME A FREAK OF NATURE?
WHAT? NO ANSWER?
WHY SO QUIET?
| THINK HE'S JUST BEING A BIT BASHFUL, KEV --
MYSELF EXCEPTED, OF COURSE. |'M OBVIOUSLY ONE UGLY-ASS FUCK.
YEAH. MAYBE HE WANTS…
-- Y'KNOW, BEING AROUND SO MANY STRONG, HANDSOME MEN.
NAH, IT'S GOTTA BE ALL ABOUT THAT PRETTY FACE. …MAYBE HE WANTS TO SUCK ALL OUR DICKS!
| THINK HE'S HOPING TO JUST TRADE ON THOSE GOOD LOOKS.
AM | RIGHT, KEV?
| THINK YOU'VE NAILED IT, BRUCE.
WITH A FACE LIKE THAT, YOU MIGHT THINK YOU'VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD AT YOUR FEET.
OF COURSE, LOOKS FADE.
PEOPLE GET OLD. DON'T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. GET INTO TERRIBLE ACCIDENTS.
ISN’T THAT RIGHT, CHUCK?
YEAH, KEV. |'D SAY, THAT'S… EXACTLY…
UM, WHAT THE HELL, MIKEY?
EVERYONE JUST STOP. JUST STOP.
GUYS, THIS IS GOING WAY TOO FAR.
LAR, IT SEEMS LIKE YOUR LITTLE FRIEND IS BEING A LITTLE BITCH.
THINK YOU CAN GET HIM WITH THE PROGRAM SO WE CAN GET ON WITH OUR NIGHT?
YEAH, THIS IS LIKE TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL.
AND LARRY, YOU VOUCHED FOR HIM AND EVERYTHING.
WE'RE ALL DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU.
YEAH, YEAH! | GOT IT!
WELL, HE LOOKED PRETTY SCARED TO ME.
FOR FUCK'S SAKE, MIKE, WHAT THENO, LARRY, THIS IS BULLSHIT! THEY SAID THEY WERE JUST GOING TO SCARE HIM!
YES. HE WAS. AND THEN YOU GOT ALL CHICKENSHIT AND STARTED SCREAMING LIKE A LITTLE GIRL.
YOU WERE GOING TO ACTUALLY HIT HIM!
WELL, THAT'S NOT O.K.!
WHAT IF YOU KILLED HIM?! THEN WHAT?!
UH HUH. SO… YOU THINK HITTING FAGS IS WRONG.
| THINK HITTING ANYONE WITH A BAT IS
WELL, WELL, WELL. SEEMS YOUR LITTLE BUDDY'S GOT PRINCIPLES, LAR.
BROUGHT UP RIGHT.
| RESPECT THAT.
FRIEND TO ALL.
BUT SOMETIMES IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHAT ONE REALLY BELIEVES UNTIL IT'S PUT TO THE TEST, Y'KNOW?
SOMETIMES WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO TURNS OUT TO BE THE VERY WRONG THING TO DO.
SO LET ME THROW THIS LITTLE POP QUIZ AT YOU, MIKEY --
-- JUST TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHERE YOU REALLY STAND.
HIM OR US. MAKE YOUR CHOICE.
IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A LAUGH. THIS IS STUPID.
NO, MIKEY-BOY, THIS IS REAL LIFE. HIM OR US. MAKE YOUR CHOICE.
FAGS DON'T GET BATS. UH UH UH! NO CHEATING NOW!
GUYS. C'MON. LET'S JUST DROP THIS AND GO.
STOP BEING AN IDIOT, MIKE. CUT THIS SHIT OUT AND COME OVER HERE! WE NEED TO FINISH THIS THING.
GOD DAMN YOU GUYS…
RIGHT THEN. THAT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE A CHOICE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK, BRUCE? | THINK HE'S MADE HIS CHOICE.
SO… MAYBE TWO LESSONS NEED TO BE TAUGHT-
JESUS CHRIST ON A CRACKER, YOU GUYS LIKE TO TALK!
HEY, WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING, FAGGOT?
WELL, THAT'S A BIG
TO THE MAN IN CHARGE!
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!
YOU LITTLE FUCKER -- THAT WAS A NICE LITTLE TRICK BUT YOU THINK IT'S OVER NOW? YOU THINK YOU CAN TAKE ALL OF US? THAT WHAT YOU THINK?!
| THINK IT'S THREE ON TWO NOW.
WAY | SEE IT, THAT'S ALMOST A FAIR FIGHT.
IS THAT WHAT YOU BOYS WERE LOOKING FOR? A FAIR FIGHT?
SO… YOU THINK IT'S THREE ON TWO, HUH?
IS THAT RIGHT, MIKEY? THAT REALLY WHAT THIS IS? THREE ON TWO?
WAY | HEARD IT -- | WAS EITHER WITH YOU… OR | WAS WITH HIM.
WELL, | SURE AS SHIT AIN'T WITH YOU.
BRUCE! HE'S REALLY HURT! HIS ARM'S LIKE BLEEDING. | THINK | CAN SEE THE BONE. WE NEED TO GET HIM TO AN E.R. OR SOMETHING, LIKE RIGHT AWAY!
WELL… | GUESS IT'S JUST YOUR LUCKY DAY, FAGGOT.
OH, YOU'D BE SURPRISED HOW OFTEN | GET LUCKY WITH LITTLE CLOSET CASES LIKE YOU.
YOU FUCKING SON OF A-!
FOR FUCK'S SAKE, BRUCE, LEAVE HIM! LET'S GO!
ALL RIGHT! FINE!
AND WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
|'M WITH YOU GUYS!
THEN C'MON ALREADY!
GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!
WE'LL SEE YOU AROUND, MIKEY. LOOK FOR US. | MEAN IT.
WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT… …LOOK FOR US.
OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE…
FUCK. HEH. YEAH.
SO, UH… YOU REALLY GAY?
IT'S JUST THAT… YOU WERE SO TOUGH.
Y'KNOW, FOR A GAY GUY.
YEAH. | GET THE MEMOS AND EVERYTHING.
THAT THING YOU DID WITH THE BAT --
-- WAS THAT SOME KIND OF MARTIAL ARTS MOVE OR SOMETHING?
NOT REALLY. YOUR PALS JUST WEREN'T LOOKING FOR A REAL FIGHT, THAT'S ALL.
CHEERLEADING PRACTICE. |'M BALLS WITH THE BATON.
| DON’T KNOW.
SO… UH…WHAT NOW?
UHHH… HEY, WOAH! WHO SAID | WAS GAY?!
| JUST DIDN'T| JUST WASN'T DOWN WITH WHAT THEY WERE DOING IS ALL.
WANT TO COME BACK TO MY PLACE AND MESS AROUND?
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN |'M GAY OR ANYTHING!
IT'S JUST THAT MY MOM'S OUT WORKING TONIGHT AND |'VE GOT HARD LEMONADE AND XBOX.
SEEMS LIKE YOU'VE GOT NOTHING BETTER TO DO…
YOU GOT LEFT 4 DEAD?
AND HOW MUCH HARD LEMONADE?
ENOUGH FOR PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY.
JUST SO YOU KNOW -- THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE ANY KISSING.
OUR LIPS AREN'T COMING ANYWHERE NEAR EACH OTHER.
SO IS MIKEY YOUR REAL NAME?
WELL, IT'S VERY NICE -- AND VERY WEIRD -- TO MEET YOU, MIKE.
WELL, NICE AND WEIRD TO MEET YOU, TOO.
BUT | MEAN IT, WHAT | SAID -- NO KISSING.
| DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU MIGHT BE THINKING BUT |'M NOT LIKE THAT. |'M NOT A FAG OR ANYTHING.
UH, HUH. Y'KNOW, MIKE?
HOW ABOUT YOU CUT THE WHOLE “| AIN'T NO FAG” BULLSHIT BEFORE | HAVE TO KICK YOUR ASS TOO?
NOW… LET'S TRY THIS AGAIN.
AUTHOR NOTES When I was a teenager, wrestling with the truth that I liked guys, I longed to see stories of gay action heroes. Not sympathetic victims of bigotry, not brave plague survivors, not funny best friends—heroes. Gay boys who could save themselves, save the day and get the guy. I still crave those stories. It’s why I started the Yaoi 911 project and, out of all the comics we’re working on, the Tough storyline speaks most directly to that 15-year-old Alex. The idea for this first chapter came from a recurring daydream I’ve had since I was that kid: of a gay guy turning the tables on a gang of fag bashers. Just like in those daydreams, Rob grabs the bat out of the hands of his attacker and then kicks serious ass. In my fantasies, that’s me doing the ass-kicking. But this comic adds an additional character who was never part of my fantasy—Mike, a Filipino-American kid, who’s faced with the choice of participating in something he knows is wrong or becoming a victim himself. And strangely, it’s that new character I identify with the most. It’s easy to be heroic when you can wield a bat like Errol Flynn, but the rest of us are faced with hard choices: Do you confront that gay joke and risk being seen as a politically-correct kill-joy? Do you come out at work and risk losing that promotion? Do you dare to tell your parents who you really are and risk losing their love? Do you hold hands with your boyfriend in public and risk getting the crap kicked out of you? In this case, Mike would say he didn’t have any choice at all: there was no way he was going to smash an innocent kid’s face with a bat, no matter what it cost him. His bravery and nobility are traits I wish to find in myself. And for me, that’s heroism. My real-life heroes, though, are the artists who put in so many hours to create these pages. Tough’s penciler, Vitto, drew simply beautiful characters with amazing expressions. (Panel 2 on Page 33 where Mike says “You’re funny” is stunningly true-to-life.) Based in Paraguay, he was an absolute joy to work with: he delivered excellent work quickly and completely understood what was needed from my script (despite English being a second language!) Local Bay Area colorist, Vincent Lee, gave just the right look for Vitto’s naturalistic style with subtle renderings and great color choices. (And he’s a fellow geek—I had a blast dissecting sci-fi/ fantasy stories when we met in the local cafés.) And I simply LOVE the painting Winona Nelson came up with for our cover—I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect (and it’s hanging right now in my kitchen as a canvas print). I feel very, very lucky and humbled to have found these artists. They inspire me to try to be a much better writer.
But, dude, where’s the sex?! With a name like Yaoi 911, that’s a fair question. I do want Tough to touch on great themes like heroism and sacrifice, but a lot of it is about the love. And I promise, you won’t have to wait long to enjoy it! Chapter Two is already finished and I’ll be sending that out to Yaoi 911 News & Downloads subscribers on May 1, 2010. Sure, it’s called “No Kissing” but it takes places in Rob’s bedroom and you know how we writers like to be all ironical and stuff. If you’re looking for romance, you won’t be disappointed.
Want more? Support us! This is going to be a great year for Yaoi 911. Chapter One of Tough is finished. Chapter Two will be sent out in May. And it looks like our first full graphic novel, the 90-page sci-fi romance Artifice, will be done by the fall. If you like the kind of work we’re creating, then please support us by letting others know about our comics and by purchasing some of our merchandise. Even just a couple dollars makes a huge difference—and you get cool things sent to you! I’m offering PDFs of my comic scripts at The Yaoi 911 Store for $1.99 each. You can get a highend print of Winona’s beautiful cover art for as little as $19.98 (with or without the scary bat shadows in the background. Trust me, it will look just awesome in your bedroom.) Greeting cards are just $4.99 and look great on your refrigerator. Finally, you can get official Yaoi 911 T-shirts, magnets and even postage stamps (Hi, Grandma!) over at our Zazzle store. (Wear our T-shirts and soon everyone will be looking for your help with “all their Yaoi emergencies”!) And if you have a blog or Facebook or Twitter account, please let everyone know about our work and send them to our Free Comics page! That’s a great way to help us too!
Thank you very much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this first chapter of Tough. Even though it’s a story I’ve always wanted to see, making these comics is really all about you. If our work has made you smile even once, then it’s all worth it. Please let me know what you thought! Nothing matters more than hearing back from our readers. And if you did like this comic, let me tell you, the best is yet to come! Two new stories, lots of action, lots of kissing, lots of good, sexy fun—all in the next 12 months. I’m really proud of the comics we’re finishing now. I think you’re going to love what we send you next! Alex Woolfson - www.yaoi911.com