The final volume of the Maddie in America series, where the continuing strain on the same-sex romance of Siobhan and Ebony is finally brought to a frightening head.
After a fun-filled day out, Maddie and Andy have consummated their love for the first time. However, while this has strengthened their adoration for each other, it has only increased a seething jealously inside Siobhan, who desperately wants to love Ebony in the same way but continues to be troubled by the constant fear of homophobia.
The situation is brought to a tense climax when she encounters a friendly but outspoken lesbian named Yvonne at the hotel bar, firing up her repressed, lustful feelings inside and putting her relationship with an increasingly suspicious Ebony in serious doubt.
Originally going under the working title of ‘The Temptations of Siobhan Pattinson’, Volume 6 is the one I’ve been anticipating the most, in fact, it was the first part of the story I considered when writing Maddie in America, largely because of its content. This truly is the culmination of Siobhan and Ebony’s deteriorating relationship, the pair having spent so much time hiding their sexuality and unable to be open that they’re love is starting to fall apart.
One of the more interesting aspects of this comic is the fact that Maddie and Andy have very little involvement in what occurs within its pages, in fact, they’re barely in it at all. Originally, Maddie was to have a bigger role in helping to resolve the issues between the two, but as I continued to write this part of the story I felt that it was starting to get a bit repetitive, with a lot of lines and situations mirroring those done in MOTIH. Eventually, I settled upon the idea that Siobhan and Ebony should resolve their problems themselves as the idea of romance and sex is a bit too personal for the intervention of friends. Indeed Maddie helped Siobhan come out and hitched the two girls together in the previous series, but as their romance deepens there are certain points where Maddie, as a close friend and not a relative, couldn’t really intervene without coming across as prying.
I also feel it leads to some nice character moments between Siobhan and Ebony, showing that they can rely on themselves to resolve these issues without Maddie’s assistance. Though they appreciate her help greatly, they do have to stand up for themselves at some points; people can take advice and second opinions, but there are moments where you really need to settle these issues through your own gumption and determination, especially one as personal as what Siobhan was going through.
Now, perhaps the most controversial thought regarding this volume is Siobhan’s motivations. I ran the first-draft past a friend of mine who told me that he feared Siobhan’s motivations were a touch shallow and that she’d stopped being a relatable teenage girl and has instead become some horny caricature. Basically, and this is no slight on her, that’s her character. As established in MOTIH, Siobhan, in spite of being a kind but quiet person, is very sexually active because of her bisexual nature, again, based off my own experiences.
As hard to believe as this may be (I know it was a shocker when I found out), bisexuals are much more sexually active than either hetero or homosexuals. They fantasise, are stimulated and masturbate more than average, though reasons as to why are a bit of a grey area, most arguing that it’s because of the dual attraction to both genders. In any case, I’ve written Siobhan to be an example of this, not just some horny girl who wants to have sex because I’m trying to make a hentai, but to distinguish my story and give it a little more than just a faceless ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner’ style sexploitation work. The thing that brings Siobhan back from being just some randy schoolgirl is the fact that she has doubts, she has an internal conflict that makes her feel shame and guilt, rather than just being some promiscuous slut who’s the way she is because that’s just the way it goes. Most of all though, she doesn’t actually masturbate over Yvonne in the end, saving it all for her one true love out of nought but honesty, both for herself and Ebony.
As with so many things, I like to take time out to examine motivations and feelings, not just write a story based around a sex scene. I feel that if we’re given time (not too much time otherwise it gets boring) to understand our character’s personality, talk it over, generally put ourselves on the same page as them, then it helps to excuse some of their actions.
Let’s not forget, she’s also a teenager and, for those who have been living in a cave all their lives, sexual urges in people happen long before they’re 18. By the time a person hits 15, of either gender, their hormones are screaming louder than the crowd at an Iron Maiden concert, and Siobhan, even with her attraction to other girls, is no different. It’s a time of much stress and anxiety, either through physical/mental development or through finding a place in the world, and indulging in sexual acts is essentially nature’s relief (though that’s not an excuse to fly in the face of common sense and responsibility, wear a condom kids (There, I’ve done my little PSA bit, we can now move on with our lives)).
To help push Siobhan over the edge I needed a suitable catalyst; enter Yvonne. Yvonne was actually the first person I thought of when writing this because I wanted to create the conflict that would bring the situation to a tense peak and eventual resolution. However, I didn’t want to write Yvonne as some kind of development deprived hussy put into the scene just to get the plot moving. Like with many of the people my characters interact with (no matter how trivial), I wanted to give her a bit more development as to why she acts the way she acts. Yvonne is based on a bisexual girl I knew at university during my Msc. course, quite outspoken in her opinions as to her sexuality and would defend it with her life when questioned or criticised. At the same time she was very playful and a real practical joker, but apparently had no concept of personal space. She enjoyed teasing other women around her by pretending to be coming onto them, either through saying lewd things (e.g. “You ever been licked out by a dark-haired girl before?” (Now that was a giggle!)) or by gently rubbing them on the legs or arms.
Much like Yvonne she told me that she’d been doing this ever since she determined her sexuality in secondary school and she liked to call it her ‘Homophobia Test’, basically seeing how other girls reacted. If they jumped three feet in the air and called her a Dyke, that, to her, was a fail, but if they saw the humour in it and laughed, that was a pass. University really does bring around some of the most interesting people (when they’re not alcoholic, drug addicted lowlifes keeping me up at 5am and smashing the kitchen to pieces!).
However, she is very much the linchpin behind everything that goes on in this volume. As established over the series, Siobhan is getting quite desperate, which ultimately leads to her curious temptation, stimulation for another woman, and misunderstanding between her and Ebony. I didn’t, however, want to turn this conflict into one of those god-awful rom-com tropes where the couple have a misunderstanding or they do something stupid, hate each other with unforgivable vitriol for the third-act, then spontaneously get back together in the last 5 minutes for no real reason other than plot. In this instance, I felt it was better that they face the matter head-on, early-on, rather than just page after page of characters moping and doping around while we check our watches and take guesses as to how long it’ll be until they get back together.
The problem that most of these idiotic rom-coms have is that the characters don’t talk to each other. There’s a ton of screaming, angry words, personal insults, a pop-song by Elton John plays and then they hook back up. This is something I wanted to dispel in my work, have Ebony and Siobhan talk, have them solve their problems as real human beings would. Ebony, especially, would do this, seeing as even though she can be a flighty and sometimes silly girl, she knows when to be serious, she’s never afraid to stand up against a problem no matter what it is, and she knows how to get the truth out of Siobhan, as demonstrated before in MOTIH Volume 3. But, the pair talking it over and solving their problem helps highlight flaws inside both of them; Siobhan being too impulsive and letting her sexuality get the better of her, while Ebony had allowed herself to get too overwhelmed by the new world around her, taking Andy’s advise too much to heart and forgetting the fact that she has a girlfriend with wants and needs.
So, with the problems resolved, what about the sex scene?
Well, I’ll say this right now, I’m quite proud of what I’ve done here, even more so than the last sex scene. Again, like in Volume 5, I wanted a passionate and deep love scene, a really tender moment between the two girls after spending the entire series being so restrained. I felt it was now time to let these two off the hook and follow their affections moment by moment, step by step. I like to show passion; the inflections, the movements, facial expressions, twitching, sweating, breathing, watching humans put their conscious self in the back seat and turn into animals for a few minutes.
Now some people complained that the sex scene between Maddie and Andy was too tepid because you don’t see the whole of their bodies as they get it on. I refer you to my page for Volume 5 and will repeat the statement that I’m not making a pornographic comic, I’m just making a romantic graphic novel that’s a touch more in-depth but not too far out of the field that it ends up being in bad taste. However, seeing as they are both girls and therefore have no external genitals, I could draw a lot more angles for their love scenes while censoring the naughty stuff with some convenient placement of Siobhan’s pubic hair.
For those who are sad that they can’t see everything in every anatomical detail, either go and look it up elsewhere or, better yet, go to medical school and become a Gynecologist (though if your motivations are more for perving on women’s privates and not so you can do a good and useful job, then I’d recommend the first option!)
And yes, I have encountered a book called ‘Lesbian Sexual Practices’ before. I found it in a shop in France (of all places), and it literally went through step-by-step how two women can make love to each other, illustrated through drawings and pictures with their own description, though it was in French so I couldn’t understand what it written!
Overall though, this volume, and indeed this series, was both a challenge and a charm. To create this massive, massive piece of work was difficult, and when I started out in August 2015 I really thought I’d bitten off more than I can chew. But after nearly two and a half years of drawing and writing, my work has finally culminated in this six-part series.
Thanks again to everyone who has helped support and follow me all the way through this lengthy but incredibly fun series.
See you next time! 😀