CONTENT WARNING: this comic depicts medical abuse and psychiatric institutionalization.

96

12th Apr 2021, 2:51 PM
96
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Comments:

redleaveshavefallen 12th Apr 2021, 2:57 PM
OW??? ow.
Guest 12th Apr 2021, 2:57 PM
the wibbly hug backgrounds... so good
aooo 12th Apr 2021, 3:19 PM
i love this comic thank u for making it, i reread it a lot
jamie 12th Apr 2021, 5:24 PM
me too
pineapple_headache 12th Apr 2021, 3:36 PM
OUCH the variety of meanings that last line has, especially considering the hug immediately before really does manage to turn a negative phrase into something well meaning, whether Kim's focusing more on her next attempt succeeding or sugar no longer going for the treatments- OH SHIT THIS REALLY ADDS A BIGGER PICTURE TO DROP-OUT'S ENDING I JUST REALIZED THAT WHILE TYPING

I have so many things to say about this page, I'll try to spare ya an essay but WOW I adore Sugar and her desperateness to convince kim that the broken system is capable of fixing on a micro level, while still being convinced her specific problems are something wrong with her. It's obvious that she didn't get the perfect childhood she insists she did, but her stubbornness on brushing that aside in favor of helping others before, during, and after these 2 comics really says a lot about her.

Also Fink + Karen used to be my most hated characters but this hyena nurse has officially blown it out of the water. Kim and Sugar easily got the most support from each other in those moments and her brusque manner of ending that prematurely without a hint of regret is fucking hideous. I understand breaking up fights or harassment, but they've let the patients get into verbal arguments repeatedly. So. Fuck the patients I guess.

Bittersweet endings that don't give a clean conclusion to a messy situation are some of my absolute favorites, I adore being left with something for my brain to mull over, especially if I never come to a 'satisfying' conclusion. I know there's a small handful of pages left, but this is seriously one of those few endings that's given me that joy of picking through bittersweet ambiguity. Seriously, I could count them on one hand. Thank you so much for staying strong and continuing these stories, and giving us Sugar Kysley, and not being afraid to write about a complicated situation and the many, many different ways people can respond on either side of the power dynamic here, for better or for worse <3
zuzi 13th Apr 2021, 12:07 AM
With Kim there's the possibility that Sugar convinced her not to attempt again and maybe that's what she meant by "I hope I never see you again"?
**SPOILERS FOR DROP-OUT**
That, like Lola, Kim not attempting again is a way to keep Sugar from attempting again as a means of mutual assurance (an I won't if you won't type thing). Like maybe this is just me being hopeful, but there really is just a lot of ways to interpret that line and I'm really curious as to what Sugar got out of it (and if we'll ever know)
EveryCaptain 12th Apr 2021, 4:06 PM
This one made me cry. There's so much good emotional weight.
Guest 12th Apr 2021, 4:22 PM
OWWWW.....,,,,
Guest 12th Apr 2021, 4:35 PM
"I hope I never see you again"

my heart literally skipped a beat
Guest 12th Apr 2021, 5:04 PM
i know right what a badass parting line
prettypinkpansy 12th Apr 2021, 5:17 PM
the way sugar's ears sag in the last panel kills me

(sad cartoon sound effect)

beautiful work as always, sugar's eyes are gorgeous and compelling and her expressions endearing as usual, and kim's hair is beautifully rendered. which is kind of a silly-sounding detail to focus on relative to the rest of the page, with its emotional content hitting like a sledgehammer, but it really did come out very well on this page
Duskitty 13th Apr 2021, 11:05 PM
Duskitty
the last panel said
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncgv7ruZ6HU
rexalicious 12th Apr 2021, 5:19 PM
rexalicious
went for my evening walk, thought of this page and started crying. i have so many thoughts about this and i cannot yet properly articulate them
Duskitty 12th Apr 2021, 5:24 PM
Duskitty
AUGHHHGHGH MY HEART.... THE HUG... i really love the background melting away and dissolving into ripples during those panels. it really encapsulates that feeling of just letting the world fade away for a moment while you're sharing a brief Moment with somebody. the colours of the ward kinda returning in the panel where the hyena nurse says 'let go' feels like being ripped back to reality. ouch

also "i hope i never see you again".. fuck!!!!!!!!!
crumpleham 12th Apr 2021, 5:50 PM
auauauhghg,,,,,ouch,,,but also like,,,yknow,,,
Guest 12th Apr 2021, 6:02 PM
kysley: kim. i thought... we were friends....

But seriously excellent page, shiny wavy hug background 10/10 and I love the way sugars face looks all around but esp in panels 3 and 12. As another commenter said kims hair is rendered beautifully in this page as well! It looks silky in texture ^_^
Guest 13th Apr 2021, 7:01 AM
WAIT wait wait I just realized, in Drop-Out Lola said (paraphrased from memory so might not be wholly accurate), "I know you don't think it'll happen, but... I hope I see you again, Sugar. Sooner or later." oogh thematic parallels :)
Also realized what the shiny wavy hug background looks like, it reminds me of those stim videos.
mata 14th Apr 2021, 12:17 PM
try to imagine what it might mean if they saw each other again. it would probably be in the same awful psych ward. i don't think the meaning is supposed to be as negative as how the phrase is usually used.
anan 12th Apr 2021, 6:37 PM
ohhh my godddddd
ThatOneDude 12th Apr 2021, 6:38 PM
Oh boy a new fresh meat updat-- *falls down stairs, spaghetti out of pocket* AW FUCK

For real though the last line hit me hard much like these characters did. So many implications behind it, could mean it in a literal sense, could mean as 'I hope we never meet HERE again' but... combining that line and her mulling over attempting again... dhfgsgsfs ouch

I kinda like how ambiguous and bittersweet this all seems, like there's no straight (hah) conclusion to this because of how complicated and fucked it is. Also fuck off nurse.
Guest 12th Apr 2021, 8:48 PM
I love this page. That hug reminds me of my own parting hug I shared with a new friend the last time I was on a ward in 2008. I'll never forget that hug.

Also, I wonder if panel 21 is meant to be a recreation of Kim's appearance in Drop Out.
kibokey 12th Apr 2021, 11:10 PM
absolutely destroyed
Peach 13th Apr 2021, 1:19 AM
Awww the hug ;;;; I love how you can see Kysley relax into the hug and Kim enjoying that moment of connection! And being told "You make the world a better place" must make such a difference to Kim when she's only ever been given the impression she's the problem... All the meanings of "I hope I never see you again"... I love your writing, gray!
leaf 13th Apr 2021, 4:23 AM
hfgghh. the burning want, but hopelessly understanding feeling of talking to another person and being mutually just kind of. done with life. really rings true in this page.
carmilla gang prez 13th Apr 2021, 4:31 AM
i know its not over yet but thank you so much in advance for this comic
kim hugging sugar made me irl go "ouuguhg....", sugars faces on this page are so good

also, i cant help but feel like those last two to three panels of kim looking at sugar mirror how kim looked on that canyon page with all the faces in drop-out. just a Thought
drop-out gang prez LOL 13th Apr 2021, 12:56 PM
also another drop-out thing! the last two panels where sugar is just almost out of shot and facing away from the camera reminds me of that same scene from drop-out where lola is leaving, but this time it's kim instead... not sure if the parallel was intentional i just thought it was kewl lol
Terry 13th Apr 2021, 5:43 AM
this page is KILLING me!! sugar going "somethings wrong with me", The Hug, "i hope i never see you again" (and all the possible implications of it)? those are definitely up there as the most memorable moments (among others) of the comic for me, and theyre all on the same page! this hits so hard. BRILLIANT page!! ;-;
A Shark 13th Apr 2021, 5:49 AM
During my second hospitalization, I met a man with a difficult story about his ongoing recovery from a drug addition that saw him spending time nearly equal parts in wards, rehabs, and prison.
More than five years later, when I was stuck into another ward on the other end of the state, I saw a man who felt vaguely familiar who ended up as my roommate. I couldn't place him, so after maybe a day and a half of trying to remember who he was I just asked him if he thought *I* looked familiar and it turns out that it was the same guy from when I was hospitalized as a teen. It was sad for me that we both found our way back at the same time, and I was forced to mentally try to chart a course for all the other people I had met while I was being shunted around to different wards. I met a lot of unique people during that time, and I'm afraid for a lot of them. The man was discharged before I was this time, and he gave me a wallet and said he "hopes we would never meet this way again" too. It's no wonder to me at all why Kim's face is salient to Sugar at the end of Drop-Out.
Iz 13th Apr 2021, 8:37 AM
***spoilers for Drop-Out***

I recently re-read Drop-Out, and maybe it’s just because I already knew the ending, but the ending of this story feels heavier in comparison. When Drop-Out ended, it felt like a relief after so much build-up, and Lola and Sugar can see a possible future of happiness or at least freedom from expectations and the past, but here, because Kim is so young, the ending is much more bittersweet. We know she has to go home to her mom and her old life, and that nothing has changed for the better, she’s just been wrung through the system like everyone else.
It seems like all Kim learned was that her sadness and questioning were unacceptable, and that the adults around her want her to lie for their comfort, which weighs on me along the lines of some of the worst truths of our society, the omnipresent pressure to “fake it ‘til you make it”, and the realization that faking it is sometimes all thats actually needed from you. It is so impactful so see characters that struggle with such realistic issues.
Kim as a character is heartbreaking, and the dynamic between her and Sugar reminds me of conversations I’ve had with myself. They are both right... but Kim still shouldn’t kill herself.
I want to congratulate you on the achievement of writing and fully illustrating a story like this. I am sitting here struggling to put into words what it has meant to me to follow your work through the end of Drop-Out until now. It hurts, but it’s beautiful. And I’m so excited to see what you’ll come up with next.
kitsune-rokko 13th Apr 2021, 10:31 AM
kitsune-rokko
i know i still can't fully find the words to do your work justice... this is such a powerful page though. kim risking the infraction by comforting sugar with the hug best she can... and the poignancy of "i hope i never see you again"...
Guest 13th Apr 2021, 11:08 AM
The hug really makes this page, plus that very honest line from Sugar- "i don't know what else to do." Looking forward to seeing how this scene wraps up.
Guest 13th Apr 2021, 12:11 PM
oughfdh.. kim probably meant it in the same way she meant "you'll still be here," but sugar must have felt this so personally...

the juxtaposition between this and the hug depicts something really touching that i can't quite articulate, too ): such a direct, healing form of contact... that this isn't the first time kim tried to offer physical comfort despite the Rules (even when she didn't know she was about to leave) because she knows these rules are to control moreso than help.. it's not that sugar is entirely wrong, but people don't always receive the type of help they need and are still told they have to work hard to deserve it
leaf (again) 13th Apr 2021, 12:21 PM
AHHH
**drop-out spoilers below**
i just realized the parallels between lola walking away from sugar at the canyon and kim walking away from sugar in the hospital:
leaf (again) 13th Apr 2021, 12:22 PM
“i hope i’ll get to see you again, sugar”
“i hope i never see you again”

AAA
Andrea Nolastname 13th Apr 2021, 1:27 PM
God, so much impact on one page!

Also I love how reminiscent Kim's face in panel 20 here is to Lola's face in drop-out on page 108, panel 20.
river 13th Apr 2021, 3:35 PM
these two finding a momentary comfort and connection between them, and then immediately being separated by the faceless, formless voice of the institution. wow. beautiful page.
lol 13th Apr 2021, 7:07 PM
you are very adept at writing real sounding conversations between two mentally ill people
Mae 13th Apr 2021, 7:45 PM
I'm in tears, yo
Guest 14th Apr 2021, 1:43 AM
i really wish i could add an insightful comment, but after all this time chewing on it, this page has simply blown me away in a sense where i'd feel like i'd be cheapening it by saying anything. this moment you have written is incredible
mallory 14th Apr 2021, 11:27 AM
I really like the fifth row, where the first panel & background show that sugar is almost actually thinking about kim's assertation that there's something else wrong with the system, but she goes back to thinking that it must be something with herself that's wrong because it's what's comfortable/easy at this point. and the ending of the page, of course, is so impactful! the dialogue on this page really drives home sugar's mindset and beliefs... i would have hugged her too.
mata 14th Apr 2021, 12:18 PM
that last line provokes so much emotion and thought i can't even begin to dissect it.
s 14th Apr 2021, 11:59 PM
a lot of ppl are commenting abt the context of this page in terms of sugar's overarching narrative btween fresh meat & drop-out, but having reread the whole comic real quick it's hitting me in the emotions how kim's spent the whole comic trying to make people Stop Touching Her and yet here, finally, kim personally initiates this full-body contact, and does it to comfort sugar. like there's the emotional development on kim's part where she's become able to empathize with sugar, but also the development of their friendship is also SO strongly underlined here with kim being comfortable enough to make this gesture. and it's probably their last moment together too, so! the IMPACT to my FEELINGS

it's a nice dream to imagine these characters running into each other out in the Real World someday when they're both hopefully doing better, but the chances of that are so low as to be basically impossible. the uncertainty of knowing if someone you care about/who's impacted you is safe or even alive is very ugly, and so kim's strong feeling that that's still better for preserving the hope that maybe sugar(/kim from sugar's perspective) isn't in a cage....................... the IMPACT to my FEELINGS x2 COMBO
Guest of Wind 15th Apr 2021, 11:53 AM
Your comment also reminded me of the page where Kim extends a hand to Tabitha at night when Tabby is crying, right after snapping at her to be quiet or else they'd get in trouble... theres some connection here to Kim continuing to hug Sugar after being told off but I'm too brain-fried to articulate it
trueouchys 15th Apr 2021, 1:29 AM
trueouchys
ouch. all right i'm gonna go cry now
mx. andrews 15th Apr 2021, 2:26 PM
i gasped when i read "i hope i never see you again" but then remembered back to when she was upset tabitha was "giving her another face" to think about when she attempts suicide.....and like, Yeah. it makes sense (also agree with the commenter that pointed out that if kim and sugar were to meet again it would probably just be in another mental health facility, so really, if they did see each other it would not be under good environmental circumstances anyways, most likely)
someone sometimes 16th Apr 2021, 5:10 PM
that last bit's really making me cry. when I was in shelters and people would leave I never said that, but yeah. "I hope you do truly escape this and never have to be in this position again" is how I want to interpret that. others have said it better, but damn that really hurts. it's good.
druids-kiefern 17th Apr 2021, 10:25 AM
i really like kims littlw thoughtful head tilts, ive noticed she does it a lot. such good characters gray
hope 18th Apr 2021, 12:32 PM
I MISSED A FEW PAGES i hope so bad that kim gets better and her mom cares and helps i want a happy epilogue so bad T_T
owoboy 19th Apr 2021, 2:26 PM
I know you've mentioned before that you wanted to make sure that Sugar's neck thickness made sense with the rest of her body, I think you've done a great job on the updated design. Sugar looks like a friend.
PCSOly 20th Apr 2021, 11:42 PM
PCSOly
This page hits me right in the heart. It's so meaningful after Drop-Out but even without it - I know I've been there, balancing between wanting to believe that changes for the better are possible and the world is essentially a good place with good people that try hard and well, the drop.