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FINAL.psd: a stanford storyboard club anthology

In Winter 2018, Storyboard Club put on an exhibit, Rebeginning: A Showcase of Multimodal Sequential Art, celebrating the messy process of brainstorming and idea development that comes before the creation of a finished story. FINAL.psd is the conclusion of that process. The title itself is a reference to the triumphant name that many artists will give their Photoshop files upon finishing a piece of art. In this book, we present the completed works of members of Storyboard Club, finalized after countless hours of writing, sketching, and revising.

In Winter 2018, Storyboard Club put on an exhibit, Rebeginning: A Showcase of Multimodal Sequential Art, celebrating the messy process of brainstorming and idea development that comes before the creation of a finished story. FINAL.psd is the conclusion of that process. The title itself is a reference to the triumphant name that many artists will give their Photoshop files upon finishing a piece of art. In this book, we present the completed works of members of Storyboard Club, finalized after countless hours of writing, sketching, and revising.

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FINAL.psd

stanford storyboard club

2018-2019


foreword

Storyboard Club was founded in 2014 by Grandma and Grandpa in response

to a dare to form a club. The original Storyboard Club had a crest with raccoons

on it, and members participated in “cult” activities such as chanting and candle

hazing. While the club was initially founded on a whim and was quite chaotic, it

has grown to be a proper, tight-knit club where members meet every Thursday

evening to make stories and friends. Storyboard Club is not just for storyboards

anymore; members also draw comics and write short stories, many of which you

will see in FINAL.psd.

In Winter 2018, Storyboard Club put on an exhibit, Rebeginning: A Showcase

of Multimodal Sequential Art, celebrating the messy process of brainstorming and

idea development that comes before the creation of a finished story. FINAL.psd

is the conclusion of that process. The title itself is a reference to the triumphant

name that many artists will give their Photoshop files upon finishing a piece of

art. In this book, we present the completed works of members of Storyboard

Club, finalized after countless hours of writing, sketching, and revising. Although

Storyboard Club is no longer a cult, we kept the raccoon mascot to honor the

original Storyboard Club for giving us this space to belong and something to look

forward to every week.

This book would not be possible without the generous Maker Grant from

Stanford Arts and the Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Fund. Thank you for picking

up a copy, and we hope you have as much fun reading it as we did making it!

Shirley and Katherine

Co-Presidents, Stanford Storyboard Club

iv


contents

1 forgotten work katherine liu

6 scum traveler’s self-serving gunpowder search shirley cai

20 apart angela he

21 safe angela he

22 kind of lonely cathy yang

23 head’s up lucy zhu

31 love game kristel bugayong

37 the man-sparrow khuyen le

38 seeking gay shirley cai

47 girl power funmi solano

55 wadda ya think maxwell menzies

60 the transfer nick tantivasadakarn

68 doubt thou the stars are fire fiona hall-zazueta

74 critique day katherine liu

85 the correspondent v. drummond

93 hourly comic day

102 creator blurbs

v


a collaboration!


“Forgotten Work,” Katherine Liu


2


3


4


5


“Scum Traveler’s Self-Serving

Gunpowder Search,” Shirley Cai

s c u m

traveler’s

self-serv

ing gun

powder

search

The day that

Priapus Argosy

found out about

the Gunpowder Cult,

the gods made a mistake.

story and art by shirley cai


No being, mortal or immortal, would ever introduce someone as

truly despicable as him to a cult famous for following Taoist procreation

practices to a T. Yet some fool in some sleepy town just so happened to

let slip that there may be such a cult—but only maybe because he had

heard from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend—and for that reason,

and for that reason alone, Priapus treks through endless farmlands. His

destination: currently unknown.

Fool that he is, he spends the day trudging through fields and fields

of rice. Looking to his sides, he can only see rice, farmers toiling in the

flooded rice fields, mountains, and more rice. Their farming technologies

are almost rustic for how far the Gunpowder Cult has come with

explosions and fire arrows—or what Priapus thinks are explosions and

fire arrows.

—I hear that they have big old explosions.

—I heard that, too!

—From that son of yours, I’m assuming.

—Yes, Thomas said there were—oh, what were they? Explosions from above.

—Oh, the fire arrows. Explosives tied to arrows.

—Yes, the fire arrows. Terrifying.

—You know, they’re planning on raiding us soon, I hear.

—Tang would never!

—Just imagine: your son could die, and you wouldn’t even recognize the body!

—NO!!!

No one ever said that housewife gossip was helpful.

Despite those alleged advancements, the farmers of this country

still work in their fields by hand. Priapus looks on in pity but continues

walking along the dirt road. As a traveler, any help that he offers would

likely be unwelcome—if he could offer any. Eighteen years young, he grew

up tending the heath and not working the fields. In fact, he has few skills

that have use in his day to day life as a wanderer, and it is a miracle that he

has lived to see eighteen at all. The only thing he can do was believe in his

own two feet and the guidance of the dirt path that stretches out in front

of him.

Soon, a city comes into view, its tall, tiled walls hiding the glimmer

of cannons and fire arrow launchers. Under the high sun, the shimmering

of polished metal is hidden by terracotta tiles. Everything is strange to

Priapus, and he stares wide-eyed at the contraptions. He hasn’t seen

anything like them before; the defenses of this city are nothing like the

7


8

large siege bows of his motherland or the magical iron thrones of the neighboring

one. Quietly, the slim man slips through the gates of the city wall. The guards glare

at him as he passes.

The streets of the city are lined with people, and they look at the traveler

suspiciously as he walks past. Examining, evaluating, looking at him stumble

around the throughways clumsily like a drunkard. Priapus looks like a sad, wrinkly

walnut among the elegant leaves of the people in the street—a sad, wrinkly,

horny walnut, and it seems everyone in Tang is allergic. They avoid his

gaze, turning their backs to him.

“Unwelcoming, aren’t y’all,” the traveler mumbles under

his breath.

No one understands his language, and the harshsounding

syllables of his mother tongue clash with the

flow of gossip that flooded the streets.

“Oh! Foreigner!” A word he recognizes. The

owner of the voice is a young child.

“Haha! Good eye, kid. But I prefer ‘traveler’

because it sounds cooler—”

“Follow! Bed! Sleep good!”

The child tugs at the traveler’s glovecovered

wrist, urging him to come with her.

Priapus needs little urging; after all, it’s lucky

that he found someone who seemed to know

some of his language. There is only wishful

thinking on his part about why; maybe the gods

have finally blessed him, and the young man

briefly wonders if the gods from his homeland

followed him across the border into this new one.

The thought is quickly shaken away. He needs

no gods.

The child comes to a stop in front of a building

crowned by the reddish hues of the sunset. An inn,

presumably, and its name is spelled out above its door in

unrecognizable characters. Symbols so unlike the alphabet that he

knows, the traveler wonders if they are words at all instead of just art.

He pats the child’s head absently in praise. The two exchange a quick grin, and

then the girl slides open the door to the building, scurrying up to a man in the

entryway: the keeper of this inn.

Priapus passes through the threshold and into the inn, and the innkeeper’s

line of sight snaps up at him, glaring pointedly at his mud-caked boots. The

innkeeper does not sit behind a counter and instead kneels on the clean, wooden


floor properly, his legs folded neatly under his thighs. He dresses loosely. From

what the traveler can tell, the innkeeper dons some sort of robe-like draping on

himself rather than shirt and pants.

“Welcome.” The proprietor’s tone is biting.

With nothing else to do, Priapus winks. “How about a night?”

“For people like you, a hundred billion gold.”

“A hundred billion. That’s a goddamn lot, you know. Can I get a

discount? I can work—I give really good foot massages, apparently,

and I would love to give you one—wink, wink—”

“Welcome, traveler who will never see my feet, to

Zhongxin, the fine capital of Tang Mountain. Our rates

are adjustable, but they seem to have risen to a steady

price of ten hundred billion gold pieces.” The last phrase

is nearly spat out. The innkeeper looks very, very

tired, as if he hasn’t slept in days. There are dark

shadows developing under his red-rimmed eyes,

and his thin, unruly black hair cascades roughly

over white robes.

This man looks like he just lost his wife, Priapus

slowly realizes.

“Hey,” the tanned traveler starts.

Awkward. Stilted. “You doing okay?”

“No.”

“I’m just asking. You look terrible.”

“Thanks. I know.”

The entryway is awkwardly silent.

“Who taught you how to speak Feroxian?

Haven’t heard any since I crossed the border.”

“There are a few of us who know your language.

Not many.”

“Doesn’t really answer my question, Mr. Innkeeper.”

“Ling. Ling Xiansheng to you.”

“Whoa, whoa—don’t look at me like I’m scum or something!

Look, I’ll even tell you my name! Priapus Argosy, at your service.”

“I did not ask for your name.”

“Did your Mrs. Ling die recently or something? Because it kind of looks like

that. I mean, it’s like... you look like shit.”

“Fuck off.”

“Hey, I’m just trying to be nice—”

The innkeeper slams his fist straight down into the wooden floor. Ling

Xiansheng does not flinch, but Priapus does—that probably hurt like hell. When

9


his next words are spoken, the innkeeper does not raise his voice, and the steely

finality of his voice drives a nail into Priapus’s delicate little maiden heart.

“It is impolite to discuss such private matters with strangers, and I do not

associate with foreigners.”

“Awwwwww, you sound just like my friend from back home! Their name is

Dror, they’re 35, they’re part of this weird death cult thing—oh, wait. Speaking of,

have you heard of a little something called the Gunpowder Cult?”

“Do. Not. Speak.” A seething hiss escapes Innkeeper Ling’s mouth.

The long-haired man glares at Priapus. “You come in here with

your foreign name, your foreign clothes, your foreign muddy

boots, and you expect me to house you for a night when you

have been nothing but impolite to me. Leave.”

Ouch, Priapus thinks. Harsh. Just roast me over an

open campfire, why don’t you.

He leaves without question, though. He never

was good at saying no.

Priapus exits the inn with the shawl of

nightfall on his shoulders. Within minutes,

the man is slinking around the red-light

district like a fish in water, if said fish were

dying and floundering about in a muddy river.

The red paper lanterns from which the district

got its name hang over the cramped alleyways

and streets, shining a dim glow over Priapus’s

tanned face. He creeps closer and closer to his

destination, a high-end brothel identified only by

a large image of a lotus. He just wants to stay a night.

That’s all he wants, cross his heart and hope to die.

But for some reason, he can’t muster up the courage

to go in. He walks under the red lanterns, whistling a falsely

cheery tune as he passes the Lotus again and again and again like an

anxious teenager early to a date with his arranged marriage partner and

walking around and around and around awkwardly without end. Shameful.

On his fifth—or maybe sixth?—trip around the block, a voice calls out to

him—not deep and not high, a melodious, smoothing voice that has wooed many

a customer. “You there.”

The disgusting, vile little man in question turns, trying to make it seem as if he

is a completely normal person who doesn’t have a habit of walking around a certain

10


othel five or six times. “That’s me,” he musters as lovingly as he can. “You called?”

“Mm. So you were Feroxian, after all. What reason do you have for lurking

around our establishment?” The owner of the voice is a tall, androgynous man

dressed in the robes of a courtesan. His clothing is slightly dull-colored, unusual

for his occupation, and the folds of his hanfu cross over his chest, dipping in a “v”

around his collarbone. The silk of his flowing sleeves shimmers under the light as

he brings a long pipe to his lips in a long, graceful movement.

“You’re really, really pretty,” Priapus blurts out.

The courtesan tilts his head in acknowledgment but does not

respond to the compliment. “What reason does someone like

you have for circling around our brothel so many times

without even coming in?”

“What? There’re totally other people doing the

same thing! There’s no way in hell that I’m the only

one who’s waiting to, like, sin, you know? Bet you

five copper coins I’m not even close to being the

evilest man who comes and goes around here.”

The courtesan raises his brow. “Five copper

coins? That’s… nearly nothing at all.”

Priapus, the despicable man he is, winks.

“It’s all I have, baby. How much for a night?”

“Don’t you—don’t you coo at me like that.

Who are you to slither your way around our

grounds like some sort of common criminal,

not even properly using our employees’

services?”

“Ohhh, asking for names, are we? You know

what, I’ll tell you, but only if you make me.”

“Make you? I’m not making you do anything.

You’re the one who—”

“No, no, no. Make me.”

“Is this some sort of game? Pardon me, but I really don’t

know what you—”

“You know, like, make me.”

“I don’t quite understand what you’re trying to get at, and it would

please me greatly if—”

Priapus takes a step forward and grasps the man by his collar. He stares deep

into the courtesan’s eyes, their faces mere inches apart. “Please yourself all you

want, sweetheart.”

The innuendo is not lost on the courtesan, who instantly slaps Priapus away.

“Why... You…”

11


The scum of the Earth nearly moans at the action. “Ohhhh, yeahhhhhhhhh…

Juice me until I’m dry.”

The courtesan has half the mind to hit the filth in front of him, but the

vermin would probably enjoy it. The poor courtesan does not want that in any

sense of the word. Instead, he merely shakes his head sadly. A white flag. Defeat.

Acceptance?

Priapus senses a change in the very, very attractive man before him and

grins. “Take me inside, honey. It’s our wedding night.”

The traveler learns a number of things that night.

One—how to say a number of obscenities in the Tang

language because—and this is the truth—swears are

the most important words of any language. Two—

the courtesan’s name is Shen Xinli, and Xinli is

very, very good at his job. Three—Priapus may

have just fallen in love with the kind, dashing,

handsome man with whom he made love.

A small voice tells him it’s only lust.

In order to find out—or really because he

is single-minded and simpleminded, Priapus

keeps going back to the Lotus. During the

day, he kills time. He wanders around the

city, going to the few places that he knew—

the red-light district, which he thinks is quite

boring when the lanterns have yet to be lit; the

river, where he has tried fishing and was instantly

shooed away by the locals; the Temple of Heaven,

where he has prayed to the foreign deities without

thinking too much about it; the market, where he

sometimes sees Xinli purchasing vegetables and tea leaves.

After which they meet coincidentally and walk together along

the riverside and eat together in hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Coincidentally, of course.

During the night, Priapus keeps going back to the brothel to visit

his newfound love because he is not—or really, no longer—a stalker who hangs

around the brothel for no reason. He can pay properly now, but surprisingly, he

sometimes doesn’t even use the place to relieve his sexual tensions. It’s a place to

drink when the sun goes down, a place to gamble when the moon shines high in

the sky, a place to sleep when the cold bites at night. The Lotus is so comfortable

12


and relaxing and homey that he almost forgets about the Gunpowder Cult. Almost.

—Xinli. Xinli, what was that. It sounded like an explosion—no, explosions.

—Mmm… Priapus, darling, go to sleep.

—But the explosions, Xinli...

—Mm? It’s probably A-Ping setting off fireworks again...

—Who the fuck is A-Ping? Are you cheating on me?

—Ling Ping, the innkeeper? I thought you knew him.

—That bitch told me to call him ‘Ling Xiansheng’!

—Of course, he would say that, silly. Family name.

—Why isn’t Xiansheng his first name?!

—‘Xiansheng’ is a title...?

—Urk. Anyways, why does he set off fireworks?

—Innkeeper Ping is—

—If he really is just an innkeeper.

—...Some of the girls and I think he’s an arsonist.

—That’s people who set things on fire.

—Hm... How do I say this? He likes explosions?

—Oh, my gods. Honey, can I ask something?

—Mm? What?

—Gunpowder Cult ring a bell?

—That’s… I can’t say anything about that.

—So you do know something—

—I’m sorry, Priapus. Let’s sleep.

Priapus is wrapped in Xinli’s warm embrace

under the covers and soon falls asleep.

When he wakes up, Xinli is still there right

beside him, looking as beautiful as ever. (Which is

really, really beautiful.) He is facing the open balcony,

and the morning sun forms a halo against his sleek raven

hair. Clothed in only his white inner robes, Xinli looks so

lovely, so angelic, so radiant, so peaceful, and Priapus is so (so,

so!) enamored. Whipped in every sense of the word, his emotions tied

together neatly in a little bow. If he had more than one brain cell, he would

wax (bad) poetry about the gorgeous man sitting on the floor.

“You’re finally awake, hm? Sleepyhead.” The courtesan’s teasing laugh tinkers

lightly throughout the room.

“Hhhwaahhh…” Priapus yawns and stretches out sleepily. “Morning, darling.

Love you.”

13


“Mm. Would you like some breakfast?”

“That sounds good, honey. Absolutely lovely, just like you.”

“Oh, how endearing… I’ll go get you some porridge, okay?”

Priapus watches the love of his life leave through the paper door, and his heart

hurts. In the two minutes that Xinli is gone, Priapus is reduced to a crying mess

because he’s a dramatic scoundrel who thinks that his long-haired paramour has

forsaken him for the rest of eternity every time he’s left alone.

Upon his return, Xinli wipes away Priapus’s tears with the long,

thin sleeves of his robe and holds out a bowl of rice gruel and a

cup of hot tea, all while smiling gently. “Don’t cry, love. Here,

rice porridge with green onions, just how you like it. Just…

forget about what we talked about last night, please?”

Priapus slurps his porridge and nods. But he

doesn’t forget about the Gundpowder Cult. He can’t

forget about the Gunpowder Cult.

The tiny tendrils of knowledge hinting at

something—a sexy sort of something—have

wormed into his brain, and he cannot let

go—not of the whispers of gossip that he heard

back in his hometown, not of the memories

filled with a distinct alcohol flavor, not of

the hushed, whispered theories about how

gunpowder really works, not of the quiet

testimonies as to the cult’s practices. Most

importantly, the cult’s sexual practices. Which

Priapus cares about. A lot.

Priapus wasn’t always like this. More like, Priapus

always was kind of like this, but he became even more

like this when he found out about the Gunpowder Cult.

That fateful encounter a few years ago, a single night in the back

alleys of Ferox when Priapus was but a smooth-haired young lad

at the prime old age of fourteen, the predestined moment he overheard

gossip and, upon asserting that the words were, in fact, the complete and

absolute truth, became enlightened.

—Adam… You know about that cult thing, riiiiiiight…

—Chin up, Cain. Please let go of the beer bottle, Cain.

—Aaaduuum… The cult! I saw them! Wheeennn I was in Tang!

—Uh huh. Let’s go home, Cain. You want to go home, right?

14


—THE GUNPOWDER CULT! Those T-T-Tang bastards... Explosives…

—Okay, Cain. Please don’t throw up, Cain. And let go of the bottle.

—THE GUNPOWDER CULT FUCKS! They papapa and make the shit…

—What even is papapa… Don’t make those obscene gestures, Cain.

—Adammmuh… They MIX the gunpowder with the members’—

—Blood and saliva, I hope. Cain, that’s enough. Let’s go.

Then the two men walked away, and Priapus swore to himself that one

day, he would be as undeniably manly as the staggering drunkard who

slurred his words and his straight-cut companion who looked

very strained—not that Priapus could imagine why. Granted,

Priapus did name himself after a certain rustic Feroxian god

whose every depiction is adorned with large genitalia.

That was when he was thirteen, and he grew up to

be even worse than his namesake, who at least has

a purpose as an agricultural god of fertility. The

same could not be said for Priapus, a bastard of a

wanderer who wanders the Earth with only the

drive of lust—and now gunpowder—to guide

him.

Right now, the only connection Priapus

has to the Gunpowder Cult is Ling. Or Ping.

Ling Ping.

Whoever named the man to have a first name that

rhymes with his last is a menace who must be stopped,

thinks Priapus briefly. It’s another quiet morning

at the Lotus, and Xinli slumbers still, curled up next

to his beau’s lap. Priapus sits upright in their bedroll,

arms crossed and eyes scrunched up in soft light of

sunrise. His devious little brain devises a Foolproof Game

Plan for Entering the Gunpowder Cult and Maybe Profiting

from It but Also Maybe Making Friends—Hopefully Sex Friends.

1. Pester Ling for more information

2. Baby’s first cult meeting!!!

3. Hopefully the sex stuff

4. ??? Profit.

The first thing on his laundry list of bullshit: pester Ling for more

information. Priapus decides to pay Mr. Innkeeper a visit. Mostly because he

needs answers about the who, what, where, when, and how of the cult, but also

15


16

because he gets bored during the day with nothing to do when Xinli leaves him

to do gods know what. He’s lonely. Lonely people do stupid things. Priapus does

stupid things even without being lonely. Lonely Priapus has a dumbass rating

somewhere in between the Priapus-who-got-drunk-and-cried-about-howhe’ll-never-be-able-to-properly-read-Tang-erotica

and the Priapus-who-almostdrowned-in-the-river-because-he-laid-down-in-it-and-fell-asleep.

So Priapus, Tang’s least favorite crusty little dumbass, walks around the

streets of the city when the sun is still high in the sky. Lonely. Stupid.

A little bit horny. By now, he has stayed a few months in Tang,

picking up some of the language and some of the culture, but

people still whisper and stare as he walks around the city.

Even so, he waves at the loquat seller, the meat bun

seller, the wine seller as he weaves through the hordes

of people in the marketplace.

And there, past the trinket seller. A stocky,

masculinely-feminine, femininely-masculine

figure. The figure—whoever it is—is all too

familiar and Priapus finds it hard to figure out

why because he doesn’t usually remember

people and then the figure turns around and

Priapus knows, deep within his soul, that

he fucked up somewhere along the line, and

when he fucked up, he fucked up hard.

“Dror, what the fuck” is the first thing out

of Priapus’s mouth.

“Priapus, you slimy little bitch,” Dror spits

out by way of greeting.

“Ngh. Dror. How are you? Why are you here?

I thought you had things in—”

“Business.” Curt. To the point, as always.

Priapus remains silent.

Dror sighs. “Ignorant as always, I see. Why are you

here, chasing the ramblings of a drunk man, hm? If you wanted

to be in a cult—”

“But the cult you’re in doesn’t have… You know. Papapa. Sex.”

“Have you met our leader?”

“Yes, I have, and she’s a very nice lady; don’t talk about her like she’s dirty.”

Dror throws their hands up in exasperation. They’re dressed in light travel

clothes: breeches, a thin shirt. At their hip, a short sword. At their feet, bags filled

with weird bottles?

“Potions. Don’t look at my wares, you little thief.”


“I wasn’t—look. Dror. Buddy. Pal. Buddy, od pal, old friend, old bud—”

“Cut to the chase, you dimwit.”

“Oof, that one hurt my feelings.”

Dror gasps in surprise. It sounds fake because it is. “Since when did you have

feelings, Sir ‘My-name-is-Priapus-and-I’m-a-cold-hearted-killer’—”

“THAT WAS WHEN I WAS FIFTEEN!”

“Three years doesn’t make you a man.”

“Neither does human experimentation.”

That was the wrong thing to say. Dror freezes up and

physically embodies murder.

“You sack of absolute horseshit. You are a man.”

Dror gives a pointed glare to Priapus’s crotch area.

They were proud of that particular experiment,

dammit, and would not have it belittled like this,

especially not when it’s literally attached to one of

their only friends. Their friend who is a man, no

matter what fucking genitals he has. So what

if Dror gave Priapus a Priapus Jr. to affirm his

gender? Affirming is not assigning. They know

this.

Priapus also knows this. He tries to defend

himself anyway.

“It was a joke,” he explains weakly.

“A piss-poor one, idiot.”

“Sowwy.”

“And you have the audacity to baby talk to

me? I’m nearly twice your age.”

“Awww. Baby talk is a symbol of friendship.”

“At least have the decency to not lie to my face,

you lovable little sod.”

Are Priapus and Dror truly friends? They would both like to

think so. Their friendship, if it can be called that, is mutually beneficial. If

Dror allows it, Priapus shares his romantic and sexual conquests, which details

few successes and many, many attempts. If Priapus allows it, Dror drones on and

on and on about trivial matters; for example, all of Priapus’s wrongs, the delicate

taste of ancient bones, why Priapus is a terrible man, top ten reasons why their cult

is actually a pretty decent group, “the Gunpowder Cult is a hornet’s nest of LIES”:

a soulful ballad, you won’t believe how many faults Priapus has! (part sixteen of

17


gods-know-how-many), etc.

At this moment in time, Priapus does not want to allow it. Standing in the

marketplace, Priapus is coerced into allowing it. Priapus, for once in his sad, sorry

little life, has places to be and things to do. But he knows that running away is

always an effective strategy, even though history—both war and personal—says

otherwise. In the middle of their Priapus grievances, Dror eyes the subject of

conversation suspiciously as the man in question gears up to flee. Haunches

clenched like a perfect predator who is about to retreat tactfully like the majestic

beast that he is inside. The embodiment of absolute perfection in a mortal vessel.

He is a man with the agility of a hare and the speed of a rampaging horse and—

oooh, Priapus forgot about how Dror has a habit of gripping his wrist really hard

just when he wants get away as quickly as he can.

This vice-like grip, this tenacity! It feels like the ropes that bind criminals. He

likes it. He likes it a lot.

“Oh, Dror! I didn’t know you liked me like that!”

“Fuck no—”

“Unfortunately for you, I have a boyfriend!”

“What? A real person on this bitch of an Earth would date you?”

“His name is Xinli, and he even calls me ‘love!’”

Slack-jawed, Dror loosens their grip on Priapus’s wrist by an iota, but it’s

enough. Dror can only watch in shock the miscreant escapes.

“Priapus, what the fuck,” they utter when Priapus has long departed.

The inn (and by extension, its keeper) is only a short walk away, and Priapus

makes the trek as carefully as a normal human being, which is a feat in it of itself.

He may have accidentally taken a long detour, but he didn’t forget his goal of

interrogating Ling Ping! With all the grace of a loud, squawking pelican who no

longer gets lost, thank you very much, the tanned, foreign man finally arrives at the inn

and triumphantly reads a few of the characters above the door—big and red!—and

once again passes through the threshold. His boots are clean this time.

“You. I thought I told you to leave, foreigner.”

Priapus shrugs. “I’m not here to stay.”

“Then why are you—”

“How much do you know about the Gunpowder Cult?”

The innkeeper pales. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh, you know.” Flirtatious. Coy. Disgustingly Priapus-esque.

“It’s the sex, isn’t it? I know you’ve been staying at that brothel.”

Silence.

Ling Ping grimaces.

18


Priapus sways his hips and winks a cheery wink. “I’ll be back! Just you wait!”

And he does keep coming back, much to Ling’s chagrin. It’s not like Priapus

says anything important during his daily visits, either. Each conversation goes just

as well as any of Priapus’s other conversations with the discontented innkeeper,

and within a week, Priapus considers them friends! (Not quite sworn siblings like he

is with Dror, but they’ll get there. Priapus sees good progress.) Weeks stretch into

months, and it’s now quite routine for Priapus to show up at the inn, bother Ling

for some period of time, and then leave when he receives no answers. And then he

returns home to Xinli and they lie in their bedroll together after Xinli’s work and

Priapus swears that someday (someday!), he will enter the Gunpowder Cult.

His destination: straight into explosive Hell.

《 低 头 思 火 药 》

[He lowers his head and thinks of gunpowder.]

19


20

“Apart,” Angela He


“Safe,” Angela He

21


kind of lonelycathy yang


head’s uplucy zhu


24


28


29


ARTICLE love gamekristel NAME bugayong


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36


the man-sparrowkhuyen le

The Man-Sparrow likes bread, the special chocolate

and almond loaf the bakery on Fifth Street has every weekend. He bounces impatiently

in line before the stall for his turn; his business suit, which he wears to cover

his sparrow wings stands out from the colorful crowd of children around him.

He also likes cycling. On weekdays he cycles to work, and when he gets off his bike

his business suit is non-distinguishable from the flurry of gray clothing in the financial district

of San Francisco. On weekends he cycles to the bakery and to the Pier, where people stare

at him, a grown Man eating chocolate bread on the beach. In the winter he explains that it is cold

to those who are curious enough to ask and care enough to hear his answer.

In the summer people avoid him.

It was a Sunday in summer, and the seals at the Pier barked, and the Man-Sparrow wanted to fly.

Not from his house to work, which he has sometimes done, when it rained in the morning and he

couldn’t wake up with the sun.

Not even to sweep in to get a man out of a car pile-up and to the hospital.

But like an eagle, with wingspan long enough to fly over the ocean to another continent.

inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Man-Moth” 37


seeking gayshirley cai


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girl powerfunmi solano


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wadda ya thinkmaxwell menzies

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the transfernick tantivasadakarn

t h e

tran

sfer

Blake was the only

man getting old

in town. His hair

was grey. His walking

stance was wobbly; his

hands were wrinkled

and stained with paint.

short story by nick

tantivasadakarn

art by katherine liu


He wore a bright green jacket and the least torn pair of jeans he had,

which seemed to have been through a war fought with paint guns. He

sat in a self driving pod that looked like a giant transparent egg on wheels,

which shook his old bones like a rag doll. He distracted himself from the

discomfort by looking out through the glass of the pod seeing the rain

refract the street light that lit the night sky. The moment his destination

was in sight, a cheery automatic voice came from the pod.

“You are now arriving at the Sakura Hotel. Thank you for using

Quick Pod services. We hope you have enjoyed our services. If you have

any comments—”

“Fuck you, ugly egg!” Blake said in his creaky voice knowing the pod

would not respond.

He stepped out of the pod, at the reception area in front of the Hotel,

as an attendant came to take him inside. He took a moment to look at the

rows of parallel wooden beams that decorated the ceiling.

So simple yet elegant, he thought.

He looked to his right and saw a large sign written in Japanese, and a

smaller text that writes Hakuchou Japanese Cuisine. He walked as fast as his

shaking legs could into the restaurant.

“Irasshaimase!” the waitress said with the most American accent

possible “Are you here with Kyle Williams? He’s waiting inside.”

“Have we met before?” Blake asked.

“No? Your brother told me you have grey hair.”

“Oh! I see. Did he order anything?” Blake said with a wry smile.

“Just a minute.” The waitress tapped a small electronic chip that was

embedded on her left wrist. “Two fried food sets and two draft beers.”

Another Hybrid, Blake thought before saying, “Make it one fried food

set and one draft beer. I’ll order the salad set with no dressing and plain

water.”

“Alright! We will make it a special for you two.”

As Blake stepped into the dining area, the clattering of plates and

the sound of people turned into whispers. The eyes of the customers all

fell onto Blake, who gave a mind your business stare. The waitress lead him

to the VIP area deeper inside the restaurant. The large hallway was dark

except for a dozen dimly lit rails of light hanging from the ceiling, and

holographic displays of traditional Japanese performances. The floor was

laid with Japanese mats that were soft under his feet.

“Too dark,” he muttered.

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62

He walked past door after door decorated in dark lacquer wood covered with gold

patterns, the end of the hallway was a large Japanese calligraphy of the word “love” the

size of a closet. He scurried closer like a (very very old) child running to a candy store.

“Such bold strokes… This look like…oh, another 3D printed piece,” he muttered in

disappointment.

The waitress opened the smallest room to the right of the calligraphy, and closed

the door from the outside. The room was decorated in a stereotypical Japanese room

with tatami mats, a scroll on the wall, a flower vase, and a square table surrounded by

four cushions. A man with the appearance of a twenty year old in a formal suit sat on

the inner right cushion.

“Hey! Nice to see you,” the man said as he walked to give Blake a hug.

“You too!”

“Did you change the order? I totally forgot about your situation. …You smell.”

“Again, Kyle? I just took a shower this morning,” Blake said with a smile.

“Sorry again for that order, Blake. I thought I might as well do an early birthday

celebration for you. Wait, how old are you again? Three hundred and forty... uh.”

“Dunno. Stopped counting since I was three hundred. Is that why you’re in your

suit?”

“Oh, this. I just made a deal with my client. This rich woman wanted some very

specific add-ons for her new body.”

“Booming business huh.”

“Yup.”

The conversation was cut short by a knock and the door sliding open as the same

waitress walked in with two trays. One had a collage of different colored vegetables

sliced into thin petals arranged like a blooming lotus, with a gap for where the dressing

cup would normally be in the center. The other had a heap of assorted fried food from

shrimp to pork cutlets on a black and red plate.

As the waitress left the room Kyle whispered to Blake.

“Man, it’s hard to find stores with human waitresses. All the hotels I’ve been to but

this one used conveyor belts and robot cooks.”

Well, he is the type interested in this kind of stuff, Blake thought. “Do you really need girls

just to enjoy your fried food? In a sushi store?”

“Shuddap! I mean, it’s the only place that serves non synthetic meat.” Kyle said

with a flustered face, as Blake chuckled.

Blake picked up his chopsticks and was about to dig in, but before he knew it, they

had escaped from his hands. Kyle’s smile melted away from his face. He looked at his

brother’s shaking hands and said,

“I see. This is worse than I thought.”


The table was silent except for the

cracking of fried food, the snapping of

veggies, and smacking of molars. Blake

had given up on using the chopsticks.

He used his wrinkled hands to slowly

pick up the veggies one by one and

shoving the whole thing in his mouth,

ignoring the paint stains on his hands.

Kyle, on the other hand, was eating like a

minister in a royal reception. As the two were

half way through their meal, Kyle spoke up.

“Are you still working with that body?”

“No... I can’t.”

The last time Blake picked up his brush, his hands shook so much that his pictures

never turned out the way he wanted. Pictures of a face looked like a collaboration of

Picasso and a first grader, while pictures of scenery looked like Jackson Pollock’s art

drawn in the middle of an earthquake.

Kyle took a deep breath. “The best body I could find is a spare of our high end

warranty system. We didn’t have that many failed transfers, so they offered me the

body. But!”

Blake farted. “Uh... Sorry bro. My body can’t help it.”

Kyle’s serious face began to crack a laugh.

“But what? Let me guess. A human-droid hybrid?”

“Yeah. That’s the closest I could get to a purely biological body,” said Kyle as he

regained his composure

“You gotta be kidding me.” Blake put a palm on his wrinkled face.

“As long as people are not paranoid of being hacked, no company is going to make

pure bio bodies. Especially with Neurosync required on all computers.” Kyle pulled his

sleeve that was covering the chip on his left wrist.

Blake dropped a piece of food that he was about to eat. Fuck that veggie.

“According to company records, the last bio body in stock was sold 5 years ago.”

Damn it! Blake knew that he was quite fortunate to get his current bio body. But

he never thought finding one was quite hard. He remembered the first time drew a

picture of the night sky with this body. The picture was crude and messy due to his

inexperience with the body, but he felt something in this body resonate with his art so

much he had never changed his body since.

“If you insist on keeping that body, what did my friends say about treating it?”

“They didn’t even care to check. They just said go get a transfer to a new body.”

“True, my friends from med school don’t treat bodies if they don’t have to.”

“The doctor named Jason also told me to say hi to the dropout.”

“That sounds like Jason,” Kyle said while suppressing his smile. “Besides that,

63


64

your only option is to get a custom one. Guaranteed to get what you want, but even I

couldn’t afford that.”

Wait! Blake thought. If Kyle got a hybrid from the warranty system. What about getting one

from the custom body service?

“I know what you are thinking, Blake. I can’t give you failed custom bodies legally.

It will give away the identity of the one who ordered the body.”

Identity? Blake thought. You can’t identify a person with their body.

“What are they fussing about?” Blake asked.

“Some of those rich kids just have weird personal desires. I can’t tell you, and trust

me you will never want to hear it.”

“Oh. Like that guy who wanted two of THOSE? The one who lived a few blocks

from us back at our the old house?”

“That case wasn’t so bad. His wife didn’t enjoy that, though.” Kyle made his face

like his food was bitter.

“Your job sucks.”

Kyle shrugged. “It’s the best way to make money. Nothing more.”

“So you can spend it on food and girls?”

“Anyways, is there any way you can do your art other than getting a bio body?”

Kyle said as he ignored Blake’s comment.

“No.”

“Why not? You look no different from a bio body like that waitress. Besides,

people care more about the art than the body that makes the art.”

“They can see the body in the work.”

“Huh?”

“I can feel it being too… I can just feel it. The symmetry. The patterns. Do you

know what I mean?”

“Perfect?”

“Yeah!” Blake said as he pointed towards Kyle.

“Their minds are still human. How on earth can they be perfect? You sound like

when you were in your original body and you thought you could hear messages from

aliens.”

“And you tried to inject me with tap water mixed with painkillers.”

“That was a toy syringe.”

“Please, no more of that! This is not that alien crap! You can ask the curator.”

Kyle scratched his head, which made Blake think he was out of excuses. Kyle

placed both his hands on the table. “Fine. So say if I could tell apart works that were

made by a droid body from works by a bio body, so what?”

“Remember the hybrid body I had 70 years ago? It was a lot easier to control than

this body.”

“Yeah. It was supposed to help you. Spending more time on the thinking and less

time on materializing your arts.”


“I could feel that I could always do the same brush strokes again and again and do

the minor adjustments at the same time.”

“Isn’t that good? You can perfect your art in no time.”

“What is the point of doing that! People appreciate a piece of work that is not just

beautiful but also hard to make!”

“You mean you value the effort put into the work?”

“Yeah. If I can perfect the same piece in no time, why do it? Someone else can do it

in no time.”

“But effort isn’t everything. You’re over relying on your bio body.”

“I can’t just paint some random image and hope it to be a masterpiece.”

“Sure, but you can also be more creative and go with the transfer.”

“Easier said than done.”

“True, but do the curators actually care about that?”

“Yes. the curator even wrote ‘made using a bio body’ on the picture description.”

“Was that piece called again? The universe something?” Kyle asked.

“The Universe on a Drop of Water,” Blake said enthusiastically. It was his seventh

piece he ever drew in his current body, and the first to be featured in the ART magazine

with his photo at large in the center with the title “Blake Williams: The Art Without

Aid.” He remembered every single word of the article that praised his ability to work

with a pure bio body without any digital aid.

“I’ve heard a lot about it, but are you sure people liked it just because it was made

with a bio body?” said Kyle.

“They said it in the magazine. There are only 20 more artists using bio bodies.

Critics are excited to see good works made with bio bodies.”

“I think bio bodies are just too impractical. That’s why there’s only 20 artists left.”

“If I transfer to that hybrid body, my art will be pointless.”

“Okay, okay. But your body isn’t gonna hold any longer.”

The door opened as the waitress came to collect their plates. Blake could not take

his eyes off the chip embedded on her hand.

I’m not gonna have that fucking hybrid body, he thought.

“Would you like any dessert?” said the waitress as she handed the dessert menu.

“I’ll take the daifuku box. Wanna share?” said Kyle as he turned to look at Blake.

Blake didn’t object.

Kyle chuckled. “You never say no to that do you?”

The waitress collected the menu, and soon came back with a black wooden box

decorated in gold dragon patterns. Inside were nine colorful daifukus arranged in a

square.

“So. What are you gonna do?” said Kyle as he picked one daifuku from the box.

65


“I’m not letting that transfer end my career.” Blake used his shaking hands to pick

another daifuku and quickly plopped it into his mouth before it fell.

“Think this through, Blake. You can’t treat that body into a workable condition.

You can’t find a new suitable one. You can’t continue your art this way. You have to do

the transfer and do something about your style or you can’t do what you love!”

Blake crossed his arms. His face was extra wrinkled from his eyebrows being

pressed down, signaling a huge no no.

Kyle sighed. “I think the best option is to think of some art that you can pursue

without a bio body.”

Blake grabbed his forehead tightly.

“Don’t be too stressed. Maybe you can make works with very fine detail that even

full droids find it hard to do. It will definitely take a lot of skill and effort, so you don’t

need to worry about the value.”

“My head… Hurts….”

“Hey Blake! ...Blake!”

Blake’s left arm dropped, and his left face started to droop.

“SHIT! I NEED HELP HERE! SOMEONE HELP! MY BROTHER IS

HAVING A STROKE!”

A few waitresses slammed the door open and scurried into the room.

“Call an ambulance! He needs an emergency transfer!” shouted Kyle.

Blake found himself in his studio in the apartment not too far from the Hotel.

There was a large white canvas in front of Blake. He looked down at his own hands.

They were as wrinkled as he remembered, but they were not shaking. He was carrying

his trusty paint brush on his right hand, and a palette on his left with all the colors he

ever wanted.

This is definitely a dream. It’s too good to be true, Blake thought.

He struck the brush against the canvas, and there appeared a vertical stroke,

perfectly imperfect as he had ever wanted.

But maybe it isn’t too bad of a dream.

He threw away the canvas, and a new one appeared in its place. He began to

paint the background in a deep blue. He then took a small brush to draw the outline

of himself, in a bio body painting under the night sky. He painted the old eyes, his

wrinkled face, his grey hair, his dirty T-shirt and the jeans he normally wears at his

studio, his trusty brush, and a miniature version of The Universe on a Drop of Water

standing proudly on the canvas tripod.

At least if I lose this body, there is something for me to remember.

He took out his white paint and began adding the stars to the background.

PERFECT! …Too bad this isn’t real... It isn’t real…

66


He heard the sound of churning motors coming from his arms. He looked down

and saw his arm turning more and more mechanic with cogs popping on random

places .

No! No! No!

His arm looked no different than an industrial machine.

I guess it is time. ...So long, my former body.

Kyle was standing next to a hospital bed. On it was a person, who wasn’t old,

didn’t have grey hair, didn’t have wobbly joints, and didn’t have wrinkled skin. Kyle has

never seen this person before, but he knew it was his brother. He stared at his sleeping

brother as he pondered what to say to Blake.

“Rise and shine, Blake!” No! That sounds too much like our mom. “I know this is hard for

you, but I’m the one who forced you into this body.” …Hell no! …Well, it is his fault for being so

stubborn.

Blake began to open his eyes.

Oh, screw it!

“Your old body had a stroke,” Kyle said, trying to be calm and professional.

Blake remained silent. He looked down at his left wrist and stared at the chip

embedded on his skin.

“I’m sorry, Blake. We didn’t have a choice.”

The tip of Blake’s mouth began to twitch. His eyes become watery as he stared

blankly at Kyle.

“Don’t worry, Kyle. This body feels… amazing...”

67


doubt thou the stars are firefiona

hall-zazueta


69


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72


critique day katherine liu

critique day

based on a dream

by katherine z liu


Hey, good luck,

Jessica.

Thanks. You too,

Heather.

All right.

Let’s get started.

75


First group.

Michael.

Stephanie.

Isaac.

Cynthia.

Jessica.

Gina.

Second group.

Nicole.

Heather.

Why are you just

sitting there?

Go on already!

76


77


Everyone

ready?

One,

Ok then,

on the count

of three...

two,

three.

78


I...

I can’t believe

this is how you all

think of me!

It’s nothing personal, Heather,

we just... I also don’t want to do t

SHUT UP!

Everyone loved

yours, Jessica.

You don’t get to

say anything!

And...

And what about

Nicole’s piece?

79


What about

my piece?

It

looks so

messy!

Your

execution is

horrible!

Huh?!

Now you’re

throwing me under the

bus? Yours barely

fits the theme!

I didn’t have a

chance to explain

my piece!

You knew

how this was

supposed to

go, Heather.

Yeah,

but

...

It’s

not

fair!

80


Ah! Isaac!

You guys finished

already? Who had

to do it?

Just get

it over with.

It’ll be easier

for everyone.

Me.

I’m just glad that

I don’t have to

do anything!

Slacking off, are we?

It’s been half an hour

already. If you don’t decide

in the next fifteen minutes,

I’ll have to decide for you!

81


Fine. You guys think it’s

what I deserve anyways.

Someone has to be

the worst, right?

82


Are you ready now?

I wish we had never

become friends.

83


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I’m so sorry.


the correspondentv. drummond


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hourly comic day

hourly

comic day

Hourly Comic Day is an annual event on February 1st during which artists draw

little comics representing what they did each hour of the day that they are awake.

This tradition has been going on for more than ten years. It’s a great way to practice

making quick comics and drawings, and it sometimes even doubles as a way to

get things off one’s chest. These comics, affectionately called “hourlies,” are an

introspection into the artists’ thoughts and daily routines, and we’d like to show

you some of ours!

94 katherine liu

96 shirley cai

98 lucy zhu

99 fiona hall-zazueta

100 cathy yang

101 v. drummond

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94

by Katherine Liu


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creator blurbs

blurbs

storyboard club co-presidents

katherine z.

liu

she/her

class of 2020

Spent a lot of time working on this anthology and messing

up her sleep schedule for its sake, so you better enjoy it.

shirley

cai

they/them

class of 2021

In loving memory of Adobe InDesign. It’s not dead, but

sometimes I wish it was.

contributors

angela

he

she/her

class of 2021

Angela He is a digital artist and software developer who

enjoys making video games, web apps, apps in general,

clothing, and accumulating a massive plushie army in her

free time. She also enjoys isolating herself in a room for

days on end to work on projects and then emerge, feverish,

scaring the wits out of her roommate. If this appealing

description fascinates you, definitely reach out to

zephyo@stanford.edu.

fiona

hall-zazueta

she/her

class of 2020

Fiona is an aspiring designer, programmer, and author.

She loves fantasy, scifi, and epistolary/collaborative

works. In her spare time (which is shy and rarely makes

appearances), she loves practicing harp, messing around in

Sketchup and playing role-playing games. The inspiration

for “Doubt Thou The Stars Are Fire” came from a longrunning

Dungeons & Dragons campaign with her best

friend.

cathy

yang

she/her

class of 2020

Cathy is junior who loves to doodle. She’s trying to figure

out what to do with her life. In her free time, Cathy likes

to take walks, drink tea, and pet cats.

funmi

solano

she/her

class of 2022

Funmi is a freshman, and she’s all over the place. She’s

thinking of majoring in biomedical computation, but

she also thinks about education and gender studies. Data

science maybe. Graphic design sounds p cool, too. When

she’s a bit less confused, she likes baking, anime/manga,

and reading, along with volunteering and trying new

things. She is not a weeb. She hopes her four-year plan

actually works out all the way through, even though she

knows it won’t.

102


khuyen

le

she/her

class of 2021

Says she likes to write novels, actually writes short stories,

tries to write poetry and is terrible at writing author

blurbs.

kristel

bugayong

she/her

class of 2018

The old person in this zine (Class of ‘18) and selfproclaimed

FDR of Storyboard (co-president for 2 years).

I play a chaotic good bard on art IG @kristelbugayong,

and if we’re in the right timeline, I became a drag lich

@fleurdelich

nick

tantivasadakarn

he/him

class of 2020

I’m a hobby writer interested in sci-fi and fantasy. My

favorite part is thinking how the societies will develop

in the fictional setting. What would artists do in a world

where we are all cybernetic? How would/what will societal

equality look like if we lived with fantasy creatures? What

if both sci-fi and fantasy worlds collided?

v.

drummond

they/them

class of 2019

Drummond thinks there should be more mythological

stories about how hard it is to send emails.

lucy

zhu

she/her

class of 2021

I like...... to draw.

maxwell

menzies

he/him

class of 2020

Presented here is a little song I like to sing about people

who just wanna have a good time. I encourage you to sing

along, play along (I’ve written the chords, you can do it!),

and share with your friends. If you want, you can share

it with me at bugzone2019 on Instagram or at www.

bugzone.info. Let me know how happy it made you or if

the hypnosis is working!

103


a collaboration!

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