Comic 1039 - Mr. and Mrs. Strongwell

23rd Mar 2018, 10:22 AM in Ch. 34 - Promise
Mr. and Mrs. Strongwell
Average Rating: 5 (14 votes)
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Author Notes:

Jocelyn 23rd Mar 2018, 10:22 AM edit delete
So, quite a few of you predicted this much might happen. But how? What happened? Where could she have gone? Is she safe now? What about Chanel and Emily and Rudy and Todd and Quenton and anyone else deeply involved in this arc? Where is any of this going? The good news is that I promise you will know everything by the end of the next chapter. Maybe even get some closure on a few things.


While I was originally against doing this, there's going to be a one week hiatus next week. Just one week. The comic will return on Monday, April 2nd. I really did want to go a little longer before the next hiatus, especially given there was a very long one last year. But I think I just want a little more time to fine-tune what's coming. The next chapter's a bit unique in structure, and I want to make sure everything unfolds just right. So this isn't some kind of vacation for me. This is a working hiatus; the break is to make the comic better. So thank you again for bearing with me here. I look forward to rewarding your patience. ^_^

Rain, all characters and all other aspects of the story are copyright material belonging to me.

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Kyle 23rd Mar 2018, 11:00 AM edit delete reply
Good job Maria. As other people have commented, you aren't doing anything wrong leaving like that. You'll get through this. Your stronger than everyone else, remember that.
CrownedSun 23rd Mar 2018, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
...part of me wants to believe that Mr. Strongwell is looking so pissed in the sixth panel because of what the school did to his daughter.

I don't really believe it, though, but at least he looks somewhat worried about her in the last panel.
Sarah 23rd Mar 2018, 11:17 AM edit delete reply
I was not expecting this but then I am not surprised either. If I had to guess where she is I would say Emily's house with her mother never around it will be harder for anyone to find out.

With Maria safeish for now i'm a bit worried for Rudy, with the recent Ruby outing his parents could direct all their anger at the situation on him. I hope Maria being so afraid of her parents that she ran away will make them think about how they treat their kids but I'm not expecting them too either.
FishEye18 23rd Mar 2018, 11:19 AM edit delete reply
Has Emily saved Maria?
Has Rudy gone with Maria?
If Emily is hiding Maria and possibly Rudy, will she get note from her neighbors complaining about "Rampant Gay" yard decor?

Or has Rain and Emily worked together to hide and protect the Strongwell siblings from their parents?

All this and more, next time on RAIN!

That aside, NUUUUUUUU! Not a week! This cliff hanger is too dang good! Still, I'm suspecting that Emily and Rain are working with Aunt Fara to protect the Strongwell kids from their parents now. It is also possible Channel's parents might also be taking the siblings under their wing, especially since Maria was defending Channel.
Anon 23rd Mar 2018, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
Next Chapter: How To Get Away From An Abusive Family. Definitely feels like the next chapter is set up for plenty of flashbacks and a similar story structure to HTGAWM.
Guest 23rd Mar 2018, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
What state is this because her parents s behavior in New Jersey and Oregon is illegal
Jocelyn 23rd Mar 2018, 11:49 AM edit delete reply

It takes place in Centerville, an imaginary town in upstate New York.
Superintendant 24th Mar 2018, 7:32 PM edit delete reply
Well, I'm from Utica, and I've never heard anyone use the phrase "steamed hams".
Guest 25th Mar 2018, 2:13 PM edit delete reply
I just want you to know this made me bust out laughing which was much needed after the sad comic page. Somehow I knew I would see this the second she mentioned “upstate New York.”
Jocelyn 25th Mar 2018, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
Fun fact: Having lived in Albany for almost 7 years, I can say I have heard people say "Steamed Hams" before. It's certain kinds of people, of course (not everyone), but it happens. We're odd fellows, but we steam a good ham. XD
Jessica Bright 27th Mar 2018, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
But do they say that even when it's obviously grilled?
thatgirlwasfire 24th Mar 2018, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
You know Centerville, New York actually exists rihgt?,_New_York
Jocelyn 24th Mar 2018, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

I wasn't aware when the comic started, but someone did bring this to my attention about a year or two ago. For my purposes, I maintain that the Rainverse Centerville is still purely fictional, and any similarity to the real Centerville is unintentional and coincidental.
thatgirlwasfire 25th Mar 2018, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
So there are apparently actually two Centervilles in New York, and the other one (the one in Ulster County) is actually near where I live. I might visit it soon, for like the lols.
Milll 26th Mar 2018, 3:26 PM edit delete reply
I guess even the people of Centerville, New York weren't aware that Centerville, New York was a place in New York until it was too late. :3
Guest 23rd Mar 2018, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
Noooooo! Not a whole week! I can't do it.

That said, any chance at a Rain Delay or two during the hiatus?
Guest 23rd Mar 2018, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
It's outright illegal in NYC but they can't have insurance cover it so
Anastasia 23rd Mar 2018, 2:37 PM edit delete reply
From what I remember this takes place before that became illegal.
j-eagle12212012 24th Mar 2018, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
You are correct
The story is taking place in 2013 I think
Would need Jocelyn to confirm
Anon 23rd Mar 2018, 12:18 PM edit delete reply
I get the feeling that this is something the "others" don't know about AKA Emily is involved, and either, hasn't yet, or at least, didn't talk to Rain and co. before Maria and her made their move.
Jessica Bright 23rd Mar 2018, 12:27 PM edit delete reply
Marika 23rd Mar 2018, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
Not sure if it's been called already, but I assume Todd is Quenton's illegitimate son.
Guest 23rd Mar 2018, 3:55 PM edit delete reply
I called it on the last page
Dakota 23rd Mar 2018, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
I kinda hoped this would happen. :0 I mean Maria is 17 right? She can petition for emancipated minor status. And I didn't think Rain, Emily, or anyone else close to her would let camp happen. Thank you for saving Maria, Jocelyn.
Anastasia 23rd Mar 2018, 2:37 PM edit delete reply
She's 18.
Emily 23rd Mar 2018, 2:13 PM edit delete reply
My personal crazy, off-the-wall theory is that Brother Arthur had a hand in Maria's disappearance (in the good way). I know it's not likely - he's a good person but he's in a bad system - I'd just LOVE for it to be true.
DocMesa 23rd Mar 2018, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
I can fully understand the shocked expressions on the Strongwells in that final panel. Who knows where Maria might have gone? She might be off doing gay things with her gay friends, becoming gayer and gayer BY THE MINUTE!....

...or she might have fled a pair of abusive parents that not only do not understand their daughter but far, far worse, do not *want* to understand their daughter.
DocMesa 23rd Mar 2018, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
Also, Father Quentin, you done f***ed up big time. It's one thing to expel a pupil but when said pupil subsequently goes missing while under your duty of care, that's when legal terms like "gross negligence" start to get thrown around.
William 23rd Mar 2018, 6:02 PM edit delete reply
Perhaps, but I don't think the school or Father Quenton is in legal jeopardy. The school asked Maria to sit and wait for her parents in a visible area where she was under a watchful eye. Given that Maria is of the age of majority this is probably all they could legally do. Restraining her would be false imprisonment.
Summer 23rd Mar 2018, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
Even just one week is torture enough.
greypoupon 23rd Mar 2018, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
this is getting interesting

looking forward to seeing how it folds out :)
EpicSD 23rd Mar 2018, 5:55 PM edit delete reply
shes hiding

in the closet
Vulcan 23rd Mar 2018, 6:38 PM edit delete reply
I don't know what they expected her to do, sit there and allow herself to be tormented for their beliefs?
SayTaylor 23rd Mar 2018, 6:43 PM edit delete reply
Hell, I'd rather live on the street than go to a damn conversion camp. Still I hope she can hold up at a friend's house... Though I guess they'd check the houses of everyone in her text history eventually :(
Also, I wonder if Rudy will make a break for it too. Chances are they'd send both children to a conversion camp if one's going.
SayTaylor 23rd Mar 2018, 6:59 PM edit delete reply
Also, I'm starting to notice rain (the weather not the person) is used as foreboding omen in this comic. You can tell because this is upstate New York in March but it isn't snowing :P
Samantha Lynn Pettengill 24th Mar 2018, 11:54 AM edit delete reply
I had a feeling this was going to be the result. Jocelyn, take all the time you need. I have been following this comic from the beginning and you are the best. I would stick by you if you told me you needed to take a year.
bgb16999 24th Mar 2018, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
Most people seem to be assuming that she is hiding at Chanel's or Gavin's house, or maybe Emily's or Ana's house or Fara's apartment. While any of those could be true, there is another possibly:

Maybe in the time between the first and second page of this update, Brother Arthur slipped Maria a key to his own house, along with enough cash to get there by bus or taxi. Maria could well be hiding at Brother Arthur's house until she finds another place to stay.
Mill 30th Mar 2018, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
Thinking about it, Emily would probably know how to find a shelter that'll take Maria in
James 24th Mar 2018, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
Wait is it legal to run away in new york?? in West Virginia its illegal even if you have an abusive household... i have a friend who wound up in juvy for that
Some Ed 26th Mar 2018, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
When you're 18, there are no states in the US where "running away from home" is illegal. It's just called leaving home.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not licensed to practice law in any state. The main purpose of this comment is to let me vote on the comic.
mecaterpillar 24th Mar 2018, 7:13 PM edit delete reply
It looks like Mr. Strongwell is about to go off on the school. I don't think, though, that the Strongwell parents are yet aware of what took place earlier with the altercation with Todd. His anger is likely just over her being missing.
Guest 24th Mar 2018, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
Why does stuff like this always have to happen on friday-pages and/or before a hiatus?!
Queen Wolfen 24th Mar 2018, 11:45 PM edit delete reply
Queen Wolfen
All aboard the Feels Train...

FishEye18 26th Mar 2018, 3:44 AM edit delete reply
The feels are to strong.
I need a beer.
Maybe a whisky.
Steve the Mew hunter 26th Mar 2018, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
Steve the Mew hunter
Well this is terrifying.
Milll 26th Mar 2018, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
Could this be the start of a redemption arc for one of the Strongwell Parents?
Parallel 27th Mar 2018, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, I don't want the Strongwells to be redeemed. They're horrible people and I'm not sure how a redemption arc could be written without implying that it's okay to be horrendously homophobic to your child as long as you "come around" eventually.
FishEye18 27th Mar 2018, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
I agree with this. The armored closet gay trope has been overused to begin with, and having severely homophobic people redeem themselves somehow is still not only hard to write, its also annoying due to how unrealistic it is. Yes, some redeem them selves in real life, but that is a minority. There is a certain event horizon to how far any phobia can go, and after a certain point, its damn near impossible to go back.
Drake Zephyr 28th Mar 2018, 10:11 AM edit delete reply
Drake Zephyr
I disagree with them being bad people. There just old fashioned i guess. That's just how they are, there very religious. They really need to learn more, and educate themselves before making irrational decisions for there children futures though.
Guest5021 30th Mar 2018, 3:52 AM edit delete reply
@Drake Zephyr

When somebody exhibits inability to differentiate between "there" and "they're" ("their" as well by extension, likely a safe presumption) and says so-and-so (after it's already been revealed they're haters who enjoy destroying a person for the sake of enforcing archaic standards of an assinine patriarchy) aren't bad people, some people might have no confidence in what you say.

Blaming it on being old fashioned and religious is just bunk. There are some senior citizens, such as myself, who never went in for all that bullshit. They are just bad people. I've seen this often enough in folks of my generation to see why they do it. They do it because they get a payoff for it. Revenge against those who dared defy their will. A feeling of power in destroying such persons which helps stave off deep seated feelings if inadequacy. The religion justifies their evil as "serving God" (when logically they would already know a Loving Deity could never sanction that shit) to make them feel superior and self righteous.
Drake Zephyr 31st Mar 2018, 4:32 PM edit delete reply
Drake Zephyr
Well people can change.
Long-Time Lurker 29th Mar 2018, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
Not the same situation as Maria, but I'm remembering when I came out to my parents. They were (*coughs* are) homophobic and transphobic -- more internalized than preaching, which is why I stress this is not the same situation -- but there was a while I was wondering if they'd kick me out of the house or disown me. They'd never shown me any indication they had a line there, so it wasn't an unreasonable concern, but it was also (to them) preposterous to go to those lengths for a child they've committed to caring for. However, them seeing my fear of them and that I thought they might be capable of that hit home hard enough they started reconsidering their behavior some and tone it back a lot. I know the Strongwells are pissed and much more homophobic than my folks ever were, but I have to wonder -- since we're shown they do /care/ for their kids, even if they're severely misguided in how to show that -- if they draw a line on stuff that is, no matter how you slice it, torture. Even if it's claimed as "for the greater good". While I'm sure they'd do quite a bit of punishments like yelling and taking away phones (and there are certainly other parents in this story, like Rain's dad, who 100% would put his kid in conversion therapy), those are fairly standard punishments for wrong-doings. You could get the same response for refusing to clean your room or hitting a kid at school or stealing something at a store and they'd be considered reasonable-ish consequences. They're still homophobic pieces of shit who are, by virtue of their homophobia, acting in sometimes-abusive ways by punishing their kids for existing as they are. It's abusive because of the *application* of these punishments, not by virtue of the actions, if that makes sense. (That's just my read on it, and I could totally be forgetting things they've said/done.) BUT we haven't (again, IIRC) seen them escalate beyond those standard types of punishment. So. Until we have more information on them, my read on the Strongwells is they won't follow through with that conversion therapy and such -- I think that while they might excuse the actions of others, they wouldn't be able to justify to themselves having a kid electrocuted or whatnot. That this is the one line they won't cross, even though they might toe it pretty hard. And Maria running away or ditching or whatever she is will hit home just how much their kids fear them, something no loving parent wants (and I do feel they love their kids, even if they really really don't get it). And, because of that -- no redemption arc, just no getting worse -- it will make them reconsider a bit where that line is for them.

Then again, I'm an optimist and I love these kids and want something less-awful to happen in their lives for once. And I could be reading far too in-depth into this. Or maybe not. Jocelyn is great at character development thought waaay in advance.

Regardless, I can't wait until Monday. I never thought I'd be wishing for Spring Break to end sooner...
angels unawares 31st Mar 2018, 1:49 AM edit delete reply
Even conversion camps without electroshock, flogging, etc 'therapies' are pretty awful places to live, just out of the sheer unbelieveable incompetency of the staff. To think that the Strongwells "wouldn't go this far", however, is DANGEROUS naivety;
1. They honestly probably don't have a clue how bad it often very well is.
2. Even if they have been told, they've got an entire lifetime's worth of religion-fueled experience in doublethink to use to ignore it and/or discredit the idea within their own minds.
3. Even if they've been shown sufficient photographic (and other) evidence of what goes on in conversion camps and/or the after-effects, AND somehow been forced to come to accept the fact that these horror-stories are not just freak accidents (and are in fact what these places implicitly expect you already consider the norm if you're signing your kids into one), their thought processes will instead turn to focusing on how "it's the only way" and "it's what a kind, loving parent who truly cares would do, for the sake of their child's future".
4. Even a complete fantasy-land where these kind, loving parents who truly care about their children wouldn't latch onto the one-point-three or whatever percent statistical success rate (i.e. kids who were already straight to begin with, just a bit unorthodox in fashion) and convince themselves that both of their children are absolutely certain to hit that jackpot and survive unscathed and magically become straight, so that they may gain the divine strength to kindly, lovingly, and truly caringly send their children to a conversion(-to-suicide-victim) camp regardless of all the bad omens slapping them in the face along the way, ...they'd still do it. They'd still do it even if they KNEW it would in all likelihood condemn them to eternal damnation, all because almost the entirety of the social-contacts bubble they've surrounded themselves with tell them it's what they should do; what a Reponsible Parent would do.
Because, when push comes to shove, peer-pressure and posturing is what truly matters most. Nothing's changed for them since highschool.

I don't like pointless drama either, but this far from pointless; I think perhaps Jocelyn and I are somewhat alike in the opinion that while fictional sadness just for sadness's sake automatically acquires an aura of unintentional comedy, fictions attempting to portray a realistic scenario and/or teach a lesson (such as on the dangers of inaction and the consequences of not standing up for yourself) can be fully justified.

Recommended reading: 'Reparative therapy' on Rationalwiki.
(Actually, I'd recommend an entire binge-reading journey across Rationalwiki. It's an amazing experience.)

Let me also take this opportunity to add my voice to the support of the readers who really, really don't get why @Jocelyn is so fanatical about selling Rain as a physical comic book series, especially considering the topic at hand; having a digital hi-res copy for offline reading as an option would allow readers to support you without getting themselves potentially ostracized (or worse) by roomates, parents, or (in my case) neighbors who can't stop faffing about with other people's mail slots. You should know how bad it can get for someone who's found out; you're in the middle of writing a story arc about this, aren't you? If you're worried about piracy, ...well, it's an online comic, so anyone who was buying a print was probably mostly just doing so to support you anyway. Even if it were no longer available on ComicFury, the most prolific pirates tend to have access to some surprisingly high-end scanning hardware.
Long-Time Lurker 31st Mar 2018, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
@angels unaware

All good points. If they do go the conversation "therapy" route, I fully see them buying into X, Y, and Z narratives about it. Desperation is a powerful motivator. Maria is *absolutely right* to assume and prepare for the worst in case they do go that route. Every kid who sees it as being even a remote possibility (which it's not remote at all in this case) should be prepared as best they can. I was saying that in my personal life, though, I've seen a lot of parents who (through logic or laziness or finances or trying to do it themselves with things like withholding financial support) are terrible but never considered conversion camps or any other "solution" that ships their kid out of the house. (I get it happens. The 1-in-4 (?) statistic regarding getting kicked out for coming out proves plenty. I also get I have less exposure to people at risk since I live in a state where it's banned. NY is not such a state.) Over the last few weeks it seems everyone on this page has gone to "they definitely/almost certainly will try to send Maria there" and I was saying I'm not sold on it being such a done deal *at this point*. Next week's pages will probably give a lot clearer picture of if they will or not. They could. They absolutely could. But we've seen no hint from them for or against -- or any *escalation* in how far they'd go to "cure" their kid (regardless of if they consider it good or a necessary evil, it'd be an escalation) -- so I was trying to share one potential narrative where they didn't. I'm going to hope for the better, not-*unlikely* outcome until we get more hints. I am *not* ruling out the darker possibility. I'm going with "prepare for the worst, hope for the best" with the expectation that, like real life, things will likely fall somewhere in the middle.
Long-Time Lurker 31st Mar 2018, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
I also never said it's pointless drama. It's not. Nothing in this comic is, no matter what direction this heads.
angels unawares 1st Apr 2018, 12:16 AM edit delete reply
Ah, sorry if I came across that way. I wasn't accusing you; it's just that I can't stand it when (as is unfortunately the norm) an author building a fictional world seems determined to smash any chance they might've had to make that world into a pleasant vacation (Iyashikei is, I think, what I mean when I say "pleasant vacation"), just because they want their work to seem sophisticated, even if the setting (a world where every last person is a ninja with superpowers, or trapped in a videogame as some sort of overpowered anomaly, or...) is clearly not a good fit for deep social commentary.
Despite all this, however... a work incorporating drama, with some actual artistic and/or educational value (which I think is what I see here), I still have no trouble taking seriously. (Or at least, as seriously as it takes its own internal consistency. But as long as it's not some awkward-attempt-at-a-PSA episode of a saturday-morning cartoon, it's usually hard to believe a given story's doomed to get too bad in that regard.)
Long-Time Lurker 31st Mar 2018, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
Clarification: I'm not exposed to people within my local community having been put in the camps. I've read testimonies and such from folks who've been willing to open up on platforms like Facebook. It's not a large sample of experiences, but I am aware of some of what goes on in the camps. I just don't have a feel for numbers by looking around me. (Statistically, it's about 6%, though, so 1-in-20 but that also doesn't factor in anything by state, age group, or association with various religious denominations... Any ideas what the numbers are for kids with cobservative parents in states where it's legal?)

Also, thanks for the recommended reading!
Guest5021 30th Mar 2018, 4:45 AM edit delete reply

Have Brother Arthur let slip to the Strongwells how father Quenton caused this with his deliberate idiocy, shortsightedness and incompetence. If there is no legal liablility, forget it. Have the Stongwells incensed over Quenton's recklessness and convincing other parents that someone like Quenton should never have been entrusted to watch over their children. Perhaps leading to his removal?
Mill 31st Mar 2018, 3:54 AM edit delete reply
I think this story is planned well into the future, and that the only changes being made at this point are small details or the order in which things happen.
Milll 31st Mar 2018, 3:57 AM edit delete reply
So was this where Maria was originally supposed to come out & get expelled over being gay?
Drake Zephyr 2nd Apr 2018, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
Drake Zephyr
1.4 Weeks later...
Wes 19th Jun 2022, 10:11 PM edit delete reply
I was begging her to run the whole time in this scene. From the moment she got expelled. I just didn’t want to see her parents initial reaction. Or any of their reactions. But she’s 18 and so there’s not much they can do to get her back now.
Waffle 19th Sep 2022, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
Is this "I know she was outside Quenton's office when I left it, but I can't be certain whether she's moved since" or "she's actually escaped"?

I mean, based on Pete's presence and demeanor the first seems unlikely, but with sympathetic people in Brother Arthur's position there's always the possibility of bending the truth to help.
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