Hi Anon, Yamino here. I know you intended this message for Ash but I feel like I can answer it.
Let’s get a couple facts straight, shall we?
1. Sister Claire has always been sad. It may have started off with more funny gags and yes, I killed off the entire cast of Sesame Street to have them make cameos as corpses in the catacombs, but if you really think about it, from page one this has been a story set in a war-ravaged land where one poor girl is impregnated without her consent and must learn the scary truth about what’s really going on in her world. She lives in fear of abuse by the very people meant to be protecting her. She has no friends except some stray cats she secretly feeds her dinner. Her only ally and mother figure gets possessed by a monster and put on a witch trial. This isn’t exactly “Care Bears.”
I’m the one who set up the story this way, not Ash. Even now, most of the really horrible things that happen to the characters have come from me.
By contrast, a lot of the warm fuzzy moments people love in the comic and the Missing Moments are largely Ash’s input. She’s worked really hard to make this story, which would otherwise be disaster piled on disaster, have some lightheartedness to it. Like baby Claire, and all those warm fuzzy moments everyone gushed over between her and Catharine and all the other nuns. Like Olga and Jackson’s relationship and development. Like Oscar’s history with Catharine. Until Ash came along, the nuns’ relationships to each other were really underdeveloped. I have seen nothing but praise for the way she brought new interest and believability to them.
2. Even longtime fans can tell that at its inception, Sister Claire was poorly planned, and as a result the story and the pacing suffered a lot. It was (still is!) my first ever long-form comic project, one that I started when I was still in college, as a class assignment. I hadn’t really expected to be working on it for over 5 years! As the time went on, I didn’t want to scrap the comic, so I continued it, but it still suffered from a lot of plot holes and poor planning. I tend to write from scene-to-scene rather than make plans about the overall plot, and putting in lots of jokes and gags is my comfort zone. Unfortunately, that does not an epic story make, and SC was quickly shaping up to become epic in scale. That meant some serious planning and creativity would be needed to fill in all those plot holes and redesign the story to work as an epic while avoiding retconning. The idea was daunting.
Enter Ash. I loved her writing before we were even friends. (That’s how we met!) She read the comic and gave me a lot of really interesting questions that made me think about certain decisions I’d made. She considered a lot of aspects that had never even crossed my mind. She knew my characters as well as I did. And now, she arguably knows them even better! Jackson, Olga, and Oscar all have much more identifiable voices now.
As a co-creator, she’s done the seemingly impossible- stitched together all these fragments of stories and ideas into a beautiful quilt. She’s given amazing depth to background characters who were very flat before. She encouraged a lot of positive developments. Like what, you ask? Like putting a canon lesbian relationship in the comic and having them kiss on-screen. Like Oscar being trans. Like her push for more body diversity in new characters. She’s worked with the tone I created to give more impact to the serious, terrible things that were hinted at on the surface in Book 1. Things that were always there, but largely unexplored. Maybe the tone has shifted a little from sweeter to more serious and scary, but you could say the same of almost any long-format epic story. (Harry Potter, anyone?)
Finally, Ash is not my “girlfriend”. She’s my wife. Yes, literally. And unfortunately, whether you like it or not, she’s on this team to stay. I also read the comments on our pages, and they are overwhelmingly positive about her writing and the new developments in Sister Claire. I’m sorry you don’t share their excitement. I, for one, cannot wait for the future updates.
Before people ask, yes, Ash said it was ok to reply for her. =P