I added an extra page so as not to make the last comic a spoiler for new readers.
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Oh, goodness. I feel so sad, because I just found this comic. Not a week later, it ends. It was terribly sad, and I actually didn’t see Maria’s death coming. But Tina’s, yeah I did. In any case, you’ve reminded me that in a good story, sometimes people have to die. Which I’ve been struggling with myself as a writer.
I think the reason people can connect with your comic is because it’s from the heart.
Nothing can replace the honesty of what you’ve captured in this whole series. For me it was the panel with Anders all on his own with his baby, saying nothing. The white outline in the next panel. You should be proud of yourself for dealing with such things with brilliant sensitivity.
You couldn’t have connected more with that feeling of desperation and being alone than you have.
How I describe your webcomic on my links page: “reading this comic, demonstrating how the need for control can destroy relationships and lives, feels like having your heart torn out by the hands of laughing children.”
Congratulations on your accomplishment so ambitious and so understated.
The last panel really got me. It just made it so beautifull and evocotive and tied everything together. I am a bit teary still thinking about it. Thank you Rene so much, you’re art and story telling are amazing.
I’ve been reading Anders loves Maria for years now, sadly this is the first comment I have ever made.
I had been waiting for the entire ending to happen with anticipation. Sadly to say..it’s strange but..I did predict to myself that Maria would die during the birth. It was just a guess, and now I feel kinda humbled..
I wish to say that this was one of the most beautiful webcomics I have ever read..and I wish to say congratulations Rene, and thank you for all you have done.
maybe i’m just upset at the abrupt ending of an interesting comic, but maria dying is not “so real.” MMR (maternal mortality ratio) is a pretty well-studied factor of health care – for sweden it’s about 5. that’s 5 mothers dying from complications of childbirth for every 100,000 live births. that’s 5 thousandths of a percent. you are 16 times more likely to be struck by lightning.
Good point johnny d, if it only happens to a very small amount of people, it’s not real at all.
This was a fantastic comic, and I knew I was going to miss it, but now I’m realising that I’m going to miss Maria too, not because she’s gone from a comic that I loved, but because of her death and leaving the rest of its world.
The feeling of this comic ending is almost the same as suddenly losing a friend who was ill. You know it’ll end. You even know when it’ll end. But it still takes you by surprise and fills you with shock and utter sadness when it does.
Throughout this amazing story, you get so close to the characters. You laugh with them, you cry with them. And the almost light-headed dizziness while reading the ending… I had this frantic calmness as I was reading it. The transition from Anders standing over baby Maria to the white outline of it just really shows the emptiness. That suckerpunch of the situation trying to grab hold and sink in.
I’ve been reading ALM for a long time, since about the beginning, and I can honestly say that I’ve NEVER gotten as deeply rooted in any comic as I have yours.
You should be very, very, VERY proud of yourself for what you have achieved here.
you seem to have missed the point. it certainly happens, it just doesn’t happen out of the blue to perfectly healthy mothers that have normal births. it also doesn’t happen and then the doctor pokes his head in the door and says “sorry, the mother died.”
like i said MMR is a vital factor for health care systems; it is considered a failure on the part of the hospital and doctors. a whole investigation would be done as to what happened and why.
don’t get me wrong, i have enjoyed the comic. it was occasionally hard to follow with the various levels of flashback when the reader is restricted to a relatively intermittent release schedule and the difficulty of paging around and rereading in a webcomic (i’d certainly be interested in a book to better follow the nuances); but it was a beautiful ride with interesting characters and a heart-felt story.
As probably many other readers I’ve never actually commented on yours, or any of the other countless web comics I’ve read. When it has come to web comics I normally go with light hearted and silly ones, just a little something to read now and again but I followed a link to yours via questionable content quite a while ago now.
I instantly became addicted to your drawing style and story line, it’s beautifully done, and I have followed ALM through all your rough posting schedule problems and the like and am glad I did.
I honestly cried when I read this comic, even the one after this. I adored your characters and became quite attached to Maria in particular. I had slight hindsight regarding Tina, just a slight guess really but when it came to Anders and Maria I honestly second guessed that it would be the baby that died.
So I’m posting this little rant just to let you know that your art and work was very much appreciated and I must say, the song of your friends fitted this comic perfectly.
Thank you again for all your hard work!
It’s indeed an unlikely thing to have happen, but isn’t most literature built around a series of unlikely events? Coleridge said literature requires a willing suspension of disbelief. It’s NOT the real world, so the rules don’t apply. You have to stick pretty close, but not exactly.
How do we know that the doctor didn’t say more in the interim between the initial delivery of the news and the epilogue? how do we know there wasn’t an inquiry? Maybe Maria had an underlying medical condition. The nature of narrative storytelling gives the author (and well done, Rene, well done indeed) the freedom to show as much or as little needed to have impact. I prefer to imagine Anders’ reaction in full, and those of all the others involved. You might not. Write your own stories.
This is my only comment for the story, and I, too have criticisms. I do think, though that there is much more to recommend this story than condemn it. I’ve told everyone here around me in Canada that this is worth reading. I hope you publish a book. Nerd I may be, but I want to put this on my shelf, and show my students where you can end up if you start on the web.
Death in childbirth does happen, but it’s fantastically unlikely, and it’s so convenient for this particular story that it doesn’t feel real. With Maria dead, no one has to work on any relationship or decide who gets the baby and when – it’s all very neat, very simplistic. The double-whammy of the two women dying in the last comic actually made my husband burst out laughing, not crying. “It’s like a tragic opera!” was his comment. Too much pathos kicked him out of the story world.
Rene, you mentioned that you’re not sure, having grown as a writer, that if you were starting fresh today you would do it the same way. I think that’s a very wise thing to say. Your writing has gotten amazing.
I honestly can not believe I haven’t commented before now but I love this comic. It really gave me something to look forward to, and I’ll miss it.
Thank you for the art. It was amazing.
I sure hope you have another project coming up!
Do y’all complain about the implausibility of Spider-Man and Batman this much?
There’s a story of a GI visiting Picasso who told him he couldn’t enjoy his art because it wasn’t true to life. Picasso supposedly asked the GI for a picture of his girlfriend and asked him, “Is she really as small as this?”
Religions are like languages in that they are representational. Words are not interchangeable with what they are meant to represent. All authentic religions refer to their own deadness, from the use of the koan to the commandment against idolatry. Religions that do not refer to their own deadness are cults. How about we give the comic portraying people with googley eyes and twig arms and legs some slack for its improbabilities that still fall within the realm of possibility?
i never said that fictional comics had to be realistic. my comments agree with your statements, pointed at other commenters that had said the comic was “so real.”
that said, rules apply to the world that you have created. when superman flies it is acceptable because there is a back story explaining how this is possible; it isn’t “real” but it is the world dc has created and they’ve explained it. from all appearances, rene has set this comic in the “real world,” so we expect people and events to occur as they would in our own world. if this was set in 17th century sweden, i wouldn’t bat an eye at a mother dying from birth complications.
the old “how do we know x didn’t happen just because it’s not in the story” excuse is a thin one. it’s narrative fiction, and what is not said, for all intents an purposes, does not happen. if rene had included some comic with a doctor’s visit indicating there was a problem with the pregnancy, it would have happened, but without it, it didn’t. take my other example – would my complaint seem silly if anders wheeled maria and baby out of the hospital and the last panel showed her and the baby getting instantly killed by a lightning bolt? if an impossible event occurs with no precedent indicating it’s not impossible, there’s a problem.
i think perhaps allie hit the root of my issue with this ending. rene makes a poignant statement about life, but the way she does it just seems contrived.
Perhaps “so real” was referring to the “poignant statement” you yourself refer to and aren’t disagreeing with, and the association was established casually. Are you closed to all casual expression from all discussions, just this one, or some middle-ground thereof?
The fact that she felt numb and her heart rate was dropping were obviously indications that something was wrong. Anesthesia is a difficult process and is known to cause death on occasion (hence anesthesiologists being amongst the most highly-paid doctors — due to the risk and likelihood of a lawsuit). So the anesthesia is also a definite factor that could contribute to Maria’s death. Basically, it is fairly realistic that someone under the knife, on drugs, and already described as reacting unusually to the meds (with a dropping heart rate!) should pass away.
RE: The comic itself –
Thanks. I really enjoyed reading this. I especially liked seeing Anders with the baby at the end. This is no longer something he can run away from — it’s become terribly real and 100% his responsibility. This new burden redeems his otherwise terribly ugly qualities. (Not to imply that babies are solely burdens, obviously, but it’s easy to be light-hearted when the task is shared. Now he is truly responsible for a new life.)
really speechless…. I don’t know what to say, my husband and I started reading this webcomic when I was waiting for our son (he´s 1 year and 4 months now), now, we reed this ending (no I work in a call center), my husband always said that Maria reminded him of me… and it reflexts one of biggest fears when our baby boy was born, It had to be a ceasarean.
this ending, that frame of Anders and the baby alone was just heart breaking, and you can not avoid keep thinking on the “Maria never woke up” statement. And also the baby sounds when he is changing her, and then silence… just, marvelous.
sorry if my english is not good, not my mother language, and also, never took any grammar lesson so… hard to write XD
keep up the good work, I’ll like to keep on tracking you for new work ^-^
perhaps, and perhaps not. others indicated they were “shocked,” “floored,” and many were on the verge of, if not actually, crying at the death of maria (and tina). another related how scared her husband was when she was giving birth.
and i’m saying, in the real world, for expecting mothers in a situation like maria’s (as far as we’re told), this does not happen; so for me this feels contrived in order to make a point instead of making the point via a more natural story progression.
are you closed to all subjective viewpoints counter to your own, just this one, or some middle-ground thereof? …sorry, my fingers would not allow me not to type that.
that is simply not the case anymore. deaths resulting from anesthesia are even lower than the MMR in most developed countries, usually below 1 in 100,000, and epidurals are on the safer side, as it is a local anesthetic. usually if a cesarean birth is required, general anesthic is not even needed, especially as in maria’s case where the anesthetic has such strong affects (which is not at all unusual). it is also not unusual for changes in heart rate of either the mother or the baby to cause a (perceived) need for cesarean birth – it is done specifically to lower the chances for complications.
i’ll assume you’re making hyperbole as opposed to ignoring what i’m saying. but all i have to base it on is international statistics and 9 years of experience.
Johnny, it is otherwise a complete mystery to me what makes what you say urgent to say at the volume you are saying it. Are cricket-chirps the background-sounds of maternity wards where you are? How do childbirth numbers compare to the readership numbers of ALM? What else am I supposed to think, other than my account of what I’m observing?
i make a subjective observation, people disagree, and i provide the facts on which my observation was based. that’s the way i know how to have a civilized discussion.
apparently my assumption was wrong, though, so i will repeat: “it certainly happens, it just doesn’t happen out of the blue to perfectly healthy mothers that have normal [or nearly-normal] births. it also doesn’t happen and then the doctor pokes his head in the door and says ‘sorry, the mother died.’”
Johnny, to “What I am is fascinated at your insistence of the invulnerability of pregnant women” you responded “i’ll assume you’re making hyperbole” … and then you go ahead and give what seems to be facts why pregnant women are invulnerable. Why should I think anything else when everything you say is reconcilable with my account of what I’m observing?
in·vul·ner·a·ble (?n-v?l’n?r-?-b?l) adj.
1. Immune to attack; impregnable.
2. Impossible to damage, injure, or wound.
“it [maternal mortality] certainly happens, it just doesn’t happen out of the blue to perfectly healthy mothers that have normal births. it also doesn’t happen and then the doctor pokes his head in the door and says ’sorry, the mother died.’”
where do you get “all pregnant women everywhere are completely immune to any injury to their person” out of that? once again, my point is that the situation laid out (from what we’re told) in this and the previous few comics does not happen in the real world, and because of this it feels contrived. you’re argument appears to be, “How about we give the comic… some slack for its improbabilities that still fall within the realm of possibility.” i’ll ask a previous question again, then: “would my complaint seem silly if anders wheeled maria and baby out of the hospital and the last panel showed her and the baby getting instantly killed by a lightning bolt?”
@johnny d- I just read the entire comic in one go, so its pretty fresh in my memory. Maria was diagnosed with low placenta very early on, and there was also the random fainting episode in her childhood. So it wasn’t entirely random.
I am reminded of a friend whose sister was having a routine check of her reproductive system because she was having fertility problems. Something went horribly wrong with the anesthetic and while she didn’t die, she suffered such severe brain damage that she’s essentially a four year old child. While statistically rare, these tragedies happen.
I know there were a lot of characters but I wish we had been able to learn a little more about Tina because despite her problems I was surprised at her decision. But overall I loved this.
I actually cried.
I can’t believe it but I actually cried.
You’re such a fantastic writer and artist; being able to move a hard hearted person like me to tears.
I love this story so much.
thank you for writing it.
thanks, i did not recall that that was said. at the risk of being reprimanded for knowing what i’m talking about again, i’ll give a quick explanation. low placenta, or “placenta previa,” occasionally happens, usually early in pregnancy, requiring bedrest and/or restriction from intercourse. it would be monitored throughout the pregnancy. about 95% of cases right themselves by the third trimester as the placenta grows; for those that do not, a cesarean is usually scheduled. it does add some complications, but it is not usually anything to worry about by itself.
Since Rene has been open to revision in the past, there seems to only be advantages to saying I agree I think the 5 panels after “You’re probably hungry” would be better displaying Anders still vulnerable like he is, and with the midwife’s dialogue distributed across panels, but with him and the midwife displayed full figure. Cropping the figures in comics portrays a pacing of time and experience that it makes sense the midwife would try to pull someone out of when delivering bad news.
Um, why can’t we all just compliment Rene on the things she has done well with this comic?
I see no civilized reason to pick her work apart, especially at the end of her comic. She was just trying to make a point. Nobody ever said she was Shakespeare.
Great job. I enjoyed this story very much and think you have a great amount of talent. I’ve seen how your abilities have grown through the progression of the story and I hope you continue on and make us more to enjoy!
If I remember, Maria does have some bleeding at the beginning after Anders is beat up, and she is told it is “not anything to worry about yet”, how do you know this was not a complication during the birthing process? Meanwhile, while death from childbirth and anesthesia is low, is STILL HAPPENS. I lost a cousin due to a reaction to anesthetics, so for me, this was indeed very “real”. Stop being a troll.
Rene, thank you for a wonderful story. I truly hope you do publish it as a book as I would love to add it to my collection.
I think it’s a little out of hand to call Johnny a troll. I can’t say I didn’t think the same thing he did when I first read this comic. I think it’s reasonable.
I also agree with something said earlier about this death ending being very “clean”. I was told once in a creative writing class that while the death of a character may be considered by the writer as messy and dramatic, it’s often in reality far cleaner cut then leaving the life standing. a death is a very classic end that can often seem contrived, and it’s undoubtedly a lot simpler then if Maria had lived.
THAT BEING SAID: beautiful comic. Well written, and attached do some of the most moving art I’ve ever seen in a web comic. I’m very happy to have been with you all this time on this journey. Thank you so much.
I guess Johnny D has a point. I loved ALM as much as everyone else here, I’ve checked every day to see if there was a new update and I too almost cried at the end. But fact is that, even tough this is a very good comic and a well written story, there are always things that can be improved, even in the best comics. For me, there are some things I would like to have had explained, some things I would have wanted deepened out. In that view I can see why it is a little odd that Maria has a bleeding and is not forced to slow things down or get bed rest, especially since her history (had an abortion -I guess-, low placenta, the fact that she is so tiny). Pregnant woman are so well-monitored (especially here in Eastern European countries where we have social security and good health benefits) that it is at least a little strange that she ‘dies out of the blue’. I don’t understand why
That being said, I would like to thank Rene for making such a beautiful comic, for creating characters that are so real you begin to consider them as your friends and for telling a story that I think everyone of us can relate to. I really enjoyed it, I’m sorry it had to end and I hope you will begin a new project soon.
Wow, I really didn’t see that coming, i’m not sure why. I’m actually crying too
Beautiful comic. I’m sad to see it is done.
Not sure if there is another one in the works (or already done) but hopefully there will be! You are an amazing artist and I’d love to see more!
Yes, in Sweden it’s about five mothers in 100.000 who die as a direct consequence of childbirth. The leading cause of death is massive bleeding. This happens when the placenta doesn’t let go well (the afterbirth) and the uterus doesn’t contract as it should. Massive bleedings can ensue, and while most are still saved, through blood transfusion or hysterectomia, in a few cases it’s not what happens. These women die. Considering a bit more than a hundred thousand childbirths per year, it’s below ten women per year. And yes, most of the women who die do so due to complications that could have been predicted (bad nutrition status, concurrent severe illness such as heart disease or diabetes, etc), a few each year die unexpectedly.
Next time you’re involved in a childbirth, give a thought to those men and women who make sure it happens as rarely as it does. The natural death rate during childbirth is far, far higher.
For the comic, René, thank you. It was a pleasure to read, and in a genre I never thought I’d enjoy. =)
I am weeping like a baby my heart is broken, Rene, I am so sad this is the end. I know I should have seen it coming but my naive nature made me believe that it would end more happily!!!! Goner, you are so right, and again it breaks my heart.
But Johnny, can you say this was a perfectly healthy mother and a normal child birth if the mother dies? Statistics are statistics, but if a seemingly healthy mother died during a seemingly normal childbirth, does it make more sense to say “that’s impossible!” or to assume that something occurred that had escaped the notice of the attending physician? In real life one would apply Occam’s razor and assume that since an abnormal result came from an ostensibly normal situation, the normal situation must not have been as ‘normal’ as it seemed at first blush, rather than freaking out about how unrealistic that outcome was.
I mean, you can rail all you want about statistics, but the story unfolded as it did. Period. You’re making a fuss over something that is out of your control. Why? Does all drama have to conform to statistics, or are tropes and literary devices allowable in fiction?
i am attempting to make the point rationally and not “freak out” about it, but perhaps the several people who agreed with me explained better “why” we’re “making a fuss” about it. but to me, because the death is statistically improbable (if not “impossible”), “this feels contrived in order to make a point instead of making the point via a more natural story progression.”
i agree with your earlier statement, though. if this were to happen “in real life” it would be assumed to be abnormal. but then the problem with the comic becomes the way in which the information was conveyed. “in real life” the doctors and nurses involved would be removed from the situation, new doctors would come in and evaluate what went wrong, a whole investigation into the history of the pregnancy would be done to see where the abnormality should have been discovered and why it was not, and then all those directly involved would be interrogated and likely either suspended or fired. that doesn’t even bring in the slew of lawsuits and other claims against doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc. that inevitably result as well.
and perhaps i’m not mentioning this so much anymore to critique rene (as i said earlier, i enjoyed the comic immensely) as much as to calm the worries of those pregnant or thinking about having children who see things like this. there is a whole system in place to make sure this “never” happens. as svempa said earlier, “give a thought to those men and women who make sure [maternal mortality] happens as rarely as it does.”
I’m not sure if I agree that it’s contrived from a dramatic standpoint. Yes the death from childbirth trope is pretty played out, but that isn’t a bad thing. As long as it draws a genuine and powerful emotional response from the viewer (and obviously the mileage on that varies here) then the use of a literary device is not unwarranted.
I see why the lack of proper hospital procedure could bug people, and it isn’t unreasonable to assume that Rene could have done some research on it (I did think it was a bit odd how that doctor delivered the news, since attendings are usually expected to have a decent bedside manner. I mean, they even teach classes on how to deliver bad news!) but perhaps all the technical aspects of the situation would have drawn focus away from the pathos of the scene, which is the point of the story and this page in particular.
Anyway, yeah, I agree with a bunch of your points. All’s well.
Concerning the maternal mortality rate, its applications to this comic and the plausibility of Maria’s death.
1. Several readers have provided evidence of Maria’s former health problems and possible risks.
2. Improbability of events in reality does not imply contrived fiction, unless it can be deemed a deus ex machina.
3. There is an increased risk of maternal mortality to cesarean sections, although perhaps less so in Sweden.
Example: An unnamed friend was induced into labor, with Pitocin, on her due date. The contractions proved too strong for her and she opted for an epidural. The epidural was given too early by an enthusiastic nurse, rendering her unable to push. She had to have an emergency cesarean section, just like Maria. The baby was healthy, but the mother died within the day of bacterial infection as a result of the cesarean.
Could something similar not have happened to Maria? It is improbable, yes, but I have seen it in reality. Why, then, could it not also happen in fiction, a world with much more fluid boundaries?
The definition of contrived as an adjective is “obviously planned or forced; artificial; strained.” Forgive me if I’m being dull, but I do not see how the story’s ending falls within the parameters of that definition. Perhaps if Maria’s death solved a litany of problems that would otherwise remain unexcogitable, but I do not believe that is the case. If anything, it will cause the other characters more problems.
Back to Johnny D’s true point, calming the fears of the expecting. Infant and maternal mortality is a frightening possibility. However unlikely, it is still a reality. That being said, the best defense a woman can have against complications in childbirth is preparation – understanding the possibilities, how to prevent unwanted outcomes and how to tailor her birth experience to suit her best. Almost every single birth today is a success, thanks to advancements in science and technology. However, that may not suit everyone.
Personally, I do not think I would perform well in a hospital – they make me incredibly anxious. I plan to give birth at home with the aid of a doula. If complications arise, I can be transported to a hospital in a matter of minutes. While doctors and hospitals have saved countless lives during childbirth, they are also not always necessary. If I were at home, I know my level of fear would decrease dramatically, allowing my body to perform as it should. If I were at a hospital, I would be so nervous the entire time that my contractions would be much stronger, I would be able to push with far less ease and there might arise some complications that would not have otherwise.
My two main points are:
1. I believe the ending is perfectly acceptable.
2. Childbirth can be dangerous, but if you are prepared it becomes much safer.
@Kalah, You’re entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine.
@Rene- I forgot to mention how sad Maria’s life seems to me in retrospect. She was so scared right before she gave birth, and then she died…scared, and alone.
Someone else made a comment that she died as she lived: neglected by those who wished to save her. So true and sad, even if it is fictional.
this left me bawling.. im glad anders manned up in the end but everything he did to maria was so horrible.. i wish it couldve ended differently.. but at least he finally became a man and maria finally got let free from the stress. im amazed at how attached i was to maria and anders. i guess its because i am going through maria’s situation slightly and yeah..
I personally found it akin to following a long and winding road through pleasant scenery only to find the road closed off just before it stops at the edge of a gravel pit.
I thought JohnnyD’s points cogent. Not only was Maria’s fate somewhat statistically unlikely, but “I’m sorry but I have bad news. The mother’s dead.” is a very flat way of passing the news of a titular character’s death.
I understand that many of you simply want to pass your compliments on to the skilled creator of a much-loved webcomic, but you shouldn’t shoot down the opinions of those who are perhaps more peripherally involved with the comic and have a different perspective.
It was a wonderful series, though, and my bookmark list is going to have a hole in it.
I’m not entirely sure what to say right now. I read this entire webcomic series in less that 2 days, and this page has me almost choking back the tears. It was not unlike watching a layered, well constructed movie actually… brilliant work Rene, and I’ll miss those unforgettable characters you envisioned (Maria – the most).
Thanks for this. I’ll make sure to direct my friends this-a-ways… I honestly think anybody who’s ever experienced the highs and lows of a rocky relationship should make this essential reading…
I am a huge QC fan… I follow everyday. I saw tonight during Jeph’s live show a couple of people talking about this strip and hinting at the ending…. and i knew Jeph loved it so i thought i would check it out. I started at the beginning tonight… about, oh, 3 or so hours ago…
I LOVED IT. IT ABSOLUTELY FLOORED ME. Even though I haven’t been a fan for more than a fourth of a day, I am sad to see it end. AMAZING story line.
This was really, horribly depressing. It’s poetic and all, but wow. D: But the way he says “she never woke up” – that’s slightly open-to-interpretation, isn’t it? Sounds more like she’s in a coma than dead.
I have been reading this stories for quite a while. In fact recently I have become a new father. Our pregnancy was fraught with emotional and logisical problems that were ultimately resolved. So in some ways I very much relate to Anders. But very luckly as absolutely no complications with the pregnancy and birthing itself.
When I saw Anders standing there with the baby in the cradle, truly alone, I couldn’t help but cry. I’m soo lucky that not only I have a beautiful girl but my lovely wife is still with me. So lucky.
Thank you Rene for creating such a beautiful work in both art and story. It really spoke to my heart. I hope you can continue with new projects in the future.
Thanks! This was a really good story. It was very engaging and powerful in spite of the flaws some have painstakingly documented I enjoyed the art, regardless of which techniques you used – it was always warm, inviting, and fluid – I like your style. I was also impressed with the way you were able to balance your major characters – I loved and loathed them all at different times. Like real people, they all made infuriatingly realistic choices – definitely not perfect choices – and there were no “heroes” or “villains” (well, except for Ass-man Lars). In fact, I hated… well, disliked… the title characters through much of the last third of the story, but the story was too good to give up on them!
I’ve been reading this comic for years and have never left a comment. I see other thanks and beautiful words already posted so I have only to say thank you, Rene. This was never a time killer but a part of a journey.
While it’s true that death due to complications during childbirth is extremely uncommon, keep in mind that Maria is a very tiny woman. I’m no doctor and thus not an expert on the subject, but I would imagine complications occur more in very petite women than in normal-sized women.
That said, this was heartbreaking but a wonderful just the same. Thank you, Rene, for creating such a beautiful and human comic.
I have to agree with Johnny. The story itself was a good one all-in-all but the ending seemed a bit too convient. As a writer myself, I make sure that if there is anything medical or really technical going on, I do as much research as I can to ensure that what I’m writing is feasible. I don’t expect so much of that from a webcomic, per say, but to have such a dramatic ending, I think a bit more build-up and plausibility… more reasons for it to happen – as in, her not being so apparently healthy, for example, just a bit more to make it more believable, would have been nice. And yes, to just have the doctor drop in and say “sorry, she died” didn’t seem to fit at all.
I also agree with the others who found throwing Tina’s death in there at the same time was a bit too much and took away from it.
But to people like Leung and those whose only arguement against Johnny’s is that they liked the ending and he didn’t find it realistic… it’s just his opinion and there’s no need to fight with it… no one’s going to change their mind. The story made you feel the way it made you feel and not all of us had the same reaction to it.
I found out about the comic from QC guest strip, and read the whole story right away.
Don’t really know what to say. It really moved me and made me live in the story and with its characters. Quite an sad ending to beautiful story, I’m almost angry at you for making me feel so sad. Guess I didn’t really see this coming, even though there were some “hints” or shall I say almost equally painful thins along the road.
Thank you for the touching play of emotions and bizarre events witch became an unforgettable journey. Love.
I’m rather upset that it had to end this way, but at the same time, it’s a perfect ending. The way the story was written just wasn’t conducive to a happy ending.
Also, I read the review from the hockey jock, and in case you don’t understand exactly how hard it is to make one of those kids cry… especially a teenager. Trust me on this one, it’s a border line miracle.
like many others, i found this from qc. a few thoughts:
certainly unnecessary, unexpected death is part of the human experience; but it is difficult to render in literature without jarring the reader out of a state of suspension of disbelief. tina’s death, in particular, makes the sudden tragic turn almost seem self-indulgent. (i found the allusions to shakespeare in the comments interesting…. certainly he has more than his fair share of clumsily effected tragedy and reliance on happenstance.) the ending was certainly not powerless, but it wasn’t cathartic. i just feel tired. and uncertain whether to hop over to your newer comic or cut my emotional losses.
“the end part 2″ is–i feel–a much stronger ending and a far greater testament to your (considerable) talent than these panels. i wish jeph jacques had given the link to the first strip of anders loves maria, rather than the last.
finally: the last panel on this page reminded me intensely of david b.’s “epileptic.” if that was, in fact, coincidental, i highly recommend it. the epilogue is utterly stunning.
The ending definitely took me by surprise. It’s so sad!!! I just read the entire story through the past 3 days, but I got so attached to all the characters. Rene, you did an EXCELLENT job of giving all the characters realistic lives and personalities, and this comic turned out fantastic–extraordinarily depressing in the end–but fantastic nonetheless. Thank you for putting your talents out there for all of us to see. I plan on following you through your “So Far Apart” comic now.
I considered writing in norrländska, but no… let’s not indulge in that.
I actually read the last page first, by mistake. I mean, the “last” page.
This one, End 1.
I googled “swedish webcomic”, found this and got the hang of the ending, all by mistake.
So, well, I knew more that I was intended to know as I started at the very beginning.
And that gave the story quite a twist… to know how it would end..,
it made me keep reading even at the times when I, being the way I am, otherwise would have felt there was too much misery and well… everything was too fucked up, so to speak.
I think knowing how it would end gave me quite a special experience.
Getting to know Maria was… bittersweet.
I never quite accepted Tina.
I got really fed up with the drama from time to time, frustrated,
propably becuase the story was so very believable and sweet at certain points,
just to switch into something unnervingly neurotic when wrong people did the wrong things.
I will always love the beginning more than anything.
I just wish they could’ve had their child,
a Wii and a child and a happily ever after.
As a mother of two in my little family of gamers I know first hand how wonderful it is,
just to sit back and relax with your loved ones while lonely Luigi whistles his spooky tune.
Curse that ass-guy, that was where it all started going so horribly wrong…
I still don’t understand why Anders’ mom didn’t want to talk to him when he called to say the baby is a girl. It was almost as if she was so upset that she had a girl (instead of a boy?). Or like she knew something bad was going to happen.
Re:: Charlie. I think Ander’s mom was just so overcome with emotion that she wasn’t able to talk. She has always been very detached and pragmatic, but when she heard she had a little granddaughter, she fell to emotional pieces and was unable to talk on the phone. I think she was moved, not upset.
I read the entire comic today. I don’t know why, but I always knew that Maria was going to pass away during childbirth. Still heartbreaking. I feel so sad for Anders and the baby.
Thank you for sharing Anders loves Maria.
I too found Anders Loves Maria from QC and read it in two days.
I too was left in tears.
Bawling really, for at least a half an hour after… But I’m quite sensitive and very afraid of child birth to begin with. :/
I agree with Zeb, not only is the artistic style breathtaking, the depth of the characters deserves recognition. I think it takes more talent creating a story where the characters are flawed but lovable, those that hurt us when they do wrong because we are so attached to them. There are no “good guys” or “bad guys”; everyone makes mistakes, bad choices, and we even find ourselves rooting for Tina a little bit though we can’t wait for Maria and Anders to get back together.
I enjoyed this comic immensely and am so glad to have found it even though I am left feeling like I lost a friend.
I just want to say i read this comic a long time ago while it was in progress, and forgot about it, and just remembered about it.
this ending’s intensity and shock is comparable to the climax of George Orwell’s 1984, when Julia and Winston are discovered reading The Book. Those few sentences convey such power and shock, so similar to what i felt reading this comic.
i didn’t see it coming at all, and Rene, it think you did an outstanding job with your comic. i just wanted you to know.
That was an achingly beautiful comic. Thank you so much. I am about to start it all over again, so as to catch some of the nuances that I missed last time.
As for dying in childbirth, it’s unlikeliness, and all that, there is a long-term blog written by a guy in Minneapolis whose wife died unexpectedly the day after their daughter was born. Just because it doesn’t happen often doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at all. 5 in 1000? So she was one of those. I think it was a great ending. Thanks, Rene.
Emmi: Well, do research, but only to a point. At some point the average reader won’t know/care about how accurate the medical procedure is. So you just have to make it plausible. Not 100% realistic. Merely *plausible* to the average reader or the audience.
Wow. I’ve just read this entire comic from start to finish from 2am to 4am. I was very deeply moved and I can say that it was one of the most moving comics I have ever read to date. Very very very good job. I hope to read all of your future works.
And bonks to those who note the unlikeliness of the death at childbirth. I was almost at tears by the end of that panel. A great ending to a great series.
That was beautifully tragic. I started this afternoon and couldn’t stop until it ended. I was drawn into the story and characters until it broke my heart with tragedy and love. Thank you for sharing this story.