August 6th, 2009


Whoever coined the phrase “shadowlescent” in the comments, kudos! That’s awesome!

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Discussion (43)¬

  1. jassius says:

    Sorry for being kind and not hitting you with a broomstick on sight?
    Duh! Too much for a “I am sorry”

    I wonder if shadow realizes his ideas are biased since ALL its demonic knowledge comes from just one source. Quite an improvement from having all his demonic knowledge from a Wombat though.

    In a way I suppose I am saying he should go out more, find someone of it’s kind and… um.. Start a family?. Oh, well. Not really sure about the last but I somehow I seem to be suggesting he should. Well. Act as a teen?

    And for the record, I can’t believe I just said that.

  2. Mente says:

    Oh, those wombats, always putting a spanner in the works *somehow*…


  3. irilyth says:

    Was the repeated use of “kind”, but in two different senses, deliberate? It feels awkward to me.

    Style aside, love the content. And yay “shadowlescent”. :^)

  4. Niall says:

    First Digger wanted to make the demon act right and sensible – and now she’s sorry that she didn’t raise SC in the ways of its own kind.

    This only reinforces Digger’s teachings. :)

    (I could make a joke about Digger being honorary Canadian, since I am one and can make fun of the stereotype, but that’d be beside the point.)

  5. Ketira says:

    Actually, I see this as a good thing. Shadow is now acting exactly as a teen would; it’s in these years that the “who am I really?” comes out.

    I am going to watch to see what the others make of Shadow and the help that s/he brings. (Does Shadow have a gender?)

  6. Vertel says:

    Re: Does Shadow have a gender?

    I’m sure if we ever find out, the answer will be too confusing for us to understand.

  7. Lachesis says:


    so does this give a whole new meaning to “killing with kindness”?

    i’m sorry. i’ll go away now.

  8. Mani says:

    I like the idea for “why demons end up demonic”; way cooler than this idea of inherent evil.

    Actually, and I can’t possibly go back and search through the archives for it now, it’s a lot like the description of demons Ed gave initially – when he compared them to forces of nature, something like “Fire burns, but is not being bad. Is just fire.”

  9. Hawk says:

    Shadow’s learning. And that’s never easy.
    This one made me smile a little more, at least. Digger is indeed kind, kind enough even to apologize for doing what she saw as right at the time.
    Would that all of us could be like that more often.

  10. Stryde says:

    Mmm, but is there reason to apologize? Think about it, all of this information is what Sweetgrass Voice knew and believed. He believed it was right for a shadow demon to grow and be raised as he and the others he met were, but what is right? Perhaps Digger has done a good thing – and she certainly has, in my opinion. :)

  11. Marrock says:

    And now we shall discover if the whole “Nature vs. Nurture” thing works with demons.

  12. Moselle Green says:

    Yesterday on the road I saw a black plastic garbage bag caught in a fence, blowing in the wind, and for a second I swear I thought it was Shadowchild.

  13. Jon says:

    Probably completely unrelated to what anyone else is thinking, but if we assume that demons live forever unless killed (either by sword or starvation), and we further assume that by consuming each other, the victor gains all the memories of the consumed…just how immense must the mind of a demon BE to contain all that?

    Just throwin’ that out there.

  14. annie says:

    ah yes, the whole thing about teens (and olders) forgiving parents for doing what the parents thought best at the time. Very hard to do.

  15. Chip Uni says:

    Digger is a GREAT mom.

  16. Hamor says:

    Love the dramatic background in the first large panel! Your work reminds me of a few good untranslated manga that I could still sortof follow just by the imagry :)

    Poor Shadow being forced to grow up… At least his “mom” was there when it happened instead of being all alone.

  17. Sabreur says:

    Angsty demon or not, Shadow is still the cutest thing ever.

  18. motub says:

    Wow. Just… wow.

    What’s best, of the many great things, is how… mature… this discussion is. I’m not even sure Shadow is actually angry as such. Although obviously it has ‘suffered harm’ in some respect (if you look at it like a ‘natural’ demon), at the same time, because of its experience with Digger, it is clearly to some extent repulsed by the culture of a ‘natural’ demon (otherwise Shadow’s whole approach to SGV would have been different) and is ‘glad’ in a certain respect to have escaped that.

    Now it just has to decide how it wants to approach its unique freedom of being something entirely new. Maybe it didn’t want to be something entirely new; maybe Shadow wishes that ‘things could have been different’ — that it had met SGV first, and grown up ‘normal’, or that it had never met SGV and thus not grown up at all, or that Digger had been a different kind of being– like Jhalm, for example– who would have killed it immediately, or ignored it, and resolved this before it started.

    But you can’t turn back time (how much does that suck?), and existence is what it is, and what it is made. And Shadow is a new thing– a demon whose character was formed in an environment of kindness. One of the ‘talented tenth’, as it were, not unlike Babe (as another example from the media).

    It’s a hard path, with a lot of unknown obstacles, pitfalls and traps (since no one has ever walked that specific and individual path before), alongside the known ones common to ‘growing up’.

    So sweet of Digger to apologize, and even though it seems like she has nothing to apologize for, she indeed does– she’s unintentionally made Shadow’s existance much more difficult for Shadow, which no parent wants to do to their child. But how many children ever get a sincere apology from their parents for such an unfortunate situation?

    Yes, Digger is kind, almost unfailingly so. Thank goodness (no pun intended). Because if there is a ‘safe’ path through this painfully complicated transition that will allow Shadow to become a complete, coherent, self-willed ‘new thing’ with some level of self-esteem, only unflagging kindness will light the way.

    Do we have any of those hugs stockpiled, by the way? I think we’ll be needing to send them along to our Shadowlecsent…..

  19. Hawksong says:

    I love Motub’s posts <3
    You’re a freaking English Lit professor, aren’t you? *grin*

    I have saved many many hugs for Shadowlescent!

  20. Tindi says:

    *huggles Digger* It’s still too early for this isn’t it :P

  21. SongCoyote says:

    What I find fascinating is that given what Shadowlescent said about demons finding other demons, arguably Sweetgrass Voice chose the kinder of two possible outcomes of which it knew: it started off prepared to teach, rather than simply devour. This thought gives me enough pause to offer SGV a moment of mourning, even though in all honesty I feel no sorrow at its destruction (assuming that’s actually what happened).

    Digger’s sorrow, on the other hand, is so quintessentially drawn from who and what she is that at first I could do nothing but agree. It was only a few seconds later that I thought, “Hey, wait a minute… sorry for creating a path other than destruction or becoming a remorseless eating machine?” (Or something like that; it wasn’t a verbal reaction per se.)

    And I agree with Hamor regarding panel 2, which I regard as beautifully indicative of the mood of the scene. As always, Ursula, your use of line and energy and shadow (pun unintended) are a source of true delight; they always add extra depth to your exquisite storytelling.

    Thank you again, and thanks to all the commenters, too, for sharing their love.

    Light and laughter,

  22. fixman88 says:

    I can relate to Shadowlescent’s dilemma. Being ‘different’ is as much a blessing as it is a curse, but I think this is a positive result (even though it’s not easy.)

  23. Cheeky Stoat says:

    I learned something today. This site is not compatable with Netscape Navigator. Comments don’t show and the “next”/”previous” buttons don’t exist.

    Loving the comic though.

  24. Nifar says:

    Huh. Took me a week to catch up, but I gotta say, it was worth it.

  25. Gwennan says:

    I think I can understand Digger’s “I’m sorry”. She’s not sorry that she’s shown the Shadowchild an alternative path than that of most of its’ kind. She’s sorry that her friend is in pain because of it.

    Got my own print copy of volume 1 yesterday and spent the evening reliving old times. I may need to get a second copy that I can lend out!

  26. Larry G says:

    hehe DIGGER is, well, satisfying is the only word that fits. It has everything: Gods, Demons, Tragedy, Comedy, Angst, Conflict, Heroes, and a Wombat.

  27. Hawksong says:

    With Wombats, Creation is Complete

    I wanna T-shirt! :P

  28. R.A. says:

    Don’t worry, Digger; ya done good.

    and well :)

  29. motub says:

    Gives a whole new resonance to the phrase, “Sympathy for the Devil,” doesn’t it? Kindness to a demon(spawn).

    Wombats are…. fantabulous :) .

  30. Sil says:

    Something I should point out, to whoever said SGV was taking the kinder path of demon rearing, we have no idea whether it planned to eat Shadowchild -after- he destroyed the others or not. Once it was free, as Jahlm wishes to do, what use would Shadowchild have been to it? Competition?

  31. Loren says:

    In fact, SGV might not have had the power to eat Shadow while stretched out thin, even had it wished to — or it would surely have dealt with Digger, et al, long ago.

    “Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly…”

  32. TekServer says:

    I have an intriguing, if unlikely, thought.

    What if, despite what Shadow thinks it knows, there HAVE, in fact, been demon children in its position before, on rare occasions?

    Think about it, we have at least two possibly related legends: the white bird (peacock) and the rat working together, leading to the founding of the temple of Ganesh; and later a hedgehog and the ghost of a white bird doing something heroic together (I don’t remember specifically what right now, unfortunately).

    What if each of these legends actually sprang from a demon child who somehow learned morals, ethics, and other aspects of a wombatish value system? It would seem likely from the legends that in each case the life of the demon in question was heroic, tragic, and inevitably short.

    So why would Shadowlescent not know about these previous cases? Well, all its new knowledge came from SGV, as has been previously pointed out. Perhaps SGV itself was unaware of these other cases; SGV has been trapped in “The Deep Places” for a very long time, after all. Or perhaps even in the process of losing its “shadow of a shadow” SGV continued trying to manipulate Shadow, deliberately altering or holding back information before it was consumed.

    As I said, this whole line of thought is unlikely. But it’s not impossible …


  33. motub says:

    Hey, TekServer, that’s a good enough ‘theory’ to be worth using as a temporary buffer story (a lie or half-truth to tell oneself), if it might help ease this transition…..

    Time doesn’t stop– a blessing and a curse– and the pain of transition will fade to bearable levels with time, almost always. But, of course, the level of pain immediately during and after the transition is often so great that one goes a bit crazy, and that tends to leave one open to the possiblity (or, in some cases, the probablility) that one will do something…. irreversible…. that one will regret later, when one is no longer mad with pain.

    Irreverisble decisions made/actions taken while mad with pain are almost always ‘bad’ in the long run (look at Darth Vader, for example– took three prequels to set up him being driven mad by pain and fear to force him to make a bad decision that took three more movies to correct), and if there is a way to keep oneself still so that one makes no decisions or takes no major actions while one is in this state…. until time can do its work and reduce the pain so that one can think clearly again…. then it’s really worth doing anything necessary to make that possible. Including telling oneself a possible lie (but it’s gotta be a good one).

    This would be “a good one”, because it might be true. And if Shadowlescent can allow ‘reasonable doubt’ that perhaps there are others whose experiences are enough like its own that their experiences can provide some guidance, that is at least something to quell the raging terror it must now be feeling.

    And if that raging terror can be quelled even enough to give it pause before (for example) reacting blindly to Digger’s apology by (for example), swelling in fury and crying out “Sorry??!! You have destroyed any hope of me ever becoming as I was meant to be, and all you have to say is you’re sorry????!!!” and then killing Digger out of hand (in an effort to “cross the gap” back to where it was “supposed to” be)… well, preventing that irreversible action (or attempted action, which would force Digger to become Shadow’s enemy, which again is an irreversible, or difficult-to-reverse action) would be well worth telling oneself a bit of a lie (or at least affirming that the truth is not yet fully known, which Shadow thinks it is, hence fear, anger and pain).

    It may be an unlikely line of thought, TekServer— but it could be what saves everybody to go forward into the future together, as something like friends, still.

  34. Hawksong says:

    Murai needs to wake the hell up, she’s the local comparative-mythology expert!

  35. Madam Atom says:

    @motub: You’re seeing fear, anger, and pain in Shadowlescent? Funny–I’m getting lots of pain and regret (or maybe resignation is a better word than regret), but no fear or anger at all. Its stances just don’t seem angry to me. I think it’s lost and bewildered, but if it’s angry with anything I think it’s angry with luck and fate, not with Digger.

    And what’s it done whenever it’s been lost before? Asked Digger what to do. Now admittedly that’s what’s gotten it into this position in the first place; but when you don’t know which way’s safe, you might as well keep going forward as turn around and head back.

    If it can’t be a proper demon, well, there are other options.

    “So, what are YOU?”

    “I’m a wombat. We dig.”

    “Am I a wombat?”

    “No,” said Digger. But that was a long time ago–in terms of character development if not actual time. Maybe, just maybe, it could be an adoptive wombat now. Patron Demon of Wombats? Stranger things have happened around here.

  36. @Cheeky Stoat: Netscape Navigator? Is that even still available? You need to upgrade to Firefox or Seamonkey, stat.

  37. Barry says:

    Patron demon of wombats. Now THERE’s an entry for your resume.

  38. Rowtree says:

    @irilyth: Now I need a dictionary so I can look up the history of “kind”. Though I like the idea that the two kinds aren’t really different kinds of kinds. Uh, yeah.

    @Barry: DUDE! We totally need more patron demons. Is there a patron demon of patron saints? Or visa versa?

  39. BunnyRock says:

    I feel sad, but also worried for the Shadowlescent. Things that are neither one thing nor another are problematic. The human mind does not cope well with liminal, hence the rituals around things neither one thing nor other, gods of the doorway, veneration of birth or death, the maintenance of social boundaries… lets hope wombats are a lot more sensible about this. Its hard to see how they couldn’t be.

  40. BunnyRock says:

    Since writing the above i have learned that wombats, like all marsupials, have no Corpus callosum meaning no direct communication between the left and right hemispheres of their brains, unlike placental mammals. What this may do to their perception of boundaries, having one running through their brain, and things being neither one thing nor the other i have no idea. Many humans born with this condition show minor learning difficulties, Asperger type disorders or savant phenomena but many are completely normal, so it shouldn’t make that much of a difference to Digger. But it is Odd, the most sensible and pragmatic character in the piece is the one with an impenetrable boundary between their logical left brain and her creative right brain (presuming sentient wombats brains run at all like humans). Not relevant to the plot, but still interesting.

  41. TekServer says:

    A weird, twisted corollary to that, BR, would be that if Digger were to lose an eye, her perceptions (and possibly even her behavior and personality) could be radically altered. Of course, the nature of the alteration would depend on which eye was lost.

    I realize I’m building suppositions on top of assumptions here; this is all hypothetical. And I wonder if marsupials also lack an optic chiasm? That could also change the conclusions of this chain of logic.

    As you said, not relevant, but interesting.


  42. capnq says:

    Digger telling Shadowchild that she’s sorry reminds me of Digger chastising Murai for apologizing for something that wasn’t at all her fault.

  43. TekServer says:

    VERY belatedly, I believe Cerulean deserves the credit for coining the term “Shadowlescent”: