Frequently Asked Questions (allegedly)

Warning: This page may contain spoilers.

Q: What’s with the funny avatar next to my comment?  How do I change it?

A: This site supports two kinds of avatars: gravatars (globally recognized avatars) and wavatars (which I think stands for “WordPress avatars”).  Personally, I’m fond of the wavatars, which seem appropriate for the site’s content, but I also wanted to give readers the option to use specific images.  The avatar you get is determined by two things: the email address that you use (it isn’t displayed, it’s just used for spam protection and avatars), and whether or not you have a gravatar account tied to it.

If you have a gravatar account associated with the email address you use, that’s what will display.  So, in order to set a custom avatar for your comments you need to go make a Gravatar account at the site linked above.  Otherwise, you’ll get a wavatar.  If you change email addresses, the wavatar will be different.  As long as you use the same address each time, you should always end up with the same wavatar/gravatar.

Basically, the wavatars let everyone have a unique personal avatar automatically, instead of everyone having the same “default avatar”.  Gravatars, on the other hand, let you choose something different if you prefer.  Note that gravatars need to be PG-rated or lower.

Q: What does the title “Shadows Lying” mean?

A: “Shadows Lying” refers to a lot of different things.  First and foremost, the main character’s name is Shadow, and she isn’t exactly what she seems (thus the “lie”).  Second, it’s a reference to the eponymous cemetery, as seen on Page 2.  There are also a few other connections that I’ll not go into just yet.

Also, I didn’t intend to make this allusion, but I found it while redesigning the site.  There’s a 1736 poem or song by Charles Coffin titled In noctis umbrâ desides.  The translation starts off:

In night’s dim shadows lying,
Our limbs fast lock’d in sleep,
To thee, with faithful sighing,
Our souls their vigil keep.

This is fairly appropriate to this comic, although there’s a rather different spin on it than the author intended.

Q: What does “The children of the Gloaming” mean?

A: If you weren’t aware, “Gloaming” is a real word (it means “twilight”).  So, taken literally it means “Children of the Twilight”, hence the title of Chapter 1 (Twilight Child).  In Shadows Lying, the word also has an additional meaning or two beyond this … it is the name of the society of the Gloamchildren, and the name of the world they can enter through the Grey Places.

Q: The site’s color scheme is rather garish, isn’t it?

A: Yep.

OK, fine, I’ll elaborate on the color scheme.  For a long time now I’ve associated purple with “dark energy”, entropy, and death … something I picked up from the term “blacklight” and the actual appearance of such a light.  By extension, in the comic it represents night time, the gloaming, and so forth.

Cities are artifacts of the daylight world, as that is when normal humans are active.  The most obvious associations for daytime are sunlight and green, growing things (which also signifies Life).  This is why city scenes are predominantly lit green at night in the setting.

Q: What fonts do you use?  How do you make balloons?

A: I use a variety of fonts for the site and the comic.

  • Many of the fonts come from Blambot.  The logo uses both Sanitarium and Arcanum.  Most of the dialogue and some sound effects are Digital Strip, though various characters have specific fonts to give them a recognizably distinct voice.  Void, for example, will be switching to You Murderer in the future (originally I simply randomly jittered her text to make it shaky-looking, but that’s a bit fiddly and makes changing her dialogue impossible).  Tyron’s sorcery uses Dark Arts.  Various sound effect fonts — such as Death Rattle — are scattered here and there.
  • Some of the fonts are from other creators (foundries).  Heart uses Black Rose.  Cerement’s chanting uses Duke Plus.  The title on the very first page used Babelfish and Dichotomy.  Uri’s cry originally used Decomposing, but it doesn’t work in inkscape.  Narration (captions) started out using Deathhead Kelt (all lowercase) but I forgot on some pages.
  • A lot of handy tutorials on topics such as making balloons and coloring text can be found on the Balloon Tales tips page.  (I started doing this sort of thing when I switched to inkscape partway through Chapter 1.  Prior to that I was just winging the lettering and ballooning, by hand or with Paint Shop Pro 8’s vectors.)

Q: Does the second “a” in Dahaka have a macron (“Dahāka”) or does it lack one (“Dahaka”)?  You’ve shown it both ways!

A: The proper spelling (for the purposes of the comic) is Dahāka (with macron).  However, the font that I use for dialogue — Blambot’s Digital Strip — doesn’t offer the a-with-macron as a character.  Since I don’t want to have to remember to add the thing manually every time the word comes up, my rule is basically “establish it the first few times the word appears, then take it as given unless you feel as though it has been absent too long”.

Q: So, who were those three guys that chased Shadow?  Who’s Eucharist?  I’m so confused!

A: Imagine how Shadow feels.  Don’t worry, things will be explained eventually.  (Oh boy!  Expository dialogue!  Exciting!)

Q: What’s wrong with Shadow’s eyes?

A: I assume you mean her makeup.  Thanks to the downpour, it started to run.

Q: How many legs (fingers?) does an Urdereg have?

A: They have six.  Any panels that depict eight are entirely a figment of your imagination.

Q: What’s with Void’s face?

A: You managed to miss my art notes on theBroken Dolls arc, where she was introduced?  OK.  Her face is nothing … literally.  It is not invisible, transparent, shadowed, black, white, absent, ghostly, blank, or any other comprehensible adjective.  Her true appearance is a paradox, a contradiction — nothing manifesting as something — so it is impossible to depict with any real accuracy, and so we are stuck with various approximations.  If they somehow saw these approximations, characters in the comic would say that they are not especially accurate.

Q: What would headless birds eat?  And wouldn’t they get infected with an open wound like that?

A: They eat people who ask too many questions.