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Illumination Page 11: Puzzle Crap

Illumination Page 11: Puzzle Crap published on 84 Comments on Illumination Page 11: Puzzle Crap

Thank you to everyone who came by and said hi at Emerald City Comicon!

The next couple of weeks are pretty busy for me! So there may be more late-ish pages, I’m sorry! I just don’t want people to be surprised if I miss an update or two, I’ll try really hard not to!


Is it just me, or does it sound like she’s referring to Michelle as a sphinx…?

she is. evidently Michelle let Jim’s family in on the secret.

though i’m curious as to whether she’ll be visiting the Avalon in human or sphinx form.. from what we’ve seen so far of the avalon there, most of its inhabitants seem to stick to full or mid forms..

I seriously doubt that her fullform could be mistaken for anything other than a sphinx really. Honestly, I don’t really think that a sphinx in the LA will draw massive crowds. Some curiousity, maybe, but considering what else happens in the mythical world, it cannot be THAT uncommon to see something people assumed was nonexistant, right?

Maybe not and immediate crowd, but the sight of a species thought extinct for centuries is bound to draw more attention than Michelle would likely be comfortable with. I’m interested to see how they plan to deal with it.

And just how that plan is going to fall apart so Michelle has to deal with the attention anyway.

Considering Jims first reaction to seeing a sphinx
…But he also has family history with them as well as near as I can tell.

Yes, but not prior history with them himself(from what we’ve seen). A better gauge would be his response to the first time that he saw a dragon. He tackled the Momo with no apparent hesitation to save a friend, but even he was gobsmacked as soon as he saw the dragon under similar circumstances(something thought long extinct that he didn’t think “friend” as soon as he saw it as a dragon).

Considering Jim’s family history with western dragons, The shock of seeing a western dragon for real, and who Bloodcarver had just snatched… Of course Jim would not see Bloodcarver as anyone other than an enemy.
As for the MoMo, The group heard and smelled it, before Michelle saw it. So they were expecting a fight, and were not disappointed.
Bloodcarver’s snatching Michelle mid flight was totally unexpected, no warning at all.

You gotta a point. After all, this is the same place where a guy turned into the current only male exemple of a whole female species because his mother used magic to turn herself into a human. People quickly became aware of this and showed curiosity, but as far as we can tell, they didn’t form a mob to harrass him, so I guess Michelle isn’t going to face (Much) Annoyence in Avalon Liverpool.

One thing they could try is “And this is my friend Michelle, the -ah- sphinx cosplayer. Yes, I know… she’s actually a Venetian lion or a *does air quotes* “Lion of St. Mark” – rare type, and you really don’t wanna get her talking about that, believe me…”

An obvious pitfall is the unlikelihood of people being fooled, especially Alec Hyde…

Alec: Yeh’ve just dragged me away from the shop in the busiest part of the day with this anomalous blip on me radar, so this had better be… oh, you’re a sphinx. Well that ‘splains it.

Jim: I didn’t drag you anywhere at all and- oh you didn’t… I knew this wasn’t going to work…

So, I would think it would be best if Michelle just stayed well away from the Avalon… unless she was prepared to leap right in and go public…

≡ “The sphinxes have returned..?!” “Demons from Dis?” “The Bloodcarver??” “*grump*” “Maybe we could-”

Alec: This is a nice place ‘ere, so nobody is gurna lay a finger on ‘er, right?

≡ “Uh- yeah, right.” “Right.” “Thought never crossed my mind.” “Yeah.” “Y’know, this is really cool!” “Hey, how about I design her a dress as my final project?” “Do you wanna be in a band, er, Michelle? Like, d’you play an instrument or sing or anything?”

Michelle: Okay, I’ve introduced myself, they’ve all seen me, can we go somewhere quieter, please? :(


Yea, it’s not exactly easy to hide what she is I’d say when she’s in that ofrm. Haha, last time they tried to pull her off as a ‘winged lion’ it didn’t work. XD It’d be like trying to pass Bloodcarver off as a winged basilisk or something. Everyone and their grandma knows what a dragon is. And I have to imagine in that underground world, everyone and their grandma knows what a sphinx is just the same.

Not quite everyone, it seems. Jimothy didn’t recognize her species, despite the fact that the fountain in the middle of the L.A. features statues of both a Grecian sphinx and an Egyptian sphinx. But then, Paulbert did comment that he has the attention span of an adolescent satyr, . . .

Keep in mind that when Greg said Michelle looked like a sphinx based on book illustrations, Jim’s response was “Shinxes are extinct. She must be something else.” He knew what sphinxes were. He acknowledged that she looked like one. He just wasn’t willing to assume first thing that she was something all the history he knew said she shouldn’t be rather than, say, same North American creature he had never heard of.

Put Michelle, in full form, in the middle of a group of 100 non-humans, and many of them would say she looked like a sphinx, and at least a couple are going to leap to the conclusion that sphinxes are not as extinct as previously thought.

I wonder if Colin ever felt like a lapdog before as well…

I honestly don’t know whether to take Mary’s statement as being about Wonderlanders’ oddness or their raging xenophobia.

I was going to type a comment about Michelle needing to look on the bright side, but what if she IS in a text adventure where you can fail because the game doesn’t know enough synonyms?

Errrr… she’s not in a game, she’s in a webcomic :-p. Besides, point&click games have evolved since the parser times… that’s why they’re named point&click.

Man, would I love to play an adventure game based on the universe of “Skin Deep”…

Remember, that dearth of synonyms was sometimes an important part of the challenge. When there’s no simple verb-noun phrase to let you gently put down the priceless Ming vase, you have to figure out the need to drop the silk cushion immediately before you drop vase in order to not find “shards of worthless pottery” later. It stimulates creative thinking.

Yay new page! Thing I have always wondered though is Fullform more comfortable than human form for the mythicals? Reason I am asking is Michelle seems to use full form a lot even when she doesn’t need to or even when it would be better to use human form(in ridiculous creatures she mentions her butt was cold due to no pants). This has bugged me for awhile.

It’s been stated in the comic that midforms take time to figure out how to do. The length of the typical learning curve has never been spelled out, but the implication of every time we’ve seen Michelle so far is that she hasn’t gotten to the point where she can manage a midform yet.

Why not stay in human form then?

I think her friends are encouraging her to use her fullform as much as possible to get used to it. They’ve warned her in the past that trying to hide from what she is isn’t good for her.

I am a bit surprised she hasn’t picked up a mid-form yet. On pretty much her first night after finding out what she is she was able to intentionally manifest only a tail. Maybe she just finds it pointless to have a mid-form.

Furthermore, it seems like full-form and mid-form is the expected standard in the Finn house and in the LA. At the very least no one there is human if they don’t have to be. If Michelle hasn’t mastered a mid-form yet than she’s probably staying full-form just to fit in.

She also probably transformed into full-form when she first arrived to show that she really is a sphinx. It seems the went down into the catacombs pretty much immediately after that, and it seems like humans aren’t supposed to be there (or non-gryphons but they probably made a special exception for her), so she’s probably full-form out of respect.

Finally, she’s trying to find information on her ancestry and what her father wanted. She’s mainly relying on visions, and so far they seem to mostly occur while she’s full-form. So it’s in her best interested to unravel this mystery to stay full-form as much as possible.

I feel like human form might be more uncomfortable, like wearing a sweater that’s too tight. Or like a bra for girls. It works, but it feels rather nice to take it off, haha.

(Hopefully this replies to the thread I want it to…)

Oops.. I’m an idiot. Just saw the reply button.

I was actually wondering if it might be the opposite, once you’ve turned and gotten used to your trueform– if you become conscious that your human form is the result of a tactile illusion, then relaxing makes you more likely to slip into your trueform. We’ve been seeing trueform-traits on all the characters since early on (sharper teeth, shadows of gills on Merial’s neck, the shape of Michelle’s face and jaw) when in human form when eating, yawning, etc. So maybe good manners among this culture is that you show yourself when you enter somebody’s home, sort of taking off your disguise with your jacket so to speak.

Have to say, I’m waiting for someone to make a reference to Halloweentown. This is Michelle’s first time going into a BIG Avalon like the L.A, so I’m waiting for the joke.

The movies were made in the same time frame.

Korey you must do it.

It is your destiny.

All hail the Royal Princess of Sphinxes. Now, bring the royal saucer of milk!

I giggled in class because of this! XD Nice one!

She is afraid of being treated like a pet–but I have this adorable image in my head of her lying across Greg’s lap and he petting her like a cat. (I was secretly hoping she would have flopped into Greg’s lap after the let down of the catacombs and asked for petting ^_^) It would have been so cute!

On another note…I wonder if Sphinxes can purr…

That would be so funny,, if she purred.

Just imagine how SHOCKED she’d be to suddenly start purring. I’d seriously lose it, laughing.
Bad enough the Squeeeee from her “I feel like the pet dog” look. Too cute.

Very easy to imagine on two levels.
The top level is Michelle herself being shocked simply at realising she is purring.
The deeper level is Michelle being shocked that she CAN purr, since lions cannot purr.

Given how difficult leaving a message from the grave presumably is, even aside from language and culture changing, corruption of the message by antagonists, etc, perhaps it’s as clear as it could be – seems unlikely it’d be deliberately obscured. Maybe the message has worn down, like an old cassette tape demagnetising.

One of the other commenters also made a good point: Sphinxes may tend to perceive information as puzzles, since they ARE associated with riddles…

Based on how little Michelle seems to likes attention, and unless the Finns and her friends insist on her being in fullform, I think she would try to just enter the Avalon in human form to avoid creating quite so much of a ruckus…

If they plan to walk in through the warehouse door, she’ll of course be in human form at that point. (I picture her dramatically dropping the illusion next to the fountain or in front of Madame U. or Tim.)

Unless the Finns have some . . . alternate . . . way to get to their townhouse, Colin would have always had to be smuggled in and out through town. If he has a new medallion to show off, I expect he’ll insist on walking in through the main door.

Maybe this is Colin’s “Can we do it NOW?!?” thing– he’s learning (or has learned) his midform and wants to show it off.

Colin doesn’t have a medallion yet. That’s why he was going on about thumbs.

Yes, that’s my understanding. But it seems that he’ll be getting it before they go anywhere. If he manages to walk well enough, he’ll want to walk into the L.A. under his own power. (I can imagine him trying to walk on his hind feet whenever he thinks nobody is looking, just to be ready.)

Hey Kory Bing, I love your comic!! <3 It's awesome and very addicting, I can't say how many nights I've stayed up to 3 am just reading it and not able to sleep because I need to know what happened next. Thank you for creating this comic. Now for the reason I put my name as Curious Cat. I think you said once that you used your laptop for the comic/s. Do you use a software/program for that? And of so, what is it?

Am I the only one who’s checking in every day (even several times a day) to see if it has updated?

“You’re practically royalty…” Considering that Britain has an active monarchy, that says a lot more even than Michelle probably assumes. And she’s already freaked out enough by what she does assume (as any proper American should be… ;) ).

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