Comments by PMark

I really enjoyed reading these two comments by our reader PMark. He didn’t just make some wild guesses about Viviana’s backstory, but put together a well thought out line of argument. Of course, this doesn’t mean that his conclusion is necessarily true.

DShadow: what? I thought more people would have realized by now that she´s the princess of Ileasaar and the Avaril actually belonged to her parents… Well I guess they do just not the ones who commented

PMark: You could very well be right. Consider:
(1) She is just known as “Viviana” — no last name. All the other key players have last names. Not her. Novil obviously wishes to either keep that a secret for a while, or she is like other royalty; few of them have last names, as well.
(2) She is rather young to inspire the loyalty and devotion in the rest of the Shadowdancers. Now if she were an Ileasaarian princess, that would help explain it.
(3) She has her own apartment in Shadow Keep, and it is rather spacious and very well furnished. That is just what you would expect of a princess.
(4) She seems quite comfortable hobnobbing with the rich and famous.

On the other hand:
(A) She doesn’t seem to be that up on the Ileasaar lines of succession (SD-64). A royal princess would know such things.
(B) She claims to not have any say on whom would assume the throne (SD-64). A royal princess would have a say in the matter — especially one who is the leader of an underground movement such as the Shadowdancers.
(C) Assuming the two graves in SD-52 are her parents, they are awfully average tombstones. If Cania wished to minimize their memory, they would be in a couple of unmarked graves somewhere in Ileasaar — think the Bolsheviks and the Czar family. If they wished to honor them and thereby defuse some of the Ilaesarrian anger and resentment, they would be buried with more pomp and display worthy of a king and queen. Average tombstones for a King and Queen are an insult to their memory.
(D) She is currently attending a party with the rich, famous and well connected of Cania, and she is giving a false name. You have to assume that if she truly was an Ileasaarian Princess, there would be a good chance someone in the illustrious group might recognized her.
(E) SD-81 suggests that Ileasaarian resentment of Canian rule is still alive and well. Under those circumstances, you have to believe that the Canian authorities would be keeping a watchful eye on surviving members of the Illeasaarian royal family. Remember, these are the same guys who threw Lilith in jail on trumped-up charges. Yet Viviana comes and goes as she pleases.

So let’s just say the jury is still out on the matter. The evidence could be interpreted either way.

safetypin: How long would the Ileasaaran (sp?) royalty have been underground? (And I don’t mean her parents’ graves.) If they’ve kept themselves secret for more than a generation, it’s possible no one actually knows Vivi’s the princess. But I favor her being not royalty. Remember, she wants to put someone else on the throne.

PMark: From the Glossary:
“Ileasaar – Province of Cania, was an independent country before being conquered by Cania a decade ago”
So they’ve been deposed for about ten years. That is hardly enough time to disappear into anonymity.

Disposed royalty will still have major status. They always have. They always will. They are generally wealthy in their own right, and even if they are not they will still have their connections. They will still have celebrity. So you if you dispose of a ruling family, you have two choices — kill them all off like the Bolsheviks did, or allow them to continue to enjoy their status and risk an uprising.

In my opinion, the biggest telling against her being a princess are those graves. Why bring the bodies of a deposed king and queen back to the conquering country unless they are going to either humiliate them or honor them. You humiliate them by burying them in an unmarked grave so that their supporters can’t use their graves as a symbol. If you wish to honor them, you do so by erecting a monument, or at least a nice tomb. If they just placed them in an ordinary grave, the members of the family and their supporters would erect the monument, or at least do something more for them than just marking them with two common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill gravestones.

And if the graves are not those of her parents, then whose are they? Relatives, perhaps? Relatives of royalty are nobility, and they seldom lie in common graves, either.

No. I am inclined to think that her “Daddy” is buried in one of those graves, and he was not the king. So that precludes her from being a princess.

But then why would such a young person be the leader of the Shadowdancers if she was not of royal blood? It’s a good puzzle to be sure; which is one of the reasons I am enjoying Gaia so much.

Reduced update schedule

Unfortunately, I have to announce that we’re going back to a “Tuesday – Friday – Tuesday” update cycle with just three new Gaia pages in two weeks. There are two reasons for this:

  • We need to build a larger buffer of finished comic pages.
  • Our partnership with (Gaia on may turn out to be very profitable for us. Therefore it’s my plan to gradually increase the amount of pages which are available on, but not yet on our main website. We also have to publish 15 pages, which aren’t available on our main website yet, every second month to qualify for the very important “premium comic” category. Note that we will soon reach the point where only subscribers of will be able to read the new Gaia pages posted on Subscribers must pay a small monthly fee of $2.99 to be able to read the later pages of all premium comics on See the FAQ for that.


I thought I was clear, but maybe not clear enough:

  • Gaia will continue to be available for free on this website. But it will update only around 13 times per 2 months.
  • On, Gaia will update at least 15 times every second month. This way, it qualifies as a “premium comic” in that month. But not in the other month with no updates.
  • Since Gaia’ chapters are so long, the subscription threshold on won’t be 8 chapters for Gaia but a certain number of pages. After that, only subscribers will be able to see those pages after the threshold.

Promoted on + Interview

Gaia was just promoted to be one of only 19 “premium” comics on! Click here to see the page for Gaia at If you ever considered re-reading the first hundred pages or so of Gaia this would be the perfect opportunity since we earn money for each new reader of Gaia on Click here to read from the beginning!

Gaia at

I was also interviewed by In the interview, I answer the following questions:

  • How does your experience on MangaMagazine compare with your experience managing your own webcomic site?
  • Now I know you don’t just work with Powree on Gaia, you both work on Sandra and Woo as well. How did you two get started working together? Is it difficult collaborating when you’re both located in separate countries?
  • Tell us a little bit about your creative team. You have several editors, and on occasion I’ve seen a guest colorist appear in Sandra and Woo.
  • Did you always plan on having Gaia told in a comic format?
  • I’ve noticed some mythological references riddled throughout the first couple chapters of Gaia. Are there any historical, mythological, or pop culture pieces that influence the story?
  • Do you have any plans for putting out a print version of Gaia once there are enough chapters? Or will this comic be strictly digital?
  • As a writer, what part of the creative process do you find the most interesting or enjoyable?
  • Are there any other projects that you’re working on right now? Where could we find them?

Google goes too far with new image search

A couple of days ago, Google released a new version of its image search. This turned out to be a huge slap in the face of content creators like me. When clicking on a thumbnail, the original image is hotlinked and embedded into Google’s result page. This costs bandwidth and the user has less incentive to visit the webpage of the original creator.

Here is a nice comment about the topic by a webmaster called EcoCatLady in response to Google’s blog post:

Well, it is easy to use – but it’s killing my biggest web site (a photography site) which is also my main source of income. In the past few days my page views have been cut in half while my bandwidth usage has increased – thanks to Google’s hotlinking of high resolution photos.

If this continues it will force me to either make some dramatic changes to the site (ie: removing all high resolution images and forcing the user to jump through a bunch of hoops to get them) or it will put me out of business all together.

I really don’t understand why Google insists upon harassing image publishers in this way… for all other types of content Google allows the user to find the content, but sends the user to the page to read the article or watch the video. But for image publishers it simply provides an easy way for people to access our content while circumventing our websites completely. The least you could do would be to disable right clicking on the hotlinked image and get rid of the “view original image” button so people would have to come to the site to download the content. It’s only fair…

I know user experience is paramount, and I’m all about share and share alike (I’ve even released all of my photos into the public domain.) But bandwidth costs money, and publishers do have to make a living, and for most of us that means we rely on page views and ad revenue. Is this groovy search feature really worthwhile if it puts the publishers out of business and ultimately means that quality images are being removed from the web because we simply can’t afford it anymore?

Merry Christmas!

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Once again, my family has the bestest Christmas tree:

Christmas tree