Hi everyone. This month I’m trying really hard to boost my Patreon. For those of you who don’t know, Patreon is a platform that allows the people who enjoy Modest Medusa and my other comics to give me financial support (if they are so inclined) and get rewards. My Patreon is absolutely vital to me since it accounts for about 75-100% of my monthly income (depending on the month). I’m very fortunate to have so many of you as patrons, and your generosity has allowed me to focus on making comics and art as my full time job. However, I really need to boost my Patreon income to cover basic living expenses, and I hope that introducing some new Goals and Rewards will encourage some of who can afford it to become patrons. Even a dollar or two every month really helps!
Last month I began offering a new $10 sketch pledge, where patrons will receive an original marker illustration of a Modest Medusa or Ghost Kiss character of their choice a few times a year. The Mario Kart Medusa above is an example of what you’ll get.
Milestone Goals are unlocked when Patreon funding reaches a certain level. Right now my Patreon is at about $910/month (before taxes, which is what I live on). My upcoming goals are a monthly original art giveaway (unlocked at $1000), new monthly updates of my Legend of Korra fan comic (unlocked at $1200) and a new ongoing Modest Medusa side-comic, updated monthly for Patreon patrons only (unlocked at $1500). My short term goal is to reach $1200/month, which would allow me to actually meet my minimum monthly expenses. I really hope I can reach $1500/month later this year. This is important since income from Patreon allows me to spend my time making comics and art for you to read instead of having to take whatever freelance illustration jobs and commissions I can find just to make ends meet.
So if you’re already a patron, thank you so much for your support. You’ve paid for my food and my medicine and literally kept me alive. If you’d like to become a patron I would really appreciate it. As I said before, even $1 to $3 a month really helps! I know a lot of you are in the same boat I am and just can’t afford to become patrons. I also know a lot of you choose to show your support for this comic in other ways, and I totally appreciate your comments, your reblogs, your likes, your book purchases, your kickstarter pledges and your positive word of mouth.
Thank you all so much. You can check out my Patreon page here.
Typo in panel 2, “while” instead of “whole”.
Just a friendly reminder that it’s still there 😛
Something seems off about the second speech bubble of panel two.
There’s a typo. I’ll fix it when I have a chance.
Science has a fair point, Glados.
… Re-reading what I just typed, that seems so weird to say. 😛
I hope Modest will find another way to solve her problem with misbehaving hair.
I like Sneaky. I don’t want him starved to submission. 🙁
I like all of her hair. 😀
Her only snake I don’t like is the creepy one.
The animal kingdom is hardcore. There are plenty of species that eat their young or eat their parents or eat other things that it isn’t polite to eat. It’s a struggle for survival. You can’t expect the monster kingdom to be nicer. The best you can do is pick one personality, and root for them to win.
question… is she a Hydra or a Medusa or a Gorgon? I’m slightly mixed up. I know Medusa was the name of a gorgon in Greek mythology. Aren’t hydras a completely different creature?
Here’s what we’ve seen so far:
Medusa, her sisters, their mother and their aunt are all part of a species called Hydras. An adult Hydra (which is a big snake with 3 smaller snakes growing out of it) lays eggs which hatch humanoid juvenile Hydra (like Modest). Juvenile Hydra’s humanoid forms are a defense mechanism for surviving in the humanoid dense Yeld. Mother Hydra choose a single name for all the children in their litter (Medusa, Gorgon, Naga, etc. There are about 30 acceptable names for Hydra litters, and all of them are snakey. Hydra don’t normally have first names, but Modest is special.). The children aren’t fully self aware until they’re away from their mothers and able to learn and grow. Traditionally mothers find a home and territory for each of their children so they can grow up and hunt. Being a Hydra is lonely, so they’re often eager to make friends and learn about other people. Each Hydra has 5 distinct personalities, the humanoid “host” and the 4 snakes. As the Hydra grows older the snakes begin to also become intelligent and their personalities grow stronger. Eventually one of the 5 personalities becomes dominant. This usually coincides with the Hydra assuming its adult form: The snakes will grow larger enough that the humanoid body will eventually wither away and one of the 4 snakes will become the dominant host body. At this point one of the 5 personalities becomes completely dominant and the other 4 are absorbed. Often it’s the juvenile Hydra’s personality that remains dominate, but sometimes it’s one of the snakes. And really it’s usually a combination.
So the host is doomed no matter what they do to suppress their hair?
If it all works out, the host’s personality remains dominant even though their body withers away.
Does the inside of a hydra look more like a cephalopod than an ophidian, with like, a central nervous-system lobe, kinda akin to a mammal’s solar plexal ganglion and hindbrain combined and bunch of mostly autonomous, highly complex, satellite-brains branching off it in a blossom of highly flexible “spines?” I’m picturing Modest’s distant ancestors, swim/burrowing through overgrown, swampy wetlands, mostly living in the floating fiberous mat, but reaching down for fish and chasing the proto-raccoons whose descendents will be the rodents, and their proto-monkey cousins who will be humans further out of the water into the upper canopy. In my mind’s eye, I see specialized “grippers” developing, like the mammal’s got on their feet, on the ends of the proto-hydra’s “arms”–a ring of tentacles like elephant trunks branching off the central body in a radical symmetry, each with it’s own sub-brain in the “shoulder,” like an octopus. Over generations, the tentacles specialized, the top cluster of five having “faces,” so each can aim independently at darting prey, while the lower ones were mainly used to aid the tail in bracing and maneuvering the central base. In the later stages of the life-cycle, all of the tentacles, except for the most developed one, atrophy into gripping/maneuvering appendages…not so much decaying, as being left far behind in development, but in their juvenile form attacking like a bunch of independent snakes, joined at the tails, with vulnerable, but redundant eyes, but no irreplaceable brain (that is safe “behind” all the arms)…like the hydra of myth.
I’m imagining Mama Gorgon, and Auntie Naga dominate brain for abstract thought is further down their necks than in monkey-drivived species, somewhere between where a mammal would have the base of the skull, and wherever the other subbrains are, and everything forward of that in those flattened, narrow heads of theirs is a cavity for smell and taste, as the late-life-cycle form mostly chases after a smaller number, of much larger meals, stretching the entire cartilaginous “skull,” to swallow large bites, like a constrictor snake (explaining M.M.’s squooshy head), rather than snatching a huge number of very low value meals, from a single hunting perch. I’m imagining the Medusa sisters probably have vestigial throats in what the humans one “face” is specialized to deal with thinks of as their “arms,” like the humans have an appendix, from when their own ancestors made two separate varieties of poop. I’m seeing the infanticide tendencies, and sibling rivalries/bonding, developing in part due to starting out in very large clutches, competing for very limited hunting territory, completely contained in the territory of a much larger, more mobile predator who would have contrasting drives to both keep the strongest of you alive, when she can, and to eliminate you, in times of famine, and then having to balance intense competition to become the dominate “head” with a smaller group of siblings whom you can’t eliminate, but must dominate (in order to make the switch from each of you snatching prey-of-opportunity, to the entire body operating in co-ordinated synchronicity to stalk large, high value, prey). I’m picturing the modern adults reading a lot, with their seldom seen, smaller heads subserviently holding the book for the dozing larger head, but contrastingly being very driven, focused, persistent, and energetic hunters during their briefer periods of hunger, while the youths will dart around, often like they are being pulled in several different directions at once, but mainly spend a lot of time sitting in one place, while each “head” unleashes their AD-HAD on a series of separate targets within reach. Does fictional-Jake ever catch M.M. playing vidaygames against her own hair, or do the snakes not co-operate like the arms and the head can? When M.M. dreams, do her different sub-personalities discuss what is happening, like they appear to in her waking life?
Is she better at making whole-body motions, based on things only one snake can see, than one snake is at co-ordinating based on sensory input only available to a separate snake? Does the central face have it’s own nerve centre, or is the “humanoid personality” an emergent property of her other personalities? When you read about humans who have had callosumectomies, do you think about how your fictional avitar’s daughter moves and select’s targets/goals?
Thank-you for the story, I get sad when I come back here if there aren’t many new updates, but get so happy when their are; this we comic is one that makes a lasting impression, and is enjoyable to read.
Thanks for writing all of that. the truth is, I haven’t given a huge amount of serious thought to the potential evolution of hydra and how their bodies might actually work. I’ve used the crutch that these are probably magically created creatures, but the more I think about it the clearer it is that their creation must have happened very early in Yeld’ distant past, and that they may have been very, very different creatures then. A lot of what you’ve written here is extremely interesting to me and opens up a number if neat possibilities. Some of what you’ve written are ideas I’ve considered in some way. Yes, Jake will often find Modest playing games against her hair. I think we even saw this once. While we haven’t specifically seen the sub personalities of her hair have conversations in her dreams, in her waking life they do seem to communicate with each other as individuals (although right now I can’t think of an instance of this).
I wasn’t familiar with callosotomy, but it’s interesting to think about, especially with older hydra or male hydra. In the comic we’ve seen that hydra who spend more time away from their nests develop more distinct personalities, have better memories and (possible) grow more intelligent). This could be a result of the personalities slowly learning to work together, learning to be a person together. Thats an interesting thought.
Thanks for a well thought out post. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’m sorry that I can’t directly answer more of your questions at this time.
You normally don’t get authors contributing so succinctly and so lardonicaly clearly to a lore/headcanon based discussion; I had thought it would lessen my enjoyment of the piece, but either it does not, or my appreciation of the story is so great as to reduce any negative feelings regarding diminishment of mystery to imperceptible levels, therefore it is with unalloyed gratitude that I thank you for this summary of the lore of this evocative and engaging story, written with the expected skill, by the one who knows it best.
To be honest, my replies on this subject are mostly to clarify my messy writing. In the case of Hydras, it’s not surprising at all that most readers would have questions and confusions since the information I had provided up to this point was pretty vague and spread out over hundreds of comic pages. I went into more detail eventually in the comic itself, but at the time I wrote the above post I hadn’t decided yet if I would do that. Anyway, I’m glad my notes aren’t ruining the story for you. I understand how that can happen.
if you wish to be truly perplexed, ponder the fact that that in Orson S. Card’s “Ender’s Saga,” the piquinios’ ambassador to the Earthling colonists was named “Human.”
It is my understanding (probably at least somewhat off) that scholarly works in Yeld (at least the one in-Story academic book I can remember us being shown) refer to species as “Hydra,” and “Medusa,” “Gorgon,” “Naga,” are common litter names that that species, called hydras, gives to it’s own. It is kinda like how, in several racist examples I won’t directly quote here, a personal name, commonly used within a culture, becomes another culture’s name for members of that first culture…kinda like if visitors to Earth were to meet us, then start referring to all Earthlings as “wriprests,” “a bunch of elairs,” or “you jake.”
I am imagining that human names for snake-like monsters, might be derived from the names of particularly noteworthy members of the species…like if you fought a bunch of koalas, and humans ended up being called “wriprest” all across Austrialia.
In short, in this story, Medusa, Gorgan, Naga, and Hole are the individual names of specific individuals of the creatures called hydras.
That is just this story, though; in this story, the old Greek stories are wrong. In each different version of myths, all the other myths (and this story), all the other versions are wrong. In Stepahany Meyer’s books vampires sparkle in the sun, and they encourage Ann Rice to describe it differently to trick vampire hunters; in Ann Rice books, the opposite is true, and in Jim Butcher books “vampire” is just a word that describes 4-7+ completely different creatures, who are only related politically and react totally differently to sunlight and they are all only called “vampires” because humans get the stories mixed up in the telling, and the vampire alliance secretly controls Hollywood.
Science is supposed to freak you out. It keeps people who can’t cope with it from messing with forces that mankind was never meant to mess with.
Science reminds me of a splatoon character