C1P5: A Timu god – MOKO Press presents: LeyLines, a Fantasy Adventure Comic by Robin Childs Skip to content
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C1P5: A Timu god

C1P5: A Timu god published on 8 Comments on C1P5: A Timu god

A Timu (“Dark one”) is Zhiro’s race. Usually two-to-three feet shorter than a Tamakepe (or “Light Bringer”), with larger eyes better suited to nocturnal activity, non-retractable claws on the hands and feet, and more pronounced noses and ears, sharper canines and occasionally sharper pre-molars or incisors. Their skin colors typically vary from dark brown to tan, and their faces and builds are generally stockier and wider.

Tamakepe, by contrast, are tall, thin, and almost blood-less in their complexion. They often have pronounced foreheads and elongated skulls, particularly in noble bloodlines, and high cheekbones. Their eyes are usually a variety of blue, green, or grey, and will take on an unusual luminescence. However, their sense of sight, smell, and hearing is not particularly good compared to a Timu. Their design was heavily influenced by an exhibit I saw on Ancient Egyptian Art at my local Art museum.

Although both are humanoid, neither are human.

When I first started developing this story, it was going to be a post-apocalyptic science fiction. Timu were going to be what humanity had evolved into to survive. The Tamakepe were aliens from outer space that had come down and re-settled Earth, using the Timu as slave labor for the task. So a part of me still thinks of the Timu as the most human, and the Tamakepe as the strange ones. I’ve heard a lot of people view it the opposite way, describing the Tamakepe as human and Timu as some other kind of “creature.” Something about that response really bothers me. And I worry that there are messages that are being sent that were not my intention. Once I realized how people were viewing the dynamic between these two races, I wanted to consciously explore it. To say something with these creative choices. It’s made me a lot more aware of how my work fits into a larger cultural context, and I hope that I will be much more cognizant of those impacts in the future.

8 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

…By spreading out my comments a little, I won’t appear to be spamming this comic with my blabber. It’s the perfect plan!

I mostly came riiiiiight back to this page because this is my very favourite close-up. Zhiro’s eyes are just so perfect, he looks very weary and almost a little unfocused, a bit nervous and maybe even a little regretful? He sort of looks to me like he’d be having that moment just after doing something where he’s thinking ‘I really shouldn’t have done that,’ but then is reminded of why he had to do it in the first place. Just my opinion on that of course.

Coincidentally, I think that it might be shots like these that are missing a little bit through most of the comic. Again, this is my opinion, but a close up really helps me connect with a character. Like you get a chance to get in really close and inspect the character’s emotions in a way even other characters can’t. 😀 I guess that’s sort of a criticism? A teeny one. I’d love to see a few more of these, especially when characters are feeling strong emotions.

Though don’t get me wrong, I understand why close ups can be a bad thing. They eat a lot of page space! XD

I also forgot to read the notes on this one! I knew that the Lightbringers and the Timu were obviously from very different bloodlines, but I didn’t realise some of the finer details of their designs! So can only Timu contact Timu Gods and vice versa for Tamakepe? And does this mean Tama’s name translates to something like ‘light’? 🙂

/blabber deactivate

That’s actually great criticism to hear, because I’d been told in a previous project that close-ups were “amateur” and “a waste of space” and I relied on them too much. So I’ve been trying to avoid them ever since. I’ve always loved close-ups, so I’ve missed them. It’s nice to hear another view-point that highlights their merits. I’m definitely going to have to re-think their use. They definitely have a place and a purpose! Time to reclaim that tool!

As for Timu v Lightbringers, you are right on all accounts. Only Timu can contact Timu gods, and the same for Tamakepe. And Tama’s name does mean “light.” Excellent deductions on every point!

I was wondering why you chose to have the lower caste characters be the “dark ones” and with more animalistic characteristics, while the ruling class is light (white). I know the light /dark relationship is a key characteristic of racism in our world. Is that what you wanted to reflect? I worry that kids reading this will have the “light skin is better than dark skin” message reinforced by this relationship. Also that the dark one are more like animals than humans. How would you explain it to readers?

Racism is something that I wanted to express and address directly. Which is exceptionally tricky to do, but also felt important for me personally to work through. I will not claim that I always have, or always will, address it well. Only that I am constantly trying to become more educated. And if I discover something I have covered poorly, to try and address it head-on and show the new perspective I have learned.

In development, I thought about making it a reverse of the light/dark relationships that show up in much of our culture’s history, but felt that ultimately might lend itself to issues just as problematic. Would making the people of darker skin the oppressors instead of the oppressed be better? There is already a stereotype that people of darker skin are “thuggish” or “dangerous.” I didn’t want to emphasize that either.

I chose instead to keep the scenario more reflective of the issues in our world. To make an effort to point out things that are wrong. I’m still learning things. Still noticing problematic issues now (in 2014) that I didn’t realize had crept in when I first began the story (2011). Am I unintentionally presenting a “white savior” message? Am I accidentally demonizing healthy anger? Do any of my characters fall into negative stereotypes of “the exotic woman” or “the wild savage”? I re-evaluate what I’ve written regularly, and if I see something that has developed without my intent, I try to write storylines to address it and correct it. Rather than running from it or hiding it. I wish I could say that I never find anything, but I do find problems and I do find mistakes. I am trying to be better, and write characters that feel like real people before a stereotype. But mistakes do happen, and the downside to releasing a story over a long term is that once a mistake is made, it can’t be unmade without unmaking the entire story as well.

I hope that, over the course of the story, kids will not come away with the idea that light skin is better than dark skin, but that any society that values a person for their appearance more than the quality of their heart and actions is a society in the wrong.

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I see how you address a variety of real issues; racism, colonialism, traditions and change, corruption, power struggles, all in what feels like a more traditional society setting.
There’s a lot of depth to this world and food for thought.

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