One of my favorite pieces of fan-art was a 'Questions left unanswered at the end of LOST' video on Collegehumor. In that vein, here are the questions I've been thinking about while reading and re-reading Derelict:
1) does the fog rob some gargoyles of their ability to communicate in English?
It seems like not, even though Dang tries to speak in pictographs to explain her UV weapon, this might be because it's not a familiar idea from the creature's human past, and only something he or she would know as a fog creature. The same creatures that she's trying to talk to in pictographs also defaced some human graffiti in English only hours before, so it seems like they're still fluent. Obviously we see other gargoyles speak English later.
2) What was 'Iron Hand' before exposure to the fog?
Beautiful flower seems a little larger than most humans, so do many gargoyles but that might just be because of their protective gear. However, gargoyles do eat more, according to Dang
3) What's with all the flower imagery?
The 'Fog Monster' fish that Deng catches can open some colorful plumage on its side-fins.
Other gargoyles also have plumage around their ears
The Mothballer fleets that work the South, presumably within the fog, wear colorful dye in their hair.
Arbutus is a flowering tree
Penrose, though it sounds flowery, is actually just the name of a super-important mathematician.
Edit, this should be 'Primrose,' I just misread the comic many, many times. I have corrected throughout
3a) What's up with the hair dye?
Steve Klien wears dye in his hair, it looked a bit like it was growing out when he died, but also that Dang was surprised to see it. Maybe I'm mis-reading her expression, because it seems like humans might dye their hair to resemble the bright plumage of gargoyles.
The captives who are about to be exposed to the fog in Primrose don't have dyed hair.
4) Will sunlight kill a gargoyle, or does it return them to a human state?
Curls of the fog come of Beautiful Flower when exposed to UV light. Iron Hand appears to die, and there's a pictograph that one of the other gargoyles says as they find the pinwheel that looks like Iron Hand being exposed to light.
The fighting gargoyles in Primrose use the same 'spiked ring' pictograph by itself, probably to mean 'KILL KILL KILL' but I'm not sure
5) does Beautiful Flower's safety gear mean something?
He or She is the only gargoyle we see who doesn't wear a skull for a helmet (notably, skulls wouldn't make a particularly lightfast mask, but that's probably just artistic license) and has a friendship with a human. It's clear that gargoyles aren't all of one mind, but more on that later. He or she also wears gloves instead of wrappings and has proper boots. In fact it looks like Beautiful Flower is the only gargoyle who is wearing clothes tailored to a gargoyle's dimensions.
6) Who's the Grendel?
it seems like Arbutus is a place where Gargoyles can live but maybe aren't welcome, needing a smuggler or customs agent's help to gain access. Arbutus is north, away from the fog, doesn't that mean there would be fewer Gargoyles?
7) Is the fog tropical?
I'm assuming throughout that directions are absolute, and going south means going to foggytown and north the opposite. It's clear the fog shifts around, but it's not clear if Primrose was always in fog, if it comes and goes, or if it's recently been engulfed, and that's part of what has Dang freaked out when she first arrives.
8) what is happening to the two naked bodies surrounded by red glyphs that Dang walks past?
Are they transforming into Gargoyles or just dead?
9) If the Gargoyle army is converting humans into gargoyles, why do they have the eviscerated body of a human strung up at one point?
10) If the Gargoyle army catches Dang and begins converting her on the spot, complete with the priest, why have they kept some humans captive and masked?
Was it for the right time of day? If so, are others coming to Primrose and getting captured? The Gargoyle army doesn't seem particularly subtle about their takeover.
11) what is the nature of conflict between the Gargoyles?
The crucified gargoyles (were they going through another process of transformation? I don't think so, I think they were just decayed) wear placards, common for any public punishment. One of the symbols looks like a a flower, and the one gargoyle with a human friend was called 'Beautiful Flower.' It seems possible that Primrose had humans and gargoyles living together peacefully (I can't really find visual evidence one way or the other) and that the gargoyle army murdered those gargoyles who were working there as traitors. Beautiful Flower and Steven Klien say they won't go 'Back' to Primrose, and Beautiful flower was wearing tailored clothes.
It seems that there is a conflict between Gargoyles who are or are not willing to work with unconverted humans. The hair dye worn by Steve Klien may represent a symbolic appreciation for the Gargoyles.
Finally, we see a fight between gargoyles. They're undressed, with their plumage displayed, and the fight seems spontaneous: knife versus spear. I think this fight might just be a sort of town 'ruckus' that's preventing Dang from accessing the gas station, rather than a split or rift within the gargoyle army.
The skull that each gargoyle wears as a mask seems to have little significance, beyond a general hostility toward humans. The exception is human skulls: only the giant fellow in the giant throne and his 'priest' wear them, along with human spines. This points us back to question 9). Is there some criteria for who gets converted?
12) how much humanity do gargoyles retain?
The gargoyle army is fashioning crude weapons but they're stocking up on something in oil drums, presumably oil or gasoline. They have a clear distaste for technology (at least Beautiful Flower does during his or her sermon) but would Steve Klein still be an engineer after he was converted? Swords and halberds might mean that the gargoyle armies are luddites, but it might also mean that they don't have any stocks of gunpowder left or the wherewithal to construct bows for every soldier.
Clearly, no one wants to be exposed to the fog. It seems like those who inhale it may die and 'rise again' as new people. To me, the two bodies in question 8) look dead, not unconscious.
Last edited by TobyFee on Tue May 22, 2012 7:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.