Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eldritch: Lessons 008

Warning: Psudoscience content! (To the friends of mine whom have already read my explanations for this, sorry to make you read it again.) I know there are plenty of folks with far greater understanding of genetics and astrophysics than I whom would love to point out the gaping holes in my explanations of how things work… but what can I say, while I’m sure there are better ways to go about this, it’s the best I’ve been able to manage to come up with over the years of trying to work out fantasy critters. And yes, the comment about leylines will be addressed later on.  Regardless, I suspect that as more research is done on dark matter and dark energy, it’ll become less mysterious and strange… but in the meantime, not only does it sound cool, but some folks are theorizing that there’s lots and lots of it… like, galaxies with huge amounts of the matter in them being dark matter.

And in other news… heeeellloooo conveniently placed arm and leg.  I don’t personally have a lot of problems with the human form...  Goodness knows that I’ve drawn bits of anatomy in class that I certainly wouldn’t post here, and I’ve seen my share of unclad models, male and female.  However, I hope that so long as I keep lady-nips and fuzzy bits covered or undefined, people won’t burn me at the stake. 

However, I’m SO HAPPY to have reached a point where Faith is in her werewolf form again.  You guys have no idea.  I mean, sure, drawing all that fur is kind of a pain, but I’ll draw a werewolf before a person almost any day XD

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed the double-update week’s pages, and I’ll see you all again, a week from now!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eldritch: Lessons 007

Sorry I’ve been kind of absentee and everything, I’ve been working like a fiend on this page because it’s update day and  --WAIT, NO IT ISN’T.  WHAT IS THIS? 

Well, folks over at my Deviantart Account  have just really knocked my socks off by filling my tipjar! So, as promised, it’s a double-update week!  The first of the two pages is (obviously) posted today, and the other will be posted on Wednesday as usual.  There are two folks in particular who went above and beyond what I’d ever dreamed of, one of whom donated anonymously, so I dunno if they want me to list them by name, and the other is Kasunami so, you folks who are enjoying the extra update can thank them and the other contributors for this! 

So um… not a whole lot to say about the page, I guess.  I dunno about the rest of you, but if I happened to be a werewolf, I’d totally fold my clothes first, and probably bring a pack to stash them in. It’d make it harder for bugs to hide in them, and stumbling out of the woods with clothes on would probably be less conspicuous XD *Chuckles* And, I warned ya, there’s going to be mild nudity.  I had so much fun with Todd in this page… that bzou is such a wolf ;p

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eldritch: Lessons 006

If folks are interested, I've started a werewolf audioblog, that updates every Full Moon.  This Wolf Moon's show topic is How to Become a Werewolf over at  The Moonlit Pathway .

Posting a tad early for the website people~

So, as I do this comic, I try to do my best to inform you guys about my influences, be they folkloric references like the beast of Gevaudan, or be they the works of one or two people, such as ElfQuest mentioned last week.  Today I’m going to discuss something a little different.  You see, there’s one guy you all have likely never heard of, who, if it weren’t for him, you may not be reading this comic right now.

When I was little, I was acquainted with a family friend, named Steven Bates. A family man first and a comic book enthusiast second, he ran the local comic shop, and my first “Job” was sorting out packs of Power Rangers Trading Cards into full sets for the shop, with the promise of a set for myself as payment.  He saw me grow up, and you know, somehow he never changed.  When I was in high school, he approached my dad about possibly doing some comics, and wondered if my sister or I would be interested in doing the art for them.  The ideas he pitched ranged from space adventures, to stories of young Davey Crocket, to the story of a kid who could turn into a dragon.

I bet you all know what I jumped on. 

Pretty soon I was cranking out doodles and sketches, and bouncing emails back and forth. Steve and I worked out a lot together… he spent his time hashing out plot and developing the characters, while I spent a lot of time working out particulars for the dragons and making rules for the world Steve set up.  All the dragons were shapeshifters, and the main character’s mom was an Asiatic dragon, meanwhile, his dad, while not a dragon, was a human with European dragon lineage (In fact, some of the rules for the world that I worked out with my oh-so-swell high school understanding of genetics are the base for some of the rules in Eldritch today)  Thus, the main character could shapeshift into a dragon whenever he snapped his fingers. Snap. Dragon. Get it?  In fact, SnapDragon was what the comic was called.  But boy, did that man write stories.  I only had outlines and general ideas of where he was going… but man, it was gonna be great.

Eventually, in 2003, Steve gave me a script for an eight-page comic.  I’d never seen a script for a comic before, so it was a new kind of experience for me.  Then he gave me my first Scott McCloud book, Understanding Comics.  And we got rolling.  I drew the pages, inked them, and cell-shaded (black and white) them in Adobe Business Class. I was so new at the program that I had NO idea that layers even existed, let alone what they were used for.  Needless to say, the overall work was fair, but not bad, and I was flattered all to pieces when he told me to list myself as co-creator for the comic in the opening page credits. It was our book, but I couldn’t have done it without him.  That year at Free Comic Book Day, I sat next to another comicer, (who is still far better than I) named Justin Wasson, and we gave out staples printout copies of our amateur books to those arriving for the event.  It was my first serious attempt at a comic, and the basic techniques I learned illustrating that book and from reading and working with a script is the foundation for how I do comics still today. 

*Chuckles* You know, in the comic, while the main character, as a dragon he was called Snap, but his human name was Dylan Drake.  Guess where Dylan got his name from in Eldritch?  Yep.  It’s a Tip-of-The-Hat to Steve, the guy who showed me I could make a comic book. 


Shortly after the completion of that comic, I graduated hichschool and started gearing up for college.  As I was studying Fine Art, Steve got a job with Diamond and moved away. Life kept us both very busy, and Snap fell to the wayside.  Eventually, we pretty much lost touch with one another, popping an email or two back and forth around Christmas and that was about it.  What I never knew though, was that Steve was sick.  He never let on that he had cancer… and, recently, it killed him.  He was only forty-eight.

I’d always figured I’d post the pre-buzzkill part of this story later on in this book, because Snap is going to be a cameo in the background of the Layline, and that was how I was going to introduce Eldritch to Steve, to show him I was still comicing, and could keep it going, rather than just telling him I was working on it in an email.  And… I missed my chance.  It’s been almost two months, and I still feel so blindsided. 

I’m not saying this because I want condolences. Like I said, it's been two months... I've taken my time to deal.  I’m saying this because Steve was an amazing guy, and I want people know about and remember him, and what he did for me, and my comics. 

Here’s to you, Steve.  Thanks for everything, man.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eldritch: Lessosn 005

Well, guys, it’s update time!  There’s no folklore to discuss, sadly… but hopefully you all got a chuckle or something.  Also, sorry about the size discrepancies.  Oops, you know? 

So… I dunno about you guys, but I were in Faith’s position, I’d totally fall off.

Also, randomly, if you think riding a wolf might be fun, odds are you wanna look up Elfquest. No, seriously. Go do it.  To be honest, I haven’t read it since I was a kid, but it was good fun. 

There I go, shoving my influences down people’s throats again…

I suppose I should hush up and get back to work… I suppose I’ll sketch on next week’s page a bit, finish up my billdad drawing, and then reads some more of The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures.  Or maybe I’ll work on some costuming patterns.  So much to do!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eldritch: Lessons 004

And now you all know why the hell Todd is so big on the front cover.  He is literally a BIG bad wolf XD

And, well, what did you expect? ;3 After all, The Beast of Gevaudan is the quintessential Big Bad Wolf.  Besides, The Beast is really important in werewolf lore, and how modern werewolves are depicted today.

You see, back in the late 1700’s, an area in southern France was besieged by a monstrous wolf-creature, which was held responsible for a plethora of brutal killings.  The locals feared it was a Loup-Garou, or werewolf, but what made this creature truly terrifying was that it seemed to not be injured by conventional weapons (Strangely similar to the Nemean Lion, when you think about it).  It would be fired upon at close range, and then just run off, as if no harm was done.

Eventually, the King of France sent in his troops, to rid the area of The Beast.  Being France’s best men, they used all of their resources, and of course tracked the creature down and fired upon it.  The killings gradually subsided, and the townsfolk assumed that The Beast had finally died of its wounds.  The troops went home, and all was well.

Until The Beast returned.  Now, enter Jean Chastel, who took it upon himself to slay The Beast.  According to legend, he managed to bring The Beast down… with special bullets.  Some say they were blessed… others say they were silver. (And thus is where our modern werewolves probably got their susceptibility to silver.)  Strangely, The Beast remained wolven after its death, unlike many werewolf tales, such as yet another French tale, from Auvergne, where a wolf’s lopped-off paw became a woman’s hand.  Regardless, The Beast was carted off to the King, who was so disgusted by the rotting Beast that he ordered The Beast and Chastel out.  Poor guy got gypped.  

Now, let’s fast-forward a hundred years or so.  The Beast itself is long dead, but its legacy remains in legend… and possibly, in fairytale.  The original Red Riding Hood tales developed, and in some of the earliest versions the “Big Bad Wolf” Was called the Bzou. According to books such as Little red Riding Hood Uncloaked  and  Little Red Riding Hood: A Casebook,the Bzou was defined respectively as "A type of demon wolf or werewolf," or “like the brou, or garou,” as in, Loup-garou.  However, nowadays, with the fear of the werewolf hysteria far behind us, it can simply be what a storybook wolf is called.

There is of course, much, much more to be told than just what I’ve typed up here.  In fact, I’ve left out some of the best parts, like how the King’s Troops wore lady’s dresses while hunting the beast, to lure it out.  And of course, there are wonderful old variations on the Red Riding Hood story, some of which are a tad raunchy… But I’ll leave that up to you to read about.

Anyway, there’s some of the research that went into the creation of Todd, the fairytale wolf. And that’s really what he is, folks… After all, Bzou has meant different things, and Todd has no human form, after all.  However, that’s certainly not to say that his kind isn’t closely related to lycanthropes, or cynocephali, or shapeshifters or anything.

Uuum, also… a few folks have emailed me, asking about werewolf info, and I’m happy to share my sources.  Do you folks want me to start citing my sources when I start rambling on about mythology and such here in the artist’s comments?

And… if I were to make a blog or podcast dealie about werewolf folklore, do you folks suppose anyone would be interested?

(PS: Hope you folks across the pond enjoyed the partial solar eclipse today!)


Books with information about The Beast of Gevaudan in them include:

The Werewolf Book by Brad Steiger
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters by Rosemary Guiley
The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews
The Complete Book of Werewolves by Leonard Ashley
Werewolves: The Occult Truth by Konstantinos
Hidden Animals: A Field Guide to Batsquatch, Chupacabra, and Other Elusive Creatures By Michael Newton
Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies by Claude Lecouteux
Werewolves by Dr. Bob Curran
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Werewolves by Nathan Brown
Cryptozoology A-Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
The Werewolf in Lore and Legend by Montague Summers
The Beast Within by Adam Douglas

This is just a sampling of the books that touch on the subject, and while some of them are a bit dry, all have interesting info in them, ranging from short blurbs like in Leonard Ashley’s book, to multi-page articles like in Nathan brown’s guide, and Coleman and Clark’s book even includes the popular hyena hypothesis.

Now, go storm your local libraries folks XD