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


  1. I couldn't have said it better myself. Now I could go into all the little tidbits and traits that my wolf self has but this being your page we'll stick to you.

    Love the page, it looks great. I did notice a typo or two up there in the first bubble. I'm not sure if you want it to seem like his speech is slurred due to the unnatural positions his mouth has to contort to to sound out words, but if not than you missed the 'o' in 'into' and replaced the 's' in 'fasterrrr' with 'f'.

    Enough criticizing your work. Thanks for having the update and I would most definitely be interested in a blog or podcast dealie about werewolf folklore.


  2. Thank you so much!

    And my apologies about the Typos and Font errors, I saved with the wrong Text Layers up, but have fixed it. That's what I get for posting and running.

    And thank you! Perhaps I'll get that running in a while!