Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eldritch: Halloween 006

So. Never underestimate old guys with bad teeth. Those ‘bad’ teeth may simply be a bit of the true self peeking through.

For a brief while, John was going to be much younger, and like most of the various characters in my head, for a time was considered as a possible main character. But, things change as you work out ideas and he’s become a bit different from his initial plans. He does just what I need him to though, so while a side character, I still love him.

When I was planning out Mapleveiw and first decided I wanted a toy shop there, I knew I wanted it to be run by a dragon for the purpose listed in the comic. He’d have easy access to what he’d chosen as his hoarding item: Plushies. However, deciding what type of dragon was the fun part, especially since Snap Dragon was the first real comic I worked on, and shaped how I do comics.

Since so much of the comic centers around the ability to shapeshift, I wanted to pick a dragon that was able to assume a different form, in one way or another. After all, dragons of varying kinds are well acquainted with shapeshifting… Heck, I mean in the story of Jason and Cadmus, they would sow dragon’s teeth—just the teeth, and men would basically grow from those teeth. If that isn’t freaky shapeshiftingness, I dunno what is.

But I digress! I toyed with the idea of having him be a descendant of the French Melusine, which, according to some stories, became a dragon-like creature. However, I’ve also heard that she was associated with merrows, nixies, and sirens… Normally I would have a book reference for you, but the Siren associations I actually came across in college psychology class. Apparently Jung saw them all as related archetypes. At least, that’s what my notes say my professor said. So… that idea was dismissed fairly quickly.

I also considered having him be “a” Quetzalcoatl. Of course, in Aztec myth, there was only one Quetzalcoatl. He was a god in the form of a feathered serpent, and is often lumped in with dragons. Sometimes though, he was depicted as rather human, and at one point, his brother turns him into a human! But… well, I just wasn’t feeling it. So, it was binned.

Other dragons were also considered for their appearance in Alchemy, which had an emphasis in turning one material into another… for instance, Wyverns represented untransmuted metal, dragons could be used to represent mercury, and most folks who know a little about such things are familiar with the oroboros, which has cycle-based symbolism similar to other creatures like the phoenix. One other sort of dragon to appear in alchemical texts and illustrations though, was the Lindorm.

Now… there are different ways of spelling or saying the name of this critter. Lindorm, lindworm, lindwurm… it varies upon which story you read, and where that story comes from. I first heard it spelled as Lindworm, however, there is a wonderful Swedish story called Bride of the Lindorm King and it’s that story I want people to think of when they read this comic, due to its shapeshifting content.

In the story, a woman gives birth to two sons… one is a perfectly normal human boy. The other is a lindorm… a snakelike dragon that has only one set of limbs: A powerful pair of arms, ended in cruel talons. The lindorm was cast out into the woods, where he grew and then returned to tell his human sibling that until he had received the love of a willing bride, his human brother would not marry.

Naturally, folks tried to hook the dragon up. It didn’t go so well, until a fortuneteller instructs a woman to be offered to the Lindorm while wearing nine dresses. The Lindorm is of course confused by the surplus of clothing, and asks her to take them off. She agrees, so long as he sheds a skin for every dress she removes (a requirement she was told to ask for). When the ninth skin is removed, underneath is the body of a man! And a handsome one at that.

Naturally, they wed and lived happily ever after. You can see where I get some of my ideas regarding ‘monsters’ being born of normal ol’ humans, and those monsters being capable of shapeshifting.

So, as you can see, The Lindorm eventually won out in the comic, and that’s how we ended up with John the toy store owner as he is today. What can I say? I put a stupid amount of thought into side characters sometimes.

Please also Read:
Giants, monsters, and Dragons: an Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth -- Carol Rose
Dragons – Peter Hogarth and Val Clery
The Illustrated Book of Myths: Tales and Legends of the World –Neil Philip
Dragons –Jonathan Evans
The Enchanted World: Dragons -The Editors of Time-Life Books
Gods of Sun and Sacrifice: Aztec and Maya Myth –Tony Allan and Tom Lowenstein
Dragons: A Natural History – Dr. Karl Shuker

1 comment:

  1. ...

    Okay, my mouth is still buried somewhere in the basement.

    I'm still laughing like crazy over your dragon having a hoard of plushies!

    I instantly imagined a very fierce dragon guarding a cave from attackers in the first panel of a comic strip. The next would have something to do with his Precious being safe from intruders (Lord of the Rings reference, couldn't resist). The last panel would show said dragon happily and cutely curled up on a large pile of plushies.

    Food for thought perhaps? *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* lol :P ^^