GORGO is the name of the baby monster in the movie. The mother’s name is Ogra. She’s the one that stomps all over London in her search for her missing child. The moral of the story – mother monsters are not to be trifled with. I learned this lesson well. I leave baby monsters alone.
When I was a kid I wanted to be a giant monster. I wasn’t a dumb kid. I knew that I couldn’t actually become a giant monster. Not only was I generally the wrong species I knew enough about the square cube law to understand that really giant monsters were impossible. I could, however, grow up to be a giant monster actor. That was a job that a human being could have.
Most movies of the movies that I saw that featured giant monsters (at least the type that required humans to wear monster suits) seemed to be made in Japan. Only a very few got made in English speaking countries. And none in America.
So I had to pursue other career opportunities.
GORGO was one of the few giant monster movies made in an English speaking country that used a human actor to play the monster. Mick Dillon had that role. He seems to have mostly worked as a stunt double and wasn’t very tall – he played jockeys in more than one movie. Cheers Mick!
Lovecraft described some of his creations in great detail. Others are described in ways that are give the reader a vague sense of the thing and leave the specifics to his/her imagination. And others are left as vague eldritch monstrosities, barely comprehensible to the human mind. Shub Niggurath is one of those. So she (it) can be depicted however seems most appropriate.
I’ve spent some time over the last four years trying to figure out a graphic novel project that a writer friend and I could collaborate on. I like his writing. He likes my illustration. We never did find a story that we both were willing to invest the time and money to take to completion.
At one point, while working out a possible scene in a possible plot, he asked whether I wanted the protagonist to battle a tyrannosaurus rex or a giant squid. My first thought was “Why not both?” but I think I told him that I preferred a tyrannosaur.
The “Why not both?” thought stuck with me and the “both” element had me decide to combine the two creatures into one. Sorta.
“Words could not adequately convey the repulsiveness of the thing. It was endowed with a trunk and great, uneven ears, and two enormous tusks protruded from the corners of its mouth. But it was not an elephant. Indeed, its resemblance to an actual elephant was, at best, sporadic and superficial, despite certain unmistakable points of similarity. The ears were webbed and tentacled, the trunk terminated in a huge flaring disk at least a foot in diameter, and the tusks, which intertwined and interlocked at the base of the statue, were as translucent as rock crystal.”
One of the reasons that I’m so fond of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos is its breadth and diversity. H.P. Lovecraft may have originated it but it has long since outgrown his writings. Howard Belknap Long was a writer who added to the Mythos during Lovecraft’s lifetime. His most notable creations are the Hounds of Tindalos and the fellow above, Chaugnar Faugn. All of Lovecraft’s work is in the public domain, easily found and therefore easily read. Long’s work is still under copyright and, because Long has not retained a lot of posthumous popularity, requires some effort to track down. As far as I can tell, the Seattle Library has nothing by him in its collections. As such, I haven’t read The Horror from the Hills, the story that first features Chaugnar Faugn.
But what the hell, I have read T.E.D. Klein‘s Black Man with a Horn, featuring a version of Chaugnar Faugn that only vaguely resembles the original, and I felt like drawing an eldritch abomination so … here he is.
These are the finalish character designs for this year’s abandoned graphic novel project. I say “finalish” because, until I had actually started penciling the story pages I’m sure that we would have made more adjustments. The big guy’s artificial eye’s final design was still being worked out. The uniform probably would have gotten a tweek or two.
Am I likely to ever use these designs for characters in a project of my own?
Mostly not. They were designed with a specific story in mind and so, with one exception, they’re not likely to continue living in my imagination. The one exception is the monster. I’ve gotten found of the critter. I can’t use it for any version of this story – the writer owns the plot – but I can imagine it turning up in other places.
I had mentioned recently that I expected a chunk of my time this year to be caught up in drawing a graphic novel.
That time has been freed up. The writer and I have, amicably, agreed to abandon the project due to that old standby – creative differences. We were both enthusiastic about the story but, unfortunately, we were enthusiastic about different, and incompatible, versions of the story. So he’s keeping his story, perhaps to have another artist illustrate, and I’m keeping my character designs.
And since I like posting stuff on this weblog I’m showing those designs to you. Today’s post is the initial character designs. I did a number of preliminary sketches prior to these where I worked to distill the characters into individuals that I could draw multiple times from multiple angles. The uniforms that these folks are wearing didn’t survive this stage. The chest pockets looked okay on the guys but terrible on the women.