DWARFISH THING "In a few moments the dwarfish shape had stumbled to Angela. In the darkness Barbara might have mistaken it for a child, except that its unstable head was disproportionately small, its skin appeared to be flapping."
"She handed the object to the dwarfish thing, which floundered away at once, toward the marshes."
"Depictions of Coatlicue are fairly rare in Aztec art. The most famous representation, and one of the most powerful Aztec sculptures, is the colossal figure discovered in 1790 alongside the cathedral of Mexico. Coatlicue wears a dress of woven rattlesnakes. Her pendulous breasts are partially obscured behind a grisly necklace of severed hearts and hands. Writhing coral snakes appear in place of her head and hands, denoting gouts of blood gushing from her severed throat and wrists. The two great snakes emerging from her neck face one another, creating a face of living blood."
Mary Miller & Karl Taube, The Gods and Symbols Of Ancient Mexico and the Maya
"An empty black face save for pale grey pinhole eyes, staring up at her, meeting her wide-eyed gaze with utter impunity. A smudged charcoal sketch of something vaguely humanoid, limbs long and spider-thin. It sat there for a moment, boneless in the seat beside her; it blinked languidly, lids like shutters sliding over those hard grey eyes."
"It lurked there a moment, barely visible but there, and when it finally came into the light - tentative, as if it might burn - she knew what it was. An oil-smear of a creature; the awful distortion of something almost human, crawling slowly on four long matchstick limbs. A narrow, elongated head bobbed limp on a thin neck. Pale eyes flickered open like newly-lit flames."
"The skin of it peeled back, the space below the eyes opening like a shutter to reveal a gleaming lamprey mouth: a perfect circle of bright, needle-sharp teeth."
"The only solid facts I know is that the Shades are actually real, that I started seeing them after the bomb, and that they've been following me about ever since."
"Sonny thrashed against the floorboards and continued to ejaculate. In the near darkness, she became confused by what she saw--the short quick spurts that arced across his body were neither ropes nor strands, but thick and segmented. She'd seen a dead bird in the garbage and what had feasted upon it in oozing carpets, and her mental equilibrium wobbled mightily. "
"And Leonardo was always interested in monsters. He shut himself away and studied all kinds of unpleasant little things - lizards, spiders, bats - and borrowed from all, blending and flavoring them with his own genius."
"If Leonardo da Vinci, a curly-blond boy in his teens, had studied lizards, bats and spiders for this, he had not hodge-podged his studies. Anyone else would have been content with a lizard's body, a spider's knuckly jointed legs, a bat's wings. Not so Leonardo, master of his eye and hand and brush even before his voice had changed and the first peachy fuzz had sprouted for the the beginning of that apostolic beard he was to wear."
"The legs - there seemed to be a great many of them - were hairy and jointed, but those in front, at least, bore hand-like extremities, reminiscent of the forefeet of lizards. Those wings were true da Vinci work; Norbier remembered the tales of how da Vinci, seeking to invent the airplane centuries before Langley or Wright, studied painstakingly ever flying creature, bat, bird and insect. As for the thing's head, that was apparently meant to seem a squat, dark-furred blotch, with two glowing close-set eyes peering from the thick fur as from an ambush. A real face to it, flattened like a bat's and a mouth with a jaw of ophidian shallowness, but a little open to show... yes, fangs. No wonder that everyone who saw the thing, from Piero da Vinci to the present, squared his shoulders a trifle to dissemble a shiver."
"It seemed to crouch there, then to hoist itself erect on the tips of its multiple claws. Among the curved, jointed brackets of its hind legs hung a puffy body, like a great crammed satchel. The integument had pattern, like scales, and from the spaces between the scales sprouted tufts and fringes of dark fur, like plush grown wild. And it had wings, also scaly and tufted, ribbed like a bat's that winnowed and stirred above its bulk. The head, a shaggy ball, craned in his direction. Deep within the thicket of fur upon the face clung two wise, close-set eyes, that glowed greenly, then redly, at him. Between and above them the fur seemed to part in two directions, as if the undeveloped forehead frowned.A mouth opened, the light caught a stockade of white, irregular, pointed fangs. A great gout of foam came out, and fell splashing on the floor."
"The two foremost limbs rose, and at the ends Norbier saw hand-like claws, like the front feet of a big, big lizard."
"'The Bammat's something hairy-like, with big ears and a long wiggly nose and twisty white teeth sticking out of its mouth—'"
"'Oh!' And Mr. Yandro trumpeted his laughter. 'You've got some story about the Mammoth. Why, they've been extinct—dead and forgotten—for thousands of years.'"
"'Anyway,' he went on arguing, 'the Mammoth—the Bammat, as you call it—is of the elephant family. How would anything like that get up in the mountains?'"
"It was big and broad-headed, with elephant ears to right and left, and white tusks like bannisters on a spiral staircase. But it was woolly-shaggy, like a buffalo bull. The Bammat. How could such a thing move so quiet-like?"
"I knew whose hand it was, black-furry like a spider."
"That third one looked at first glimpse like a big, big man wearing a dark fur coat. Then you saw the fur was on the skin, with warty muscles bunching through. The head was more like a frog's than anything else, wide in the mouth and big in the eye and no nose. It spread its arms quiet-like around the shoulders of Reed Barnitt and Aram Harnam, and took hold with two hands that had both claws and webs."
"Their eyes piced up thelantern light and shone green, like dog eyes."
"'The Ancients are dead,' spoke up Clay. 'Way I reckon, what's in there ain't no Ancients; just something the Ancients left behind.'" Manly Wade Wellman, Shiver In the Pines
“Like many Martians, he was braced upright on his lower tentacles by hoops and buckles around his bladdery body, so that he had roughly a human form, over which lay a strange loose armor of light plates. In the breathing hole of his petal-tufted skull was lodged an artificial voice-box that achieved words.”
“Behind them three Martian space-hands, sprawling like squids near the control-board, made flutelike comments to each other. The tentacle of each twiddled an electro-automatic pistol.”
Hey all, as you may have noticed, this week's Manly Wade Wellman creatures have been postponed. I had a commission and attended the Black Flags Over Brooklyn fest so I didn't have enough time to finish them all up. However, they are scheduled to post starting this coming Monday February 4th.
"The smoke was molding itself, in what light I could make out, and began to look solid and shapy, as tall as me but thicker across, and two streamy coils waved out in the air like arms."
"I saw that smoke shape drifting sort of slow and greedy, clear of the hearth, and betwixt those two wavy steamy arm coils rose up a lumpy head thing. There was enough firelight to see that this smoke was thicker than just smoke. It must have soot and ash dust in it, solid enough to choke you. An in the lumpy head hung two dull red sparks, like eyes."
“Years afterwards, I saw through a microscope, the plodding of an amoeba. The thing up under the roof sounded as an amoeba looks, a mass that stretches out a thin, loose portion of itself, then rolls and flows all of its substance into that portion, and so creeps along. Only it must have been many, many thousands of times larger than an amoeba.”
“It seemed to me, at that moment, that the lath and plaster were no tighter or stronger than a spider web. And that the entity was incalculably more awful than prince and father of all spiders.”
GOLGOTHA DANCER "The front of the picture was filled with lively dancing creatures, as pink, plump and naked as cherubs and as patently evil as the meditations of Satan in his rare idle moments."
"In my first half-moment of wakefulness I was aware that the room was filled with the pink dancers of the picture, in nimble, fierce-happy motion. They were man-size, too, or nearly so, visible in the dark with the dim radiance of fox-fire. On the small scale of the painting they had seemed no more than babyishly plump; now they were gross, like huge erect toads. And, as I awakened fully, they were closing in, a menacing ring of them, around my bed. One stood at my right side, and its grip, clumsy and rubbery-hard like that of a monkey, was closed upon my arm."
"That was their strength and horror—their ability to go flabby and non-resistant under smashing, flattening blows."
"She spoke, not in reply, but as if to herself. "They have no faces," she whispered. "No faces!" In the half-light that was diffused upon them from our lamp they presented the featurelessness of so many huge gingerbread boys, covered with pink icing."
"I met them, feet planted. I tried to embrace them all at once, went over backward under them. I struck, wrenched, tore. I think I even bit something grisly and bloodless, like fungoid tissue, but I refuse to remember for certain."
‘And what,’ said Mr. Yandro, ‘might the Behinder look like?’
‘Can't rightly say, Mr. Yandro. For it's always behind the man or woman it wants to grab.’”
Manly Wade Wellman, The Derrick On Yandro
“A biggish beast, standing about five feet and walking erect. The slender body mades it possible to hide completely behind the bole of a ten inch tree. The belt is long, thick and black, and the tail is carried recurved.”
“The Hidebehind is never found in the open. He always conceals himself behind a tree trunk. His marvelously quick, stealthy gait makes it possible for him to stay constantly behind his prey, no matter how quickly the suspicious victim may spin about in the hope of glimpsing the marauder.”
SASABONSAM “‘Like what the Ashantis in Africa call Sasabonsam,’ said Holly ‘He lives in a silk cotton tree there, and catches unwary men with his feet as they pass below’”
Manly Wade Wellman, The Old Gods Waken
The Sasabonsam is described as a tall, thin humanoid shape that is colored red, with straight hair and bloodshot eyes. Their incredibly long legs have feet that point in both directions.”
Carol Rose, Giants, Monsters and Dragons
“One non-human vampire creature is also found in Africa. That is the asasabonsam, a monster described as having ferocious iron teeth.”
Kostantinos, Vampires: The Occult Truth
“A vampire found in Africa, known among the Ashanti of southern Ghana and by people in the areas of the Ivory Coast and Togo. The asanbosam is believed to reside in deep forests, most often encountered there by hunters. It is of general human shape with two exceptions: its teeth are made out of iron and its legs have hooklike appendages.“
Hey everyone! I hope you're enjoying these new monsters. So after this two weeks of Margaret St. Clair creatures we're gonna mix it up a bit and I'll be giving you two weeks of creeps based on the works of Manly Wade Wellman!
In the meantime, I thought I'd post my top "10" list from 2018 so you can get a little insight into what I listen to while I work. These are (in no particular order) all songs that either came out in 2018 or were written earlier but I heard them for the first time in 2018.
Mávastellið (1983) Jeanne and I discovered this Icelandic band when we were in a museum in Reykyavik last spring. They were active (and hugely popular locally) in the early 80s and their name translates to The Witches!
“‘The secondary inhabitants of Iapetus. You can’t photograph them easily, because they’re partly electrical energy, and they’re practically impossible to describe. They look like big maroon hedgehogs, as much as anything, with erectile electric crests over their heads, and lost of white sharp teeth.’”
‘“I’d never realized before what particularly vicious lower jaws they had.’”
“‘The Talipygian flapped his flippers, erected his crest, and said ‘gunk’ a couple of times.’”
“Badly drawn as it was, it had a set of cruelly competent long white teeth.”
“From the dim surface of the water a huge horned head was staring up at him. Sanderson wheeled about with a hoarse cry. At first he did not understand. Trailing behind him in the sooty light were a long, scaly lizardlike tail, two wobbling pipestem legs. And on the back were folded ribbed, repulsive, rusty bat wings. His wings.”
“The insects whose eggs he’s been using aren’t at all those that were in the soil core the robot rocket brought back. The ones, I mean, that first attracted the biologists’ attention to Ganymede. Those were a sort of scale insect, parasitic on Ganymedean lichens. What Neil’s using now is something more like a sow bug.”
“The first human beings we produce from our artificial egg cells will almost certainly be monsters.” Margaret St. Clair, Squee
““Circe,” Willets read in the second paragraph, ‘was an enchantress who lived on an island. She turned people into pigs by giving them drinks with a magic herb in it.’”
“Her green eyes told him the truth. He tried to run, to get out of the room, but he was strangling, lost, drowning in his clothes. "It Was the doughnuts!” he wanted to say, but all that came out was a high squealing grunt. Mrs. Hawk looked down at her new pig. For a moment her detached, polite smile turned into a wide frigid grin of triumph. Then she took the back-scratcher and began to prod Willets toward the slaughterhouse.
Margaret St. Clair, Mrs. Hawk
"And when Odysseus on his wanderings came to her island, Circe, after having changed several of his companions into pigs, became so much attached to the unfortunate hero, that he was induced to remain a whole year with her."
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
“He listened. His round, intelligent eyes were bright with curiosity. After a moment he expanded the frilly lettuce-green crest on the top of his head that was his organ for distance thought perception. He listened with it too, cocking his head thoughtfully from time to time.”
“He put his tiny paws on the edge of the drain hole and levered his limber, celery-stalk body up on the porcelain.”
“He bunched his four neat little paws under him, let his undercurved frondy tail hang down into the sink, and composed himself for a nice nap on the rim of the drainboard.”
““I thought it was some sort of lizard, but it’s shaped more like a sea horse. It doesn’t look dangerous, anyhow.” Lochinvar had opened his agate eyes and was looking at them.”
“Lochinvar ate daintily, partly nibbling, partly licking, like a cat, with his delicate golden tongue.”
“‘Why, he’s covered with fur!” she said, surprised. “That green stuff is as soft as silk.”’
“This woman didn’t realize — and, if he had his way, never would realize — that she and her husband had been harboring one of the fabulous Gryna animals. The Gryna animal’s peculiar mental abilities run like a particolored thread through Martian history.”
“Tzzzu Tssssin came waddling out of the ship's airlock onto the asteroid's surface, his tail trailing behind him in his spacesuit. He rose to his full height, some ten or twelve feet, and looked around him with satisfaction.”
“He put the regulated machines down on the surface and watched them with his three eyes as they moved slowly away, leaving broad tracks of gleaming white cement behind them.”
“Critically he looked over the designs it contained, shaking his heavy, bony head with satisfaction from time to time.”
“What other of the Szabor-Szor would have thought of painting murals on an asteroid?”
“He developed an irritable trick ofpicking at the loose scales on the skin around his neck.”
“The rise of his people, the Szabor Szor, from their humble cotylosaurian beginning to their present dizzy, unchallenged eminence.”
Hey everyone. I thought it'd be a good idea to talk about what I plan on doing with this blog and my artwork in general in the coming year(s).
First off, H.P. Lovecraft will play wayyyy less of a part on this blog. I've worked my way through every creature and god that he ever mentioned in his fiction (with the exception of one that will post earlier this year), which was my original goal. There will be a few redrawings here and there but for the most part, this blog is moving on. And it's important that I do so.
Lovecraft drew me in with his nihilism, cosmic indifference and monsters but his racism, misogyny, homophobia and classism have always turned me off. And his racism is undeniable, all you have to do is read Medusa's Coil, Shadow Over Innsmouth, Two Black Bottles or The Horror At Redhook (honestly it's hard to find a story that isn't blatantly racist) to see HPL held horrendous beliefs. It's woven into the themes and plots of his stories. What makes it even harder is that his contemporary defenders have turned into apologists and deniers, digging their heels in rather than just acknowledging his shortcomings and discussing how they inform his fiction. They tend to glorify the man rather than the fiction even though he seems to me to have been a tedious, bigoted bore.
Anyway, what this means is that we'll be seeing some weirder monsters on this blog. Because, while I have my problems with HPLs work, it was my gateway to weird/horror/science fiction in general. Because of the mythos I started reading connected works by Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. I discovered the psychedelic adventure stories of C.L. Moore and dingy, urban decay fiction of Campbell and Ligotti.
Most importantly, I've discovered contemporary authors working to make the mythos their own, or even just making their own worlds and mythologies influenced by the mythos. Victor LaValle, Laird Barron, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Cassandra Khaw, Gemma Files, Priya Sharma, Paul Tremblay...the list goes on and on.
Lovecraft, specifically doing this blog, made me fall in love with reading. From his work to the Big Three, to the Lovecraft Circle, to the wider Weird, to contemporary Weird, to horror, science fiction and fantasy in general the steps are easy to follow. But it's time to let his work fall away and embrace the present. Lovecraft was never the be all end all in Weird Fiction and he shouldn't be considered that now. Let's explore the wider weird. Expect citations from JY Yang, Nnedi Okorafor, N.K. Jemisin, Laura Mauro, Manly Wade Wellman and, of course, Margaret St. Clair.
Hey everyone! Just thought I'd give you all a heads up that Illustro Obscurum Volume IX is SOLD OUT! I'm already working on Volume X which will be something slightly different and cool. I'll also be posting a way more comprehensive news update tomorrow.
There's still a bunch of stuff available in the store. Here's the most up to date listing:
ILLUSTRO OBSCURUM VOLUME IX: SOLD OUT HORRER KUMPENDYUM COMBINATION: FIFTEEN COMBOS REMAIN YULETIDE COMPENDIUM COMBINATION: THREE COMBOS REMAIN STORIES FROM THE BORDERLAND COMBINATION: SOLD OUT APPALACHIAN COMPENDIUM I: FIVE COPIES REMAIN STORIES FROM THE BORDERLAND I:THREE COPIES REMAIN