Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

October Monster Drawing #17: Florida Skunk Ape!

Or Florida Swamp Ape.  Different folks call it different things.  Me, I reckon that, like the monkeys of Silver Springs*, it was an animal (I'm guessing an orangutan, or more than one) left or escaped during the filming of a B jungle picture and set up shop along I-75.  Though I also dig the idea that it's an indigenous species that attacked conquistadors when they came to close to the fabled fountain,  Either way, Pee-yoo!

*yes, I know the Tooey version of the monkey story, I prefer the Tarzan version, anachronistic though it may be)

October Monster Drawing #16: Graveyard Zombie!

After Voodoo zombies held sway in the public imagination, but before virus-based zombies turned the notion into a pathogenic one, the idea of dead folks just gettin' up and walkin' around was at its zenith.  Whether they were just shambling around trying to get people (like in Night of the Living Dead), or seeking revenge against their murderers (like in any number of old EC horror comics), these guys are hands down the creepiest.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Monster Drawing #15: Cthulhu

From the truly terrifying 1926 novella "The Call of Cthulhu," by H.P. Lovecraft.  Super giant underwater monster awakened after centuries of slumber.  I can't remember if the book describes it as being green, that's sort of the default color folks generally use when drawing it.  If not, I'm lazy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Monster Drawing #13: Hopkinsville Goblin!

These little guys cause all sorts of mischief in my hometown back in the 1950s, and have the distinction of being the cryptids/aliens(?) with the most witnesses to their existence, including police and fire departments. 
The air force investigation suggested that the most likely explanation was that the farms had been attacked by escaped, shaved circus monkeys that had been painted silver(?????). 
UFO enthusiasts have latched on to the alien theory, but I always figured that they were Tommyknockers driven surfaceside by strip mining.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October Monster Drawing #12: Ghost Rider in the Sky

Their faces gaunt, the eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat
They're ridin' hard to catch that heard but they ain't caught 'em yet
For they've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky
On horses snortin' fire
As they ride on hear their cry

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October Monster Drawing #11: Genie!

We mostly think of the lovable Robin Williams Genie, but Djins are scary, man.  There have been good spooky ones in a variety of stories, from the original Arabian Nights to Thief of Baghdad to TV's Supernatural to Pierre Alary's Sinbad comic, to which this design probably owes something.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October Monster Drawing #9: The Grunch!

I moved to Kentucky when I was eleven, but before that I'd lived in Louisiana.  And man, were we steeped in creepy stories down there.  One of my favorite local monsters was the Grunch.  The Grunch has a lot of different names, depending on which parish you're in. Sometimes it varies from town to town.

Story goes like this: You're out driving, you see a goat, you think "hot dog, that goat would make good eating!"  You stop the car, and you're never seen again - eaten by the Grunch.

Don't stop for the goat!

We called it the Grunch, but I had a friend who called it the Vampire Goat, and a teacher that called it the Devil Baby.

There have been a variety of narratives for the Grunch legend, and most of them revolve around a community of folks pressured to leave New Orleans because of some unusual genetic trait - dwarfism, albinism, stuff common enough to occur with some frequency but uncommon enough to cause distress to the population of superstitious pirate descendants.  These folks banded together outside New Orleans.  Now there are a few different versions of how they came to be involved with the Grunch.  One (which I don't like because of how it cartoonizes and demonizes the outcasts) is that after a few generations of inbreeding there's a terrible cannibal kid genetically adapted to living in the swamps and hungry for human blood.  The other popular take is that, consistently oppressed and occasionally attacked by New Orleans folk, the community either 1. prayed to god for OR 2. asked a vodou priestess to give them a guardian.  God or the priestess obliged, and whenever someone travels the road to the settlement intent on doing the outcasts harm, they see the goat on the roadside.

So here's my take on the Grunch: a breed of long-legged (there's fossil precedent for this), tall crested alligator that can be mistaken for a goat in poor light.  

October Monster Drawing #8: Frost Zombie!

Whether they’re just arctic undead that muscle their way out of icebergs or they’re white walkers heading for the wall, these guys are probably pretty cold.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Monster Drawings #7: Jiang Shi

Today's monster is the Jiang Shi, a kind of zombie or vampire from China that hops around and drains you of your life force.  You can hit the pause button by putting a slip of paper with a spell written on it on its forehead.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Monster Drawings #5: Voodoo Zombie!

Long before George Romero turned zombies into brain-eating monsters, Zombies were terrifying for the same reason that they work narratively now: you could be next.

The difference is that, a century ago, becoming a zombie was not a result of death or of being bitten by a zombie, but the active work of a Bokor, a vodou witch.  And it wasn't the dead that walked, but living people drugged into mental incompetency and forced into servitude.  In horror stories, they're usually sent to grab the protagonist (or the protagonist's love interest) for the purpose of bringing him or her to the sorcerer to meet the same fate.

I read Zora Neale Hurston's thing on zombies in Haiti when I was in college, and her subject, the unfortunate Felicia, has always tuck in my mind as the visual icon for voodoo zombies.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Monster Drawing #2: Jenny Haniver!

These little monsters will tear the bottom out of a fishing boat and pull you down into the watery depths, but they're also pretty easy to catch.  Fisherman used to dry them out and sell them to tourists in port cities.