Mortui PhilosophiesSeptember 28, 2011
I’ve said the Pazuzu Trilogy showcases the monsters I created in my college sketchbooks. Those sketchbooks are known collectively as the Mortui Philosophies – graphic ruminations of undead chimeras. The monsters therein have driven me; I preserved the creatures, bought my first computer before the year 2000 so that they might live longer digitized and have updated their records. Generally unsatisfied with any direction taken painting, drawing and animating the monsters, they finally found a place where they might live. They are alive in stories I write.
Years ago, I browsed worldwide folklore for supernatural entities and took their names. Not all my monsters have real-life, mythological equivalents, and I’ve purposely mangled many names so that they might gain unique, existential standings (yeah, that sounds grandiose – but I do righteously write about alien gods). Below are images of quite a few monsters. Included are short revelations about the monsters. Many of the images are prints and for sale at my online print shop at Deviantart.com. View and purchase prints at Sawyerarts.
A Barghest is a real-life, monstrous black dog from English folklore. In the folklore of other European cultures, barghests are elves and goblins. In my Mortui Philosophies, they are imps and serve only those beings who capture and badger them.
Ankou are the personification of death in broadly Celtic mythologies and French folklore. He appears at graveside as a skeleton, or a man, carrying a scythe. I gave the skeletal entity bone wings in place of arms and talons for feet. It has a black tongue created from solid shadow – a recurrent theme in the Philosophies.
Cockatrice are two-legged dragons with the heads of roosters. I was actually familiarized with this creature before Middle School when I read The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr. The cockatrice was the first painting I created with a monster. I was in High School. The image was on canvas and painted with acrylic paint.
Emmet is actually a derogatory nickname bigoted Cornish people call tourists. When I heard the word many years ago, I thought a monster deserved the title. My emmet fly and are wasp-like. The Dodo Bird-like things the creatures are hunting in the image are called Tolaeth – which really means a “death warning.”
Lieko are idiotic fiends and are experiments of alien gods. The alien gods try creating life in new realities but their creatures don’t hold together. Here is a creature composed only of arms – a feature alien gods have perfected on their creations.
Here is an image of my creature transformed into one of the fluters who surround H.P. Lovecraft’s Azathoth. Yep, I am a Lovecraft fan and modeled my Mortui Philosophies upon his Cthulhu mythology. Unfortunately, other Lovecraft fans don’t seem able to see the influence because I have discarded the conventional trappings for my own bleak, surreal desolation.*
Morelai are also fiends. They are mentioned in the Pazuzu Trilogy but are not seen until the very end.
Mehtad are the punished souls of the dead, drooling and crawling uphill, deflated and burdened.
Camelprey were originally called Madra. Recently, I decided I liked the contraction of the words Camel and Lamprey, and that is what this thing has become. These creatures are vampiric.
Maras is not the common Buddha pose, they are alien souls.
Whenyee and Tecotle are undead, fertility gods. Tecotle gives birth to dying monsters who are injected into worlds her pantheon of alien gods find and invade. They themselves are unable to preserve their forms and are confined to the bowels of the Web of Ithadow.
Mweles are more punished souls. These have ascended a demonic rank and rise from Lemures, as represented in Roman mythology.
Peryton are winged antelope, but not here. The creature originates with the 1957 book called Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. In my Mortui Philosophies, the creature becomes a winged, eviscerated monster that is blind and eats anything it touches.