Monster Mash!

I’m at this crossroads where I’m not sure where I’m supposed to put all my pictures. Somehow, I’ve collected so many aspirations to draw different things that each of them have their own realm. There’s Twit Pics for both my twitter, and Troop Infinity’s twitter. There’s pictures I want to post on DeviantArt, there’s the pictures that are just for my sketchbook, there are pictures that I’m supposed to….

Man! As for this blog….? I want to keep drawing suggestions for creators (the last one I got was so good!) but between all of these websites, and that graduate degree I’m super-seriously pursuing, I keep forgetting about it. Haha! If you stopped me two years ago and told me I would be too busy drawing to update my own website, I’d slap you upside the head for being so quixotic.

What I’m saying is, this is probably the best problem I could ever have, but I would like to address it.

And in an effort to blatantly ignore it….! I decided that I wanted to post, but didn’t put down one stroke for the next creator request so, I’m just gonna steal from Troop Infinity’s Twitter account. I have no idea if there’s any crossover between this readership and that, but I apologize if there is.

Anyway, MONSTERS:

Gullinbursti: A sweet, glow-in-the-dark boar that was made my Norse dwarves. Same dude that made Mjolnir. Kind of a big deal.

Cockatrice: The snake-chicken that can turn you into stone.

I was watching Merlin, and they completely ignored what a cockatrice is known as. Awesome, I love it when people throw out conventions. In its place they used something like a  two-finned dimetrodon. Totally not my idea of a cockatrice, but anything that bends my brain has to be good for it.

Hippocampi! Juvenile and poppa. You know, underwater ponies. They dragged Poseidon’s lazy butt around.

 

That’s all for right now. I want to have another post before All Hallow’s Eve, but don’t hold your hippocampi. And let me know if the double posting bothers you, I’ll concoct plans and schemes.

And now….? For more talking! And probably only 1 more picture! Yaaaay!

This talking bit is three-fold:

(1) Brag that I get to write reviews for No Flying No Tights, which for a comic book librarian, is kind of a really geeky prize. As of right now I have ONE whole review up (Astronaut Academy, man was that book good) I’ve read all the comics I needed to, I just need to review them. I figure I’ll get around to it before Oct. 31. Yeah, I def will.

(2) I loved that Faith Erin Hicks posted her “Then and Now” picks in her Friends With Boys blog. Um, are you not reading that comic? Click the link, because it is mighty awesome. Anyway, seeing comparisons like that are always so inspiring. It’s hard to see when you’re going day by day, but you are improving. It’s just hard to keep that in mind when you’ve just drawn the same sketch thirty times, and none of them were quite right. Ugh, hate that.

Anyway, I mashed up my own progress a few months ago on a side project:

I was floored. I mean, yeah, I’ve got a long way to go, but I couldn’t believe the growth between these two pictures. I think the time between them was about 6 months? KUH-razy. I’m a pretty big fan of this whole, “practice” thing.

(3) I’ve learned things. Like, hey! Did you know that “bumbershoot” is an alternate name for an umbrella? I KNOW. Life will never be the same AGAIN.

But here’s for the long bit, exit is anywhere other than this tab if you’d like to jump ship.

So, dudes.

THE BOOK OF THE DEAD

I’d like to take some space to geek out about it because I’m super in love with it.

My love started years ago when I watched a History Channel documentary on it (conveniently uploaded in parts on YouTube). Basically, my love stems from the fact that my understanding of the Book of the Dead basically reads like an awesome RPG, except it is for your soul.

To start, let me tell you what The Book of the Dead is. Or rather, what they are. The Book of the Dead is unique because there is no one text that is The Book of the Dead. Every man that was rich enough (and after a certain dynasty) would chip in mega-cash for their own book to be buried with. The literal translation comes out more like, “The dead man’s book”. Nothing special, just a meaning that conveys, “Yo, there was this dead guy. He had a scroll with him.” And what was on that scroll was unique to the person that had it commissioned. Because every person that wanted one had different priorites when it came to what spells they thought they needed when they got to the afterlife.

That is right, y’all. Spells for the afterlife. Because the way death went down in Pharaoh times didn’t mean you just waltzed up to Osiris for judgement after biting it. Oh no. You died, and had to go on an adventure to earn the right to have an afterlife. SO COOL.

The best way to prepare for that venture? Packing your corpse up with some serious spells. Some of these are amazing, and for a variety of reasons. There are the ones that sound completely boss, “The Chapter of Not Being Boiled in Fire” or “The Chapter of changing into a god, and of sending forth light into darkness”. Then there are others, “The Chapter of lifting up the legs” and “The Chapter of not dying a second time.” Even the ones that sound simple, “learning how to breath air” etc. are actually part of a great ritual where the dead is risen by Anubis. The best part is, if you forgot to remember your spell for how to open your mouth? Sir, you are stuck at the start point for eternity. Same goes for most of your body parts, there’s a spell for everything!

Especially, you know, all of those monsters that you have to avoid. There are leopards and scorpions and scarabs, and crocodile-hippo-cat things that can’t wait to eat you. Oh, and every god in the Egyptian pantheon? Happy to throw you into the pit if you don’t remember the words to control them. The imagery that is constructed by the idea of all of the afterlife being against you, and the only thing between you and an eternal death is a little piece of paper? Genius.

Depending on that scroll you carry, you might be able to turn into a snake, or get past some tricky halls, or command the powers of the gods themselves. That is another thing that I find so captivating. Words were power to Ancient Egyptians. In hieroglyphics you’ll sometimes see words messed up. This is intentional. If a scribe was writing about a monster, you would write the glyph in pieces. That way, if it came to life it would be hampered.

This is not the Greek Pantheon where the gods are petty and demand their way, if you know the prayers to recite, gods will bow down to you. Egyptian gods were fighting never ending battles against the forces of chaos (this does not stop sounding cool). Every day Ra (the Sun god) grows up as he travels across the sky, only to descend to the underworld again. Where every night Apep, the ultimate creature of chaos, fights him. Ra needs to do battle every day just to return to Earth. He fights with a hoard of gods and the blessed dead (could be your job if you make it past judgement) nothing about Egyptian mythology is a cakewalk, not even for the gods.

One of the coolest and trickiest aspects of the journey are the “Negative Confessions” a series (42 of them, at least for Ani) of gateways guarded by gods. At every one, you need to deny the sin you stand accused of. The coolest part: You’re probably guilty of a lot of them. You could be lying to a gods face, heck you could be a murderer, but if you have the right words? You are in.

Eventually if you didn’t forget any crucial spell, you’ll be judge by Osiris. Your heart will be measured against a feather, and only if it is of equal weight do you get a thumbs up. If it’s lighter or heavier? There’s a monster waiting to eat you.

This entire idea really enchants me. Even the idea that in life Egyptians were so focused on how they would perform in the afterlife. You had to lay down half a years salary for a half-way decent Book of the Dead. If you were too poor? Make sure you’re buried near a rich guy, you might be able to piggy-back off of his.

Despite my joking, there is a real emphasis on not skating by, but of being worthy by properly paying tribute to your gods, the value of life, and the value in the life you hope to have. Then again, there’s spells for “A man changing into whatsoever form he pleaseth”, so it’s hard to shake dinosaur dead guys fighting Eqyptian gods for immortality from my brain.

Phew. Thanks for hanging in, anybody who did. Y’all are gentlepeoples and scholars.

Here’s a quick wombat of thanks:

PS Pay attention to Chapter 6. That teaches you the spell to make duplicates of yourself so someone does your chores when you make it to the afterlife.

PPS I can’t get over the badassness of some of these quotes. From Osiris, “I chase my enemy. He hath been given unto me, and he shall not be delivered from me. ” AWESOME.

Thanks for stopping!

 

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