|Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitteb|
It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.
There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in. The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.
Eldritch Abominations and The Old Gods
The old gods wait. What exactly they’re waiting for depends on who’s writing the story. In HP Lovecraft’s work they’re waiting for the stars to be right, in the Norse traditions the Ice Giants await Ragnarok and over at my comic Cthulhu Slippers they’re waiting for the coffee to be ready.
I’ve become a bit obsessed by the idea of ancient, unknowable god like entities ever since I first came across the concept. You’d think I would have found it through HP Lovecraft’s work but it was Terry Pratchett who sent my brain down the rabbit hole of wondering about things that by their very nature defy description.
The line between eldritch abomination and Old God/One isn’t all that clearly defined and again seems to depend a bit on who is telling the story. The common elements in fiction are that they seem wrong, an affront to reality and the senses. Sometimes they’re so wrong just looking at them can cause people plunge into the depths of madness.
They’re also almost uniformly described as immensely powerful creatures able to warp reality at will. If they notice humanity at all, they see us as we sees mayflies: short lived and a bit pointless. They can wipe out all of us with little more than a thought, they’re gods, even when they aren’t: powerful, terrible, uncaring and ultimately unknowable.
They crop up in virtually every religion in one way or another, and their presence in a fiction story almost always spells madness and death for the protagonists (and humanity a whole).
As fascinated with the idea of the unknowable gods as I am, that all seemed a bit of a downer to me. So, I thought I’d try playing them for laughs.
The Old Gods and Old Ones in Cthulhu Slippers are still shockingly powerful and amoral, they’ve already conquered the world by the time the comic starts, but they’re also just as petty, stupid and selfish as humans can be.
They do not make for good middle managers.
Cthulhu himself is technically in charge of the globe spanning uber-corporation Cthulhu Corp, but given that he’s silent, small and mostly nice to everyone the company’s day to day operations are handled by the other gods like Nyarlathotep and Hastur. And, of course the hapless human employees are the ones that do all the work. People are seen as little more than commodities, and the corporation demands obedience or death.
It’s not all that unlike working for a regular human corporation.
In fiction and in myth the eldritch abominations that crop up represent the fear of the unknown. That fear is an integral part of all good horror stories as it’s always a lot scarier when you don’t know what the monster looks like, but horror and comedy are not as far apart as you might think. Both aim to force a reaction from their intended audience be it a scream or a laugh. Since eldritch abominations represent one of humanities most prevalent fears, I feel that they can also be turned funny by undercutting everything that makes them scary.
Or, at least almost everything. If I took away everything that makes an unknowable god scary then they wouldn’t be gods anymore, they’d be your old boss.
The artist who draws Cthulhu Slippers for me (I can’t even draw a good stick figure) Natalie Metzger has managed to strike a great balance, making the monsters look silly most of the time. And they are silly.
Andrew Jack lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and has far too many projects on the go. You can see his webcomic at CthulhuSlippers.com, and his fiction at ajjack.com. He also runs a non-fiction blog over at solitarynut.com. His one claim to literary fame is that he got his first rejection letter at the age of four when a kindly editor suggested he learn to read and write before resubmitting his novel.