October 14, 2019, 07:19:26 PM

Author Topic: Here there be Monsters  (Read 14655 times)

Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #60 on: April 27, 2015, 03:54:26 PM »
This actually makes me want to give the comics a try. Monsters that are also people (but also still monster) are often the most interesting. I usually don't like american comics, but all the ones I do like are also by Dark Horse, which I take as a good sign.
I think I saw the first movie but don't remember anything about it (maybe I didn't actually see it, not even sure about that). But Ron Perlman is always great. 8)

These last weeks I find myself increasingly bored by the idea of monsters that are ultra destructive and grotesque. The monster stuff I've been looking into for several months may be very unique, but I feel like the people who write about them are overdoing it in a way that is analogous to ultra dark and gritty fantasy. Being 100% unpredictable heaps of slime and tentacles that rip aparts mind and bodies with their sheer presence in this world do become stale and predictble pretty quickly, even if each and everyone is a completely new arangement of eyes, mouths, and tentacles that makes peoples brains explode in different ways. The end result is still the same.
I am now going back to concentrate more on what originally got me interested in horror creatures, which is the fey.
Creatures that look like animals, can talk and think like people, behave similar to people in most ways, but have just very different priorities. Not creatures that are completely alien in every way, but instead familiar but off. Things that are just not quite right. And many of the Hellboy creatures seem to lean in that direction. Things that are intelligent and can reason, but still are beasts in their true essence. Like wolves and tigers, which can be friendly, playful, and obedient, but at any moment decide to kill and eat you because for them in that moment it seems like a good idea. And that's actually what the majority of Lovecrafts creatures are as well. There are a few that attack on sight, but most are able to have some form of meaningful conversation with you. It's just that their goals and priority are very different from those of humans and their minds are not alien in the way that it's impossible to communicate, but that they will come to conclusions and make descisions that are just horrifying to a person.
Fighting such creatures is not a flight of mad panic, but more about suspense as the character tries to avoid making a wrong step. A tentacle horror from another dimension will act truly randomly, so what the character does or does not really doesn't make a meaningful difference.

Offline Nora

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #61 on: April 27, 2015, 04:22:23 PM »
Yeah I feel you, I can imagine the originality wearing off. Give a try at the hellboys though, and the B.P.R.D too. It's the bureau of paranormal investigations Hellboy grew up in and worked for, before going on his own adventures (to the depth of hell! Yay).
I cannot impress how much I love these series. Mignola gave both the art and then the story such an air, such a depth...
What is great in his treatment of monsters is also people's reaction to them. Some people see a giant egg of monster and make a hippie festival around it. How cool is that?
Monsters are around by the thousands, some fight, another makes a suit and tries to place himself as their leader. Human reactions are more varied than in many other stories.

Even the myth of creation revealed in the plot includes monsters :



I found the movies horrible and incomparable with the comics. Definitely give them a try.
Any Dark Horse production to recommend by the way?
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Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #62 on: April 27, 2015, 04:47:19 PM »
I very much like their Conan comics and especially Knights of the Old Republic. The later is actually a Star Wars series but doesn't really have any connections to the movies at all. I think it's really good with plenty of very unexpected twists that still all line up perfectly and make total sense in hindsight. Doesn't really have much monsters though.

Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #63 on: May 02, 2015, 10:12:04 PM »
Someone actually recommended Hellboy to me a few years ago when I was first working on a concept for my spirits. And now I see that was a really good call I should have followed on back then. Baba Yaga and Grugach are great examples of what I want to aim at. They talk and they reason, but in the end they are not human and are concerned with thing humans don't know anything about.

Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #64 on: June 12, 2015, 08:13:07 PM »
I'm doing some polishing on a type of creature I've been having in mind for years now, but never been able to give a good name.
What would you think of when characters in a story say a previously normal person has become an anathema:D

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #65 on: June 13, 2015, 01:25:48 AM »
I'm doing some polishing on a type of creature I've been having in mind for years now, but never been able to give a good name.
What would you think of when characters in a story say a previously normal person has become an anathema:D
Someone to be disliked and shunned.
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Offline MeanMachine

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #66 on: September 05, 2015, 01:40:12 AM »
The stories I am writing are mostly about adventurers who either are professional monster hunters, or have to fight  monsters to do their adventuring anyway (exploring, treasure hunting, even while just plain traveling.), so monsters abound.

A lot of the monsters are your usual Fantasy fare, like Zombies, Dragons, Wyverns, Golems, sentient trees, larger and/or magically enhenced versions of real world animals, etc,  tough a lot of well used fantasy monsters that are basically anthropomorphic animals such as Gnolls, Kobolds, Lizardmen, ect, are integrated in human society, along with a slew of other animal-looking humanoids.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 02:09:15 AM by MeanMachine »

Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #67 on: October 02, 2015, 10:29:41 AM »
I recently read an academic book about how some fantasy writers in the mid-20th century had the goal of writing stories that blurred or dissolved the clear distinctions between gods, humans, and nature. In modern western thinking people think of nature as something outside of themselves (it's telling that it's called "environment") and most concepts of something divine assume it to exist almost entirely outside of this world and not being present in either humans or nature.
Today I've coincidentally stubled on an old post by someone who I generally very much agree with when it comes to bringing fantasy to life, but his argument was that writers should use very few monsters or non-human humanoids, because that blurs and dissolves the clear categories of the natural and the unnatural. I think he knows and understands a lot about of fantasy that is really "fantastic", but why is the default assumption that natural and unnatural, or supernatural should be clearly distinct?
When you go back to past ages where we have plenty of mythic stories full of wonders, monsters, and magic, there isn't really any such distinction at all? Animals can be like people. People can be actually divine. Some animals are divine. The deeds of humans affect not just themselves but the entire world of gods, humans, and nature.
Fairies and talking animals, as well as giants that look like rock and sleep for years, or caves that lead into the underworld are all means by which the borders get diffused and ultimately annihilated. Elves, dwarves, lizardmen, and talking bears wearing armor might not only be acceptible, they might actually even be necessary if you want to write fantasy that is "mythic" and has a strong presence of the supernatural and divine. Not being able to which of the three domains something belongs is possibly one of the main elements of "mythic fantasy".