The “sea elephant” video Realmonstrosities posted in their article. I remember footage of these animals in nature documentaries when I was little, and I’ve written about them before, but I have NEVER gotten over how fanciful they are. Isn’t it SO FUCKING WONDERFUL that there are animals like this? It’s like an insane fairy-tale being nobody would ever believe. It’s like a cartoon ghost.
Yes, those are adorable beady eyes, and the “trunk” out the top ends in its mouth. It spends almost all of its time swimming in what we would consider an upside-down orientation. It has one fin on its “belly.” Its eyes are incredibly sophisticated, some of the most advanced of any mollusk. It’s impossible not to see wonderment as it looks around and around in circles, though it’s likely just looking for prey.
It’s the 50th Anniversary of the original Mars Attacks! trading card series, with a wave of new merchandise a new run of cards featuring both old and new artwork.
This is all well and good, but there’s a minor gripe I have that I need to get out.
See that face? That’s the face I think of when I hear “Mars Attacks.” Note the virtually expressionless, low-set eyeballs, kind of cute, but in a haunting way. It’s an alien face. You can’t tell what it’s thinking, and it’s effectively disturbing.
Unfortunately, nearly all Mars Attacks materials since the original release have portrayed the invaders with much more human skull proportions and perpetually angry, fleshy eyebrows. It’s a slight difference that completely changes their personality and feel in ways that I just don’t like that much. It’s one of the few times where I can say something looks “cartoonish” and “cheesy” and mean it in a negative sense. It’s like they’re supposed to be X-treme edgy martians for the 90’s kids.
Here’s another classic, and the difference made by those eyes is just amazing. The martian shows malice only through its actions, unreadable in its ghastly wide-eyed stare. It almost looks sad, frightened and pitiful, making the slaughter even more surreal. THAT’S how you make a little green space-invader truly terrifying - not by making it look like a boardwalk t-shirt skeleton.
Even just the face on the wrapper was freaking fantastic.
THIS FACE: “WOW WHAT AN ASSHOLE OF COURSE HE WANTS TO MURDER US”
THIS FACE: “OH MY GOD WHAT DO THEY WANT WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS THEY DONT EVEN CARE”
Some miscellaneous art by Adam Smith I happened to have saved in my “inspirational art” folders.
He created tons of monsters like these for some facebook virtual pet/battle monster games and went completely unappreciated. He’s a genius at this stuff. I do not understand why nobody is handing him piles of cash to work on video game worlds.
Hey, do you guys know I illustrated an indie board game last year? It’s gone through some overhauls and streamlining since, and is currently available HERE for $30. That might sound like a lot, though most of the price pays for the components and I’ve had an absolutely great time playing my copies with real world friends.
Kevin Lanzing, who designed the whole system, made this demo video:
The start of the game generates a set of randomized monsters from head, body and tail cards, and you “bet” on which environments they’re best suited for. It’s set up so you can’t actually win just by supporting “your” creature, so each turn becomes a debate on which one everyone should go in on. You get to use a little imagination (“the slime would help trap insects! - its digging claws could work just as well in the canopy!”) as well as little abilities and effects on the cards themselves. It really is a ton of fun, and I’d endorse it even without my artwork in it - but that obviously doesn’t hurt.
Only a small fraction of the body parts are represented here :)
I’m visiting my home state of Maryland for the month, and came upon the first adult dobsonfly I’ve seen in about fifteen years, a huge and gorgeous female outside a Royal Farms just last night.
I just happened to be carrying my favorite childhood insect book (the Golden Guide to North American Insects) in my pocket for nostalgia, and used the appropriate page to pick her up and move her. Unlike the male, her short jaws can give a very painful bite!
With my review of HORRORS extremely well received, I’ve gone on to cover another Magic: The Gathering creature type, the lovably horrible Thrulls! With under twenty different thrulls in the game’s history, I’ve simply reviewed every last one of them, including those printed with multiple illustrations!
Alright guys so I did Bogleech’s Mortasheen Mutant Generation Table
1 Body: Sluglike or wormlike flexible trunk, optionally legless and/or armless 2 Skin Textures: Finely wrinkled, mole-rat like 3 Eyes: Protrusive lightbulb-shaped eyeballs 6 Mouth: Lower jaw splits into two separate mandibles 7 Oddities: Functional tentacle of extra flesh 8 Body: Huge in proportion, either muscular hulk or fat and bloated 9 Skin Coat: Coarse insect-like bristles, may be pencil-thick 10 Limbs: Knobbly, many-jointed
Things I learned, I suck a flesh tentacle things, I suck at wrinkles.
So cute!! I’m glad those eyes come out as Rat-Fink-like as I was envisioning. Your woobly tentacles and wrinkles are fine!
This was one of the first illustrations I finished for the upcoming Mortasheen role playing game by CPR Studios, and I could probably do better by now, but it still does a good enough job demonstrating the “mutants,” Mortasheen’s dominant “people” who collect and train its many grisly battle-monsters. While recognizably descended from humans, they can vary in deformity from only subtly “off” to a tangled, crawling pile of human limbs and still thrive (indefinitely, since they don’t naturally age) in Mortasheen city’s acidic and virulent atmosphere.
I still can’t say when the RPG will get a release date, but why don’t you roll up a mutant in the meantime? You won’t have to use random generation for your player character, but random generation tables can be fun to play with and I have fun writing them! CLICK BELOW THE CUT TO MAKE A MUTANT
Art didn’t come out as nice as some of my other recent monsters, even after a lot of touching up in SAI, but the design turned out just how I intended at least.
I’ve always been apprehensive about drawing snakes, I don’t know why but it’s just so hard for me to do them to my liking, even exaggerated into monsters. This is only the second actual snake the Mortasheen world has ever had, and the first one that really LOOKS snake-ish.
My review of Magic: The Gathering HORRORS got such positive feedback that I went back and added another five horrors in there. I’ve also already written another entire creature review to upload later this week and am working on a few other lists!
This is another great life-form from Wayne Douglas Barlowe’s book “Expedition,” detailing the scientifically plausible inhabitants of an alien world.
The “Forest Gulper” begins life as a small, winged flier, but matures into a sedentary carnivore with a huge, cavernous mouth and no sonar pits (this planet’s stand-in for eyes). Its breath is attractively sweet to herbivores and the floor of its mouth highly adhesive. The stunted wings beat constantly, presumably to waft its odor.