Thursday, April 30, 2009

Descendents of the Feral Beast

Those Endowed with the Essence of Beast

Fantasy equal: Minotaur

Being hairy (slightly or very) is the epitome of masculinity! Hair accentuates one’s manly legs, hair on one’s chest provides that something extra to play with and hair at one’s crotch provides for a more complete package.

The comparison for this section is with a brute from ancient Greek mythology; the Minotaur. A Minotaur is a fearsome half man, half bull creature, which features in many fantasy tales and PC role-playing games. They are formidable adversaries who stand tall and strong and are usually armed with an axe as weapon of choice.

I can understand the appeal of smoothness, but who are we to deny that which is natural and part of being man? This collection is dedicated to those who long for the fuzzy creatures amongst today’s community of men.

“In Greek mythology, the Minotaur (Greek: Μῑνώταυρος, Mīnṓtauros) was a creature that was part man and part bull. It dwelt at the center of the Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction built for King Minos of Crete and designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus who were ordered to build it to hold the Minotaur. The historical site of Knossos is usually identified as the site of the labyrinth. The Minotaur was eventually killed by Theseus.”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Barbarians of War

Those Decorated in the Paints of War
Fantasy equal: Heracles

You are in one of many olive orchards all around your local village. It is harvest time! Almost all the olives are plump and juicy. It’s a good season. On your return home a deafening screech silences the usual hustle and bustle of the town and its townsfolk. You leave behind the basket of olives you were carrying and dash to the top of the nearest hill.

You stare incredulously into the distance... it’s a Hydra, one of many devastating monsters unleashed onto the mortal world. After a moment of shock recovery, you make your way to the town. It needs to be evacuated immediately!

Amidst all the chaos you help to direct the frightened townsfolk towards the mountains whilst the Hydra thrashes buildings on the outskirt of the town. You make your way towards the Hydra, on the lookout for anyone still in the vicinity. About five hundred meters from the beast, you notice a figure approaching the Hydra, a mighty figure yet puny in comparison to the size of the monster. You move closer. It is a man... his head and back cloaked by some animal pelt, he is girdled with a heavy belt and he wears sandals on his massive feet. It seems his face, chest and the side of his calves are decorated in the paints of war. You do not recognise the markings however. Armed with a club, shield and broadsword he faces the dreadful Hydra and the putrid chaos it ensues.

“By the Gods, is he mad?” you think to yourself. Suddenly the man springs into action. The speed at which he moves, stabbing and dodging fangs, is impressive. Oh! He just managed to slice off one of the Hydra’s heads! The Hydra stomps and thrashes with greater rage. The air wells up with the stench and blood of the beast. It is suffocating, yet you decide to move closer still and hide behind the weapon smith’s house to get a better view.

It is at this moment that the Hydra manages to sweep the man off his feet by slinging one if its heads towards his knees. He is in trouble. By instinct or stupidity you snatch a javelin from a weapon rack close by and charge at the hydra. Yes, you seem to be rather brave. Soon you deem it close enough and emit a war cry as best you can. All, but one of the Hydra’s remaining heads glance towards you. The distraction is working. Just as one of the heads starts swooping down towards the man for a fatal bite, you lunge the javelin forward, which pierces the hydra’s head from the side. Green muck oozes from the wound and down onto your arms. The stinging ooze forces you to let go. The hydra slings its head upwards, shrieking with pain.

“Thanks,” the man exclaims, in a deep husky voice. “Now get out of here!”

You obey with no hesitation as you flee from the vicious heads that now thrash towards you. One by one the man severs the hydra’s heads with excellent swordsmanship and agile footwork. The beast grows weary and is soon beaten from loss of blood... and heads. The man swiftly climbs onto the back of the beast and forcefully strikes at the base of its neck. You hear the cracking noise of shattering bone as the man’s club hammers down onto the hydra. There’s no way a mere man could bludgeon a beast like, yet he did! The beast collapses and the remaining heads topple towards the earth. The beast is slain.

Exhausted, the man falls to his knees. You think him injured and move towards him, but as you come closer, you notice he is in fact praying. You pause a moment, waiting as the man thanks his gods. The man is drenched in sweat and smeared with the ooze and blood of the beast yet you notice cuts and blotches of red blood as well. He’s wounded. He stands up and turns around to face you.

He stretches out his arm and speaks, “I thank thee, friend. Today you have helped ridding this world of a great. The friendly gods will be pleased with our victory this day. You are a hero and for that you shall be commended one day in the Fields of Elysian.”

You grip his forearm with your hand and his huge hand engulfs your forearm. You press for the handshake, but immediately reclaim your arm with a shriek as he starts to press.

“Oh, I apologize, my dear friend! Sometimes I forget my strength,” the man says.

You suddenly realize... the lion’s pelt, his great strength; he must be the demigod, Heracles! “Are you Heracles, my lord?” you ask of him.

He smiles and responds, “Indeed I am.”

You bow down before him.

“Come now. Get up! No need to bow down before me. Take me to your baths instead. I shall cleanse myself, and then find something to eat before I track down the next evil,” Heracles says.

“We’re but a small community, my lord. We have no communal baths, yet there’s a warm spring close to my home, which is better in my opinion. They say it has healing divine healing properties. You can bathe there, if you wish,” you respond.

“Come then, let us go then!” Heracles exclaims.

You walk beside Heracles like a love struck puppy. You may just see him naked with your own eyes! A demigod, naked!

At the spring, with his back towards you, Heracles removes the pelt from his head to a brush of black, curly hair overhanging broad, sculpted shoulders. Next he removes his girdle. The loin cloth beneath your garb can hardly contain your emerging blade as you stare at his muscular, hairy butt. He lifts his left foot and rests it on the low wall that contains the water of the spring in order to untie his sandal. This action exposes the largest pair of family jewels you have ever seen. The size of that of a bull! And beyond the jewels, the tip of a hefty blade weighs down towards the earth. This marvellous sight powers your blade to full force. The pressure forces your loincloth to loosen up, which sends your blade pointing towards the sky, the bulge ever so visible beneath the thin cloth of your garment.

As luck would have it, Heracles looks back at this exact moment. He throws down his left sandal and turns around. You don’t even attempt to hide your blade’s glory, since you are mesmerized at the sight from which your dreams will be made of for the rest of your life. In front of you stands a god of a man... muscular, furry and decorated in the paints of war. The power and majesty his physique exudes empowers your will and senses. He dangles his hair-garlanded blade somewhat and laughs at your feeble response.

“Come,” he says. “I need someone to wash the spots I cannot reach...”

So, my dear reader, you are about to rub and scrub the great Heracles. Although he would not really have tattoos covering his body, it is possible he might have had war paint painted on his face. This is a mere fantasy and probably not historically correct, but lets think of this wondrous demigod as a monster-slaying barbarian, decorated in arcane paints of war. This is concept for the following domain.

“He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters.”

“Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among his characteristic attributes. Although he was not as clever as the likes of Odysseus or Nestor, Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

Creators of Fantasy

Those who Reveal Visions on Sheets of Splendour

Fantasy equal: Muse

I have great admiration for artists and the wondrous pieces they are able to conjure up by means of a creative, imaginative mind and the tools of his/her trade. Nowadays there are a broad range of materials one can use. I cannot pinpoint a personal favourite. Products of each type of material have its charm.

A raw sketch of a rugged man beats its digital equivalent and a superhero in a sleek costume is harder to perfect by means of paint than with a digital tool. Nowadays most comics are created with digital imagery, since it provides one with great flexibility in terms of reverting mistakes and the multitude of alterations you are able to make by means of a few simple clicks. I can change the photos I find on the net to black and white in two ticks, for example. With powerful software, one is able to do amazing things, especially if you have amazing material to work with in the first place :).

The fantasy equivalent for this collection is an obvious one; the ever inspiring muses. The nine muses mostly inspired poets, actors and creative writers, yet I believe they stirred creativity in artists of other kinds as well.

This collection is the only one in full colour. These artists have spent more time and effort as a single person creating their artwork than a photography team would during a photo shoot. So these images retain their carefully thought out colour schemes. Enjoy!

“In Greek mythology, poetry, and literature are the goddesses or spirits who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths.”