In the last post I asked for people to send in their Cthulhu renderings (2D, 3D, real world, virtual, whatever) and design thoughts and I’d post ’em. There’s still plenty of time if you want to participate. In fact, I can’t think of any good reason for this to end. I might as well keep posting dread things until His Squamous Festulence rises and drowns the world in madness and blood. A wag on Facebook designated this initiative the “Collect Call of Cthulhu”, and I’m going to run with that.
I was originally thinking about putting them all in one big post, but I’ve decided to give each piece its own post. That’s mostly because each one reflects a different approach to the same material and I want the creators’ ideas to have a little space to breathe. A strong second reason is for me to riff a little on the associations each one brings up for me. I’m going to post them in the order they come in.
A few years ago I made a statue of Great Cthulhu. I agree that he shouldn’t have frowny threatening monster eyes. Spiders or sharks seem a better choice for inhuman menace. An interesting observation. Though I think the piece turned out rather well, I have never been able to get a completely satisfactory picture of Him. He doesn’t, it appears, want to be photographed…
Now, this is not some kind of review site where I have to maintain a pretence of objectivity. So I won’t–I’m just going to flat-out gush. I love this thing. I think of it as the Toad God Mob Boss from Beyond. It’s squatting, but in a way that makes you really want it to not ever get up. I love that the tentacles are poorly defined and you can’t tell how many fingers it has (but definitely not the right number). John may be the first artist I’ve seen who has managed to make tiny wings really work. They don’t look cutesy at all. More like the little white flower in the lapel of the gangster’s suit–they might be cute, if they weren’t attached to That, but the juxtaposition itself is horrible.
My favorite thing about it, though, is that it looks old. I get to spend a lot of time in museums looking at old stuff, and this could have been left out in the rain for a million years. Pretty astonishing given that it was conjured from papier mache and foamcore.
The whole effect of the piece immediately put me in mind of this line from Small But Vicious Dog:*
Slaai communicate in enigmas and koans through their crystal balls (with ESP and clairaudience as standard), and can easily overwhelm your tiny monkey brain with mind blasting telepathic insights into their ancient cosmic frog perspective (save vs. death, fail = dead, pass = terror for 1d6 turns).
Allow me to repeat: mind blasting telepathic insights into their ancient cosmic frog perspective. That’s the vibe I get off John’s Cthulhu idol, in spades.
Would you like to see more awesome stuff/lose some more sanity? Get over to John’s gallery and be inspired. It will make you want to run out for some plastic skeletons and fake heads and start building stuff like the mummified sprite specimen shown above.
Next time: “He probably needs to be not only terrifying but also reality distorting.”
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* SBVD is a rules hack to make old-school D&D play more like old-school Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying. That may sound obscure, but it’s a cracking read, and I laughed until I hurt over the random disease generator. SBVD is free here. Also a very funny post on it here.