Folklore Thursday: Cephalophore

Previously published on patreon.com/holdenreppion and if you can support us there, that would be awesome!

Folklore Thursday: Cephalophore

This particular Saint is St Denis and from a statue in Notre Dame De Paris. (Based on a photo from wikipedia in the public domain)

Ok, today – as I write this – Monday the 16th – Boris Johnson has announced that people should work from home, bars and large entertainment complexes should close and people should minimise travel in disruptions none of us will have ever experienced before (but may be how it must have felt when WWII broke out).

So it’s been a struggle to do anything. Plus, as it happens, some of these folklore tale tweets lend themselves very nicely to a narrative and some … less so. (I think the more sentences the better for me, but it’s been a weird day so I can’t be sure).

Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to do for this one, and googled around for some image reference and I found this.

I thought maybe just an isolated pic of this statue would be good, one drawn with some delicacy – a bolland-like rendering of the line I thought. (Whether I’m very far away from that or not is immaterial, it’s more about where I’m aiming).

Inked up digitally in Clip Studio, then on to colour using a mix of a flat fill, gouche brush (both the normal and dry brush) and then some rough water colour) I coloured it a stone colour and thought it needed a bit of colour (I’ll do that sometimes, mix in some green or blue or red) then I thought it would be interesting to add blood red pouring from the neck. The statues of these saints are curiously bloodless. So I liked the idea of adding something a bit more gory into this very sanitised vision of a headless saint.

I was 50 this year, born in 1969, the year the troubles really kicked off in Northern Ireland (I’m from Belfast) and I spent my formative years in the 80s worried about nuclear armgeddon while watching riots on tv. It’s easy to forget that art is important in that sort of environment. But it was for me. Comics where the thing that kept me sane. And while, my friend Rob and I often joke about how “well, we’d better get on and finish this comic because if we don’t… well… it doesn’t really matter”. Actually, sometimes making comics does matter. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need to keep you sane.

Anyway, take care.

Folklore Thursday: Sin-Eater

Originally posted to patreon.com/holdenreppion (where if you subscribe you’ll get to see the folklore thursday strips early!)

There’s a few things in the pot for this one. Firstly, I wanted to yank some influence in from Laika – I’d been looking at some of my older (’95) work and the stuff that is super cartoony still stands up. So I figured it’d be easy to revisit that style. But it’s not. It’s NOT.

So googling some Laika, and stealing ideas for how far to push things (my biggest sin is that I don’t push things any whee near far enough).

Panel one was tough, I knew I wanted something obviously sinful, but not too awful and I was teasing out the story that I wanted to tell. My original plan was to have the sin-eater present in panel one, either as a participant in a massive orgy (a plan soon curtailed when I remembered how time consuming crowd scenes are so) or as a background, but I just couldn’t figure out the best way to fit him in.

So shelving that problem, went on to the next panel. I don’t think I conceived of him as a vicar just yet, I figured there’d be someone covering up whatever the sin was, I thought wife then shelved that, then father, shelved that, then a vicar (could be a priest, but I knew this was scotland/wales so priest became vicar) then it occurred to me maybe they’re both vicars. 

The Vicar here is best on a memory of Ian Paisley – all brimstone and fury.

The third panel, sin-eater, was gonna be drawn with detail, but I mapped it out and figured this works as a silhouette and I’ll take any way to save time.

Final panel, hammering home the idea it’s a vicar, I googled scottish churches, got that, for the background. Initial plan was to have our sin-eater plugging his six-pence into a bag full of them (to suggest this is a fairly frequent business opportunity) then I thought if I grabbed the girls in panel 1 it sort of suggests this was part of a conspiracy. And I liked that idea – the Vicar conspiraring to keep the dead vicars crimes silent not just from the congretation but from God, by using a sin-eater, and the sin-eater masterminding a plan to kill the vicar and earn sixpence for his sins. I felt it was delightfully Inside No 9.

Anyway, It may or may not work. But I hope it does!

Folklore Thursday: Kālī

You’ll have to apologise for my brevity on this one. I wish I had more time to draw it again. Some individual bits I like but then I feel like it’s less than the sum of its parts. Oh well. 

Initially I thought “this will be amazing”. But I just didn’t have the time, and there was a deadline. That’s the reality of comics, sometimes the job is compromised by the need to get the thing out on time. AND I needed to get it out on time. So I think it’s ok, just not what I wanted to do (and I mean, it’s rarely exactly what I wanted, but sometimes you surprise yourself or it gets close enough that it doesn’t matter.)

(I do feel like I might attack this image again)

Original version of the art had “KALI” which, thanks to twitter user @halfacanuck who said:

You mean “Kālī” (long vowels). “Kali” (short vowels) is the name of the demon-lord of the Kali Yuga.

Folklore Thursday: Portals

I wanted to tell a story, and specifically a love story. Linking readers through time to each other. Initially, because I’m the definition of vanilla straight man, it was a man and a woman but that just felt very dull – too much like the basis of a mid 90s rom com.

So I thought I’d make it a lesbian couple. Two women separated by decades, linked by a single book, and that became more interesting – one living a life in secret, the other much more open.

The book, The Well of Loneliness was suggested by John, I wanted a book that would’ve been old enough to have been around in the 20s (why the 20s? I wanted to dress the reader in something recognisably from an older time frame, this felt right).

The large selection of books in panel 4 is based somewhat on the book shop in Belfast Keats and Chapman – which my kids call “The Maze”

Anyway, the idea is the book opens a portal from present to past. Or maybe past to future. And maybe those people meet and kiss or maybe it’s symbolic. I haven’t decided.

There it is. Hope you like it.

Folklore Thursday: Anteros

Oh man, this was a hard one. Frankly, I found the idea of an avenging god of unrequited love absolutely appalling. And it was hard to figure out how to tell a story that wasn’t going to be… gross. I’m not sure I’ve done it. But at least it’s funnier than it might have been.

Unusually I sent this to John not fully formed, leaving the dialogue out of the bottom (when I write I usually hate every bit  of dialogue I write. It’s the hardest part of writing for me).

I knew he (ie our little incel in the strip, not John) was gonna say something – and look, I actually really liked the drawing of him (and still do, I love grotesqueries – it’s how I was made) and I didn’t know if I’d have to scrap all of it and come up with something new.

Anyway, after mulling it over, I figured I could keep the art if I lightened the dialogue. I was going to add a voice from off panel of his mom (because of course) saying “Johnny your dinner!” “NOT NOW MOM!” but that was really over egging the pudding.

Still hope you enjoy it, I quite like his gross little face…

Folklore Thursday: Beowulf

Is this the shortest comic adaptation of Beowulf? someone phone the guinness book of world records.

Oh I was so excited to get this tweet early from John. 

I’ve never been into fantasy, I was hard wired for sci-fi, but as I’ve gotten older and come to understand just how much the sci-fi I enjoyed is really just fantasy with a different skin (sci-fi- it’s science – but science so advanced it’s indistinguishable from magic! so it’s just magic then? shut up brain)

But, and I dunno where the inflection point happened (certainly within the last 20 years) maybe it was Game of Thrones? maybe it was just a general boredom of sci-fi or maybe it’s the need to escape from reality into a world not permanently connected to the internet (and the news) but I’ve wanted to draw some fantasy.

(Actually, maybe it was from going to see Beowulf in the cinema in the 2007 film, which, for all its flaws, I rather enjoyed).

Anyway, hope you like it!

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Folklore Thursday: yedua

Any resemblance  to creatures living, dead or fictional is entirely coincidental.

I wanted to do a one page short story, there’s a variety of cool muck monster things in fiction, and I love the pairing of god with streetwise magician (who is named here Jack)

The pencils on this show though, that it took a fair amount of fiddling to get something that I thought would work.

(And even now, having written the dialogue and then stripped it off just to upload it here, I think dialogue-free might be better?)

I’m sure John won’t mind me saying I’m taking full blame for the comic strip, John’s tweet (as contained in the captions) is all I had to go on.

I think the story element of this works well paired with the info captions. And I suspect this might be the direction I start pushing more of the strips in. It doesn’t feel like writing, though, of course, it is.

There’s a alternative version of this which is much more of a kids comic one, I started drawing and abandoned it fairly quickly. 

Anyway, hope you like it! 

don’t forget John writes great little essays to accompany these comics over at Patreon https://www.patreon.com/posts/26-yedua-33330838.

Folklore Thursday: Hidebehind

We ended up, somehow, out of sync with the folklore thursday account, tweeting our stories on week ahead of theme (christmas, a confusing time all round). So this is a resync strip. John sent me the tweet and I had all sorts of ideas for what Hidebehinds could look like (9 meter tall stick humanoid stick insects stuck in my head) but I wanted to do a goofy cartoony style, and so, this is what you get!

I could’ve gone gory, had toyed with the idea of the a hidebehind suddenly spotting the reader (after despatching the lumberjack) but that would’ve need a creepier art style than what I was going with.

Anyway, here we go – all synced up again!

Remember you can read the strips early and support us on patreon.com/holdenreppion

Folklore Thursday: Cray

Seymour Roger Cray was an American supercomputer engineer. Beneath his suburban home he constructed a series of tunnels. When Cray reached a creative impasse he would retire below. “While I’m digging, the elves will often come to me with solutions to my problem”

John Reppion on Twitter

“Whether we’re supposed to take it that Cray’s elves were literal Other Folk, or a kind of metaphorical muse I cannot be sure.  “

John Reppion on Patreon

I’m fairly sure: Cray was messing around. And I think we’re only just getting by with this as a folklore tale by the skin of our teeth. THAT said, having slept, ate, and breathed computers from an early age and always ALWAYS been fascinated by Cray super computers, I’m not gonna argue the point. If Elves are what he said, Elves is what I’m drawing.

Reading John’s tweets usually fairly quickly pops an idea into my head, and this idea appeared fully formed. Initially though, I drew the supercomputer in Cray’s head with a whole bunch of Elves working away at it, but then it felt wrong – we don’t hear mention of the elves until later in the tweet and so I didn’t want to spoil that fun surprise too early. If anything I regret not making the direction of Cray’s walk follow the reading direction, if I had time I’d redo it (and if a publisher comes along and wants to print the entire run of these things, I’ll certainly look at them all again…)

I can’t remember when I first heard or say a Cray supercomputer, but it was fairly formative. Look at that weird part alien, part Henge computer design (it’s actually more of a C shape, with a gap, but I stuck that in the rear view on this drawing). She’s a beaut. And, as time wears on and Moore’s law keeps progressing, she’s now only about a fraction of the power of whatever device you’re currently reading this on. Ain’t technology grand?

(Now If I can just convince John that Turing got his ideas from pixies, Ada Lovelace from Gnomes, and Steve Jobs consulted with swamp monsters then we could have a full set of technological folklorist…)