The Little Isle; An Illustrated Tale of the Realms of Faerie – this magical collaboration is slowly building towards becoming a publication and will feature these words below with the marvellous artwork of New York-based artist and designer Toni DB. For this first edition you will need to content yourselves with my illustrative scribbles which are in here for fun and to help get the process started. Samples of Toni’s illustrations appear at the foot of the blog as an idea of the quality of her work.
Doom of Zeus Greek Myth Graphic Novel – the Making of….
This is an exciting new direction and I thought you would like to travel along the journey with us as we discover and are learning.
The final publication will have several forms as we work with an indi agent who works in Hybrid Publishing. Basically that is getting the book out in several forms and with several services; our first task is online publishing with various sites, then on to major publishers and being able to buy the book via all online distributors and in the shops eventually too.
The first draft is about to be blogged and we are aiming for you our supporters to build up interest and followers towards the eventual publication in all its glory.
To enable prolific artist Tony Lawrence to visualise the very florid characters in these ancient and indeed ‘Graphic’ tales I have used my quaint scribbles to help him formulate a vision. The first draft blog will contain these scribbly pics and may be your last chance to see them; enjoy.
The main activity for me has been research. I wrote the draft of the story in half a day, and here we are two months down the road at the draft script stage. I have had the idea bubbling away in my mind for a long long time, so when Tony suggested that we worked on a project together it leapt out of my inner being right at me. It would be perfect I knew, full of the scenes and characters which would suit Tony’s styles so well.
I cannot wait to see what he makes of it all (Look out for Draft Two for the first selection).
I thought it might be of interest and indeed useful for many of you to see the fascinating stuff I picked up as part of the research. I have already blogged on the activities of Athene, Pan and Hermes and there are links to these blogs below. The next stage was to consider the appearance of the various characters involved; Zeus, Athene, Hermes, Pan, Typhon, The Fates, Delphyne and the Earth Mother Goddess.
Here is all the material I gathered for Tony to help visualise these characters:
Ive struggled to find too much on how Zeus looks, so I guess it is more about getting his character across in your own way. He is horrid, and is always peeved. Is always out there ravaging women. He keeps all the other gods under control by fear.
So quite mean.
Actually now I get to typing it all up I realise there is quite a bit, but only use what fires your imagination.
He does have a scar on his head; when Athene was trapped inside his head Prometheus split his head open with a wedge and hammer so she could burst out. So that’s quite a scar he’s got there.
Some say he wore ram’s horns on his head. Many say he wore a golden fleece, and that this golden sheep-skin turned purple black when he uses his thunderbolt.
Yes he is armed with a thunderbolt.
He also wields a flint sickle in battle.
He is said to wear a blue nimbus, I shall look nimbus up now. Right looked it up, it’s a type of cloud but is also means a surrounding for a god, so ring of light, a halo is a nimbus. Sometimes gods in classic art were cloaked in bright clouds and sometime in rain clouds, I guess this means a stormy cloak. It has also been depicted as a long blue glowing cloak with the sheep-skin and well. Do what you want with it.
He sits upon Mount Olympus looking out at the world all around him. It is said on a throne but I haven’t seen any descriptions.
Some say a double axe with a cuckoo on top is his symbol. The thunderbolt looked like that until it was split from the trident. So I guess it still could, or the back of the throne could. (Ade: Look up a labrys maybe = a double headed axe (a birth symbol))
He is said to have come from Arcadia. This is part of Greece, so he kind of looks Greek. But back then it was the land of spirits and Pan and dryads and nymphs, so he could look kind of magical. (Like something by Brian Froud).
When he rose up to become King of Heaven he wore goat-skin, so a bit of that wouldn’t go amiss.
He was god of the sky.
He rode or more likely flew in a four-horse chariot.
There are loads of things he turns into and loads of things that symbolise him. I am listing them but only use what takes your fancy. Might help with backgrounds.
Stuff that symbolises him:
He dined on banquets of nectar and ambrosia. Guarded by a golden mastiff. Jupiter in the sky behind him. He is described as Lord of the Universe. Lord of Heaven and he is credited with the zodiac cos he sent people to be them. He made the Cornucopia; the horn of plenty. He was the cup bearer as a youth so might have a nice goblet laid about. In older stories he was King of the Oak-cult, so the odd oak leaf wouldn’t hurt.
He wore eagle feathers as a disguise at times, so a couple of them maybe. Thirty guards painted white with spears and shields guarded him when he was a kid. He was the rainmaker in early tales. He was tricked with two large bull-skin bags full of bones and fat. Black doves on oak trees. Blue spotted serpents.
Stuff he turns into:
Serpent. And a horned one too. Bears. Sheep. Cuckoo. Swan. Shower of Gold. Thunder and lightning. Quail. Wren. He often turned people to stone so some background images like Pompeii might fit. Kingfisher. Woodpecker. Beaver. Many beasts. Stallion.
The largest monster ever born
Thighs downwards nothing but coiled serpents [so I picture more like animated spaghetti than snake legs]
Arms when he stretches them out reach a hundred leagues in either direction countless serpent heads instead of hands
His brutish mule-like head touched the stars
(I reckon there is a bit of liberty with this head business, it did say ass head, and I’ve changed it to mule-like to make it less daft, you might not want it to be too donkey like, maybe boney instead of furry or something.) (see also nightmare bit below)
His vast wings darken the sky
Fire fires from his burning red eyes when he looks at you
When he bellows rocks the size of mountains burst out of his mouth and fire at you crushing you.
Ade’s Additional Comments
He is a monster right enough but there are also descriptions of him as a mighty wind, maybe that is something to play around with? I.E. Typhon – Stupefying smoke – hot wind – hurricane
This quote shows that he was also part of the horse-head nightmares myths.. A beast that descends on you in the night. (so he could have a nightmare aspect instead of being furry???)
Alcyneus (mighty Ass) is probably the spirit of Sirocco; the breath of the wild ass or Typhon it brings bad dreams, murderous inclinations, and powerful desire.
[Hippolytus (stampede of horses) recalls the ancient attribution of terror-dreams to the mare-headed goddess. in the north sufferers invoked Odin.
He is in Egyptian mythology too but they call him Python
Mother Earth lay with Tartarus in revenge for the destruction of the giants
(24 serpent-tail footed giants) by Zeus
Typhon was born in the Corycian caves of Cilicia
When Zeus turned to a ram, the others turned into a crow, a goat, a white cow, a cat, a fish, a boar, an ibis, and so on.
The three fates offered him ephemeral fruits, they said they would empower him, but really they weakened him.
Not needed but interesting
Echidne his mate was beautiful, in one side, the other side of her was a speckled serpent
They lived among the Arimic in a deep cave where she ate men raw.
She had a huge brood of terrifying monsters but 100 eyed Argos snuck in while she slept and killed them all.
Older children now grown and in the world included Cerebus three headed hound of hell, the water spirit many headed Hydra, the Chimera a fire breathing goat with lion’s head and serpents body (whats left to be goat then?).
and Orthrus the two headed hound of Geryon begat her the Sphinx and the Nemian lion.
The Three Fates Appearance
Basically three women in white linen. Most usually described as beautiful, most often as maidens but they can also appear as crones.
They are sometimes described as conjoined so perhaps they could be separate or melding in and out of each other, or just close.
One spins the thread to tie to your back, one measures it to see how long you will live and one, the small one, cuts it to end your life.
They use a sickle to cut the tree twigs.
Atropos is the smallest and Atropos is the most terrible.
White linen thread trailing behind connects you to life.
For Clotho spun you; every incident of you.
Stretched across the rod to be counted by Lachesis
It is Atropos who cuts.
Let their brazen pestles fall upon the head of giants. Where the evil fall dead because of them the ground will burn forever onwards.
They come from the moon goddess so the moon can be in the image or can effect the way you depict them.
They are the death aspect of the moon goddess so there is the option to make them a bit spooky.
Born of Shadow and Night
Zeus has spoken, claiming supremacy – how the Three Fates laugh at that.
Ordinary people they say they resist the Fates; stay in that day etc
Threads flow from us
Babies wear swaddling clothes marked with symbols and sigils; ancestry and family are marked upon the bandages of birth to place the babe within its place
The new, the maiden-goddess of the spring, the first period of the year.
The full moon, the nymph-goddess of the summer, the second period.
The old moon, the crone goddess of autumn, the last period.
The trees reflect the phases in their needs and growth – they are big on trees, types of trees.
Gave us astronomy, gymnastics, weighing scales.
They also brought us the cultivation of the olive tree.
Let them bring fruits of the moment, fleetingly beautiful to empower, or Death-Apple to poison, the fleeting fruits of the Fates.
Gifts: eye of perception, tooth of divination, herbal sickle, sacred bag
They will even sing at your wedding.
Feasts lamb and honey fermented in the Oak Grove we gather around the altar.
Mother Earth appearance
I shall call her Mother Earth
Sometimes Earth Mother Goddess
Born naked from chaos which separated out ie sky land sea etc
As she slept Uranus (sky) was born
He showered fertile rain from the mountains into her sacred clefts
From her flowed grass, flowers, trees
Then beasts and birds
All life flowed from her
The rain filled the hollow places and caused the rivers
She is mother earth and earth is her
She is often described as the white goddess too
She might be a misty vision sometimes
Or rise out of fire
But mainly I like her naked with all the growing things coming from her.
Possible background etc
The sweet acorn
She was right into snakes
Shrine of bees wax, of twisted fern stalks, of laurel bows, of bronze with golden songbirds, of stone.
Her Cretan sceptre; the Labrys or double axe.
a golden apple tree.
Hermes – Hints and Tips on Appearance
Hermes is son of Zeus and Maia the daughter of Apollo.
Hermes is at best an anti-hero with the historic crimes division after him probably! Once he has grown up that is. People would rather jump off Olympus than have anything to do with him. He turns people to stone at the drop of a hat. Horrid he is.
Hermes grew fast, and had many adventures at the age of seven months old, including using the bow and arrow.
So he will have a bow and arrows maybe
And I reckon he had a baby face even when he was all big and horrid and grown up. When properly grown into a large strong man and titled Hermes the Destroyer – Messenger of Death – see the blog link to him below too.
I suggest that he still had a bit of a baby face.
He was wrapped in swaddling (bandages) as a baby so he may have still worn them as leg or arm wraps (a bit like WW1 soldiers legs).
Herald for Zeus (1 to 3):
1: Zeus gave him a round hat that kept off the rain but sometimes he is depicted as wearing a helmet, so perhaps somewhere between the two.
2: His signature item is his flying golden winged sandals given to him by Zeus.
3: He also gave him a staff with lots of white ribbons swirling from the top, some say they were shaped like serpents. Everyone must respect him on matters of laws when he holds this staff.
Apollo gave him a golden staff of cow-herding and death-easing.
So perhaps a golden staff with white serpent ribbons.
He played a tortoise-shell lyre or a reed pipe.
So might carry these or on his belt etc
He sometimes bares Moly the white scented flower with black roots that only the Gods can gather. Perhaps they might be a background feature if needed.
He is described as Cairn-man or Pillar of Stone sometimes, that is what he used to be in his past life. So could have those around him or something.
Crane are sacred to him and often fly around or towards him. He has a pet one.
He has the power to charm through singing praise
Hermes gathered long grasses and wove them into a pipe.
Ingenious, eloquent and persuasive
Guides the dead to the underworld
Oversee all matters of business
Teaches the gods the twirling of sticks to make fire
Assists the Three Fates
Invented the knuckle bones
Learned the tree alphabet.
Turns people to stone
Can shape-change – into a ram
His son was Sicilian
He had a chariot
The power of augury to read the flowing pebbles in the swirling bowl.
Sexy nymphs like Cyllene hang around him.
The Fates gave him an eye as a gift of perception. They also gave him a tooth, a sickle and a crane-skin bag.
Delphyne the womb; the monster.
Apollo was seven years old when Themis fed him nectar and ambrosia. He went to Mount Parnassus to seek revenge upon Python for deeds against his mother. Python was waiting and shot him full with arrow before running to the temple of Delphi which was named after his mother and would keep him safe, that was his plan. Apollo dared to follow right inside the shrine of the oracle to the Earth Mother and right besides the sacred chasm he shot him dead.
For when the gods had seen this serpent-tailed sister-monster they had been enthralled and fearful.
This is all I have as clues to her appearance and surroundings.
Born in Libya, lived in Palestinian, born by lake Tritonis in Libya.
So she was Libyan!
Nurtured by the Libyan Nymphs.
She was half nymph half triton, all Goddess
She used spear and shield in battle. But would borrow a spear if needed. So was only armed when in battle.
She had an amazing shield in her magic bag, see below.
She went to Greece via Crete to the city of Athenae by river Triton.
She wore an Aegis, a magical bag. It produced a sound as from a myriad roaring dragons. See pics in link below.
It was a goat-skin bag with a gorgon mask (Medusa’s head) that held a serpent, which is ageless and immortal: a hundred tassels of pure gold hang fluttering from it, tight-woven each of them, and each the worth of a hundred oxen. These are serpents as well.
So golden serpents
[Virgil says the Cyclopes busily burnished the aegis Athena wears in her angry moods—a fearsome thing with a surface of gold like scaly snake-skin, and the linked serpents and the Gorgon herself upon the goddess’s breast—a severed head rolling its eyes”, furnished with golden tassels and bearing the Gorgoneion (Medusa’s head) in the central boss.
Some of the Attic vase-painters retained an archaic tradition that the tassels had originally been serpents in their representations of the aegis.
It was a magic bag.
Libyan girls wore a goat-skin apron, so she probably woar some.
Ethiopian girls still wear sometimes with cowries attached. Cowries are a Yonic Symbol. (like the vulva). But that’s Ethiopian girls for you.
The Libyan cry of triumph ‘Olulu Ololu’ is for Athene, when in a war-like stance she is often depicted shouting.
Some say Athene’s father was called Pallas he was a winged goatish giant and he outraged her. She flayed his skin from him to add to her Aegis.
Others say her adopted father was Itonus (meaning willow man) of Iton.
Prometheus split Zeus’ skull with a wedge and beetle [ringed maul or mallet]. Athene sprang out fully armoured shouting.
As Alaphria she married a goat king on may eve.
She had a rain making willow cult in Iton.
Aegis is a goat-skin chastity tunic worn as a bag at the belt.
Athene’s contained a magic disc.
An ancient disc of spiralling pictographs predicting Athene being born
Athene planted an olive tree as they are sacred to save Athens, so them and willow symbolised her.
She also weaves
Caronis (crow) (mother of Asclerius by Apollo) was a title of hers.
She shared her temples in Athens with Hephaestus (he who shines by day) as she was the moon goddess.
Athene invented the flute, trumpet, the earthenware pot, the plough, the rake, the ox yoke, the horse bridle, the chariot, and the ship.
She taught the science of numbers and all domestic arts such as cooking, weaving spinning.
Goddess of war with no pleasure in battle, rather for settling disputes, and upholding the law by pacific means.
Bears no arms in times of peace. Often borrows from Zeus.
in her rage turned Medusa into a winged beast. She had glaring eyes, protruding tongue, huge teeth, brazen claws and serpent locks. One look at her turned the onlooker into stone. BTW
She was the Harpies, the storm winds as the triple goddess, the Sudden Destroyer.
She was the Graeae, the grey ones; Engo (warlike), Pemphredo (Wasp) and Deino (terrible).
Athene was patroness of a pre-Hellenic medical cult of the moon. Her priestesses of the cult gathered at oracular shrines of dead heroes and reincarnated them as serpents or crows.
She was given the titles Coronis because of the oracular crow or raven and Hygieia because of cures.
Her all-heal was the mistletoe ixias, from the oak.
Gorgopis (grim-faced) is another name of Athene’s. Processions for Athene would carry paralune (white parasols).
She created the golden bridle which tamed Pegasus (the moon horse).
Athene was Laphria (she who wins booty) and was a goat goddess.
Athene changes into a sea eagle, a swallow, a vulture, a dove, lark, diver bird (gannet), but the wise owl was her principal epiphany (manifestation).
Athene’s couch at Tegea shows she is Neith or Anatha the orgiastic moon goddess.
Great Goat God Pan: The Greek Myth Lives On
In the magical land of Faerie where all is possible and nothing is as expected…. Faerie is the British cover-all term for anything fairylike; from trolls to slender naked winged things.
And Arcadian is the Ancient Greek equivalent. this land was Arcadia among the nymphs and fair things danced a monstrous being, half man half goat.
They laughed at him, but listen not to his music or you will dance.
The wildest passion possible.
Silenus father of the satyrs was father of Pan.
Yet others say he was fathered by Hermes.
Arcadia is a place now in Greece, so he might look a bit Greek, but is more likely to have a hint of nymph or fairy. Among the hairiness.
Pan was so ugly at birth it is said that his mother ran away from him. Born with horns, beard, tail and goat-legs. Magical birds and dryads and all are not accustomed to such fierceness among their midsts.
Hermes thought it a laugh to take him to Olympus to show as a novelty. Following his freak show upbringing he went on to lead quite a life, quite a wild life.
He taught Daphnis pipes.
He was humble, easy going yet wild and some say lazy. He certainly liked his afternoon naps; after his revels with the mountain nymphs.
From Arcadia he guards all herds, flocks, and beehives
He helps all hunters who ask for help in finding quarry.
Beware you wake him as you pass a grove or grotto for he will raise with a great shout which will terrify you to the bone.
Pan is from paein:- to pasture, the upright man of the Arcadian fertility cult leading to the North Western Witch-cult and later as the devil – so it is said.
His terrible shout brought us the word and the state of ‘panic’.
He has many lop-eared hounds around him and he loves to eat lynx.
Old goat-legged god from Arcadia.
Oh how the Maenads go mad. orgiastic worshippers of mare-headed Daphoene.
He, Pan, was invited to their dances. upon the high mountains
Amid the Maenads dance there is a shaft, a stone shaft
Pan’s mother the woodpecker taps there still.
This rain will cool even the passion-mad Maenads as they dance an intoxicant dance of writhing limbs.
I have done a great deal of research in the build up to turning this very strange tale into a graphic novel so that it is all based on history, (unless it was the morphine). Some of the research work helped me create the individual features linked to below: