Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lovecraft's Alien: Film Platypus

H.P. Lovecraft excelled at creating visions of evil that were believable in a materialistic age. His witches, cultists, and eldar gods require no supernatural explanations, and yet resonate every bit as much as anything found in Cotton Mather or Algernon Blackwood. It is no wonder then, that H.R. Giger and screenwriters Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett turned to H.P.L., particularly his At the Mountains of Madness, in creating the film Alien. Ridley Scott's direction of Alien, Prometheus, and Alien Covenant consciously bathes in the arctic light of Lovecraft's novella.

So after another viewing of Prometheus and Alien Covenant this summer, here are my own interpretations of the alien: part corpse, part machine, part dragon, part demon. It is a secular antichrist, man's failed attempt to become God.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Summer Reading 2018: The Platypus Reads Part CCCXVII

We're already past July 4th, and I haven't addressed the critical issue of Summer Reading. In part, that's because I'm applying to grad schools and six to eight hours of each week day is devoted to language study and catch-up reading. So, right now, most of my Summer Reading is Wheelock's and Hanson and Quinn.

Other things have managed to slip in, however. If you've been following this blog, you may have noticed the Neil Gaiman binge. It started with Troll Bridge, moved on to The Neverwhere, gained steam with The Sandman vols 1-6, The Dream Hunters and Overture, and finished up with Fragile Things and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. That's a lot of Gaiman!

To break up the flow of goth drama and tragic sexuality, we've also been listening to Stephen Fry read the Sherlock Holmes novels and doing our own read-through of Frank Herbert's Dune. We're looking forward to watching the Sci-Fi channels mini-series after we're done with that last one. There's always a little Lovecraft in the mix, so I'm also working my way through all the short stories listened in H.P.'s essay on weird fiction. Maybe it's also good that I'm reading the Vulgate and the Septuagint...

That's Summer Reading so far here at the Platypus of Truth. Every year it's been crazy and unexpected, and 2018 looks to be no different.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Neil Gaiman's World: The Platypus Reads Part CCCXVI

Neil Gaiman's worlds are not nice worlds. That's not merely true of his dark epic, Sandman, but also of his children's tales. The Graveyard Book opens with the brutal murder of the protagonist's family, including his infant sibling. Troll Bridge is a clear metaphor for sexual addiction with its origin in childhood trauma. The Ocean at the End of the Lane features a father attempting to drown his seven year old son and a nanny threatening to accuse the same boy of indecently exposing himself to her if he won't keep silent about her plot. I have to confess that it's shocking.

Then I remember all the stories I've encountered as a teacher, and I of all the children I've encountered for whom these things are a part of their lives. Gaiman specializes in reaching out to those dark places. His fictional narratives create safe spaces for trauma to be processed and his narrators provide a reassuring "me too".

I've found more than a few familiar faces myself in the pages of Gaiman's books and comic books. They are not nice books, but they are needed.

*Picture done in Prismacolor brush markers and markers by the author of this post depicting a scene from The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Even More Sandman Doodles: Creative Platypus

I'm almost done with volume 4 of The Sandman and I think that's about as far as I got in grad school. Volume 5, however, will require more cash or a library hold. We'll see which comes first. In the meantime, here we have the siblings Dream and Death done in brush marker with a little Gustav Klimt intruding on the left a la Overture.

Friday, June 01, 2018

More Sandman Doodles: Creative Platypus

I had some time to kill yesterday and so I turned to doodling two of the lead characters of Niel Gaiman's Sandman. I'm always late to the party, but I finally figured out this year that Liz always dresses like Death. Sorry guys! All three drawings are freehand without references. I wish I had Dream's wardrobe. I don't think it would look as good on a short, stout, bald, Irish-Quebecois-Italian though. Ah well...

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sandman Doodle: Creative Platypus

Sandman Overture is quite possibly the perfect comic book. I read it  through twice over the course of the school year and I think I will only be more impressed by subsequent readings. Here, then is my poor study of one of Williams III's pen and ink drawings for a variant cover. Like Lizzie, I need more practice...

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Evanescence: A Final Doodle for the School Year

Cover of Evanescence: Synthesis Medium: Red and black pen
Why: Pen forces you to commit to every line and own up to every mistake. It may raise the stakes, but it also forces you to get better at your craft.