Lovecraft Sketch MWF: The Festival

Lovecraft Sketch MWF: The Festival

“They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall.” August Derleth later named them the Byakhee, and the name stuck for the roleplaying game, but what exactly are these monstrous steeds of undead wizards that appear in the story The Festival? It’s hard to picture a creature which both burrows and flies. Bats are flying creatures that live in caves, and surely there must be deep, deep spaces in the underworld where they can flap their wings; but I assume they must also know how to crawl.

The description of these creatures is so rich and yet vague (like that of the lizards in “The Nameless City”) that I love drawing them. As usual when I draw winged things, I felt a little like I’d taken the easy way out when I gave them bat wings coming from their shoulders, instead of maintaining some kind of terrestrial vertebrate four-limbed body plan. But they are described as being like ants, too, so maybe their six-limbed structure is part of that. At any rate, they have something of the human corpse about them, so perhaps they are artificial creatures made from elements of other beings, and abnormality and irregularity is just part of their Frankensteinian nature. The fact that they might be part human, or formerly human, gives the mind much more leeway to imagine them, and the horrible process by which they are made, or (should they be natural) by which their species itself was formed, like Dream-Quest’s “web-footed wamps which are spawned in dead cities.”

I like the story “The Festival,” although I can’t think of it the same way since realizing that the unspeakable entities are all basically gathered to celebrate around an evil Christmas tree.

I’m working on my next Lovecraft comic, “The Doom That Came to Sarnath”, but I’m also still taking sketch commissions! Plus, it’s Friday, so that means a new King of RPGs! And lastly, if you’re coming to Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle this weekend, I’ll be at booth P-18, so please stop by and say hello!

Discussion (3)¬

  1. Wyvern says:

    Maybe the key to “The Festival” is worrying about whether the Christmas tree came first, or was simply a sanitised version of the “true original” December celebration.

    Does this mean we can look forward to your interpretation of “The Nameless City” too at some stage?

  2. Night-Gaunt says:

    The buyakee I am aware of are like bats but with human faces and a birds beak. Not these creatures which also have webbed feet and I call them “Bog-Shoggogs” after what Wilbur Whately said as he laid dying in the Miskatonic Library.

    With that general description of traits we artists can create a whole bestiary based upon what elements we want to use from buzzards to ants etc. Yes I have rendered them too. Variations of them while deciding what I would like them to ultimately look like. I have even worked out where they came from. From that noxious chloral glowing cold flame the sentient worms worship. It created the worms themselves and their hybrid beasts with its peculiar powers. See the cult of “Leviathan” from the original Dark Shadows. They are not fully human and ancient and powerful.

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