The Octopus!

Medical Cephalopods. What?!

Once again there’s a remake/remodel thread over at Whitechapel, which I’d take part in if…

a) I wasn’t an anti-social weirdo with an aversion to message boards
b) I could draw

As neither of these conditions apply I shall instead dabble in the black arts of pen-portraiture to inflict my idea upon the world.

The brief from Warren, such as it is, is as follows… (as it is is as?)

One of the more outré of the pulp characters—and given the genre, that’s quite saying something, believe me—the Octopus was actually the villain of the piece in his single issue, The Octopus v1 #4, 1939, written by…well, it’s not exactly clear. It might be Norvel Page, or it might be Ejler and Edith Jacobsen. A rather over-the-top mad scientist, the Octopus worked from a big city hospital and plotted world conquest. His appearance might explain his desire to dominate the world; he’s sea-green, with four “suction-cupped weaving tentacles” set above “hideously malformed” legs. He wears a small mask, and behind it can be seen two enormous, luminous, purple eyes. He was the leader of the Purple Eyes, a cult bent on world domination and mass destruction. The Octopus’ chosen method was an “ultra-violet ray” which devolved men and women and turned them into deformed, life-hating monsters hungry for human flesh and glowing with “ultraviolet purple.” Against the Octopus was set Jeffrey Fairchild, a young millionaire philanthropist (he eventually stopped the Octopus, of course). He had three identities. The first was Jeffrey Fairchild, hospital administrator. The second was was kindly Dr. Skull, the old man who made a practice of helping the poor in the slums. (His good works didn’t help him when everyone thought that he was the Octopus, however) In his other identity he was the “Skull Killer,” who fought crime and left a skull-imprint, ala the Spider, on his enemies. Fairchild was assisted by Carol Endicott, Dr. Skull’s nurse.

My idea is to turn this all on its head…

Observe if you will St Brendan’s Hospital, a run down and poorly funded medical facility on the waterfront close to where the river rolls it’s tribute of chemicals, fertilisers, PET bottles and dead dogs into the open sea. Twenty-five years ago a young octopus polyp was inadvertently sucked into the hospital’s cooling system. Against the odds it survived, feeding on biological waste, cafeteria remnants and bathing in the drug-residue soaked waters of the hospital drains – a lifestyle that caused it to change, developing super-human intelligence and a photographic memory…

Today the Octopus lurks in the hospital’s walls, pipes and air conditioning system. After a quarter century of observation (not to mention late night study in the medical library) it is a better diagnostician and surgeon than most of the hospital’s poorly paid staff. In the early hours it sneaks unseen from it’s bolt holes and performs life saving procedures on misdiagnosed patients, earning the hospital an increasing reputation for ‘miracle’ cures.

Posed against the Octopus is the dastardly Chief of Medicine, Doctor Jeffrey Fairchild. More than happy to pose for the press with the latest miracle recovery, he desperately searches the Hospital for the phantom that cures the patients he would rather let die. For Doctor Fairchild is embezzling the Hospital’s funding into his own personal accounts and every cure draws more attention, endangering his nefarious schemes…

So yeah, that’s my crazy idea. A medical octopus and an embezzling doctor. Surely that’d sell comics! 😀

The Ghost Who Lurks

Wheelchair bound freaks!

I am by nature a lurker. Rather than being involved with things I prefer to stand on the fringes looking in. If I won the lottery (not likely since I never buy a ticket) and decided to hire a nightclub to throw a big party for all my friends (well what would you do if you won the lottery then?), I’d spend most of it sitting in the office keeping half an eye on things through the security cameras. Like I said, a lurker.

The reason I mention this is because it explains my attitude to forums. I keep an eye on quite a few forums, but I am not a member of any of them. I just drop in and check the threads, often on a daily basis. And 90% of the time that’s fine. I feel no social impulse to jump in and take part and feel in no way deprived, isolated or left out.

Occasionally however I come across a thread where I’d actually have something to contribute. An idea, or a comment, or some experience relevant to the subject being discussed. It’s times like this that I wish I was a member of the board – not enough to actually sign up – but enough to be mildly irritated at my inability to contribute.

So, what better to do than ‘contribute’ through my blog? Sure, the people on the boards may never see it, and probably wouldn’t care if they did (apart from wondering who this anti-social weirdo is) but at least it gets the ideas out of my head.

So that’s what I’m going to do here.

The board in question is Whitechapel, one of the domains of Warren Ellis (King of the Internet), and the thread is the latest “Remake/Remodel” challenge. Rather than go to the trouble of explaining what this is, I’ll be lazy and let Warren explain it…

So, every week or two, I set all the artists at my message board a challenge called REMAKE/REMODEL. I pick a character — usually some ancient pulp character from the claggy depths of the public domain — and tell the artists to reinterpret said character from a modern perspective.

This week he selected a certain Ivan Brodsky (Note: At least one of the remodels is seriously not safe for work, or anyone of a sensitive disposition. You have been warned).

Now, I’m no artist. I can – if I try very hard – draw something that probably wouldn’t be laughed out of town, but it certainly wouldn’t be applauded either. But I have a very good idea of what I’d try to draw if I could draw, and if I was a member of Whitechapel, and will describe it here in a ‘pen portrait’.

(Yes, I realise Warren specifically outlaws pen portraits and hence would be likely to set his eels on me if I tried this kind of crap in his thread. But this isn’t his thread, it’s a blog post aimed in the general direction of his thread, so I think I can claim a certain amount of immunity. I hope. Get the iron trousers Marion! 🙂

So imagine if you will, a wizened figure in an electric wheelchair. His withered body is strapped in and his oversize head is held up with braces. The left side of his body and face are scarred and burnt, and his left arm hangs limply. His right arm grasps the joystick that drives his mechanical conveyance. Hung around his neck are the sacred insignia of a multiple faiths. A crucifix, a hand of Fatima, a seal of David, a Khanda and a dozen others.

Various metal rods and wires stick out of the left side of his bald head which is heavily scarred. His left eye is clearly artificial, a bulging, oversize globe painted with a spiraling, hypnotic pattern. His remaining eye has a piercing, penetrating quality with more than a suggestion of madness…

Dr Ivan Brodsky was a brilliant, if amoral brain surgeon who was the only survivor of an operating theatre explosion. Flying surgical instruments severed his spine and were driven deep into his brain, altering his neural pathways to let him perceive things men were not meant to see! His patented hypno-eye(tm) was a later innovation to enhance his hypnotic abilities.

Eat your heart out Stan Lee! 😀

So yeah. The pine nut curse has dissipated (for now), I’m busy cataloging and sorting the photos of my UK trip back in 2004 and uploading them to Flickr and I saw Watchmen yesterday which I quite enjoyed despite leaving my glasses at home and hence having to watch the entire film through my sunglasses. Apart from that it’s business as usual at the Wyrmcave. Boring, awful normal ;D

That is all.

Close Bitnami banner