Thursday, October 12, 2023

My burning feet of fire!

Ithaqua is an addition to the Cthulhu Mythos created by August Derleth, inspired by Algernon Blackwood's novella The Wendigo. An interesting exposition on the story can be read at Dark Worlds Quarterly.

In the Blackwood story, the Wendigo is described only vaguely:

...a sort of great animal that lives up yonder," he jerked his head northwards, "quick as lightning in its tracks, an' bigger'n anything else in the Bush, an' ain't supposed to be very good to look at...

Ithaqua from Derleth's The Thing That Walked on the Wind is also described with broad strokes:

...I threw that startled glance into the sky and saw that the stars had been blotted out, I thought that the ‘cloud’ which had obscured the sky looked curiously like the outline of a great man. And I remember, too, that where the top of the ‘cloud’ must have been, where the head of the thing should have been, there were two gleaming stars, visible despite the shadow, two gleaming stars, burning bright-like eyes!

In the June 1944 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, the Wendigo is illustrated as a giant antlered beastman, which perhaps is the original inspiration for the antlered Wendigo.

Matt Fox, 1944

The cover of the Valdemar edition of collected Blackwood stories, is illustrated with a bizarre antlered beast that looks like it came straight out of Kingdom Death.

The Wendigo
and Other Strange and
Macabre Tales, 2020

My first exposure to the Wendigo however, came through Marvel comics, which portrayed the Wendigo as a large furry white anthropoid monster.

John Byrne, X-Men

This type of Wendigo can be seen from the likes of Crocodile Games.

WarGods of Hyperborea

More often than not though, the Wendigo is thought of nowadays as a skeletal antlered monster that is part beast, part man.

Peter Johnston for AE-WWII

Pathfinder 2nd ed.

Dark Heaven Legends 03673

Pet Semetary, 2019

Hannibal, S2 2014

Personally, I find popular culture versions of the Wendigo such as the Stag Man from Hannibal more reminescent of the Horned King from the The Chronicles of Prydain, or the Horned God Cerunnos (when not muddling matters further with other types of imagery).

Cover by Evaline Ness

Cerunnos, Nationalmuseet

Hannibal, S2 2014

Algonquian descriptions of the Wendigo or Windigo (ᐄᐧᐦᑎᑯᐤ) portray a corpse-like being which can be several times taller than a human.

Depictions of Wendigos by First Nations artists are also quite different from mainstream images.

Cover art by Norval Morrisseau

Carl Ray, 1971

Jackson_Beardy, 1967

I agree with the notion from Incidental Mythology that modern iterations of the Wendigo continue to build on pop culture depictions, appropriating and obscuring the original material.

In any event, I'm ambivalent to the antlered Wendigo, and don't have any miniatures of them (although I am rather partial to the difficult to find AE-WWII miniature which would make a good undead broo).

The miniatures I do have are from the Windwalker faction of Cthulhu Wars by Petersen Games. In the game, Ithaqua and Wendigos are different entities. The former being ranked among The Great Old Ones, while the later are a servitor race.

I have a translucent blue version of the Ithaqua figure. The standard version is in pale blue plastic like the Wendigo figure.

The Wendigo is the hairy humanoid type, but doesn't look too compatible with 1/72 scale figures since they are said to be roughly human-sized in the game. This makes complete sense of course, since it is scaled to human figures that are at least 32mm tall.

The set also contains Ice Age Tokens which make for good terrain pieces, as well as Gnoph-Keh, another servitor race.

For whatever reason, the Gnoph-Keh are typicially described as six-legged polar bears with a horn sticking from the forehead.

The Cthulhu Wars Gnoph-Keh however, fit the game image of mysterious monsters that loom in the snowy wastes, while watching their surroundings silently and ominously.

Sandy Petersen says the design of the Gnoph-Keh turned out rather underwhelming, but I like their somewhat goofy, slack-jawed look.

Interestingly enough, Clark Ashton Smith also uses the name Gnophkeh to describe a race of hairy, Ithaqua-worshipping creatures. They are described as cannibalistic (which I think is a misappellation, since he probably meant they eat humans rather than other Gnophkeh), which makes me think that they are not different from the Wendigo.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Figuras Dunkin

Dunkin is a brand of bubble gum from Spain that seems to have been sold from the 1950s to the early 1990s. The Dunkin name has become synonymous among [Spanish] collectors with toy premiums provided with candy, food, and sundries that seem to have been popular in Europe and Latin America.

A subclass called Dargaud figures is used to refer to Dunkin figures of characters from Dargaud comics.

The figures were manufactured by companies such as TITO in Spain, or Disvenda in Portugal. Various official and bootleg versions were also produced in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia.

The typical Dunkin figures are in the >30mm range, so were not really on my radar, but I recently obtained a bag of figures from Mexico of the Atlantic At The Pharaoh's Court set, that were said to be Dunkin figures.

I'm unsure if they are official Atlantic figures because of the generic packaging and the colors of the figures. All of the Atlantic Pharaoh's Court figures I've seen have been orange (except for green figures in 1/32 scale).

The figures came in a sealed bag containing ~100 pieces in three different colors. I've seen other types of Atlantic figures in the brown and cream colored plastic, but I don't think I've ever seen any in the tomato red plastic. Some of the figures were short shot, and several were broken.

Because the figures are a random assortment, not all the figures and accessories match up with respect to number or color. A full quarter of the figures were mummies; enough to fill the coal tender of a 1/72 steam locomotive.

I think the figures are quite old since many of them seem to have had much of the plasticizer leeched out of them, leaving them without much flexibility and a bit brittle.

Here are some of the figures compared to actual Atlantic branded figures (in orange).

I don't know how accurate the description of these figures as Dunkin are, or even if they are official or bootleg productions for that matter, but it's interesting to think that at one time you could have bought some cans of Knorr soup and received a bag of 1/72 scale figures as a premium.