Sunday, October 27, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - Day 27

Monster: Maranatha

Appearance: "The Ninth Stronghold - Part Two: The Green House" Xombi vol. 2 no. 2, June 2011.  "The Ninth Stronghold - Part Three: Exit Strategies" Xombi vol. 2 no. 3, July 2011. 

Frazer Irving: Artist, Dave Sharpe: Letterer, Rickey Purdin: Assistant Editor, Harvey Richards: Associate Editor, Rachel Gluckstern: Editor.

Maranatha means "The Lord will come" or "Our Lord cometh" in the role of punisher or avenger. There are some traditions who call the angel who appears to guide Michael as Maranatha. It was also this angel, Maranatha who is said to have introduced the sword to the Israelites. 

The idea of making Maranatha a physical manifestation of God's wrath appears in my earliest notebooks for Xombi, but he'd not been assigned a story. He seemed like the perfect secret weapon to be hidden away inside the body of James Church, the story's Jekyll/Hyde character. 

For Maranatha's appearance I went and looked at some Assyrian lion sculptures for inspiration, because I wanted something ancient, and something that people of ancient times would view as a personification of strength and anger. I didn't want him to be a literal living statue so I decided to give him a flesh and blood body with a head and mane made of stone. This merging of elements also gives him a supernatural origin since he is alive with a head made of material that should not be alive. 

I also decided that to give him an even older look that rather than go with a modern lion's body that I would give Maranatha the body of a sabretooth tiger and bulked up the size into something powerful and intimidating without getting into gigantism.

Frazer Irving gave Maranatha the oven inferno with his mouth, and the glowing mane growing out from his stone one. I think he turned out to be a pretty impressive creature and personification of God's wrath. He also fit really well into the story's themes of displaced people and objects either trying to find their place in the world, or to get home. After centuries of imprisonment, he's diminished and unleashed in a modern world that he doesn't understand, nor command the same awe and fear he once did.

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