ATOM Bonus Kaiju File 13: The Facsimile Ape

b13 Facsimile Ape.png

Aliases: Facsimian

Date Discovered: June 19th, 1967

Place of Origin: Unknown

Notable Stomping Grounds: Beijing, Moscow, Paris

Height: 110 feet

Cyber-Biology: Though more technologically sophisticated than its fellow cyborg, MechaTyrantis, the Facsimile Ape is also the product of a far more cruel and demented approach to science, blending the organic components of the unfortunate kaiju that serves as its raw material with cybernetic enhancements that are as cutting edge as they are invasive.  Mercifully, the living brain at the center of the cyborg has been lobotomized so thoroughly by its integration with its artificial nervous system that the beast at the heart of this machine is no longer capable of recognizing what it has become, being little more than a puppet for the human who interlinks with its computerized processors.

As result of both the devious scheming and theatrical flair of its creator, the Facsimile Ape was initially disguised as a purely organic monster, though the unnatural movements of its limbs and face gave the show away.  The layer of artificial skin and hair that still lays over parts of its body is far more durable than it looks, though enough manhandling by non-augmented kaiju managed to strip the bulk of it off of the cyborg.

While only its deepest tissues, hidden by layers of circuitry, wire, and metal armor, benefit from the traditional kaiju powers, the mechanical portions of the Facsimile Ape sport a powerful arsenal of their own:

  • Super strength
  • Ability to mentally link with a human pilot
  • Gravity manipulation wave – the Facsimile Ape can put the inherent gravity manipulation powers of kaiju into overdrive, effortlessly lifting them into the air
  • Ape control signal – the Facsimile Ape can mentally dominate kaijufied apes with a sonic signal, turning them into its loyal and vicious army
  • Healing pulse – the Facsimile Ape can generate an aura of Yamaneon radiation to amplify the healing powers of its fellow kaiju

Personality: No one save the Facsimile Ape’s creator knows what the kaiju that became this cyborg was originally like.  Whatever personality the creature had is gone now, along with its capacity for thought and feeling.  The Facsimile Ape is little more than a shell, its nervous system reduced to a series of senses and reflexes that have been redirected to feed into one of the most highly advanced computer systems the world has ever seen.  While the cyborg was noted for its manic, feral, and downright deranged fighting style during its rampages, these were all a result of its pilot’s personality, proving that one doesn’t need to be a beast to behave in an unnerving manner.

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ATOM Bonus Kaiju File 12: Kramplauf

B12 Kramplauf

Aliases: The Abominable Snow Ape

Date Discovered: June 19th, 1967

Place of Origin: The Himalayan Monster Mountain

Notable Stomping Grounds: The Himalayan Monster Mountain, Beijing, Moscow, Paris, Typhon Island

Height: 125 feet

Biology: More than just a big ape, Kramplauf is actually a kaiju-fied yeti, a species of psychic apes that are closely related to the sasquatches of North America, making Kramplauf something of a distant cousin to the infamous Promythigor (and a less distant cousin to the ape half of Gorale). Kramplauf’s psychic abilities were not altered by human science experiments, however, and as such the big ape relies more on its physical prowess than its supernatural mind.

Kramplauf’s powers include:

  • Super strength
  • An enhanced healing factor
  • Immunity to radiation
  • Disorientation field – Kramplauf can tamper with other creatures’ sense of direction using its psychic powers, leaving them disorientated and unable to make sense of their surroundings
  • Weather manipulation – Kramplauf can lower the temperature of the surrounding environment (roughly up to 5 square miles), often resulting in strong winds and sometimes even precipitation.  It is theorized that by draining heat from the air, Kramplauf gains energy to sustain its psychic powers.

Personality: Few who have encountered a living yeti speak well of the notorious cryptids, as the abominable snow men are known for their vicious tempers and propensity for man-eating.  Those same rare individuals would blanch at the idea of one of these primates sporting the size, strength, and healing abilities of a kaiju, as the result would be a truly horrendous monsters.  On the surface, Kramplauf lives up to the dread a kaiju-fied yeti would inspire.  Large and strong even by the standards of its kind, Kramplauf is quick to anger and quicker to use violence, challenging almost every monster it meets to brutal combat on sight.

However, Kramplauf is more noble than its brutish exterior might have one think.  The ape notably uses direct and straightforward tactics, never stooping to trickery to gain an upper hand.  Combatants that put up a good, clean fight are shown mercy by the ape, while those that fall too quickly are given a quick and relatively painless end.  Kramplauf reserves its most vicious actions for monsters who reveal a wicked streak, whether it be through cowardice, cruelty, or dirty tactics.

Kramplauf has rarely been bested, but, like most kaiju, holds those few who have defeated it in high esteem.  Though aloof in personality, a highly intelligent creature with complex emotions like Kramplauf ultimately does crave companionship, and though it puts up many barriers against its fellow kaiju, Kramplauf has begrudgingly treated more than a few monsters as friends, or at least respected peers.

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ATOM Bonus Kaiju File 11: Gorilladon

B11 Gorilladon

Date Discovered: June 19th, 1967

Place of Origin: Dankikang Island

Notable Stomping Grounds: Dankikang Island, Beijing, Moscow, Paris, Typhon Island

Height: 85 feet

Length: 120 feet

Biology: Perhaps the strangest example of Tyrannosation ever discovered, and indeed the species who cemented the odd prevalence of the Paleo Tyrant body plan in nature, Gorilladon’s enormous jaws and thick neck are capable of delivering a truly powerful bite, while its thick hindlimbs give it tremendous speed (although the lack of a counterbalancing tail makes it rather clumsy when not proceeding in a straight line).  An oddity even among the likes of is fellows kaiju, Gorilladon’s quirky appearance is almost misleading, as it is ultimately a simple animal like most of its giant peers.

Gorilladon sports the standard kaiju power set:

  • Super strength
  • An enhanced healing factor
  • Immunity to radiation

Personality: Gorilladon revels in its own strength.  In captivity, the enormous and strange ape has been noted to take boulders and crush them in between its jaws just to show off its physical might to other monsters – an impressive feat that, on one occasion, intimidated a fellow kaiju so hard that it ran off like a child seeking their mother.

Though its movements are graceless to the point of being humorous, Gorilladon makes up for the awkwardness of its build by being bigger, faster, and stronger than most other monsters, all while having enough durability to make up for whatever missteps its cumbersome body may make.  More than one opponent of the ape has laughed at the sight of Gorilladon tripping over its own feet, only to scream in terror when the inertia of the ape’s movement sends its massive body crashing into its enemy with tremendous force.  When Gorilladon stumbles, its enemy takes the fall far harder than the ape itself.

Fancying itself as something of a leader, Gorilladon leaps at the opportunity to take charge of a situation, often rushing headfirst to solve a problem long before it actually thinks about what the solution may be.  On the positive side, this makes Gorilladon a dependable ally, as the ape revels in any opportunity to prove its worth to others, and truly seems to love helping its fellow monsters out.  The downside, of course, is that sometimes Gorilladon’s eager attempt to aid others can just make a situation worse.

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Horror Flora Mailbag Now Open for Submissions!

I’d like to add a mailbag column to the site – basically something where fans can submit questions about horror, sci-fi, or fantasy stories, or even my personal creations, which I will then answer.  However, to do so I need questions from YOU, the readers of this site!  So send your questions to askhorrorflora@horrorflora.com with the topic “MAILBAG QUERY,” and I may very well end up answering them here for your amusement!

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Monster Spotlight: Assorted Pokemon (Kanto Edition)

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DISCLAIMER: ALL PICTURES FOR THIS ARTICLE WERE TAKEN FROM GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH OR SCREENCAPPED FROM YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF GAMEPLAY.  I’D CITE SOURCES BUT THERE ARE LIKE 40 DIFFERENT PICTURES HERE AND THAT IS WAY TOO MUCH WORK FOR AN ARTICLE I AM WRITING IN A FIT OF PASSION.  IT’S ALL OFFICIAL ARTWORK ANYWAY SO IT’D JUST BE CREDITING A PERSON WHO TOOK ART FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE.  LIKE THE ORIGINAL ARTIST FOR HALF OF THESE PICTURES IS KEN SUGIMORI AND THE REST OF THE POKEMON DESIGN TEAM – AND TRUST ME, THEY’RE GETTING CREDIT AND MONEY FOR THEIR WORK.

I didn’t know if there was going to be another Monster Spotlight article.  I love monsters and monster design, as the numerous articles about specific monsters and entries in my various bestiaries can attest.  However, there’s another, much more famous blog that does articles about monster design – a blog that the vast majority of my audience is familiar with, a blog that predates mine, a blog that partially inspired mine, and most importantly, a blog I don’t want to be accused of ripping off.  So despite this being something that’s very much in my wheelhouse, I was hesitant to continue it.  I don’t want to be living in someone else’s shadow – I don’t want Horror Flora to be the store-brand soda of monster-centric blogs.

But a lot of people dug that first Monster Spotlight article on some of the monsters from Marvel’s heydey of sci-fi and horror comics, so I’ve been thinking about doing another one for some time.  Inspiration eventually struck, and here we are.  And with supreme irony, the topic of the second ever Monster Spotlight article is Pokemon.  If you guessed the name of the blog I was alluding to in that first paragraph, you can probably guess why this is kind of hilarious.

But the Muse wants what she wants, so here we are.  Let’s talk about Pokemon!

Continue reading

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ICHF: Todd “Squee” Casil

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Like Devi D., Todd Casil – better known as Squee, a nickname spawned by the squealing shriek of terror he’s very prone to making – is a character who debuted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac only to get his own spinoff horror comic, aptly titled “Squee.”  A sweet, quiet, and intelligent little kid, it is poor Todd’s lot in life to be an innocent witness to countless horrors.

Case in point: when he debuted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, it was as Johnny‘s next door neighbor.  In fact, Squee began as an idea for a one off gag – the idea of some innocent kid overhearing the nightmarish sounds of Johnny, well, doing what homicidal maniacs do was a darkly comedic thought the creator of these comics found too funny to resist.  The absurdly morbid contrast of an innocent kid encountering horrific things no child should ever witness is basically the core concept of Squee as a character.

But, as characters do, Squee grew into more than this basic summary.  Again, like Devi, he forms a sort of counterpart/foil for Johnny, because while Squee arguably faces far more horrible things than either Devi or Johnny, Squee never, EVER breaks.  Squee deals with his absurdly abusive and negligent parents, a school full of stupid and cruel classmates, alien abductors, his cannibalistic cyborg grandfather, an enormous man-eating dust mite, and countless other nightmarish monsters, and through it all he remains a sweet, compassionate, and kind-hearted kid.

Squee isn’t completely on his own, of course, though the few characters who help him aren’t exactly comforting to be around.  Johnny, despite his homicidal tendencies, is actually protective of Squee, saving him from a kidnapper and doing his best to give Squee life advice and encouragement.  Of course, being Johnny, he can’t help doing this in a way that’s terrifying and wrong-headed, but good intentions are there.  Squee also has a loyal friend in his classmate Pepito, but Pepito happens to be the anti-christ (although it should be noted that Satan, while kind of snarky, is generally a pretty chill and helpful guy in Squee and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, so perhaps Pepito’s parentage isn’t quite as nefarious as it might otherwise seem).  Squee’s greatest friend is his teddy bear, Schmee, but there are hints that Schmee may be a manifestation of the same wicked forces that corrupted Johnny and tried to take control of Devi.

While Squee begins his story as a passive agent – a child who is exposed to horrible situations and only escapes through coincidence or the intervention of others – as his story grows, he slowly but surely learns to assert himself.   Notably, Squee doesn’t judge other people when he’s forced into conflict with them, but rather calls out their actions.  There is none of the arrogant self righteousness or bitter cynicism in Squee that you’ll find in other characters in this comic – Squee never thinks he’s better than other people, and he never seeks to harm them.  He does, however, learn that he can outsmart them, and becomes more willing to stand up for himself.

While Squee’s comic book ended on a dark note with his parents committing him to a poorly run insane asylum, there are a couple of silver linings to it.  First, the same issue showed that Johnny was in that same asylum, and saw Squee being taken in – so, should anything horrible actually happen to the kid, there’s a good chance his friendly serial killer neighbor could bail him out.  The second comes from Squee’s own creator – Todd’s gonna be fine.  He’s a good, intelligent kid who can overcome trauma and keep his compassion in tact.  And that’s a relief, frankly – Squee, more than any other character in these trio of comics, deserves a happy ending.

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ICHF: Devi D.

Devi D.

 

I normally try to make ICHFs work as stand-alones, for the sake of people who don’t read these things in order. However, the subject of this one, Devi D., really requires on a certain level of familiarity with the character whose comic she debuted in, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Devi isn’t a flat character – she’s fully realized in her own right, and you can understand her solo story well enough without having to know how she fit in Johnny’s. At the same time, both characters benefit when looked at side by side. Their stories are complimentary, and seeing them in contrast to each other enriches your understanding of them.

Devi first appeared in a comic where Johnny went on a date, which is a pretty notable event for a viciously antisocial character like Johnny. Yet in a way it kind of works. They’re both intelligent, they both share a somewhat justifiably low view of the exaggerated caricatures of human cruelty that inhabit their world, and they both have a morbid sense of humor. Hell, they’re both even artists, or at least Johnny was one before his creativity was redirected. Devi and Johnny had good chemistry, and for a brief moment there seems to be the potential for them both to help each other survive the world they live in – they could have kept each other healthy.

Sadly, there’s one big difference between Johnny and Devi: Johnny’s a serial killer whose delusions force him to find a reason to kill other people, regardless of whether they truly deserve it. In Devi’s case, Johnny ultimately convinces himself that while she hasn’t hurt him yet – and in fact has made him feel genuinely happy, a rare emotion for the murderer – she will obviously hurt him later down the line, or he will hurt her, and as such killing her now will “immortalize the moment” and prevent their relationship from going sour. In a different story, this would reach the obvious tragic end, with Johnny killing Devi and probably angsting about his monstrosity.

Instead, Devi kicks Johnny’s ass. She kicks his ass in a magnificent fashion. To call it an ass kicking is an understatement – as soon as Johnny whips out the knives, Devi beats him down so quickly and utterly that the otherwise formidable homicidal maniac can’t manage to land a single hit in retaliation. When Johnny lies unconscious in a pool of his own blood dealing with serious head trauma, Devi gets the fuck out of his house and earns the title fans of the comic have given her: “The One That Got Away.”

This moment was so noteworthy in the comic – it was the first time someone actually escaped Johnny’s attempted murder, and also the first time the titular maniac got his shit wrecked – that if Devi’s story ended there she would still be one of the most iconic characters in the series. Thankfully, that’s not the end of her tale. She went on to make sporadic appearances in later issues of the comic, allowing us to see her deal with the trauma of Johnny’s murder attempt and, when Johnny later tried to reconcile with her over the phone, delivered yet another brutal beatdown to the titular maniac – albeit a verbal one.

Then Devi got her own comic, a two issue mini series call I Feel Sick. In it, we learn more about Devi’s past, with Johnny simply being the last in a line of truly awful dates that the poor woman has had to endure (from her first date ending in a car crash, to one with a literal flesh-eating zombie, and one where the date in question shat his pants). We also see that Devi’s shut-in reaction to her encounter with Johnny has turned into full-on agoraphobia, both out of fear of having more horribly social interactions with people, romantic or otherwise, and out of a need to overcome her latest mental ailment: artist’s block.

Devi has recently undertaken a job as a cover illustrator for a publishing company, and as a result has had to divert a lot of her artistic energy to that task and away from her personal projects. As the comic goes on, the mental and emotional strain caused by her job for the company begins to weigh on her, as the head of the company keeps demanding arbitrary changes to the artwork for no apparent reason. Thus the job takes longer to finish, and thus Devi has less time to do something that actually exercises her artistic creativity. Since art is the only part of Devi’s life that she’s found to be a reliable source of satisfaction, this leaves her in a very fragile state of mind.

Especially since one of her unfinished personal art pieces has begun talking to her.

As Devi continues to cut herself off from the world, including her concerned friend Tenna, her painting of a little doll named Sickness taunts her over her lack of satisfying social relationships, and needles her about her need to work on the corporate job. In fact, Sickness seems to really want Devi to ignore her personal artwork altogether, and while the painting’s voice sounds like Devi’s own, Devi begins to wonder if it isn’t something else.

Which, as anyone who read Johnny the Homicidal Maniac could guess, it very much is. Sickness is in fact the beginning of Devi’s own “hungry wall” – the seed of the very same madness that turned Johnny from a frustrated, antisocial artist into a raving serial killer. Sickness even lets it slip that she and her “master” found Devi after her encounter with Johnny. In essence, Devi caught Johnny’s particular supernatural madness like a disease. Or, well, a Sickness.

One can see why they would choose Devi, too. Like Johnny, Devi is bitter, cynical, pessimistic, and judgmental when it comes to the vast majority of humanity and society in general. Like Johnny, she has a creative imagination, which the sickness uses to manifest itself. And like Johnny, Devi tends to isolate herself as a result of too many unpleasant encounters with other people. Given how easily Johnny was duped and used by the sickness in his own comic, Devi would seem like an ideal candidate.

But Devi D. is no-one’s tool. As Sickness can’t help but admit, Devi figured out what was happening way sooner than it expected, and while Devi has her flaws, she isn’t the kind of person who wants revenge on people who wronged her. Instead of letting the cruelty of others define her, Devi devotes herself to artistic endeavors – ones that allow her to explore worlds free from the unrestrained cruelty of her own reality.

Sickness tries to manifest a body for itself to force Devi to play ball, but the process is too early for her to do it properly, and as a result Devi overpowers her, plucks out the screws she uses for eyes, and tells Sickness that no one can control her, because Devi already has a master: her artwork. And just as Devi is willing to give up everything to make that art exist, so too will Sickness now be forced to submit to it – to give up her dreams of owning Devi, and instead do nothing more than play captive audience to what Devi creates.

Devi also quits her job with the publishing company, though that confrontation doesn’t end quite as epically as the one with the supernatural monster.

Though damaged, Devi refuses to let those who hurt her define her, and as a result she does not become a part of the cycle of cruelty. She defends herself when necessary, yes, and is willing to fight for her right to exist, but Devi doesn’t seek out people to destroy, and as a result she lives eventually lives a healthier life. Even as she gives up hope of finding romantic love, she still has her art, and her friend Tenna. The difference between Devi is the difference between self defense and premeditated murder – between recovering from trauma and letting it define you. Devi was a victim, but she never let herself turn into a villain. As a result, she walks free to a better life, where others spiral into self destructive mania. We could all learn a thing or two from Devi D.

Posted in Creepy Columns, Iconic Characters of Horror Fiction, Slasher Horror Characters, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment