Monday, 2 May 2016

MIVC602: Mythology and Folklore

Once I had an idea of what to do for my comic, I started researching the concept of death in mythology and folklore, as well as spirits, gods and other magical beings associated with it. I became most interested in 'wights', which in recent years have come to be seen as undead or wraith-like beings in the fantasy genre. However, in Norse mythology, the landvaettir or 'land wights' sometimes refers to guardian spirits of sacred places. I combined both these versions to create the wights of my story, the warped dead spirits that now guard Purgatory.

The Ankou of Breton/Cornish mythology would form the basis of my character the Black Owl. The Ankou was a grim reaper that was a dead spirit himself, who wore a large hat to hide his face and whose cry was called 'Labous an Ankou' (the Death Bird).

As I began to shape the character design of the Black Owl, I also looked at the plague doctors for their similar design. Although 'doctors', their uniform was rather sinister, echoing the Grim Reaper itself, and was unlikely to be a reassuring sight to anyone unfortunate enough to be infected with the plague.

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