Orctober is a month long celebration of Orcdom across the whole of the internet, instigated by Orcmiester of ceremonies, Erny.
Last year I wrote up something about Tolkiens origins of the Orc, inspired by Beowulf, and some speculation on where the Beowulf author may have got their idea from and what it might have meant to an Anglosaxon. And a look at where the the boar-riding aspect might have come from, probably originating with the Tusk Riders from Runequest via Citadel Miniatures (Orcs are Uz)
And previously I'd written on the pig faced goons in sleeping beauty, which was something of a speculative musing on Gary Gygax's pig-faced orcish development.
Prompted by Matthew Sullivans excellent short history of the development of the Orc over on Oldenhammer taking Tolkiens description through miniature designs from Jes Goodwin at Asgard to the Perrys at Citadel, and the development of the strong, jutting lower jaw in their Fantasy Tribe Orc miniatures (which still dominates the Warcrafthammer Ork of today) - which in comments I referenced to Frazetta's 1965 Lord of the Rings artwork.
|Frank Frazetta | Orcs|
Which prompted Matthew to mention Hildebrandts excellent Pig Faced Orcs from the 1976 Tolkien Calendar, as a possible starter for the Pig Faced variety (the AD&D Monster Manual, whence the Pig Faced Orc entered gaming, being published in 1977)
|Snouty Piggy faced Orc Things|
|Hidlebrand Orcs - Tolkien Calendar 1976|
Now, I love that painting, but hadn't looked at it for quite some time. And it reminded me of something.
|Frith / Henson | King Ploobis | 1975|
|King Ploobis / Michael Frith|
|King Ploobis Ancestor | Michael Frith|
|at work on the Ploobis puppet|
|Hey! Future phoning my descendants...|
|Hey King Ploobis, got any cats?|
King Ploobis, from The Land of Gorch. a puppet based sketch section appearing in 1975 on the long-running American comedy show "Saturday Night Live" and led by Jim Henson. Now, I've speculated that the origins of the Fimir are, in part, owed to Skred from The Land of Gorch (by way of Froud / Alan Lee) and briefly speculated that Pig Faced Orc might owe, in part, its design to King Ploobis.
|Sutherlands Pig Face Orcs|
Purely visually, the key similarities shared by Ploobis, Hildebrant and Sutherland and are the motif of the forward facing nostrils, the long, wrinkled or ridged nazal bone area (much more exaggerated than a rel pig, which is only ridged at the snout end) and prominent lower jaw tusks, and thin, droopy lower jaw with slightly sagging lower lip.
Listening to an interview with Tim Kask - an important contributor to early Dungeons & Dragons, when out of the blue he mentions he had been influenced by Saturday Night Lives "Land Shark" skit when inventing the Bullette (based on a plastic toy) and alarm bells went off. The Land Shark appeared 3 times in series 1, which is when the Land of Gorch was broadcast. So I asked Tim whether he remembered The Land of Gorch, and yes he did (in fact saying he'd recently added an NPC to an adventure based on one of the old muppets). So certainly Tim was aware of Gorch, and perhaps it was part of the wider milleu that TSR was part of back in the day.
Were the Hildebrandts, or Dave Sutherland also tuning in on a Saturday night, and picking up some muppet vibes who knows? but it looks likely to me.
From the AD&D Monster Manual, the Pig Faced Orc inspired a lovely range of simple (some may say crude) miniature figures from Minifigs, released the 1970s
|Minfig Pig Faced Orc!|
|D&D Cartoon Orcs 1983 - 1985|
|You could actually buy these. In shops. No. Really. For Money.|
Then, we lived in a pig-faced orcless wilderness, until from 2008 onwards there are Otherworlds Pig Faced Orcs scultped by Kevin Adams (currently 20% off with the code 8THBIRTHDAY at the checkout)
|Otherworld Pig Faced Orc Boar Rider 1|
|Otherworld Pig Faced Orc Command Set|
|Otherworld Pig Faced Orcs 2|
These are fantastic figures, and to be frank, other than coming across an old copy of the PHB one of the main things that got me back into gaming after a 20ish year hiatus.
Then there are Spooktalkers absolutely sublime renditions of Pig Faced Orcs in 2014, based on Grenadier models, with snouts attached.
|Spooktalkers Pig Faced Orcs|
More can be seen in his blogpost: The Orcs that Never Were and well worth a look.
Anyway Otheerworlds figures, and poking around in my attick uncovering some old Warhammer stuff, led to an attempt at a Warhammer 1st Edition "Forces of Fantasy" style PFO army list, way back in the mists of time...
|Pig Faced Orc Army List (PDF)|
Reinventing an old D&D character, an Orc Cleric. Orcs are a player character option, play exactly as half-orcs but look like:
|Grushna the Founding|
And more recently, these two Pig Faced Orcs battling a Slime Eater beneath the Cityport of Kharé, for Otherworlds forthcoming Skirmish game.
|Orcs vs. Otyugh|