Friday 24 May 2013

Jem & the Harlequins

Harlequins Exhibit A. (by Sharon Knettell)
The Harlequins are highly accomplished warriors and each Trouper, as their warriors are called, can be considered almost a one-man army in melee combat. They are already graceful and lithe from their lifestyle and dances and Harlequin augment their prowess with so-called "Flip-Belts" that generate a small anti-gravitic field around them and allow them to leap unnaturally high. They also make use of Eldar Holo-fields and a technology known as "Masks of Fear." They also wear holo-suits sophisticated substitutes for armour that also aid theatrical performance. Whenever the Harlequin moves, their image is shattered into a holographically-projected cloud of crystal shards that dance and swirl around with vigour proportional to the speed that the Harlequin is moving.
Space Elf Harlequin Troupe. Exhibit B.
 (by Sharon Knettell)
Jem and the Holograms Figures Exhibit C.
Jem and the Holograms is the name of Jerrica Benton's music band. They are signed under Starlight Music, which is also owned and run by Jerrica. The band derives its name from the main concept of the show, which are the holographic images projected from Synergy, a supercomputer built by Jerrica's father, via her earrings. These earrings have remote micro-projectors in them, allowing Jerrica to assume the persona of her alter ego, Jem. She can also project images around her, which she uses in many cases as a distraction if her cover is about to be blown or to protect herself and her friends from danger.

Eldar Harlequin High Warlock 'Synergy' Exhibit D.
 (by Sharon Knettell)

The Mask of Fear is a small holographic device worn like a mask. It projects daemonic visages and scenes of death onto the mask and has a short-range psychic amplifier which increases enemies' sensitivity to fear and despair.

Jem and the Holograms figures  Exhibit E.

The Song of Jem

Jem (Jem is excitement) oh
Jem (Jem is adventure) oh
Glamour and glitter
Fashion and fame

Jem (Jem is truly outrageous)
(Truly, truly, truly outrageous)
Oh whoa Jem (Jem)
The music contagious (outrageous)

Jem is my name
No one else is the same
Jem is my name

But we're the Misfits
Our songs are better
We are the Misfits, the Misfits
And we're gonna get her

Jem (Jem is truly outrageous)
(truly, truly, truly outrageous)
Oh whoa Jem (Jem)
The music contagious (outrageous)

Jem is my name

No one else is the same
Jem is my name

The Eldar Harlequin are followers of the strange Eldar God called Cegorach, the Laughing God, one of the only two Eldar Gods to survive the Fall and consumption by Slaanesh. Harlequins are warrior troubadours whose carefully constructed masques and impressive displays of mime and acrobatics tell the many strange stories of Eldar Mythology. They wear exotic multicolored costumes, brightly patterned to represent figures from the Eldar myth cycles. The groups will wander through the Webway, visiting Craftworlds and other Eldar strongholds in order to re-enact stories from the ancient mythic cycles through song and dance. These strange performances are highly symbolic and are considered an important event for the Eldar.

Jem and the Holograms Exhibit X

All text taken from various fan wikis of the 40k and Jem universes. The inevitable conclusion (?) follows:

In the glitter and glam of the 41st Millenium, there is only Jem.

In  episode S2E21 - Renaissance Woman of Jem and the Harlequins, the Eldar troupe arrive on a backwards human planet (Mirr-E NGL-4N-Delta) where the Imperial Govenor is ruthlessly exploiting the citizenry. Not wishing to destroy the frail human minds in some kind of apocalypic Bowiesque Starman incident, the Harlequins forgo an all out assault with their sassy Shuriken Pistols and crucial Keytars but instead take a slightly more subtle, almost diplomatic approach in a totally glamorous array of mock-renaisance period costume in an outrageous pallette of neon pastels.

via Prancetron

Jem and the Holograms[ (c) 1985-1988 Hasbro, Marvel Productions and Sunbow Productions, created by Christy Marx 
Eldar Harlequins (c) 1988-2013 Games Workshop, created by Jeremy Goodwin.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Trolldawn II: The Regeneration

Last time, as you may remember we traced the origin of the contemporary Troll from Poul Andersons Three Hearts and Three Lions, to an obscure 1950s comic strip Marching Zombies, (which I'd picked up in The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics ) originally published in Black Cat Mysteries #31  Intrigued by the possibilities that the origins other D&D creatures might be lurking in such publications I hunted high and low through myriad old comics archives online, and discovered this...


Yes, it's a strange mutant creature with the power to regenerate from a comic strip called "The Last Man on Earth", which appeared in Black Cat Mysteries #31 published in October 1951 - the exact same issue that gave the world Marching Zombies.

Regeneration, is of course one of the basic features of contemporary gaming Troll not found in folkoric records. So it's not just the appearance, bur also  the regenerative ability of Porl Andersons Trolls that migrated into D&D, (and from there into Warhammer and elsewhere into popular culture) both appear in the exact same publication. It would be too much of a coincidence.

Like Marching Zombies the tale of  The Last Man on Earth is quite an odd story, and it goes something like this:

In 1950s America, people are getting infected and mutating into Trolls and killing people, who are then resurrected as Trolls, perhaps foreshadowing the Bath Salt Zombie plague of 2012. One of these regenerating beasts is captured and experimented on, but eventually escapes, the Troll-disease spreads and it  eventually takes over the whole human race. The last surviving human discovers a way to kill the Trolls (apparently gas, not fire, does the trick here) but unfortunately he has contracted the Troll-disease himself. Nonetheless, he then time-travels back to 1950s America in an attempt to stop the first Trolls, but as he is carrying the disease, he inadvertently causes the genesis of the Trolls in the first place, in exactly the kind of troll-zombie disease paradox one expects as soon as the worlds time-travel and disease are mentioned in the same story. Infact, just how this guy manages to invent and build a time machine entirely on his own in a post-Trollapocalypse world is beyond me, but anyway.

Moral of the story? try to invent time travel before you contract Trollism and destroy humanity.

And here's a colour frame from Marching Zombies, which shows off their sickly greyish green hue:

by The Fire of Kalu

Now if I can only find some special reference linking the destruction of trolls by fire, then the circle would be complete, and we'd finally have completed the mystery of where the non-folkloric fantasy troll really originated...

Friday 3 May 2013

Meridian Miniatures

Miniatures sculptor Andrew May approached me for some graphic work for his up and coming range of Victorian Science Fiction / Steampunk miniatures. Images below:

Meridian Miniatures | Logotype

Meridian Miniatures | Monogram

The concept was to evoke steampunk very clearly, Victoriana typeface / lettering, lots of obligatory cogs and finished it off with a letter-press block-print effect on antique paper (the paper texture is the back of an antique Fighting Fantasy Quest Pack character sheet )

Anyway, here's some of Andrews models for the Meridian range:

Standard Bearer | Drummer | Meridian Miniatures

Captains | Meridian Miniatures

Heads | Meridian Miniatures

heads | Meridian Miniatures

heads | Meridian Miniatures

Heavy Weapons | Meridian
Greatcoat bodies | Meridian

You can see the logos and the minis on Meridian Miniatures Facebook page.

Now if that's not got you wanting to dust off Rogue Trader and build an Imperial Guard expeditionary force...

and Andrew launching his venture with a Kickstarter here.