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Lovecraftian Little Mermaid

Notes to artist:


1.  The merfolk must be fluid and loose.  There are no harsh lines or stiff poses among them.  Like fish, they are always moving.  This openess of motion needs to show in the drawings.

2.  These are not supermodels.  They can be beautiful without being exaggerated.  See Mike Mignola's drawings for examples of interesting without being Top Cow clones.

3.   Their city, while glimpsed only partially, is much like a giant coral reef.  You can research coral reefs to the variety of species living there, and the organic nature of a coral colony.  This is an alien civilization (meaning different than human), in a living city - complete with caverns, bioluminescence, and wraparound food farms.

4.  The merfolk have small teeth like fish.  When they attack, they dart in like fish and bite.  When the hero fights back with her arms upon her return to the city, she defeats her enemies easily because fighting with the arms is just not done.  The only fighters are the warriors and they fight with a thrusting trident.  Slashing is a very ineffective movement under water.

5.  The place of the ancients can be as alien as you want to make it.  Arches and carvings, statues, and blocks of cyclopean architecture joined together in very irregular ways.  It must look alien, yet cold and bleak - the ruins of a once powerful civilization.

6.  Mother Hydra takes her reference from the Hydra (the marine animal, not the many-headed dragon).  It is a stalk with tentacles on top.  Stylize this, throw on some eyes, some mouths and make it disturbingly alien.  She can either be a living statue or a life form in stasis.

7.  Merfolk should be slightly more stylized than just humans with fish tails.  Their tails are actually shaped like a dolphin or whale tail.  But the merfolk are scaly like fish.  They wear scale-type armor/clothing to cover their vulnerable torso.

8.  Their hair is an organ that filters oxygen.  External gills, so it should look different than human hair.  Perhaps research gill structure and fish anatomy.  I want these merfolk to be recognizable as such, but I also want them to stand out as different.  Maybe the concept art can go in the back of the Trade Paperback.

9.  The lionfish mermaid design is the most important of any of the designs.  She must be stunningly beautiful. Her new fins/spines must be very beautiful, but not immediately identifiable as deadly.  I see fins/spines on her elbows trailing behind her, and fins running down her back.  Probably a ring of fins around her waist, where the skin connects to the scales.

10. Maybe it's silly, but keep the navels on the merfolk.  Yes, they need their bellybuttons.  I'm sure merfolk give live birth (rather than hatching) so an umbilical cord must attach somewhere.

      The navel will give a good subconscious measurement of the body to the reader.  When the mermaid is at rest, and her hair trails out, the hair should be approximately the same length of the tail (ie.  from the outstretched tip of the hair to the tip of the tail will be equally divided at the bellybutton.  This will give a balanced proportion.)




Page 1 - Five panels.

                This page establishes the doomed love in this undersea world.


Panel 1 - Long shot.  Prince gives a token of love to the mermaid.

Panel 2 - Same long shot.  Minus prince.  Bubbles show quick movement off panel.

      Dialogue 1 (off panel) - THERE SHE IS!

Panel 3 - Four angry mermaids bare their small fish-like teeth at hero. 


      Dialogue 3 - RIP HER RAGGED.

Panel 4 - The mermaid gang darts in like angry fish and bites gouges out of her.

Panel 5 - Long shot.  Coral City.  Hero swims away, trailing blood streams behind her.


Page 2 - Four panels

                This page shows the plea to Mother Hydra, the Place of the Ancients, and the crucial choice the hero makes for love.

Panel 1 - Long shot.  The Place of the Ancients.  Vast cyclopean arches, alien statues, and huge monolithic stones are all that remain of this once great civilization.  A huge statue of Mother Hydra stands to the left of the panel.


Panel 2 - The great statue of Mother Hydra opens one eye.

      Dialogue 1 (Mother Hydra) - SMALL THING,  YOU WISH TO DESTROY.

      Dialogue 2 (hero) - They destroyed me.  I want them to hurt.  I want all of them to feel the terror and pain that I feel.


Panel 3 - A lionfish swims from a tentacle in Mother Hydra.

      Dialogue 3  (Mother Hydra) - EAT.




Panel 4 - Hero grabs the lionfish.  The spines pierce her hands as she takes a big bite of the poison fish.

      Dialogue 6 (hero) - I MUST OBEY.


Page 3 - Five Panels

                This page shows the change in (hero) as she transforms into a new creature.


Panel 1 - Her body is racked with pain as the change begins.  Eldritch energies rip through her as the magic takes effect.


Panel 2 - Close Up on her face.  Her eyes burn with intensity.

      Caption 1 - IT IS TIME.


Panel 3 - This newly formed Lionfish Mermaid sets her sights on the distant Coral City.


Panel 4 - Finds the Prince.  Surrounded by her rivals.

      Dialogue 1 (hero) - ...

      Caption 2 - My voice.


Panel 5 - Rival mermaids attack.  They are stabbed with the spines.  Their screams rip through the ocean.


Page 5 - Five panels.


Panel 1- Beautiful lionfish mermaid is surrounded by fallen rivals.  The Prince smiles.

      Dialogue 1 (prince) - Who are you? Tell me your name, I beg you.

      Dialogue 2 (hero) - ...


Panel 2 - Prince takes her by the hand.  They swim through to a hanging garden.

      Dialogue 3 (prince) - I swear, by all the oceans's power, you will be my bride.


Panel 3 - Prince lifts hero's chin up to look him in the eye.

      Dialogue 3 (prince) - This ruby throat.  It looks familiar ...

      Dialogue 4 (cont'd) - NAME!!  My love.  Let me hold you -


Panel 4 - Close up on Prince's face.  Shocked horror.


Panel 5 - Prince's pierced body falls to the bottom.

      Dialogue 5 (hero) - (blank horror screaming)


Page 6 - Four panels.

Panel 1 - Long shot. Coral City.  Lionfish Mermaid flees.


Panel 2 - Place of the Ancients.  The statue of Mother Hydra stares, unblinking, as it has for aeons.

      Caption 1- You betrayed me.  You knew what would happen.  You knew vengeance would kill him.  You knew. And still you bade me eat.

      Caption 2 - I hate you.


Panel 3 - She swims upward toward the lighted surface.

      Caption 3 - An eye for an eye.


Panel 4 - Majestically breaking the surface.  Water arcs outward from her flinging hair.  An outcropping of rock juts out nearby.

      Caption 4 - A life for a life.

Caption 5 - Sailors tell of a passing ship that saw the maid, grotesque and bloated from countless hours in the searing heat.  Stories became folk legends.  Legends became fact. 


Panel 5 - Overhead shot.  Lionfish mermaid gasps in silent scream as her gills dry out and her sensitive skin bakes in the scorching sun.

      Caption 6 - The legends below tell of a maiden who swore vengeance on the gods.  Venom was her fate.  Wretched was her name.  Forgotten is her face.

      Caption 7 - Everlasting death is her fate.


Panel 6 - The waves lap the shore.