Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Bad Monsters I Made Up in 2000.
I may as well look for more weird, old things I own that someone might find fun to see, and it just so happens I hold on to almost EVERYTHING I've ever put onto a computer, including even some of my all-time worst artwork...artwork I'd forgotten all about and buried for almost twenty years, except maybe some point at which I might have briefly rediscovered tham once before, showed a few on my tumblr, and forgotten them again, possibly for good reason.
See, as a teenager, my first and for a very long time only social experience - on or off the internet - was a single, private webforum populated mostly by people significantly older than me, who had the kind of sense of humor you could expect around the internet from the late 90's to the early 2000's, and teenage-me was obsessed with fitting in. These seemed like funny, cool adults and the measure of what I was "supposed" to be like right down to their "nothing is offensive and everything imaginable is funny" ideals, but no matter how hard I tried to act like them or join into conversations it seemed like all the loudest and more prolific members had aleady made up their mind that I was a weird, awkward, annoying, sometimes creepy autistic (*actually we now know it's ADHD) child whose entire life was just another source of comedy for them.
There was, in fact, only one single time I felt like I found the "approval" of almost every one of them, and that was when I tried drawing "custom monsters" for anyone who posted in the appropriate forum thread. I didn't really save the "everything is funny and nothing is offensive" kind of requests; if you've ever seen a meme that came out of some kind of anonymous image board you already know that that entails. Actual requests started to dwindle, anyway, as almost every regular poster wound up popping into the thread and just asking me to assign them whatever the heck I felt like coming up with, which I think may have been the first time it crossed my mind that maybe people actually might just like seeing things I draw for their own sake.
Looking at these now, it doesn't even feel like I'm evaluating my own art. It was two decades ago, practically like going through your own kindergarten homework, and I feel like, objectively, I can say that I think some of these hold up pretty well...but I guess we'll see what everyone else thinks.
First, we have this bloody ninja skeleton wielding a shovel. I apologize that these are very small. I actually barely knew how digital art worked at the time, so these were drawn with pencil and crayon on small index cards and scanned at pretty much 1:1 life-size resolution. I was also, admittedly, capable of drawing more seriously than this, but deliberately drew more kid-like because it felt kind of "safer" to draw something "intentionally bad" at the time than put my real effort out there for people that critical to gape at.
Anyway, I can remember thinking that a shovel as a weapon was extremely funny at the time, and here we are in in the late 2000's where a character named Shovel Knight even makes a guest appearance in Smash Brothers. I really missed the Shovel Character gravy train, huh.
I remember also thinking that bees and beekeepers were really funny, before there was ever any meme comedy about bees or even all the bee jokes on Invader Zim. The idea of a beekeeper as a horror villain seemed totally silly to me at the time and I remember also thinking the happy little bee faces would make it especially hilarious. Now I kind of think this idea could be taken more seriously by both myself and others, but I think it's possibly also been done already.
I think this one was still an actual request, but it was one of the wholesome ones. Someone wanted a monster that had something to do with bubble wrap, for whatever reason. So I made a bubble wrap ghost, but it's also pursued forever by undead hands. I kind of regret putting three hands in the image, because if there were only two, it would imply they might have been the ghost's own hands. Like maybe this form is their ironic curse because bubble wrap had something to do with how they died, or maybe just their darkest sins. Maybe they murdered somebody to get all their bubble wrap.
Every time I've shown anybody this one, including when I posted it, it took them a while to get. I feel like the joke is obvious, but it's just so stupid that maybe people don't want to get it right away. Their brain protects them from the disappointment.
I think some of these weren't necessarily requests or made up out of nowhere, but may have been based on people's convoluted usernames. Somebody had "welder" in their name, and that made me think of a monster that welds people together. I definitely had never heard of the comic book character "Dog Welder" who already does something like this, or I'd say this was another kind of viable horror idea to redevelop.
I guess this is the origin of the "YOU!" tombstone I put in some other, more recent stuff, not that it's terribly original anyway. I do know I called this monster TV Head and that the TV shows you "the most terrifying thing in the world." This was definitely also inspired by the look of Silent Hill creatures, and I kind of sincerely like it all over again.
Toilet Head, however, inspires significantly less dire reactions in its victims.
This appears to be a skinless man dressed as a turtle with gun-shaped balloons that really function. I have absolutely no idea if this is request, username-based, or an attempt at being "random," which is a concept I found as funny as every other young adult at the time.
Okay, yeah, some of these were definitely just me slapping silly things together and thinking that was, in itself, a joke. Here's a gill-man ripping the heart out of a zombie the way a bully might just play keepaway with a littler kid, but the gill man's head is an entire train for no reason. The train also appears to be transporting bananas, but it's also bringing monkeys in a car of their own. That actually did just make me laugh.
I definitely remember a "sea monster" was requested so I made what I think I called a "knifes kraken."
I'm sure somebody's username was a drug joke this time. I still had a very loose understanding of what drugs were that came mostly from cartoons. This is another monster concept I think could work if it were redesigned with care.
This little dude appears to exist entirely to wield a pair of Chainsaw Chucks, a concept I'm sure has been done many times since by that Chuck Norris Riding a Dinosaur kind of comedy. You know what I mean, right? It's not the same as the "lol random" humor of the same era. It's like it, kind of, but what it always slaps together are kind of generically "badass" things. I was definitely trying my hand at that around this time, but I don't think I really grasped what was supposed to make something edgy.
I know exactly what this one was supposed to be. It's a "personal space invader."
This one, I don't know, but it looks like I just threw in a legitimate attempt to design a monster I thought was really rad. This was long before I came up with the "Mortasheen" setting, but there's a clear glimmer of it here.
This one's filename calls it "homonculi," so I guess the big one is a homunculus of body fluids and meat and stuff and it's directed around by the one that's just a hand and an eye. I think this is the only one of these with dialog, too.
This looks like it's just an attempt at another kind of "cool" one. I'm glad my concept of a chef monster has since evolved into something significantly dumber.
This is...a giant undead monkey with a pencil sharpener stuck to its head, which it puts people in. Why did we all think monkeys were _SO_ funny back then? Just monkeys existing at all?!
I don't know what this little blue devil is about, but it's a cute design I think.
I feel like this one is kind of self-explanatory.
This looks to be a vampire lobster, but the crab seems to be their "Igor" or "Renfield" style sidekick.
More "lolrandom" here. A ghoul with a sack on its head rides a zombie hippo around, which you wouldn't expect to be particularly fast, but is in fact apparently fast enough to easily lop heads off with the force of its own momentum.
I know this one was a direct request...but why did everybody think pimps were so hilarious? Why does mainstream media STILL seem to think so? Are people really that easily charmed by goofy clothes? The only good detail here might be the skeleton fish inside the platform shoes. Did you know that live goldfish in platform shoes were actually a thing? That's pretty horrifying too honestly.
This was a request for my interpretation of Bloody Mary, which isn't especially creative; it's a literal illustration of one version of the legend, in which Mary carries around a dead infant, presumably her own, and will hand it to you through the mirror you summoned her to.
...But then it seems I illustrated a relatively useless "Scary Marty," and I'm not sure if that's supposed to be Bloody Mary in the background when her design seems a bit different. I like the "Horrid Eye Chips." Actually...have I used that again somewhere? I feel like I subconsciously did.
Another "cool one" I guess. It looks like this guy floats around and has shotguns for arms. Umbrella Corporation is running out of ideas.
This was a request for a mermaid so I did a piranha-maid. Making mermaids out of all sorts of other fish is a trend that really only caught on more recently with the mainstream, and I'm glad, because it's a heck of a lot of fun. Real piranhas, of course, aren't that dangerous, but I think a piranhamaid really would go out of its way to attack humans and skeletonize cows and all that horror stuff. We already expect non-piranha mermaids to do it too, don't we?b
I think with this one I was trying to be simultaneously funny and actually disturbing. The fact that the little person is trying to get away and crying while half-eaten is actually really unpleasant and effective to me now, and the fact that they're being eaten by something this asinine kind of only makes it more grotesque, rather than lighter in tone. A death not only this weird, but humiliatingly preposterous feels kind of more frightening than if this was just some slasher guy or a werewolf.
I guess I tried to continue that trend with this big pink mutant baby creature whose stomach is a garbage disposal. It looks like I wanted to illustrate that its eyes were artificial and has poorly painted pupils, too. I think if I were designing this now, I wouldn't give it a mouth on the head.
Wow, was I just venting something as these went along? This is brutal, and like the flesh-eating Groucho Glasses the "silliness" of the monsters only kind of makes it worse. The filename calls these creatures "SPHINKS," I suppose because they look like horrible sphincter creatures. It would seem that they're aliens of some kind, and have abducted this guy for experiments, but the main joke is that instead of delicate high-tech surgery they just smashed him up with a hammer and are nonetheless fascinated and surprised by the results.
I guess this one is actually pretty funny.
This is the last one to show, and I don't remember the thought that really went into it, but I know I was aiming just for creepy here, and it does appear that this thing sneaks into bedrooms at night to add body parts to its victims.
That's actually kind of legit frightening, isn't it? It's not just me? Does it count as having an ego if I say good things about something drawn by a totally different me almost two decades ago? Something I don't even lucidly remember making? I like this one. In fact, I like a number of these now, enough that I kind of want to do something new sometime with a few of them.
MORE HALLOWEEN FEATURES: