Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why (the Hell) Etrigan?

I happen to be a HUGE fan of Jack Kirby (who ISN'T a fan of the King?), but specifically, I think his true genius was in the work he did for DC in the 1970's.  Not only did he give us Darkseid and the NEW GODS saga, he told dystopian parallel tales in both O.M.A.C. and KAMANDI...and then he gave us a little taste of Hell...

Etrigan is the son of Belial, and thus a demon prince.  To forstall the fall of Camelot, Merlin (Etrigan's half-brother!) bound him to a "cage of meat", Jason Blood.  With the Demon inside of him, Blood is effectively immortal, and uses Etrigan's knowledge to his benefit as an occult archaeologist, and usually working on the side of angels, keeping evil effectively in check.  As Merlin's sibling, Etrigan has knowledge of magic; when pushed, he can breathe dragon-like jets of hellfire on his foes.  And in all of humanity, he hates his "cage" the most, and likes to psychologically keep him off-kilter.

What makes Etrigan a challenge to write is that when Etrigan was "promoted" in the infernal heirarchy, he became a "rhymer".  The more complicated the rhyming, it is assumed, the greater the influence a demon has in the underworld.  When your poets consist of the likes of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, Garth Ennis, et al, we can assume his ranking is high indeed.

Even when Blood lets the Demon take over, it's in verse:
Yarva Demonicus Etrigan.
Change, change the form of man.
Free the prince forever damned.
Free the might from fleshy mire.
Boil the blood in heart of fire.
Gone, gone the form of man,
Arise the demon - Etrigan!

          (usually only the last two lines are necessary for the change)

Today, Paul Cornell chronicles the adventures of Etrigan in the excellent Demon Knights of the New 52, taking the character back to his Camelot roots, but he also has been known to pal around with Batman, Swamp Thing, Lobo...or whoever he feels like giving hell...

So, my scriveners, weave your pages
In verse and poems or popular tunes
As Etrigan fights evil with evil through the ages
And within our humble Thought-Balloons.

          ..."the American Zombie"
Self-Portrait, as the Demon ETRIGAN


  1. I'm just gonna leave this here for anyone who needs it this week...

  2. Oh man, I just finished mine, and I really could have used this.

  3. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how often I used that site on a regular basis...

  4. okay, here is my first ever submission. hope people enjoy it. :)

    ETRIGAN in “Lighter Trouble” or “Nicotine Fit”

    Panel 1 – a horizontal establishing shot of Jason Blood sitting on a balcony patio overlooking the city. This panel bleeds off the upper third of the page. It’s a nice night out and he has an unlit cigarette hanging in his mouth.

    Panels 2 – 5 are smaller and sit side by side in a sequential row

    Panel 2 – a closer shot of Blood making a frustrated face as his lighter fails.
    SFX – flik flik flik

    Panel 3 – Blood opens a book of matches, with only one match left.

    Panel 4 – medium shot of Blood bringing the match close to his cigarette to light it

    Panel 5 – same shot as panel 4, except the match burns out and the cigarette is unlit.

    1 Jason Blood: DAMN IT.

    Panels 6 – 7 are two medium shots that, side by side, take up the lower third of the page.

    Panel 6 – Blood is clearly tired of this and just wants his damn cigarette lit.

    1 Jason Blood: GONE, GONE, THE FORM OF MAN –
    2 Jason Blood: --RISE, THE DEOMN EETRIGAN!!!!

    Panel 7 – a large horizontal along the bottom of the page. Blood has transformed into the demon Etrigan and lights his cigarette using a small burst of hellfire from his fingertip.

    1. and because i am awesome at editing, i just now noticed that the final word balloon says "deomn" instead of demon. but really, it's "--RISE THE DEMON ETRIGAN!!!"

      hooray for post-editing after it's been posted (post-post-editing)!!! :)

    2. Very fun page. I like how you build up his frustration.

    3. Nice page to open with Hans. You captured a very human moment in a character who has an actual demon in him, which is hard to do, nicely done.

    4. etrigan's follow up line:
      "if i can't get this cigarette lit
      i fear i shall have a nicotine fit!"

    5. I like your piece. It really plays into Jason's character very well.

    6. Oh, and welcome, first-timer! Thanx for your script!

    7. Welcome aboard, Hans! If this is your usual fare, I hope that you stick around and keep posting, because this was a ton of fun. I think it's the best use of Etrigan's hellfire I've ever encountered.

    8. Hey Hans, glad you posted in the end!

      Great first effort that builds nicely to a solid last panel.

      Keep 'em coming!

  5. Hi Guys,

    Another firt time person here.

    Here is my one page script for Etirgan.



    PANEL 1

    A winters night in GOTHAM CITY and there has been a heavy snow, JASON BLOOD, wrapped with in a trench coat and scarf, walks down an empty ally way alone, not even his shadow to keep him company, he leaves footprints as he goes.

    CAPTION- Many have asked what occurs,
    when one is here and the other defers.

    PANEL 2

    CUT TO- HELL, inside a red stone chamber where ETRIGAN is sitting on a throne of charred bone with a chalice in hand. The DEMONS THREE crouch around staring at the flames that are at the forefront of the panel and watching the horror that is occurring off panel. ETRIGAN is also watching and he is smiling.

    CAPTION- The Demon himself goes to the land of rot,
    where tortured souls burn with flame that is hot,
    and the demon smiles at the damned and the lost,
    wishing he never be uprooted from his spot.

    PANEL 3

    CUT TO- HEAVEN, outside the pearly gates which lead to the SILVER CITY. JASON BLOOD stands there in a white suit, awaiting entry along with a few others dressed the same. Despite being denied entry, they all seem content just to bask in the presence of the kingdom before them.

    CAPTION- I myself go to the heavens for awhile,
    feeling the warmth of the Silver City which the Demon reviles.
    I pray to the Lord each time to let me stay,
    but He shows no mercy to those who stray.

    PANEL 4

    CUT TO- JASON BLOOD and ETRIGAN are stood in the centre as one being, half way through a transformation into either one or the other. The faces of their greatest enemies surround them in the void; KLARION THE WITCH BOY, MORGAINE LE FEY, NERON and FELIX FAUST.

    CAPTION- So the Demon and I,
    our joy subsides,
    as we are both called back to the world from time to time,
    to fight evil forces and prevent their horrible crimes.

    PANEL 5

    CUT TO- A top of castle battlements, JASON BLOOD is wearing ETRIGAN'S Armour, a flaming sword in both hands raised above his head ready to strike down atop of ETRIGAN, who is naked and crouched like a feral animal, his claws ready to slash across JASON BLOOD'S face, fire spitting out from his mouth. It is their final battle.

    CAPTION- We both know that one day it will all end in tears,
    our conflict finally ending after years and years,
    but I would like to think it's a day that we both do fear.

    PANEL 6

    CUT TO- JASON BLOOD, walking further still in the same ally that was in PANEL 1, but now you can see his shadow behind him in the shape of ETRIGAN.

    CAPTION- There is one thing we agree on though,
    that when all is said and all is told,
    that only on Earth are we ever cold.

    1. very nice. i like the juxtaposition between blood and etrigan. i also like how it's laid out so it seems a whole history as well as speculation of what could come is expressed in six panels. my only exception is very minor, but it might also be a revelation as to my ignorance of the character: i think etrigan is the one who rhymes, not jason blood. i felt like this was narrated from jason blood's perspective but in etrigan's voice. then again, a reader could assume this is just more to do with the duality between the two characters. i liked this submission a lot and that is my only minor complaint. :)

    2. Nice to have you on board Callum. Really detailed and complex narrative for one page yet it works and flows very nicely.

      I can see Hans point about the rhyming captions but I liked the fact it was an Etrigan feature bleeding over into Bloods personality.

    3. Welcome, Mr. Ford! This is a great one-page intro to the character. I really enjoyed seeing where Blood goes when he's not in charge, and the last line sums up everything in a nice tight package. Nicely done.

    4. I like this a lot, Callum. It's a dense script, but I think it would work well as a single page. I echo Shaun on using rhyming, as it is a nice bleed over from Etrigan to Jason. Also: that last line is golden. Really puts the cherry on top of this one.

    5. Wow, thanks for the great feedback guys. Means a lot!

    6. Another solid first effort this week.

      I liked the page. It has a good solid germ of an idea at its core and builds on it effectively.

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