No Sympathies: Moloch Picture

"Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

"Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

"Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!

"Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!

"Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities!

"Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!"

~ Alan Ginsberg, Howl

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Moloch is one of my favorite demon names. It just rolls off the tongue in a perfectly villainous way - the kind of name you could howl with rage. It's right up there with Beelzebub and Asmodeus in my list of just excellent demon names.

Moloch is also one of the most famous demons in folklore and literature. He's particularly notorious for being an exceptionally violent, brutal demon. Milton definitely agrees with this, as he describes Moloch as being smeared in the blood of human sacrifice before he became a fallen angel - which is quite a feat since humans don't even exist yet at that point in the poem (though time is a tricky thing in Paradise Lost. Seriously, people have written essays about how that poem plays with perception.).

Moloch's brutality is also used to criticize the modern world in Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl, which is so long that I felt like italicizing it instead of just putting it in quotes like you normally do with poems. It's one of the best examples of a person juxtaposing the old horror of myths with modern horrors like industrialization and consumerism.

Moloch also suffers from an odd quirk of mythology that occurs in a lot of monsters. For some reason people in the middle ages thought that dudes with cow heads were really scary. I mean, this must have terrified the hell out of them, because there are a gazillion cow headed monsters out there. I guess since it was a more pastoral world back then they often had to deal with the reality that a cow is a big animal that, while tasty, can also gore the crap out of you, which might explain it. Hell, I'm terrified of cars for similar reasons, although I wouldn't find a car-headed demon any more scary than a cow headed one.

Still, there is an inherent strength to a cow's head shape, and with a little modifying you can make it scary. I tried to do that with my take on old Moloch, whose design is meant to look just absolutely brutal and terrifying in every way. Both my Moloch and my Abaddon are different takes on a theme of overwhelming violence - Abaddon is burning, violent rage, so everything about him seems to just explode out, from his wicked fangs to his long tail that is constantly thrashing to his horrid talons. Moloch, on the other hand, is a calmer, cooler kind of brutality that is still no less relentless or overwhelming than Abaddon. So like Abaddon he's all muscle, but unlike Abaddon he carries it with more determination and precision than raw, seething fury.

I'm not sure how well it turned out in the final designs, but I'm pretty satisfied with how both brutes turned out.

I had a somewhat tough time figuring out where to place Moloch in my hierarchy of Hell. Folklore states he should always have a high place - Moloch is a big name demon - but which prince should he serve? His violent nature would lean toward Abaddon, but Milton portrayed him as being pretty chummy with Lucifer. I thought it'd be interesting to have some of the Princes' servants seem like they enjoy different vices a bit more than their masters - fleshing out the different layers and whatnot. So Moloch is sort of the Soundwave to my Lucifer's Megatron - a villain that's very different in personality compared to his master, but still loyal to him nonetheless.

Plus I imagine Abaddon constantly tries to tempt Moloch into defecting to his side, only to constantly be disappointed - and pissed - by the lesser demon's staunch refusal. It'd add some nice drama to Hell.
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