Tricksters: Biophage-Biophile Picture

The fourth god (and second goddess) of my fantasy story in progress, Tricksters. Biophage/Biophile began as the fourth spirit (and thus second youngest). She loved all aspects of creation at the time - the void, matter, and light - but wanted to contribute to it herself. So, asking Atlomat politely, she began to create her own work on some of the planets. Eventually she made the first lifeforms, and thus became the Goddess of Life. Her avatar changed as the lifeforms changed (which was caused by the God of Death, Thanosloki), until eventually she settled with two: a seagoing, ravenous form called Biophage, and a more maternal land form named Biophile.

As she was originally made for a contest and not for this series, the following notes about her creation is far more in depth than those of the other gods (because I felt a bigger need to explain my reasoning):

Since Clash of the Titans, How To Train Your Dragon, and the news of a new Godzilla movie (sour though it may be because it's going to be American) have put me in a kaiju AND mythology mood, I decided to finally finish my half baked idea for Deadpoolrus's Avatar of Life Kaiju contest: [link]

For those who are unaware, the point of the contest is to make a kaiju that embodies the incredibly complex concept that is, well, life. And holy shit is that a daunting task. I mean, what a challenge. It may not seem like it, since we're all living creatures to whom life comes relatively easily, but the idea of "life" involves so many complex systems working together no matter what way you look at it - scientifically, psychologically, philosophically, etc. Making one kaiju that embodies ALL of it is just damn near impossible.

But fuck it, I was gonna try anyway. I don't back down from a monster contest unless I really, really, REALLY can't think of anything that works. After a few tries, though, I realized this was one of those times I was gonna back down. Try as I might, I just couldn't think of anything that really met the concept. The best I got was a bizarre snake/woman/plant hybrid, and that didn't feel good enough. I put my sketchbook down for a while, taking it up only to doodle other things. I honestly thought I couldn't come up with something good enough for this contest.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was reading A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series by David Kalat (which is a very good read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history and cultural background of the Showa and Heisei Godzilla series). The book mentioned that all the kaiju of the Heisei era were "Stage Monsters" - i.e. they went through several forms throughout the series, often within the course of one movie itself. Godzilla goes from Godzillasaurus to 80 meter tall Godzilla to 100 meter tall Godzilla to Godzilla with the spiral beam breath to Burning Godzilla, Biollante goes from rose bush to rose monster to crocodile plant Godzilla hybrid monster, Ghidorah goes from dorats to King Ghidorah to Mecha King Ghidorah, etc. This got me thinking about my "life" kaiju designs, since it struck me as a really good analogy: one big thing about life is change, going from one stage to the next. So a monster that represents "life" should probably be a stage monster.

I started sketching again. I knew from the bat that my "life" kaiju wouldn't be scientific in origin, but rather mythological - when you go with lofty metaphors such as this, a good deal of Fantasy really goes a long way. Eventually I came up with two phases representing, in my mind, the two big phases life on earth went through: life in the sea, and life on land.

The sea form of the monster, named Biophage ("Life Eater"), is a mix of many of the groups of animals that conquered the sea. Her head/torso is a mainly a mix of squid and shark, with the multifaceted eyes of an arthropod and the frilly gills of a newt. It has a huge mass of tentacles that are a mix of squid and jellyfish, the four longest of which have crab claws. Overall Biophage is a mix of fish, cephalopod, arthropod, amphibian, and whatever the fuck jellyfish are. With the exception of amphibians, all of these groups were the apex groups of the sea at one point or another, and none of them have really managed to replicate that success on land. Even arthropods, prolific as they are, are pretty much the bottom of the food chain on land. Yet in the waters of the past they were once kings. The amphibian is thrown in there because it's a representative of the transition between water and land - while amphibians never really ruled either (at least not for a long period), they did manage to accomplish the herculean task of bridging the gap, making them important to the evolution of life as we know it.

Biophage is the more voracious and offense orientated than her second form, and is more likely to attack than attempt diplomacy. Her razor sharp teeth can strip flesh off bone, and her claws can crack even the toughest armor. Her lesser tentacles can deliver painful and sometimes fatal stings. She's able to swim hella fuckin' fast and, in extreme need, can even levitate while out of the water to fight (though she will eventually need to go back to breathe). Cunning and predatory, Biophage is as much as representative of the ocean itself as she is the life within it: beautiful, yet merciless and devastating when enraged.

One more thing about Biophage's design: I really like the tentacles. Thematically, they show the many different branches of life, all of which can spread out in different directions and do different things, but are nonethless connected because they are part of the same whole. It's just a neat little thematic thing.

After consuming enough food, Biophage would eventually go through a metamorphosis into her next form, Biophile ("Life Lover"). As Biophile, the "life" kaiju is less predatory and more maternal, but still has a savage nature - for life needs to cause death if it is to continue to grow. Like Biophage, this form is representative of several groups of conquerors: the rulers of the land. She is primarily reptilian, having the long, sinuous body of a snake. This is because reptiles were pretty much the most successful group of animals on the land. Their age stretched from much of the Paleozoic era and the whole Mesozoic era, with the other land rulers living only a fraction of that time. Her body is covered in wooden thorns, and two large flowers grow from her shoulders, representing the plant life that managed to dominate the land (though generally ending up far down the food chain) and made the atmosphere suitable for the animals that came afterward. Her hands are like a bird's talons, representing the undisputed masters of the air. Finally, her upper torso is very similar to a human woman's, representative of the mammals that now dominate the earth - particularly the most successful and powerful, if also the most foolhardy: humanity.

Biophile is more diplomatic than her previous stage, tending to observe other creatures first before deciding whether or not to attack. She will often try to communicate with other monsters, and is an excellent team player. Nonetheless, she is an incredibly hard foe to beat. She matches her first stage's primal viciousness in combat with strategic thinking and ingenuity. Her scales are incredibly thick, and her talons are very sharp. She can inject her foes with deadly venom using her fangs, or spray them with acidic sap from her shoulder flowers. Her flowers can also release an incredibly sweet smelling pheromone that sways other creatures to take her side, or create a foul smell that drives other creatures away. The thorns on her body can also secret a poisonous sap that will make any creature that touches it itch like crazy. Her coils are immensely strong and, like the humans she resembles, she is quite adept at making weapons. Beautiful, intelligent, and at times deadly, Biophile is a powerful ally of all life on earth.

At her base Biophile is pretty much a snake woman. This is because, to me, two of the greatest recurring symbols of life in mythology are women and snakes. One of my favorite symbols is the Ourobouros - a snake that is eating its own tail. The Ourobouros is a symbol of the cycle of life and death: things are always changing, with new deaths and new births occuring simultaneously. Neither truly ends, and neither truly begins. It's all cyclical, and for me that's life. Plus I just plain like snakes. Going with this "snakes represent change" (and "change IS life"), snakes routinely shed their skin. While shedding they kinda look diseased or dead, with their skin paling and their eyes getting glassy. When they shed the dead skin it's pretty much a rebirth, with them popping out looking healthier and more vibrant than ever. Life: it gets ugly just before it gets pretty again.

As for women are so often associated with life - we refer to "Mother Earth" or "Mother Nature," the Greek deity of the earth itself was a Goddess named Gaia, and one of the Babylonian creation gods was a female serpent named Tiamat (that's both symbols!) whose body was eventually used the make the world as well. Plus women have the whole "giving birth" thing.

I threw in some plant aspects as well because plants pretty much are life for anyone living on land - you really can't do without 'em, because, y'know, oxygen.

Soyeah, Biophage and Biophile - two forms of the same monster that represents life. Now, I still doubt the actual quality of this contest entry, and think there are far better ways to represent "life" in kaiju form - I just couldn't think of 'em. I also have no idea whether I'll use this character in this future, and where. She's too fantasy based to really work in the Second Age of Monsters, but I do have some Fantasy stories in the works... we'll see.

Andyeah, I pretty much had to make her/them blue, green, and burgundy. Them's my favorite colors.
Continue Reading: Planets