Sunday, June 13, 2010

Off-topic: Quick Mothman follow-up

A book I would like to read but that doesn't, to my knowledge, exist yet is one about Point Pleasant, West Virginia today, and the way in which the community has apparently embraced Mothman. A sort of Mothman Prophecies Revisited, I guess.

The city's website looks like a pretty standard small municipality's website, and it doesn't make a huge deal out of Mothman, the only reference I can find being a link to the Mothman Museum.

Of course, they do have a Mothman Museum. (My hometown is the site of one of the greatest railroad disasters in history, and we don't have a museum, just a monument where the unrecognized dead are buried and a plaque near the site.)

There's a small town near my hometown known for its wineries and grapes, and they have a grape festival once a year. Circleville, Ohio, which is about 40 minutes south of Columbus, has a pumpkin festival once a year. And Point Pleasant apparently now has an annual Mothman festival, complete with a Miss Mothman Pageant.

Apparently what was a series of strange to scary to tragic events a generation ago is now kitschy fun, and Mothman is to Point Pleasant as pumpkins are to Circleville.

The reason I bring this up is that the previous discussion of different depictions of Mothman got me thinking about the ways various artists have chosen to depict a creature of which barely any details exist, and is essentially little more than a pair of red eyes on a big, gray shape.

More often than not, moth-like details are added to the creature when it comes time for an artist to draw it, dictated by the creature's name. The name was apparently given to it by an Ohio newspaper writer, riffing on 1966's Batman TV show, despite the fact that Mothman has no more in common with moths than wings and a habit of appearing outdoors at night. (Although at least one sighting noted that the eyes were like bike reflectors, which perhaps suggested the compound eyes of an insect to some artists...?)

Anyway, if anyone was going to have an accurate depiction of Mothman—that is, one that resembles the reports of sightings of the creature rather than the image the name evokes—you would think it would be the city of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. And yet when they erected a statue of Mothman, they went with a moth-like, humanoid monster, which has eyes and wings like the Mothman of the historical record has, but is otherwise all wrong.

(Not that there's anything wrong with it being "all wrong," of course; the statue is a tourist attraction and part of a fun celebration of the community's notoriety, not an attempt to accurately represent a phenomenon—that's not what statuary's for, really).

You can see a partial image of the statue above. There are more pictures here (and there's a visitor's gallery here). It's sculpted out of stainless steel by Robert Roach.

As with the Frazetta image, accuracy aside, I kind of like the design. Roach's Mothman resembles some sort of Japanese monster, of the kind that Godzilla or a Godzilla knock-off would end up fighting. Mecha-Mosurajin.

It seems awfully detailed though...surely the headless, tapering winged blob with red-eyes would have been easier to sculpt than this mouth-having, six-pack abs-possessing metal monster.


LurkerWithout said...

The statue looks like its getting ready to fight Ultraman. Or maybe the Guyver...

Tony said...

Hey, Cincinnati's Chad Lambert did a Mothman comic book a few years back called "Point Pleasant" and "Return to Point Pleasant."