Meet Geryon, the manticore.  The manticore was the most difficult monster to draw, since there really was no existing image that satisfied us.  This left us having to pull our creature straight out of the void, as it were.

One of the distinguishing features of the manticore is a very human, indeed a charismatic trusworthy face.  But a Google image search yielded monstrous looking creatures with leonid faces.  This was honestly one of the prime reasons for writing Inferno Los Angeles – all these years of adapting monsters for video games and popular culture left the very definition of the monster in the dust.

Is this a face you would trust?  No, no it is not.

Is this a face you would trust? No, no it is not.

Gustave Dore’s woodcut came close, with an old man’s face.  And honestly I can’t fault him for that, since in his days older men were considered the most trustworthy.  But decades of rock stars and pedophile jokes changed all that.

Probably to our detriment that we don't trust that face anymore.

Probably to our detriment that we don’t trust that face anymore, but who am I to judge.

The manticore represents the anatomy of fraud.  Fraud has a distinguishly human flavor, since it uses language and intellect.  Therefore, the face must be human, the kind of human that engenders trust and respect.  For fraud to work properly, however, the perpetrator must overpower the victim – hence the leonid body, and why frauds take advantage of a position of authority.  Finally, the serpentine/scorpion tail represents the reptilian morality of a fraud.  And that’s where the strike comes from.

There’s so much more detail to the manticore in Dante’s Inferno.  When it alights on the cliff of sodomy, the human and beastly elements come over the land.  This puts out the manticore’s beastialized human aspect.  But the reptilian tail stays off, over the abyss.  This puts a clear distinction between levels, and why it is only the manticore that can negotiate the cliff.

Jim could tell you we had a few frustrated iterations to get this right.  My chicken scratch wasn’t quite doing the job of communicating what I wanted.  Finally we got a third party to help us with both the concept art and incorporating it into the book.  Interesting that it was a female who could get what a monster fraud looks like.

In the end it was all worth it.  I had more than one person tell me the manticore looks like Russell Brand.  I take that as a mission accomplished.  🙂