|Cover by Liam Byrne|
Last night, I watched The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. This film includes a brilliantly realised Griffin, and upon seeing it I was compelled to speak out to my fellow viewers on my admiration for Ray Harryhausen. For the Griffin is a treacherous beast. It looks so majestic, so regal, so in control of all it surveys. The king of the animals and the lord of the birds, fused together into one single being.
Yet look closer, and you will see the animal is not all it seems. That look of supreme poise can only be maintained as long as the thing stays perfectly still, its front legs locked straight. The moment it moves, you realise...
A Griffin has four knees!
Oh what a cumbersome creature it becomes. This four kneed fool falls suddenly from regent to jester, cantering about in such a way as to leave the whole animal kingdom jeering at its folly. The courtly mountains are replaced by a wicker cage, and this king for a day pays the ultimate price of the cycle of life as it is left screaming out that the crops will not grow and the harvests will fail, and next it shall be we who are left burning in that pagan idol!
Er, by which I mean... Harryhausen solved this problem by giving his Griffin the front legs of the lion rather than the eagle. Brilliant! I chose the other option. I broke the Griffin. My Griffin has four elbows instead, and I feel dirty just thinking about this crime against anatomy.
What Griffin am I talking about? Why, the Griffins that feature in the rather wonderful comic Vanguard! You can follow that link for more information, though the most important bits are here:
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