Monday, July 12, 2010

Magic: The Gathering - Spinal Villain

At last we come to my single all-time favorite Magic: The Gathering creature, and the only card I'll have blogged about that I've never owned:

The "Spinal Villain" is one of those monsters that I find absolutely perfect in its every design aspect. I love its chitinous texture, I love its green tendrils, I love the massive size of its head compared to its tapering body, I love its multiple fingernails, I love its spiny back and visible shoulder blades (which I rip off on dozens of my own monsters, I now realize) and I even love those weird creases in its saclike, fleshy eyes, if those are even organs of sight at all.

It's not even the design alone that makes this guy so freaky. Alien-looking parasitic mutants are pretty standard for the modern Magic setting, but this guy came out in one of the game's very earliest expansions, when most of the game's creatures were such mundane fare as dwarves, drakes and goblins. It's also the only creature in the history of the game with "villain" as its species (?!) and bears the distinction of being a Red creature card (a color associated with chaos, destruction and brute force) with the power to kill any Blue creature card (a color associated with intelligence, magic and order). It's all tied together with a weird, spooky poem en lieu of any explanation whatsoever.

I'm not the only one who always found the Villain cool, though. These little cartoons come from issues of "Inquest" gaming magazine:

Here's the villain fighting Yog-sothoth with Mike Tyson's head for a "Monster Olympics" special feature. Yeah, this was a very corny magazine.

From the same special, Spinal prepares to swim laps against a Shoggoth, an Orc, a Modron and the Gill-man, who won't stop eating hot dogs. If I recall correctly, they actually had the Villain win one of the top three medals, maybe even the Gold.

Finally, we have this little Halloween illustration with a slightly more accurate Villain.

Aw, he likes Superman!

Thank you, Anson Maddocks, for brightening my life with just one simple painting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who did the drawings for the Inquest magazine?

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Tombot said...

Yes, but is his heart an admiral?

8:42 AM  
Blogger Nate the Nix said...

Okay, yeah, I'm commenting on this two months late, but I just saw this article, and something occurs to me regarding the second-to-last photo. Specifically, the gill-man eating hot dogs. Wonder if that was meant as a reference to The Horror of Party Beach? The monsters in that movie certainly look like gill-men with mouths full of hot dogs. (I'm sure that's not what they were meant to look like, but then I'm not sure just what their mouths were meant to look like...)

12:23 AM  

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