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Cryptid: The Ultimate Cryptozoology Experience

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 18th, 2006

I’ve written, in depth, about the definition of cryptid, a word that was coined in 1983, by John E. Wall of Manitoba. Now, a mere 23 years later, it has become such an important part of our popular culture that one of the most incredibly well-designed graphic novels to capture the topic of this blog is set to appear! Are you prepared for Cryptid?

Frazetta Cryptid

Secret Lab Studios, in association with Thrill House Comics, and the world renowned award winning Weta Workshop Design Team of New Zealand have announced that they are currently collaborating on designs for Cryptid, a new and original intellectual property that is currently in development as a feature film, video game, graphic novel and toy line.

Cryptid

Richard Taylor, one of the original founders of Weta, has personally overseen the initial designs for the environments, creatures, characters, armor and weapons involved in Cryptid.

Cryptid

“Working with Richard Taylor and his Oscar winning design team is a dream come true for all of us involved in Cryptid. Their conceptual designs have a breathtaking style and aesthetic quality that bring a sense of gritty realism to the project while retaining the romantic elements of fantasy” said Michael Todd, Creator of Cryptid and President of Secret Lab Studios. “Obviously these artists are the best in the film industry and I feel honored that they have joined us as part of the Cryptid team.”

Cryptid

Cryptid is an intellectual property created in the spirit of the classic pulp fiction action adventures of Tarzan, The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Phantom. Kipling McKay is a soldier/safari hunter who is recruited by a secret society of Cryptozoologists to hunt down and capture creatures not yet known to science, also known as Cryptid.

Cryptid

The brainchild of Michael Todd, Cryptid has been in development for over a decade with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. But the project has picked up a tremendous momentum with the completion of the graphic novel script and Weta completing the initial phase of their production designs. The Cryptid license is a universe of stories to be told across multiple forms of media developed by Michael Todd and Ronald Shusett, co-creator of the Alien franchise. The saga begins with a six issue graphic novel, co-written by Michael Todd, Ronald Shusett, Michael Town and David Elliott, utilizing the designs produced by Weta.

Cryptid

As well as Weta, Secret Lab Studios also boasts the talents of Frank Frazetta, Simon Bisley, Mike Mignola and Alex Horley to the team of artists and designers working on Cryptid.

Cryptid

Thrill House Comics will be showcasing Weta’s designs at this years San Diego Comic Con, July 20-23. Thrill House will also be giving away 5,000 copies of a Cryptid preview book highlighting the comic artwork from the graphic novel, sculptures, computer game renderings and a selection of Weta’s production designs. The 5,000 are part of a print run of 10,000 with half of those going directly to comic store retailers through Diamond Comics Distributors. Thrill-House Comics can be found at booth number 2103 in the main hall at San Diego Comicon.

Official Press Release (Credit: Arune Singh)

I will have more to say about Cryptid in the coming weeks, including some discussion on the stimulation and model for this entire project, the cover of John A. Keel’s paperback book, Strange Creatures from Time and Space (NY: Fawcett, 1970).- Loren

Keel book

Frazetta Cryptid

Cryptid

Cryptid

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


26 Responses to “Cryptid: The Ultimate Cryptozoology Experience”

  1. fredfacker responds:

    This looks really neat. Wonder if they’ll do video games too.

  2. tapper responds:

    I work in the video games industry and have heard rumblings from a couple of publishers this concept was pitched to (one recently) so it goes without saying that the license will more than likely be picked up by a publisher soon. The subject seems to be well-suited for the vg platform and perfect for sequel titles if the initial is successful so, if developed properly, I’m sure it will kick a**.

  3. Trevor Markwart responds:

    Beautiful illustrations from a gang of people who all wish they were Frazetta. With, of course, Frazetta himself taking the centre stage in designing the look of this book with the cover (what is he now, 80?). The illustrations and comic book pages look very much like modern colour versions of Frazetta’s “Werewolf” from Creepy #1.

    Should be a beautiful looking game if they do one. Motion picture though — pretty cliched. But as an interactive game, a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it could only involve violent disposal for the crypto-creatures. Such is the nature of these things.

  4. fredfacker responds:

    Not necessarily. I can see a lot of various plotlines for games. Your character could have options for killing or capturing the beasts with a lot more money to be made by capturing them alive. Perhaps the circus approaches your character to bring them back a mermaid or a bigfoot or something for display. Or perhaps you have to solve the mystery of what animal is terrorizing some little village. Who knows? You could make it a lot better than just a simple shoot-em up.

  5. Illuvatar responds:

    This looks awesome. I’m a fan of comics and video games. Good thing I live in San Diego. I’m going for sure now.

    Kinda reminds me of Tomb Raider especially that one part where a T-Rex comes running after you, in that subtarranean jungle. Wonder what system games gonna be for I hope either Wii or PS3. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  6. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Interesting, but what is that last picture?

  7. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Looking forward to it. My copy of the Mothman Prophecies with the Frazetta cover was a joy to me as a kid because it married my two loves. Cryptozoology and comic books… now all I got to say is /drool.

  8. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Illuvatar,
    Personally, I’d prefer to see the game as a MMPORG. Can you imagine the fun of going on quests to discover the yeti while at the SAME TIME battling other players from the Debunker’s Camp? Or of PVP battlegrounds where you can temporarily “freeze” the debunker player by shocking him with a conjured chupacabras?

  9. planettom responds:

    I’m interested to see what they develop for the toy line. That would awesome to collect the different characters and creatures!

  10. tapper responds:

    From the feedback here, I predict a game will be well received as long as the developers don’t mutilate it like they do so many other movie licensed titles (for example, Van Helsing, Cat Woman and the most memorable disaster from the 80’s, ET).

    Yes, I predict the cryptids won’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hades against the game’s protagonist (sigh) though it would be great if the gamer could take on the role of a cryptid and give mankind a swift kick in the behind.

    Licensed toys around this property would be killer! Cryptid fans around the world would scoop these up, I’m sure. McFarland should take it on. Action figures from its dragon series were incredible and a must-have for collectors.

  11. fredfacker responds:

    OneEyedCat — I think that last pictures is a Nessie-type animal underwater. It’s really dark on my monitor too.

  12. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I don’t think the game would work so well if you are blowing up the cryptids, as, according to the article, the main character, ” Kipling McKay is a soldier/safari hunter who is recruited by a secret society of Cryptozoologists to hunt down and capture creatures not yet known to science, also known as Cryptid.”

    Hunt down and CAPTURE, and who isn’t going to want to play as the hero?

    More likely you will have to fight poachers, competing scientific or esoteric groups, working your way to the “boss” where you will collect your cryptid, (or wrestle the cryptid into submission.)

    Again, I could see an interesting massive multi-player online RPG along these lines being a lot of fun. You could have a variety of factions (scientific think tanks, various government agencies, etc.) with quests to locate and collect and/or suppress sightings and specimens. RPGs require a lot of “running around and talking to people” type quests, so while capturing a yeti might require running around and fighting snow leopards and government agents while sneaking across borders, it would also require talking to natives, bribing border crossing guards (or fighting your way through and dealing with the ensuing consequences), navigating (or bribing) your way through bureaucracy to get permits, etc.

    Video games can be anything now, not just the old “bash ‘em ups” we all loved as kids. (although the best ones still retain some elements of “bash ‘em up”).

  13. shumway10973 responds:

    from a graphic designer/artist that really looks great. the people have true comic look to their stances, like julie and borlof. I think it will be great. I just hope they can keep it “real” enough that cryptozoology doesn’t become a joke, worse than already is in some circles

  14. twblack responds:

    OH YEAH this looks and sounds Awesome.

  15. Spoon Nose responds:

    Alan Moore did this concept several years ago as the original The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic series.

    “Kipling McKay” = A not very original ripoff of Alan Quartermain.

  16. Loren Coleman responds:

    Spoon, I’m not quite certain you are on firm ground here. Creatively and conceptually, “Kipling McKay” may vaguely have some features in common with Quatermain. But then, won’t “Indiana Jones,” too? Or many characters in several fictional stories?

    “Allan (two l’s) Quatermain” is the protagonist of H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885), and today is in public domain. Are you saying Alan Moore and Kevin McNeill “ripped off” the Allan Quatermain character too, for their modern graphic novel?

  17. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Ah… Allan Quatermain…
    Here’s a mystery for you, what the heck happened to Richard Chamberlain?

  18. Craig Woolheater responds:

    The first image in this post is the classic illustration by Frank Frazetta used for the cover of John A. Keel’s Strange Creatures From Time & Space.

    I read this book before seeing The Legend of Boggy Creek, and was already on my way to being a junior cryptozoologist.

  19. Loren Coleman responds:

    Allan Quatermain was played, yes, JW, by Richard Chamberlain. Chamberlain is still acting and writing (see his Shattered Love about his coming out, which may be part of the reason he has not been heard from too much lately).

  20. Dark-Obsessor responds:

    Sounds awesome!

  21. MattBille responds:

    My local comic shop got one copy of the CRYPTID preview. Fortunately, I was the first (maybe only) person who asked for it.

    The artwork is magnificent. The creatures are, of course, drawn in a way that maximizes their visual impact, but most of them work fine as believable animals. (OK, the dragon needs more skeletal and muscular support for the wings, but everyone who’s ever drawn a dragon overlooks that.) The yetis are particularly striking.

    I definitely am looking forward to whatever comes next from these creators.

    Matt

  22. webguy responds:

    I’d get the graphic novel just because there’s some new Frazetta artwork in it. He was one of my heroes growing up. Great to see he’s still putting out some new stuff now and then.

    I agree with Trevor’s comment – lots of excellent artists that want to be Frazetta, but they all fall short.

  23. gridbug responds:

    I CANNOT WAIT for this! It’s an ever-lovin’ cryptogeek’s paradise! :D

  24. Sean Kinkade responds:

    This looks fantastic. I really look forward to the feature film. If they can only make a film entertaining but with a fair degree of realism, keep the cheese factor low, and not use excessive CGI, but alas, I think my hopes are too high. (Most sci-fi films today have me fighting to keep my disbelief suspended.)

    I also hope the creators of this series will also include a “cryptid super civilization”, such as a Shaver style inner earth society or something..always slightly beyond the reach of the main characters, which would then make mystery machines and cryptid technology and artifacts such as flying saucers, strange airships, and other bizarre machines part of the mix.

    In my opinion the UFO occupants could really augment story lines by being either a mysterious adversary or a benevolent force behind the scenes with regards to the main characters dealings with the Cryptid creatures. UFO’s are shown in the Frazetta Keel book cover artwork but are they included in the new project? I hope so.

    I can’t wait to see how this all comes together.

  25. MontanaJon responds:

    I’ve been saying for years that being hired to hunt cryptids would be my dream job. I hope they make this into a videogame, that way maybe more people will be opened up to the crypto world, plus it just looks killer.

  26. MattBille responds:

    I hope Peter Jackson is free when they’re ready to develop the movie project. If not, Bryan Singer.

    The challenge with stories like this is always the same: can they make a good move/game/etc. while staying fairly close to believability? In my view of the fiction universe, you are allowed to bend rules (such as King Kong’s island being too full of predators, or Jurassic Park’s animals not having enough room on that island) if you are entertaining enough. Conversely, a so-so film might be redeemed by a well-founded depiction of how the cryptids came to live where they do, their adaptation to their habitat, etc.

    Matt



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