Tom Gauld print: "Characters for an Epic Tale"


27 Responses to “Tom Gauld print: "Characters for an Epic Tale"”

  1. Fred H says:

    I’ve had this hung above my computer. Works when you need a character fast.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sold out already. Sigh.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love it! Need it on a t-shirt!

  4. sonipitts says:

    I wonder if it would be possible to create a good single story or novel that included all of them.

  5. querent says:

    i see the nudist’s thingy. :)

  6. rose bush says:

    while i think this is one hell of a piece, i must disagree with @the other michael. one could assume the characters you list to be female but in all reality if one asked mr gauld (and mr gauld was being honest) he would most likely say MOST of them were male in his mind.

    all that aside, i sure would love to own one even if in MY mind, it’s a bit misogynistic.

    • Gloria says:

      How does one man’s work leave “no room” for reimagining epics with more female protagonists/characters?

      Ooh, yeah. That’s right. You can still “reimagine epics” yourself, without Mr. Gauld’s blessing! Have fun.

      @rose bush: Not withstanding the fact that I don’t see why it’s wrong to acknowledge that traditionally, yes, most epics — most literature, I’d timidly say — are almost-all-male casts, having a cast of mostly male characters is not necessarily misogynistic. Please, please do not dilute the word by falsely equating a non-instance of a woman as *hate* for a woman.

  7. Xopher says:

    Thank you, Gloria. I agree 100%.

    I think ‘androcentric’ is a good word here.

    And an exception to the rule, I’m led to understand, is the Finnish epics. In them, the hero is great, but his mother is often all-powerful, and rescues him from dire fates with goddesslike abilities.

    I haven’t read them myself, but I’m told that in particular Lemminkäinen‘s mother is incredibly powerful…after he’s been killed and dismembered, she reassembles his body and brings him back to life, much as Isis does for Osiris in Egyptian mythology.

    She’s wayyy smarter than him, in short.

  8. dustbuster7000 says:

    Someone use these to animate said Epic Tale, stat!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Your average Discworld book has 9 out of 10 of these.

  10. feminismisfun says:

    this is awesome and cool but sadly there appears to be no room to reimagine epic tales to have more female protaganists/characters

    • Brainspore says:

      For a feminist you seem to have a very limited notion of what roles could be filled by females. Or are you just assuming that any drawn figure not wearing a dress has to be a dude?

  11. Anonymous says:

    they’re sold out! good for them…sad for us :(

  12. tigtog says:


    having a cast of mostly male characters is not necessarily misogynistic. Please, please do not dilute the word by falsely equating a non-instance of a woman as *hate* for a woman.

    I’m curious – do you have the same objection to people using the word “misanthropic” to describe disdain/belittlement/disregard/dislike/avoidance of humanity in circumstances where describing an instance as *hate* for humanity would be an exaggeration?

    If not, why not?

  13. HotPepperMan says:

    #2 – there’s the girl, the nurse, the sorceress, the tart, the queen, the THREE witches (where are the warlocks?)… what more do you need. Also, many of the roles are androgynous.

    Is it me or does ‘The Broken Man’ appear to have a bladder malfunction?

  14. ZippySpincycle says:

    Where’s the Comical Rustic?

  15. hydrophiliak says:

    I … I need this on a tee shirt.

  16. the Other michael says:

    Potential Female Characters:
    Three Witches
    Magic Cow
    Talking shrub
    Prophet of Doom
    Dancing Bear
    Floating Skull
    Parents (in some states)
    Giant Cat

    Note I am including animals as potentially gendered.

    This is some 44 characters, not counting plurals (guards, twins, etc.).

    RingMaster I assumed to be masculine, as opposed to RingMistress — although if it is used as the historical term but presumed to be gender-neutral, it could also be female. Or would be a delightful turn-about to discover the false moustache, etc.

    Right from the start, however, The Hero is gender neutral, and could make a great epic as the sole female character (aside from the witches, etc.)

  17. Teresa Nielsen Hayden says:

    I’m now trying to figure out whether any of those are missing from Sandman.

  18. weaponx says:

    The bible contains every one of these characters.

    • redesigned says:

      @weaponx “The bible contains every one of these characters.”

      funny i don’t remember:
      the headless man
      the golem
      the minotaur
      the monkey
      the sniper
      the necromancer
      the hairy beast
      the metal man
      the dancing bear
      the floating skull

    • Xopher says:

      I’m particularly fond of Paul’s second Epistle to the Birdmen. And I love the quirky Parable of the Monkey and the Giant Cat!

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        Don’t forget the battle between the Dancing Bear and the Metal Man, helped by a headshot from the Sniper! I think the moral is “blessed are those with a laser sight on their rifles”

        • Xopher says:

          No, there was a lacuna in that manuscript. The blessing is called on the bear, not the sniper. The text should read “Blessed are those who have a friend with a laser sight on their rifle” (lacuna emphasized).

  19. simonbarsinister says:

    I love this.

    I just printed this page out and I am going to go to my three kids and have each pick a character then we will together tell a story with those characters. Lather, rinse, repeat for great justice!

  20. simonbarsinister says:

    Oh, and I certainly would buy a T-Shirt with this on it.

  21. the Other michael says:

    I said that those characters were “potentially female”. The vast majority of them would also fall under the “potentially male” list.

    The point was that the “potentially female” list is a lot larger than 3 or 4 characters.

    Authorial intentionality has no business anywhere but in the author’s own house and dinner parties.

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