Tom Gauld print: "Characters for an Epic Tale"


Tom Gauld, author of the astounding The Gigantic Robot book, has a new print available at Buenvaventura Press, called "Characters for an Epic Tale."

9.5 x 12.5 inches, 2 colors [note the apparition, done in a gray spot-color -- Mark], letterpress printed on Hahnemühle Mould-made Ingres paper. Signed and numbered edition of 150, half available through Buenaventura Press and half through Tom Gauld himself. This edition of 150 has been divided between BP and the artist. If you are in North America you can order direct from us here, for the rest of the world you can order it soon directly from the artist's website

Buy yours now! These are going fast, and the price will increase to $150 when we are down to the last ten!

While you are at Buenaventura Press's website, note that they are having a 20% off sale on every book they publish!

Tom Gauld print: "Characters for an Epic Tale"


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

    1. 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?

  2. #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?

  3. 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.)

    1. 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!

      1. 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”

        1. 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).

    2. @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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. @gloria

    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?

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