Wendigo


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Wendigo

(pop culture)
Because few places are as friendly to juxtapositions of folklore and pop culture as the fourcolor comics page, ancient American Indian tales of evil spirits such as the Wendigo provide the perfect fodder for supervillainy. Although the horror writer Algernon Blackwood's classic 1907 tale “The Wendigo” is frequently cited as the birthplace of the creature, far older Inuit lore describes a 15- feet-tall flesh-eating creature of the Minnesota north woods known as Witigo, Witiko, Wee-Tee-Go, or Wendigo, all of which translate roughly to “the evil spirit that devours mankind,” or even “cannibal” among various Great Lakes Indian tribes. According to many tribal myths, a human being who resorts to cannibalism finds himself magically transformed into a Wendigo, a large hairy snowcreature with glowing eyes, giant yellow fangs, a grotesquely long tongue—and an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Other tribes posited that any man or woman guilty of entering a pact with an evil spirit might be changed into a Wendigo, thereafter lurking in the woods, awaiting victims to murder. While the Wendigo may have served the Algonquins and other tribes as a cultural alarum concerning the evils of cannibalism, it has also treated the readership of Marvel Comics to more than three decades of entertainment. Introduced by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Herb Trimpe in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #162 (1973) as a shaggy, ravenous, superstrong adversary for the Hulk during the Bigfoot-obsessed 1970s, the role of Marvel's Wendigo is played initially by a hapless French Canadian named Paul Cartier. A Francophone named George Baptiste was the next to be transformed—Cartier gets better—battling the Hulk in the two-part saga that introduced future X-Men superstar Wolverine in the landmark Incredible Hulk #180–#181 (1974). In the early 1980s Francois Lartigue served as the next unwilling iteration of the hungry were-beast, attacking the Hulk and Alpha Flight's Sasquatch before being cured by Alpha Flight's mystic healer Shaman. In the early 1990s, guided by the pencils and prose of fan phenom Todd McFarlane, a fourth and (as of 2006) unidentified individual later served as a vessel for the Wendigo spirit, which Spider-Man and Wolverine discovered has been framed for child-murder in a small town in British Columbia. Although the Wendigo was conceived as a denizen of the backwoods, the creature has done battle with Marvel's good guys in the concrete jungles of New York City. Various Wendigos seemed to proliferate greatly over the years, bringing their fangs and talons to bear against Wolverine, Captain Marvel, the Hulk, Alpha Flight, and Wild Thing. A Wendigo once even teamed up with erstwhile Ghost Rider John Blaze (in Blaze #4, 1994)! While Marvel's take on the Wendigo legend transcended the comics page in 1998 by becoming an action figure, it has by no means supplanted the original folklore that engendered it; the underlying Indian legends continue to inspire twenty-first-century pop cultural reinterpretations, such as writerdirector Larry Fessenden's horror film Wendigo (2001). Regardless of how many two-legged snacks succeed in evading the Wendigo's maw, the creature's future seems assured.
References in periodicals archive ?
This essay examines Antonia Bird's film Ravenous (1999) as an appropriative text that invokes the Wendigo myth and evaluates cannibalistic discourse more broadly in order to critique Western cultural crisis.
'I told you, ' said Trajan, 'the Elvi - the elves, and the Red Caps and the Wendigo - and the faeries of course - all going to see Pan.' 'This I gorra see,' Abbacot got to his feet, and like a moth to the flame, found himself drawn to the beautiful multi-faceted gem of the Palm House, sparkling from within now as if it contained a forest of Christmas tree-lights - and what beautiful faint music floated on the night air from the domed greenhouse.
Folk-tale-inspired horror is present in Leah Bobet's "Stay" when a wendigo surfaces in a small rural town populated by indigenous Canadians.
The relationship between logger and trees is transposed, exposing what Cynthia Sugars, Jack Forbes, and Deborah Root have variously referred to as "wendigo psychosis [...] the cannibalizing and psychotic [...] condition marked by greed, excessive corruption, violence, and egoism" (Sugars 79).
74 at 76-80 discusses the growth of the interest of the colonial administration in these "Wendigo murders" in the nineteenth century.
After watching mankind wreck her handiwork, Mother Nature's vengeance shifts from global-warming-slow to horror-movie-swift in "The Last Winter." Most physically expansive feature to date by Larry Fessenden sports the virtues of his prior efforts ("Habit," "Wendigo"), which are also their commercial limitations--i.e.
Rare indeed is the anthology of the spectral that does not include at least one of his tales, usually "The Willows," "The Wendigo," or "The Empty House." According to E.
Firelands by Michael Jensen (Alyson)--Gay frontiersmen face a hungry wendigo in this violent novel that erases boundaries.--Andy Mangels
There was also a sprinkling of ghost and horror tales: "The Girl They Couldn't Hang," "The Upas Tree." Algernon Blackwood's 1910 story "The Wendigo" was reprinted in a Lilliput of the 1950s.
Scores of classic Wolverine villains including Sabretooth, Wendigo, and Magneto are waiting to be duffed up, while Beast, Rogue and Colossus come to Wolverine's aid throughout game.