Sunday, 19 June 2011

Abaddon: development and symbolism

Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair, make up: Seth Storm
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (textures), VampyricCadenceStock (wings)

Abaddon is another Demon I discovered thanks to Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary, where he’s a monstrous son of Lucifer’s who can kill lesser beings with his sole presence and is thus chained in a dungeon and mistreated by Astaroth, who’s in charge of looking after him. Despite having an important supporting role in the manga, I never grew particularly fond of his character, and got interested in him as a potential Infernal Lord only after reading about his official depiction. I found out he’s a pretty well known figure in the Christian mythology, with many useful details.
Christian fights with Apollyon, aka Abaddon
Christian fights with Apollyon, aka Abaddon.
As usual, when a lot of things are said, most are in open contrast with each other. Nevertheless, some points are generally accepted: Abaddon (Apollyon in Greek) means “the Destroyer” and is identified as the Angel of Destruction of the Book of Revelation; he is the Lord of the Bottomless Pit and of locusts, and will do a big deal of things during the Armageddon. At this point, sources diverge, and I had to choose carefully what would or wouldn’t fit. First of all, I downright scrapped the possibility that he was a good entity, an instrument of God’s will, another name for the resurrected Jesus Christ or even Archangel Michael himself. Among the interpretations of him as an evil being, I scrapped those who identified him as Satan (as to me that’s Lucifer), but kept those who said he was the Antichrist. I also took some inspiration from Kaori Yuki’s character, like the fact that he doesn’t show much in public, is chained in a dungeon, dangerous for other people and a relative of Lucifer’s. His identification with Satan and Michael strengthened this point, as I decided the three of them were linked and considered like brothers. Of course, I had to give a totally different graphical rendition of him, as Kaori’s Abaddon looks more like a beast than a person.
Abaddon (with Kurai) from Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary
Abaddon (with Kurai) from Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary.
While choosing a model, I had just one strict requirement: he had to have beautiful lips to compensate the concealed eyes. This time, I found Seth Storm browsing through ModelMayhem, so finally I made some use of a photography portal. We originally had to shoot in August, but the meeting was postposed up to December due to many circumstances. Nevertheless, this allowed me to know my model better and eventually find out that he was compared to Abaddon several time before and has used a locust as a symbol, which was a rather interesting coincidence.
Compared to the other works from this series, this is slightly more erotic, with a clear, despite still subtle, bondage theme. This was one of the major tributes to Kaori Yuki’s work, but in my case symbolises the binds Abaddon bears on his powers; the blindfold has a similar meaning, but is also a reference to another of Kaori’s characrers, Justice from God Child. The rest of the symbolism is quite clear, I guess: a lot of black in the background for the Bottomless Pit, a reversed cross on his choker for he’s the Antichrist, and the Seal with two converging lines to further recall the Abyss (which was borrowed from Ipos, as Abaddon is not a Goetic Demon and lacks a Seal of his own). I also wanted to include a locust, but I eventually scrapped the idea as it just didn’t fit. The theme-colour, grey, is a neutral colour, and refers to the uncertain nature of Abaddon’s powers. The theme-song, Hatred Grows by Tristania, refers to his role as the leader of the Armageddon.

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