Goliath Art Reveal! (July)

Okay, I only counted the first 150 votes, then skipped ahead to see if anyone else did, because counting is slow and annoying. So I’m using Ren W.’s count at comment 250:

Number 1 – 26
Number 2 – 18
Number 3 – 47
Number 4 – 123

These are more or less accurate, I’m sure, and I think we all know who won.


So here it is in all its unredacted glory . . . “Kappa Surfacing”!

Keith Thompson

Click here for a GIGANTIC version, that will BLOW YOUR MIND when you zoom on it.

As you Pokémon fans have already pointed out, kappa are Japanese beasties. But they go back to before the Pokémon fad, of course, as part of Shinto folklore.

When I was your age, people often called Shinto “the national religion of Japan,” but these days it’s more common to call it “the indigenous spirituality of Japan.” The thing is, Shinto is a set of practices that come out of folklore and myths rather than a structured religion. There’s no single sacred text or founder figure, no Quran or Buddha or Bible, but it does have priests (male and female). It’s part of everyday Japanese life, both as a link to the traditional past and to nature and the divine.

So I figured that Japanese boffins would take their inspiration from creatures like kappa (who are water spirits), even if they were using the life threads of real creatures to make them.

What’s also interesting is that most people who practice Shinto are also Buddhists, Christians, or whatever. This Japanese readiness to mix outside cultural practices into their own (and to put an unexpected spin on them, as anyone who’s ever read manga can attest) is why I decided Japan had to be both a Darwinist AND a Clanker power.

(Yes, everyone in the modern world mixes up all sorts of stuff from outside cultures, but it seems like the Japanese are particularly awesome at it, and have been since at least the 1860s.)

Anyway, that was my thinking behind the kappa, and about how Japanese boffins would approach fabrication overall. Also, the Japanese Navy was bad-ass back then, so they had to look pretty scary too. And Keith is good at scary.

Keith News
If I haven’t mentioned it here before, Keith has an art blog now as well as his usual site.

There, you can buy big prints of two pieces from Goliath already! Both “Secrets in the Rookery” and “Crashing a Bash” are available.

95 thoughts on “Goliath Art Reveal! (July)

  1. Haha! I am the first person to comment! Anywho….

    Awesomeness! Even tho I voted for number 2, this one still blew my mind! Gah, Goliath needs to come out soon otherwise I may burst! Eep!!!!!!

  2. Wow. I only just heard about Goliath coming out but this art and the description of it blew my mind. I really can’t wait for the book now!

  3. still want you to show us the word that was removed from the Goliath word cloud. please?

  4. I’m so excited for Goliath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I really want to buy more some of the artwork. ( I want to hang “Crashing a Bash” in my room right beside my steampunk poster. ) If there a chance there will be more Leviathan artwork for sale?

  5. Yeah, Scott La… What was that word you removed from the word cloud? After the past few months of spoilers building on each other, I’m sure we wouldn’t be THAT surprised.

    …And I like spoilers. A lot.

  6. Love the piece that was revealed! It also made me think of one of my favorite movies, Justice League: New Frontier. 🙂

  7. Not the one I voted for, but… Still amazing!

    P.S. I LOVE spoilers! A lot! And word cloud spoilers rock! Ok, i’ll stop wheedling.

  8. wow. i can tell Goliath is gonna SO much more violent, which is good, the other’s didn’t really show that many battles n’ such. Oh, and I’m with the others- wgat what was on that word cloud!?!?

    ps-awsome pic keith, as always <3

  9. Wow that is so fantastic! I agree, the missing sPace in the word cloud would be lovely.

  10. magnificent artwork! So excited about goliath! Thats awesome how they brought Shinto creatures to life! lovin the culture! =)

  11. Haha, yes, kappas are indeed interesting!

    ….still wanted number 1 though….

    Oh well. Such is life.

    Still awesome though!

  12. Ren W. ? Where did he get Ren W. from? That’s my count. I thought the picture would have some big creature, but it is awesome anyways! OHMYGOD THEY ARE EATING PEOPLE! WHAT IS GOING ON? Have the darwinists gone EVIL? I guess it is a war, but I thought the darwinists were more about protecting people and not killing any more people than necessary. Wait, I’m thinking of something else, but still! Really cool and crazy though!

  13. Soooooo amazing! Goliath can’t come soon enough so I’m gonna visit hearst castle this weekend in honor of Goliath 😀

  14. Yay!! Who’s the one guy that’s falling???? Anyone we know? What country are the clankers that the Japanese beasties are attacking from????
    I just can’t wait for Goliath!!!!

  15. o….i forgot to vote….well this one looks asomeness!!! deffinately the Kappa that’s getting shot at. it’s like being blown to bits!!! i love Keith Thompson’s art! this one was so grossomness!!!! CANT. WAIT. FOR. GOLIATH! but i have to *sigh* and i totally like RandomPieGirl’s name. yay! pie!

  16. DAMN I’m excited now. Can September BE any further away?!

    I’m definately considering purchasing ‘Secrets in the Rookery’. YesNoYesNoYes…?

  17. this picture didn’t seem all that spoilery, compared to others but it was still awesome.

    I’d give my spleen to know what the missing word in the word cloud was though.

  18. @nikki-la…. Haha, thx! I really have no idea what’s in a “random pie” I just sorta chose the name cuz I like random stuff, pie, and I’m a girl…. Heh…

    It’s so freaking amazing , I want it now! I find all beastie and clanker creations very interesting but I really like the addition of kappa for a Japanese fabrication. Admittingly I got excited just seeing the name 😛

  20. Not to be a buzzkill, but aren’t kappas supposed to have a hollow on their heads that holds water? It’s the source of their power, and you defeat them by tricking them to spill it.

  21. @RandomPieGirl. we should totally make a “random pie”…i know it’s just ur name but we should make one for Mr. Westerfeld!!! it’ll have anything and everything…

  22. WOW!! I love this picture…… WHEN WILL SEPTEMBER COME???!!!!!

    Any chance your going to spill about the missing word????? Come on! We’re all dying out here!PLEASE!!

  23. Okay so I was looking at the zoomed up version and I’m not sure but the airship in the background has the same seal as in number one…
    don’t know if it means anything just pointing it out.

  24. I am so EXCITED!!! The picture looks AMAZING up close! And, YAY Scott-la used my count at 250! I feelz zo special! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (smiley times ten!)! YAAAAAAYYYY!! I CAN’T WAIT FOR GOLIATH! EEEEEEE!!
    ADD child (believe it or not I have been called that)



  25. This picture is great, but I thought it would be one big kappa instead of little individual ones.

  26. @ nikki-la- YES! We should totally make a random pie! Brilliant idea! Haha, and sure, u can help Hannah! Yay! Pie making! XD

  27. Mr. Westerfeld, once ‘Goliath’ comes out will you tell us the spoilery word from the word cloud?

  28. a bit less exciting than i had imagined… I thought they’d be mini behemoths fighting with the Leviathan as it desperately tried to find a place to land in an arctic wasteland over russia where they would surprise attack the japanese after they refueled…….

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