Origins - The Luptile
The first question to address here would be...why a wolf-lizard? Where did that combination of animals come from? And the honest answer is...I was kind of reusing it? Not as an idea from anything I’d worked on in any long-term capacity, since there are lots of ideas I have that never reach past the first chapter or even the first page, but I did have this seed of an idea that began with a girl who got chased into a construction site by this big wolf-lizard monster, knocked it out by some magical means, and then had to hide and deal with it.
Given that when I began writing The Beacon, I just wanted to jump in and start, I didn’t want to put too much thought into designing a super original monster, especially since it was one that would never even be seen. What ultimately mattered was that it would sound threatening, and that characters would have reason to fear it. So, when I began to think up ideas for my monster, my brain dug up this partially unused wolf-lizard idea, and I thought it seemed good enough to run with. Hence - the Luptile.
Still, despite its less than elegant origins, the Luptile still works for me as what would be a legitimately intimidating in person. The wolf element ties back to some traditional fairytale villainy, like the Big Bad Wolf, and in the sense of it being one of the top animals you would not want to meet alone in a dark forest.
But to have the monster be just a wolf, even a supernaturally large one, didn’t seem like enough to me to either make it a major threat or a indicate there were other magical happenings in the world. It just needed something a bit more unfamiliar. I am personally not super fond of snakes and lizards, so replacing some of the fluffy wolf elements with scales was enough for me to make it that much more of a threat.
Also, just going out into the forest and punching regular wolves doesn’t seem quite so good and heroic to me.
(Remember kids, don’t punch wolves.)
There’s another important element of the Luptile to discuss here as well - mainly that it is the Luptile, and not a luptile. When I first started publishing the show, some of the comments I was kind of surprised to see were people calling it a Buffy-esque, monster-of-the-week show. I think that was just something people kind of assumed the show would turn out to be, based on what they were familiar with. While there is that Buffy in its bones as much Spider-Man, RWBY, and other sources of inspiration, I never wanted this to be the sort of show that was just one monster after the other, episode after episode. That just wouldn’t work for the kind of show The Beacon is.
One of the main points of The Beacon was that I wanted it to be at least semi-realistic about what college students who wound up with powers would be willing to take on. The average person does not know how to fight, does not want to physically fight, so if you introduce monster after monster, they’re probably just going to pile up instead of getting systematically taken out and eventually overrun the campus. While Team Super Magic may eventually be ready for that level of challenge, it was definitely not the right way to start them off.
Moreover, I wanted the external threat these kids were facing to be more monolithic in nature, to be one huge threat that seemed so insurmountable, they couldn’t even begin to think about taking it on. And in my mind, the individual monsters of the week can never be that threatening. If there’s a new monster every week, then you know that the monster from this week is going to be gone by the next. At the very least, if you’re going to go with monster of the week, you should have a big bad either creating or controlling the monsters to add that level of sentient threat, but again, it would’ve been difficult to build that in for The Beacon season one, given the format of the show and how the POV is attached to Bee.
So instead, we wound up with our singular enemy, our Luptile. The kids may eventually be ready to face a broader threat, but first, they have to get it together and deal with this one monster. So, let’s see if they can…
Still here? Okay, good. Here’s some bonus bonus content: what podcast characters the Beacon kids would go as for Halloween, why, and how they would dress themselves.
Bee - Merle Highchurch (The Adventure Zone): She would enjoy dressing up as someone who actually gets along with nature and getting to pretend for one night that everything is chill; wears an awful, scratchy wig and fake beard and a brown glove with twigs and bark hot glued to it
Wolf - Minkowski (Wolf-359): She finds Minkowski, with her constant struggle to try to be in control, super relatable and thinks she’s generally just a badass; wears a jumpsuit with a Minkowski nametag, because she doesn’t go big for Halloween
Capy - Chance Sequoyah (The Penumbra Podcast): A kickass queer bandit lady who rescues orphans and gets the girl? Sign Capy the heck up!; wears a fairly generic cowboy getup, but with a lesbian pride flag as the bandana tied around her neck
Newt - Cecil Palmer (Welcome to Night Vale): Doesn’t like Halloween, doesn’t want to dress up; does nothing to change his appearance but argues that no one can tell him that isn’t exactly what Cecil looks like
Hawk - Feston Pyxis (StarTripper!!): Absolutely loves the whole StarTripper!! space adventure aesthetic and Feston’s outlook on life; wears a plastic, bright purple suit affixed with a bunch of space aesthetic patches that squeaks horrendously when she runs around in it and neon bright Chucks since she imagines Feston as a very bright, flashy space boi
Moth - Bob (The Bridge) & Antigone Funn (Wooden Overcoats): Likes the challenge of Halloween and made herself a full blown, full body, paper mache sea monster suit complete with tentacles and rows of sharp teeth as Bob; after she gets tired of that, slips it off to reveal a patchy, black dress and artfully disheveled black wig she was wearing beneath all along to represent Antigone, her most relatable character in podcasting