Namazufights - talkin' bout catfish

I've had some fun ideas for this week's whale battle, and am ambling towards a finished writeup - in the meantime, tonight I'll be posting the results of another long-awaited matchup in order to tide you over.

But that's a secret for the time being.

Right now, I want to share with you some completely balling prints from 19th Century Japan depicting an earthquake in the form of big goddamn catfish.

I am determined to directly or indirectly reference these Namazu-e (literally Catfish Pictures) in a future zoofight, and I think that big old bastard in the first picture has got Contender written all over him. (Big Thunder Rumblefish, anyone?)

Funnily enough, an amazon catfish nearly made it into zoofights IV, before I got worried that I was overdoing the fish-with-robot-legs thing and put in Snake Preview as the amazonian contender instead. Things could have been very different.

Specifically, it was going to be a Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps, which has the distinction of being one of my favourite aquarium fish and one of the more fun things I have eaten (I never thought anything that only ate algae off rocks could be so meaty). The recipe is pretty simple, so long as you have access to a small amazon tributary, fifty feet of net and a machete. 

Setting the net across the mouth of the creek, you wait til an hour or two after dusk when they are moving out into the larger channel to feed, and then pull in the net. When I tried it, I took about 12 and threw back everything shorter than a foot.

Amazingly, they managed to survive all night in a half inch of muddy water in the footwell of the dugout, and were still gulping air at breakfast time. This sounds rather cruel, but it’s very difficult to mercy-kill something that is mostly bone armour, and even harder to keep it fresh through the muggy amazon night.

Come dawn, it was simply a matter of gutting them (again, tough given the armour) and hurling them into a load of boiling water with chicken bones, tiny pea-sized chilis and shitloads of lemon juice. When boiled, the articulated bone plates just fell apart with thick, white flakes of meat clinging to their underside. Even better, this was the right time of year for the females to be carrying big clusters of roe like pork-flavoured wax blackberries. 

Here's to the noble catfish, Sports Fans.



True Tales of Zoofights: Whale-on-Whale Wailing

Happy Sunday, Sports Fans.

Back on Wednesday, I announced I'd be kicking this blog off with a one-off zoofight between former contenders from other tournaments. I got some ace suggestions as to what it should be, both here and on the ZF Forum, and ran a good old random number generation to pick which one to start off with. 

I say "start off with", because I feel like doing most of the suggestions at some point, but I had to start somewhere.

And so we'll begin with...





To give you a brief intro, Tangaloa was a semifinalist from Zoofights IV who got brutally one-shotted by eventual tournament winner Ned Killy on the surface of Mars. It was seen as a bit of a waste by many fans, since Tangaloa was a goddamn sperm whale with a hammerhead shark's brain, a magma cannon, an Easter Island Moai as a club and some totally sweet Moko tattooes. 

Forum user Jumpropeman certainly thought Tangaloa deserved a second shot at glory, and suggested the most appropriate brute to pit him against would be Mr. Atlantic, a beefed-up orca with troll limbs and a fratboy attitude (see bottom of linked page) who made his zoofighting debut in Zoofights II, the tournament that we don't really talk about anymore.

Personally, however, I think this is a pretty one-sided matchup... so I've changed the circumstances a little.


Tangaloa stands on top of Olympus Mons, his epic lungs as at ease with the ghostly scarcity of the Martian atmosphere as they were with the crushing depths of the Pacific. His huge stone club lies before him and the nozzle of his magma cannon sublimes steam as he awaits his dawn confrontation with Ned Killy.

But he has another trial to face first.

Eyes like smouldering coals snap open beneath slablike tattoed brows, and reflect engine light - a decrepit cargo lifter is touching down 300m away, its back-facing freight ramp already lowering.

In the ancient craft's cockpit, a small cell of deranged Zoofights II fanatics hoot and wave their arms in joy as their nominal leader slams a red button labelled "LETS PARTEY". Zoofights security is hours behind them, and nothing can stop the unscheduled fight they are about to unleash. Their underground movement has scrimped, saved, killed and died to make this moment possible, and now it's their time to shine.

Soaring high in the weak Martian gravity, not one, not two, but three troll-limbed killer whales come bounding from the ramp of the battered freighter with murder in their eyes. Trained secretly as a team in a deep-space centriguge and fitted with pirated copies of the same cetacean-pattern oxygen shunt that keeps their foe alive, they are as eager to prove themselves as their unhinged sponsors are.

Will the statue-wielding leviathan Tangaloa best his attackers and go through to suffer the tragic death that history has allotted him, or will The Brothers Atlantic finish him off even before the end of the long Martian night?

Sports fans, it's up to you decide. Whoever wins, whales lose.




This weekend, I offer you... pretend animals fighting!

How about a zoofight, Sports Fans?


Here's the deal. To kick off this blog I think we should have a battle, and I want you to decide what it should be.


Any contestants from any of the tournaments we've ever run - just give me the contenders and I'll give you the fight. Rematches, what-ifs, joke battles, whatever. I'll write it for you, and I might draw some of it too, who knows.


If I can get just ten suggestions by Friday night, I'll choose one at random and we'll get started. Let the games begin!


Happy Zoofights Day!

Good day, sports fans!


In case you hadn't noticed May 1st is here, and that means it's Zoofights Day!


For the last six years, this day has been the start of a series of entertainments in which me and a host of kind volunteer artists describe and illustrate fights between animals according to the results of a public vote.


But if you're reading this, you probably already knew that. It was in the last paragraph, after all. What you probably want to know is what's happening this year. The answer, you might be unsurprised to hear, is not the 4 week two month six month tournament of fights that one might think would naturally follow last year's event.


Those of you who followed the last tournament know the deal - while the Zoofights events have been getting more complex every year, so has my life, and I just can't meet the regular deadlines necessary to make a thing like this work in real time any more.


However, I'm going to do something different. From today I'm going to be using this site as a platform to experiment with a bunch of different projects - some of them ZF-related, some of them not. Probably all involving zoology and violence at some point.


I'm working on a couple of fun projects with my long term ZF henchman Gravitas, and tossing around ideas for some smaller Zoofights events that I want to play around with possibly later in the summer. I don't want to go into too much detail, because I don't want to promise anything that isn't eventually delivered. But things will happen, in one form or another. Do stick this blog on your RSS or your iWossnames or whatever it is you kids do these days, and I'll do my best to entertain you.


So, no flashy video and no beast intros, but I'm not letting the day pass unremarked. More to follow.

Page 1 2