Snails vs Monkeys: Gastropodcalypse Now (Mmm… Marginalia #50)

A few summers ago, vs was all the rage: Jason vs Freddy, Aliens vs Predator, Jason vs Aliens, Freddy vs Aliens, Jason and Freddy vs Aliens vs Jason #2, Kramer vs Kramer vs Jason, Jason vs Board of Education, Jason2 + 2(Jason) + 3 Men and a Little Lady vs (Aliens – Predators)(Aliens + Predators)*, and so on.

And as we all know, Hollywood loves recombinative movie making. Producers make the big bucks by coming up with explanations for projects like “It’s just like Die Hard, but in an assisted living facility!” or “Sergio Leonie meets Meet the Parents” or “It’s some random crappy D-list comedy meets a movie with Tyler Perry’s name in front of it.”

It may come as some surprise to learn that medieval illustrators also loved recombinative productions. Thus, witness the Tyler Perry’s Good, Bad, and Ugly Ways to Die Most Hardest** of 1471:


It’s a snail and a rabbit play-jousting piggyback on two monkeys. The image may be found in the British Library’s MS Harley 4379, the Harley Froissart. It doesn’t get more one-thing-plus-another-thing-and-then-another-thing-being than this.***

Oh yes, and I must thank my mysterious sources deep within the British Library for this one. Mysterious sources, you know who you are.

*The difference of two squares: Aliens2 – Predators2
**In theaters this fall. Starring Robert Deniro as a sad shell of the actor he once was!
***Unless the snail is (as I suspect) strapped into a rocketpack. In that case, it does get more of that long hyphenated made up adjective. Like 100 times more.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ben

    Is that snail-bearing monkey on stilts?

  • Jen

    Uh, isn't that a rabbit, not a squirrel? 🙂

  • ncm

    It's good to have you back, Carl. We were on the verge of despair.

  • tenthmedieval

    The snail seems to be weaponless, unless the jet-pack flame is really some kind of unraised sword; it seems to be in the same colour as the rabbit's lance. What chance has the snail got with his under-belly so treacherously exposed by the ducked head of his monkey mount? Damn you, monkeys!

  • Adam Roberts

    Are those two marshmallows hovering near the end of the rabbit's lance? Maybe its not a lance; maybe it's a marshmallow toasting skewer. Of course, were I a snail, I still wouldn't want to get one of those stuck in my underbelly.

  • Peggasus

    I want to get another pet (perhaps a rabbit or a monkey) just so I can name it 'Harley Froissart.'

  • ncm

    That rabbit's in trouble if he doesn't know about the radula.

    Are they standing on a surfboard or an ironing board?

  • Got Medieval

    It's neither a surfboard nor an ironing board. As you'd know if you'd heard my paper at K-Zoo this year, the marginal universe has gravity. Marginal figures have to have something underneath them, or they'll 'fall' into the lower margin.

    So, in all likelihood, it's a hoverboard like Marty McFly rides.

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