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  • Writer's pictureMichael Jacoby

The Epiflairy: Book I Talkback

Updated: Mar 27

https://www.doorjamcreations.com/epiflairy


The non-existent primordial goddess Cásim with the golden egg from her anus cracking below her as representations of the four classical elements (earth, water, fire, and air) surround her.

After a long wait and a Christmas/birthday break, the newest entry for DoorJam Creations is here! It's a written comedy series inspired by ancient myths from the pagan past! It's The Epiflairy!


The inception for this series came to me all the way in 2011, while I was still attending Burlington County College. During my time there, I took some Literary classes, one of which was online. The online class consisted of classical mythological stories, like The Odyssey and The Aeneid. The second class was in-classroom where we read varying books and short stories, the most notable of which were the South African novel Disgrace, a collection of essays by Montaigne, and the 14th century Italian book The Decameron.


During this time, I was also taking an Art History I class, and would take an Art History II class starting the following January. In both classes, I learned about how many ancient cultures lived and got a taste of their varying mythologies, like those of the Incas and the Greco-Roman culture.


Finally, the year prior, I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring all the way through for the first time on Starz/Encore after occasionally catching some of it on TV years prior.


With all these influences spinning around in my mind, I developed the concept for a comedy/parody series with jokes based on the myths and cultures of the ancient past, written in the style of one of the books I read for the online class: Metamorphoses by Ovid. That book ended up being one of my favorites for the books I had to read for my literature classes.


It wasn't a whole story, but rather a collection of stories from Roman mythology that would connect to one another or one story would flow into another somehow. It reminded me of how Monty Python sketches would famously flow into one another.


I worked on the story on-and-off again since then, then I stopped working on it completely and later began the story anew. I returned to work on it in 2017, then again in 2018, and got started on this version in 2021, a decade after I first thought of the idea.


Following on hard philological work and experiments, including issues with pronunciation and the use of accented characters, I came up with the classical title The Epiflairy, which I'll leave to you, dear reader, to decipher. Speaking of pronunciations, many of the proper names featured in the story (including just Book I alone) are English words written using Spanish-language pronunciation.


This came from one of my weird childhood hobbies of watching Nickelodeon reruns on Telemundo and sometimes catching an ad/infomercial for an English-learning service for their target audience (the actual name of the service escapes me at the moment).


It featured an example of how to say a veces (sometimes) in English; it showed the English word as written, but pronounced SO-mah-TEE-mehs to a Spanish speaker. Then, some Spanish wording appeared, making it sound like the correct English way: somtaíms. Although the proper names here feature accent marks not in Spanish, they are pronounced the same. For example, Mount Jóli is said like the English word holly, named after my county seat, Mt. Holly, New Jersey.

Early versions of the Epiflairy logo completed in Illustrator, using Adobe Caslon Pro.

With regards to the design of the logo, I was inspired by the coarse golden logo featured on The Lord of the Rings trilogy posters. I carefully selected the font so it didn't look exactly like the LOTR logo, but evocative of it nevertheless. I've been more careful with this following the controversy with the cover for The Sbuirrels Christmas issue.


I chose Adobe Caslon Pro Small Caps to make it look something like the LOTR logo while giving it a uniquely American feel. After fooling around with small caps and regular caps variations, I added a coarse texture vector I downloaded some time ago and placed it in a mask on the vectorized text. I saved two flat versions, one black and one gold. I opened up the gold one in Photoshop and added an emboss effect to it, creating the final version of the logo.


Also, for the index page, there's not much there because, 1). I admit I didn't put a lot of thought into what the index page would look like besides the background and button design and 2). While putting the index page together, I ended up think it would be pretty funny for the preloader to do its stuff, then have the logo appear, and scrolling all the way down (especially on mobile) only to find some text, a button, and a warning strip. Nothing more!


3/26/23: After Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity issues, the remainder of Book I is uploaded now!


In my initial research, I found out that ancient texts, particularly Greco-Roman texts, used a-little-overly-wordy descriptions of things and actions, referred to as a circumlocution. I dug a little deeper and discovered that this created a strange, somewhat dissonant, tone when describing violent and war-related acts, as seen in these passages from The Iliad I found from somewhere online that shows a few free samples of a book (either Google Books or Amazon, I don't remember, but I'm leaning towards the latter):


In from the blindside [Coön] came—Agamemnon never saw him—tensed with a spear and slashed him under the elbow, down the forearm—a glint of metal—the point ripped through his flesh and the lord of fighting men Atrides shuddered.

The Iliad, Book 11:291-5


Down from the car [Oileus had] leapt, squaring off, charging in full fury, full face, straight into Agamemnon's spearhead ramming sharp—the rim of the bronze helmet could not hold it, clean through heavy metal and bone the point burst and the brains splattered all inside the casque.

The Iliad, Book 11:109-14


As seen in this book and in future books, I looked to these two passages for whenever I need to write violent stuff for The Epiflairy.


For the creation of the universe, I initially wanted it be based on the scientific creation of the universe. I wanted this dichotomy of the fantastic and the realistic because this is a comedy based on mythology. However, I found this approach a little too restrictive and lack any fun elements found in mythology, such as the Australian Aboriginals believing that the mountains are formed the bones of a giant snake, so I loosened it up.


With regards to the stuff with the warring generations and the Lest being hated seemingly for existing, allegedly being entitled brats who supposedly wish to destroy the world, yeah, you can say that disgust with and bitterness towards every older generation and their mother blaming us millennials for all that is bad in the world (even to an extent this day) played a part in this.


As for the last chapter, I figured that this should be the end of the first book because, as crass as it is, it seemed like quite a way to end a book and anything that would follow in the same book couldn't top it.

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