Sunday, November 13, 2016

Photos Related to Hell Gate -- Hell Spawn Concept Art

This week's photos are the most interesting of the series because it will be dealing with the concept art and ideas that went into developing the Hell Spawn. [WARNING: There are spoilers in this blog post, so if you have not read the book be forewarned.]

Are the Nachzehrer zombies? Not in the traditional sense. I liked the concept of hordes of shambling dead roaming through the French countryside and attacking the Hell Gaters en masse, but did not want to turn my book into a zombie apocalypse novel. So I created the Nachzehrer as the desiccated bodies of those condemned to Hell who come back to wander Earth because this is the realm they know. Yes, they eat human flesh, which is what makes them dangerous, but they do not have the other attributes of a zombie -- they are not rotting away, and being bitten by a Nachzehrer does not mean you will die and come back as one.

The idea for the pus zombies came from two separate sources. Scientists discovered that certain spores can infect insects, taking over their minds and compelling them to climb to an elevated position where those spores rupture through the host body. The spores then spread and infect other insects. I reasoned this was a much more gruesome and unique way of turning people into Nachzehrer than through biting. The video detailing how this process works can be seen at

The second idea behind the concept came from a website report of a young man in China suffering from a severe, untreated brain infection that ate through his skull and filled his cranium with pus.The photos of this poor man were so pathetic and disturbing the writer in me had to incorporate them into the pus zombies.

I think the use of giant insects is self-explanatory. If regular bugs are creepy and scary, then enlarging the demons to monstrous sizes makes them downright terrifying.

Some of my readers have asked where I got the idea of having the giant wasps in Falaise use Andre as an incubator for their eggs. This happens quite often in nature, albeit with cockroaches taking the place of humans. A video detailing how the process works can be found at

When I was developing the demons that would guard the portals, I came up with the concept of using Golem, the animated anthropomorphic protectors of Jewish ghettos. However, I wanted mine to be much more intimidating and powerful than the man-sized guardians from Hebrew folklore. To give the Golem a more gruesome appearance, I changed them from being created from inanimate material, such as stone, to being a compilation of human body parts. I stumbled across the above artwork while researching other demons and decided to adopt the basic body design for my own Golem, although those that appear in Hell Gate have significant differences.

The hand-held six-barreled GAU-17 minigun used by Sasha and Haneef. When I first saw this weapon I knew I had to work it into the novel  

Holding the GAU-17 minigun. And no, this is not who Sasha is based on. It's just a coincidence that the model is similar to my character.

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